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Old 11.15.2014, 12:21 AM   #1361
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Mobb Deep - Blood Money - 2006 - Interscope
Amerikaz Nightmare seemed to leave Mobb Deep and Jive Records disenchanted with each other. So when 50 Cent came around offering them a new deal, it seemed like a good idea. And why not? G-Unit was still at the top of their game, and the Mobb was looking for some newfound relevance. To some degree this worked. Certainly a younger generation was introduced to the group thanks to G-Unit. But the end result sounds like the duo was far more strangled out of their own creativity than even on Amerikaz Nightmare. The best way to put it is that Blood Money sounds like a pretty average G-Unit album, but a mediocre Mobb Deep album. That's no surprise skimming through the liner notes. Ten of the album's sixteen tracks feature G-Unit members. Less than half are produced by Havoc. Even one of the bonus tracks is actually a 50 Cent song featuring Mobb Deep, rather than vice versa. It really comes off as a wasted partnership. There are a couple of standout tracks here, though. "Pearly Gates" is actually a great collaboration with 50 that focuses on religion. Though it's somewhat ruined by the fact that several of Prodigy's lines are edited out of the label's reluctance of the content-matter. It's baffling why they kept the edited lines instead of writing new ones. The lone Alchemist production "The Infamous" rides an awesome sample of Grandwizard Theodore that sounds far better than any beat on the album. And speaking of beats, while many of them are paint-by-numbers G-Unit, "Creep" is borderline annoying. Fans of either group will be curious to hear this one. And ultimately it's not a terrible album. It's just definitely not up to the greatness that Mobb Deep is capable of.

 

Jay-Z - International Gangster - 2008 - Starz Music
Considering American Gangster received an official acapella release (much like The Black Album), it's not shocking that bootleg remix albums will pop up. This one doesn't seem to have a whole lot of reason to exist, however. Which is not to say that the remixes are bad. They're all perfectly fine. But the original versions are just so good. And oddly, a lot of the remixes here seem to use the same pallet of sounds - 70's organs, jazz-funk guitars, and the likes. So the result comes off as lesser versions of similar songs. In fairness, a couple step out of that mold slightly. "Hello Brooklyn" actually sounds a lot more like the rest of the album than it did on American Gangster proper, for instance. For the most part this album is a decent listen, though there are some perplexing choices made. For instance - and I know this is nit-picky, but if you're going to keep Jay's adlibs about riding out the horns ("Roc Boys"), then you should probably have some horns on the backing track, less it just makes no sense. Also, there are five bonus tracks, literally listed as "Bonus 1" through "Bonus 5," that as far as I can tell are nothing but the first five songs on the album played over again. I have no idea. But I will give Big Mike props for choosing to not yell DJ drops over all the tracks. That at least makes it feel more like an album than a mixtape. Ultimately this is a serviceable remix project, but not one that would earn repeated listens.
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Old 11.15.2014, 12:41 PM   #1362
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Hey, has anyone been paying attention to the leading singles from the forthcoming self titled debut album by PRhyme (aka Royce da 5'9 and DJ Premier)?

A couple of songs are available on Spotify, and I must say the album sounds like it's going to be a fuckin' gem! Seriously. I mean, we've all come to expect great things from Premo, but I've never been particularly into Royce... Actually I've never been into him at all. Maybe that's why I'm so shocked to hear that these tracks are so good.

It's nothing particularly new or different sounding, but these two seem to just work well together. The songs are solid, sand I think the album is going to be a must own. Here's a really poorly written Wikipedia excerpt:


PRhyme is the upcoming eponymous studio album by American hip hop duo PRhyme, consisting of Royce da 5'9" and DJ Premier.[1] The album is scheduled to be released on December 9, 2014, through their own record label PRhyme Records.[2] The 9-track collection is set to feature guest appearances from rappers Killer Mike, Jay Electronica, Common, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q, Slaughterhouse, Mac Miller and soul singer Dwele.[3] PRhyme will have all its production by Premier, as well as all the samples will be taken from psychedelic soul composer and producer Adrian Younge.[4] The album was supported by the single "Courtesy".

Hear that? Adrian Younge, at it again.

So forget the association with Eminem. I know it's hard... His awfulness pollutes just about everything in its orbit. But this is a promising project, and look: when you look at the merged faces on this variant album cover, it looks like Forest Whittaker!

 
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Old 11.15.2014, 01:02 PM   #1363
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That International Gangster boot sounds terrible, NR. Nice job pointing out the various elements of pure absurdity the project seems to have going for it. I hope you didn't pay actual cash money for this one. Seems like a free download would be an overpayment.
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Old 11.15.2014, 06:42 PM   #1364
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Severian
That International Gangster boot sounds terrible, NR. Nice job pointing out the various elements of pure absurdity the project seems to have going for it. I hope you didn't pay actual cash money for this one. Seems like a free download would be an overpayment.

it was cheap. $5 maybe. Every single review you see me do is of an actual physical CD I own. It's not terrible though. Just not really necessary when you have the legit album to listen to instead.
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Old 11.15.2014, 08:08 PM   #1365
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Meh to all this mobb deep bullshit
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Old 11.15.2014, 11:25 PM   #1366
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Meh?
Bullshit?

But we like Mobb Deep! I'm still jamming that weird Infamous reissue's bonus disc and considering it a whole new album.

They should have released it as a whole new album. Separate from the Infamous altogether. Confusing. Remember when that was pretty much the only dope rap album of the year, and it was so frustratingly hard to even talk about because of the rigoddamndiculous way it was released?

Lol.
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Old 11.16.2014, 10:23 AM   #1367
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I'm guessing that suchfriends doesn't like Mobb Deep cuz 2Pac beefed w/ them.
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Old 11.16.2014, 06:22 PM   #1368
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Just grabbed me a copy of the new Big K.R.I.T. album, Cadillactica. It's kind of an odd release, but I suppose it's kind of a triumph for KRIT. It seems to borrow equally from 808's & Heartbreak and early Outkast. Unfortunately it sounds a bit dated, though. There are some good tracks so far, and I'm still on my first listen... So I will withhold judgment.
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Old 11.16.2014, 08:50 PM   #1369
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisereductions
I'm guessing that suchfriends doesn't like Mobb Deep cuz 2Pac beefed w/ them.


I understand where he's coming from, I guess. Whenever emcee's (like Tupac) dis my boys Jay Z, Wu-Tang, Biggie, etc. I want to hate them.
But if I did, I'd miss out on the aforementioned disser, and all of his compadres. So I try to be open minded, and not cling to loyalties if it means missing out on dope music.

Though whenever someone has the gall to run Kanye's name through the mud, it fucking offends me personally. Kanye is the only one who, when insulted by a less skilled pseudo-artist, makes me want to spit in the offending asshole's face.

... Beitch!
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Old 11.16.2014, 10:18 PM   #1370
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I just dont like mobb deeps rap thats all
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Old 11.16.2014, 10:18 PM   #1371
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I have to start thinking about my year end lists. While last year, I had a top 50 albums list, a top 10 songs list and a top 10 Hip-Hop Albums list, I think this year is going to require a top 10 Electronic Albums list in addition to the hip-hop specific one.

But it's time to get started. I have a lot of albums to go through, revisit, reassess etc. before making any final decisions.
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Old 11.16.2014, 11:19 PM   #1372
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Originally Posted by SuchFriendsAreDangerous
I just dont like mobb deeps rap thats all

I guess I'm surprised. But I'm not. On one hand you love gangsta shit, and Mobb Deep is gangsta shit. In my mind they are the Three 6 of the East. So dark and gloomy. It's all nihilism and glass-half-empty. Spooky beats. But then again, you're not a huge East Coast fan. You pick and choose. So just cuz I think Mobb is one of the greatest on the East scene, doesn't mean that should matter to you.
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Old 11.17.2014, 12:33 AM   #1373
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisereductions
I guess I'm surprised. But I'm not. On one hand you love gangsta shit, and Mobb Deep is gangsta shit. In my mind they are the Three 6 of the East. So dark and gloomy. It's all nihilism and glass-half-empty. Spooky beats. But then again, you're not a huge East Coast fan. You pick and choose. So just cuz I think Mobb is one of the greatest on the East scene, doesn't mean that should matter to you.


They've definitely released some albums that every hip hop fan should hear. And they definitely have incredible skill. Underestimating them is foolish. For those of us who love them, they seem like an impossible group to overlook, but I really don't think they necessarily go down easy for every rap fan.

But I think their rhymes are sick, and their beats are fucking ill. They wax a bit philosophical from time to time, and I like that too.
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Old 11.17.2014, 08:25 PM   #1374
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Has anyone else been keeping track of Kool AD's post - Das Racist output?

I slept on this year's album, WORD OK, but now I'm finally digging into the digital version I picked up earlier in the year and it's a damn fine album. Full of odes to various other emcees (Wu-Tang's "Triumph", Inspectah Deck verse; Nirvana's On A Plane, and even Weezer, who he cites for convenience).

This is not a throwaway release, and I'm sorry I didn't listen closely enough when it first dropped. Dope as hell.

 
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Old 11.18.2014, 03:03 PM   #1375
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Soooo... Why does it feel like this thread has basically turned into Severian & NR's occasional New and/or Classic Hip-Hop Album Commentary Bistro???

Honestly... What's happening here? Last year I spent more time reading and posting in this thread than in any other. What became of the constantly-updated "...Of The Year" lists? The daily updates on who was and wasn't spitting fire?

Btw: Lil Wayne's verse on "Only" is one of his best in recent memory. Sure he sounds a little tired and bored, but he's still slaughtering Drake and Nikki.
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Old 11.18.2014, 04:55 PM   #1376
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Because y'all keep talking bout a bunch of bullshit rap. Also last year was an epochal year for rap.. this year is just a batch of bitches, a bunch of bitches in bundle, a batch bundle
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Old 11.18.2014, 08:14 PM   #1377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuchFriendsAreDangerous
Because y'all keep talking bout a bunch of bullshit rap. Also last year was an epochal year for rap.. this year is just a batch of bitches, a bunch of bitches in bundle, a batch bundle

too negative man. If you don't like the hip hop being discussed, then sway the discussion into something you do like instead of just dissing shit that others like. All I'm trying to do is spur conversation beyond "that group sucks" or "yeah that's good."




 

Danger Doom - The Mouse And The Mask - 2005 - Epitaph
Danger Mouse and MF Doom teamed up in 2005 to record this album that was sort of a vanity project for Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" line-up of shows. As such it's full of cameos from various cartoon characters and has all the swears beeped out to resemble the MA-13 rating of the Adult Swim shows. So to some degree your enjoyment of this record may depend on how familiar you are with Space Ghost: Coast To Coast, Aqua Teen Hunger Force or The Brak Show. Thematically, the skits work out great. The ongoing answering machine messages from Master Shake who is waiting for Doom to call him back about collaborating are hilarious. The outro of Meatwad rapping Doom's "Beef Rap" is as ridiculous as it sounds. And really, even if you're not into the Cartoon Network stuff, it's still easy to enjoy this one on its own as a way over-the-top fun record. And it references plenty of other cartoons that you might remember from your younger days. Danger Mouse's beats are excellent throughout and move from sci-fi flavored Exotica ("El Chupa Nibre") to sweeping strings ("Crosshairs," "Sofa King") to 70's kitchen sink funk ("Space Ho's") to Tarantino-approved trailer music ("Old School") and everywhere in between. The guest appearances are phenomenal and feature a higher profile cast than most Doom albums Ghostface Killah and Talib Kweli in particular both knock their verses out of the park. Though this is a short album it begs for repeated listenings as lines seem to get funnier and beats more intricate with each listen.

 

Wu-Tang Clan - 8 Diagrams - Universal Motown - 2007
It's almost weird that this is only the fifth Wu-Tang Clan studio album. Amidst the myriad solo releases and compilations out there, it's easy to forget that it's actually quite a rarity for the core members of the Clan to all come together like Voltron. And when it does happen every five years or so, it's always a big event. 8 Diagrams was no exception, as it hit stores in December alongside Ghostface's Big Doe Rehab which is interesting considering the rather public complaints that Ghost and Rae made about the RZA's control over this album. When you hear the result though, it's kind of hard to point any fingers at the RZA, who crafted another solid album that the group should be proud of. While the cover art looks like a crappy bootleg, the music is a different story. Opener "Campire" kicks thing off in a dark and awesome fashion. The beat is slow and chugging and reminiscent of the more lo-fi work that RZA put in on The W. Meth, Ghost and Cappadonna are all in top form to start the show. Much of the first half feels pretty similar - which is a good thing. The highly publicized "The Heart Gently Weeps" serves as a bit of the centerpiece, and turning point in the record. The track of course made waves when it was announced that the Wu were able to clear a sample of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." And things went even more over the top when they brought in George Harrison's own son along with the Red Hot Chili Pepper's John Fruscante as well as Erykah Badu. It really is a bit of an all-star jam session and the resulting track is really quite excellent. Though Ghostface fanatics would have already known what to expect since he flipped this beat several years prior on his own "My Guitar," a Pretty Toney Album outtake that would eventually appear as "Black Cream" on the Hidden Darts Special Edition collection. The album really starts to run wild from here, with RZA exploring his film composer side on tracks like "Sunlight." The George Clinton appearance on "Wolves" sticks out a bit as being a little too leftfield for this record, though you've got to figure that a group as large as the Wu really doesn't need outsiders in general. And as weird as "Wolves" sounds initially, it somehow seems to work after repeated listens. And so goes the magic of the Wu-Tang. They're a huge collective and volatile personalities, so it's almost amazing that they're ever able to complete a record. Yet when they do manage to do so, it's even more incredible that they can result in something this good rather than suffering from too many cooks in the kitchen.

 

N.E.R.D. - Fly Or Die - 2004 - Virgin
On their sophomore album, N.E.R.D. all but ditch most of the remaining shreds of the hip hop sound that had originally started this side project. The new rock sound that defined the final version of their debut kicks off Fly Or Die and then the album goes full on schizophrenic, exploring such far-reaching influences as Revolver-era Beatles, the coked-out jazz-rock of Steely Dan, and the early 2000's Warped Tour lineup. Basically the trio spent the time between In Search Of and this learning their instruments and tinkering with any musical interest they came across that they never got to touch while working with Clipse or Justin Timberlake. Fly Or Die becomes a pretty appropriate title, as listeners will find there's only two real options: love it or hate it. Fly with them, or be gone. But the title also hints at a reoccuring theme on the album - children leaving "the nest." There's lots of lyrics dealing with parent/child relationships here. On the title track Pharrell croons "Mommy, Daddy, I know that you love me" but on the next track "Jump" he's ready to get the hell out of there. "Jump" features those guys from Good Charlotte who manage to not totally mess the song up, and actually it's surprising to hear them featured on a track that goes in a bit of an 80's New Wave direction rather than their usual pop-punk. The album then segues into "Backseat Love" and "She Wants To Move," two tracks about young love (and sex) that are embarrassingly awkward. But again, much of this may be the point. The adolescent lyrics sometimes can remind you of the angsty dumbness of high school journals. In this context, it makes plenty of sense. Hell, Pharrell even makes it a point to tell his listeners "this is just for the kids." As the record progresses we into several tracks that are actually suites of shorter pieces, and this is where the real experimental stuff starts to happen. Perhaps the craziest being "Waiting For You," which comes off as a sort of folk jam that tells the story of a baby nearly drowning during a family fishing trip. It's horrifying stuff that ends with the visual of rebirth. Looking at that cover art, seeing the band hatching from an egg it perhaps becomes apparent that this is a concept album about them. If In Search Of was their birth and childhood, then Fly Or Die is their adolescence, as awkward as that may be. It's definitely not as instantly gratifying as their debut, but this album is far more interesting.
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Old 11.18.2014, 08:53 PM   #1378
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8 Diagrams may be my least favorite full crew Wu record, but it is definitely a killer album. I recently repurchased the CD version, and I too noticed how shitty the cover art looked... Bootlegish to be sure.

I have to say, though, that I almost can't bear to listen to Heart Gently Weeps. It just doesn't work for me, and those choruses sound splayed, unfocused, out of tune and sloppy. I'm sorry... I'm sorry... But that was just a huge disappointment for me.

"Wolves" is also an oddity for sure, but it goes over much better, and I enjoy it a great deal more than I do the Cringe-worthy "Heart Gently Weeps" experiment, which is probably my least favorite Wu album track ever.

I know that's cold, but man... that song is a mess, in spite of all the talented individuals who contributed to it.

But 8 Diagrams was still one of my favorite albums of '07, which was a great year for music, ruled mostly by Deerhunter's Cryptograms.
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Old 11.18.2014, 09:07 PM   #1379
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Cryptograms was my fav record of 2007 as well.

Uh I like 8 Diagrams more than Iron Flag (I think).

I half-agree on "Heart." I love Ghost's "Black Cream" though, which was basically what RZA used as a demo for the full posse cut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oajF63_dOc0
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Old 11.19.2014, 01:14 AM   #1380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisereductions
Cryptograms was my fav record of 2007 as well.

Uh I like 8 Diagrams more than Iron Flag (I think).

I half-agree on "Heart." I love Ghost's "Black Cream" though, which was basically what RZA used as a demo for the full posse cut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oajF63_dOc0

Yeah, I prefer "Black Cream" ... But anyway...

All the Wu albums are full of jaw-dropping cuts, expert rhymes, definitive production, etc. I love them all, but 8 Diagrams ranks below Forever (#1), 36 Chambers (#2), The W (#3) and Iron Flag, as well as at least 3 of the more group-inclusive solo projects. For me anyway.

But still, 8 Diagrams is a great record. I sound like I'm judging it harshly, but I'm only judging it harshly by Wu-Tang standards. It's a better album than most groups can produce in a lifetime. But it lacks a certain sense of epic urgency... that has always been my favorite part of the Wu-Tang sound, hence the #1 ranking given to Forever.

I think A Better Tomorrow is gonna be a hard sell for some folks, but honestly I am feeling pretty fucking pumped about it... I've certainly been waiting long enough for this album to drop.
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