I've spent a gang of time on Twitter this month and at night I write these long pieces that I intend to use as blogs. Problem is that I 've been writing these long ass posts that won't work for the blog unless I edit them down considerably. Such is the case with two of blogs I intended to post this week. One of 'em will go up this weekend and the other will be delayed until next week (Monday or Tuesday). I'll be reviewing a couple of instrumental albums, the N.A.S.A project, Rasco's much delayed new solo project and the upcoming Ryan Leslie album.
This week I'll be reviewing five new projects that either leaked or recently hit store shelves in the following order: Dibiase "Up The Joystick EP", Hudson Mohawke "Polyfolk Dance EP", N.A.S.A. "The Spirit Of Apollo", Rasco "Global Threat" and Ryan Leslie "Ryan Leslie". 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 "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:
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.
Best Joints: Tetris, Mario Galaxy, Cosmic Funk, Mega Gutta, Metroid, Code Of Life, Slugfest (No Biters Allowed), Brass Knucks (Double Drag), Arcade Fashion, MC Pro Am and Contraband
Hot Garbage: N/A
Dart's Take: For those of you unfamiliar with the whole beat culture phenomenon of the Brainfeeder/Root Down Soundclash/Wonky movement then let me tell you that Dibiase is one of the most prominent producers/beatmakers on the circuit. This project is an 8 Bit take on his normal sound as he runs through Nintendo classics like Mega Man, Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, Tetris, RC Pro Am, Metal Gear , etc. and flips them then throws some crazy drums on 'em. A few tracks have emcees rhyming over 'em, with guest spots from U-N-I, Hardware, Amiri Dialect & Fifth P.
This jawn bangs from beginning to end and it never lets up. The head nod factor is definitely in effect for the duration as you bug out to the fact that the Metal Gear theme has been chopped into an ill track. I'm giving "Up Your Joystick" the only possible rating I can...a mos def. Seek it out immediately.
Best Joints: Polkadot Blues, Monde, Overnight, Speed Stick and Velvet Peel
Hot Garbage: Yonard was kinda meh to me. It should've been in the middle instead of the last track in my opinion.
Dart's Take: Yet another star on the Brainfeeder/beat culture circuit is regular Mike Slott collaborator (Heralds Of Change) Hudson Mohawke. He's contributed to some classic EP's in the past few years, tore down a gang of live shows and dropped a 7" in the All City 7x7 Beatstrumentals series. He followed that up with his "Polyfolk Dance EP". Five of the six collected tracks are certified bangers and the final track is an experimental chop that producers will appreciate but isn't all that enjoyable to listen to as the other slaps. For that reason alone it barely missed earning another mos def. Find this EP now available from Warp Records.
Best Joints: Money, N.A.S.A. Music, Way Down, Hip Hop, Gifted, A Volta, Theirs A Party, O Pata, Soul Samba, The Mayor, N.A.S.A Anthem and the bonus track (RZA)
Hot Garbage: The People Tree, Strange Enough, Spacious Thoughts and Watchadoin'? were all just meh to me.
Dart's Take: Yeah, I can't even describe this album because it's all over the place and kinda skitzophrenic. It has emcees on it but it's not really Hip Hop (Charlie 2na, Chuck D, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Fatlip, Del The Funkeehomosapien, Slim Kid Tre, KRS One, RZA, The Cool Kids, Scarface, etc.). It has Karen O, Lykke Li, Santogold, M.I.A all on it but you can't nail down a sound. Tom Waits does a track with Kool Keith for God's sake! I couldn't make heads or tails of it throughout the week or so I heard it.
You know that person that you just don't like but they've done nothing to you personally and they go out of their way to be friendly to you but you just chill with 'em for the hell of it? You have their number but you'll never call 'em but if you see them out you'll say "What's up?". If they were to move away, you wouldn't even notice or you have to check your phone to even remember their name? Well, that's this album. I listened to it 10+ times and I never felt the need to rewind tracks. Instead, I just looked forward to writing this review and forgeeting about it so I can see it on my iPod months later and erase it to make space for something I actually enjoyed listening to. I give it a maybe overall.
Best Joints: Intro, Global Threat, By Myself, Classic, Southwest, Eyes Wide Shut, That's That Shit, 3 O' Clock, Lounge Beat, Round & Round, Like This, Who's The Enemy, Mental Combat, No Time, Let It Be Known and By Myself (Sad Face Remix)
Hot Garbage: Step Game Up, It Just Don't Stop, Classic (Volta Masters Remix)
Dart's Take: As a Rasco fan and someone's that been waiting for this joint to drop for the longest I'm glad to finally be reviewing it. This is typical Rasco fare over some production that's missing something every so often. Occasionally the tracks sound like background music (the meh picks), but the rest of the time it's vintage Soulfather material. Since the tracks sometimes failed to heighten the tracks and Rasco isn't gonna transform into Royce Da 5'9" any time soon (he guests on "Who The Enemy") the best I can do for "Global Threat" is give it a recommended maybe.
Best Joints: Diamond Girl, Addiction, You're Fly, Quicksand, Valentine, Just Right, How It Was Supposed To Be, I-R-I-N-A, Out Of The Blue, Shouldn't Have To Wait, Wanna Be Good and even the meta experimental Gibberish (he definitely went to Harvard!)
Hot Garbage: Not a goddamn thing.
Dart's Take: Not this guy again. I've been hearing about this cat since his freshman year at Harvard. That's a long ass time. Every showcase. Every public performance. He's in the papers. He's in a segment on the news. He graduates and he's in the industry. He's everywhere. On YouTube making beats. He's on Vimeo selling songs. Pawning Cassie off on Diddy. Making tracks with rappers, he does it all. He had an album back in 2005 but y'all ain't heard that (I did). I just knew that he was gonna make something ridiculous so I'd continue "hating" him. I played the album...I replayed about 75% after hearing it once.
He does it all from different angles. He does the song for different occasions. He made the songs that you can play on the radio, use in car commercials, play in party scenes on TV shows and in movies. This is what Ryan does. It's what he always planned to do! This asshole even made me like "Gibberish"...HE AIN'T EVEN SAYIN' SHIT IN IT!! Just take your goddamn mos def, Ryan Leslie and leave my blog.
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
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
Method Man & Redman-Blackout 2
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
MF Doom-Born Into This
Cage-Depart From Me
Rest In Eternal Peace, Grandmaster Helio Gracie.