Jericho Jackson – Self-titled review

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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

Score: 4/5

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Black Milk – “FEVER” review

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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

Score: 4/5

6ix9ine – “DAY69” review

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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

Score: 0.5/5

Nipsey Hu$$le – “Victory Lap” review

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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

Score: 4/5

L.A.R.S. – L.A.R.S. (Last American Rock Stars) review

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After signing to Majik Ninja Entertainment in August of 2016 & dropping a free prelude mixtape called Foul World on Devils Night of that same year, Detroit horrorcore duo L.A.R.S is now dropping their full-length debut. After a 1 minute intro, we then get into the first song “Stomp”. Here, King Gordy & Bizarre both talk about fucking people up over an eerie beat. The track “Just Got Out the County” with Fury talks about them getting arrested for doing wild shit over a menacing beat, but the hook is kinda annoying. The song “Cocaine in Miami” talks about partying in Miami over a smooth beat with some synths & the “LARS Spangled Banner” interlude sees Gordy doing his own rendition of the United States National Anthem, but it’s just so mediocre.

The track “Lit” is a club banger with a trippy trap beat & the song “California” talks about going to Cali to ease their minds over a rap rock beat. The track “Rock n Roll” with Majik Ninja founders Twiztid talks about how wild they are over a grimy beat from L.A.R.S.’ DJ & honorary 3rd member Foul Mouth. The song “Suicide” has an eerie soul sample all over it & Gordy has some funny ass lines during his verse near the end, but the first verse from Bizarre didn’t really do much.The “Moshitup” interpolation during the hook wasn’t too surprising, but I liked it generally. The track “Ganja Man” is a reggae inflicted weed song, but it’s just ok. The song “No Lights” talks about their early life in the ghetto over some smooth bass & some keys. While endearing, the reference to The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” during the hook is just ok. The penultimate track “Start a War” with G-Mo Skee, Trizz & Twista gets confrontational over an explosive trap beat & the closer “I Believe I Can Fly” gets motivational over a beautiful piano instrumental from mR. pOrTeR.

As a whole, this is one of the best releases in both King Gordy & Bizarre’s catalogues. Sure there are some weak moments, but it’s more refined than the prelude tape from the production to the duo’s performances & their ever so natural chemistry. I’ll say it here like I did in my Foul World review, but here’s to hopefully some solo albums from both members because they fit with Majik Ninja very very well

Score: 4/5

Tyga – “Kyoto” review

After dropping a sequel to his #BitchImTheShit mixtape last summer, Compton rapper Tyga is now going contemporary R&B on his 6th full-length album right here. The opener “Temperature” sings presumably about his ex-girlfriend Kylie Jenner over a tropical beat & the auto-tune on Tyga’s voice makes it even worse. The next song “Leather in the Rain” with Kyndall is a shitty sex duet with a generic club beat & the track “Come & Ball Wit Me” is basically Tyga whining about Kylie over a spacey trap beat. The song “Boss Up” sings about how he loves that his current chick is calling the shots over a moody beat & the track “U Cry” is another Kylie breakup pity party over a somber beat.

The song “King of the Jungle” sees T-Raw admitting that he was unfaithful to Kylie over an atmospheric instrumental while “Hard2Look” is an honest to God diss track towards her new boyfriend Travi$ Scott that comes off REALLY corny. The song “I Need a Girl 3” is an unnecessary follow-up to the 2 Puff Daddy songs that came out in 2002 while the track “Train 4 This” has some corny boxing & Mike Tyson references over a trap beat with a decent “Dilemma” sample buried in the mix. The song “Hot Soup” sings about how his chick will make him feel better over a bland beat while the track “Sip a Lil” is of course about drinking & rambling about missing Kylie over a mediocre trap beat. Unfortunately, the Gucci Mane verse on here couldn’t save it either. The song “Faithful” with Tory Lanez sees the 2 telling their ladies to have faith in them over another tropical beat & the penultimate track “Ja Rule & Ashanti” is filled with corny references to both artists over a nondescript beat. The torture finally ends with Holdin’ On’, where he gets sexual with his current woman over a generic beat.

Now I know a lot of people including myself went at the artwork when Tyga originally posted it on Instagram last month but musically, this is truly the worst thing he’s ever done. I can commended him for trying to step out of his comfort zone, but there is not a single song worth sitting through from beginning to end. His singing is absolutely God awful, the auto-tune he throws on top of it doesn’t mask it either, the lyrics are trite & the production is dime a dozen

Score: 0/5

Lonzo Ball – “Born 2 Ball” review

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Lonzo Ball is a 20 year old rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers & this is his very 1st mixtape. The opener “Grind Mode” with DC the Don talks about working hard over an Atari-trap beat & the next track “Get Off” is filled with lame braggadocious lyrics over a piano-trap beat. The song “Z02” is basically him promoting his sneakers over an airy trap beat & the track “Puttin’ in Work” with Kenneth Paige & DC the Don brags about their alleged rapping prowesses over an eerie piano with rattling hi-hats. The song “Better” talks about the lavish life over an organ-trap beat & “L.A.M.L. (Look At My Life)” with Kenneth Paige is basically about success with a bass heavy instrumental.

The song “Super Saiyan” compares himself to the titular Dragon Ball Z transformation albeit in a corny fashion over a trap beat with some eerie keyboards. The track “Bring It Home” with Kenneth talks about doing it for their families & the production isn’t really anything special either. Both “Money Talks” & “Check” redundantly talk about making money, but the production on the latter is more describable with it’s keyboards & monstrous bass. The song “Day 1s” is a dedication to everyone who’ve stuck with him up to this point over an eerie keyboard trap-beat while the track “Livin’ Lavish” is basically another “Better” but with a spacey beat. The 2 & half minute freestyle is basically Lonzo & Kenneth Paige going back & forth about how big they are & while there is chemistry, it’s not good. The synth-trap production is pretty mediocre as well.

The track “Gotta Get It” is another boring money making anthem with a beat that knocks off something Dr. Dre would’ve produced in the Early 2000s & the song “What Is You Doin’?” touches down on how he’s doing his own thing over a bland instrumental. The penultimate track “BBB” is basically a promotional song for his dad Lavar’s Big Ball Brand over some grimy down-tuned synthesizers & the closer is a tribute to his dad over a spacey beat.

I don’t have a problem with basketball players trying to rap (case in point Shaquille O’Neal or even Damian Lillard), but this is a serious contender for Worst Release of 2018. The production is generic, it’s monotonous & the content gets super stale after a while. Just stick to basketball. Please

Score: 0/5

Various Artists – “Black Panther: The Album” review

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With the Black Panther coming out a week from today,  Top Dawg Entertainment is giving us the soundtrack alongside Aftermath Entertainment & Interscope Records. The opener “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar (who curated the whole soundtrack) talks about being a king over a gloomy piano instrumental. However, there’s one point where it gets abrasive. The song “All the Stars” is a spacey love duet with Kendrick & SZA that’s just ok. The track “X” by ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz & Saudi gets celebratory over a decent trap beat while the song “The Ways” by Khalid & Swae Lee is a duet about this attractive woman over a moody trap beat. The track “Opps” by Kendrick, Vince Staples & Yugen Blakrok gets into the mind of criminals over a hip house beat while the song “I Am” by Jorja Smith gets insightful about change & how we aren’t meant to be free over a funk rock beat.

The track “Parademic!” by SOB x RBE is an eerie gangsta rap tune while the song “Bloody Waters” by Ab-Soul vividly talks from the point of view from an organized criminal over a kick-back beat. The track “King’s Dead” starts off with a eerie beat & while Jay Rock’s flow is absolutely deadly, but the Future bridge is so hilariously bad. However, they make up for it during the 2nd half when the beat switches into something more hard hitting & Kendrick comes in with an angry verse filled with references to the film’s antagonist Erik Killmonger.

After the “Redemption Interlude”, we then go into the actual song “Redemption” by Zacari & Babes Wudomo. Here, they get sexual albeit in an underwritten & generic fashion. The following song “Seasons Change” by Mozzy, Sjava & Reason talks about escape the ghetto over a somber yet reggae-infused instrumental. The penultimate track “Big Shot” by Kendrick & Travi$ Scott talks about the celebrity lifestyle & the flute sample that Cardo uses on here is absolutely beautiful. Also, I love how Kendrick reuses the first couple lines from his “New Freezer” verse for the hook. The soundtrack then finishes off with “Pray for Me, where The Weeknd & Kendrick talk about heroes burden over an electropop beat.

While I wouldn’t call this a future classic by any means, this is still a solid soundtrack album. It’s not too overproduced like many soundtrack albums nowadays, it’s well written & most of the performers do their thing

Score: 3.5/5

Justin Timberlake – “Man of the Woods” review

With his 37th birthday passing this Wednesday, former *NSYNC member Justin Timberlake is celebrating with his 5th full-length album. The opener “Filthy” is a sex tune over a messy, techno-pop instrumental from Timbaland & Danja. The next song “Midnight Summer Jam” gets celebratory over a funky instrumental from The Neptunes (who produced a bulk of the album surprisingly) with an acoustic guitar & some fiddles.

The track “Sauce” gets playful over a funk rock instrumental from Timbo & Danja while the title track is a dedication to his wife Jessica Biel over a Neptunes best with some rubbery bass along with a twangy guitar at the beginning that later progresses into something more funky. The song “Higher, Higher” talks about Jessica yet again over a guitar & the keyboards on here are vintage Neptunes. The track “Wave” sees JT basically telling Jessica to come away to an island with him over some acoustic guitars while the song “Supplies” talks about how they’ll be living like The Walking Dead over a sitar.

The track “Morning Light” is a duet with Alicia Keys about how they wanna spend 1 more night with each other over a smooth yet funky instrumental while the song “Say Something” is a decent country-rock duet with Chris Stapleton about being caught up in the music. After the “Hers” interlude, we then go into the next song “Flannel. However, it’s pretty much JT impersonating what sounds like if R. Kelly made a country ballad. The track “Montana” gets romantical over a vintage Neptunes beat with an acoustic guitar & the song “Breeze Off the Pond” uses nature similes over an instrumental that kinda reminds me of Pharrell’s last solo album G I R L.

The track “Livin’ Off the Land” talks about being a man doing his best over some predominant bass & twangy guitars. The strings near the end are nice touch as well. The penultimate track “The Hard Stuff” pretty much tells Jessica how much he loves her over a laidback country instrumental while the closer “Young Man” pays tribute to JT’s son Silas over a Timbo instrumental with mostly guitars & organs.

While it’s not even close to a Justified sequel or anything like that, I think this is big improvement over the 2nd disc of Justin’s last album The 20/20 Experience. The lyrics are mostly endearing & the production is funky as ever, but I should point out the fact that Justin incorporates more country elements on here & it actually works out pretty well given that he’s from Memphis. Sure it isn’t reinventing the wheel, but I really love hearing JT’s maturity on here

Score: 3.5/5

Mike Shinoda – “Post Traumatic” review

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Mike Shinoda is a rapper from Agoura Hills, California best known for his work with LINKIN PARK. He put out a solo album called The Rising Tied under the name Fort Minor back in Late 2005, but the first project of his to be officially credited to his birth name comes in the form of a 3-track EP. The EP starts off with “Place to Start”, where he vents about being tired of fear & hopelessness over a settle instrumental. The next song “Over Again” sees Mike on the verge of tears paying tribute to his longtime LINKIN PARK co-vocalist Chester Bennington, who committed suicide in Late July of last year, over an electronic-esque instrumental. The closer “Watching As I Fall” talks about how distraught he is of Chester’s suicide over a dubstep-ish instrumental with some guitars thrown in. Going into this, I got EXACTLY what I was expecting. The production’s a lot darker than LINKIN PARK’s latest album 1 More Light (which I still consider to be the band’s worst album by the way) & it fits perfectly with Mike’s passionate delivered eulogy to Chester

Score: 4/5