Friday, September 11, 2009

What's New In Dart's iPod #95 AKA I Was Gonna 9-11 'Em, But They Didn't Need The Help! © Jay-Z

This was quite an eventful week. We saw the releases of Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2" as well as the pushed up release of Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3". The NFL season started in grand fashion last night with an overtime game. The night before President Obama made a speech and the GOP didn't like it very much...fuck 'em, though. I'll finally force myself to post about the Patriots on Armchair Linebacker and I'm going to continue posting guest blogs on Nerd With Swag (Get used to it, NWS readers!).

Last week, I prayed for the recoveries for Kon of Kon & Kon & Amir and Grandmaster Roc Raida of the world famous X-Men/X-ecutioners. Kon had a benefit thrown last night where all the proceeds went directly to his medical expenses and Roc Raida's condition has improved tremendously since last week. It turns out that the damn Akira movie is back on (Boo!) and a week after Disney acquired Marvel, Warner has gone along and reconfigured DC Comics/Studios (didn't see that coming! *rolls eyes*)

Apple brought out a new iPod Nano & iTunes 9...I've yet to deal with either. I saw some films over the past week but I have written the reviews for them as of yet ("Gamer", "Extract" & "9"). I was swamped with new music submissions all many that I wasn't able to write regularly (Dayum!). I also hung out around the House Of Blues after the Mos Def/Talib Kweli/Jay Electronica show. I saw quite a few heads...none of them "recognized" me. I sincerely apologize for not catching up to Andres (Sweeney Kovar). Shit happened to both of us. Another time, I guess?

This week I'll be reviewing eight new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: D. Black "Ali'yah", Dam-Funk "Toeachizown Vol. 3: Life", Drake "So Far Gone EP", Junclassic "Imaginary Enemies", Kid Cudi "Man On The Moon: The End Of Day", KRS One & Buckshot "Survival Skills", M.O.P. "Foundation" and Nicolay "City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya". 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.

They say that I'm a rude bastard/I left my manners at home/You fucked up and left your hammers at home... © Lil' Fame

Best Joints: Alter Call, What I Do, Yesterday, The Return, Keep On Going, Blow The Trump, Let It Go, Wake Up, Yah Have Mercy, I Believe, Sugar, Bring It Back, Close To Yah and Touch The Stars

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: D. Black first opened eyes with the song "God Like" off of last year's Jake One presents White Van Music compilation. This album features production by mostly Vitamin D & Jake One and it doesn't have a weak moment on it. It's just a solid ass Hip Hop album. D. Black came with the bars & occasionally even vocals & production. Your head will be nodding throughout the whole album and there's nothing to skip. It rarely gets better than that.

Do me a favor and don't sleep on "Ali'yah" if you consider yourself to be a true Hip Hop head. I give it a highly recommended maybe (it barely missed being a mos def). MYX Music is looking to make some serious noise in the years to come. D. Black's opus "Ali'yah" drops on September 15th.

Best Joints: Love Is Here 2nite (I Can Feel It), Could I Be Losing Another Lover?, Show Me The Way U Feel, One Less Day and I Wanna Thank U (4 Steppin' Into My Life)

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: I loved the first two editions of "Toeachizown" but this one has to be the more reserved & least funky of the three. With that said it's still dope and if you're a Dam-Funk fan as I am you still need to cop it so you can rock it in your iPods (or Zunes). I'm giving "Toeachizown Vol. 3: Life" a recommended maybe only because my neck doesn't hurt nearly enough after hearing it. Cop it directly from Stones Throw Digital Store for only $5.99 here

Best Joints: Houstatlantavegas, Successful, Best I Ever Had, Uptown, I'm Goin' In, The Calm and Fear

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Uhh...I don't get it. I liked these songs when I first heard 'em & downloaded 'em way back in February so why would I then spend money on a PHYSICAL release with only a few tracks plus one track I could've easily just downloaded from one of 100 blogs already ("Fear")? I think "Fear" is dope but why spend money for one song? Is it so Drake can have an official release out since his album "Thank Me Later" been pushed back to the 1st quarter 2010?

Here's a better idea: Have people buy a CD-R with a jewel case, cover art, inserts & liner notes for "So Far Gone" and when they put it in the computer it automatically downloads "So Far Gone" plus two bonus tracks "Fear" and "Forever". Wouldn't that make way more sense? This shit? I dunno, fam. I give this release a maybe for overall shitty execution. I wish Drake the best as he recovers from knee surgery this weekend.

Best Joints: Beginning, Arrival, BabyLove, Most Famous, Geez, Habits, Bouquet Of Flowers Remix, ZeeZee's Groove, One & Onlee, Dope Song Remix, I Can't Die/You, Bionic 6, Say Goodbye and 4 Corners

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Southside's Saviour Junclassic is back with another album to follow up his "Overqualified" LP from last year. This is a solid album with solid bars and production from DJ Husky. The thing is this album has been limited to only 1000 physical copies and there are no downloadable copies of this project forthcoming. It won't be available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody or eMusic because you'll have to purchase the physical copy.

Due to this fact, I forgot about this album dropping on September 8th altogether. Sorry to my people @ Classified Recordings. In any event, this is a solid album and I give it a maybe. Look for it where fine Hip Hop albums are sold right now.

Best Joints: In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem), Soundtrack 2 My Life, Simple As..., Solo Dolo (Nightmare), Heart Of A Lion (KiD CuDi Theme Music), My World, Day N Nite (Nightmare), Sky Might Fall, Enter Galactic (Love Connection Pt. 1), Alive, CuDi Zone, Make Her Say, Pursuit of Happiness, Hyyerr and Up, Up, And Away (The Wake And Bake Song)

Hot Garbage: N/A (Imagine my surprise!)

Dart's Take: It's like this...This album isn't for everyone. If you can't look at this as just an album without putting your preconceived notions or limitations on the aesthetics of what a Hip Hop album is supposed to sound like then you shouldn't even bother with it in the first place. I make fun of Cudi from time to time. I've heard his mixtapes and have been ambivalent of him up until now. The thing is that his album was a concise, well thought out & well executed project. I was expecting myself to hate it. I couldn't...It's just too damn good to hate.

If you can hear tracks like "Simple As...", "My World", "Sky Might Fall", "Alive", "Cudi Zone", "Pursuit Of Happiness" or "Hyyerr" and tell me that if you heard those songs on a blog or anywhere else without Cudi's name on them that you wouldn't like 'em then I don't know what to tell you. He did tracks with Ratatat and MGMT that actually worked. They don't sound forced in any way whatsoever. It's clear that this album's direction & sound inspired Kanye West to jack it [II] and create "808's & Heartbreak".

If you're looking for bars or headnodding beats you're simply listening to the wrong goddamn album. If you're willing to just take this project for what it is & don't expect Cudi to be Blu or Elzhi then you can possibly enjoy it. I give it a recommended maybe. I'm just as surprised as you are with this rating. Is it a Hip Hop album? Uhh...I'd say let's not try to define it. It's just MUSIC. Shit!

Best Joints: Survival Skills, Robot, The Way I Live, Clean Up Crew, Oh Really, Connection, Runnin' Away, Think Of The Things, One Shot, Amazin', Hear No Evil, Murder 1, We Made It and Past Present Future

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: The production on this album is top notch (Havoc, Illmind, Black Milk, Khrysis, Marco Polo, Nottz & 9th Wonder) and it's a solid concept about survival skills necessary to have longevity in the music industry and how to manage your life and day to day business while simultaneously trying to be an entertainer. It also deals with general life shit as well. Buckshot & KRS One complement each other well on the album and your head will be nodding from beginning to end.

I was also happy with guest appearances from artists as diverse as Mary J. Blige (?), Heltah Skeltah, Smif N' Wessun, Immortal Technique, K' Naan, Bounty Killer, Pharoahe Monch, Slug & Melanie Fiona. This is a dope album that mixes the New School with the Next School. I give "Survival Skills" a recommended maybe. Duck Down is killing shit! Look for it September 15th!

Best Joints: I'm A Brownsvillian, Blow The Horns, What I Wanna Be, Foundation, Stop Pushin', Crazy, Street Life (hate the hook), Forever & Always, Rude Bastard, Brooklyn, Bang Time, Sharks In The Water, Riding Through and Salute A G

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: M.O.P are the kings of making music that makes you wanna kick the plexiglass out of cab windows and slap box gorillas at the local zoo. The second you press "PLAY" and "I'm A Brownsvillian" starts you already know what you're in for. That's followed by the banger "Blow The Horns" which somehow bangs MORE than it does when I first heard it last year (?). By the time we got to my new anthems "Crazy" (which should've been the end credits music for "Halloween 2") and "Rude Bastard" it already earned a mos def.

Bangers like "Bang Time", "Riding Through" and "Salute A G" will have you ready to rob an ATM. Not a bank...a fuckin' ATM machine. Either way, there's no way to front on Fizzy Womack & Billy Danze. Guest spots from Termanology, Styles P & Redman round out a masterful album. Cop this jawn on September 15th!

Best Joints: Lose Your Way, Shibuya Station, Crossing, Rain In Ueno Park, Satellite, Saturday Night, A Ride Under The Neon Moon, Omotesando, Meiji Shrine, Shadow Dancing, The Inner Garden, Bullet Train, Wake Up In Another Life, Departure and Shibuya Epilogue

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: You need to get into a different mindset for this one. If you dug the Foreign Exchange projects, the Nicolay solo "Here", the Nicolay & Kay "Time: Line" or even the first "City Lights" & "City Lights 1.5" you still need to adjust your ears because this jawn sounds like a mix between Ridge Racer Revolution and Auto Modellista menu screen music. When Carlitta Durand is singing over the beats they make a lot more sense sonically. The instrumentals do sound a tad like video game music.

With that said, I still thoroughly enjoyed this album. I could've used Carlitta and Phonte on a couple of more tracks but it is what it is. I give "City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya" a recommended maybe. DO NOT purchase it from iTunes, get it from Amazon, eMusic or Rhapsody instead because iTunes is on that "Partial Album" bullshit right now. Better yet, just cop the physical release on September 15th (digital downloads have been available since September 8th). You already know what to do...

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop in 2009:

Rhymefest-El Che
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

Thank you, thank you, thank're far too kind. Thank you, thank you, thank you...this is YOUR bill not mine! © Barack Obama channeling Jay-Z


1 comment:

El Gringo Colombiano said...

fyi - Funky DL "The Interview" leaked. Halfway thru, it's good, similar steez to his 2007 The 4th Quarter.