Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dart Adams presents Livications: No Trivia

Brandon Soderberg's blog has no banner and no logos are anywhere to be found on the site, just the block letters "No Trivia" in bold at the top of the page. The URL is brandonsoderberg.blogspot.com. His email account is brandsoderberg@gmail.com. No banner. No logo. No bullshit. No gimmicks. No Trivia. Brandon started his blog on December 22nd, 2006, 10 days before I started Poisonous Paragraphs. His first entry on No Trivia was about J Dilla's "Donuts". Six days later he received the first comment of many on his blog, this what it said:

bubsdepot said...
If you can write like this on a consistent basis, people will start reading yer shit eventually...

If that cat only knew that No Trivia would eventually become one of the best blogs on the internet. I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I had an idea for a blog but I wasn't quite sure of what approach or angle to take just to read No Trivia and have Brandon hit the nail right on the head. Not to mention all of the occasions where I read one of his posts and he sent me back to the lab to do some rewrites to the blog I was going to post that afternoon because he'd raised the bar so high with his previous posts. I owe a lot to Brandon Soderberg for keeping me razor sharp, if I ever slack off I'll read his next piece and know that I just fucked up (No Bill Duke in the interrogation room in "Menace II Society")

Rather than write an astonishingly brilliant and insightful blog about something Hip Hop related in the fashion that Brandon would (that's a tall order!), I will instead do my own version of one of his regular series', "How Big Is Your World?". Here is my blog in honor of No Trivia below:

How Big Is Your World? Really, Really Good Recent Hip Hop

School-DJ Revolution f/Planet Asia (prod. by DJ Revolution)

DJ Revolution is the long time on air DJ of Sway & Tech's world famous Wake Up Show as well as an accomplished DJ and producer in his own right. His new Duck Down release "King Of The Decks" is loaded with bangers from front to back, one of them being the Planet Asia assisted "School". King Medallions spits fire on an already hot track.

Insane-Heltah Skeltah (prod. by Marco Polo)

Everything is Heltah Skeltah! The duo's first album in about a decade officially drops today. If you were on the fence about whether or not you should get off of your ass and buy it then let this track push you over the edge. Marco Polo's deft production coupled with Sean Price and Rock's simultaneously humorous and hardcore lyrics and airtight delivery will have you at the counter of your local record store mos def (no Dante Bize Smith).

God Like-Jake One f/D. Black (prod. by Jake One)

Whenever I discuss this album I end up sounding kinda like the Black version of that dude Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory". It's a damn shame that it doesn't drop until October 7th, but one of the tracks from this album that no blogs seem to be gushing over is one of the dopest (do people still say that?) on "White Van Music" in my opinion. I'm an oldhead so I'll always prefer the "album track" to the "obvious single"...that's the mentality that was bred by listening to so many great B-sides in my formative years (Thanks, Prince!). "God Like" by D. Black fits the bill perfectly.

Hustler-Kano (prod. by Mikey J )

One of my all time favorite Grime artists and top 5 selected (by myself) emcees new album "140 Grime St." hits the street today. This album is a return to his Grime roots and his lead single "Hustler" produced by Mikey J was a monster across the pond. Check this one out and don't sleep on the UK...Sway's "The Signature LP" drops next week after he just inked a deal with Akon's Kon Live label.

The Way That I Live-Madlib f/Stacy Epps (prod. by Madlib)

Madlib on the beat. Stacy Epps does the rest. If you haven't heard or purchased her new album "The Awakening" then feel free to smack yourself repeatedly. Or listen to this, smack yourself for sleeping and then go out to the record store and rectify the situation.

Been Shot Down-Royce Da 5’9” (prod. by Green Lantern)

Nickle Nine plus Green Lantern equals one heat rock. Happy Bar Exam 2.

Long Life-Dela f/Talib Kweli (prod. by Dela)

French Hip Hop producer Dela has toiled in the underground for years but he really raised some eyebrows with his last project "Atmosphere Airlines" which featured some of Hip Hop's best and brightest. With his new project "Changes Of Atmosphere" he simply raises the bar even higher. His collaboration with the legendary Talib Kweli will have you checking for his previous material...and his new shit.

3 In The Chamber-DJ K.O. f/O.C., Torae & Kaze (prod. by Ayatollah)

Ayatollah produced this. What, you really need me to say more about it? Fuck it, then...Omar Credle spits molten lava alongside Justus League affiliates Torae and Kaze. Trust me, it's bangin'!

The A-Now On f/Buff1 (prod. by 14KT)

Do not sleep on this album. Do not sleep on this album. Do not sleep on this album (Once for each cover). Michigan Hip Hop group Now On's "Tomorrow Already" is available for purchase today. Buff1's "There's Only One" is in stores now and fellow Lab Tech's producer 14KT's "The Magic Hour" drops on October 14th and Black Milk's "Tronic" drops on October 28th. Detroit, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have so much talent doing big things right now it's ridiculous...which reminds me, Invincible's "Shapeshifters" is also available for purchase in record store and online retailers. Damn you, Michigan! LOL.

I’m Innocent-Murs (prod. by 9th Wonder)

Y'all thought Murs was gonna sell out after he signed a deal with a major, didn't you? You heard "Better Than The Rest" and "Dreadlocks" and got worried, huh? Then you heard "Sweet Lord" and thought "Maybe it'll be alright". Murs opens up his album with a response to all of the pundits, critics and naysayers by spitting fire over a hot beat. This ain't no love song.

The Chosen-Termanology (prod. by Havoc)

Continuing the legacy of great emcees from Lawrence, MA AKA Lawtown (Scientifik, Krumb Snatcha, Reks, etc.) is Termanology of ST Da Squad. Backed by a Havoc track he shows why his album has been so highly anticipated. Go cop "Politics As Usual" and help stimulate our ailing economy.

Inglewood-New Jack Hustle (prod. by Newman)

What do you get when you combine Giant Panda producer extraordinaire Newman with rookie sensation Shawn Jackson? The answer is New Jack Hustle, yet another buying option for you to cop when it hits store shelves on October 21st. If this doesn't get your head nodding then you must be paralyzed from the neck up or some shit.

Next up in my Livications series: Oh Word


Monday, September 29, 2008

The Hunt For Red October (2008 Edition)

First off, I'd like to congratulate the Boston Red Sox on winning the Wild Card and reaching the postseason for the 5th time in the past 6 years. My sincere apologies to my New York fam for feeling the sting of losing bout Yankee and Shea Stadium in the same year that neither the Yankees nor the Mets made the postseason.

The Red Sox finished the season with a 95-67 record (just one game below last season's) which was a great feat in itself considering all of the injuries the Red Sox sustained to Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Tim Wakefield and David "Big Papi" Ortiz among others. The surprisingly terrible seasons turned in by Julio Lugo and Clay Buccholz along with a drop off in productivity at the plate from team captain Jason Varitek didn't deter the Red Sox from reaching the playoffs and they still almost won the AL East division crown in spite of them. Even the Manny Ramirez /Jason Bay trade didn't stop their surge to the postseason.

Timely contributions from Jed Lowrie, Alex Cora, Sean Casey, Jeff Bailey, Justin Masterson, Jason Bay and Mark Kotsay in addition to MVP caliber season turned in by Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia as well as excellent pitching from Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester helped the Sox keep pace all year. Jonathan Papelbon's 41 saves helped the Red Sox bullpen nail down a great number of important wins as well.

The defending World Series champions enter the postseason with an experienced roster that has been there and done that (minus Manny Ramirez). This pitching staff has won big games all year long and they did it on the biggest stage of all last October. The question is can they do it all again? They face a tall task in trying to knock off the Los Angeles-Anaheim Angels who were arguably the best team in all of MLB this past season. In a best of five series anything can happen, though!

I'd also like to tip my hat to the Red Sox management and ownership for doing the right thing and finally retiring the number of the legendary Johnny "Mr. Red Sox" Pesky. In my opinion, and in most of the hearts of the members of Red Sox Nation #6 was already up there. Hopefully, Jim Rice will receive the same honor and finally receive his long overdue induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Here's the schedule for the upcoming opening round playoff matchup:

October 1st 10:05 PM EST @ LAA J. Lester vs. J. Lackey
October 3rd 9:35 PM EST @ LAA D. Matsuzaka vs. E. Santana
October 5th 9:07 PM EST @ BOS J. Beckett vs. J. Saunders
October 6th TBA/if necessary
October 8th TBA/if necessary



Friday, September 26, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #49 AKA The Levees Done Broke Again!

Due to the sheer volume of mixtapes and leaked albums this week I was backed up in my blogging and so many albums were released commercially and sent to me as promo that I'll be reviewing the majority of those projects this week and save the rest for What's New In Dart's iPod #50. Since this is going to be a long read (and write) I'll just jump right into the reviews. Some of them may be terse and to the point and I apologize in advance but I was just overwhelmed by music this week as you'll see below. I'll be filling in blogs I missed this week alll throughout the weekend...again.

This week I'll be reviewing twelve new projects that leaked in the following order: Crooked I "The Block Obama", T.I. "Paper Trail", People Under The Stairs "Fun DMC", Now On "Tomorrow Already", Zilla Rocca "Bring Me The Head Of Zilla Rocca", Heltah Skeltah "D.I.R.T", Dr. Dooom (Kool Keith) "Dr. Dooom 2", Hell Razah presents Utrasounds Of A Renaissance Child, Murs "Murs For President", Killah Priest and Chief Kamachi "Beautiful Minds", Termanology "Politics As Usual" and Madlib The Beat Konducta "WLIB AM King Of The Wigflip". 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.

Imagine Lil' Wayne with an iller brain © Termanology

Best Joints: Intro, Rappers Ain’t Shit, A Millie Freestyle, Traffickin’ Green, I’m Cold, Hood Politics, Straightin’ It Out, Hard On Da Blvd., Stronger Freestyle, Circle Gang, Freak (NC-17), Signs, Lift ‘Em Up, Horse Shoe Gang Freestyle, Swagga Like Crook, What’s Hip Hop, Fast Money Welcome To My City and I’m A Problem

Hot Garbage: W’s Down and New West Baby

Dart's Take: This is easily one of the better mixtapes of the year and the Horse Shoe Gang surprised me by being better than I thought they were. Lyrically, Crooked I brought it but the production was lacking a little. I give this a recommended maybe. "The Block Obama" is well worth the download.

Best Joints: 56 Bars, I’m Illy, Ready For Whatever, (meh) On Top Of The World (meh), Live Your Life, No Matter What, My Life, Your Entertainment (meh), Porn Star (meh), Swing Ya Rag, What’s Up, What’s Haapnin’, Every Chance I Get (meh), Swagga Like Us, Slide Show (meh), You Ain’t Missin’ Nothin’ (meh) and Dead And Gone (meh)

Hot Garbage: Whatever You Like

Dart's Take: This album was better than I initially thought it was gonna be. While I don't see myself playing it too often in the coming months it didn't completely bore me like most high profile potential single heavy major label releases tend to do . I even liked the song with Rihanna on the hook! However, not much on this album made me wanna bump it in my iPod while walking around Boston, either. I give it a maybe because you (the reader/listener) might be into it whereas I'm skipping tracks and looking for a banger.

Best Joints: Swan Fever, Step Bacc, Up Yo Spine (Fishbucket Pt. 3), The Fun, The Grind, Anotha (BBQ), The Ultimate 144, Letter 2 c/o The Bronx, Party Enemy No. 1, Enjoy, Gamin’ On Ya, Critical Condition, The Wiz, People Riddum, California, Love’s Theme, A Baby, Same Beat (The Wesley Rap), D, The Mike & Chris Story

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: This album is a throwback to the 80's, the era of KDAY and the early days of Hip Hop on the West Coast when it was still about having fun. While the whole "let's have fun and party" angle is a breath of fresh air after a while it begins to grate on your nerves a little after the the sixth old school beat is worked into a track. You will either think this is a great album or just an okay album that doesn't suck but doesn't blow you away, either. I give it a recommended maybe because I'm a PUTS fan but truthfully I don't see myself playing this album too much in the future given my alternatives right now and what releases are coming up on the horizon.

Best Joints: Here, The Answer, All You Ever Knew, This Way, Unwind, The A, The Willows, Tomorrow Already, Marbles, Catapults, Touch, Reprise, The Return and I’m Changing

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Some may call this grown folks music because of the abundance of musicality and sung hooks but I call it an excellent collection of tracks brought together to make one hell of a Hip Hop album. Now On should be patting themselves on the back over this joint. I was playing so many of this tracks over that I never played this whole album all the way through in less than 2 hours for the month and a half I listened to it. I still rock it to this very day and I see it staying in the regular roatation for a while. "Tomorrow Already" gets a mos def, easily. Go cop it September 30th.

Best Joints: Proper, The First Order Of Business, Flow God Zilla, Hit ‘Em Frestyle, Nada, All Feast No Famine, State Of Grace Freestyle, Cup Runneth Remix, Sunbathing Bitches, Never Change, Bangladesh, Pepsi With Ice, Good Girls, I Never Loved Her Pt. 2, Rat Pack Rap, Vaguely Jamaican, The Big Guns Upstairs, Sick Fuck, Get That Gun and Raw To The Floor

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: My boy Zilla Rocca's mixtape puts quite a few mixtapes made by so called professionals to shame (Inspectah Deck, I'm looking at you!). Salute to the Beat Garden and Nico The Beast, 2ew Gun Cizz, Mally From The 612, Reef The Lost Cauze and all the other heads that contributed to this joint and didn't take a bar off or get lazy behind the boards. Dowload this joint now from Clap Cowards, I give it a highly recommended maybe:

Best Joints: Intro, The Art Of Disrespekinization, Da Beginning Of Da End, Twinz, Dirt, So Damn Tuff, Insane, WMD, That’s Incredible, Ape Food, Hellz Kitchen, Schmack Muzik and Ruck N’ Roll

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Ruck and Rock has gotten even nicer with age it seems. This album has so many lines and verses that'll have you pressing rewind and/or spitting out whatever food or liquid you were foolish enough to try to ingest while listening to "D.I.R.T." that it's ridiculous. Production from Illmind, Khrysis, Marco Polo, M-Phazes and my boy Stu Bangas combined with the expert wordplay of Sean Price and Da Rockness Monsta adds up to a no brainer mos def. Cop this shit on September 30th, you won't be disappointed.

Best Joints: Simon, The Countdown, R.I.P. Dr. Octagon, I’m Creepin’, I Followed You, Step-N-Fetchers, The God Of Rap, How Sexy, That Girl Is A Monster, Mopped Up and Surgery were all just meh

Hot Garbage: Run For Your Life, Do Not Disturb, Take That Ride and Always Talkin’ Out Your Ass

Dart's Take: I haven't felt the need to buy a Kool Keith project since the era of "Black Elvis/Lost In Space" and "Pimp To Eat" and I was one of his biggest fans up until his "Matthew" LP. While I bought his first "Dr. Dooom" album way back around 10 years ago I just wasn't feeling this album at all. Call me when the instrumentals come out, though. For me, it's an oh no but I'll give it a maybe out of respect to Kool Keith.

Best Joints: Assylum (The Embryo), Indian Giver, Burn Babylon Burn, Renaissance Ages, Born & Raised, Umbilical Mic Cords, Kicks Of Raziel, Mental Orgasms, Labor Pains, Contractions, Crack Baby Cradles, Digital Dope Spoons and Afterbirth

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: As you all should know, I'm a Hell Razah fan and this album is far from wack but if your not already a fan of his or Shabazz, Killah Priest and other emcees of his ilk then you don't really need to go out of your way to check for this. All diehard Wu heads and lovers of the God body/5 Percenter rap full of Biblical references will love it. For that reason, I give it a maybe even though the quality of the tracks is too high to receive this low a rating.

Best Joints: I’m Innocent, Lookin’ Fly, The Science, Can It Be, Everything, Road Is My Religion, Sooo Comfortable, Time Is Now, Think You Know Me, Me And This Jawn, Love And Appreciate II, A Part Of Me, Break Up (The OJ Song) and Breakthrough

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: This is another excellent effort from Murs who many people would "sell out" after signing a deal with a major. They had nothing to worry about as Murs gets personal, political and makes a bunch of songs about girls and relationships. What else do you expect from Murs 3:16, though? "Murs From President" falls short of being considered a classic album but it's definitely a must purchase for 2008. I give this joint a highly recommended maybe *Plays "Breakthrough" for the umpteenth time*

Best Joints: Beautiful Minds (meh), All Hail (meh), Closest (meh), Reflections, The Illest, Most High, Time Out Revisited (why didn’t they rhyme over this beat?), Don’t Waste Your Lungs, All Been Buried (meh), The Blessing, See Clearly (meh) and Scrolls (meh)

Hot Garbage: Just listening to this album took a lot of energy out of me.

Dart's Take: I'm at my wits end with Killah Priest and Cheif Kamachi from the Juju Mob being paired with him rhyming the same style damn near just made my brain sluggish. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to have these two rhyme over Southern sounding production needs to be smacked with a Holy Bible, The Torah, The Talmud and then a Holy Qu'ran. I will never listen to this album again and immediately after reviewing it I erased it from my hard drive. You might possibly like it (maybe) so I give it a maybe because it isn't wack...I just don't care to hear it.

Best Joints: It’s Time, Watch How It Go Down, Respect My Walk, Hood Shit, Float, Please Don’t Go, How We Rock, Drugs, Crime & Gorillaz, In The Streets, So Amazing, Sorry I Lied To You, We Killin’ Ourselves and The Chosen

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: First Reks did it, now Term did it. This is an impressive debut album and it was especially good to hear "Watch How It Go Down" and "So Amazing" on the final product. While I loved this entire project I do wish that there could've been more tracks like "The Chosen" where Term just got to black out and get super lyrical. That aside, the production was bananas as the boardwork was provided by heavy hitters like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Easy Mo Bee, Buckwild, Alchemist, Havoc, Hi-Tek and Nottz. I give this album another highly reccomended maybe, go and cop it on September 30th. Lawtown stand up! What up to the W.O.L.V.E.S.!

Best Joints: The New Resident, Blow The Horns On 'Em, The Plan Pt.1 /Tension, Gamble On Ya Boy, The Ox (805), Blindfold Test #10 (He Don't Play), The Thang Thang, Heat /Smoke Break /The Plan, Life, Parklight, Yo Yo Affair Pt. 1 & 2, I Want It Back, Disco Dance, What It Do, Drink Up, The Way That I Live, Rat Race, Go and Stop

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Buy this. Whay do I even have to sell you on it? Are you fuckin' kidding me. It's bananas in pajamas. I give it a mos def...now excuse me while I play "Gamble On Ya Boy", The Thang Thang", "I Want It Back", "Disco Dance" and "The Way That I Live" repeatedly because I've already played the other ones to death.

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

Kanye West-808's & Heartbreak
Rhymefest-El Che
Illa J-Yancey Boys
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Mos Def-The Ecstatic LP
Q-Tip-The Renaissance
88 Keys-The Death Of Adam
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
Omen-Be The Judge
Capone-N-Noreaga-Reporting The War
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
Prodigy-Product Of The 80's
The Beatnuts-The Planet Of The Crates
Skepta-Microphone Champion
Wiley-I See Clear
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
New Jack Hustle (Shawn Jackson & Newman)-Sound Check

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of September 26th, 2008):

Get That Gun-Zilla Rocca f/ Nico the Beast, Reef the Lost Cauze (prod by Zilla Rocca)
Luckiest Charm-Flying Lotus (prod. by Flying Lotus)
Hustlaz Prayer-Freeway (prod. by Blunt)
The Interview-Terrace Martin f/Problem & Mykestro (prod. by Terrace Martin)
Yo Mind-Devin The Dude
Can't You See?-Fokis (prod. by Focus)
Gamin' On Ya-People Under The Stairs
Another Round-J The S f/B.O.B.
The A-Now On
Shadows Forever-Jean Grey & Blue Sky Black Death (prod. by Blue Sky Black Death)
What It Do-Madlib f/Talib Kweli (prod. by Madlib)
Generation Lost-B.O.B.
Letter 2 c/o The Bronx-People Under The Stairs
Vibe Wit Me-Donny Goines f/Emilio Rojas
Insane-Heltah Skeltah (prod. by Marco Polo)
Umbilical Mic Cords-Hell Razah
I'm Innocent-Murs
Runaway Groom-Charles Hamilton
Stay Up-G. Dep
The Way That I Live-Madlib f/Stacy Epps (prod. by Madlib)
Baggage Claim-The Game (prod. by Cookin Soul)
Belly Of The Beast-Killer Mike f/Charles Manson (prod. by The Beatchefs)
Live Your Life-T.I. f/Rihanna
A Girl Named Destiny-XV f/AC (prod. by 9th Wonder)
The Answer-Now On
Float-Termanology (prod. by Nottz)
Wannabe-Film Skool Rejectz
Vibrate-Dela f/Blu (prod. by Dela)
All Feast No Famine-Zilla Rocca f/ASK?, MAGr (prod. by Zilla Rocca)
Quiet Nights-Black Element f/Jelani
Digital Dope Spoons-Hell Razah
Wednesday-C.R.A.C. Knuckles (prod. by Budamunky)
Horseshoe Gang Freestyle-Crooked I f/Horsehoe Gang
The Chosen-Termanology (prod. by Havoc)
Smack Muzik-Heltah Skeltah f/Flood (prod. by Sic Beatz)
Breakthrough-Murs (prod. by 9th Wonder)

I run out of shells and straight Ong Bak niggas! © Sean Price