With the 4 year anniversary of their self-titled debut coming up at the end of the year, PRhyme is finally delivering their long-awaited sophomore album. After the “Salute” intro, we then get into the first song “Black History”. Here, Royce da 5’9” talks about his upcoming as well as DJ Premier’s over some piano keys & strings. It originally appeared on Royce’s 2nd EP Tabernacle: Trust the Shooter in 2016, but I’m still happy to hear it on here since he said that this album was coming. The track “1 of the Hardest” sees Royce boasting about him being one of the best out right now over a guitar/boom bap beat while the song “Era” with Dave East touches down on hip hop today & I really appreciate Preemo trying something different with his production on here. The track “Respect My Gun” with Roc Marciano sees them taking about firearms over a gloomy beat while the song “W.O.W. (With Out Warning)” with Yelawolf is filled with battle raps over an eerie instrumental.
The track “Sunflower Seeds” cleverly uses that as a metaphor for livin’ from the hood to logon how he is now over an organ-inflicted beat while the song “Streets at Night” is basically Royce telling us he runs the streets over some wavy synths. The track “Rock It” not only has a gritty bap beat with some keyboards & strings, but Royce’s wordplay on here is phenomenal. The song “Loved Ones” is basically about when Royce was cheating on his wife & I love the way Rapsody is incorporated as she talks from the perspective of Royce’s wife. The track “My Calling” touches downs on hip hop being his calling & the current state of the culture over some birds chirping & hard hitting drums while “Made Man” with Big K.R.I.T. talks about being making it their way over a boom bap beat with some background vocals & strings.
After the “Relationships” skit, we then go into the track “Flirt”. Here, Royce & 2 Chainz get romantic over a boom bap beat with a fancy tone to it. Despite the song “Everyday Struggle” having a short yet decent verse from Chavis Chandler near the end, I thought Royce’s response to all the purists was really insightful. Especially with the lines at the very beginning about Joe Budden (who is a member of the Shady Records signed supergroup Slaughterhouse with Royce alongside KXNG CROOKED & Joell Ortiz) attacking Lil Yachty in an interview last year. The penultimate track “Do Ya Thang” tells his haters to do just that over some chimes & horns while the closer “Gotta Love It” is an ode to hip hop as a whole over orchestral backings.
Overall, this is just as great or even better than the first album. It’s longer, it’s doesn’t have too much features like the last one had, Royce’s lyricism is sharp as always & I actually like how DJ Premier takes a few risks with his flawless production on a few tracks.
On the day of his 40th birthday, former Living Legends member MURS is celebrating by delivering his 11th full-length album & he has enlisted 7 to produce it in it’s entirety. The album starts off with “The Unimaginable”, where MURS vents about his recent divorce & the death of his newborn son over a gloomy acoustic guitar with some militant drums added halfway through. The next song “Melancholy” touches down on the titular feeling over a somber acoustic guitar & some live drumming while the track “‘Midtown” reflects on coming up from South Los Angeles over a twangy guitar. The song “Same Way” with Tech N9ne sees both MCs telling their loved ones they know that their families don’t like them over a laidback beat while the song “Powerful” takes a jab at the current state of hip hop over a woodwind-infused boom bap beat.
The song “G Lollipops” with Fashawn & Prof is a humble brag about their talents over an fun instrumental fit for the clubs & then the track “Superhero Pool Party” sees MURS telling a bedtime story to his son where he was at the fictitious titular party. It is filled with creative references to iconic superheroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman & The Incredible Hulk just to name a few. Also, Kanye West & Jean Grae are both mentioned as well. The song “Whiskey & Patron” with XV is a fun liquor tune with a druggy beat while the track “A Lean Story” recalls a time where he tried lean before a show in 2000 over a gloomy beat.
The song “Lo-Fi Nights” touches down on internal conflict & finding inner peace over a beautiful instrumental while the track “So Far Close” is a heartfelt message to his ex-wife Kate over some somber yet jazzy instrumental. The song “Celebrate” is a smooth ode to all of the good memories in MURS’ life while the penultimate track “Vows” tells us how he met who I presume to be his new wife & where they are now over a beautiful piano instrumental. To be honest with all of you, this song almost made me cry the first time I heard it. The album finishes with “God Is the Greatest”, where MURS is getting in the faces of his critics over an eerie boom bap beat.
As a whole, I think this was a beautiful way to celebrate the man’s 40th birthday. MURS gets at his most personal lyrically & 7’s production suits him near perfectly. I’ve always wanted the 2 to work on a whole album together ever since MURS signed to Strange Music in 2014 & the end result is his best album with the label as well as being tied with …The End of the Beginning as the magnum opus in his solo discography
August Greene is a newly formed supergroup consisting of Chicago MC Common, Detroit producer Karriem Riggins & Houston jazz pianist Robert Glasper. The 3 have worked extensively on Common’s last album Black America Again in Late 2016, but now they are coming together for an official full-length album.
The opener “Meditation” talks about how the trio can’t fall over a mellow instrumental & the next song “Black Kennedy” is a vivid description of just that over a jazzy piano instrumental. The track “Let’s Go” gets spiritual over a soothing beat while the song “Practice” insightfully talks about life itself over a piano & punchy drums. The track “Fly Away” talks about relationships over a tribal beat while “Aya” is a soothing 4 minute instrumental with a piano & beautiful background vocals.
After the “Piano” interlude, we go into the track “No Apologies”. Here, Com gets conscious over a super funky beat. The song “The Time” sees Common reflecting on his entire career with an instrumental that has a soothing atmosphere to it while the penultimate track “Optimistic” with Brandy is a decent cover of the Sounds of Blackness song with the same name. The album closes with “Swisha Suite”, which is a relaxing 12 minute jam session.
While I wasn’t expecting this, it’s still a great album. The production from Karriem & Robert is just as jazzy & laidback as Black America Again & Common’s lyricism is as insightful as ever before. However, I wish there were about 3 more tracks on here if possible. I’d definitely love to hear a follow-up from them in the future
To commemorate the 2 year anniversary of his breakout mixtape Lil Boat, Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty is celebrating by giving a sequel as his sophomore full-length album. The opener “Self Made” talks about his success over a spacey, booming trap beat while next song “Boom!” with Ugly God sees the 2 talking to their haters over a bouncy beat, but the hook is annoying as fuck. The track Oops with 2 Chainz gets braggadocious over some bass while “Talk to Me Nice” with Quavo is yet another humble brag over an airy beat.
The track “Get Money Bros.” with T Grizzley pretty much speaks for itself over an eerie beat while the song “Count Me In” gets charismatic over a banging instrumental from Pi’erre Bourne. The song “She Ready” gets sexual & the beat is pretty playful, but the PnB Rock feature doesn’t do much for me. The track “Love Me Forever” is pretty much the same thing except with a more moody instrumental & the song “Das Cap” gets in your face over a haunting Southside beat. The track “Pop Out” is another redundant bragging tune with a weird, electro-trap beat from Digital Nas & a terrible verse from JBan$ while the song “NBAYOUNGBOAT” is basically a showcase of decent chemistry between Yachty & YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
The track “Mickey” is an eerie tune about snitches, but the Offset feature at the beginning is the only highlight about it for me. The song “FWM” might have over a bass-heavy beat, but Yachty’s monotonous delivery will doesn’t get me excited at all. The track “Flex” is another in your face braggadocious banger with annoying ass delivery while the song “Whole Lotta Guap” talks about what he has now & over another bouncy beat from Pi’erre. The penultimate track “Baby Daddy” with Lil Pump & Offset basically tells this woman that his man is a sucka another over an eerie beat I’m pretty sure I similarly heard while the closer “66” talks about how he’s allegedly gonna flex until he’s old over an atmospheric DY beat with a decent Trippie Redd feature.
Personally, this thing did not live up to the hype that was set out for it. While I‘ve never been a fan of Lil Yachty’s music to begin with, at least I can commend the first Lil Boat for having a blissful vibe to it. This however, is filled with a bunch of club bangers in a shorter & feature heavy way than Teenage Emotions was
Almost 6 months after the release of Perestroika’s self-titled debut, Army of the Pharaohs & Demigodz member Apathy is at last giving fans his long-awaited 6th full-length album. The opener “The Spellbook” sees Ap spits angry battle bars over a haunting beat & then the next song “CHAOS” brags about his rapping prowess about over a jazzy boom bap beat from Stu Bangas. The track “Never Fall Off” with A.G. sees the 2 talking about their longitivtiy over some glorious strings. The titular song with Ryu gets conscious over a grimy rap rock beat while the track “The Order” is a menacing attack towards his enemies over an grimy boom bap beat from none other than DJ Premier.
The song “Alien Weaponry” raps about his rapping prowess over an eerie Nottz beat & then the track “Hypnosis” sees Ap spitting knowledge over a soulful instrumental. The song “I Keep On” with Pharoahe Monch sees the 2 lyrical beasts battle rapping each other over a Pete Rock instrumental with some keys & a funky bassline. The track “A View of Hell (View from Hell)” gets lyrically murderous over a gritty beat from Buckwild while the track “Fist of the North Star” with Diabolic is a vicious diss to wack rappers over a boom bap/rock fused beat.
The track “Stomp Rappers” with Celph Titled & M.O.P. gets into battle rap mode over a grimy instrumental while the song “Legend of the 3rd Degree” sees Ap giving more knowledge over an ominous beat. The penultimate track “Rise & Shine” with Locksmith talking about killing wack rappers & I love the horns throughout. Also, the soul sample during the hook is beautiful. The album then finishes off perfectly with “Obi Wan”, which is a heart-wrenching tribute to Apathy’s father over a gloomy beat.
It’s been a long time coming, but this might be Apathy’s magnum opus. Of course it’s gonna be angry & rawly produced but conceptually, it’s probably his smartest one yet.
After dropping 2 Collabos albums in 2017, the legendary & ever so hardworking Kansas City MC Tech N9ne is now dropping his 20th full-length album. The album opens with “Habanero”, where he talks about how hot he is over a futuristic trap beat from 7 (who produced all but 5 songs). The next track “Fresh Out!” with Swisher Sleep sees the 2 going back & forth about not giving any more fucks over a skittering electronic beat from mR. pOrTeR & while the song “Kick It With Myself” does touch down on loneliness, both the 7 instrumental & the hook are just alright to me. The track “Drink Up” is of course an alcohol-themed club banger & the song “Don’t Nobody Want None” is an ode to the all the b-boys with an instrumental kin to the classic Afrika Bambaataa track “Planet Rock”.
The track “Bad JuJu” with King-I.S.O. sees both MCs getting confrontational over an eerie instrumental & the song “Comfortable” is basically about feeling just that over a spacey trap beat. Also, the sample during the hook is alluring. The track “No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song)” is basically about fucking people up over an eerie trap beat from 206derek & Frizz that kinda fits the vibe. However, the auto-tuned Y2 hook sound annoying, but the MGK feature is really trite to me. Especially with the corny Dr. Dre reference at the very beginning of his verse. After the “Brightfall Confession” interlude, we then go into the next song “Brightfall”. Here, Tech delivers a cool throwback to K.o.D. (King of Darkness) from the spiritual content to the orchestral strong-tinged production.
The song “Red Byers (Say Som’n Do Som’n)” gets conscious over some live instrumentation with some hi-hats & the track “Never Stray” talks about how far he’s come with his label Strange Music over an ambitiously atmospheric beat. The song “Sho Nuff” continues where the last one left off as it talks about about celebrating where he’s at now over a bouncy beat from Dem Jointz while the track “How I’m Feeling” with Snow Tha Product sees both MCs saying what’s on their minds over a dinky piano with some rattling hi-hats. The song “Not a Damn Thing” vents about having a day off from his usual grind over some ambitious keys with some funky guitars while the track “My Fault” addresses his supposed beef with the Insane Clown Posse along with a story about a legal issue revolving around the classic 816 Boyz banger “Areola” over a smooth beat. The song “Tappin’ In” recalls the story of a 21 year old Tech fucking his homie’s 40 year old girl & I absolutely love the way he incorporates Joey Cool on here as he delivers from the point of view of Tech N9ne’s friend. The penultimate track “Levitation” talks about succeeding over a beat that’ll make you feel like you’re in space & then the album finishes off with “We Won’t Go Quietly”, where he insightfully gets conscious again over some beautifully played keys.
To be honest, this is Tech N9ne’s best album since Special Effects in 2015. Aside from 1 track I could do without, you can’t deny that his pen-game is still deadly for someone who’s this deep in his career. Most importantly too: it’s mostly focused & consistent, both of which are what I feel like his last couple albums lacked. Just goes to show Tecca Nina isn’t leaving his place as the biggest independent artist in hip hop any time soon
Jericho Jackson is a duo consisting of New Jersey producer Khrysis & renown Detroit MC eLZhi. Both members gave been in the game for a hot minute now, but they formed Jericho Jackson together very recently & this is their full-length debut. After the “World of Illusion” intro, we dive into the first song “Overthinking”. Here, eLZhi touches down on just that over a settle instrumental. The track “Self Made” talks about eL’s success over a jazzy boom bap beat & the song “Cuffin’ Season” gets conscious over a boom bap beat with a laidback guitar in the background. The song “17” vividly tells the story of an unnamed 17 year old going down the dark path & I was surprised to hear Khrysis sample “Deep Down Body Thurst” off of N*E*R*D’s new album NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES.
The track “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” vents about needing true friends over a gloomy beat while the song “To Do List” talks about the things he feels he was set out to do & I love the strings on here. The track “Talkin’ ‘Bout” goes at the fakes & the Khrysis verse at the beginning was surprising yet super dope. The song “Listen” gets romantic over a smooth instrumental & the penultimate track “Breguets” gets braggadocious about eLZhi’s rapping prowess over a jazzy beat. The album then closes perfectly with “Thank You”, where eLZhi gets grateful for his success over a soulful boom bap beat.
Overall, this was just as fantastic as I thought it would be. Both eLZhi & Khrysis show quite a bit of chemistry from the beautiful production to the ever so top notch lyricism. Hopefully, we get a follow up at some point in the future
A little over 3 years after the release of If There’s a Hell Below renown Detroit producer Black Milk is finally returning with his 7th full-length album. The opener “unVEil” speaks on living for the moment over a luscious neo psychedelic beat & the next track “But I Can Be” gets insightful over a laidback beat. The track “Could It Be” reflects where he started & where he’s at now over a soulful funky boom bap beat while the song “2 Would Try” vents to an unnamed ex-girlfriend over a smooth jazzy instrumental. The track “Laugh Now Cry Later” talks about how Black Milk sees the world differently nowadays over funky boom bap beat with a luring soul sample & the song “True Lies” gets conscious over a mellow funk rock instrumental.
After the “eVE” interlude, we then get into the next song “Drown”. Here, Black Milk touches down on the ghetto life over a settle guitar & bassline. The track “DiVE” is just an instrumental track with a beautiful flute with some laid-back guitar, keyboards & synthesizers during the second half. The song “Foe Friend” vividly tells the story of 2 friends who eventually fall out with each other over mellow beat & the track “Will Remain” gets ambitious over a funky beat. The closer “You Like to Risk It All / Things Will Never Be the Same” may have a mediocre auto-tune hook, but Black Milk’s compelling story suits the beat perfectly.
Personally, this is up with Popular Demand & Tronic for Black Milk’s magnum opus. The production is probably his most organic & the lyrics are lot smarter than ever before
6ix9ine is a 22 year old rapper from Brooklyn, New York who’s after gaining a lot of buzz in 2017. He’s also received a lot of controversy up to the release of his 1st mixtape right here from pleading guilty to sexual misconduct with a minor to canceling a show & getting jumped in Los Angeles. The album starts off with “BILLY”, where 6ix9ine gets confrontational over an eerie trap beat. The next track “GUMMO” ruins a beautifully haunting instrumental from P’ierre Bourne by emotionlessly yelling vapid street lyrics & the track “RONDO” with Tory Lanez & Young Thug talks about throwin’ money instead of fighting dudes over a spacey trap beat. The track “KEKE” with A Boogie wit a Hoodie & Fetty Wap vapidly about how gangsta they are over a decent instrumental & the song “93” gets confrontational once again over a gritty thunderous beat.
The track “DOOWEE” has another grimy bass heavy trap beat, but the verses are redundant & the hook is annoying as fuck. The song “KOODA” disses Trippie Redd over a keyboard-trap beat & while the “BUBA” instrumental isn’t too bad, it sounds underwritten. The track “MOOKY” is about stomping people out over a bland beat & the “Damn!” homage at one point really pissed me off. THE “GUMMO” sequel is slightly better than the original, but that’s because the only 2 saving graces are (once again) the Pi’erre Bourne production & the Offset verse. The tape then finishes with “CHOCOLATÉ”, where he yells about how tough his crew is over a chaotic beat.
Honestly, this was just as bad as I expected it to be. The production is mostly decent as are the features, but 6ix9ine pretty much ruins every song with his annoying delivery & substanceless lyrics. Also, some of the tracks on here sound underwritten or even unfinished
Nipsey Hu$$le is a rapper from Slauson, California & this is his long-awaited full-length debut. The album starts off with the title track, where Nipsey talks about where he is now & the Stacy Barthe feature is beautiful. The next song “Rap Niggas” telling us that he’s nothing like these dudes out right now over a gritty instrumental while the track “Last Time I Checc’d” with YG sees the 2 talking about how they’re self made over a g-funk/trap infused beat. The song “Young Nigga” gets braggadocious over a trap beat with some rattling bass & the track “Dedication” with Kendrick Lamar sees the 2 talking about their come ups from the ghettos to the rap game over a bass heavy atmospheric instrumental.
The song “Blue Laces 2” is a welcoming sequel to “Blue Laces” off of Nipsey’s 2010 mixtape The Marathon while the track “Hu$$le & Motivate” pretty speaks for itself over some decent keys. The song “Status Symbol 3” with Buddy is a fun close to the titular trilogy & the track “Succa Proof” is a menacing, unapologetic shot at all the lames out there. The song “Keyz 2 the City 2” isn’t a bad sequel to the original “Keyz 2 the City”, but the TeeFlii feature is probably the weakest one on the entire album.
The track “Grinding All My Life” talks about his work ethic & I like the eerie vibes of the instrumental. The song “Million While You Young” gets luxurious over kick-back beat & the track “Loaded Bases” is basically about living for the moment over a soulful instrumental. The song “Real Big” talks about his success over an ambitious beat & then the penultimate track “Double Up” with Belly & Dom Kennedy talks about drug dealing over a spacey beat. The album then finishes off with “Right Hand 2 God” reflects on from where he was to where is now & I absolutely love the horns that come around during the hook.
As a whole, this may be Nipsey’s best work yet. The beats bang & it displays where he is right now very well while delivering a few sequels to some of his older songs from his mixtape days. I really hope this gives him the shine he deserves, because it was well worth the long wait