Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Tape Deck: Volume #11 (Reviews)

Volumes Twelve and Thirteen (something special is in works) are coming soon. Here are thirty tracks to hold you down 'til then:

A. Pinks - Colors (feat. Stimuli & Malik 16)
A. Pinks and crew take a crack at Ice-T's classic "Colors" - or so it seems. The track starts out as the O.G. "Colors" does but turns into... something else. Oh well... I'll still peep it. Thankfully, it's a solid track! This is some top-notch hip hop storytelling and the lovely soul sample adds a perfect touch.
ASN - On the Road (feat. AZ, F.T., P.A. & Kiesha Shontelle)
I'll be honest: I stuck my head out for this track 'cause I saw AZ on the features list. It turns out that this is the same verse he dropped on the original "Road to Success". The fast-paced lyricism by all the emcees on this track make for some good neck-exercise.
Black Milk - Losing Out (feat. Royce Da 5'9")
Milk flips an ill Alan Parsons Project sample ("Let's Talk About Me") along his dusty drum knocks as he and Royce -- two of the D's finest -- shoot some lyrical darts. What more do you want?
Cassidy - Forgot About Me (feat. Fatz, G-Ali & Pheel Harmony)
Aside from the fact that this beat is beyond boring, it sounds like every emcee on this track -- along with whoever the hell is "singing" on the hook -- has been sedated! Listen to this track at your own discretion but be forewarned: it comes with a complimentary ticket to snoozeville.
City Haze - Dry Rain
HHIReaders should remember Haze from back when we featured him on our Myspace Mondays feature. He's back with some new music that may or not have anything to do with a short film of the same title. I'm guessing "not". "Dry Rain" is a solid hustler's anthem; 'nuff said.
D.I.T.C. - Mad Live
D-Flow goes solo on this Diggin' track over luscious Drawzilla production. The Movement is moving...
Duo Live - Shootin Pt. 3 (feat. Billz, Joell Ortiz, Red Cafe, Uncle Murda & M.O.P.)
Duo Live and fam' come through with a ridiculous posse cut as Ivan-favorites Cafe, Joell and the Mash Out Posse terrorize this eclectic beat for six minutes! The hook/quote is pretty annoying, but I ain't complaining.
Eric Bobo - Apocalypse Now (feat. B Real, Sick Jacken & Ill Bill)
Clearly influenced by the film of the same title, Bobo assigns some of the illest emcees in the game to take a shot at this gritty track. The result is as gritty as the War itself. Okay, maybe not quite...
Evidence - For Whom the Bell Tolls (feat. Phonte, Blu &
What's with all these great collaborations? The execution on this track seems a bit misguided. I thought I was gonna get a concept track. It kind of is one, but... I dunno... I think they coulda have focused to make a better group effort. Solid contributions by each artist though, no doubt.
Exile - In Love
This instrumental track samples an ill jazz bassline (Minguys perhaps?) as vocal cuts of the word "love" and quotes about it get strewn alongside the frenetic drum stacks. Baby making at its funkiest and jazziest!
Freeway - Nobody's Fool (Prod. by Blunt)
Are you getting tired of these new Freeway tracks? I'm sure as hell not! After the Roc drought between 2004 and 2006, we heard NOTHING from this cat so it's a pleasure to get some new music every week on the minimum. "Nobody's Fool" makes use of Free's affinity for soul tracks as Blunt cooks up a some lovely soundscape for Freeza to drop some theological knowledge.
Freeway & Jakk Frost - Da Beards Iz Bakk
This one doesn't grab me as much as "Nobody's Fool". Jakk drops some nice one-liners, but his flow ain't really up my alley. The topics are pretty prosaic too (guns, guns and... guns). Rick Ross shoulda been on this track...
Glasses Malone - One
As G.Malone would put it, "the world's been deprived of the West". You can't argue with that! While the South and East have been getting major airplay for the last six years, the West has been waiting with a Zen-like patience. The New West has emerged with artists like Glasses Malone who will even go toe-to-toe with Snoop for the "number one spot". Let's see how this plays out...
Jedi Mind Tricks - Godflesh
The second single from Jedi Mind Tricks' upcoming album A History Violence, "Godflesh" is both brutal -- what else do you expect from JMT -- and catchy. King Magnetic & Block McCloud tag along for this hardcore banger.
Matisyahu - Smash Lies [EP]
I've known about Matisyahu and his music since way, way back. His sub-title back then was "The Hasidic Rapper" not "The Hasidic Reggae Singer". Since then, the latter nickname has taken precedent but with "Smash Lies" it seems like he's shifting gears. This is a bit different from Mati's previous work as it's got touches of electronica and jungle with its hyper tempo. The catchiest part of this track is definitely its chorus. I'm eagerly anticipating his new album, Light. In the meantime, you can check out his new EP, Shattered.
Mista Raja - We Don't Play Dat (feat. Sheek Louch & Bully)
Using a line from Lil Kim's "Lighters Up" as its chorus, two of D-Block's finest rip it on this gritty street bopper. Standard/solid mixtape quality track.
New Jack Hustle - Last Newport
Shawn and Newman have put together one of the nicest indie hip hop records of the year. This happens to be one of my favorite songs from New Jack Hustle's new album Sound Check. I love the bouncy beat and the tender strings that swing in and out of the way - not to mention the lyricism and flow is on point as well. If you haven't checked out Sound Check by now, hopefully this'll pull you in. ;D
Ox - 1st Gun
If you had any reason to believe that Ox would beat the shit out of you if he caught you on the street you were right. But now he's got a little chrome friend named Bridgette to put some more fear in your heart. Inspired by 2Pac's "prolific" influence -- as Ox himself would put it -- "1st Gun" takes after "Me and My Girlfriend" in many ways. Ox describes the relationship between a gun and its owner as he scribbles threats on his notepad and recites them with his gritty cadence. Why was his "1st Gun" named Bridgette? Peep the track and find out for yourself!
Ox - I Am Legend
Over some RZA-esque production, Ox writes a Dear Madison Letter to the city he's leaving. Ox explains why he needs to expand his horizons on this introspective track.
Ox - Inspired
The instrumental to this song takes me back to the '90's - and not just to the era's hip hop sound. It kinda reminds me of some video game soundtracks. There's definitely a nostalgic feel to this track as Ox uses metaphors and puns to pay homage to his favorite artists and albums. Here's a pair of highlight quotes to get a better understanding: "A 'BIG' 'Story to Tell' when I was 'Ready to Die'/ ... I keep 'Faith' by my side, 'Things Done Changed'/ ...".
Ox - Not a Good Idea
The floating flute on this track is awesome! Ox's lyrics are solid as well as he does what he does best: threatening his foes with his menacing vocals.
Rocky Fontaine - Best in the City (feat. Maino & Gillie Da Kid)
Philly and New Yitty get major love from this trio of key-holders who rep their cities. All in all, "Best in the City" is a safe pop single that should gain some traction from its catchiness.
Skyzoo & AC - Good Looking
There's a reason why AC and 'zoo (A to Z) have got the internet set ablaze with their consistent releases. Just about everything these blog-centric emcees put out is quality and "Good Looking" is no exception. It's solid come-up track discussing their rise to web-fame and the devotion of their fans.
Stat Quo - Time 2 Get Paid
Am I the only one who's fed up with screwed-and-chopped vocals as hooks? Ya ask me, I'll tell ya that ish is played out. Has been for a few years now. Back in the day I thought Stat was the best new thing smokin'. How misguided I was...
The Circuit - Give Em Hell, Rise of the Terminator & Vibe Wit Me
These guys are co-signed by Mick Boogie, so I figured I'd give 'em a shot. I ain't sold... What do you think?
WMS the Sultan, Kool G Rap, Skyzoo, Sha Stimuli, Grafh, Q, Lady Luck, Leanne & Static - East Coast Music (Part 2)
Posse cuts are great, especially when they've got a wide array of emcees like this track right here. Everyone goes hard on this tribute to music from the home of hip hop.
Xzibit - Forever You Want
I've been a fan of Xzibit for over a decade. His first few albums are in the front of my music collections; they've gotten plenty of play for years! His newer stuff hasn't impressed me though, at least not enough based on his previous music. I'm not too happy about the fact that he's going the South-route with his new street single "Forever You Want". Still though, his lyrics and flow are in top-form as he tackles social issues in "apocalypse now".
Yung Texxus, Scarface, Trae, MJ, Hezeleo & G Mack - Dope Game
Simply put, this track doesn't live up to its list of features.