This was a weird week. First off, let's begin with the embarrassing ass BET Awards. Not only did they fail to have the appropriate Michael Jackson dedications they should have (or it was just disappointing as all Hell) but there were far too many gaffes, mistakes, bad decisions, underwhelmiming guests and performances (Ciara, Soulja Boy, Young Money, etc. I'm looking directly at all of you!). It was such an embarassment that 80% of the Twitter messages and e-mails following the show were reported to be negative. Fellow Bostonian Byron Hurt wrote an open letter to BET and they have since denounced the Young Money performance..how about apologizing for failing to put on a professional show (or having standards)? Again!
Let us not forget about the news that Vibe Magazine is folding. Although we knew the inevitable was coming, it sucked that it happened so soon. It's bad enough that the number of existing publications is dwindling it's downright depressing that none may be left within a few years' time. Next, was the free agent signings of Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva in Detroit, Trevor Ariza signing with Houston, Ron Artest signing with the LA Lakers, Hedo Turkoglu signing with Portland (then the deal is off (?)) and Rasheed Wallace is close to signing a 2 year deal with the Boston Celtics. Let us not forget that Charles Hamilton's album "This Perfect Life" wasn't released for the third Tuesday in a row. Rumors are he's been dropped from Interscope but none of those rumors have yet be confirmed or denied as of yet.
Two major videos premiered this week, Jay-Z's "D.O.A" & Drake's "Best I Ever Had". I still haven't seen "D.O.A" but I've seen the hell out of "Best I Ever Had", though! The reviews have been mixed for both but there has been far more outrage directed towards Drake's video (the theme, look, dialogue, the overwhelming amount of boobage). Kanye West directed and it's probably just the first version. If that jawn hits "106 & Park" as is it's guaranteed #1 for sure. I've also become the newest associate of the brothers over @ Nerd With Swag so expect some of my posts to land over there for the forseeable future on the weekends.
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: Ace Hood "Ruthless", Alchemist "Chemical Warfare", Big Quarters "From The Home Of Brown Babies & White Mothers", Kurious "II", Maino "If Tomorrow Comes.. and "Toki Wright "A Different Mirror". 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.
I want you to take that D like the champions you are! © Drake
Best Joints: Born An O.G. (only Ludacris' verse), Champion (just the beat & Jazmine Sullivan on the hook) what else? Nothing.
Hot Garbage: Everything else. I'm not even kidding.
Dart's Take: I'm gonna stop playing myself and even listening to this dude any more. I don't find him impressive in any way, shape or form. Rick Ross is already kryptonite to my ears and he makes multiple appearances. The beats? Boring as all hell. Bars? Nothing memorable or even worth repeating. I did not feel the urge to rewind ANYTHING on this album only fast forward (except for the short time that Ludacris & Jazmine Sullivan appeared). There's a dude named Ballgreezy on this album. Really? The dude Schife sucks. One track features Akon AND T-Pain. In short, this album wasn't for me. Oh no. *Flings promo CD out the window and into the street where it gets run over by a car playing "Wu Tang Chamber Music"*
Best Joints: ALC Theme, Lose Your Life, Chemical Warfare, Grand Concourse Benches, Therapy, That'll Work, Smile, Keep The Heels On, Acts Of Violence, Lights, Cameras, Action, Some Gangster Shit, Take A Look Back and Under Siege
Hot Garbage: Lose Ya Life instrumental & On Sight were both meh to me
Dart's Take: This album was everything you've come to expect from an Alchemist album. You have a mix of veteran emcees (Kool G Rap, KRS One, Dogg Pound, Prodigy, Lil' Fame, Eminem, Twista, Fabolous, etc.), East & West Coast flava, mainstream & underground tracks featuring features from Talib Kweli, Blu & Kid Cudi amongst others. ALC even manages to make a track where Three 6 Mafia & Juvenile are tolerable. That's an amazing feat in itself as those guys have done much for me over the past couple of years. The highlight of the album to me are the two Gangrene tracks with Oh No ("Acts Of Violence" & "Under Siege") in addition to "ALC Theme", "Therapy", "Smile", "Keep The Heels On", "Lights, Cameras, Action" and "Some Gangster Shit". I'm giving "Chemical Warfare" a highly recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Newborn, Barter System, Protection, All Day Long, Ladies Know, Blessed, Prom Mrs., One On the Lip, Firebird, Wipe the Dust, Good Look, Can't Won't and Free Shipping
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: This album dropped back on May 5th but I didn't get a copy of it until the last week of June. It was well worth the wait as this Minneapolis duo made one hell of a concise album that I used to detox myself immediately after listening to Ace Hood's sophomore album (I'd rather smash Amy Winehouse sober in the morning without a condom or a blindfold, thank you very much!). There wasn't anything on this album I didn't like...although if you aren't into the Rhymesayers click or the aesthetics of their muisc then this album will make you sluggish much like Ace Hood's wack ass album did for me (notice how I keep throwing Ace Hood under the bus?). In any event I give Big Quarters new LP a recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Take What Is Given, Back With Vic, Work It (borderline), Sittin' In My Car, Drinks In The Air, Benetton, Rain On Me, Smiling, Brand New Day (borderline) and Prosperous
Hot Garbage: Animals and Horses, Wake Up, Mysterious, New Heights, Back From Up Unda and Is This The End
Dart's Take: I'm a huge CM Fam fan going back to the old days and I remember buying Kurious' "A Constipated Monkey" & Nas' "Illmatic" around this same time. I even had a 90 minute tape with each album on each side back in the days. However, while Kurious still can spit a lil' something this album is boring sonically and incredibly mediocre and uneventful. Maybe the production was too laid back. Maybe Kurious didn't go hard [II] enough on the mic. I can't exactly put my finger on it but this album did nada for me. I'd say I was disappointed but what can you really expect 15 years later. I give it a maybe but I was leanning more towards an oh no.
Best Joints: Million Bucks instrumental, Back To Life, Remember My Name
Hot Garbage: Million Bucks, Gangsta, All The Above, Here Comes Trouble, Hi Hater, Let's Make A Movie, Kill You, Runaway Slave, Soldier, Hood Love (are you fuckin' kiddin', me?), Floating and Celebrate (I'm celebrating because this piece of shit album is finally over!)
Dart's Take: No. No. No. A thousand times no! This album was just boring and wack. No memorabl beats. No memorable bars. Terrible guest appearances. This album sounds like it was just over A&R'd and they tried to create nothing but tracks for the radio or club. How about making an goddamn Hip Hop album worth listening to first? "If Tomorrow Comes" is emblematic of major label albums...it doesn't even sound like Hip Hop to me.
Why is Maino, a grimy ass New York rapper making an album that sounds like he's down with Rick Ross, Ace Hood & DJ Khaled? This album lacks any kind of creativity and I couldn't give you any of his bars after 5 whole excrutiating listens at gunpoint. I give this sonic abortion an oh no *Holds down Shift and presses down until the entire album is highlighted, deletes "If Tomorrow Comes..", empties trash then finally exhales*
Best Joints: More Fiya, Devil's Advocate, Good, A Different Mirror, Rise, Next Best Thing, The Law, State Of Emergency, Truth Or Dare, The Feeling, Little Girl and Poison Ivy (Afreecan-American)
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Toki Wright is yet another Minneapolis representative down with Rhymesayers Entertainment. He's made quite a few noteworthy guest appearances in the past on other Rhymesayers releases and this project is yet another example of how a Hip Hop album should sound. It shouldn't sound like a gang of corporate people are directing the artist trying to appeal to a particular audience or merely making music for the purpose of spins and completely forgetting about concentrating on quality music.
If "More Fiya", "Devil's Advocate", "Good", "A Different Mirror", "Rise", "Next Best Thing", "The Law", "State Of Emergency", "Truth Or Dare" or "The Feeling" don't get your head nodding or have have bringing the track back to hear those punchlines againor have you thinking "Damn, how come Maino's album couldn't keep my attention like this album could?" "Is creativity and originality compeletely frowned upon at major labels?" "Why do all of those albums seem to follow the same formula but these indie albums all seem to be different from project to project?". This album dropped on June 9th and I didn't get a promo copy until my peoples @ Potholes In My Blog came through with the assist. I appreciate it, fellas. I give "A Different Mirror" a highly recommended maybe.
Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):
Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop in 2009:
Fashawan-Boy Meets World
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
Pac Div-Grown Kid's Syndrome
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Drake- Thank Me Later
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
Alchemist & Oh No are Gangrene
Eternia & MoSS- At Last
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
Shaq's in Cleveland, Ron Artest is in LA, so the only logical thing for homie to do is join Gang Green in Boston and go for championship number 18. Let's get it in, 'Sheed!