Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #23 AKA I'm Here All Week!

This has been a hectic week for me with the “25 Producers That You Need To Hear..” list and me posting up the list all week just to have to find a way to squeeze in the music review blog this week. I just decided to suck it up and post it up on Sunday so I can keep the continuity of the blog going. During this past week, the new Portshead album “Third” hit the ‘net so I included it in my normal review blog making it a 4 album edition.

Today’s review order will go as follows: Living Legends “The Gathering EP”, Sheek Louch “Silverback Gorilla”, Portishead “Third” and Eric Lau “New Territories”. 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.

If I had it my way every wack emcee would die Friday, making Saturday a better day © Tame One

One of the most prolific Hip Hop crews of all time is the California based consortium called Living Legends. They have eight members, all of which have quite a back catalog of albums. There have been so many Living Legends projects (going back to tape only releases) that they become hard to keep track of. “The Gathering EP” sees Murs, The Grouch, Bicasso, Scarub, etc. all together again. How’d I feel about it? Read below:

Best Joints: The Gathering, She Wants Me, Pants On Fire, War And Peace, Luva Changer, Samba

Hot Garbage: After Hours (Extended Euro Mix) (It’s just toooo goddamn long)

Dart’s Take: This EP was alright but I feel that for most other heads, having to sit through all eight members of the Living Legends rhyme song after song might become a bit much. I got used to the Living Legends back in the Backpacker Era (1997-2000) when I worked primarily in record stores.

I used to hear The Grouch, Scarub, Murs, Three Melancholy Gypsys, Bicasso, Shing02, etc. on tape all the time and got used to them. Unless you’re already a Living Legends fan I don’t really recommended this. If you’re new to their material, I’d recommend their early recordings over this one. I give this one a maybe because they’re so off the wall.

Next up is The Lox member Sheek Louch’s new album “Silverback Gorilla”, clearly a dig at 50 Cent references the gang consisting of ex-G-Unit soldiers headed by Bang ‘Em Smurf. The quality of Sheek’s bars has dropped off with each passing year, will that present a problem with this album? We’ll see below:

Best Joints: Think We Got A Problem, Good Love, Scrap To This, 2 Tuntables & A Mic

Hot Garbage: Keep Pushin’, We At War, Don’t Be Them, We Comin’, Go Hoodlums (D-Block/Dipset, Gettin’ Stronger (Rocky? Are you serious?), That’s A Soldier (is he biting Em’s flow from One Shot?), What What, We Spray Crowds, Mic Check were all just meh and they are all subject to be skipped due to their overall lameness)

Dart’s Take: What the hell happened to this dude? I remember back when he was nice...the summer before “Walk Witt Me” came out he was merkin’ every mixtape verse he was on and now he sounds like Cappadonna circa “The Yin and The Yang”. Not good. Some songs and verses were so godawful that I was convinced I had to be hearing things. I was playing some tracks for other people just to be sure I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t...Sheek wasn’t even rhyming sometimes and I ‘m not sure he was even listening to the beat a lot of the time. It’s kinda embarassing.

This is one of the saddest solo efforts by an emcee I actually like I’ve ever heard. This album fails on many levels, lyrically, sonically, and theme/concept wise. Many of these beats are just straight up trash and I don’t know why some of these tracks were even chosen. Some joints are so horrible the public should’ve never heard them (i.e. Don’t Be Them). I’ve heard demos better than this album (no Team Blackout), it gets an “Oh No!”. Let’s see a D Block stan try to defend this project.

Portishead has gotten back together after nearly a 10 year hiatus in hopes of regaining their former glory. Will this new project live up to their previous two classic recordings “Dummy” and “Portishead”?. Will music fans hail “Third” as a triumphant return or will it be a grand letdown? I’ll let you know right now:

Best Joints: Silence, Hunter, Nylon Smile, The Rip, Plastic, We Carry On, Machine Gun, Small, Magic Doors, Threads

Hot Garbage: Deep Water (It’s only 1:45 long...thankfully)

Dart’s Take: On Okayplayer there was a thread about how awful Beth Gibbons sounded on this album and how depressing it was. After hearing the album I noticed that Beth didn't sound too different from the two previous projects and Portishead music has always been pretty dark and somber. Most of their previous material could be categorized as “depressing” so I didn’t place much stock in that assessment.

The big difference in this album is the production/sound. Previously, Portishead used a fair amount of breakbeats and had more trip hoppy production. This album had more music that sounded like it could’ve made Bjork’s “Homogenic” LP with the three songs that sounded like old school Portishead being “Plastic”, “Machine Gun” and “Threads”.

Overall, I really liked this album and it has taken up residence in my iPod Nano (which is getting replaced after nearly two years of service). I give this a recommended maybe because folks might not be able to wrap their heads around the fact that this Portishead album is from 2008 and not 1998.

Last, but not least is the new offering from Ubiquity Records own Eric Lau. I picked Lau as one of my “25 Producers That You Need To Hear Right Now” and here is his debut album “New Territories”. He specializes in R&B/Soul production, should his album crack the rotation? I’ll let you know now:

Best Joints: Welcome, I Don’t Do It To, Right Side, Confession Lounge, Final Chance, Time Will Tell, Don’t Let Them, Free It Out, Show Me, Let It Out, Begin, How Far, Hope, Outro

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: I had heard a fair amount of Eric Lau’s production before hearing this album I had some tracks I really liked from the MySpace. With all of that said, I was still surprised and sometimes blown away by this album. Quite a few tracks ended up on repeat, especially “Right Side”, “Confession Lounge” and “Free It Out”. Of the 14 tracks, none of them are even close to being throwaways or skippable. The guest vocalists all delivered excellent performances as well.

This album marks a great start to Eric Lau’s career and his Definition Music will be a production house to look out for and expect great thing from in the near future. Do not sleep on this album and buy it when it drops on March 18th, you won’t be disappointed. “New Territories” gets a mos def from me.

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

Albums I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

I'm Also Looking Forward To Reviewing The Following Projects:

Tanya Morgan-The Bridge EP
Rhymefest-El Che
Skillz-Million Dollar Backpack
Joe Budden-Padded Room
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Soul Assassins III-DJ Muggs vs. King Madallions (Planet Asia)

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of March 16th, 2008):

The Blackout-Kidz In The Hall
Shoulda Known-Atmosphere
Birthday Girl-The Roots f/Patrick Stump Of Fall Out Boy
Back In The Go-Go-Wale f/Bun B & Pusha T
Monsta-Rich Boy
Free It Out-Eric Lau f/Rahel
Commandments-Ghetto (prod. by Lewi White & Bigg Bliss)
Guess Who's Back-Danny f/Naledge Of Kidz In The Hall
Eye Of The Beholder-Finale & Spier 1200 f/Invincible & Elzhi
I Ain't Like The Rest Of 'Em-Mickey Factz
One Way Or Another (Priceless)-Fred Nukes
Shake It Off-Tanya Morgan f/Kam Moye & Torae
Hold It Down-9th Wonder & Buckshot f/Talib Kweli & Tyler Woods
Would Be Killer-Gnarls Barkley
D'Evils 2008-Talib Kweli
Killaz On Wax-Reks (prod. by Statik Selektah)
Nokia Charger Wire-Skepta (prod. by Skepta)
Rising Down (Hum Drum)-The Roots f/Mos Def, Dice Raw & Styles P
Out The Gate-Mighty Joseph f/Genesis
Confession Lounge-Eric Lau f/Rahel
The Burial-St. Da Squad
Longin'-Ge-ology f/Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon
Crachause-C.R.A.C Knuckles (Blu & Ta'Raach)

Black is the new president, bitch! © Tracy Morgan



Unknown said...

Dope reviews Dart, but man those Okay Player kids must be on crack, Third is a BRILLIANT album, made even more so by Beth's vocals, I feel like this album could have come out ten years ago and still sound as great as it does today, I haven't stopped listening to this album, it's everything I wanted from a new Portishead album.

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padraig said...

dart - what's your take on Ghetto's "Freedom of Speech? I'm pretty interested to hear what you think, being that you're one of the few other Americans I know who has more than a passing interest in/familiarity with grime & UK hip hop. I haven't been paying grime too much attention for a minue now (got sick of trying to sift through waves of crappy mixtapes to find the good stuff) but "2000 and Life" was one of my favorite releases of 2005. "Ghetto Gospel", not so much, but Ghetto is still one of the only grime MCs who can really rhyme and has some shit to say. Him and Durrty Goodz - btw did you cop Goodz' "Axiom EP" last year? If not then I can't recommend it highly enough.

and thanks for working hard to keep us informed man. seriously - and that piece about up and coming producers was great as well.

Dart Adams said...


I loved "2000 And Life" and "Ghetto Gospel" but I just liked "Freedom Of Speech". Durrty Goodz "Axiom EP" is pretty damn good as well. I'm gonna get Trim's "Soulfood Vol. 3" today as this whole beef with Flowdan seems to be getting ridiculous.

I always try to stay up with what's going on with Grime through Dissensus, Prancehall, Chantelle Fiddy's blog, Logan Sama or the RWD forums. I got so into it back in 2002/3 that I can't just leave it alone.


padraig said...

I see - well, I'm sure I'll still check it out sooner or later. wasn't expecting too much anyway. on a more positive note, I thought both of trim's "soul food" joints were great and I'm definitely going to pick up No. 3 in the next couple of days. I didn't even know dude was beefing w/Flowdan (who I thought was doing more dubstep/funky house MC'ing these days, shows what I know) - other than Dizzee vs. Crazy Titch or Wiley (cause I love 'im) vs. Every Grime MC Ever I have a hard time time caring about Grime beefs. though to be fair I feel the same way about them in hip hop. speaking of Eskiboy, I'll bet you've heard "Wearing My Rolex"? I swear, I cannot stop listening to that goddamned song. As always, dude stays winning - supposedly he's releasing an album in the fall. Seems like Grime could really use a successful major release.

padraig said...

oh, and if D Double and/or The Newham Generals ever released something, which I gave up on long ago, I'd be all over that too. seriously, those dudes are like "The Greatest Story Never Told" of Grime.

Mike Dikk said...

I'm not sure if this will get read, but I listened to "third", and I'm usually the type of dude who welcomes progression as long as it's not too contrived, but this album is definitly a "maebe".

It doesn't outright suck or anything, but it sounds like a 10 year old Radiohead record that would have been critically acclaimed. I'm not totally hating on it, and I'll definitely listen to it again, but on firs tlisten, it didn't exactly blow my dick back. Of course, I still haven't listened to it ON WEEEEED.

Oh PS. It's good to see they went all out and spent upward to 35 bucks to film the "Machine Gun" video. Definitely a huge ass downgrade since the video for "Only You"

Mike Dikk said...

OH, and Dart, I know you're not the type who posts up downloads and shit, but you should put together a comp. of recent dope Grime tracks, because it's something I've completely lost touch with over the past couple of years.

Dart Adams said...

@ Mike Dikk: I got you.