This will more than likely end up being the first post of the week that you all see, there's a reason for that...I been writing three blogs simultaneously and I changed the tone and direction of them leading to rewrites of each. Then last night I was hit with a DMCA takedown notification from Blogger for including a DivShare link to an unreleased song in my "Hype, Lies & Corporate Co-signs" blog. On top of that, this damn Celtics/Bulls series is gonna land me in the hospital. I'm so numb by now I wouldn't even celebrate a Game 7 win (provided they actually manage to win on Saturday). The big fight and the big game are on the same night so that's cool. I also heard an album this week that inspired me to tweak my rating system.
This week I'll be reviewing seven new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Chrisette Michelle "Epiphany", Ciara "Fantasy Ride", Guru "Guru 8.0 Lost & Found", Krumb Snatcha "Hidden Scriptures", Mr. J. Medeiros "The Art Of Broken Glass EP", Oddisee"Mental Liberation" and Rapper Big Pooh "The Delightful Bars (North American Pie Version)". 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 recently revised "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:
Opinions be damned. This particular project has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and should come with a Surgeon General's warning and/or a biohazard sticker. It should only be handled by hazmat teams or bomb/demolitions squads. To quote Common & Canibus, this album is your worst nightmare squared.
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.
Ay ay! Somebody email me a top list of the emcees that's doin' it right now so I can notify 'em about my takeover an' shit. I'll CC y'all! © Oddisee
Best Joints: Epiphany (I'm Leaving), Notebook, What You Do, Blame It On Me, All I Ever Think About, Another One, Mr. Right, Porcelain Doll and I'm Okay
Hot Garbage: Playing Our Song, On My Own and Fragile were kinda meh to me.
Dart's Take: I'm kinda sick of all the R&B albums coming out lately all sounding exactly alike except for a few things here and there. You can almost name the people that each song was written for and/or who passed on it. Everyone sounds like a mix of T-Pain/The-Dream/Keri Hilson/Tricky Stewart/Danjahandz/Timberland with space sound effects in the background and AutoTune everywhere. Chrisette Michelle's voice is untouched by any effects. The girl just sings over the track in the background.
The production doesn't overpower the vocals like it does with other artists and Chrisette sangs (not sings...sangs) on tracks like "Epiphany (I'm Leaving)", "Notebook", "What You Do", "Blame It On Me" and "All I Ever Think About". The thing about this LP is that it just doesn't reach the lofty heights that her debut did. Even though that's the case this is a pretty good album with solid production. I give it a recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Ciara To The Stage, Love Sex Magic, Like A Surgeon, Never Ever, Lover's Thing, Work, Tell Me What Your Name Is and I Don't Remember
Hot Garbage: High Price, Turntables (no Chris Brown jokes will be forthcoming), Pucker Up and G Is For Girl
Dart's Take: This Ciara album is completely overproduced and it sounds like the majority of these songs could've been written for any random R&B chick with a deal. With the exception of "Ciara To The Stage", "Like A Surgeon", "Lover's Thing" and "Tell Me What Youe Name Is" this album was hit or miss. I usually find more than only 4 songs that are worth playing again but this project bored me more than a conversation with Cassie would. Since 50 Cent is dating Ciara he has to lie to her about "Fantasy Ride" while I'm free to say that it's meh so I give it a maybe. Give it a listen first to make sure I'm not just hating on Ciara for no good reason.
Best Joints: Uhh...technically there are none.
Hot Garbage: The entire album. Every single track on this jawn is flaming basura.
Dart's Take: What's the best way for me to describe this project? Lemme think...Have you even smelled horseshit before? It's so damn pungent that it physically repels you before you could even step in it almost as if the stench itself were a forcefield. Problem is that I don't have the same luxury most other people do, whereas I KNOW this album is gonna suck I still have to listen to it. This album is beyond being bad or just missing the mark, it's an epic fail in every sense of the phrase. Keep in mind how many classic verses that Guru has spit, think of the classic albums he's made with Premier and the Jazzmatazz projects he helmed himself. You would figure that he'd develop an ear for beats and know when his bars were subpar...right? I dunno anymore.
The beats provided by "superproducer" Solar sound like tracks I used to fall out of my chair laughing at when I had the hellish job of scanning random MySpace music pages in search of hot producers. He'll take a sample and fail to flip it then throw some lame ass drums on it with a wack effect over it. We refer to these as stink beats because you make the stinkface minus the headnod...instead you have a confused look on your face that begs the question "Is the producer deaf?". Guru has rhymed over DJ Premier beats among other great producers in his career so why is he rapping over THIS bullshit? Keith, this started out as an album review but now? It's a fuckin' intervention!
I could understand if your bars were still tight and it was Solar dragging you down to Hell, but you're starting to sound worse than Gucci Mane after a gaping head wound on the mic. What the fuck was up with all the AutoTune? How dare you include Doo Wop in this shit sandwich on grilled cibatta bread with mayo? It's time to drop the mic and back away slowly, fam. You clearly have forgotten what Hip Hop is supposed to sound like. How is that possible considering that you have so much classic material under your belt, Mr. Elam? Have you gone senile?
In conclusion, this album is the Howard The Duck of 2009 Hip Hop releases. When something is this horrible there's only one fitting way to describe it: The Wackness. Avoid it like the Bubonic Plague mixed with the Swine Flu. Burn any copy you find so as not to infect anyone else Better safe than sorry.
Best Joints: The Way, Triumph, L.O.V.E., Hold It Down, Still Be Me, Secret, Feeling, Hidden Scriptures, The Light, Mind Power, Explanation, Heaven On Earth, Yesterday, East Is Back, Underground Ambassadors, Leavin' and Begins
Hot Garbage: Street Merchant and Garden Of Eden were just meh to me.
Dart's Take: Krumb Snatcha is a former affiliate of the Gangstarr Foundation that clearly has a better ear for beats than Guru does. The theme of this album is relating Biblical themes to everyday life. Krumb stays finding creative ways to make analogies and parallels between the concept of the album and what people expect from a Rap album. "Hidden Scriptures" boasts production from Large Professor, Pete Rock, Mr. Walt Of Da Beatminerz, Statik Selektah, Nickel Plated & DJ Stress among others to provide Krumb Snatcha with lush sonic backdrops to help his paint the picture with his lyrics. I give "Hidden Scriptures" a recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Broken Windows, Love Is All, The Measure, Tower Of Cards and Umpire State
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: J. Medeiros is the lead emcee of The Procussions as well as a nice emcee with a rapid fire flow. When you add his ferocious lyricism to top flight production from Boonie Mayfield AKA Boon Doc (an alumnus of my 100 Producers On MySpace list) all you get is heat rock after heat rock. "The Art Of Broken Glass" consists of nothing but straight up head nod material occasional mixed with vocals. If you see this digital release and you're a fan of his previous material or his crew's music than don't hesitate to cop it. I give it a mos def.
Best Joints: Hip Hop's Cool Again, Let The Music, The Jungle, Get Up, Q & A, Rhymes Get Written, What's Crazy, Cold For That, Endure Remix, Don't Sleep Remix, Drugs Outside Remix and When Everything Changed
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: It started with Oddisee's tracks on other people's albums, then came the Diamond District "In The Ruff" album a couple of weeks ago which was easily one of the best projects of the year so far. Now comes Oddisee's "Mental Liberation" LP featuring other underground luminaries such as Black Milk, J-Live, Prince Po, Rapper Big Pooh, Invincible, Finale, Kenn Starr, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Declaime, LMNO, XO, Yu, Silent Knight, Hassaan Mackey & Bilal Salaam. They all have the opportunity to rhyme on Oddisee's beats as well spit next to him (don't sleep). This is a nonstop bangathon/riding music (or in my case walking & taking the train music) that will have your neck hurting after the first listen.
Go out and cop "Mental Liberation" on May 5th when it drops. There isn't a week moment on this project and let's face it, we owe homie money for that Diamond District LP already. I give the new Oddisee album a mos def. *Rewinds album to the beginning on iTunes then presses Play again*
Best Joints: The Comeback, It's A Go, Nothing Less, C.O.D, Move, Something Like Stars, Step Up, Reality Check, Problems, Roll Call, The Life and Rearview Mirror
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: I already gave the Candy Apple iTunes Version of this album a mos def last month so the only question is can this version be as good as the previous one? The answer: It's even better. The Candy Apple version featured "Radio", "Hands Up" & "On The Real" while this one has the bangers "It's A Go", "C.O.D", "Something Like Stars", "Step Up", "Reality Check" and "Problems". Rapper Big Pooh spit some nice bars on this jawn and production from Khrysis, Illmind, Jake One, 9th Wonder, Young RJ, Dae One, D.R., The Co-Op & Phonix this album will knock hard no matter what you play it on.
I already gave Rapper Big Pooh's LP a Top 5 first quarter spot but since this version is even more ridculous I guess you should have both versions, huh? The Belgian Chocolate is still coming up, don't forget! I give Big Pooh another mos def. Dayum!
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
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
Statik Selektah-The Hangover
I really hope I make the 50 Hottest Rap Blogs list this year...then all the time I spent writing won't feel like me screaming at the sky @ night while a plane is flying overhead from Logan Airport. We'll see soon enough, I guess.