Tyler, The Creator – “Scum Fuck Flower Boy” review

After dropping the horrendously mixed Cherry Bomb on us back in 2015, Odd Future de facto leader Tyler, The Creator is finally returning with his 4th full-length album. The opener “Foreward” sees Tyler asking a bunch of questions & addressing his fear of potentially falling off over a guitar along with some wavy synthesizers. The Rex Orange County bridge & outro aren’t too bad, either. The next track “Where This Flower Blooms” then reflects on his from being in the center to driving around Cali over some strings that kick it off along with some piano keys & a couple synths sprinkled in, too. As for the Frank Ocean hook, I think I like a lot more than the hook he did for “Caught Their Eyes” off of JAY-Z’s latest album 4:44. After a 36 second Golf Radio skit with “Sometimes…”, we are then treated to the next song on the track listing called “See You Again”. Here, Tyler is singing then later rapping about being in dream state with a lover forever over an instrumental that’s mostly symphonic, but throws in some monstrous bass in once Tyler begins rapping. I also like how the hook from Kali Uchis compliments Tyler’s desires. The track “Who Dat Boy?” sees both T & A$AP Rocky getting braggadocious over an abrasive beat & it shows perfect chemistry between the 2. Especially during the final verse. The song “Pothole” uses driving as a metaphor for success over a synth funk beat & surprisingly, the Jaden Smith hook doesn’t bother me like I originally thought it was going to. The track “Garden Shed” is basically T coming out as bisexual & I absolutely love the melancholically toned instrumental progresses as the song continues. The Estelle feature on here is beautiful as well. The song “Boredom” with Rex & Anna of the North expresses his desires to find time to do something & being over his friends & the instrumental is mellow as Hell. The track “I Ain’t Got the Time!” straightforwardly tells us that Tyler doesn’t fuck with phonies over an instrumental with a surprising Middle Eastern influence. Also can’t forget to mention the “I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004” line that some media outlets were making a big deal of when the album leaked a couple weeks ago. The song “911 / Mr. Lonely” starts off with Tyler & Frank informing their respective lovers to give them call sometime over a funky beat, but then it perfectly translations to just Tyler venting about being lonely over a more hard hitting yet very spacey beat. The 1-minute “Droppin’ Seeds” is mostly dominated by a short verse from Lil Wayne over with a jazzy yet spacey instrumental & while some may be turned off by that, he does compliment the album by delivering what I think is one of his hardest verses in a long time. The song “November” has a somber beat & it sees Tyler venting about if he’s “hustling backwards” or if his manager Christian Clancy is doing him dirty. He even sends a message to his lover, even though he knows that he or she isn’t gonna answer his calls. The penultimate track “Glitter” then continues where the previous one left off & the way the beat along Tyler’s voice & delivery changes halfway through it was well incorporated. This magnum opus then closes out with “Enjoy Right Now, Today”, which is a 4 minute instrumental track that I guarantee will make you feel good as soon as it starts. There are also some background vocals from T’s musical idol Pharrell during the last couple minutes or so that are just as pleasant to the ears. When I referred to this album as a “magnum opus” right before I started talking about the final track, I really think it is Tyler’s best work yet. It’s mature, it’s honest, it sounds more luscious than ever & it’ll truly amaze you to see how much he’s grown from his Bastard mixtape to this. I know Tyler was known for using homophobic terms early on in his career & he trolls too but if he really is bisexual, then I think we should all embrace him for it. Give this thing a listen as soon as you can, because is truly is the album of the summer in my eyes

Score: 4.5/5

Marlon D – “Shadows 3” review

Marlon D is an underground MC based in Oxnard, California & this is his 9th full-length album. The album opens up with the intro, where Marlon is talking about speaking to the lost generation & putting you in a hearse by the time the song’s sole verse ends over a hard boom bap beat. The next song “Fine Wine” talks about making his story count & the soul sample on here is beautiful yet very fitting. The track “Crack That Whip” discusses several things such as his past work as well as life being complicated over an expected yet solid sample of the classic Devo song “Whip It”. The song “Wake Up” discusses getting rid of negative energy & still keeping his third eye open over an instrumental that enhances the uplifting vibe perfectly. The track “Raw Shit” talks about thanking God for maintaining his skills & wanting to get busy on the mic over a beautiful soul sample. The song “Top of the Morning” ambitiously talks about not wanting to dream about getting money & actually getting it over a piano as well as some hard hitting boom bap drums. The track “DUI” may have very vivid storytelling, but I was kinda indifferent towards the beat for it. The song “The Cypher” lives up to it’s title, as Marlon brings on Nasty Nelo as well as Rufio Spenz & Crow Flocks on to aggressively go in (in their own rights too) over an abrasive beat. The track “T-Shirts” with Know Big Deal may be the shortest track on the entire album, but both MCs absolutely rip the horns & hard hitting drums to shreds. The song “Wrong or Right” is both reflective & emotional, but it reminds me of the classic JAY-Z track “This Can’t Be Life”. Not just because of the reference to it during the hook, but he even uses the exact same Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes sample that Kanye used on that original song throughout it’s 6 minute runtime. The track “Stand for Something” discusses unity & the soul sample during the hook enhances Marlon’s sincereness very well. The song “Don’t You Worry” is a message to all the people who’re currently struggling in life & I like how he rides the smooth instrumental on here as well. The track “Cry” vents about a breakup over a perfectly incorporated soul sample along with some hard boom bap drums. The song “Leave Me Alone” basically tells the listener that you can either support him or back off over a somber instrumental & he’s pouring his heart out on here. The track “I Wonder What’s Real” expresses his desire of being a better man as well as reflecting on a shitty boss he had over a somber instrumental that starts off with some great piano keys. The song “Flying Locusts” has a conscious tone to it lyrically & it was really cool for me to hear that they sampled the instrumental break that pops in during the last minute of “Between Friends” by Captain Murphy from beginning to end. The penultimate track “A Dream Deffered” with News may brag about their rhyming skills & the beat is gritty as well, but the execution of the hook was really awkward to me. The album then closes out with the outro, where Marlon is getting thankful over a beautifully symphonic instrumental. Personally, this final installment of the Shadows trilogy might be Marlon D’s best work yet. Not just because of the beats being a healthy mix of both boom bap & soul, but also because I really think Marlon D himself sounds as focused & ambitious as ever. If any of you are looking for an underground album in 2017 that’s well produced & full of charisma, then I’d personally say this is the album for you

Score: 4/5

2 CHΛINZ – “Pretty Girls 👍 TRΛP MUSIC” review

Just a little over a year after dropping the ColleGrove self-titled album with Lil Wayne, Playaz Circle member 2 Chainz is now delivering his 3rd full-length album. The opener “Saturday Night” sees Tity Boi talking about treating every day like it’s a Saturday & the production from Mike WiLL Made-It has these ominous piano keys as well as a KILLER electric guitar throughout. The next song “Riverdale Rd” talks discusses going from grams to Grammys & the beat is eerie, yet very abrasive. The track “Good Drank” with Gucci Mane originally appeared on 2 Chainz’ 3rd EP Hibachi for Lunch back from last October & it’s still as much of a spacey club banger as it was when it first came out then. The Quavo hook doesn’t really bother me at all either, especially with the hilarious Dr. Dre/André 3000 line that pops up near the end of it. The song “4 AM” talks about selling drugs at the titular time & while I do like the murky production that fits the vibe, I was disappointed that Travi$ Scott only did the hook & a couple adlibs on here. The track “Door Swangin'” goes in about hustlin’ & the atmospheric production isn’t too bad, either. The song “Realize” sees 2 Chainz talking about partying as well as Nicki Minaj dissing Remy Ma over a cloudy-ish beat & I gotta say, Nicki actually went in on this song. Oh, & the “fuck mumble rap” line that 2 Chainz spits at the end of his verse surprised me as well. The track “Poor Fool” has an ambitious tone lyrically & I really love the wind chimes throughout the beat. I’m also happy that Swae Lee only does the hook on this track & he definitely did a decent job at that here. The song “Big Amount” with Drake originally appeared on Tity Boi’s 9th mixtape Daniel Son; Necklace Don from last August & it still sounds as much of a chill braggadocious tune as it originally was then. However, the Drake verse is still average. The track “It’s a Vibe” with Ty$ as well as Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko is a sex banger that really does live up to the title. Especially with the funky guitar on here. The song “Rolls Royce Bitch” talks about believing in yourself & the really smooth guitar passages on here actually make it my 2nd favorite track on the entire album. The track “Sleep When You Die” talks about never resting & while the sampled OJ da Juiceman adlibs do kinda get annoying after a while, the production is on some straight sensei shit. The song “Trap Check” talks about cashing in checks & buying shit with the money over an sinister beat with some rattling hi-hats. The track “Blue Cheese” has a wavy beat, but the Migos feature is what REALLY kills the vibe for me on here & the 2 Chainz verse at the beginning does it little justice. The song “OG Kush Diet” talks about getting high since his friend passed as well as saying your favorite rapper has no talent (presumably another shot at mumble rap) & I absolutely love the beat change halfway through. The penultimate track “Bailan” is actually my favorite track on the entire album. Not just because of Pharrell’s relaxing production, but also how charismatic Tity Boi sounds on here too. The album then closes out with “Burglar Bars”, where it gets motivational to the listener over an instrumental that compliments the vibe perfectly! Even though I’ve never been a big fan of this guy, this new album of his took me by surprise. The production’s hard as Hell as one would expect, but what got me the most was how 2 Chainz was sounding a lot more interesting me over them this time around. If any of you are like me & didn’t care for his last 2 albums B.O.A.T.S. (Based On A T.R.U. Story) or it’s sequel Me Time all that much, then I HIGHLY recommend checking this new album out because it truly is like night & day

Score: 3.5/5

JL – “D.I.B.K.I.S. (Do It Big, Keep It Strange)” review

After being affiliated with Strange Music for several years, Kansas City emcee JL finally signed with the independent hip hop powerhouse in 2015 & is now releasing his first album with them. The opener “Strange the World” has a killer rap rock beat & given the title of the track, JL does not disappoint. The next song “2 Up” with Strange founder Tech N9ne talks about being 2 brackets above everyone else & while I do enjoy verses as well as the heavy bass in the production, the execution of the hook could’ve been much better. The track “Own Thang” originally appeared on Tech’s last non-Collabos album The Storm back when it first came out back in December & it’s just as great as it was then from the stereotype topic to 7’s hard hitting production. The song “Hate Nature” addresses all the haters out there & 7’s production fits JL’s aggressive delivery like a glove. The track “Out Da Hood” is basically about going from rags to riches over a hyphy beat & the guest verse from Nef the Pharaoh isn’t too bad either. The song “Saturday” with Tech as well as The Popper & Marlon Young is a club banger, but it just feels redundant to me. The track “Risky” talks about sex over a spacey beat & while he does it cleverly, the hook from Navé Monjo is just ok. The song “Catch a Wave” with Joey Cool talks about grinding & I absolutely love how it starts off with some ominous strings. The keyboards on here are pretty nice, too. The track “Password” is yet another club banger just like the previously mentioned “Saturday”, but this one goes WAY harder. Not just because of ¡MAYDAY!’s production, but JL changes his flow near the end of both verses very cohesively. The song “Technology” with Tech N9ne talks about sexual activity via technology (hence the title) & both of them do it very creatively. Especially with the reference to the classic Zapp track “Computer Love” right before Tech’s verse. The perfectly titled “Fuck Everything” is pretty much JL angrily going at every single thing from clubs to excuses & while one may complain about the excessive use of the word “fuck”, I personally think it’s an abrasive track. The track “Done to Me” vents about a breakup & I like how the guitar matches the sincere vibe that’s being given off. The song “Propaganda” sees JL getting conscious & there are some really cool DJ scratches going on in the background throughout the duration of the track. The penultimate track “Elevation” talks about being stressed then eventually making it & between the guest verses from Joey Cool along with Emilio Rojas & Krizz Kaliko, I felt that Krizz had the best flow of the 3 despite the mediocre PlayStation simile that pops in a little bit after his verse starts. The album then closes out with “This Time”, where JL’s passionately spitting about how thankful he is that his time isn’t up yet as well as how he feels right at home with Strange Music over a beat from 7 that has an fittingly ambitious vibe to it. There’s also a pre-order track to this thing called “Everywhere”, which pretty much brags about success & the production from The Dead Beatz is just THUNDEROUS! If you ask me, this could very well be JL’s best work yet. His lyricism & delivery are on point like it’s always been & the production is probably the hardest set of beats he’s ever had. I’ve always felt that this cat is very underappreciated & the fact that Tech N9ne is giving him proper exposure with this album makes me very happy for both parties, because this dude really is gonna be Strange’s next big artist

TLC – Self-titled review

Almost 15 years after the death of Left Eye as well as the release of their 4th album 3D, renown Atlanta girl group TLC have decided to give their fans 1 last album. The fittingly-titled opener “No Introduction”, talks about how Left Eye’s still with them & that they’ve already paved the way, but the production is pretty nondescript. The next track “Way Back” talks about getting back with an ex & not only does the Snoop Dogg verse compliment TLC, but the beat SLAPS too! The song “It’s Sunny” talks about brighter days being here, but the club beat was just average. The track “Haters” addresses just that & while that’s fine, the modern production does not suit them at all. The song “Perfect Girls” has an acoustic vibe to it & lyrically, it seems like a sequel to “Unpretty”. We are then treated to a 1 minute interlude where Left Eye is posthumous talking over a funky instrumental. Sad thing is though: this is the only Left Eye appearance on the entire album. We then get back on track with the song “Start a Fire”, which is basically the other 2 remaining members of TLC saying that they’re hiding in men’s dreams. The instrumental starts off with an acoustic tone, but then it changes up into something more during the last minute or so. The track “American Gold” talks about no one being safe & always pulling through over a somber instrumental enhanced by some piano keys. The song “Scandalous” has a sexual tone in the lyrics over an futuristic sounding instrumental that actually doesn’t sound too bad, but I’d much rather listen to “Red Light Special”. The penultimate track “Aye Muthafucka” disgustingly goes in about being fed up with their man’s shit & the beat is somewhat catchy. Then the album fittingly closes out with “Joy Ride”, where they’re thanking us for supporting them over a funky guitar & some piano keys. Even though this was crowd-funded, I walked away from the final product thinking it was just ok. I mean I knew T-Boz & Chilli were gonna try to make it work without Left Eye & I’m fine with the songwriting on most of the tracks, but the production’s not up to snuff. I have a lot of respect for TLC but with a group of their caliber, I think they could’ve gone out with a bigger bang

Score: 3/5

JAY-Z – “4:44” review

Almost 4 years after the disappointingly mediocre Magna Carta…Holy Grail, renown Brooklyn rapper & businessman JAY-Z is finally delivering his 13th album & he has enlisted No I.D. to produce it in it’s entirety. The opener “Kill JAY-Z” talks about killing his ego over a soulful instrumental & it even addresses his Throne cohort Kanye West’s stage rants from last November. Despite calling him insane, he does assure Ye that he does feel bad for him. The next song “The Story of O.J.” sees JAY getting conscious over some piano keys & a sample of “4 Women” by Nina Simone. Matter of fact, Jigga actually makes a PERFECT reference to the original Nina Simone song during the hook. The track “Smile” talks about pushing through the pain & while I don’t care for the drums at all, the Stevie Wonder sample is nice & I love the background vocals too. Also, the outro from his mother Gloria (whom JAY publicly announces & supports for being a lesbian near the end of the first verse) was endearing. The song “Caught Their Eyes” talks about watching your surroundings over an instrumental with a tropical vibe to it & the Frank Ocean hook isn’t as great as his hook on “Oceans” was, I still liked it. The title track is a sincerely delivered apology to Jigga’s wife Beyoncé & the soul sample on here enhances the remorse that JAY is letting out. Despite the song “Family Feud” being said to be about the recent beef between older & younger hip hop artists, it could possibly refer more to his wife almost leaving him for cheating on her (especially with the line at the beginning of the 3rd verse about telling Becky to let him alone). Also, Beyoncé’s background vocals that can be heard throughout the entire track are just beautiful. The track “Bam” has a braggadocious tone to it lyrically & while I do enjoy the horns as well as the hook from Damian Marley, that one line Rae Sremmurd & Bobby Shmurda at the beginning of the 2nd verse is really corny. However, he does make an interesting reference to “30 Hours” off of Kanye’s latest album The Life of Pablo shortly after. Plus, there’s no denying that the IG pictures line during the first verse couldn’t be any more true The song “Moonlight” is a message to all the new rappers & I absolutely LOVE the “Fu-Gee-La” sample on here. The penultimate track “Marcy Me” is a dedication to the streets delivered over a soothing instrumental, but I thought the reference to “Unbelievable” by Biggie during the intro was just ok. Same goes with the outro from The-Dream. The album then closes out with “Legacy”, where his daughter Blue Ivy asks him what a will is & he responds by talking about his family’s workmanship over some jazzy horns. If any of you were disappointed with Magna Carta…Holy Grail as much as I was, then I can tell right now that this is A LOT better. No I.D.’s production is soul sample galore & lyrically, it could very well be his most personal effort yet. It’s pretty much the male equivalent to Beyoncé’s latest album Lemonade, except I’ll go as far to say that it’s better

Score: 4/5

Vince Staples – “Big Fish Theory” review

Almost 10 months after the release of his Prima Donna EP, Cutthroat Boyz member & Odd Future affiliate Vince Staples is now finally delivering his sophomore full-length album. The album opens up with “Crabs in a Bucket”, where Vince is talking about how he hasn’t let go a lot of problems he’s had as well as comparing the black man to Jesus over a atmospheric & trippy instrumental. Especially with the vocal samples. The next track “Big Fish” sees Vince reflecting on how far he’s come in the rap game over a hyphy beat & the Juicy J hook is fitting as well. The “Alyssa Interlude” has a clip from an Amy Winehouse interview for the first half, but then we hear a verse with Vince reminiscing about a girl who’s most likely died & then it finishes with a perfect Temptations sample. The song “Love Can Be…” with Kilo Kish talks about how Kilo’s done with her ex along with the hoes that want a taste of Vince’s fame over an instrumental that’s PERFECT for the clubs. I also like Vince’s homage to both Alright & For Free? by Kendrick Lamar at the beginning & the end of the final verse respectively. The track “745” has some thunderous yet funky bass throughout & he’s talking about picking up his girl at 7:45 in his BMW 745 along with how love’s really hard for him because all the pretty women he’s gotten with his whole life have lied to him. Also, the Adam & Eve metaphor for all the snakes out there during the bridge hit me. After wondering if people in New York would even know if he existed if he were to be murdered today during the 1 minute “Ramona Park’s Yankee Stadium” interlude, we then get into the next song Yeah Right”. On this song, Vince is asking a bunch of questions & talking about what pretty woman want over a distorted yet abrasive instrumental & the guest verse from Kendrick Lamar doesn’t disappoint either. The track “Homage” talks about how no one can hold him back now that he’s a successful rapper over a high-tempo techno beat. The song “SAMO” talks about how nothing has changed & the production is very eerie. The track “Party People” asks how can Vince enjoy the party when all he see is death & destruction as well as him talking about needing good vibes over a beat that once again is perfect for the clubs. The penultimate track “BagBak” pretty much tells the phonies to back off of him because they don’t know him over a hard hitting hip house beat. The closer “Rain Come Down” talks about some gangsta shit was well as metaphorically comparing a stripper to Etta James over a gritty UK Garage-influenced beat. Even though this album is only 36 minutes long, this could very well be better than his debut Summertime ’06. His takes on love are just as nihilistic as he’s always been (especially with the line on “Yeah Right” about a pretty woman slitting her wrist) & the electronic dance music influenced production brings a fitting atmosphere to the lyrics. To anyone who still hates Vince or even refuses to give him a chance because he said the 90’s were overrated a few months after his debut album came out: I don’t think you can deny that this is his most experimental work yet

Score: 4.5/5