This week kicked off with the release of 11 year old beat making prodigy VohnBeatz instrumental mixtape "The New Kid On The Block". Since I picked little man as one my Producers You Need To Hear Right Now a few months ago I thought I should support his efforts so I retagged his beat CD and posted it here as well on Monday. The biggest part of advocating and co-signing artists is supporting them and the growths of their careers. Since a fair amount of us bloggers are giving shine to artists we truly believe in in our heart of hearts that's not very hard to do.
Case in point, I was recently put on to the news that my boy Vandalyzm has received a deal and they want to re-release his debut project and he has another jawn on deck after that. The thing is that now comes to time for the push. How is the time for the fans and consumers to actively get the word out about an artist they believe in as opposed to the old way...an artist being shoved down their throats by whatever medium they happen to be frequenting at the moment. Since I believe in Vandalyzm and his talent I have no problem with getting the word out and/or acting like a one man street team to help him realize his dream.
The reason record labels, video networks & radio stations don't try to appeal to grown folks is because they don't call into radio stations to request shit or vote for videos on 106 & Park. They go after the people that'll go out and buy said singles, LP's & actively request stuff (young people) leaving grown folks complaining about what they play on Viacom networks or Clearchannel stations.
Grown ups have kids, jobs, bills & mortgages! They're not going to do all that shit. They can, however, get behind artists that they want to hear as evidenced by Maxwell's first week sales numbers. So do yourselves a favor & make it a point to advocate & spread the word about those artists or producers that you believe in for the good of the entire industry. Also, for those who don't know 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 four new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Chubb Rock & Wordsmith "Bridging The Gap", DJ Spinna "Sonic Smash", Fabolous "Loso's Way" and Willie Isz "Georgiavania". 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.
The lyrics is back! © Torae
Best Joints: Back In, Live From The Go-Go, Clay Davis & Soul Baby Blues
Hot Garbage: Hip Hop Luv (Remix), Bridging The Gap (Radio Mix), Ol Skool Flava, Old 2 The New (Radio Mix), The Steppers Studio, Jealously Ting, Chocolate City (Part 1) & (Part 2) & Soulmates
Dart's Take: I was really rooting for this project but in the end it just fell short. The album is an attempt to bridge the Hip Hop generation gap by combining new school DMV artist Wordsmith with BK emcee legend Chubb Rock. Unfortunately, the production is sub par and the album takes on a dated & corny sound at times because of it. The lyrical ferocity that Chubb Rock was known for is all but gone. His delivery suggests that maybe he didn't write all of his bars...that's a shame considering that back in the Select Records days Chubb was a sought after ghostwriter (ask The Real Roxanne).
This album was underwhelming and at the end of the day I can't in good conscience suggest that my readers spend their hard earned money on it. I apologize to Wordsmith & Chubb Rock (not so much to Strada, though)...I have to give "Bridging The Gap" an oh no.
Best Joints: Elemental, Lyrics Is Back, Lights Out!, New York, Call Me Senor, Get On Down, Making Your Way In The World, Guaranteed, More, Colors Pt. 2, Melody, Still Golden and Outro
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: Do you remember those old Beyond Real compilations that DJ Spinna used to put out? Remember all those classic tracks Spinna produced over the years? I could name a laundry list of bangers this dude made and the saga continues with "Sonic Smash" on High Water Music. This album features appearances from Phonte, Sputnik Brown, Torae, John Robinson, Senor Kaos, Jigmastas, Dynas, Tiye Phoenix, Elzhi, J-Treds, Breezly Brewin, P. CASSO, Homeboy Sandman, Fresh Daily, etc. and the entire jawn is ridiculous from beginning to end.
The head nod factor will be in effect, you will exercise your rewind button, you may keep a few joints on repeat as well (Lyrics Is Back, Lights Out!, Call Me Senor, Get On Down, Making Your Way In The World, Guaranteed, etc.). Bottom line is "Sonic Smash" has met and exceeded the necessary requirements in order to attain a mos def (Shout out to Sucio Smash!). Cop it when it finally drops on July 21st!
Best Joints: The Way (Intro), Imma Do It (this hook sucks), Salute, Pachanga, Lullaby, Stay & I Miss My Love
Hot Garbage: It's My Time, Feel Like I'm Back, Everything, Everyday, Everywhere, Throw It In The Bag, Money Goes, Honey Stay (When The Money Goes Remix), There He Go, The Fabolous Life (why the hell is Ryan Leslie on this album twice?), Makin' Love & Last Time (Gotta Go) all could've stayed on the cutting room floor
Dart's Take: What the fuck is this shit supposed to be? "Loso Duets"? Jay-Z made "American Gangster" so Loso decided to "remake" his own movie in the mold of "Carlito's Way"? How could this album be called "Loso's Way with 10 (that's not a typo) different guests on 16 tracks including two appearances by Ryan Leslie. On one track Ryan Leslie appears with Keri Hilson (which makes about as much sense as Akon & T-Pain being on the same track...something that happens WAY too often!), what's that about?
Fabolous' career is racked with successful singles and less than stellar albums. The worst tracks on this "album" feature The-Dream & Trey Songz on the hooks. Why are Jeremih, Kobe (?), Keri Hilson, Ryan Leslie (2x), The-Dream AND Trey Songz doing hooks on this project? Why is Fab rapping on beats that sound like they belong on R&B projects rather than this one? How can you talk all that gangsta shit on the album intro then have it turn into a fuckin' collabo album with the hottest singers in the industry?
A better name for this album would've been "Loso's Fading Career", "Prepare For More Disappointment" or "Loso's On His Way To E1 Records". I give this half ass album an oh no. Now to give this promo CD & zip file to some teenage girls in my building since this wack shit doesn't even drop until July 28th.
Best Joints: Blast Off, Georgiavania, Gawn Jet, I Didn't Mean To..., Spiritual Gladiators, The Grussle, Autopilot, Shine and In The Red
Hot Garbage: Loner, U Want Some &Violet Heart Box (1/2 the time I like it, the other half I don't)
Dart's Take: I first reported on this project early last year when I picked the producer Jneiro Jarel as one of my Producers You Need To Hear Right Now of 2008. Jneiro & Khujo first announced the project on MySpace and I couldn't wait to hear it. About 2 months back an advance with 7 songs on it leaked on the internet but now after hearing the full version I can say without any reservations that this album isn't for everybody.
If you prefer that straightforward Hip Hop/Rap aesthetic then tracks like "Blast Off", "Georgiavania", "The Grussle" & "In The Red" will be your refuge. If you dig that weird, off the wall shit you'll dig "Loner", "Gawn Jet", "I Didn't Mean To...", "U Want Some", "Spiritual Gladiators", "Violet Heart Box (See! Now I kinda like it..)", "Autopilot"& "Shine" will have you in Heaven. Overall, Khujo's bars & the eccentricity & progressive nature of this album will earn it a place in my iPod Touch but only God knows how much often I'll play it in the coming months. The best I can do is give it a maybe. Listen to it for yourself cuz like my boy Brandon Soderberg @ No Trivia says "it's a grower [II]".
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
Be on the lookout for the re-release (with remixes & bonus tracks) of Vandalyzm's "Megatron Majorz" in the near future in addition to an all new project full of fresh material from one of Hip Hop's best up & comers. Trust me, my track record is WAY better than XXL's *shots fired*