Friday, September 4, 2009

What's New In Dart's iPod #94 AKA Only Built 4 Hip Hop Fiendz...

This week's review blog was late due to the sheer volume of projects I received this week and the fact my entire family decided to show up this Friday. LOL. I'll be writing about the Patriots upcoming season on Armchair Linebacker and I'll get back to posting guest blogs on Nerd With Swag this weekend (I promise!). I'd like to say Rest In Peace to DJ AM, pray for the recoveries for Kon of Kon & Kon & Amir and Grandmaster Roc Raida of the world famous X-Men/X-ecutioners . Marvel was acquired by Disney. Apple is going to unleash Hell on the 9th and I'm really looking forward to seeing "Gamer" and "9" as well. Hopefully, the Red Sox can handle business and nail down this Wild Card spot. Lastly, I'd like to welcome #7 Marquis Daniels to Boston. Let's get this ring, fam!

This week I'll be reviewing seven new projects that recently hit the 'net/bloggerverse and/or will be landing on store shelves soon in the following order: Def Jux presents IV, Jay-Z "The Blueprint 3", MAGr "No News Is Good News", Mayer Hawthorne "A Strange Arrangement", Raekwon "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2", DJ Warrior & DJ Skillz featuring Reservoir Dogs "Reservoir Dogs Mixtape"and Termanology "Hood Politics VI: Time Machine". For those of you new to this blog, 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 recently revised "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:

Opinions be damned. This particular project has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and should come with a Surgeon General's warning and/or a biohazard sticker. It should only be handled by hazmat teams or bomb/demolitions squads. To quote Common & Canibus, this album is your worst nightmare squared.

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.

Ayo, Langston...go to the store! © Raekwon

Best Joints: Reports Of A Possible Kidnapping, When You're Going Down, Look Alive, Worm In Her Vein, Gas Galaxy, Digi Data, D-Up, We Do The Work, You Do The Pleasure, Domestic Animals, Halogen Glow and Live Or Die

Hot Garbage: How To Serve Man (The Meanest Things I'd Never Say)

Dart's Take: I have to say that I was really enjoying the overwhelming majority of the tracks collected on this Def Jux compilation. It was a mix of unreleased joints, a collection of teasers for upcoming projects as well as a chance to highlight the direction Def Jux taken recently in making some "more dusty than digital" recordings with a more futuristic aesthetic. I'm always up for hearing any Camu Tao/Central Services material (El-P, we need those albums yesterday), Despot & Rob Sonic need to have their albums drop (again...yesterday), Rob Sonic & Aesop Rock AKA Hail Mary Mallon?...Yes please. A Cage song where he actually rhymes? Win.

Why is Yak Ballz rappin' about robot girls & gas galaxies now? I have his old vinyl and his albums. Did he pull a reverse Cage or some shit? "Digi Data"? Meh. Chin Chin? Niiice. Where's Danny Swain? Couldn't toss a Danny track on there? No old MURS, Del or anyone else who left the label that doesn't sound like it was made for the soundtrack of James Cameron's upcoming "Avatar" movie? The El-P solo track? thank you. Best I can do is a maybe because it's a Def Jux compilation missing about 6 dudes that I used to actually check for the most.

Best Joints: What We Talkin' About, Thank You, D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune) ( it dead?), Run This Town (or "Turn This Down" when Rihanna belts out the hook), Empire State of Mind, Real As It Gets, On To the Next One (Shut up, Swizz!) Off That, A Star is Born (beat is meh), Venus vs. Mars (meh), Already Home (Just block out Cudi), Hate, Reminder (hate the hook) and So Ambitious

Hot Garbage: Young Forever (BOOOOO!!!)

Dart's Take: If I look at this album for what it is, a commercial album made specifically to move a ton of music that reflects what's rockin' in the clubs, on the radio and what will more than likely end up in a gang of commercials or as someone's ringtone then this album is a rousing success. If I look at this album strictly as a head, it's just meh to me. It's completely over A& R'd. Nowhere near enough headnod material for my taste. Jay will black out on shit like "What We Talkin' About" and "Thank You" then seemingly coast through the rest of the album. Huh? Can I get some more effort? I KNOW you don't even read to write this shit anymore. With all that sad after the initial leaks I was afraid this album was gonna completely suck *cough!* Loso's Way *cough!* but it didn't. It's just...okay.

AutoTune is nowhere near dead. There's some on this album. *Blank stare* Since this is a major label album I already know there's a chance my ears will bleed at least once. Jay saved his absolute worse for last, "Young Forever". I'll sleep with a gun beneath my pilloe for at least another week because of this song. The best I can do for "The Blueprint 3" is a maybe. I would've gone up to a recommended maybe but I couldn't due to lack of head nod material, hooks I hated and the overall commercial feel of the project. You'll buy it anyways so I ain't hurting Jay's pockets.

Best Joints: You, Tokyo Raul, Starvin', Flava, The Motivator, Kupps, Feste, West Coastin', Buttafly, Titan, Laminated Looseleafs, Face To Face, Major Law, Rap Pack Outro, Pause and Pussy

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: MAGr, two hungry ass emcees rhyming their asses off over production from DistantStarr, Fel Sweetenberg, Hudson Mohawke, Le N?ko & Erik L. Guest stars on this project include underground heroes like Blu, Cymarshall Law, Ethel Cee, Zilla Rocca, 2ew Gunn Ciz & Nico The Beast. These cats don't take any bars off or coast through any songs. The headnod factor is higher than giraffe pussy to quote Richard Pryor.

I scrunched up my face so often my brother handed me some ibuprofen once thinking I was in pain. These nutcases are giving this shit away for free? OK, fellas. Download "No News Is Good News" now before MAGr comes to their fuckin' senses. It gets a highly recommended maybe. Get it here NOW

Best Joints: Prelude, A Strange Arrangement, Just Ain't Gonna Work Out, Maybe So, Maybe No, Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin', I Wish It Would Rain, One Track Mind, The Ills, Shiny And New, Let Me Know and Green Eyed Love

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: I've had this album for more than a month and I've played it to death since. If you heard the Now On album "Tomorrow Already" (if you haven't smack yourself as it was one of the best albums of 2008) then the evolution of Mayer Hawthorne wasn't too much of a surprise to you. I remember the first time I heard "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out", I was like "I can't wait to hear this album!". Anticipation for this project stayed sky high as remixes and additional tracks dropped. Once I received the final project what I heard was throwback vintage Soul like the 45's my brother and I occasionally dig through. I've played individually tracks from this album to people disguised as obscure Soul songs while I pored through YouTube for my 'Diggas Know!" posts on Twitter and only one person said "Is that song new/ a remake?".

As you make it through each selection of the album you get the urge to rewind it once or multiple times right after you heard it ("A Strange Arrangement", "Just Ain't Gonna Work Out", "Maybe So, Maybe No", "I Wish It Would Rain" & "Green Eyed Love" killed my most played list on iTunes). Thanks to Mayer Hawthorne, the good people @ Stones Throw and the engineer(s) on this project I give "A Strange Arrangement" a mos def.

Best Joints: Return Of The North Star, House Of Flying Daggers, Sonny's Missing, Pyrex Vision, Cold Outside, Black Mozart, Gihad, New Wu, Penitentiary, Baggin' Crack, Surgical Gloves, Broken Safety, Canal Street, Ason Jones, Have Mercy, 10 Bricks, Fat Lady Sings, Catalina, We Will Rob You, About Me, Mean Streets & Kiss The Ring

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: I didn't understand why people where comparing "The Blueprint 3" and "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2" to each other like they were on equal footing. Had Jay-Z decided to make an album for the heads as opposed to a commercially viable project I'd go along with it. You can compare "OB4CL" and "Reasonable Doubt" freely, these two? Not so much. It wouldn't be Jay-Z , that is.

This album is exactly what we Wu heads have been expecting from Raekwon since 1995. "Immobilarity" was hindered by Infinite Arkatecks limited capabilities behind the boards. "The Lex Diamond Story" had far too many no name producers trying to create the soundscape. We almost thought we'd never get another high level effort from Rae again.

The first tracks from the original "OB4CL2" project like "Flawless Crowns", "Treasurers", "Baggage Handlers", "Fly Shawty Penelope" and the like had people convinced that Rae was gonna bring it this album. He didn't disappoint in the least. I didn't skip a second of this entire project. Not one. It took me about 3 hours just to get through my first full listen due to replays, rewinds and talking shit on Twitter.

This is what albums should aspire to be cohesive, no filler, no wasted bars, no pandering to other markets, no obvious attempts at getting spins, no eyebrow raising guest appearances, just bring your A game and swing for the goddamn fences quality wise. Raekwon lived up to his promise. Is it a classic? Nah. Is it one of the best albums of 2009? Easily.

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2" gets a no brainer mos def from me. Let's see what Ghostface Killah has for the people on deck on September 29th, shall we?

Best Joints: Family Affair, Back Up, D.R.E.A.M., Man Up, Trunk Rattle, 'Til Infinity, Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino, Call Me, 3 Words, Bury Ya Sound, Got Em', Next Selection, Not Your Regular Club Song, Pancake, HOJ Get Money and Takin' Over

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: This is a dope ass mixtape. Rapper Big Pooh, Joe Scudda, Chaundon & Jozeemo murder a gang of classic beats, toss in a solo track each and have some exclusive thrown into the mix as well. If you're fan of Hip Hop or the Hall Of Justus/Justus League then you need this yesterday. I give it a recommended maybe. If there were more original beats and they didn't spit over "Blame It On The Alcohol" & "We Takin' Ova" it would've been upgraded to highly recommended easy. Download the "Reservoir Dogs Mixtape" HERE

Best Joints: Nobody's Smilin', Brown Paper Bag, Stick Up, Time Machine, Wild Puerto Ricans, Forever, My Boston, Hold That, It's A Shame, God's World, Music Industry RMX, Passion Iz Money, Bout To Go Down, Nothing Iz Real, Good Day and I See Dead People

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart's Take: Some cats make mixtapes of previously unreleased material and you roll your eyes at the the feature tracks, remixes and outtakes from previous projects. Not with Term you don't. His "Hood Politics" series are just like albums. You have no reservations about coming out of your pockets for these jawns. Production is handled by heavyweights like DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, The Alchemist, Fizzy Womack, Statik Selektah and MoSS.

Guest appearances from Lil' Fame, Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9, Crooked I, Consequence, Akrobatik & members of ST Da Squad (What up, Lawtown?) round out this project. "Time Machine" bangs from beginning to end. I can't wait to hear the 1982 (Lil' Fame & Termanology) project or Term's re-up if this is any indication of the quality of music to expect in the future. I give it a highly recommended maybe. Go cop it...

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

Projects I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop in 2009:

Rhymefest-El Che
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Royce Da 5'9"-Street Hop
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot, Son Of Chico Dusty
Pac Div-Grown Kid's Syndrome
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Blu-God Is Good
Drake- Thank Me Later
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
Alchemist & Oh No are Gangrene
Eternia & MoSS- At Last
B.O.B.-The Adventures Of B.O.B.
Billy Danze-Behind Gatez
Masta Ace & Ed O.G. (A&E)-Arts & Entertainment
AG & O.C.-Oasis: Together Brothers
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
The Beatnuts-The Planet Of The Crates
Ski Beatz-Half Man, Half Amazing
Evidence-Cats & Dogs
Statik Selektah-The Hangover

The entire Marvel Universe is now beneath the all encompassing umbrella of The Walt Disney Company. Will it be a Dark Reign or is it a Secret Invasion instead?



elgringocolombiano said...

listening to this Term shyt now...

Dart, what do you know about this producer "M Will The Shotgun" on this Term album? His 2 beats here are dope.

Term has a mild form of "Nas disease" aka "Joe Camel BP3 disease" aka meh beats picking disorder on his albums, & no album cohesion due to having too many producers. Get Premier to make 10 beats & call that the album. Or this M Will dude as a backup if Preemo is "too busy".

Rapping wise, Term is a great MC.

Dart Adams said...

@ elgringocolombiano:

M Will The Shogun is also known as Marlon Williams Jr. son of Marley Marl himself.