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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Album Review- Meek Mill- Dreams and Nightmares

 Any body who has been listening to hip-hop in the past two or three years should know who Meek Mill is by now. The latest Philly product has been burning up the streets with mix tapes and appearances on the various Maybach Music Group releases often bringing and energy and character that out shined whomever happened to be on the track with him. Finally, after all of that groundwork, Meek's debut album, Dreams and Nightmares has been released.


The album starts with "Dreams and Nightmares" which starts with a simple piano riff as Meek Mill spits his normal come up raps until it switches to a more aggressive beat and Meek goes and tells you how he is balling on everyone now. The album then goes into "In God We Trust" which is pretty much about getting the money and what happens over the paper chase. "Young and Gettin" it features Kirko Bangz but it could have easily been Future on the track with the sound. Meant for strip clubs this song isn't saying much.



"Traumatized" is a more emotional song as Meek just talks about the things that happened in the city to put him in this position and give him his mentality such as his vow to get the man who killed his father. The tone changes as Rick Ross makes his first appearance on "Believe It". Unfortunately this song sounds like a bunch of other joints from mix tapes in the past couple of years. The single would be "Amen" with Drake and has been both on the MMG compilation album and other mix releases in the past four months. John Legend, Nas, and Ross all show up on "Maybach Curtains" which is like a new incarnation of the mafia music set that have been on each Rick Ross album. It's cool for them to just be rapping but Ross is getting boring by now since he never brings a new approach to a verse. Wale and Trey Songz join Ross and Meek on "Lay Up" for the ladies encouraging them to lay up (as in lay in the bed) with the crew.



The odd part is you go from something smooth for the ladies to a story from Meek Mill "Tony's Story pt.2" where he continues a fictional story of the streets from one of his previous mix tapes. This is one of those things you don't see much of in rap now so it was cool even though there was nothing original nor any twists in it. Mary J. Blige handles the hook on "Who You're Around" where Meek raps about the friends who are really enemies. "Polo and Shell Tops" is the motivation behind the hustling of Meek and guys like him. Not a bad song, but it is repetitive with everything else he has already presented on the album. Louie V  sings on "Rich and Famous" another song for the females that could have stayed on a mix tape. The album ends on a hood note with "Real Niggas Come First" and it's just another song, not a strong track to end off the album.


Look Meek is what I expected. I think his energy has had him put on a pedestal, especially because he stands out on tracks with Ross or Wale. But this album seems like over exposure especially following up on all the mix tapes and features. The album sounds like it runs out of steam and Meek has limited ideas and lyrical ability and it gets magnified by the repetitiveness on the album. There are some decent songs early on but eventually it all just runs together.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, October 26, 2012

As Is Hip-Hop Awards 2012 - Album of the Year

As you know, or may not know, since I publish in October, I end my year for new albums in September and start over. Thus, it isn't a calendar year in the normal sense but it is twelve months.


6. Slaughterhouse- Our House

The lyrical quartet is in the honorable mention echelon because while I listen to the album regularly, the initial impact isn't what I was looking for. They managed to make some good songs and also had lyrics to back it up, but some of the joints fell a little flat and came off as aimed at the pop charts instead of their core hip-hop audience.



5. B.O.B. - Strange Clouds

Bobbie Ray dropped an album earlier in the year and it has kind of gone under the radar. The street single featured Lil Wayne on the title track but throughout the composition B.O.B. does an excellent job with providing unique concepts, strong lyrics, and a polished professional sound. What B.O.B. did was to mix the pop and hip-hop sound better than Nicki Minaj or Drake who both fit into that category.


4. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor 2



This album just dropped and made the cut off and is already one of my favorites. Honestly, I feel like the top three could be a toss up but the number one is my personal favorite. This album was the culmination of Lupe's career and the album I have been waiting to get from Lupe since he came out. This album has some of the most needed to be heard songs in hip-hop this year.



3. Common - The Dreamer, The Believer

Common dropped another solid above average album this year with the usual deep, solid, jazz backed album with great imagination and lyricism. He bought the positive with the single "Blue Sky", then showed everyone he wasn't a punk on "Sweet" where he threw barbs at Drake that were reminiscent of his battles with ice Cube.


2. Nas- Life is Good



Nas dropped an album a couple of years ago with Damien Marley and showed he still had bars, but this year, he came out with his best full length album in almost 10 years. Finally getting tracks that matched his lyrics and ideas he put forth an album that went over his history, showed his growth, and reached new depths when talking about the relationships with his daughter and ex-wife, Kelis.



1. Childish Gambino - Camp



This is an unorthodox choice but this album spoke to me more than anything this year. From the ultra-descriptive "Outside" to "Power" with the story that follows and ends the album, this has been a front to back play through for months. Donald Glover shows off his punchlines on the album while simultaneously straddling the line between black and white and giving you a glimpse into a more average life that is ignored in today's rap climate of drugs, bands, and liquor. He talks about his own motivations and life growing up and it's such a refreshing break from the norm.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Album Review- Kendrick Lamar- Good Kid M.A.A.D. City

Kendrick Lamarr is the biggest thing to come out of the West Coast since the Game was getting hot behind the Interscope/ G-Unit machine and with some good reason, kid can rap. However, the difficulty is in getting around his awkward delivery and unique song construction to be able to get some mainstream success. Following up on Last year's Section 80, Kendrick is dropping the much anticipated Good Kid : M.A.A.D. City.



The album is mostly sequential because as you listen, a story unfolds about a kid nearing the end of his high school days and his life in Compton. it unfolds like a Spike Lee type movie with some flashback sequences mixed in with the current action. Check the first track, "Sherane AKA Master Splinter's Daughter" as Kendrick tells a tale about meeting Sherane, going through the summer, and one fateful day during the school year as he makes a week day run to try and get some ass only to roll right into a jacking. "Botch Don't Blow My High" is more of a laid back and ride through a late summer/early fall night with the hoodies on and chill back, especially if you're a smoker, which I'm not, but it's a lot of people who gonna be quoting the hook to others incorporating it into the normal vernacular. "Backseat Freestyle" picks up on the story in a way that's a flashback where Kendrick sees himself in his boys car just spitting to a beat. This flows into "The Art of Peer Pressure" where Kendrick's story continues as he talks about, no describes how he (maybe his character or maybe himself) does different things because he is with the homies and that's just what's going on.


"Money Trees" is pretty slick, I like how the beat flows and how it manages to help massage Kendrick's flow and make it more palatable and break up what can be the monotony. The verses are about life to this point and it features Jay Rock who was kind of MIA lately. "Poetic Justice" samples Janet Jackson's 'Anytime Anyplace' while Kendrick gets on his sexy shit about what he is feeling about Sherane as he heads on over to her. It's like this song which features Drake was what he was listening to while in the car. "Good Kid" is Kendrick talking about his position in the city as he tries to stay above the streets and still survive. "M.A.A. D. City" features MC Eiht and while the previous song is about how Kendrick tries to avoid the streets, this song which switches in the midst is more of the specific reasons of why he stays out of the streets and the specific things that go on.




"Swimming Pools (Drank)" is the single and more about the life that the young folks of Compton live and their escape, drinking. Kendrick argues with himself on this one as he battles the temptation. Please remember, at the end of these songs, the story continues and you need to hear it at least twice fully through. With that said, the next track, "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst" is after a shooting and the different people this killing affects, from his brother's girl, to the victim's brother himself, to Kendrick who makes songs about the events that go on and the people in it. Deep track. "Real" features Anna Wise and is an alright song but one of those be conscious for the ladies type of songs. The album ends with a feature from Dr. Dre on "Compton" with Kendrick just talking about making it and the city which every Compton rapper has to do. There are three bonus tracks, "The Recipe" with Dre once again which seems like a potential single cut, "Black Boy Fly" is about Kendrick thinking he couldn't possibly make it while working to get there and chronicling the success of one of his boys, as well as "Now or Never" which features Mary J. Blige on that feel good cause I've made it tip.



Overall, I think kendrick put together a very solid album, it's an album that is tied together and that is rare these days when things are driven by singles. Some of the songs and concepts can be difficult to follow in an era of dumbed down rap but the skits and story that accompany make the entire album so cohesive you need to listen through and not skip. This is going to limit the play through value for some people since there isn't that easy to get into vibe like a Rick Ross is famous for. The lyrics are there, the songs fit together strongly and nothing is really out of pace and the production switches up just enough to keep it from being boring.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

As Is Hip-Hop Awards - Biggest Disappointment 2012

Most people only want to talk about the things they liked but it needs to be said, sometimes you need to let people know when you expect more from them. Without further adieu, my most disappointing albums of 2012.


5. Young Jeezy - TM 103

Honestly, after the last album the streets were waiting on Jeezy. Hell, after the Recession, I was waiting on Jeezy to see if he could build upon his Ice Cube like street - political credibility and growing. Unfortunately, he didn't. TM 103 was a step and a half back in his career progression. Lovers of trap rap rejoiced but still, many of us were left looking for a little bit more from the snow man. In fact, we also don't hear as many people still humping Jeezy as they normally do.



4. Slaughterhouse - Welcome to Our House

While at the end of the day, I enjoyed the album, I still felt like something was missing from the album. Songs like "Park it Sideways" and "Throw it Away" don't really fit into the Slaughterhouse style but even worse was "Flip A Bird". We don't need them to dedicate songs to straight forward glorified hood tales, especially with generic approaches. They fell victim to their own skill and potential on this album and some of the pressure seemed to get to them.



3. 2 Chainz - Based on a Tru Story




Now no one expected 2 Chainz to come out spitting that fire, but even his hardcore swag-trap-rap fans were left severely dissapointed with this album. Chainz didn't do anything to prove to anyone he could rap and the hooks and beats weren't even on point. While Nicki Minaj killed "I Luv Them Strippers" the album was tired real fast for someone so hot in the streets.


2. Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Some people I'm sure actually like this sophomore album but they would be fans of pop music and not hip-hop. Nicki used like half of her album for her up-tempo pop/dance tracks which is good for her I guess but as for her hip-hop songs, the album was lacking. When she does rap, Nicki can hold her own with the best of them, but too often she doesn't give us bars as much as she gives us funny voices.


1. Drake - Take Care



So Drake continues the sophomore slump for YMCMB. The album had a lot of hype and some of the more pop influenced songs like "Take Care" and "Marvins Room" were radio successes but the labum tracks were a huge let down for someone who can actually rap. Then there is the times when he gets into his tough talk mode and you can't believe him . No Matter how many times I try to listen to this album I can't get through it without turning it off and going to something with a harder edge.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Album Review- Dead Prez - Information Age

Dead Prez is one of my favorite groups and I've said this before, they bring something different with a polished revolutionary doctrine that  can be a turn off, but unlike most guys with their style and message, they can actually rap and produce good music. Stic.Man released an album in 2010 about being healthy and focusing just on the act of working out and getting some balance in your body and spirit. The duo is back together for an unexpected release, "Information Age".



For people who aren't familiar with Dead Prez, they might be shocked by the sonic feel of the first song , "A New Beginning" which sounds like it could have been one of the album tracks on Katy Perry's Teenage Dream album but therein lies the greatness of Dead Prez. They can take a polished pop sounding track and transform it with lyrics about the direction the world is going in as the chorus says, 'the end of the world is a new beginning'. Things change and M1 and Stic.Man preach on being prepared for self. This is nowhere more evident than on "What if the Lights Go Out" where starting with a play on the lack of help during Hurricane Katrina, Dead Prez ask the listener what would they do when something happens to them. Will you be prepared?


The funky sonic sounds continue on "Dirty White Girl" where Dead Prez describes a bunch of things that are white that can cause you problems both physical and mental, from milk to cocaine and cheese. The underlying theme is also about the government and politics of this country as well. "No Way As The Way" shows that why they have strong convictions, they aren't the type to put down others for their choices, because there is no one hundred percent way to know whose choices are the 'correct' ones but there are many paths to choose. "Learning Growing Changing" is about the journey for self and continuing to try to better yourself by listening and by teaching. "Time Travel" is a cool song and "Take Me To The Future" is just about possibly seeing and realizing that change. it's a very mellow song that you can listen to with the windows down.

"The Awakening" is a rebirth for the listener of the album as they become more enlightened to end the album and go off as a better person. The album also features a couple of interruptions from the GHN: Global Hood News, as the skits are used to just highlight several things that should be of some importance and the album also has a bonus track as the DP's normally do and it's worth listening to as a more straightforward statement of what is covered through out the entire album.

Dead Prez is always worth a listen and this album seems to be a little less angry than before as they really go in on the idea of being healthy and being prepared oneself for the future. It's a good message and one that should be heard. The album is decent, though the music doesn't seem to fit perfectly but none of the songs are out of place. Just different in this time of either scratchy old school samples or bass heavy southern stylings, that they go in another direction totally. You should definitely check this album out.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, October 19, 2012

As Is Hip-hop Awards - Best Lyricist

Number 6: Nicki Minaj

Barbie is frustrating because while she has the ability to hang with most any one bar for bar, often she echews that for gimmicks and noises. The younger generation may respect or like that more but I want to hear her go in with the lyrics and silence any lingering doubts. It's also worth noting that  being commercial does not mean being wack so it can be done, and she just needs to do it.




Number 5: Lupe Fiasco

Lupe has always confounded me a little bit with his concepts and style. However, lately he has managed to blend his ideas with being able to be real and accessible to the regular listener. It's tough to blend those and keep your own flavor, but on his latest album, Lupe manages to get it done without too much of an issue. 



Number 4: Common
 

Common is always a beast when he decides to drop some music. His style and use of simple language to paint his pictures is magnificent. The way he blends his jazz style musical backdrops with pertinent raps is nothing short of top-notch.  He also went after Drake and reminded everyone he wasn't just the peaceful guy from the movies and there was a guy you don't want to play with.




Number 3: Childish Gambino



I'll admit, though I liked some of the songs, I wasn't totally sold on Donald Glover's alter ego Childish Gambino. However, Bonfire grew on me with the energy and lyrics and punchlines almost on par with a Lil wayne, only more connected. Then he dropped Camp and I was sold. It did decent for an independent album and he followed it with a tour and more bars including his latest mix tape, "Royalty" which wasn't as deep but managed to have him showcase the more southern part of his heritage.



Number 2: Nas

So Nasty Nas finally re-emerged this year with his Life Is Good album which was near classic material. He also featured on some other projects and showed why in the early 90's he was considered one of the best to do it. To be able to still have this kind of impact 20 years later is an incredible feat. To take a break and still come back with an impact is an even bigger one. Whether it was talking about his growth from being in the hood, his parenting skills or lack thereof, and his marriage to Kelis, Nas showed an ability to expand to new subject matter yet still keep it hood.






Number 1: Slaughterhouse



So this year I had a conundrum. The past few years I have chosen a member of the Slaughterhouse gang in the top five at least once and several times two of them have made the cut as standouts. (you can see where this is heading), they have been consistent with each member standing out at some point since they united. This year, Crooked I stepped up and really shined, but the other three members all represented as well so I could have had them all listed and one spot left, but instead they have to share the award this year as in total each of them is pretty much better than anyone else who put words to mic this year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Independent Album of the Year

This year was really a down one, however, one thing that is occurring is that the independent scene is getting stronger as more people use the internet to promote and mix tapes take the buzz they get and drop albums. The thing is there can be a lot to wade through, but these are the ones I was feeling, though next year I look forward to finding more and giving them a shot.

5. Ja Rule - Pain is Love 2

I received a lot of feedback based around the return of Rule to the game which happened right before he went to jail on a gun possession charge. He still has plenty of fans who didn't like the implication that 50 Cent killed his career. While this album wasn't a classic, he was able to conjure up some of the formula that made him such a huge star at the beginning of the century.


4. Busta Rhymes - Year of the Dragon

Bussa Bus might be signed to Young Money now but this album was only available through Google Play. If that's not independent and thisclose to being a mix tape in my opinion. However, this joint was kind of banging. Busta had some serious chain rattling beats and while he isn't the most innovative in topics, he wa sable to maintain his persona and put out some quality music.


3. Lecrae- Gravity


This Christian rapper caught my attention during last year's BET hip-hop awards and dropped a mix tape earlier this year called Church Clothes. He followed this up with his album titled "Gravity" and did a number with changing my perception of what Christian hip-hop is. He was able to spit real bars without being overly preachy. he also had name-features such as Novel and Big Krit to help hold him down.


2. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music.



Killer Mike has been doing his thing for a while and while 'signed' to Grand Hustle, he still isn't going to be a major artist. The short lived change to Mike Bigga is over and Mike is back with his political bars and street savvy common sense. Mike has a good variety of music from some thuggish street tracks, to the political "Reagan" which he just dropped a video for last week.


1. Childish Gambino - Camp



I was skeptical about the album from Childish but from the opening chords of "Outside" I was drawn in to the story that he created throughout the album. I was impressed by his lyrics and ability to make songs that had topics and were precise. Many artists today tend to ramble but not C.G. . This was the most impressive release of the entire year for me and I still enjoy this album to this day.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Album Review- Xzibit- Napalm

Mr. X to the Z has been mostly MIA for the past few years. For a couple of years, he was all over the place from movies to MTV's Pimp My Ride. He had hooked up with Dre and things were shooting high, then it all crumbled. Actually it is amazing considering he first dropped in like 1996 with his lum At The Speed of Life which featured hits like Papparazzi and The Foundation. He even had Idi Amin throw a little shot at him on "Bomb First" from the Makavelli album. All that is the past though and in 2012 Xzibit is back with his first album in like Five or Six years.



This album starts off with "State of Hip Hop vs Xzibit" which has a typical strong beat for X to spit over but he doesn't really get into any comparisons about hip-hop then and now or what his spot or relevance within rap is so with another and title and hook it would have worked better as a song. "Everything" feels like a mesh with the normal hard drums Xzibit likes to rap over with a simple melody but it seems to clash slightly. Over the beat he raps about what he came from and now the fact he has made it. "Dos Equis" is classic Xzibit. It's a track that isn't going to draw you in so he has to work more to make you want to keep listening as he talks about balling with the idea being that he is like 'the most interesting man in the world'. RBX gets a verse and The Game holds down the hook.


"Forever A G" is that throwback to the times he was hard type song and why he spits and why his crew of street dudes is more real than all others. The odd part is it also features Wiz Khalifa. "Something More" is a simple track with a bounce to it about Xzibit getting to the point in life he doesn't have to worry about anything. It features Prodigy of Mobb Deep in a throwback to the late 90's. "Gangsta, Gangsta" has a good backdrop but I don't get how Xzibit's verses reflect the idea on the chorus."1983" is X'z attempt to explain his life and the past few years from his MTV deal to Interscope interactions and his relationship with his son's mother. The bare piano riff is perfect for the tale he tells but the album should have had more of this type of explanation of the absence over the past few years.

"Spread it Out" is just an album filler while "Up Out The Way" with E-40 is designed to bang in the clubs. It's not bad but very simple."Stand Tall" with Slim the Mobster is about Xzibit trying to represent for his city and hold things down. Another sort of generic track. "Meaning of Life" with Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris is one of the deeper tracks Xzibit should be making about life in the hood and a more mature point of view when juxtaposed with the Staff Seargeant's story of his injuries in the desert for the country. King T and The Alkaholiks reunite with Xzibit on "Louis XIII" which is for the fans and people who have been waiting for these guys to just get a track and spit.



The title track is "Napalm" and he shot this video in Iraq and it's somewhat political and very rock and roll influenced. David Banner features and makes thew beat on "Enjoy The Night" which features Brevi on the chorus and another appearance by Wiz Khalifa on a light hearted party song. "Movies" is like a West Coast all-star track with The Game, Crooked I, Slim The Mobster, and Demrick all joining Xzibit on a ready made track just for rapping...about nothing though Xzibit uses only movie titles in his verse, which would have been slick ten years ago. "I Came to Kill" and "Killers Remorse" which features B-real, Demrick, and Bishop Lamont are both meh as they come off trying to be too hard. There are also a couple of bonus tracks that are ok.

Look, I have been an Xzibit fan since he first dropped and he always is able to drop two or three tracks that are original and unique. He also has been known to fill his albums with a lot of straight up West Coast underground or hardcore rap tracks which is fine cause thats his market. At his age and length of time in the game, he needed to have more songs with impact, that really talk about something. He hasn't been around for a few years I know he had some things he wanted to say the past few years but instead the album falls a bit flat with too many gangster cliches, that never really fit with the guy X presented himself as.


Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gunplay is trying to Prove he's bout that life

So Gunplay aka Don Logan ( Guess that isn't working out is it?)  who's real name is Richard Morales is creating quite a buzz for himself and staying in the news, literally.



This dude who started to show me some energy and is a better actual rapper than Waka Flocka, though they have the same type of style. This is a problem however because he is being a bit too real with his lyrics. This video footage is almost as bad as the C-murder footage that sent him to jail. For someone with his rap sheet, and his profile, how did he think he could get away with this?

Then you have the fight that occurred at the BET hip-hop awards between himself and members of the G-Unit entourage. That also wasn't a good look as Gunplay ended up getting his chain snatched, eating a couple of punches, and getting pepper sprayed and arrested. All of this just when things are starting to ramp up for him, it's not a good look, especially to be on the real news, and not just being on TMZ or MTV. You have to do better than that because if you go down for a couple of years, you will miss your window. Just ask Mysonne how that worked out. Even worse is that now, everything is so trendy and clique related, by the time he gets out, MMG probably won't even be relevant anymore so he really won't be able to have a career.

Gunplay needs to get it together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shyne Gets goes in on Hot 97 and Ross

So I listened to this new interview with Shyne as he talked to Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg and their morning show recently where Shyne speaks about his differences with Rick Ross and Sean Combs. This interview was great for a couple of reasons, number one being that This crew was expecting a certain type of interview and to lead the discussion to sort of getting on or clowning Shyne for his dislike of Rozay and his voice after prison and his religion.




It's kind of long but here are some of the points I took from this. One, Shyne says his newfound religion was not a conversion, but an acceptance of something that already existed. Now this is near the end of the interview as Shyne says he doesn't think Drake could give Ross a pass or be a kind of reason behind the title of Rick Ross' latest mix tape. As Rosenberg tries to say Ross is trying to show respect to the idea of a Bat Mitzvah. Maybe, Shyne isn't as crazy as he sounded at first, and since everyone tried to clown him, for going and being official, how is this guy allowed to pretend or just pretend like he is in that world.



The other thing I took from Shyne is that he is a legitimate dude. He is the kind of guy who has done real things in his life and doesn't want others to follow those footsteps. I think of Maino, TI, Jeezy in this same frame. Shyne is more apt to speak out about Ross because as he says, he respects C.O.'s or those who are playing their role, but for Ross to go from being that guy to being the ultimate kingpin, he feels is plagiarizing his life or the lives of people like him who really do things and having no remorse for it. He repeatedly brought up the idea of accountability to the fans and kids who are listening to the music and being influenced by it.

He explained everything so well in this interview that the morning show crew at Hot 97 didn't know what to do. Just listen to his explanation about his voice and the things he went to. This was greatness and I hope you get the time to listen to shyne take them to school.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Album Review - Machine Gun Kelly - Lace Up

So a couple of years ago I saw MGK online and felt like he had something to offer. He is passionate, full of energy, and already had his city of Cleveland in Love with him. He eventually signed with Puff and Bad Boy which is a questionable move. He coupled that with a bunch of reckless behavior including recently having a performance at the Microsoft Store in Atlanta shut down in it's midst for wilding too much. However, this is the just type of thing that Kelly thrives upon. He is the closest thing right now to an old school rock star in hip-hop right now. Channeling that energy into an album could be a challenge, but he tries with this new release, Lace Up, based upon the movement he has created for himself already.


Speaking of rock, the album starts off with "Save Me" which features M Shadows and Synyster Gates in a guitar backed straight up introduction to the album which would really let you know who MGK is as he talks about why he is in the rap game to begin with. He then follows up with features from Bun B and Dubo on "What I Do" with a hook that is guaranteed to get the crowds at shows rowdy. Somewhat surprisingly. "Wild Boy" with Wacka Flocka is also on the album though it has been out for a long time now. This is followed by the title track, "Lace Up" where MGK digs up Lil' Jon for an appearance. The song has the same energy you would expect and bangs for real.



"Stereo" with Fitts of the Kickdrums is a song I expected to have been turned into a video with decent airplay by now. This is about MGK dictating the love between a girl and her radio(MGK) until the end when while on the shelf, the girl's sister finds the radio and the cycle begins anew. Meanwhile "All We Have" with Anna Yanick is a song about forgiveness and moving forward past mistakes. "See My Tears" has MGK continuing the introspective part of the album with a more detailed story about his life's struggles. DMX appears on the album on "D3mons" which is more of a generic song about negativity and 'bad' things while trying to be slightly jarring. X's verses are ok but it isn't anything great overall.



On the other hand, "Edge of Destruction" with Tech-9yne and Twista is a good collaboration between three midwest artists with similar styles and probably similar fan bases as the bulk of the country isn't hugely supportive of them. "Runnin" with Planet VI on the hook has Kells talking about how he keeps moving forward to chase success. The big single "Invincible" with Ester Dean follows in this inspirational segment of the album. "On my Way" is a good song about where MGK is now and he has a short couple of stories he tells over the track just reminiscing about his life and how far he has come. The album ends with "End Of The Road" with Blackbear singing on it and summing up everything in a neat little package. that even had my wife two stepping in the living room.



MGK is really a wild boy and hopefully he can learn to grow with his fame and not be so crazy all of the time. This album is a very solid debut and is a shining example of why so many people are huge fans of his. See, there are many ways to connect with people, lyrics, imagery, delivery, and the best just have something that comes out through the speakers and MGK has that. You can't help but believe every word and know that they are authentic.


Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, October 5, 2012

Album Review- DJ Drama- Quality Street Music

DJ Drama had good reason to dip out on the Rick Ross and Jeezy scuffle at the BET Hip-Hop awards. He had to get back to the radio and be ready to promote his latest compilation release, Quality Street Music. The title of the album plays on the trend right now of trying to keep things real and 'hood' to a certain extent. He has dropped quite a few albums over the years but none of them have been as heavily promoted or hyped as much as say DJ Clue or Khaled. His have been more along the lines of the compilation efforts of Kay-Slay.



The album has no intro, just straight into the music with "Goin' Down" with Fabolous, Yo gotti, and T-Pain. The beat is a solid street, yet radio friendly one, and Fab isn't terrible but the hook is what carries this. This is followed by "Never die" with Jadakiss, Nipsey Hussle, Cee-Lo, and Young Jeezy as they sing about the bad guys who live because 'the good die young'. Southern flavor of the month 2 Chainz teams up with Jeremih and Meek Mill on "My Moment". The two mc's talk about how they have come up to get their shot to shine. A song that sounds like it has made radio is "We In This Bitch" with Jeezy again, T.I., Ludacris, and Future.

"So Many Girls" includes Wale, Tyga, and Roscoe Dash and is pretty boring and generic, including the only song where Drama yells his name as the overdub a la Khaled. Rick Ross shows up on "Clouds" with Miguel handling the hook duties, and Pusha T and Curren$y contributing bars on the normal Rozay style luxury lifestyle shit. In a change of pace slightly, Drama brings the energy with "I'm a Hater" featuring Wacka Flocka, Debo, and Tyler the Creator. This is pretty different of a combination. He goes back to the expected with "Real Niggas in The Building" with Kirko Bangz and Travis Porter.



Common makes an appearance on "My Way" with Lloyd handling the chorus and Kendrick Lamarr dropping a verse. The combo of artists isn't a stretch and the beat and feel manage to fit in on the album. Then we have B.O.B. , Planet VI, and Wiz Khalifa on "Pledge of Allegiance". Wiz does his normal thing if you're into that but he makes this track ultra skippable. "Same Ol' Story" might as well be called depressing hipster music with Kid Ink, Schoolboy Q, Cory Gunz, and Childish Gambino and I've heard better from all of them. Drake shows up on "We In This Bitch 1.5" where it is just him and Future annoying my ear drums. Meek Mill pops up again on "My Audemars" with Gucci Mane and Birdman, so only one verse is worth listening to. The last song is a play on Marvin's Room with Fred The Godson on "Monique's Room" where Fred goes off on a cheating ex-lover.


This album actually isn't that bad in its totality, but when the album gets to track ten it starts winding down and the energy and creativity drop along with it. Now this isn't to say the first 2/3rds of the album is original, it's not, it's just regular and compared to the end it shines. As a compilation, it's ok, but I ouldn't say you have to own it by any means.


Rating: 2/5