Friday, August 15, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #43 AKA The Kendrick Perkins Edition

After last week's blowout extravaganza I decided that I should dial it back down a notch this week and just go back to the roots of this post series. Therefore I'd like to dedicate (or livicate) this week's review post to the man in the middle on the 2008 NBA World Champion Boston Celtics, Kendrick "The Hulk" Perkins. He was a top NBA center prospect coming out of Texas in high school. He completely dominated the Adidas ABCD Camps during his junior and senior seasons, often even outshining other top Adidas prospects like Sebastian Telfair, LeBron James, Josh Smith and Dwight Howard.

When Kendrick Perkins entered the NBA he soon realized that he would have to rework his entire game and raise his conditioning and intensity level if he wanted to stick in the NBA and even have a chance of cracking the Celtics rotation. He came into camp 20+ pounds overweight but through his new found determination and tireless work ethic he got into excellent shape and found his way onto the court in his rookie season as a defensive presence, enforcer and a rebounder.

In high school, Perk scored 40+ points a game and grabbed 20+ rebounds a contest without even trying. In the NBA the talent level and athleticism of the players was so high that he wasn't going to be an offensive juggernaut like his best friend Al Jefferson had found himself to be. Kendrick Perkins was a natural at grabbing boards, blocking shots and keeping opposing players out of the paint. When he and Al Jefferson were in the game together people called them "The Wonder Twins". One wrecks, the other destroys.

Eventually, Perk had worked on his game and fought his way back from several injuries that halted his progress until he improved to the point that the Celtics brass saw him as the key to the Celtics having a dominant defense. If they could build around "The Hulk" and find other players with his commitment to stopping people and his strength, tenacity, fire and intensity they could begin to win again. As luck would have it, Kevin Garnett became available and the C's shipped off Al Jefferson and a gang of other talented players to acquire The Big Ticket, the rest is history.

Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett teamed together to form one of the most imposing defensive PF/C tandems in NBA history. They blocked shots and changed several more, cleaned more glass than a case of Windex and intimidated every team in the NBA. They made the most efficient offenses grind to a complete halt and tossed the toughest players in the NBA around like rag dolls. You could forget about driving to the hole and chances are if you went against Hulk for a board you got a chest full of elbow (just ask Lamar Odom and Pau "I'm Not A Racist!" Gasol).

Kendrick Perkins finished this past NBA season by only averaging 7 points, 6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game (but in less than 25 minutes per game!) and set a Boston Celtics record by shooting .615 from the field this past season and winning and NBA championship ring. Not bad for someone most NBA experts and analysts said would be the weak link in the Celtics championship hopes at the beginning of the season (while I said otherwise)? Then again, haven't I proven by now that I know more about basketball than they do? LOL.

The order I'm reviewing new joints this week goes as follows: Large Professor "Main Source", Koushik "Out My Window", MF Doom & Trunks presents Unicron, Ice Cube "Raw Footage", The Game "LAX" and GZA/Genius "Pro Tools". 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.

They can't say nothin' about me now...I'm a champion! © Kendrick "The Hulk" Perkins

Best Joints: The Entrance, In The Ghetto, Hardcore Hip Hop, Frantic Barz, R U Dope/Dap/Noyd, Classic Emergency, Large Pro Says, To The Meadows & The Hardest

Hot Garbage: Rockin' Hip Hop is straight up manure but Hot: Sizzling, Scorching, Torching, Blazing, 'Maica Living, Pump Ya Fist, Party Time and Sewin' Love (instrumental please!) were all just meh to me.

Dart's Take: Large Pro AKA The Live Guy With Glasses decided to rhyme in an old school way to harken back to his Main Source days. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'm an LP fan from way back and I loved his instrumental albums and I even liked "1st Class" but this project was hit and miss with me for the most part. As far as some questionable song titles and awkward choruses this album was pretty inconsistent and the best I could do was give it a maybe. I did like the "Who's The Man" redo and the Marco Polo track but do we really need to hear "The Hardest" again?

Best Joints: Morning Comes, Be With, Lying In The Sun, Coolin', Buttaflybeat, See You, Nothing's The Same, Welcome, Corner Of Your Smile, In A Green Space, Ifoundu, Outerlude, Bright And Shining, Forest Loop, Out My Window and Flying On

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: I have always loved Koushik's remixes on Stones Throw and I bought his "Be With" EP way back in 2005. If you love atmospheric music with airy vocals and instrumentals featuring breakbeats with strings then you should definitely seek this project out. If you don't go for that type of thing at all then you should avoid this album like smart people do with BET.

Best Joints: Monsters, Devastator, Lockjaw, Last Laugh, The Story & Who's A Hero

Hot Garbage: N/A (This project is way too short and most of these songs plus a few of Trunks demos leaked on The Smoking Section way back in the winter)

Dart's Take: This project took way too long to surface and it's way too short to consider purchasing even though Trunks did his thing on it. "Monsters" and "Who's A Hero" were all over the blogs back in January/February and "Lockjaw" is from Doom's 2005 King Geedorah "Take Me To Your Leader" LP. That means that only "Devastator", "Last Laugh" and "The Story" weren't heard before. I give this project a maybe due to length but be on the lookout for future Trunks projects cuz he's nice with it. Edit: Apparently this isn't the finished project after all (Thank God!). To check the status of this as of yet unreleased project that I've been tracking since January 2008 check Unicron's official MySpace here

Best Joints: It Takes A Nation, Why Me?, Tomorrow and Take Me Away (I Got My Locs On, Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It, Hood Mentality and Stand Tall are all just meh to me)

Hot Garbage: Cold Places, Jack N The Box, Do Ya Thang, Thank God, Here He Come, Get Money, Spend Money, No Money and Get Used To It

Dart's Take: I haven't been a big Cube fan since his flow and lyricism seemed to deteriorate with the release of his "Lethal Injection" album back in 1993. The double album "War and Peace" was terrible as Ice Cube switched to his "Don Mega" rap style and he hasn't sounded right ever since. I couldn't get into this album at all. It was a chore to listen to Cube and his slow, choppy flow over these bland, repetitive keyboard beats. I realize that I can't expect Cube to sound like he did back between 1987-1992 in 2008 so I'd prefer to listen to cats that haven't "lost it" with the passing of time. You couldn't even pay me money to sit through "Raw Footage" again *erases it from iTunes and empties Trash on my brand new laptop*

Best Joints: LAX Files, State Of Emergency, Bulletproof Wallets, Cali Sunshine, Ya Heard, House Of Pain, Gentleman's Affair, Let Us Live, Touchdown, Angel, Never Can Say Goodbye, Dope Boys, Letter To The King

Hot Garbage: N/A (My Life, Money and Game's Pain were all just meh in my opinion)

Dart's Take: This album leaked late last night before I fell asleep so I downloaded it and didn't play it until early this morning. After about 5 listens I came to my conclusion. This is a solid album but I've heard at least between 25-30 albums better than it this year already. The best I can say is that it's one of the best major label projects to drop so far. I'd say that this album is on par with "The Doctor's Advocate" but there were too many collaborations with R&B artists right after each other for my tastes. They should've been spaced out more.

Tracks like "Bulletproof Wallets", "Dope Boys" and "Letter To The King" were the standouts on "LAX" but the pursuit of singles and radio play hamstrung this album's chances of being considered a "Best Of 2008" candidate in my opinion. I give this album a recommended maybe because if you replaced the Raheem DeVaughn song with Just Blaze's "Superman" and dropped "Money" for a Kanye West track this could've been a different album.

Best Joints: Intromental, Pencil, Alphabets, Groundbreaking, 7 Pounds, 0% Finance, Short Race, Colombian Ties, Firehouse, Path Of Destruction, Cinema/Life Is A Movie, Elastic Audio (1112 & freestyle)

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: GZA hasn't lost a step unlike Cube. His flow, lyricism, creativity and delivery are just as great as they were back in 1993 as it is in 2008. It was also a plus that the Wu Elements (RZA, True Master, 4th Disciple, Allah Mathematics, Bronze Nazareth,etc.) handled the beats. Why is it that RZA can focus for a Wu album but his own projects are borderline unlistenable? I'm so impressed with GZA's ability to go from battle raps to storyteller to going back and forth with another emcee. This is a masterfully executed project and if 0% Finance and Short Race had less subdued beats this would be a Top 20 album of '08. I give it a mos def.

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
New Jack Hustle (Shawn Jackson & Newman)-Sound Check

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of August 15th, 2008):

Top Shelf-Pain Language (Planet Asia & DJ Muggs) f/KRS One (prod. by DJ Muggs)
Sorry For The Hurtin'-CL Smooth f/ Gage
Bulletproof Diaries-The Game f/Raekwon
Windows Media Player-Charles Hamilton
7 Pounds-GZA
Who's A Hero?-Unicron (MF Doom & Trunks) (prod. by MF Doom)
Stolen-Rhymefest (prod. by No I.D.)
Exhale-Random f/Naledge
To The Meadows-Large Professor (prod. by Large Professor)
A Day In The Life-East Flatbush Project (prod. by Spencer Bellamy)
Highly Doubted-Bash Bros.
Coolin'-Koushik (prod. by Koushik)
Pencil-GZA f/Masta Killa & RZA
The Illest-Killah Priest & Chief Kamachi f/Planet Asia & DJ Rhettmatic
Fancy Life-Sene (prod. by CheerfulMood)
Angel-The Game f/Common
The Signs-Crooked I f/One-2
Monsters- Unicron (MF Doom & Trunks) (prod. by MF Doom)
Forces Of Nature-Rhymefest (prod. by DJ Jazzy Jeff)
Find A Way-Roscoe Umali f/Talib Kweli
Cross Your Heart-Chino XL f/Bun B (prod. by Focus)
Firehouse-GZA f/Ka
The Inspiration-Mickey Factz
Letter To The King-The Game f/Nas
Kill Bill O'Reilly-East Coast Avengers

I got mouths to feed and unnecessary beef is more cows to breed © GZA/Genius



mALiZ said...

Back a few weeks ago someone requested some tracks off Unicron. So I dropped all those songs you "reviewed". That isn't the whole album. Seems someone from a particular forum (I saw it start there) labeled it as the whole album. Its spread like wildfire throughout the net even HHB posted it. But This isn't the whole LP just a bunch of tracks "supposely" to be on the album.

Dart Adams said...

@ maliz

If that's the case then it's a relief to me. I've had the Unicron project on my list ever since January and since no one knew the status of either the Unicron project or Trunks upcoming album I had to go with what I saw. You know what they say about what happens when you assume, right? As I said in my review, it wasn't many more songs than I'd already heard from the previous leak.


Anonymous said...

hyped.. really excited about picking up the new GZA tuesday...

Anonymous said...

The Game album is dope as hell!, but then again, you ARE a Celtics fan...So that qualifies you as being somewhat delusional.

John Q said...

Cool Review. Go ot get into Gza's new joint.

Dart Adams said...

@ jo jo dancer:

Between all of the name dropping, R&B collaborations and dedications to people he never met it was a solid album but nowhere near as good as the top albums released thus far this year.