This week was ALSO action packed. The Celtics failed to close out the Orlando Magic due to Dwight Howard actually showing up so on Sunday they'll be yet another Game 7 in Boston. The Red Sox lost 2 out of 3 in Anaheim, then the Bruins got bounced outta the playoffs in sudden death overtine in a Game 7 in TD Banknorth Garden by Carolina. On the music front, a gang of things happened this week as well. Busta Rhymes and Method Man & Redman's LP's both hit the 'net. Then Joe Budden's comments about Vibe.com's Greatest Rapper Ever brackets and him beating Method Man in a battle led to actual beef between the two (battle it out!). "Star Trek" also opeaned and took over the box office while Tanya Morgan's "Brooklynati" entered the iTunes albums Top 10 in sales in it's first day of release.
This week I'll be reviewing six new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Busta Rhymes "Back On My B.S.", DJ Drama "Gangsta Grillz Vol. 2", Fabio Musta "Passport", Method Man & Redman "Blackout! 2", Superstar Quamallah "Invisible Man" and Tanya Morgan "Brooklynati". 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.
It's just not true! They said they're better than us? They said they're better than who? Well, it's just not true! © Tanya Morgan
Best Joints: Wheel Of Fortune, Give 'Em What They Askin' For, Respect My Conglomerate, Shoot for the Moon, Kill Dem (borderline), We Want In, We Miss You, Sugar and Decision
Hot Garbage: Hustler's Anthem '09 (T-Pain?), Arab Money, I'm A Go and Get My... (Mike Epps ruined it), Don't Believe Em (Akon?) and World Go Round
Dart's Take: Busta Rhymes wants to bring you the authentic, official, gutter, brash, punch you in the face, brass knuckles, bullyfoot, street corner Hip Hop. Just one problem with that...he can't do that on a major label and be expected to actually move units. He has to save THAT shit for his mixtapes "I Bullshit You Not" & "Feeding The Streets". His last album @ Aftermath/Interscope failed to move the desired amount of units even after 4 or 5 singles and before Busta could complete his album "Blessed" he was let go of his Aftermath/Interscope obligation. That means that "Don't Touch Me" was a wash and that horrid ass Linkin Park collabo never happened. Thank you God!
The lead single from this project was the ill concieved "Arab Money" which I will go to my grave thinking was a fail in every sense. This idea, concept and single should have been shot down WAY before the public ever even heard it. The album is a mix of Busta and crew (Spliff, Reek & Show Money...Labba & Papoose ain't Flipmode no more?) rhyming over heat rocks and then a bunch of obvious single attempts and club jawns.
You'll go from nodding your head furiously one minute (no Kitten) to making confused faces like "what the fuck is going on here?" (no Keanu). In the end, I give this album a recommended maybe and maybe some of the songs I hated (i.e. "Hustler's Anthem '09, "World Go Round" & "Don't Believe 'Em") might work for you. Maybe Mike Epic Fail won't ruin "I'm A Go and Get My" for you. I say give it a listen...but I'd rather rock the mixtapes instead. Real talk.
Best Joints: A Town, We Must Be Heard, Sweat, Come Up Boys, Yacht Music, Pimpin' Ain't Easy and Gotta Get It
Hot Garbage: Love For Money, I'm Fresh, Day Dreaming, Ridiculous, Tipper Love and Smoke
Dart's Take: DJ Drama don't champion my favorite type or brands of Hip Hop. I'll admit that it was a chore for me to listen to this album from beginning to end because the sonic aesthetic was sorely lacking to me (read: I hated the production/beats). Not only that but I felt most of the featured artists had less than superior mic skills as well (read: Too many of these n*ggas on this album can't fuckin' rap).
With that being the case, Drama brings in former Wu affiliate La The Darkman and his brother Willie The Kid to even out the album as well as a few veteran emcees that actually know how to spit (Nas, Busta Rhymes, Scarface, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Fabolous, Styles P, B.G. & Juvenile) but they can't save this shitstorm of ear bleed inducing beats and "rhymes" that make you wanna off yourself with a broken beer bottle.
In the end only 7 of the 13 assembled track were tolerable in my opinion...forget about good/dope/ill. TOLERABLE. This album gets an oh no from me. I gave it numerous listens and it never grew on me. It still was nowhere as bad as that Guru album, though. *shudders*
Best Joints: Intro, Piste 2, Hassa, Do It, I Still Want More, Keep It Tight, Famous Type, Across The Map, I'm Ready, Italian Roots, Crossroads, Real Rap Music, Hands Of Time, Feel It, Antiopinionisti and Senza Di Te
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Fabio Musta has pretty much come out of nowhere to most people. He's yet another Hip Hop producer from overseas in the vein of Clutch Player, Snowgoons, Dela, Beat Butcha and Cadik he drops a producer album compilation for the heads stateside. This album is surprisingly solid from beginning to end as Italian producer Fabio Musta's jazzy, laid back style of beats are a refereshing change from the corporate sounding production on most major label projects today.
Fabio Musta's production works well with guest appearances from underground luminaries such as Jeru Tha Damaja, T3 (Slum Village), Guilty Simpson, Copywrite, Termanology, Reks, Akrobatik, Strong Arm Steady, Substantial, etc. There wasn't anything on this album I could say was wack or lacking in any way, either. 16 tracks of solid Hip Hop production with nice emcees spittin' over it equals a nice album. "Passport" may end up becoming the Cadik "Basic" of 2009. I give it another recommended maybe.
Best Joints: BO2 Intro, I'm Dope Nigga, A-Yo, Dangerous Mcees, Errbody Scream, Hey Zulu (I hate the chorus), City Lights, Father's Day, Mrs International, How Bout Dat, Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers, Four Minutes To Lock Down, Neva Herd Dis B4, I Know Sumptn and A Lil' Bit
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Luckily for Redman & Method Man they are no longer priorities on Island Def Jam. This means all they have to do is have two potential singles for the label to work @ radio and 2 songs for them to hand out to blogs and they'll leave them the hell alone. Thank God! This album avoided all the issues that plagued Busta Rhymes' album as there was nothing on this album that was glaringly bad or made you wanna one yourself while listening (no The Happening).
If you were a fan of the previous "Blackout!" LP then you'll be presently surprised by the sequel. The production even sounds like the original album did as much of the production is Rockwilder/Erick Sermon and Meth & Red spazz out over the tracks. Bangers like "I'm A Dope Nigga", "Dangerous Mcees", Dis Iz 4 All My Smokers", "Four Minutes To Lock Down"and "Neva Herd Dis B4" will keep your head nodding and the rest of the album works as well. I give "Blackout! 2" yet another recommended maybe.
Best Joints: You Need Knowledge, 88 Soul, Black Shakespeare, Lonely At The Top, Just Listen, California Dreamin', Purity, Kunta Kente, 1993 Shit, Do-Win Dis and
Hot Garbage: For My People...It's Spiritual, We Got Plots and I Hope She Remembers Me are all meh to me
Dart's Take: Production wise this is an excellent album but Superstar Quamallah waxes and wanes throughout it. He's solid lyricist but he'll give you nothing rewind worthy or quotable in the bars department. He sort of coasts over the top flight production and blends into it...sometimes you even forget he's there sad to say. While Quamallah spits about that old school Hip Hop , how shit is wack now and he's gonna bring it back I kept thinking to myself that I wished someone gave homie a Red Bull so he could put some energy into his delivery.
I'd love to have the instrumental version of this album and if you're one of those people that can look past average bars and tune them out then this album is for you. If you're a Superstar Quamallah diehard fan/stan you'll think this is one of the best albums of '09. If not you'll just thing that as a complete package it's a maybe. Brick Records, holla when the instrumentals become available for "Invisible Man", that deserves a spot in my iPod Touch on the real. It'll be available for purcahse on May 19th, check it out.
Best Joints: On Our Way, Alleye Need, So Damn Down, Bang N Boogie, Don't U Holla, Hardcore Gentlemen, Plan B, Intermission, Without U (She's Gone), Never Secondary, Just Not True, Morgan Blu, Never Enough, We're Fly, Just Arrived and Forgot To Say
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Tanya Morgan is one of my favorite groups in Hip Hop today and Lessondary is one of my favorite crews. I have every mixtape, EP and LP they've ever made starting with "Moonlighting", the limited edition EP's, the Beat Thieves mixtapes, Subhurban Sprawl, etc. Last year's "The Bridge EP" was a precursor to this album "Brooklynati". "Brooklynati" is in essence a concept album that has everything, skits, songs about different aspects of life, and any type of track you can imagine short of selling crack or shooting someone...or cooking crack, chopping it, bagging it THEN selling it and shooting people that don't pay. None of that on here. Sorry!
There isn't a weak moment on this album, you remember back when groups like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Public Enemy, EPMD, etc. used to be expected to make classic albums and they went to the lab, came back and actually succeeded? Well, Tanya Morgan has done what those kind of groups used to do year in and year out. Sure, they've only been around since 2006 and it'll be another good 7 years before we can truly consider them great (while Little Brother is much closer to getting that distinction) I have no reservations in saying that Tanya Morgan is among the best that Hip Hop has to offer in the 00's. Years from now, heads will still be talking about "Brooklynati" and they may even use the "c word" that Hip Hop dreads. I give "Brooklynati" the lone mos def of the week. BUY IT NOW!
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
The Hulk vs. Superman is going to a round 7 in Boston @ The Jungle on Sunday. Hopefully, Jesus will show up and the Truth will be revealed as well. Go Celtics! *Throws threes*