A blog about hip-hop, rap music, its trends, and an overall thought about the music an culture, without indulging in gossip. A real set of opinions and discussions, not based on the popular sentiment, but examining and challenging it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

DJ Drama- Gangsta Grillz the Album

I've never been a fan of DJ's releasing albums. I mean really what do they do? Are they making all of the tracks or just A&R'ing a compilation album, getting tracks from artists, producers, and labels? Why is Khaled all over "albums" when Cool and Dre and The Runners are making most of the tracks? DJ Clue back in the day was at least an event because there weren't many DJ's with clout to attempt this. But back to the latest offering from DJ Drama fresh off his arrest which is the first intro to the album...yes there are two intro's.

Overall the album is a collective piece of averageness. The beats all begin to meld into one after a while although 5000 One's, the first single is catchy and is followed by a surprise in the album's highlight by Outkast in "Da Art of Storytelling 4". Andre 3000's verse is easily the best of the entire effort in creativity and depth. and that lies the problem of the album, sure, it has some generally decent lines throughout but overall it's more of the same thing over and over. The collaborations aren't special, or different enough from any other Southern album to justify the time and expense of this project.

Not to say the whole thing is bad, "No More" with Willie Da Kid, Lloyd, and TI, is an exceptional song where Willie delivers his strongest verse that showed the potential to be more than another southern rapper, Freeway's appearance on the "Cannon remix". Jeezy also shows continued attempts to step his rap game up on his appearances.

Young Joc shows is lack of ability when he blares " they call me big nuts" on "Throw ya sets up" which features jadakiss and La the Darkamn (where has he been?). "Aye" features Young Dro doing his normal thing, but it comes right before the low point of the set, "Grillz Gleamin" which features Bohagon, Lil Scrappy, and Princess and Diamond from Crime Mob. The hook is the most annoying thing ever, being scratched and off key and off tempo if that is possible. Then the verses are terrible with the ladies only being listenable because you want to give the females some shine.

By the time you come to the end of this it is tiring. The album is a complete let down with too little variety and nothing that sonically makes this from being one long song. The moments worth overlooking are too many and even the Katt Williams interlude disappoints. You have to wonder if the arrest didn't derail the best laid plans for this album.

Rating: 2/5

Beanie Sigel- The Solution

Hip-Hop wise there hasn't been much exciting out of the East Coast for the past couple of years. Not to say that the Broad Street Bully is exciting, but he is one of the most respected "street" rappers in the game today. Since his release from prison we have been waiting to hear an "official" album from Beans but we had to wait until he sorted out his label situation, a shooting, and got his mind right to put out a record. With that in mind, I present to you The Solution, the latest from the DefJam 07 resurgence.

Sigel's album starts off with the raucous and slightly surprising "All the Above" which features none other than the Pied Piper himself. It's surprising to hear Beans and Kells together but not altogether unexpected when you think about how "hood" R. Kelly is. While lyrically Beans doesnt do anything impressive over the entire length of the album he does make a concentrated effort to make his style more accessible to less hardcore rap fans. The second track featuring Cool and Dre "About that" is another example of that as is "Pass the Patron" which features Puffy ( I am not calling Sean Combs Diddy...sorry) Ghostface, and Peedi Peedi who is the only State P member who guests on the album.

"You ain't Ready" featuring Styles is the same old stuff you have come to expect from Beans, and "Get Low" featuring a reggae artist named Rock City follows the normal Street Rap topics, and the album does seem to tire after you hear "Gutted" featuring Jay-Z which isn't a bad song...it's just not that compelling, and neither are "I'm in", and the two songs that follow.

Beans starts to show some maturity and growth when you see a track featuring Ozzy Osbourne, but the album really hits it's stride with "Rain". "Dear Self" is the most introspective Beanie song since his first album and it features another unexpected guest in James Blount before ending the album in the same manner with "Prayer" which features Raheem Devaughn.

Overall the album is very solid although the lack of growth in a large portion of the album isn't good, it can be accepted since it is Sigel and he will only be out of his comfort zone for so long, and he has been off the radar for quite some time now. He may not have had as much of his trademark wordplay but possibly he has hit upon a formula to maintain his sales amongst the decline around the industry with clever guest appearances and a quality selection of beats.

Rating : 3.5/5