Friday, March 28, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #25 AKA The March Madness Edition

This has been the smoothest writing week for me in about a month. I did almost experience a problem with my mega post of the week about the Sprite Curse (it was supposed to go up last month but I ran into a wall while investigating it) but I was able to post it up (and edit it further this morning) with no problem.

I’ve also moved into sole possession of 1st place in Dallas Penn’s NCAA Tournament Pick ‘Em...too bad I didn’t pick past the Final Four. This week several albums that will be dropping soon hit the internet and the bloggerverse, chief among them being the three I’ll be reviewing today. In order they’ll be LMNO & Kev Brown’s “Selective Hearing”, AZ’s “Undeniable” and the long awaited C.R.A.C Knuckles “The Piece Talks”.

Since so many of you are curious to hear (or read) my take on these albums I won’t waste any more time and just get to business. 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.

I drop bombs like bad receivers © AG

LMNO and Kev Brown collaborated on a new project called “Selective Hearing”. Kev Brown is a well respected Hip Hop producer from the Maryland/D.C. area and LMNO is a West Coast rhyme veteran with some solo classic under his belt as well as some classic material recorded with his group The Visionaries (if you’ve never heard “Blessings” or “If You Can’t Say Love” then I pity you, fool). LMNO is also a Christian (with some Rastafarian undertones) and he doesn’t hesitate to mention it in his rhymes. Did the Christian Rap aspect hurt the album at all in my opinion? Read below:

Best Joints: Fanfare, The Beat Tape, Who’s That, Show Up, Selective Hearing, Get Away (This song references camping, hiking, veggie links, soy bacon and Jesus...I still like it. Kev Brown, you’re a beast!), The Cause, We Got This, Unheard (Jesus Alert!), Make A Way, Raise

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: If you’re a fan of LMNO, The Visionaries or Kev Brown than this album is a no brainer definite buy already. For those of you not familiar with LMNO (God forbid you’ve never at least heard “Grin And Bear It”) at all then his rhyme style might grate on your nerves. Between Kev Brown’s ill production work and verses plus guest appearances from Oh No, Dudley Perkins, Georgia Anne Muldrow (“I stay woke”) and Ariano this is a nice album (though it’s a little on the short side).

The bonus is the Kev Brown instrumentals (which I’ve been killing!) more than make up for the length of the album. I give this one a recommended maybe because some people don’t expect a dude to profess his love for Jesus repeatedly while his rhyming. Definitely worth checking out.

AZ is one of my favorite all time emcees and he has been since I heard his first recorded verse on Nas’ “Life’s A Bitch” back in 1994. Now, almost 15 years later the one known as The Visualizer hasn’t shown a sign any signs of rust. Ever since his 2002 LP “Aziatic” he’s been on a roll making excellent album after excellent album, does AZ’s hot streak continue? Read my take on it below:

Best Joints: The Game Don’t Stop, Superstar, Life On The Line, Fire, What Would You Do, Dead End, Parking Lot Pimpin’, Undeniable, Go Getta (between this joint and the Styles P song, Ray J’s on quite a run!), Now I Know, A. Game, The Hardest, You Can’t Be Serious (Bonus track)

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: AZ’s masterful flow allows him to kill tracks that 80% of rappers would sound absolutely horrible on. Every track he’s on is an enjoyable listen because AZ can carry the listeners attention and never bore you. He absolutely kills joints like “The Game Don’t Stop”, “Life On The Line”, “Fire”, “Dead End” and “Parkin’ Lot Pimpin”. I have been playing this album damn near nonstop since I first got it (even during this review). I give this a mos def. Go out and cop it April 1st when it hits stores and iTunes.

Blu (Lifted EP, Below The Heavens, Powders & Oils) and Ta’Raach (LOVEE, The Fevers, The Breakfast Club) are C.R.A.C Knuckles (pronounced “crass”). They have both collaborated on the hotly anticipated LP “The Piece Talks”. If you’ve ever listened to Blu’s tracks off of his MySpace page or heard any of Ta’Raach’s music with The Lovelution then you’ll know that it’s going to be some off the wall type shit. Did the final product live up to all of the hype from all of the blogs that have been talking about it for months? I’ll let you all know right now:

Best Joints: What Up (Part2), Buy Me Lunch, Love Don’t, Major Way, Activate Too, CRACHAUSE, Respect, Pop Dem Boyz, 2.16.05, Mr. Big Fizz, Chill, Hello!?, Go!, Activate...As Well, Bullet Through Me, Credits, Shake & Ready (listen past the phone conversation labeled “Ready” and there are two more songs I’ve named “Shake” and “Ready” (it was either that or “One Two”).

Hot Garbage: N/A (This album might frustrate some people...I’ll get into it all in detail below)

Dart’s Take: This album isn’t just straightforward beats and rhymes all the way through. There are some tracks that are just mostly music with ill instrumentation and arrangements. Tracks like “Buy Me Lunch”, “CRACHAUSE” and “Credits” don’t have any rhymin' on them at all. Joints like “What Up (Part2)”, “Major Way”,“2.16.05”, “Chill”, “Hello!?”, “Activate Too” and “As Well” are mad short. Some songs are on the “off the wall” side (“Buy Me Lunch”, “Go!”, “Bullet Through Me” and “Ready”) and may throw some people off.

After it initially leaked from, it made the rounds to every music site and blog. Robbie on didn’t know what to make of it. Some posters on Okayplayer thought it was too unfocused and all over the place. A few heads that had only just heard of Blu and never heard any of Ta’Raachs previous material were completely lost like Bobby and Cindy Brady on a vacation to the Grand Canyon.

My advice is not to overthink it, just play the whole album and listen to it. Go for a walk. Ride the train. Take a drive and just let it play. I guarantee you won’t be able to get “Buy Me Lunch” out of your head (Just like the many bloggers that have had this album for months and not once did it leak)

A lot of people wanted this whole project to be like “Love Don’t”, “Respect” and “Pop Dem Boyz” but you can’t take artists and expect them to put restraints on their creativity because you as a listener aren’t more open minded. Just go with it. I give this album a mos def, easy. Do the right thing this April 22nd and cop it.

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:

Santogold-I Believe In Santogold
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)
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Snowgoons-Black Snow
N.E.R.D-Seeing Sounds
Platinum Pied Pipers-Abundance
Method Man & Redman-Blackout 2
Redman-Muddy Waters 2
B.O.B.-The Adventures Of B.O.B.
The Alchemist-Chemical Warfare

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of March 28th, 2008):

Gotta Believe-Saigon f/Just Blaze (co-prod. by Just Blaze & Kanye West)
The Game Don't Stop-AZ
Crash-Che Grand
Hard Day's Night-The Knux
I Don't Know-Danny f/Von Pea of Tanya Morgan (prod. by Danny Swain)
Crazy-Royce Da 5'9"
Cappaccino Remix-The Knux
Shake-C.R.A.C Knuckles (Blu & Ta'Raach)
We Got This-LMNO & Kev Brown f/Oh No (prod, by Kev Brown)
Let's Go!-Focus f/Chino XL & DJ Revolution
The Luv-Really Doe
Swing-Che Grand
The Grind-Fairmount Park Commission (Clean Guns, Triple Nickels & 2ew Gun Ciz)
ChicaGo Getter-Naledge of Kidz In Hall
Touch And Go-Joe Budden
K-1 Attack-Mickey Factz f/Nakim
Original-Praverb (prod. by Dirty Beats)
Amazing-The Knux
Where You Goin'-Danny f/Maria (prod. by Danny Swain)
Ignite The People Like Obama-6th Sense
Raise-LMNO & Kev Brown (prod. by Kev Brown)
Plastic-Really Doe f/Kanye West (prod. by Kanye West)
Gorgeous-Pacific Division King Kong with a White girl in my left palm climbing the side of a building that's tall © Black Milk


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