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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lil Zane - The Return

Lil Zane is back. Don't laugh. Oh wait, you dont even know who that is? Well even better then cause you at least won't go and download his song with 112. A half hit wonder who really never went anywhere is back with his ominously titled album "The Return"

Now if you have to name an album the return it means that you fell off, and fell off hard most likely because you're in a subliminal way, acknowledging this fact. Either way, I can't remember anything about Lil Zane except that when he first came out his rap cadence was just like Tupac. I know, calm down, don't kill me. Just the delivery okay. The lengths he goes to prove that even that is no longer relevant is amazing,

Zane puts out some trite, mediocre garbage that only the worst of southern rappers would put out. When he first came out, he was a pretty boy- Bow-wow-esque rapper, now he attempts to add some thuggetry into his act and unsuccessfully. The Atlanta transplant, grabs left over crunk beats. "Do what you do" is an attempt to talk down to those "non-ballers" amongst us who can't ride high, toss money, and sip lean. "Hoodstar" is the same song and precedes it so pick one to listen to if you want to subject yourself to this nonsense.

In his attempts to reach out and show some depth he mostly falls flat, listening to "Hush" makes you cringe and wish to find the spirit of LL or even Nelly somewhere to rescue Zane from himself. "Helpless" allows Zane to actually try to find some depth to his character and it works as bet as it can. His ability to flow his lyrics isn;t readily there though he seems to have some type of story to tell. Unfortunately he just doesnt have the skill to pull it off. "Do my thing" finds him switching his flow but the subject matter is lacking.

Hopefully, at this point you'll turn this off if you have the stomach to start, i know i couldn't go any further after hearing the first three bars on the horrific attempt to conjure memories of his 1 hit wonder past with "Anywhere pt. 2". I don't think I'll hear another album this bad until i bring myself to listen to Units in Da City or the Bake-up Boys.

Rating: 1/5 (a couple of beats and one song)

Pete Rock- NY's Finest

So Pete Rock is a New York hip-hop icon if not a national one. He has scores of fans that will die saying that he is one of the pioneers of real hip-hop. He and C.L. Smooth formed one of the backbones of the hardcore rap scene of the 90's. In 2008, The rapper/producer is back with an independent offering featuring a wide variety of artists to supplement his vocals.

First the good, the album is a reach back to the classic 90's feel of hip-hop. The scratches in the beat, the drums, and the rhymes. It feels like a saturday morning classic on the way to the flea market, however, that's also the bad part. Just having a few of today's artists feature isn't nearly enough to save the album from feeling stale, and stagnant.

"We Roll" featuring Jim Jones and Max B is a glaring example of that. Neither one of these guys is going to be accused of stretching the envelope lyrically. The album is actually it's best when Pete's musical peers such as Redman and Raekwon show up. It seems as though they are best able to weave an intriguing verse into what becomes predictable sounds. The exception comes courtesy of Royal Flush who attempts to legitimize his thug credentials 15 years after he first stepped onto the scene. The result is a song that leaves an empty feeling. Little Brother represents well on "Bring you Back" but it isn't enough to save a lackluster effort that sounds better off being left in 94.

Overall that's the feeling after listening to the cd. If it were an old album that were found after digging in an old box somewhere, this would be considered a gem. but times have changed and the feel of this album is too old to be post-2000. The beats grow stale and the lack of any energy or variation over the tracks by Pete is just disappointing.

Rating: 2/5