Friday, August 8, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #42 AKA The Anniversary Edition

I can't believe that a whole damn year has passed from the very first day I decided to sit my ass down in a chair and write a review blog for some of the new albums that were coming out. The story behind how it all came together is pretty interesting. First off, we all know that one of my major rules with this blog is to NOT do what everyone else is doing.

When I first started this blog out in January 2007, the way I figured I could draw in readership was by posting up CD's from my collection that no other blogs had posted yet or if they did I'd write this elaborate description of the uploaded album to make it stand out. Either way, it worked and soon I had a fairly decent following and I got props for my write ups from many of the most well known Hip Hop blogs on the internet like Oh Word and Wake Your Daughter Up.

Shortly after I started , I noticed that Jaz @ Cold Rock Da Spot, Dan Love @ From Da Bricks and Eric @ When They Remininsce began tearing shit up on the scene. They wrote about old school and Golden Age (1986-1989 & 1992-1996) Hip Hop in a way that opened my eyes to the possibilites. Jaz and Dan Love had bottomless crates and rare tracks and remixes for days. Eric was making me say "Dayum!" everytime I went to his site (I often experience this when I visit Floodwatch Music or No Trivia). I found myself realizing that I needed to vary it up because too many bloggers were doing great jobs out there. I had to put more of myself into Poisonous Paragraphs.

Another factor was that blogs began getting shut down left and right. I'll never forget the day Venomous Villain got hit with that Cease & Desist letter from Stones Throw on February 18th, 2007. I started getting e-mails from artists and their management to remove certain links. Shortly afterwards (May 2007) Travis @ WYDU wrote a blog about how we need to rethink what we were doing as Hip Hop bloggers. I couldn't keep on staying up until 3 A.M. uploading rare CD's to MediaFire anymore. I had to switch it up and write about random shit at the drop of a hat kinda like what Dallas Penn does. Yeah, that'll work!

After a few months of absolutely randomness of writing about cartoons, comic books, basketball, baseball and video games (plus the infamous break I took from blogging in July 2007) I figured that I'd appeal to more readers with my unique Hip Hop site. I'd ask other Hip Hop blogs if they'd link to me and 75% of them responded that they didn't think my blog was "Hip Hop enough" (for the record 80% of those blogs no longer exist). I was kinda pissed so I threw on my Adidas sling pack, my brand new Adidas ZXZ Advances put on my trusty (and still operational) 2 GB iPod Nano and took a walk.

I made it a couple of blocks before I ran into one of my boys from the South End, Big K.A.R. and we started walking around Newbury Street. Eventually, we hit up Newbury Comics where I realized that by looking at all of the new releases for the past few weeks that I had heard all of those albums as well as next weeks new releases. I was playing the new Kano, M.I.A and Swizz Beatz all in my iPod as we trekked around Boston that day.

Then we went to the Copley Square Mall and by chance ran into Statik Selektah and his peoples (ShowOff Records in the building!). I told him I was Dart Adams (he knew of me from the board days) and he hit me off with Royce Da 5'9"'s "The Bar Exam", Termanology's "Hood Politics V" and he said to look out for his new album "Spell My Name Right". I said "Bet, I'll review it" gave him dap and we went about our business. Later that night, I got home and listened to those CD's and wrote my very first What's New In Dart's iPod.

I decided to not do the rating on a numerical scale thing because rating an album from bad to good is purely subjective and based on your personal preferences and musical taste what's a "10" to me may be unlistenable garbage to you so I while I ad in my personal opinion I temper it with my own personal musical aesthetic biases and put the onus on the listener to determine if they like it or not ultimately. I also came up with theidea to use a picture of a person named after a phrase from seeing a Dallas Penn blog where he used pictures in a drop.

My clever ass thought that if I could find pictures of rappers with certain recognizable names that it would be a cool way to rate albums. Mos Def and Oh No were the first names that came to mind because they were both all over my iTunes but after that I got stuck. I was watching G4TV when an episode of Arrested Development came on and it hit me...Alia Shawkat's character's name in Arrested Development was Maebe Funke (Maybe Funky)! I'll use HER picture. The funny thing was that folks didn't get the joke and I got grief from Oh No fans (for dissing him (?) and people saying that "the girl in the picture isn't a maybe...she can get it" *rolls eyes and smacks forehead*

I also decided later on to have varying degrees of Maebe's (as opposed to Alia's). The better she looks in the picture the less of a "maybe" the album is and the more likely you'll like it (or I liked it). Even if I give a album a Mos Def you still might think it's meh. It's all on the individual listener in the end..all I offer is my own opinion. I came up with the Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept) section to reflect LP's that had also either leaked or are available for download on the internet or are now available for purchase in stores.

Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop just represent all of the albums that are on the horizon that I'm looking forward to. No one can visit my blog and see any of these lists week after week and tell me that out of ALL of these LP's none of them are good or that "nothing's coming out" or claim that "Hip Hop is dead". Then what am I reviewing every goddamn Friday?

The Fat Tape/CD-R represents the best songs floating around the 'net (and my e-mail inbox) from the past/previous week. After that month was over no one ever made the claim that Poisonous Paragraphs wasn't a "real Hip Hop blog" readership also shot through the roof after that summer because I had finally found my niche and voice as a blogger. Thanks to everyone who reads this blog and especially stops by every Friday or weekend to catch it since it's because the flagship post of this blog and it's even surpassed my Dartflix blogs in popularity.

The order I'm reviewing new joints this week goes as follows: AZ & DJ Absolut "N.4.L", The Clipse presents: Re-Up Gang, Strange Fruit Project presents S1's Music Box, K-Salaam & Beatnick "Whose World Is This?", Buff1 "There's Only One" and Elzhi "The Preface". For those of you new to the party, 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.

You got so used to Mother Goose, leeches and bums/so when you hear real rhymin' it's like we're speakin' in tounges! © Vursatyl

Best Joints: Introduction, Knowledge Freedom, The Secret, Heaven & Hell, 12 Jewels, Murder, The Teks On Deck, Negro Spiritual, Never Gonna Stop, Conspiracy, Runaway Slave, Nigga Games, I'm That Nigga, Originals, I Just Wanna and Self Saviour

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: This was a cool mixtape and a good listen from beginning to end. While it's a semi sequel to Nas's "Nigger" LP ("Untitled" my ass) it's a much easier album to digest and while it does deal with some major topics that doesn't dilute it's listenabilty. AZ brings it lyrically on each track and the beats are on point throughout the duration of the project. I give it a recommended maybe.

Best Joints: Million Dollar Corner, Street Money, Bring It Back, Emotionless, We Know and Zen

Hot Garbage: Re-Up Gang Intro, Fast Life, My Life's The Shit, Money, Been Thru So Much, Still Got It For Cheap and Show You How To Hustle

Dart's Take: I could get behind The Clipse when they had a signature sound that fit their style perfectly. Hearing them over sub far production just highlights how repetitive and sometimes boring they are. The Re-Up Gang is easy to stomach over classic beats but when you ProTool old verses off of their previous mixtapes and put them over lazy joints the results are meh. This "album" bored me to tears and it was a chore to listen to it all the way through. Hopefully, The Clipse will find a new sound that suits them before "Till The Casket Drops" drops or it'll be a wrap on them. This gets an oh no from me.

Best Joints: Intro/Music Box, Mash, Everybody Clap, Neva, Next Level, Life Is A Movie, Chemistry, Callin' Me, Know Your Name, Who Stole The Music?, Be Sure, Jimmy Swag Art, Upper Echelon and Tire

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: This was an excellent mix of Hip Hop and R&B produced by underground beatmaker Symbolyc One of Strange Fruit Project. S1's versatilty is showcased brilliantly in these 14 tracks. While every joint kept your attention the standouts in my opinion were "Mash", "Everybody Clap", "Neva", "Callin' Me", "Jimmy Swag Art" and "Upper Echelon". If you want to hear some good under the radar Hip Hop that doesn't beat you over the head then check for this. I give S1's new project a highly recommended maybe.

Best Joints: Whose World Is This?, We Gotta Take It, Street Life, Feel, Sail On, As We Continue, The World Is Ours, Fallen Soldierz, Babylon (Must Be Mad), What Are We Fighting For?, Bad Mind, Vieques P.S.A., Never Let Us Down, Where I'm From, The Truth, Revolution and Refugees

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: K-Salaam & Beatnick split specialties between Hip Hop and Reggae and boast a list of guest appearances that includes Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Papoose, Saigon, Sizzla, Anthony B, Capleton, Young Buck, Kardinal Offishall, Black Ice, Bobbito Garcia and closes with more spoken word from the incomparable Suheir Hammad. This project is definitely rebel music and the entire theme is of a political nature so it's already narrowed down it's listening audience some. K-Salaam and Beatnick's production shines through on the following tracks: "Feel", "Sail On", As We Continue", "Bad Mind". "The World Is Ours" and "Refugees". If you love political Hip Hop and Reggae then this is for you. I give this a recommended maybe.

Best Joints: There's Only One, Goodness Music, Beat The Speakers Up, Dream Streets, Man Up, I Know The Secret, The Sky, Classic Rap, Love The Love, Never Fall, Rain Dance, Numbers Can't Measure, Real Appeal, Electrifying Music Maker, Goin' Nowhere and Once

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Between Buff1's lyrics and production from the Lab Techs and Black Milk this album is fuckin' ridiculoid (just like his previous project "Pure"). All you have to do is listen to tracks like "Goodness Music", "Beat The Speakers Up", "Dream Streets", "Never Fall", "Numbers Can't Measure" and "Electrifying Music Maker" and you'll be in head noddin' agreement. This joint is solid from beginning to end and doesn't disappoint in any way. I give "There's Only One" a mos def.

Best Joints: Intro (The Preface), The Leak, Guessing Game, Motown 25, Brag Swag, Colors, Fire Remix, D.E.M.O.N.S, Save Ya, Yeah, Transitional Joint, Talking In My Sleep, The Science, Hands Up, What I Write and Growing Up

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Elzhi + Black Milk= Hip Hop classic. Yeah, I said it! If you already heard "EuroPass" then you know this albums jump off point. Add to that "Guessing Game", "Colors", "The Leak", "Hands Up" and "What I Write" and you get a mos def rating from me and a Top 5 Album Of The Year candidate. Cop it when it drops on August 12th.

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

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

Joe Budden-Padded Room
Rhymefest-El Che
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
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
Capone-N-Noreaga-Reporting The War
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
Royce Da 5'9"-The Bar Exam 2
The Beatnuts-The Planet Of The Crates
Common Market-Tobacco Road
Skepta-Microphone Champion
Statik Selektah-Stick 2 The Script
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
Rapper Big Pooh-Rapper's Delight

Dart's Mega Fat Tape/CD-R (as of August 8th, 2008):

Sticks & Stones-Morgan Zarate f/Eska & Ghostface Killah (prod. by Morgan Zarate)
Alphabets-GZA (prod. by True Master)
Everything Is Heltah Skeltah-Heltah Skeltah (prod. by Illmind)
Still Significant-Samon Kawamura f/Kev Brown (prod. by Samon Kawamura)
Fade Back (Rmx)-Quest M.C.O.D.Y. f/Royce Da 5'9", Guilty Simpson & Marvwon
100 Yard Dash-Raphael Saadiq (prod. by Raphael Saadiq)
Guessing Game-Elzhi (prod. by Black Milk)
Summertime-Wiley (prod. by Wiley)
Rappers Ain't Shit-Crooked I
The Truest-Jon Hope
Out My Window-Koushik (prod. by Koushik)
Feel-Talib Kweli (prod. by K-Salaam & Beatnick)
Write Back-Now On f/Shawn Jackson
The Right-DJ I-Dee f/Jean Grae & Wreckonize (prod. by DJ I-Dee)
Keep Doing Your Thing-Theo f/Skyzoo (prod. by Kris Fame)
Wrong-Supastition (prod. by M-Phazes)
Going Nutz-Royce Da 5'9"
Callin' Me-S1 f/Phonte (prod. by Symbolyc One)
Moonshoes-Samiyam (prod. by Samiyam)
Blood Missles-Raekwon
Nightlife-Spec Boogie (prod. by Benny Guinness)
0% Finance-GZA (prod. by Bronze Nazareth)
Superman-The Game (prod. by Just Blaze)
The DJ- DJ Revolution f/KRS One (prod. by DJ Revolution)
Chandal 500-Mwesleee (prod. by Mweslee)
Never Fall-Buff1 f/Black Milk (prod. by Black Milk)
Learn-Vordul Mega (prod. by R.A.V.A.G.E)
In The Ghetto-Large Professor (prod. by Large Professor)
Know It's Me-Praverb (prod. by Dominus)
Security-Lil' Fame (prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Bust Your Windows-Jazmine Sullivan (prod. by Salaam Remi)
Rat Pack Rap-Zilla Rocca f/MAGr & Nico The Beast (prod. by Zilla Rocca)
Colors-Elzhi (prod. by Black Milk)
Bad Mind-Saigon (prod. by K-Salaam & Beatnick)
Lying In The Sun-Koushik (prod. by Koushik)
Dream Streets-Buff1 (prod. by Lab Techs)
Oh Girl-Raphael Saadiq (prod. by Raphael Saadiq)
Shadows Of Hell-Pain Language (Planet Asia & DJ Muggs) (prod. by DJ Muggs)
Never Seen A Thing-The Red Giants f/Spec Boogie, Che Grand & Tanya Morgan (prod. by Jermiside & Brickbeats)
Turn The Lights On-Emanative f/Ahu (from Dolly) (prod. by Emanative)
The Rush-Mickey Factz f/Smoke DZA (prod. by Ibe)
Sail On-Sizzla (prod. by K-Salaam & Beatnick)
Upper Echelon-S1 f/Skyzoo, Supastition & Dow Jones (prod. by Symbolyc One)
Jockin' Jay-Z-Jay-Z (prod. by Kanye West)

The world is ours...but we just haven't claimed it yet! © Black Ice



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews, definitely one of the best on the internets

rafi said...

i liked the personal history lesson it began like the South Bronx of blog posts.

Dart didn't care, he turned it out
I know a few understand what I'm talkin about

Eric said...

Thanks for the props kid!!!


Anonymous said...

Dallas Penn's b;log sucks.

Keep doing your thing Dart. You are worldwide playboy.

Big up to Boston. to Statik, and to my neezy Joell Ortiz.

Watch out for Statik's new album. He got a track with Talib, Skyzoo and Joell that is crazy.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the props and the mention, great post (as usual), always reading (as usual)...RIP Big Bernie Mac.

Halftime* said...

hella dope site i check it out weekly
heres a free citiZEn Xavier
philly mc

AaronM said...

I emailed you already to congratulate you, but this is still a milestone.
Keep going.

Travis said...

Word man, I check this shit every weekend just to see your opinion and check to see what I may have missed. Keep doing the do man! And thanks for the props...

DL said...

Thanks for the props Dart: you know you're my man.

Always tuning into your musings, I thinks it's great to see how our various sites have mutated as time has passed.

Now just get rid of some of those damn pictures and I'll be able to comment more often... damn slow internet connection ;)