Friday, May 9, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #29 AKA The 8 For 42 Edition

This past week hella albums leaked and I’ll be reviewing them all in the following order UK Grime legend Wiley’s new pre-album mixtape “Grime Wave”, Chicago’s All Natural “Elements: Fire”, Crown City Rocker Rashaan Ahmad’s “The Push”, Elzhi’s tour CD “Europass”, Kidz In The Hall’s long awaited sophomore album “The In Crowd” and J Dilla’s unreleased MCA album “Pay Jay”. Since I’m sure my readers would want me to get down to business I’ll do just that and got right into the reviews this week.

Since Technorati is experiencing some issues pinging my blog if you don't check back here on your own every day you won't know when I posted this up originally. 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.

The flow is colder than the floor in a cell so bring your weed I gotta story to tell © J Dilla

The very first project that I’m reviewing today is legendary Grime emcee and producer Wiley’s newest offering “Grime Wave. Eskiboy’s lead single “Wearing My Rolex” is climbing the UK charts even though he’s less than enthused with his label’s handling of his first video. Will this mixtape raise anticipation for his upcoming major label project? Let’s see:

Best Joints: Grime Wave, Local Lad, Grime Kid, It’s A Par, Where You Gonna Run To?, Anything Is Possible, Living In London, Fire Ain’t Burning No More, Sky Is Falling, It’s Only Right

Hot Garbage: I wasn’t really feeling If You’re Going Out, I’m Going Out Too or Badman Talking. I just felt like strangling Flodan.

Dart’s Take: This was a pretty good mixtape but nothing overly exciting or groundbreaking is on it. It’s pretty much a solid effort from Wiley, the problem is that I suspect that his album is gonna suck and be watered down so he can move a significant number of units over in the UK.

Considering that he’s helped to pioneer a completely new genre of music and hasn’t yet reaped the financial rewards of it I feel that he deserves success after all of these years of grinding. I give this mixtape a maybe because if you’re not used to Grime or the aesthetic of it then it’ll just sound like noise to you.

All Natural is back with their new project “Elements: Fire”. Capital D and DJ Tone B specialize in that ol’ back to basics Golden Era Hip Hop beats and rhymes boom bap aesthetic. Will this album stand up to the rest of their solid back catalog? Find out below:

Best Joints: Intro, The All, Move, Move, Backslap, Somethingofnothin, Good Life, Poppers Pop, Breakers Break, Nothin’ To Lose, You Know My Name, Signature Flow, World Champion, A View To Kill, Stronger Than Love

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: This is a damn good throwback Hip Hop album from beginning to end. If you didn’t read the liner notes and I told you this album was made in 1997 you’d believe me easy. Especially when you hear Chitown legend Grav spit a guest verse. My neck was hurtin' about halfway through this album from noddin' so hard.

The production was top notch and Capital D brought lyrically time and time again. I had to put “The All”, “You Know My Name”, “World Champion” and “A View To A Kill” on repeat after hearing them for the first time. There wasn’t a weak moment on this album (Rita J ain't as ill as people make her out to be though). This album gets a mos def from me. Cop it.

Rahsaan Ahmad is a member of the widely respected and critically acclaimed crew Crown City Rockers. After going through some personal triumphs and turmoil he decided to record an album about them as a form of therapy. Will his music suffer as a result of this cathartic LP? Find out below:

Best Joints: Hello, If I, The Crush, Close, Give Thanks, Get Funky, Shining, The Pressure, Fight, Here We Go, Ready, Yusef, Cool Down

Hot Garbage: Due to the personal matter of some of these songs they weren’t really wack but I just personally wasn’t feeling Heavenbound, Cancer and Peace.

Dart’s Take: This is official West Coast organic Jazz and Funk influenced Hip Hop straight up and down. If you’re used to tales of drug dealing, murder, misogyny, and at least a fair amount of ig’nant shit with your Rap then you should just ignore this album completely.

Not only is much of this content personal to Rahsaan Ahmad but he’s not heavy on cursing and he’s fairly conscious. That spells kypronite to the typical Rap music buyer. Songs like “Give Thanks”, “Get Funky”, “Heavenbound”, “Shining”, “Cancer” (about his mother’s battle with the deadly disease) and “Peace” would make the typical fan press FFWD on the iTunes.

If you’re already a LA Symphony, Pigeon John or Crown City Rockers fan than this album is a no brainer purchase. For everyone else I suggest you give it a listen to determine if you can rock with that old organic live band West Coast Good Life era Hip Hop music.

If you’ve been a frequent visitor of any Hip Hop messageboard, blog or Elzhi from Slum Village’s MySpace page then I’m sure that you’ve heard several new Elzhi songs like “Save Ya”, “Fire”, “Audio Cinematic” or “The Transitional Joint (Baby Girl Glow)”. All of these songs can be found on the recently leaked tour CD called “Europass”. My review of it is just below:

Best Joints: Intro, That’s That One, Fire, The Reason, Talkin’ In My Sleep, Save Ya, The Know, High Off Life, Heart Of The City, The Transitional Joint (Baby Girl Glow), Dedicated, Motown 25 and Audio Cinematic

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: Dayum! I’ve heard a fair amount of these Elzhi joints before but I never had any good quality audio of them and the production on these tracks is top of the line (Black Milk, T3, DJ Drez, etc.). Elzhi doesn’t disappoint lyrically on any of these joints and he’s even given a run for his money by Royce Da 5’9” on the heat rock “Motown 25”.

I can’t wait until Elzhi releases the solo project or his Cold Steel collaboration with Phat Kat. This gets a mos def easy. Go forth and find it.

Ever since Naledge and Double O dropped their initial album back in 2006 Hip Hop heads have been fiending for more material. Naledge dropped a solo mixtape and Kidz In The Hall released “Detention” with Mick Boogie and “Geniuses Need Love Too”. N

Now that they’ve signed with Duck Down these cats are poised to make some serious noise in ‘08. Next thing you know, they’re on TRL and now their video for “Ridin’ Down The Block” is at #6 on the TRL countdown! The album was available for sale on iTunes this week and officially goes on sale this Tuesday. How did it grab me? Find out below:

Best Joints: Black Out, Paper Trail, Drivin’ Down The Block, Snob Hop, Mr. Alladatshit, Love Hangover, Middle Of The Map Pt.1 & 2, The Pledge, Inner Me and Drivin’ Down The Block Remix

Hot Garbage: Lucifer’s Joyride and Let Your Hair Down are both just meh to me but I absolutely detested The In Crowd. Hate hate hate.

Dart’s Take: This album sounds like it’s made to appeal to a wide audience and grab the ears of more than just Kidz In The Hall’s core fanbase. I felt that this album was too “mainstream” sounding and laid back at some points. Tracks featuring Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes and the godawful title track just didn’t do it for me at all.

The things that do work is when the Kidz do what they do best and Naledge rips it over Double O production. Guest appearances by Phonte of Little Brother, Skyzoo, Camp Lo, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson and host of others really work on this album as tracks like “Black Out”, “Snob Hop”, “Mr. Alladatshit”, “Middle Of The Map Pts. 1 & 2” and “The Pledge” are the crown jewels of the project. Overall, this is a really good LP but I preferred the style of “School Was My Hustle” and “Detention” personally.

Hopefully, this album does really well next Tuesday and gives Duck Down a much deserved spot in the Top 10 on Billboard soon. If kids are going to run out and cop a Hip Hop album because of MTV then I can’t hate if it’s this album or this group. I’m going with a recommended maybe because of excessive smoothness.

Last but not least, the review you’ve all been waiting for since it leaked: J Dilla’s never released MCA project “Pay Jay”. This album is going to be released in the future but first it needs to be mastered and given some cover art. Here’s my take on the project that first leaked through BlackGirlOnline and then hit the bloggerverse and lastly Okayplayer:

Best Joints: Diamonds, We F’ed Up, Fuck The Police, Remember, Fight Club, Creepin’ On You, Trucks, No One Knows, Drive Me Wild, The Diary Of J Dilla, Remember Remix

Hot Garbage: Just the fact that this unfinished project even leaked before it could’ve gotten the treatment it deserved first. The first version was missing producer credits and song titles for God’s sake! I feel kinda dirty for even downloading it in the first place.

Dart’s Take: This album was short as hell, but for fans of J Dilla that’s not really a surprise. His take on music was that shorter tracks often added to the replay factor of them. He only produced “Fuck The Police” which features different vocals from the one that was released as a 12”.

People often fall into the trap of putting these enormous expectations on any recording that Dilla was associated with so this was a rough disappointment to many of them. It wasn’t to me, I remember buying “Ruff Draft”, “Welcome To Detroit”, “Jaylib” and “Donuts”while he was alive as well as the Bling 47 beat CD’s and the J-88 project.

If “Diamonds”, “Creepin’ On You”, “No One Knows”, “Remember” or the remix or any of the other tracks on this project don’t get your head noddin’ prompt a rewind or two or stick in your head for the rest of the day after hearing them then I have no further words for you. Hopefully, heads at MCA get on their jobs and go the the vaults to shore this up and make a proper release out of it in the near future. As far just grading it on the fact that it’s some Dilla material I gotta give it a mos def and pray that it sees the light of day the right way.

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
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Immortal Technique-The 3rd World
Blu-God Is Good
Snowgoons-Black Snow
Termanology-Politics As Usual
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
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
Billy Danze-Behind Gatez
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
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of May 9th, 2008):

Diamonds-J Dilla (prod. by Nottz)
Motown 25-Elzhi f/Royce Da 5'9" (prod. by Black Milk)
What U Expected-Donny Goines (prod. by Statik Selektah)
I'm A Killya-Billy Danze f/Preacher (prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Things You Do-Joe Budden
Original Dynasty-Custom Made
World Champion-All Natural
Don't Take It Personal-Singapore Kane f/Big Shug (prod. by MoSS)
I'll Be Waitin'-J. Rawls & Middle Child (prod. by J. Rawls)
I Pledge-Kidz In The Hall f/Sean Price & Buckshot (prod. by Double O)
Iron Chef-Trunks f/Del The Funkee Homosapien
Sky Is Falling-Wiley f/Jookie Mundo (prod. by D-Minus)
J. One. s-Serius Jones
The Crush-Raashan Ahmad (prod. by Headnodic)
Too Real-Foxy Brown f/AZ
Where The Cash At?-Swizz Beats (prod, by Swizz Beats)
Yoko Ono-Danny! f/Che Grand (prod. by Danny Swain)
What The People Want-Donny Goines (prod. by Ron Browz)
Circulate-Carlos Nino & Lil' Sci
Middle Of The Map Pt. 2-Kidz In The Hall f/Black Milk & Guilty Simpson (prod. by Double O)
Plead For Your Life-D-12 f/Royce Da 5'9"
Gift Wrap-Che Grand (prod. by Brizzo)
A View To A Kill-All Natural
Jumanji-Mickey Factz f/Nakim, Nymesys, Charlie Clips, Smoke DZA & Curtains
No One Knows-J Dilla (prod. by Supa Dave West)

Son: Daddy what's a cavalier? Father: Something that gets it's ass kicked when it comes into The Jungle! @ Actual conversation I overheard from my window yesterday afternoon



DocZeus said...

Pistons Fans thought much like you did the last two years after going up 2-0 and quickly found that winning a game in Cleveland is damn near impossible.

It's going 2-2 back to Boston. Mark my words. You can't contain the best player on the planet in Quicken Loans Arena. Not by a long shot.

Especially considering you haven't won on the road in the playoffs this year.

padraig said...

co-sign on Grime Wave. a total meh. but, like you I'm willing to give Wiley a big free pass no matter how (inevitably) terrible his official album is, I can't think of another major artist who deserves some commercial success more. plus you know he'll still be pumping out raw mixtapes (of varying quality, but still) on the regular. actually I've been a feeling a strong pull to get back into grime/dubstep lately - there's not a ton of music coming out of the US that interests me right now and I've been listening to a TON of UK/2-Step Garage lately, almost exclusively actually. I don't know if you ever got into that - Double 99, Dem 2, Steve Gurley etc. but I just can't get enough. Also all the proto-grime from around '01-02.

Anyways I finally took the plunge & registered at Dissensus and saw that the Newham Generals LP is finally going to drop (supposedly), Goodz, plus Griminal and so on. Shaping up to be a good year for grime I think - seems to be on an upswing now that's not under such an exacting critical microscope.

Dart Adams said...


Since I'm American I didn't even realize that Grime Wave was just a collection of his recent popular material. Hopefully JME and Skepta's mixtapes/projects show up soon.


Aaron said...

That All Nat was nice. Came out of nowhere too. I think Cap is a lawyer now. That's kinda crazy.

Gotta check that Jay Dee & Elzhi this weekend.

Celts will drop the Cavs within 6.

Anonymous said...

Elzhi's verse on "Motown 25" = best verse of '08 thus far.

I'm anticipating a MOS DEF review of Nico the Beast's album....(obviously I'm biased).

padraig said...

dart: Actually I'm from the US as well. I also didn't realize Grime Wave was just a comp of his recent material until I read it on Dissensus. it is impossible to keep up with dude's output, even with Rinse & Logan's show & the forums - how many mixtapes did he release last year? five?

as far as the Adenuga bros - I dunno, their studio material has been hit or miss for me. definitely some great moments on the BBK mixtapes but "Greatest Hits" was imo garbage outside of 2-3 songs.

El A in the D said...

Dilla, Conant Gardens, 7 mile Represent. Maeby maybe fine in the future know that.

El A in the D said...

Conant Gardens- Detroit Michigan- Dilla- repped. Let's Rep Maebe too (fine in the making.