Friday, May 2, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #28 AKA The Three For The Stripes Edition

There were so many new releases last week that some of them spilled over into this weeks edition. Considering that tonight the Celtics are gonna be playing Game 6 in Atlanta tonight for the right to advance to the next round and everyone’s gonna be watching it I’m dedicating todays review blog to the occasion.

The three releases I’ll be highlighting in this edition are UK emcee Kano’s newest mixtape “MC No.1”, Boston group 7L & Esoteric’s “Esoteric Vs. Japan: Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo!” and production team Blue Sky Black Death’s new instrumental project “Late Night Cinema”. For the uninitiated, 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.

..Fuck Al Qaeda! 'Cuz I coulda died gettin' a candy bar from a bodega! © Vast Aire

The very first project that I’m reviewing today is UK Grime emcee Kano’s new mixtape “MC No. 1”. He’s left his former label 679 and is now a free agent. He went to the studio and recorded some freestyles over some familiar beats. How does this mixtape measure up against his previous classics “Beats & Bars” and last year's “Kano Mixtape”? Let’s see:

Best Joints: My Name Is...Kano, Old Skool, Duffle Bag Freestyle, Can’t Take My Throne, Hurt, Hustler, Dun Know The MySpace, So Good, The Way I Are, It’s Me N Word, Money In The Bank Freestyle, Stronger, Dead Presidents Freestyle

Hot Garbage: Sexual Eruption (Why do it? AutoTune just ain’t for everybody)

Dart’s Take: In the UK, Grime heads are up in arms about this mixtape because instead of making a return to Grime, he chose to rhyme over a bunch of American Hip Hop/R&B beats instead of some joints by Bless Beats, Rude Kid or a number of other Grime producers. This mixtape is seen as a flaming pile of horseshit across the pond because it doesn’t fit the Grime aesthetic. To a Hip Hop fan this mixtape is better than okay.

Being that I’ve been a fan of Kano’s since the early days I can say that this is easily his laziest work to date and the least inspired effort I’ve heard from him in just over 6 years. The beat selection was wonky at best, he went from “My Name Is..” and “Dead Presidents” to “Crank Dat Soulja Boy” and “It’s Me, Bitches” (the only recent Swizz instrumentals I'd even consider good to rhyme on are "Blow Your Mind" or "School Of Hard Knocks") .

Kano wasn’t as aggressive or hungry as he’d been on past verses, you can tell he was just skating through the tracks. This is just a maybe to me. I’d recommend that you check out his previous mixtapes and albums and skip this one altogether to get a better idea of how nice he is.

Boston underground Hip Hop duo 7L & Esoteric have been in the game for almost 12 years now and dropped classic after classic release during their careers. This new release features Esoteric flipping samples of Japanese anime, cartoons and Godzilla films while 7L handles the cuts. Their new project drops May 6th, what do I think of it? Find out below:

Best Joints: The Arrival, Mecha Mecha, Real Rap Design, Gaiking Skydragon Rap, My New Favorite, Neo-Tokyo, 24 Karat Fiction, Pterolab Beat Oven, Gigantor Says Anything, Emperor Guillotine, Feudal Lords, Knifegirl, Demoralizer, God Less America, Gargoyle Gang Face Science, Plastic Model Version, Godzilla Stomp, Heroic Trio

Hot Garbage: Wrestlelectro and I Do Lo-Fi

Dart’s Take: This was a concept that has been done before but these cats get an “A” for execution. Esoteric went into the Pterolab and cheffed up some ol’ marvelous shit to get your mouth watering on the beats side. The instrumental breaks were ill and tracks like “Mecha Mecha”, “Real Rap Design”, “24 Karat Fiction” (where Eso rhymes as a gold rope that was passed around by Hip Hop legends) and my personal favorite “God Less America”make this a must buy for their fans.

It was nice to hear references to obscure giant robots like Danguard Ace and lines like “well send your ass to the Wolves like Ryan Gomes” while Esoteric flips samples from the old “Force Five” cartoon (yes, I did take part of my name from Jesse Dart of the “Space Keteers”). I give this a recommended maybe strictly because all of my readers may not be able to rock with 7L & ES' style. For those of you that are familiar with them and their back catalogue this joint is a mos def, easy.

The California production team Blue Sky Black Death have previously made albums with Wu affiliates Holocaust and Hell Razah as well as releasing some notable mixtapes (“The Dirtnap Mixtape”) along the way. On April 29th, Babygrande dropped their instrumental opus “Late Night Cinema”. How did it grab me? Read below:

Best Joints: The Era When We Sang, Lord Of Our Vice, Ghosts Among Men, Private Death On A Quiet Eve, Shoot You Dead, Listen Child, My Work Will Be Done, Forgive Me, Different Hours, All The News Is Bad Again and Legacy To Fuel

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: I have to say that this album took me by surprise. I didn’t download the advance and I just waited until all 11 tracks were available before I listened to it. Instead of being the regular old instrumental album with tracks pretty much ready for an emcee to rhyme over, it was done with many layers and different movements almost like a movie score. The tracks often run longer than 5 minutes and none of them feel long because so much happens in each track.

I’ve liked all of BSBD’s previous material but on this one they get to stand at the forefront rather than supporting the emcee. They exceeded my expectations with their lush sonic backdrops and overall musicianship. This is perfect for the iPod when I’m walking around the city throwing threes menacingly. I almost want to write a script to go along with this album, I give “Late Night Cinema” a much deserved mos def.

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:

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
Scram Jones-Untold Scriptures
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Snowgoons-Black Snow
N.E.R.D-Seeing Sounds
Termanology-Politics As Usual
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
AG & O.C.-Oasis: Together Brothers
Common-Invincible Summer
Omen-Be The Judge
Craig G & Marley Marl-Operation: Take Back Hip Hop
Capone-N-Noreaga-Reporting The War

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of May 2nd, 2008):

The Transitional Joint (Baby Girl Glow)-Elzhi (prod. by Black Milk)
The Dough-Prodigy (prod. by Alchemist)
50 Shots (Stream Of Consciousness)-Joell Ortiz
Distant Star-Heliocentrics f/MF Doom & Percee P
The Grand Return-The Roots f/Dice Raw & Wahud Ahmad
Legacy To Fuel-Blue Sky Black Death (prod. by Blue Sky Black Death)
Rush-Young Chris f/Beanie Sigel
Real Rap Design-7L & Esoteric f/Moe Pope & Megaphone (prod. by Esoteric)
We F'ed Up-Jay Dee f/Frank N' Dank (prod. by Kanye West)
My Hood-Capone -N-Noreaga f/The Clipse
Stereo Types-Reks (prod. by 1914 & Statik Selektah)
Made The Change-Craig G & Marley Marl (prod. by Marley Marl)
Magnificent-Estelle f/Kardinal Ofishall (prod. by Mark Ronson)
Keep It Live-Big Treal (prod. by 9th Wonder)
Starstruck (Tribute To Sean Bell)-Euclid f/Santogold
War Is Necessary-Nas
Keep It Goin'-O.C. & AG (prod. by E.Blaze)
Shoot You Dead-Blue Sky Black Death (prod. by Blue Sky Black Death)
Cold World-Grand Puba
Calculated Risk-Braille f/Mr. J.Medeiros & Manchild
Psychotic Girl-Spec Boogie f/The Black Keys
Broken Heart-Pharoahe Monch (prod. by Mr. Porter)
Dances With Wolves-Trunks f/Smif N' Wessun & Kardinal Offishall
Overdose On Life-Omen f/Drake, Mickey Factz & Travis Of Gym Class Heroes (prod. by Omen)

We ain't done nothin' yet...we're trying to win a title and put a banner up there © Kevin Garnett



elgringocolombiano said...

Dart, what is that LB "And Justus For All" you listed in the future projects section?

Is that just a rerelease of the same titled 2007 mixtape, or something else?

padraig said...

that's too bad about that Kano joint. "London Town" was so goddam disappointing, especially b/c "Home Sweet Home" is destined to go down w/Dizzee Rascal's first two, "Treddin On Thin Ice" & maybe that Virus Syndicate LP in the handful of great grime full-lengths. you'd think Kano would've learned his lesson - plus, at least before he was on some rhythm & grime tip that I could kinda get down with, but I think I'll have to take a pass on him rhyming over Soulja Boy & Dead Prez. ah, well, at least we still have Trim. isn't Durty Goodz supposed to drop an LP as well?

Dart Adams said...

@ elgringocolombiano:

No, it's a Justus League release featuring 14 new tracks and it drops 6.3.08 I think. The tracklisting is on right now in the New Releases section.

@ padraig:

Yeah, Goodz is supposed to have an LP drop but I've heard that before from other heads and groups and I still have yet to see definitive proof yet. I HATED "Maths & English" and somehow Def Jux managed to make it longer and WORSE. They should be commended.


brandon said...

Didn't know about that LB album either. Check out that Flying Lotus album ASAP!

Dart Adams said...

@ Brandon: I reviewed Flying Lotus' new album two weeks ago.