Feb. 15, 2007
It always ceases to amaze me when I come across hip-hoppers who manage the feat fusing humility and irony. With the title of this joint, we can deduce that the breakdown of “base mentality” is to be read as one that is getting back to basics, as in something created with the love of that from your basement that is mental with vitality.
The beats are all true, basic head nodders, and the themes are nothing groundbreaking (battle raps, cocky guarantees of getting your girl, industry commentary, lifestyle, and getting the party started) but their exploration and delivery are nothing to be slept on. Tracks like Alchohol and Testosterone go a little bit deeper and echo all kinds of promises of things to come.
“Basically”, the Mudkids came to ball like their home team (and if you haven’t heard the remix or seen the video they made for the Colts, Youtube “Anthem” this second, I’ll wait for you) and they open the album slanging. I was privy to this track in the summer, but the metaphors that prove Rusty’s status as a seasoned veteran are timeless. He may be “a Libra and sometimes an asshole”, but he is undeniably a worthy wordsmith, rattling off metaphors faster than you can count celebrity adoptions of African babies. Here’s just a small sampling: “you’re the Silvers, I’m the Jackson Five”, “I’m nuclear fission, you’re double A’s”, and my favorite, “I’m Supercat, you’re Snow”.
Russ is definitely the Gucci (Ok, I can’t give it all to you, cop the album!). “Even as a grown man, he still b-boy”, and his spirit of jest is clever and pronounced, as he’s the guy you love to get beat by, because he’s your big brother pushing you to get better. It takes a real man to remember that in a cipher, but don’t mistake the kindness for a weakness because he will set you in your place and have you “looking to God like Ma$e after Double Up”.
Rusty is nothing if not opinionated, so when it comes to the state of the world of hip-hop, I’m glad to recruit folks who refuse to cosign on its death. “Who got the real hip hop? It’s all around me”. He throws out a dope homage in JMJ and in the interest of paying respects to the pioneers, reminds us that there rest folks whose elite are “not Jay and Nas but Run D and Jay”.
On the topic of Rock & Roll, he “stands out like Mutumbo in Chinatown”, and continues on the rock and hop (more sides of a versatile coin) tip (and the punching of stereotypes in the face tip) with Heavy Metal Parking Lot, though the purple reign in me would’ve really loved it he somehow made this quote into the segue it should’ve been, “I’m Eric Clapton when I’m tappin’, I’m making you cream”. (It could’ve been Prince, Wu-Tang…but I digress.)
It’s clear that Rusty wants “a rock and roll chick in the hood”, though something tells me that she will always be there for him and that he’s not too proud to tell the world that he still loves h.e.r. The couple has been through a lot, but he reminisces about how he met her when he was “fourteen, (and she) walked differently from any girl he’d ever seen”, tough times, “in spite all the changes, “she’s just too young for you”, from day one she drove him crazy, he been her fool, “even stations with the program, they even tried to put my girl in the middle of slow jams”, and fidelity/dealing with her other admirers, “battle over her honour, all I need is one mic, told my girl we’d be best friends for life…I put it in sync and Justin loves her too”.
There are times when Indiana sounds like the Bay, with the low growling flow and ridiculous wordplay, “I destroy your game and your libido, you’re a character actor, leave that to Don Cheadle, I’m the big dog, you’re a beagle”. He continues with the Outkast and Quannum’s Lateef the Truthspeaker’s entries to the “cooler than…” cannon on Foresight which seems to be an appropriate point to stop this review (in the interests of bookeneding with irony) with one last brilliant view on optimism, “like Eve in a Dcup-half full”.
Whatever Happened to The 5-Footaz?
Feb. 15, 2007
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Warren G will always be a dope beatmaker, but he never was the strongest lyricist. This effort is ambitious and scattered. Mister Griffin could’ve benefited from the advice of an editing consultant. The sheer number of tracks on this album (18 mostly full lengths, there are no Wyclef style interludes here) is enough to floor the average conditioned listener with ADD tendencies. He tries to tackle some tough issues like war for oil and relationships but overshadows himself with the same old “weed and hos” talk (it doesn’t even seem like he believes it anymore) and allusions that he makes to his own work, “I’m still Warren G, it’s time to regulate” and “this DJ be Warren G”. There just comes a point when it’s grasping at straws when artists have to remind us of why we love them and not the other way around. That being said, the unfortunate deterioration (though never DEATH) of the music always influences the way we judge things through Mary J’s sunglasses, because there was a time when I hated “Havin’ Thangs” too, but these days, it’s makes me smile relative to what is out there.
There is a range of beats on this album that are serious clues of Warren G’s versatility, (the beat on the title track is instant vintage, in the realm of rhythm and gangsta, which is enhanced by Nate Dogg singing the hook) and the guest spots should have been tight, though some fall a little short. Raphael Saadiq rarely disappoints, but on Walk These Streets, he stays in his most nasally range, even when speaking, and echoes the borderline whiny sentiments of Warren as he tries to assert himself as one of the “firsts” in the game. Big Snoop Dogg rocks his guest starring fedora, where his voice is unmistakable, but his flow is forgettable. B Real’s contribution on Get U Down is what makes the track. Bishop Lamont brings a few styles that are interesting, though again it might be a matter of perspective, because he looks like a lyrical genius next to Warren, who doesn’t seem as comfortable when he has to share the emcee duties with another. Garilla Pimpin’ features a hook that shouts out Willie Beeman, so how can anybody hate on that?
It is a little easier to chastise them for lyrics like “zzt zzt like a laser/zzt zzt like a taser”, “you’ll like how I use my Oscar Meyer” (WG) and “in the bed I’m a terrorist….keep your head down like an ostrich” on I Like That There and “got you wet as SeaWorld, let me see your sweet pearl” (BL) on All I Ask of You.
It’s nice to see that Warren has stayed in shape after all this time, and he’s still well-dressed. It would also seem that he almost has enough money to put together an OutKast style disc accompanying booklet though again, the concept could be more solidified.
It is imperative however, to state that the bonus track kicks ass for the following reasons: 1) it is a bonus track that is actually a bonus (ooh, I’m still mad about the “bonus DVD” on Common’s latest effort that was 45 minutes of watching Kanye eat soup and talk of crochet pants, she dumped you man! Get over it!) 2) The guest spots, 3) Warren holds his own with these big dawgs, 4) The topic-see? Proof that hip-hop is being used for activist reasons, even by the pimps.
|| Lady Sovereign
- Public Warning
Review by: Angelica LeMinh
Offical Site: www.defjam.com
“Love me or hate me, fuck you!”
Now that I have that out of the way, allow me to be forthright about Lady Sovereign. I agree with the camp that respects her because she's so young, she's worked her gimmick, and she does have some decent flows, but her voice is annoying as fuck. Or maybe it's just that warning bells automatically go off in my brain when any emcee comes out the box flexing attitude and a whiny diatribe. It's a little much on a debut effort, nobody knows you, why you so angry? And I think that the fact that this effort spread like syphilis is because of its crossover appeal, folks from all walks of life will buy into this emo shit.
In reality, she doesn't have anything to be pissed about, I mean, she's on the same label as the fucking Roots, and they put in a helluva lot more heart into their career. It seems like Mister Carter is doing his best impression of LA Reid here when he tried to turn P!nk into an R&B diva, or maybe I'm just M!zunderstanding it. I'm not saying homegirl isn't talented, but her young ass might have a thing or two to learn about pimping herself to a label (‘cuz she's a little plainer than Rihanna, so she doesn't exactly have the same insurance policy when it's time to trade up Beyonce), and I won't count out her next releases, you know, when she gets all emancipated like Mimi (although I guess it would be the opposite of when Mariah became a butterfly and started rolling with Mobb Deep, but hey, they're on G-Unit now, so maybe not) or when Xtina stripped herself of her Mickey Mouse pop label constraints and really sang .
The truth is, that I don't buy the fact that this girl is just a hoodrat from the wrong side of the tracks no matter how hard she tries to sell me on it, and that's not even that hard, with her half assed battle raps. I've been racking my brain and even enlisting the help of the Brits I know (including the lovely DJ Sarah Love) over what the fuck “orange” means, and I guess I'm just not so hip to her street slang because I find it hard to believe that it would mean something derogatory, but then I feel the same way about the word “cracker”.
I'm not saying that white girls can't get down, but I can't help but feel a little bit slighted that they get all this undeserved attention. Um, hi, this is the same place that MIA and Ms. Dynamite are from right? And this recent wave of baby raps over wasted beats (how many emcees would kill for these beats?) just leaves a girl wondering where the hell Monie Love might be hiding?
If you want a real scare, Youtube “Robyn- Konnichiwa Bitches ”. It's funny because she dissed Fergie during her summer tour (where she just got stupid drunk and tried to antagonize the audience) but again, I'm going to quote the great Rusty by commenting, “oh kettle, you're looking awfully black”. No matter how much she tries to assert herself as being different from our lipstick'd London Guard humper because she has “hairy armpits” and rocks “baggy tops”, it's the same shit, different day. When I'm given the choice between Coke and Pepsi, I'm drinking the water, muthafuckas. Case in point? You can catch her on tour coming up with Akon (that's a whole other story) and Gwen Stefani, uh huh. Well, I guess if the best rhymes on my album were by Missy Elliot, I would be pretty upset to.
Listening to this album had me running to the comforts of the new Ani DiFranco record, because she doesn't have anything to prove anymore, though she never was anyone but herself. Can we really say that to someone who even seems confused by the definition of her own name? ‘Cuz it really doesn't seem like there's anything “sovereign” about this “lady”.
"Love That's It"
Jan. 13, 2007
It's no secret that I love the Roots, but can they please stop slanging around the label "revolutionary" like it's a Madlib-Kweli download on Myspace already? And can we start off 2007 by encouraging folks to stop applying this label to themselves? Humility is allowing your music to relevently exist long enough to have other people notice this, and in the spirit of No Label(s), Mister Gabriel Teodros, is more an example of the latter than the former.
After years of CD-R with a Sharpie copies of his music disseminated through friends and selling vinyl out of his backpack, LOVEWORK is here! This beauty-full collection of songs honestly discusses (not just cryptically shouts out) homophobia ("queer folks and hip hop", his personal "love of punk rock") and sexism ("what hurts a woman is what's hurting us all"), responsibility and potential of the art ("I know I got vision with enough sense to listen"), headraps and incense as just another gimmick not to be caught up in, and mixed race politics (disappearing dads and the reality of America's melting pot). He doesn't come across as preachy, just complex. He's not a pariah, but a survivor, vulnerable and necessary because he's speaking the truth and he doesn't have to remind us that he's doing it.
It's fitting that he opens with the hommage Sacred Texts because the whole album could be read as that of his life. Anyone who meets him will recognize his frequent use of "hella" as adjective and proclamations of "eat food" as quoted verbatim of his actual vernacular. His talk of feeling alienation from main acts (No Label) is understood by any hip hopper who felt funny about shows like The Beastie Boys' when Tribe was the opening act. The heart of a man and his reflection on self-image is felt through lyrics like, "I remember when my best friend was Treach" on the GT version of Beautiful, but I'ma cosign with the Abysinnian Creole version and state that "I can see God moving through you" nonetheless, though "they say I'm a hater because of who I love" as well.
His Jesus Piece is a meditation on missionaries imposing religion for medicine and how he reconciles the fact that "a White Jesus still hangs on (his) Grandma's mantelpiece". He can be seen as neo-Garvey, urging Back to Africa as something to do alongside "those who rep red, yellow, green hella harder than me". His is a message of unity, not divide and conquer based on melanin membership, and rounds out In This Together with the inspiring rally cry of "we may not have come in chains but (we're) still enslaved in the mind, we're in this together so your beef is mine".
He reminds those that pack that, "these guns were placed in our hands by the same fools that called us n**ga" and also that "schools and prisons are the same damn industry", encouraging awareness to the institutionalized profits reaped by the war machine and the ways that we are all touched by the universal arms trade on tracks Third World and It's That.
There are a few songs that are a tad repetitive, and a few flows that are not as spirited, but that's only in comparison to the rest of the album chock-full of beats and rhymes of simple complexity and proof that reminds us that there is always work to do, as love is a work in progress. When one commits to making the "music with higher stakes, refusing to assimilate", he can only be found at the "home where the true love is, and home is where the hip hop is". Oh snap, I guess you gotta cop the mixtape ( www.myspace.com/gabrielteodros) to fully get that.
The good news is that it also features the timeless track Chocolatey Undertones featuring a spry-sounding Belladonna and the other half of Abyssinian Creole, Khingz Makoma (amongst other stars). Happy New Year of the Lovers, y'all, let's get to work.
Lil Sci...No More
Dec. 28, 2006
Some thoughtful and articulate boom-bap here from the Doom affiliate formerly known as Lil’ Sci, perhaps slightly blemished by some poor hooks and ill-advised beat choices, but radiating an intelligence and ingénue that distinguishes all fine rhymesmiths. From the get-go, John Robinson announces himself as a purposeful and zealous mic-mangler, flaunting an assiduously-metered, explicitly-worded style that is at once technically accomplished and straightforward, as he strikes a balance between lexical economy and structural complexity that really is the ideal medium for his contemplative lyrical content. The timbre and coarse raspiness of his voice gives his delivery additional character, bearing a parallel to both Doom and Raekwon, and his fluent, silky style lends great texture to his vivid, lucid Raekwon-esque narration, most prevalent on the cinematic “Action Flick”.
It does help that a lot of the beats here are absolutely stunning- “All Behind Me” is sultry and convincingly soulful, the ID4 Windz-helmed “Connected” and “JR Meets Invizible Handz” (is JR consciously aping Doom here?) strike a balance between sinister Wu-isms and King Geedorah cyberfunk, “Under My Skull” is Afrika Bambataa interstellar bump n’grind (anchored by an OUTSTANDING performance by Farrah Burns, I’ll be keeping an eye out for homegirl from this point) , “Grandz” sees JR delivering a non-stop, scattershot performance atop a bedrock of Special Herbs-esque breaks and samples, while “Expressions” sees Doom mining atypically jazzy Afro-Cuban territory (complete with Bebel Gilberto-esque chanteuse), making for one of the more oddly pleasant numbers on the mixtape.
This all being said, there are some rather questionable decisions on this recording- the mad scientist concoctions of Madlib are sometimes best left as instrumentals, and the conscientiously-arranged cadence of JR proves a poor match for Madlib’s mutant thump on “More Music”, which is stained by an absolutely awful hook. Potential highlight “Under My Skull” and the trite, cloying staple love song “All Behind Me” stumble with the same clumsy hook-craft.
Ultimately, this is a very pleasing offering that should find great favor among Doom’s mammoth following of slobbering completists, as well as avid enthusiasts of JR’s prior work with the perennially underrated Scienz Of Life. Assured and consummate, this assertive mixtape offers a palatable sampling of John Robinson’s forthcoming studio endeavor, one that I harbor great anticipation for. Recommended.
Dec. 25, 2006
In many minds, the rapper Scarface is the King, or at least the elder statesmen, of the South. You know, the one that no one challenges, and everyone looks up to. A man who has been in the game since the 80’s and still manages to stay relevant, your favorite rappers rapper type of MC. Notoriously known as the front man of the legendary Geto Boys, Mr. Face is back with his new endeavor The Product. Playing the big brother role, he primes two young artists, Young Malice and Will Hen to bring back reality to street music.
Street music is the name of the game with this release. With every track steeped in tales of grinding, hustling and surviving, One Hunnid has a throwback feel. Not in the now cliché manner most underground music is referred to, but a throwback to the grimy thug music of the mid 90’s. “2 Real” hits hard with crack raps and a challenge “that wishful shit; we wish a nigga would shit.” The mood is smooth and laidback with heavy bass strings and hard melodies that allow for introspective storytelling. Scarface explains it all on “Read:”
“Day & day it never change, you hustle you get the game/
You get caught, you do time, it aint nuthin but a thang/
You get out then you grind, get ya money that’s the game/
Hit the block back, murder muthafukkas in the way/
These snitches on patrol, then agents wanting ya soul/
The system so fucked up, it doesn’t matter if ya vote”
The problem is, while Young Malice and Will Hen hold their own, when Face booms on the track they easily become overshadowed. Tracks like "2 Real," "In the Hood," and "G-Type" deliver raw visuals of hood life, but 11 tracks deep and it gets repetitive. Will Hen does well relaying West Coast gang tales mixed with a pimp game that sounds forced. Young Malice is the better lyricist of the two, stepping it up with each track as the album progresses. Each one rhymes with a passion and swagger though that you can tell they know they were hand picked by a true legend. That being said, there is no screwed up hooks or lean sipping, but if you’re a long time fan out Scarface you know he was never much for that.
There is no real standout here; each track is basically the same thing over a different beat with a different hook. On “I’m A” the bouncy bass hits and string stabs show an energetic Scarface inspiring the two youngsters to bring it hard. There are brief flashes of the talent Face saw in both of these cats, that keeps you yearning to see how they develop in the rap game. As usual Mr. Jordan kills each mic appearance with ease. One Hunnid will definitely keep your speakers booming, good riding music. This is the funk you come to expect from Scarface, which may not appeal to today’s younger dance-fad craze fans. Fans of Scarface and hardcore music will definitely want to check for The Product.
Dec. 25, 2006
Talk about underwhelming. While I’ve certainly sustained much frustration at the hands of flaccid records this year, this will undoubtedly be remembered as one of 2006’s primary offenders. It’s not that DJ Shadow has become complacent- in some senses this might very well be the most brazenly adventurous pursuit he’s been involved in since the genesis of his career. Yet, there is no question in my mind that it is his artistic nadir, something that can be attributed not so much to a lack of scope or indolence but a profound lack of cohesion- ATL crunk is clumsily shoveled into a steaming, malodorous jambalaya of torpid, rancid white-boy blues and regurgitated Endtroducing leftovers, the sordid stew coagulating to form one of the most disappointing platters of the year, a bland smorgasbord of profoundly incongruous flavors that alternately titillates and repulses the palate.
Give Shadow a pat on the back for plumbing new artistic ground here- the propulsive kicks and hyper-futuristic blips of “This Time” (featuring Bay Area stalwarts Turk Talk and Keak Da Sneak…now, where's Andre Nickatina?) provides the album with a welcome jolt of intensity after the limp, laconic pseudo-soul of “This Time (I’m Gonna Try It My Way)”. “Turf Dancing” and “Keep Em Close” flaunt DJ Shadow’s intimacy with the Bay Area underground, and offer more asphyxiating, bludgeoning bulldozer bass, adorned with all the requisite accoutrements of lowrider-friendly bump- well-placed claps, blips and mutated hi-hats, all providing an ideal sonic canvas for the infectious, hook-driven songs. It’s a bit of a pity that the record reaches an apogee with the cinematic “Seein Thangs”, fuelled almost entirely by the unbridled vitriol of certified show-stealer David Banner. An impossibly dark, yet exquisitely musical keys-and-kick-drum beat provides the premise through which David Banner siphons his white-hot angst and scintillating political diatribe. Searing stuff here, proof positive that DJ Shadow could very likely hold his own with any number of today’s foremost crunk producers.
It is at this point that the album takes a severe nosedive- “Broken Levee Blues” is breezy, spacious blues-rock that is pleasant and inoffensive enough, and its languorous languidness is swiftly undercut by a pointless instrumental (“Artifact” ) that sounds like a horrible Wire or Gang Of Four castoff (replete with buzzsaw, percussive jangle-noise guitars) with the vocals mixed out and played at double the speed with spacey flanges mixed in for maximum irritation. The Phonte-fronted fable “Backstage Girl” offers a welcome reprieve, but even this is defeated somewhat by its ambitious, sagging length and directionless tangents.
Alright, drum solos are cool when you’re Keith Moon, Cozy Powell or John Bonham, but what on earth is going on here? “Triplicate/Something Happened That Day” is more confounding noodling, self-indulgently sparse, subdued classical guitar strumming mingled with new age soundbytes that would be more at home on a Navajo folk recording. Enter “The Tiger”, perhaps the most culpably annoying number on offer on this motley minestrone, a Primal Scream/Stone Roses/Kula Shaker ripoff that comes off exactly like you’d expect such a collaboration would (Sergio Pizzorno of Primal Scream-alikes Kasabian is on this one).
I can certainly appreciate DJ Shadow giving longstanding fans a glimpse of his eclectic musical vision, one can only wish that the execution was as laudable as the ambition. This surely won’t be in the running for end-of-the-year favors as far as I’m concerned.
"What are they, a Canadian Wu-tang or something?"
Nov. 18, 2006
I've decided to respond to this queery with a roundabout "yes". The Nomads are a rag-tag ten person crew representing the whole world. They manage to marry explicitly conscious communal ideals "the right to live in peace means freedom" with the virtuous task of using hip hop for good not evil (calling out artists to use the flashy elements of hip hop to transmit a deeper message) in perfect harmony while occupying that ground of not/understanding because they do it in an eclectic melange of languages from Creole to Arabic with French, English and Spanish all in the mix. Whew. I know I've said this to the ground already, but this kind of mashup of technical and artistic elements is truly a Canadian occurance, and it's nice to see this fusion going on out East as well, since folks accept it as second nature on the West Coast.
The album is a head trip and requires a few concentrated listenings to grasp it all. There is nothing accidental about that, as the Massive is committed to the the teaching/learning aspect of the Hop and there is no filler in this buffet. Their live show does kill it, but the album is by no means some kind of poorly produced studio project. I wish that I could read their liner notes a little clearer to give credit where credit is due, as homegirl really kills it on the vocal tip and even after going to the website (nomadicmassive.ca), the myspace (myspace.com/nomadic massive), and looking through the beauty-fully hand-crafted press kit (tied together with a ribbon like a graduation diploma, I gotta send a shoutout to Waahli for pulling triple duty as press agent/Jackson 5 playing DJ for his fine handiwork) I still couldn't properly decipher which was her name.
No topic is too political for these guys to touch on, and it is refreshing to hear well-educated, unafraid risk takers take the mic. All songs are relevant, but "OWD (Oil, Weapons, and Drugs)" couldn't be more prudent at the current politricky time, with elections on everybody's mind.
Montreal based, the Massive is a perfect example of music being influenced by its creators and its environment, as a relationship in continuum, and not just in one direction at home and in the world, and by definition, comments on the cultural milieu of Montreal, which is exclusive to other big cities because although the mix of people is fairly cosmopolitan, there is a lot more sticking to individual groups here as well. Nomadic Massive is the epitome of what good can happen when we can all just get along.
First we get along, then we can work. Once we can work, the sky's the limit. Nomads are transient, they live off the land they stand on, and move on when the time is right. There is no message that is more important that what the Massive needs to spread, and their roots are stronger than the time it takes them to pass through. Once you've let them into your ears, they may be gone, but never forgotten.
|| The Roots - Game Theory
Review by: Angelica LeMinh
Offical Site: www.defjam.com
Nov. 18, 2006
When Prince proclaimed that he and his band were "real musicians" who were going to play "real music" to open his One Night Alone tour in 2002, it was a real statement by a real artist who has been creating for the past three decades (though he may have made some mistakes in his marketing/the choices of material to release). These days, when you hear the heads start complaining about the lack of "real hip hop", it's hard not to turn off at least one ear and want something different already.
Because in reality, that claim is just plain lazy. There was, is, and always will be "real" hip hop being made, and just because the mainstream (and we can contest what the shit this means exactly now) focus is blindingly obsessed with the corporate crap (remember, it's all a bizness) that doesn't mean that you cannot use your own eyes and ears to seek out the aural pleasure that you need. Take responsibility in getting yourselves off, people.
Let's not forget the Roots' role in coining the refrain from day one, and not to say that they do not deserve the self-appointed title of "real" but it was their marriage with neo-soul/live instruments that brought that whole "conscious" realm of the movement into the limelight thus spawning the Underground to the Masses that keeps Common and Mos Def in lofts and shit while holding onto their "street" cred.
The Philly boys continue on their journey as hip hop's finest here, and admittedly, Black Thought is flowing fiercer than ever (you can hear his conviction pierce wax as he states that "I watch my back and I watch my step/And I might forgive but I do not forget" on "Clock With No Hands" (easily one of the album's strongest tracks) and it really becomes unclear how it is that folks could've hated on his status as one of our generation's dopest emcees for so long. It's like he just picked up from where he left off at the end of The Tipping Point, and stepped it up that much more.
And the opposite of Thought, ?uestlove, is present-day King Midas. Steady blogging on his Myspace about how crackheads didn't steal his $800 blazer out his car (what is it with him and our fearless Lounge leader that both their bowling accessories were left unscathed in crackhead vehicle violations?) and how there's still time to BUY the album to make sure that his group isn't dropped by Def Jam. Uh huh. "It's crazy when you too real to be free/If you don't got no paper/then steal this CD" indeed, as they preach from the album, and please, it's not like Jay-Z is going to take any time out from his meetings with UN Ministers to campaign for clean drinking water in Africa to drop the biggest group in hip hop in terms of their potential to blow the cuff up and make a lot of money for everyone.
Seriously, they haven't been too flashy so that they are raked over the coals like Kanye (who, incidentally, took to the masses their style of stretching words to make them rhyme-an example of this on GT is "cir-com-fron-ces" to rhyme with "conscious" and "nonsense" on "Don't Feel Right") by the purists, and fit so nicely into that mold of 'real hip hop' that the masses can feel that they've done something 'right' by copping the album. That, and who knows if Hov will actually be able to pull off his next Jordan move (note to entertainers: "retiring" is quickly becoming akin to "secret sex tape" as a believable publicity ploy).
Social commentary aside, none of this detracts from the fact that the album is bangin' and probably the ONE that the Roots have been striving to release since the beginning of their career. I'm just sayin', I think that they are some serious "Hus/that's short for hustla(s)" though, but I'm not hatin' because I believe that the name of this album is the epitome of calculated and honest. It's my theory that ain't nobody runnin' game more serious than these cats. And I got nothin' but respect for that intelligent hustle.
It's all or nothing, or nothing at all
Nov. 3, 2006
Don't let anything about this girl fool you, her voice and content are wiser than both her years and her size (self-proclaimed "5 foot sailor"), and despite the name of her joint, that shit is anything but thrown together. Girlfriend got her bizness cap on right, and reps with a "Screwface twist...leaving a trail like gorillas in the mist."
It probably helps that she's got Masia One ("pour me a drink and another one for May,' cuz she ain't gonna be your designated driver today") and District Six in her corner, but make no mistake, she works hard to uphold her crazygurl image (and only drinks Redbull before she kicks it live so that she can bring the best to her shows, unlike other T-dot rappers who get shitfaced and forget their whole setlist, er..k-os). Despite the fact that she's "on some 'ol Gnarls Barkley shit right now" as half of electronica/glam hop duo Thunderheist (myspace.com/thunderheist), this EP is the epitome of "some Isis rap shit".
The only comment about this EP is that it's a total tease, much too short, even for an EP. It's enough to pique one's curiosity though, and enough folks have shown their Myspace love that the girl is currently on tour (note to reader: do NOT sleep on seeing Isis live if presented with the opportunity). Her delivery is simply ridiculous and you will be headnodding to her chosen beats and her jams are enough to make anyone sweet (even if they wanna act hard). Standout track "Love Musik" is a beautiful meditation on getting what you deserve in life and relationships and Isis manages to be a cultural commentator without being preachy or obnoxious. She clearly pays respects to her inspirations, has listened to all them "conscious" joints, taken the best of the messages, but refuses to buy into/out of the hype (see Lyrical Lounge interview for more details).
She's a fresh voice of the future that is sure of her past. She's young, talented, and open to alternative attitudes from the same old jaded mindset that the world (and hip hop) is out to get her. Pick this up and support a true independant soul who exemplifies that the world is her oyster, and she's eating it, bitches!
|| Ghostface Killah - Fishscale|
Review by: Nin
Offical Site: www.defjam.com