Twas the day after Thanksgiving and all through the house people were getting up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of all of the sales as it's officially the Holiday Season in North America. The sad thing is that the economy is so damn bad that several of the local stores have closed due to the parent companies falling upon financial dire straits. I doubt that people are going to spend like crazy this holiday season due to the economy being bad and the sad state of the job market. Either way, there are still people out there trying to get deals...I'm really not looking forward to hearing Christmas music everywhere I go.
This week I'll be reviewing five more projects that either leaked or recently hit store shelves in the following order: Akon "Freedom", Brandy "Human", Illogic "One Bar Left EP", Reef Tha Lost Cauze "The Stress Files" and Vandalyzm "Megatron Majorz". For those of you new to the party, I don’t rate albums on a scale or assign them a numerical value out of 5 or 10, instead I merely answer the all important question of “Is it worth buying or not?”. Here's how my "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:
Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever is dumb enough to buy it from you.
Maeby (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's in your lane or not.
Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.
I spit like I gotta chip on my shoulder/I rhyme like the whole world's against me © Vandalyzm
Best Joints: Holla Holla, Over The Edge and Clap Again (Right Now (Na Na Na), Beautiful (Kardi, no!), Keep You Much Longer, Troublemaker, Against The Grain, Be With You and Freedom were all meh)
Hot Garbage: We Don't Care, I'm So Paid, Sunny Day and Birthmark all sucked to the Nth power.
Dart's Take: Fuck Akon, fuck this album and fuck the horse he rode in on. He's signed Kardinal Offishall and Sway, two of my favorite emcees this year and he put out this godawful album that sounds like German rave music. This album has no replay value past playing it for people to see their faces as they respond to just how horrible it is. I give thanks for the fact I never have to listen to this album again, I give it an oh no.
Best Joints: The Definition, Warm It Up (With Love), Right Here (Departed), Piano Man, Shattered Heart, A Capella (Something's Missing) and 1st & Love
Hot Garbage: Long Distance, Camouflage, Torn Down, Human, True and Fall
Dart's Take: There is very little on this album that stands out evn though Brandy has reunited with Rodney Jerkins. This album sounds like everything else on the radio and oftentimes the song trail into generic territory, the lone standout song being the a capella song "Something's Missing". This album was okay and I didn't have any songs that I really wanted to rewind and hear again which is a bad sign. "Human" didn't flat out suck , but it failed to impress me in any way so I gave it a maybe.
Best Joints: Intro, One Bar Left, Change, Half Man Half Vicious, Soundtrack Theme and Cold November Day
Hot Garbage: N/A (It sucks that it ended)
Dart's Take: When you take high quality lyrics and delivery and add it to excellent production the end result is usually classic material. In the case of the combination of Illogic's verses over Ill Poetic's tracks that's excatly what happened. I hurt my neck nodding along with the collected 6 tracks on this free EP, my favorites being "Intro", "One Bar Left", "Change" and "Half Man Half Vicious" (featuring a guest appearance from project producer Ill Poetic). There is no reason to not download this EP and rock to it right now (I have a link to it in Ill Poetic's entry on my MySpace Producers list). I give the "One Bar Left EP" a most def.
Best Joints: So Sharp, Return Of The Champ, Knock Em Out The Box, Just A Man, Afghan Green, Fuck You Talking To, Up Late, Monsters Inc, Beatrice, Problems, Str8outtaphilly, T.S.O.P. (Live), Back At It (Live), Bury Em In My Backyard (Live), Problems (Live), Knock Em Out The Box (Live), Squeeze Freestyle (Live), The Puzzle (Live), Commander N' Chief (Live), Grillz (Live) and Give It Up (Live)
Hot Garbage: N/A (Stick Em Up was meh to me)
Dart's Take: This is yet another damn good album from Reef The Lost Cauze in '08. The difference being that this album was produced entirely by his DJ Stress The White Boy (not to be confused with Stress of the brother MC/producer duo Folk & Stress) and the second half of it consists of live performances and freestyles from some high energy performances. I give this album a highly recommended maybe, go and seek it out.
Best Joints: Megatron's Intro, Studio Gangstas Freestyle, Frontin', Charity Case, Money On The Table, Ol Girl, Chip, Trickin', Break Em Down, All On You, Venting, Sole, Downstairs, Hands High, Get Dough, Dreams Freestyle, Three The... and The Remedy
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: I've been waiting to review this album for most of the year. I picked Vandalyzm as one of my 12 To Watch In '08 way back in February and I've had this album cover on my blog since then. This project features prodction from the artist as well as Khrysis, 14KT, Flying Lotus, FlyamSam, Black Spade and Swiff D and top shelf flow and lyrics all the way through. "Megatron Majorz" is 18 tracks deep and contains bangers like "Megatron's Intro", "Money On The Table", "Chip", "All On You", "Sole", "Downstairs", "Hands High", "Get Dough"and "Three The..". Hearing this album will make you wonder how in the hell this cat has managed to go unsigned for this long. If you can manage to pull yourselves out of your turkey and stuffing induced comas long enough you should cop this dude's album mos def.
For Doz Dat Slept:
Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Royce Da 5'9"-Street Hop
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Mos Def-The Ecstatic LP
Royce Da 5'9"-Street Hop
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
Platinum Pied Pipers-Abundance
Method Man & Redman-Blackout 2
Redman-Muddy Waters 2
B.O.B.-The Adventures Of B.O.B.
Billy Danze-Behind Gatez
AG & O.C.-Oasis: Together Brothers
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
The Beatnuts-The Planet Of The Crates
Wiley-I See Clear
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
MF Doom-Born Into This
Jadakiss-The Last Kiss
Beyonce: Damn babe, the Knicks really suck!
Jay: Yeah, they gon' be mad as hell when 'Bron signs with the Brooklyn Nets in 2010 and they still suck.