Friday, February 29, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #21 AKA The This Day Only Exists During A Leap Year Edition

Hey ya! *Clap! Clap! Clap!* I’m back with another three joints to review this week, namely Amanda Diva’s “Life Experience” EP, the new Kidz In The Hall mixtape “Geniuses Need Love Too” and Fat Ray & Black Milk “The Set Up”. Since this is the final day of February, that means that the winter is about to end and we get to look forward to the weather breaking (and a gang of people getting sick). Before you know it, it’ll be short sleeves weather.

Some of you were probably expecting me to review the Rakim joint, but since there were only 4 *cough!* new tracks on it and a bunch of other tracks I have ingrained in my memory it didn’t make much sense to do so (remember the "Half A Klip" fiasco from last month?). I was sent Amanda Diva’s new EP and that became the third project in this blog but the first one I’ll review. I don’t use a ratings system based on numerical value, strictly on if said album is good enough to warrant purchasing it. 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.

Dey done went and mixed gangsta with Gospel/That’s like sellin’ cocaine outta Costco! © Fat Ray

Amanda Diva is the kind of girl you’d want to meet your mother. She’s not likely to be that chick calling you up drunk and crying hysterically at 2:00 AM or starting shit in public because “some bitch” was looking at her wrong. She’s been a radio host, an MTV VJ, a commentator on VH1’s “Best Week Ever”, a member of Floetry (she’s a songstress AND a lyricist so that shit didn’t work outicist), an author, done spoken word, she blogs and she’s mad cute (I know it’s not an achievement but I’m a dude). Here’s my review of her EP “Life Experience”:

Best Joints: “Life Experience Intro”, “Supa Woman”, “40 MC’s”, “Window Over Harlem”, “Brown Girl”, “New School, Old School”, “Better Way (I Know)”, “Life To Love” and “Crazy World”

Hot Garbage: “Bright Lights” (I don’t know who mixed this song or ProTooled it out of sequence over Amanda’s vocals or completely fucked up by making her overdubs louder than her slightly offbeat vocals but they screwed up royally. Then someone else made a major mistake by: a) putting this track on the EP at all when it’s the sole black eye on the project b) making it the very first track you hear on her debut project. To quote the legendary graf artist MIN One that’s a “never forgive action”.

Dart’s Take: This EP impressed me and I already knew that Amanda Diva was nice from “40 MC’s” and “Supa Woman”. I was really thrown by how horrible ‘Bright Lights” was and how fucked up it sounded. From then on, the EP was fine. Amanda’s flow is nice and she mixes it well with her vocals. Her lyrical content is extremely refreshing in an industry where the average female rapper would’ve rapped about the elasticity of their vaginas or how their head game would put you into a straitjacket or something else that would make your eyes roll (provided you have common sense, that is).

While all of the tracks are dope (the one glaring exception being “Bright Lights”), my favorites are “Supa Woman”, “40 MC’s”, “Brown Girl”, “Better Way (I Know)” (it’s the joint!) and “Crazy World” a bonus track that Ms. Diva spits a capella over someone banging out a beat. This EP is definitely worth the $7.99 that the iTunes store is asking for it and if you see a physical copy in a store you shouldn’t hesitate to cop it. I give “Life Experience” a mos def and bow at the feet of Ms. Amanda Diva.

Next up is the new mixtape by Naledge and Double O, professionally known as Kidz In The Hall. These conceited bastards have made a Valentine’s Day themed mixtape where they rhyme over some flipped R&B joints and toss in some joints from the upcoming Duck Down LP “The In Crowd”. These Ivy League dudes usually bring it regardless if it’s an album or a mixtape. Did I like the concept? Let’s find out:

Best Joints: “Dreamin’ (Baby I’m The Shit)”, “What Up Wit Me (If It Isn’t Love)”, “Do What Grown Folks Do”, “Littlest Things”, “Sweet 16 (All My Ladies)”, ““Drivin’ Down The Block”, “Blackout” and “Work To Do (Obama 08)”

Hot Garbage: N/A (I wasn’t feeling “Mi Amor”...too damn long and “Make It Last” was just meh to me)

Dart’s Take: This was a nice mixtape with a cool concept but it did start to get old towards the end until it finally got to the new joints. The flips were well executed and pretty inventive, especially the flip of New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love” and “Sweet 16 (All My Ladies)” flip of Kanye and Slum Village’s “Selfish”.

Only Naledge would think to turn the song into a Sweet 16 basketball tournament between all of his fantasy women (how’d Oprah get in there?) and the new track “Blackout” sounds ill. If you want to hear an inventive mixtape complete with Naledge spittin’ some nice bars then definitely give this a listen but in my opinion: Detention>>Geniuses Need Love Too. Download it here

Last, but not least is the new offering from newly signed Aftermath producer Black Milk and his B.R. Gunna comrade Fat Ray (where’s Young RJ at?). Black Milk is on such a hot streak right now that anything with his name on it is going to garner some major attention. I’m still killing “Popular Demand” and “Caltroit” as I type this. Will this project stand up to the high standard the Black Milk’s recent collabos/projects have set? Find out below:

Best Joints: “Flawless”, “Lookout”, “Bad Man”, “Take Control”, “Not U”, “When It Goes Down”, “Get Focus”, “Nothing To Hide”, “Get Up”, “Ugly” and the “Outro”

Hot Garbage: N/A (This album was too damned short)

Dart’s Take: This album bangs from beginning to end and Fat Ray’s flow and lyrics have definitely improved since the last time I heard him. He spit quite a few lines that made me rewind my iTunes player. Black Milk always brings it with the hard production and guest spots by AB, NameTag, Phat Kat, Guilty Simpson and Elzhi only help to heighten the experience. In my opinion, this joint should have had another two or three joints on it but I still give it a mos def.

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):
Albums I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

I'm Also Looking Forward To Reviewing The Following Projects:

Rhymefest-El Che
Skillz-Million Dollar Backpack
Joe Budden-Padded Room
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Atmosphere-When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
The Roots-Rising Down

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of March 1st, 2008):

Get Focus-Fat Ray & Black Milk f/Phat Kat & Elzhi (prod. by Black Milk)
Keep Wishing (RMX)-Static & Messiah f/Skyzoo. Letia Larock & Leanne (prod. by WMS The Sultan)
Sweet 16 (All My Ladies)-Kidz In The Hall
Thank God For That White-Fat Joe (prod. by DJ Premier)
Attempted Murder-Rock (of Heltah Skeltah)
Word On The Street-Rakim
Better Way (I Know)-Amanda Diva
Savages-Billy Danze (prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Must Hate Money-Drake f/Rich Boy
Broken Language 2008-Redman & Method Man
Living Dead-Mickey Factz
Press Play-Snoop Dogg f/Dogg Pound
Where You Are-ST. Da Squad
I Never Loved Her-Zilla Rocca
Fever-Q-Tip (prod. by J Dilla)
Workin' It-Del The Funky Homosapien
Carnage-Chaundon f/Emilio Rojas & MAG
Screamin'-Idle Warship (Talib Kweli & Res) f/MC Chris
That Hump-Erykah Badu
Rockabye-Jojo Pellegrino
Shadows Of Hell-Planet Asia (prod. by DJ Muggs)

I devour worlds AND Galactus © Jo Synstyr


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dart Adams presents 12 To Watch In '08

Below is a list of twelve emcees that I think will make some serious noise this year (Yes, this is a cosign of the below cats..some don't need it). Without further ado, I present the list:

Reps: Los Angeles, CA
Previous material: The Narrow Path, Lifted EP, Below The Heavens, Powders & Oils
Upcoming projects: C.R.A.C. Knuckles (w/Ta’Raaach) The Peace Talks, God Is Good (solo LP)

Blu had one hell of a 2007 after released the critically acclaimed “Below The Heavens” collaboration with Exile and “Powders & Oils” with Mainframe and 2008 is looking to be bananas as well. With the highly anticipated C.R.A.C. Knuckles collabo with underground hero Ta’ Raach and a Blu solo LP on the way there will be no way in hell that anyone who loves Hip Hop won’t know who he is (or how to spell his name). Catch up here

Jay Electronica
Reps: New Orleans, LA
Previous material: Style Wars EP, Act I: Eternal Sunshine, The Pledge
Upcoming projects: Act II: Patents Of Nobility and Abracadabra: Let There Be Light in ‘08  on Erykah Badu's Control Freaq label

I can’t write anything about this man that they haven’t said better on, Stuntin' On Prose or Classic Drug References already. I can’t give him a better testimonial than Just Blaze, Erykah Badu, Questlove or Nas have already done.

I’ve been playing his entire discography in my iPod for close to three months now and I’m still in awe as to what I’m hearing. At the risk of saying something that would border or Hip Hop sacrilege I’ll stop typing now (like I wish I did before I went overboard when I did one of these for Lupe Fiasco back in ‘06). Catch up here

Reps: Lawrence, MA
Previous material: Hood Politics Vols. 1-5, Out The Gate, 50 Bodies
Current project: ST The Squad (look for it now!)
Upcoming project: As of yet untitled solo LP dropping in ‘08

Termanology has been on radar for years but after his DJ Premier produced “Watch How It Go Down” hit the net, mixtapes and mixshows all over the globe Term hasn’t cooled off at all. Now that he’s made nothing but heat rocks over the past two years and his first proper solo joint is about to hit store shelves in ‘08 there’s no turning back for ST Da Squad’s top soldier. Watch how it goes down.

Reps: Brooklyn, NY
Previous material: Cloud 9: The 3 Day High, Cornerstore Classic
Upcoming project: As of yet untitled solo project in ‘08

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past two years and you’re a Hip Hop fan you should already be aware of Skyzoo. His collaboration with 9th Wonder open many an eye and his following mixtape and guest spots created a major buzz. So much so that Hot 97 declared him one of the top 10 living rappers right now. That just means that when his album drops there’ll be even more heads checkin’ for it.

Reps: Washington, D.C.
Previous material: Ambassador Of The Capital, Paint A Picture, Hate Is The New Love, 100 Miles And Running
Upcoming projects: A Mixtape About Nothing AKA The Senfield Mixtape in ‘08 and an as of yet untitled LP in ‘08 to follow.

Wale is an up and coming star from the nation’s capital and after several inventive mixtapes (Ambassador Of The Capital, Paint A Picture & Hate Is The New Love) a deal with Mark Ronson’s Allido label and yet another classic mixtape (100 Miles And Running).

What’s up next for Wale? Another potential classic mixtape inspired by the show “Seinfield” and a highly anticipated debut album in ‘08. He and his boy Tabi Bonney are on a two man mission to bring Maryland/D.C. Hip Hop back into the national spotlight for the first time since Section 8 Mob, Nonchalant and Questionmark Asylum were getting burn on BET.

Reps: Brooklyn, NY
Previous material: “Get It Done”/”Click” 12” prod. by DJ Premier, “Merchant Of Dreams” off of Dream Merchant 2, several guest spots on Justus League releases.
Current project: Daily Conversation

He’s called “The Young Vet” for a reason. After bouncing around the industry for years, Torae has finally found a home with his compatriots in the Justus League (Chaundon, Skyzoo, The Away Team, Little Brother). After just one listen to his new album “Daily Conversation” you’ll realize that this cat is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come in this game.

Wiz Khalifa
Reps: Pittsburgh, PA
Previous material: Prince Of The City Vols. 1 & 2, Show And Prove, Grow Season
Upcoming project: As of yet untitled LP set to drop in ‘08

Wiz Khalifa has created quite a large buzz with his mixtapes ever since he first popped up on the scene in 2005. After an eye opening guest appearance on Nicolay’s 2006 release “Here” (“What It Used To Be”) and his “Prince Of The City” mixtape he was receiving offers.

Eventually, he signed a deal and released his debut LP “Show And Prove” that was well received by vast majority of critics and reviewers. After he dropped a couple more mixtapes, it was time to get people ready for his upcoming sophomore LP. His new single “Say Yeah” is currently making the rounds online, in blogs and on mixshows nationwide. Is this the year that Wiz Khalifa makes some serious noise? We’ll see.

Reps: Bronx, NY
Previous material: Slow Leaks, Live From The 718, Ambitions As A Writer, Venom
Current project: Carnage

Chaundon has been , to paraphrase Kanye West (something I’ll try to never ever do again), has been killing the game very bad since 2003. As one of the Justus League, he’s been spitting over the production of 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Oddisee and Nicolay for years and after his previous four ridiculous mixtapes and guest appearances heads were looking forward to his debut LP. “Carnage” turned out to be a damn near flawless debut for a cat that will now get the recognition he so richly deserves.

Reps: St. Louis, MO
Previous material: “Last Time” on 9th Wonder’s Dream Merchant 2, “Yes Sir” Flying Lotus 12”, The Free EP, Megatron Majorz: The Sampler
Upcoming project: Megaatron Majorz in Spring ‘08

Vandalyzm first caught my attention from his guest spot on a Flying Lotus white label I heard through After that was his appearence on Dream Merchant 2 as one of the Midwest Wreckin’ Crew on the track “Last Time”. After I mentioned how impressed I was with his flow in my review blog somebody shot me a copy of Vandalyzm’s demo “The Free EP”.

Needless to say, I was even more impressed and I placed that on my blog as a Late Pass. Then, DJ Trackstar shot me a digital copy of the Megatron Majorz sampler. Ever since then I’ve been patiently waiting for the full length to drop.

Mickey Factz
Reps: Bronx, NY
Previous material: Back To The Future: Flashback Vol. 1, In Search Of The N.E.R.D
Current project: Heaven’s Fallout

I’ve been hearing tracks from this cat for more than a year now but I didn’t really start checkin’ for him until this past summer when I ran across his “In Search Of The N.E.R.D” mixtape on my boy A-One’s site Know Good Music. From there I went to his site and downloaded his latest mixtape “Heaven’s Fallout” I was thoroughly impressed with his flow and the creativity he exhibited in his beat choices. Mickey’s fearlessness is to commended in an age where so many emcees would be afraid to rhyme over some of these tracks but he more than pulls it off. Don’t sleep on this dude.

Reps: Toronto, OT (Canada)
Previous material: Room For Improvement, a gang of leaked collabos with Trey Songz and several Canadian singles
Current project: Comeback Season

A few of you readers are familiar with Drake because his government name is Aubrey Graham and he’s been a child actor for the past seven years on the popular CTV series “Degrassi: The Next Generation”. Based on seeing him say some of the goofiest dialogue in the history on TV during his formative years (and his lack of a damn lineup for the first 4 seasons) people might try to write him off immediately.

They would be forgetting that some of the best emcees of recent Hip Hop history were also child actors, namely Lin Que, MF Grimm, Mos Def and Lauryn Hill. All I’m saying is listen to dude’s two previous mixtapes, his flow, lyrical ability and his versatility and then you’ll understand why he has record label execs all over Canada and the U.S. calling him in for meetings.

Reps: Atlanta, GA
Previous material: The Cloud 9 Mixtape, The Future, Eastside Takeover
Current project: My Name Is B.O.B
Upcoming project: As of yet untitled LP slated for ‘08

Of all the underground cats that are currently grinding on the mixtape circuit in Georgia, the most promising seems to be B.O.B. After raising eyebrows on tracks alongside down South heavy hitters like Bohagon, Young Jeezy, Killer Mike and a gang others he was poised to be one of the South’s best hopes to go national.

After his efforts on “The Cloud 9 Mixtape” and “The Future” labels started calling and music publications wanted to do pieces on him. All you need to do is hear his new mixtape “My Name Is B.O.B” to understand why he’s sharing the cover of “The Next” issue of Urb with Jay Electronica.

Thanks to my following blogging brethren for providing much of the info and putting me up on some of the cats and being some of the best sites in the bloggerverse:

4 All My Niggaz

What New In Dart's iPod #21 (Fat Ray & Black Milk "The Set Up", Amanda Diva "Life Experience" EP & Kidz In The Hall "Geniuses Need Love, Too") coming up tomorrow afternoon.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Juno There Will Be No Blood For Old Country Men AKA Dartflix Edition #31

The results are finally in and yet another award season is over, the three breakout films of the year were “No Country For Old Men”, “There Will Be Blood” and “Juno”. At the Independent Spirit Awards, "Juno" and "I’m Not There" kicked more ass then Bruce Lee in one of those scenes where he gets surrounded by a gang of people that attack him one by one. Diablo Cody got both screenwriting awards and “No Country For Old Men”and the Coen brothers stomped all competition to win Best Director and Best Film Oscars at the Academy Awards.

At The Independent Spirit Awards “The Diving Bell and The Butterfly”, “The Savages” and “I’m Not There” racked up a few accolades as well. In both award shows, “Once” took away Best Foreign Film and Best Original Song honors (Dublin stand up!).

I was surprised that Cate Blanchett didn’t win in either category and that Marion Cottilard and Tilda Swinton both walked away with Oscars. I didn’t see “La Vie En Rose” so I honestly don’t know if she even deserved it and if anyone was going to win besides Cate it would have to be Tilda Swinton. I do remember a few people wondering if any Americans were gonna win anything on that night (I could’ve told ‘em no). Javier Bardem and Daniel Day Lewis were not going to be denied that evening. Even Chiwitel Eijiofor won the award for Best Supporting Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Ellen Page and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (son of Dustin) both won at the ISA’s as well. Was I the only one weirded out/uncomfortable at how often Ellen Page kept saying she was in love with the director? His wife was right there! As far as the shows themselves, the Independent Spirit Awards are always much more entertaining and Rainn Wilson was hilarious. John Stewart did as much as he could to inject some life into the Academy Awards but it was still largely a snoozefest.

I still don’t understand how Whoopi Goldberg was left out of the host’s montage (she hosted the fuckin’ show four times!) and how Brad Renfro got slighted in the memorial when as I pointed out a few blogs ago he died exactly one week before Heath Ledger, also of an accidental drug overdose.

I’m just glad this is all over so we can get everything back to normal and focus on movies people have actually seen for a change. Rest In Peace to everyone that’s passed away , especially Tony Silver. Now let’s get on with the movie stuff:

Top 5 ImDb Trailers Of The Ides Of February (2.16.08-2.29.08):

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull


Smiley Face

The List

Top 5 Apple Trailers Of The Ides Of February (2.16.08-2.29.08):

Boarding Gate

The Happening


The Life Before Her Eyes

Cassandra’s Dream

Movies to consider adding to your queue or renting through either Redbox or Netflix:

Civic Duty
Gone Baby Gone
We Own The Night
The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward James Ford
Across The Universe
The Legend Of The Black Scorpion
The Darjeeling Limited
Justice League-The New Frontier (2 Disc Special Edition)
Extras-The Extra Special Series Finale
Day Zero
The Amateurs
Hotel Babylon-Season 1 (series)
To Kill A King
Blue Note: A Story Of Modern Jazz
30 Days Of Night
American Meth
Black Irish
The Killing Of John Lennon
The Last Hit Man
Finishing The Game
The Prisoner Or How I Planned To Kill Tony Blair
The Air I Breathe
Storm Warning
How To Rob A Bank
The Tracey Fragments

Dart’s Picks:
30 Days Of Night-I was a fan of the source material and the film delivered in every way possible. Rent or buy it.

Beowulf-This movie managed to be both artistic and entertaining at the same time . I dug it.

The Darjeeling Limited-I am a fan of Wes Anderson’s previous work and this was along the same lines as all of his joints. It is not for everyone and it may bore the shit out of you if you didn't like "The Life Aquatic" or "The Royal Tenenbaums" then do not bother with this one.

Civic Duty-You need to rent this and see it now. I almost forgot it coame out until Buc rented it from a Redbox a few days ago.

Dart’s WTF? Awards/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk:
Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium- It doesn’t come out until next week but it sucked so bad I feel the need to hate on it prematurely.

Highlander: The Source- Unless it’s animated, I don’t care to see anything Highlander related. Scratch that, fuck all things Highlander related forever and ever Amen.