Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Tape Deck: Volume #8 (Reviews)

Okay, so now you've been warned: The Tape Deck features reviews and "other stuff" on "other posts". Feel me? Let's see what happens with this experiment... Now let's get into some music:

Chamillionaire - Keep Hatin' Freestyle
Don't you just hate it when they call these kind of tracks "freestyles"? Maybe I'm wrong, but this sounds like some pre-written studio ish - not like that's a bad thing. In fact, this track is bangin'! Killa Cham' spits some braggadocio-bars over this knockin' Southern-style beat. As usual, the King Koopa switches between his rapid-fire rhymeplay with his breezy harmonizing. H-Town stand up!
Christina Milian - Us Against the World
I love the intro to this track: it's loud and lovely. It reminds me of various elements from Coldplay's "Lost!", Timbaland and One.Republic's "Apologize" and the horn sections on Neil Young's "Ordinary People; please lemme know if you agree with me -- or know what I'm talking about(!) -- I want to verify that I'm not losing my mind! The eleven-second-long intro is soon followed by a simple snap and harp beat. Christina sounds nice as always, but this song ain't as catchy as her previous singles. I've got a feeling that if this song earns some massive radio play, her "the world, the world, the world" repetition will make me tear my hair out. Payola's a motherf*cker...
DJ Green Lantern - Black President (Remix Part 1) (feat. David Banner, Busta Rhymes & Talib Kweli)
I've already released the Yes We Can Mixtape, but I had this volume of The Tape Deck planned in advance. So here it goes: First and foremost, this trio is amazing. Just look at that lineup: two of New Yitty's finest mixed with the always-fierce David Banner. Green sure knows how to pick 'em. The verses are solid -- Busta takes #1 in my book -- and the chopped up vocals-as-chorus has plenty of rhythm. This election experience has been epic, to me in particular because I was 17 the last go-round and thus couldn't participate/vote. It's wonderful to see and hear my favorite hip hop figures mobilize for the right cause. The product is beautiful. It's been a beautiful struggle...
DJ Kay Slay - 6 Million Ways to Die (feat. Papoose, Bun B & Chamillionaire)
Kay Slizzy resuscitates an overly-used vocal sample on this East Coast burner featuring two of the Third Coast's nicest emcees. It's nice to hear Pap back on his game, but this feels old - this reminds of his old mixtape tracks. Doesn't mean he should go the Auto-Tune route, but still.....
E-40 - Pain No More (feat. The Game & Snoop Dogg)
E-FawDee enlists two of his fellow Cali natives to share the mic over J.R. Rotem production. I like this one 'cause the beat's got a nice, mellow West Coast vibe reminiscent of the '90's (somewhat). The differing lyrical content is worth noting: E-40 kicks that ol' "I'm a West Coast O.G." spit, The Game reminisces over violent pastimes and Tha Doggfather drops that mainstay pimp talk he's known for - before adding own O.G. credentials at the end of his verse. Like I said, so West Coast. It would've been better if their verses weren't so prototypical, but eh, I ain't complaining... too much.
Fashawn - Day N Nite
Cali rhymeslinger Fashawn spits some sticky icky bars over a symphonic KiD CuDi beat dedicated to the stoner lifestyle. Solid remix to an already impressive and catchy track!
Foxy Brown - Rikers Island (feat. Louie Rankin)
The lovely Fox Boogie rides a reggae beat dedicated to the vile Isle of Rikers. The track is decent but reminds me of the infinitely better "40 Island" by N.O.R.E, G Rap and Mussolini.
Giggs & Joell Ortiz - Hollowman Meets Joell Ortiz
Joell and Giggs share a frightening face off track. Joell's contribution definitely outshines his partner's.
Jazmine Sullivan & Skillz - Bust Your Windows
Philly to Detroit! Skillz channels his inner Jigga on this odd-but-fitting collabo, reciting the lines: "I know the way that I did you was wack, but...". The play-fights between Jaz and Skillz are humorous as well ("I burned up all your shoes!"). Decent remix.
J-Hood - Kiss My Ass (Jadakiss Diss)
Word to the wise -- or unwise -- don't bite the hand that feeds you! J-Hood comes off as an asshole on this "diss record". Granted he kicks some solid lines ("You dropped your hottest lines when you was with Puff/", "You look like Michelangelo/"), but this is just unnecessary. Hood left D-Block because he felt like he couldn't grow amongst the Lox heavyweights. Now that he's gone, we find him recycling old grudges when he should be, ahem, growing. Hood needs to fall back and just pave his own way.
Jim Jones - Day N Nite
Capo hops on the same CuDi beat as Fashawn (same title, go figure...). Jimmy flawlessly captures the flow of the original track but doesn't offer much in substance. Fun, throwaway remix joint. I prefer the Fashawn version.
Joe Budden - Slaughterhouse (feat. Joell Ortiz, Nino Bless, Crooked I & Royce Da 5'9")
It's been a while since we've heard a posse cut of this caliber. Surprisingly enough, Nino Bless (who many would consider to be the weakest link on this cut) gives his fellow emcees a run for their money. And Budden satisfies me with an E. Honda quip -- I'm a sucker for Street Fighter references -- amongst a plethora of notable quotables. This track is serious!
Juelz Santana & Lil Wayne - I Can't Feel My Face
Does anyone give a fluck about this collabo album anymore? I was... Back in '06. Juelz ain't what he used to be to me, but hey, let's see what 'elz and Weezy can pull off. This track is a self-titled teaser for the album. Weak sauce! This is why I'm not holding my breath...
Kidd - Rebel
The Green Day sample is flipped really well here as Kidd unleashes at a frenetic pace. Solid effort.
Little Brother - Passionflower (Prod. by 9th Wonder)
Tay and Pooh over Wonder production. This is what Little Brother was (and should always be). This track evokes the emotions of Spring with its lush backgrounds and playful feel. Great track from North Caro's finest.
Ludacris - Call Up the Homies (feat. The Game & Willy Northpole)
Luda returns Game a favor on this track which feels like it was recorded in the same session as "Ya Heard" off L.A.X. (3.5 album in my book -- Game's worst, but I ain't complaining). I digress... It's undeniable that comparisons between the two tracks -- though they aren't their first collabos -- will come up. I still prefer "Ya Heard". Mr. Bridges got short-changed.
M.I.A. & Jay-Z - Boys (Remix)
Young Hova sings out "M.I., M.I., M.I.A" like he did "whippin' it, whippin' it raw" back in '06. The problem with that was that he was mimicking Rick Ross. The great thing about this track is that he's following M.I.A.'s lead. It makes for a very good remix, reminiscent of the track Jay did with Punjabi MC back in the day. "Boys" is very similar to "Beware of the Boys" by the fact that Jay kicks some nifty political metaphors and shoutouts, with the mandatory Obama bump: "Gotta get Bush out the chair/ Give Obama the floor". A vocal-flipped M.I.A. can be heard nodding in the background "Yeah... Yeah...".
M.I.A. & Wale - Boys (Remix)
Jay is a tough act to follow. After hearing both of these remixes, the choice is clear: Hova wins, of course. Solid shot by Wale though.
Maino - However Do You Want It (Prod By J.R. Rotem)
"Hi Hater" is a great track, but Rotem's "However Do You Want It" is the track that will take Maino to new plateaus. J.R. helps out the BK emcee in the same way that he and The Runners propelled Ricky Rawls to the top. Maino's not the nicest emcee in the game by any stretch, but this shit is a banger no matter who's on it. Maino definitely holds up though. Top notch effort by both these cats, no doubt. If you're not bopping your head to this track, you need to check in with an orthopedic MD to fix your neck. I would love to hear Jay on this remix. A Brooklyn posse cut would be a dream come true. IS ANYONE READING THIS!?!?!?!?!?!??!
OX - Throwin' Salt
The Midwest Bully/Machine/Municipal flips the wigs off his enemies on this grimy joint. I've been hesitant to compare OX to a young Xzibit, but this track makes it an obligation. I'm not just saying this 'cause I know homie: OX has serious talent. His fury is palpable, it's tangible; that's tough to pull off.
Royce Da 5'9" - Shake This
This track's got a smooth beat that heats up during the verses. Very cool stuff (and neat sample). Royce unloads on the shit he's going through. Fans will enjoy this one.
Statik Selektah - All 2gether Now (feat. Young Chris, Peedi Crakk & Freeway)
That's right! I'm going through four of Stat's tracks. The leaks on his new album have been blowing up the web and rightfully so. The tracklisting is ridic', and so are the songs. This one features a reunion of (some of) the State Prop' click (O and Sparks, where you at?). Beanie Sigel was the head of State Property, and on "All 2gether Now" Freeway proves why he was his right-hand man. Freeza rips this Stat' track with breezy ease. Chris and Crakk give decent offerings. I won't be fully satisfied until all seven S.P. members return on one track. ;D
Statik Selektah - Cali Nights (feat. Glasses Malone, Mistah Fab & Novel)
This isn't the best that Cali has to offer. That's all I'm sayin'.
Statik Selektah - Get Out the Way (feat. Bun B & Cory Mo)
Is there a style that Bun Beata can't completely demolish? P.A.T.'s finest rests his brutal vocals over this ethnic beat as Statik Selektah flips some record cuts Primo-style. Cory Mo holds up quite well. This is a head-bopper. Turn it up!!!
Statik Selektah - Talkin' Bout You (Ladies) (feat. Skyzoo, Joell Ortiz & Talib Kweli)
The ladies will love everything about this track. The beat is tailor-made for them with plenty of Jay-Z, Biggie (and more!) vocal cuts with tantalizing puns and quotables. Skyzoo and Joell Ortiz kick some estro-centric rhymes, but it's LL Kweli who rips it up the nicest. No wonder so many college chicks tend to pick him as one of their favorite emcees (if not their #1 fav).
The Circuit - Story to Tell
This one comes fresh off a Mick Boogie mixtape, so you know it's worth a listen. The L.A. trio slide their way through this mellow-as-Monk instrumental. This track flows freely like wind and water. Worth a listen.
The KnuX - Fire
Nawlins natives The KnuX continue to kick the same ol' groovy vibes they first displayed on "Cappuccino" and the subsequent remix.
Trae - Grey Cassette (feat. Bun B & Lil Keke)
Enter: Three of Houston's most respected rhyme illustrators. Trae haunts this beat like a ghost, Bun B chomps it up like a testy bulldog and Lil Keke caps it off with a solid South-typical offering. No replay value on this track, but solid nonetheless.
Uncle Murda & Jay-Z - He Asked for It
No, it's not a Khaled diss. No, it's not a Fat Joe diss. It's some ol' recycled b.s. that will become irrelevant... well, by the time you read this. Weak sauce. Even with Jay. Gotta love that Che Guevara reference though... ;-D
Weird Al Yankovic - Whatever You Like
Al is a fuggin' legend and this track is hilarious. Definitely not as good as some of his other classics (and more), but catchy nonetheless. Trivia: This is the first Weird Al track to have the same title as the song it's parodying.