Here's the abridged Reader's Digest version of what happened to me recently. I thought I'd be able to go out and capitalize off of my years of hard work on Poisonous Paragraphs and finally entertain the many offers I got over the past year. Problem is that now everyone's broke and magazines are all going the way of the MiniDisc player. I did have one job that I thought I'd be able to make some money with but things soured significantly over the past month plus when it was was made clear to me that I wasn't going to be making any significant money with them over the forseeable future. That just didn't sit too well with me as all I could see was the money I WASN'T going to be making. What's the use of a job where you're not getting paid?
In any event, I complained about my frustration with eMusic on Facebook and Twitter where I was more than aware anyone could read it (my Tweets aren't protected...I don't see the point in it personally). I was informed by e-mail yesterday that I wasn't going to be "employed" by eMusic anymore and one (of 50) of my many eMusic complaints was attached. I wasn't the least bit surprised, being that I was only due to make a paltry $100 from them for this entire month I couldn't say that I was too hurt by the news, either.
I don't bust my ass and write this much to have someone recruit me for a "job", retain me and then deny me any real opportunity to do what I do best or even worse, make money. I could make more working at the convenience store around the corner for short money like an 18 year old who just started college would. It wasn't working for me, I wish everyone at eMusic the best of luck in the future but if it any about money then it just don't make sense to me. In celebration, I will now bury everyone else by doing what I do best an reviewing all the albums I couldn't while I was too sick to write.
This week I'll be reviewing sixteen new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Saigon & Statik Selektah "All In A Day's Work", Brother Ali "The Truth Is Here EP", DOOM "Born Like This", Keri Hilson "In A Perfect World..", Small Professor Resurrected The Remix, Large Pro vs. Small Pro: Main Source Breaking Atoms Edition, Jim Jones "Pray IV Reign", Classified "Self-Explanatory", Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones, Reks "More Grey Hairs", Capone N Noreaga "Channel 10", Keelay & Zaire present Ridin' High, Camp Lo "Stone And Rob: Caught On Tape", DJ Exile presents Blame One "Days Chasing Days", Finale "A Pipe Dream And A Promise" and Common Market "The Winter's End EP". For those of you new to this blog, 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 ain't Poltergeist but I'm back! © Grand Puba
Best Joints: Goodbye, I Warned You, Lady Sings The Blues, Lose Her, My Crew, Prepare For War, The Reason, The Rules, So Cruel, Spit and To Be Told
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: This was a damn good album considered it was made in just over a 24 hour span. I was taken aback by how laid back and smooth some of the tracks were on this project. I even joked with my girl Ambassador on Twitter that you could make out to this album during some stretches. Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the blending of Statik Selektah's beats and Saigon's verses and I recommend you cop this and I'm looking forward to Amalgam Digital putting out "Warning Shots 2" in the near future. I give it a recommended maybe due to length and the smooth laid back nature of the project. *Puts "The Reason" on repeat*
Best Joints: Real As Can Be, Philistine David, Little Rodney, Palm The Joker, Good Lord, Baby Don't Go, Talkin' My Shit, The Believers and Begin Here
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: There isn't a weak moment on this EP as this Rhymesayer affiliate delivered lyrically over some strong production that induced constant headnodding on my part. The replay value of this EP is hella high and if you're a fan of beats and rhymes I don't see how you can front on this project. This EP has the perfect title in my opinion: "The Truth Is Here". I give it a mos def.
Best Joints: Gazzilion Ear, Ballskin, Yessir!, Absolutely, Rap Ambush, Lightworks, Batty Boyz, Cellz, Still Dope, Microwave Mayo, More Rhymin', That's That,
Hot Garbage: Angelz (the original version murders this!) and Supervillianz were both meh. Everything else was a skit.
Dart's Take: As a Doom stan and someone whose been waiting for this album for years now this album was just what I expected it would be based on the Doom tracks I heard on Jake One's LP. I wasn't expecting anything earth shattering or even Album Of The Year contention out of "Born Like This" but what I got was an excellent short LP full of solid production and signature Doom rhymes. Since the album was so short and they completely ruined "Angelz" (one of my favorite tracks in recent memory) the best I can do is a highly recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Intro, Turnin' Me On, Get Your Money Up, Return The Favor, Knock You Down, Slow Dance, Make Love, Intuition, How Does It Feel, Alienated, Tell Him The Truth, Change Me (Akon almost fucked it up), Energy and Where Did He Go
Hot Garbage: That this album was pushed back so many damn times
Dart's Take: This album is loaded with jams from front to back like "Get Your Money Up", "Knock You Down", "Slow Dance", "Intuition", "Alienated", "Tell Him The Truth" and "Where Did He Go" so how the hell did "Energy" end up the lead single when it's one of the weakest songs on the entire album? Keri Hilson is one of the most talented women in the industry and she deserves all of the hit songs and #1 albums she can get. Problem is this excellent album may end up suffering the same fate as Ryan Leslie's debut which is a damn shame considering how good "In A Perfect World..." is. I give it a highly recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Chicken Remix, Long Island and Jersey Remix, Perfect Timing Remix, Young, Fresh and Fly Remix, Artist Goes Pop Remix, Jelani The MC Remix, Flow God Zilla Remix, Strategies Remix, Follow The Dollar, 75 Bars Remix, Art Of War Remix, Push Remix and Angular Slang Remix
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Two of my favorite remixers in the game are Small Professor and Aeon (Lessondary Crew). Why? Because both can either make a track better by adding elements that they specialize in or just completely go left field and use/do you something you'd never think of and make it work. Whether it's remixing tracks that I initially found boring (CNN's "Follow The Dollar") or tracks I already loved ("Perfect Timing", "Flow God Zilla", "Strategies" and "75 Bars") Small Pro never ceases to amaze me. I give this project a highly recommended maybe.
Best Joints: The Entroducing, Moon and Stars, Anyone, Dap, Anytime (Partytime), Red Hot, Jeru, What You Waited All Year For, Classic (Emergency), Noyd, Hot, Sizzling And Other Similiar Synonyms, Like This, Sewed Up and From The Meadows
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: All of you know how disappointed I was by Large Pro's last LP "Main Source". I was really underwhelmed by the project as a whole and I have to commend my boy Small Pro for making this album listenable with the exception of a few tracks that Large Pro actually succeeded at (Dap & Jeru were okay on the original project). I'm giving this jawn another highly recommended maybe. Go find these remix projects and jam to 'em right fuckin' now!
Best Joints: (By best I mean my ears didn't bleed and my brain didn't completely shut down) Album Intro, Let It Out, How To Be A Boss, This Is The Life
Hot Garbage: Pulling Me Back, Medicine, Frienemies, Precious (You wasted Ryan Leslie), Blow The Bank, This Is For My Bitches, Girlfriend, My My My, Pop Off, Pop Champagne, Rain and Na Na Nana Na Na
Dart's Take: Jim Jones music is my kryptonite, I swear to God. I grew up listening to emcees and Jomo can't fuckin' rap to save his life. None of his songs should be over 3 minutes because it's just killing valuable brain cells. He never says anything clever or rewind worthy. He can't ride a beat to save him life. I swear the the last song he was on that I actually liked was the song that he and Max B did on Pete Rock's "NY's Finest" LP "We Ride" from last year and he didn't impress me on that jawn, either.
His songs are boring as fuck and throughout the duration of his album I felt like William Wallace when he got tortured and killed at the end of "Braveheart" except for after the album ended I was still alive and the pain was finally over. Thank you, Jehovah God. Now this review is over and I can erase this blight on Hip Hop from my iTunes and hard drive. Fuck this album. Fuck Jim Jones. Fuck Juelz Santana. Fuck Cam'ron. Fuck Dipset. Fuck wasting anymore keystrokes on this non rappin' asshole or his piece of shit album.
Best Joints: Self Explanatory, Choose Your Own Adventure 1, Up All Night, Quit While You're Ahead, Inspiration, They Call This (Hip Hop), Oh... Canada, Trouble, Used To Be, Still Got It, Things Are Looking Up, Choose Your Own Adventure 4 and Where Are You.
Hot Garbage: Get Out The Way, Choose Your Own Adventure 2, Anybody Listening, Choose Your Own Adventure 3, One Track Mind, Breaking Up, Loonie, Choose Your Own Adventure 5 and Choose Your Own Adventure 6 were all just a'ight to meh to me.
Dart's Take: This was a solid album with nice lyrics and it was a'ight but I need more of the head nod factor and I need to be engaged more with an album. I could play stretches of "Self-Explanatory" in the background and ignore some tracks. That's not what I look for in an album. When I play a project I want to be moved enough that I want to find out what the songs called while it's being played. I'd hear a track I liked and then one I was like "That's a'ight" right after it. This album is far from wack but it was just okay to me. I give it a recommended maybe because I'm sure other people will disagree with me.
Best Joints: Firehouse Intro, Lonely Ones, What It Wuz, On The 1, Step Up and Outro
Hot Garbage: Can't Hold Back, To The Top (Remix), Working Man's Blues, Power To The People and Push N' Pull
Dart's Take: This album stradled the line between being a dedication to the old Soul/R&B and Doo Wop days and an experimental Hip Hop album. Unfortunately, I had some trouble determining when it was an homage or a serious effort and exactly what Aceyalone was trying to accomplish with this project. I couldn't just relax and listen because I kept wondering "Where's he going with this?". I've heard project hella times now and I still really can't make heads or tails of it. I'm gonna just cop out and give it a maybe.
Best Joints: Bitter, Play My Music, Cloud 9, Stereotypes, Killaz On Wax, System, Year Of The Showoff, Money On The Ave Remix, Dear Winter, Goodnight & Goodluck, Why Do We Say Goodbye, I Ain't Shit, Light Of Mine and Til Ya Hair Turns Grey
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Reks may have made the track that best explains my whole view on the current state of Hip Hop with "Play My Music". Production from DJ Premier, Statik Selektah, Soul Theory, The Soul Searchers, 1914 and DJ Gijoe all helps to bolster Reks lyrics and makes "More Grey Hairs" yet another LP full of classic material like those emcees we grew up on used to make. If you haven't heard this album yet stop bullshittin' and get it. Reks gets yet another mos def from me.
Best Joints: United We Stand, Bring It Here, Grand Royal, Wobble, Channel 10, Beef, My Life and My Hood
Hot Garbage: Rotate (Ron Browz, I hate you), Talk To Me Big Time, The Argument, Mirror, Stick Up, Follow The Dollar, You See Me!!! and Addicted
Dart's Take: This album just didn't do it for me. Some tracks banged but on the lyrical side you should expect pretty much nada from Capone and Nore. I've heard this album a couple of times and I honestly don't expect to play it anymore this year after this review, why lie? Since I know that most listeners have lower expectations for their Hip Hop I'll give "Channel 10" a maybe.
Best Joints: Intro, Take A Ride, Addicts For Real, Cali 2 NY, I Used To Ride, Wake Up, I'm On Swerve, Sole Ides, Alright With Me, The Times, Nurf To The Turf, Trapped, We Made It, Beautiful, Ridin' High and Do What It Do
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Keelay and Zaire set out to make the perfect album of West Coast rider music and they succeeded in a big muthafuckin' way. The guests on this project ranged from Tunji (Inverse), Planet Asia, Rasco, Saafir, Emilio Rojas, Silent Knight, Tash (Tha Liks), Phonte (Little Brother/Foreign Exchange), Blu, Supastition (Kam Moye), Surreal and Darrien Brockington and they all made for an album you can just play from beginning to end and just rock to without even once thinking of pressing the FFWD button on your iPod or *snicker* Zune.
Best Joints: 2 Dope Boyz, Gotcha, On Smash, 89 Of Crime, Pips, Ticket 4 2, After The Marv, Ha, Sky Hi, Regulate, Diamond Crookz, Future and Hold On
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Being that I'm also a Camp Lo stan that has every EP, LP and mixtape these cats have made over the past 12+ years I'm always looking forward to any new material from 'em. They didn't disappoint with this offering as you can just let it rock. "2 Dope Boyz", "Gotcha", "On Smash", "89 Of Crime", "Ha", "Sky Hi", "Regulate" and "Diamond Crooks" got a lot of rewinds in my multiple plays of "Stone And Rob: Caught On Tape". I give it a highly recommended maybe, seek it out right now.
Best Joints: Supreme Beings, Perserverance, Street Astrologist, Bring To You, Wonder Why, Disturbed, Days Chasing Days, Saturday Night Special, The Word To Say, Official With It, The Real Revolution, Words, More Fiyah, Blame Me and Doctumentarian
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Blame One has been on the underground California Hip Hop scene since the early 90’s. He often worked with such luminaries as Oh No, Madlib, Main Flow, Exile and Aloe Blacc (Emanon) but never recorded regularly until he dropped his independent “Grown Man Rap EP” back in 2004.
After making an eye opening appearance on DJ Exile’s 2006 LP “Dirty Science” on the track “Blamexile” it was only a matter of time before Blame One made an album. DJ Exile convinced him to record “Days Chasing Days”, the end result is throwback beats and rhymes driven Hip Hop at it’s finest.
The album opens with the lyrical masterpiece “Supreme Beings” and never once lets up. Blame shares the mic with some of the best emcees of the game such as Blu (“Wonder Why”) and Sean Price (“Disturbed”) and more than holds his own. “Days Chasing Days” is also bolstered by production from Exile, Black Milk, Oh No and Kan Kick. After listening to this full 15 song opus you’ll wish Blame One decided to bless us with a full length sooner. Don’t sleep on this undisputed example of classic Hip Hop material. I give it a mos def.
Best Joints: Arrival, Style, Pay Attention, The Waiting Game, One Man Show, Jumper Cables, A Reason, Motor Music, Heat, Issues, Brother's Keeper, The Senator, What You Mean To Me, Pipe Dream And A Promise and Paid Homage
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: I've been a believer in Finale going back to his first appearance with with Invincible on "Dirty District Vol. 2" (I'm gonna need an Invincible & Finale collabo album in the near future as well) and all of his guest appearances leading up to his excellent 2007 LP Finale & Spier1200 presents Develop. This album has been long awaited by myself and when my boy William Ketchums first mentioned that he heard it months ago on Twitter.
I recieved my promo CD in the mail not too long afterwards and I've been playing it ever since. There isn't a dull moment on this LP as Finale rips through solid production from J Dilla, Black Milk, Waajeed, Nottz, M-Phazes and several others. Finale isn't going to be slept on for too much longer if I have any say in it. I give "A Pipe Dream And A Promise" a mos def.
Best Joints: Nouveau Depart, Escaping Arkham, Brasso, Slow Down Moses and The Picture Of My Delorean Gray
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: If you don't believe in Sabzi and RA Scion yet then I honestly don't know what to say to you. My peoples Travis (WYDU) and Eric (WTR) are both true believers in both Blue Scholars and Common Market and I suggest you all step over the line and join us in our unabashed standom (no final mission in Battlestar Galactica). I give "The Winter's End EP" a mos def. Find it and download it (I think Travis posted it up not too long ago).
Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):
Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop in 2009:
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, Son Of Chico Dusty
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
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
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
Eminem-The Relapse & Relapse 2
Cage-Depart From Me
I'm not sure exactly what I have to do to see "B13: Ultimatum" anytime soon but I'm gonna make it a point to do so. It doesn't have a definite North American distribution deal yet (some films need to have them made immediately in my opinion) and so we film fans have to either wait around or find alternate methods to see these international films. If Hollywood would tie up these loose ends then a lot of us wouldn't be seeing films like "Gomorrah" and "Taken" for the third time over the past year online before it ever even hit theaters stateside. Oh, and everyone's already seen "Dragon Evolution" online by now you studio dumbasses!