Eminem – “RƎVIVAL” review

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After cleverly promoting it for the past month or so with the fake-drug ads, renown Detroit hip hop superstar Eminem is finally giving fans with his 9th full-length album. The opener “Walk on Water” vents about the struggles he’s had for the best decade or so over a gospel like-piano instrumental from Rick Rubin. The song “Believe” pretty much asks the listeners if they would turn their backs on him over a piano & some awkward snares. The flow is pretty uninteresting as well. The track “Chloraspetic” gets braggadocious about his rapping prowess over a trap beat from mR. pOrTeR, but the parts where he bites Migos flow is absolutely embarrassing. The song “Untouchable” intelligently talks about racial injustice, but the production on here was just ok & it didn’t need to be 6 minutes long. And on top of that, the “white boy white boy, you’re a rock star” hook is God awful. However, the second half of this is much better than the rap rock-tinged first half. The track “River” talks about a failing relationship over a guitar & after an unnecessary skit preluding the next song “Remind Me”, we get the actual song & it’s sickeningly lovey dovey. Especially with the cheesy “I Love Rock & Roll” sample that’s used throughout a bulk of the track & the corny ass lines like “Your booty is heavy duty like diarrhea” & “you’re smoking like Snoop Dogg”. After the “Revival” interlude, we then go into the next song “Like Home”. Here, Eminem is dissing Donald Trump over an uplifting instrumental & the Alicia Keys hook is just ok. The track “Bad Husband” is an open apology letter to Em’s ex-wife Kim Mathers over a somber beat & the X Ambasadors hook is mediocre. The track “Tragic Endings” sees Em being pushed around by a manipulative lover over an abrasive beat & while “Framed” goes back to his horrorcore roots an eerie beat, the hook is annoying. The song “Nowhere Fast” gets reflective about the younger days over string-induced trap beat & the Kehlani hook doesn’t help at all. The track “Heat” talks about this chick who he thinks is as vile as his RELAPSƎ album from 2009 & the beat is almost the same as “So Far…” off his last album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The song “Offended” takes a jab at all the naysayers & while the verses & the beat aren’t too bad, the interpolation of “The Knife Game Song” is drab. The track “Need Me” feels more like a P!nk song than an Eminem song given that Em only appears at the end & almost as unbearably sappy as “Revenge” off of P!nk’s latest album Beautiful Drama. The song “In Your Head” talks about his famous alter ego Slim Shady & The Cranberries sample actually works well. The penultimate track “Castle” sees Em writing 3 different letters to his daughter Hailie in 1995, 1996 & 2007 respectively & it’s absolutely touching. The closer “Arose” talks about his overdose in 2008 & his output since then over an ambitious instrumental, but he literally “rewinds it” to the final verse from the previous song “Castle” during the last minute & a half & it ruins the vibe. Overall, this is yet another pop rap album from Eminem that is average at best. He still has it lyrically, but he needs better features. He needs better production. He needs to stop making some tracks drag on longer than they should’ve. I really had hope that this would be a consistently great album, but I‘m gonna have to accept that poppy Eminem is here to stay forever

Score: 2.5/5

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XXXTENTACION – “A GHETTO CHRISTMAS CAROL!” review

With his trial coming up this Friday, Floridian 2017 XXL Freshman XXXTENTACION is giving his fans his 7th EP. The opener is the title track, where X getting braggadocious over an eerie trap beat from Ronny J. However, he doesn’t sound exciting & the “Day ‘n’ Nite” reference during the hook is corny. The next song “Hate Will Never Win” gets conscious over the instrumental of “Life” by the Funky Cowboys, but he’s just mumbling atonally. Also the Donald Trump samples X incorporates at the beginning & the end were nice, but they didn’t need to be there during the verse as well. The “Up Like an Insomiac” freestyle actually feels like a finished track, but the beat is bland & his delivery is annoying as Hell. The 1-minute “Red Light!” has a mediocre beat & X’s angrily delivered lyrics are substance-less. The closer “Indecision” might be 2 minutes, but it’s super underwritten. Honestly, this is almost as bad as X’s 17. The production is subpar & almost every track still sounds as unfinished as before

Score: 1/5

Juicy J – “Rubba Band Business” review

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Just 3 months after the release of his fantastic $uicideboy$ produced Highly Intoxicated mixtape, 3 6 Mafia co-founder Juicy J is finally delivering his 4th full-length album. After the 39 second intro, we get into the first song “Feed the Streets”. Here, J gets with his brother Project Pat alongside A$AP Rocky to talk about doing just that over a sinister trap beat from Metro Boomin’. The next song “A Couple” talks about doing drugs & having sex with hoes over an eerie instrumental from Tarentino while “Buckets” charismatically brags about ballin’ on your bitch at the club over a haunting beat from 808 Mafia co-founder Lex Luger. The song “Dodgin’ the Snakes” jabs at all the haters with a beat from YK fits that the mood perfectly & while I can appreciate the track “Drop a Bag” dissing all the studio gangsters, the G-O-D feature was mediocre to me. The song “Too Many” with Denzel Curry speaks on doing a large amount of drugs over an atmospheric instrumental from Murda Beatz.

The track “Ain’t Nothing” sees J & his TGOD Mafia cohort Wiz Khalifa getting braggadocious over a banging instrumental from Mike WiLL-Made It, but I wasn’t crazy about the Ty$ hook. The song “Flood Watch” talks about the trap life over a piano-trap beat from TM88 & the Offset verse isn’t too bad either. The track “Only One Up” will make you wanna right someone from the abrasive YK beat to Juicy’s energetic performance. The song “Hot as Hell” sees Juicy feeling himself a little too much over a generic trap beat while the penultimate track “No English” talks about getting fucked up over a wild instrumental from Lex Luger & TM88. The Travi$ Scott hook here is pretty decent as well. The closer “On & On” left little to be desired, primarily because it feels more like an leftover from Belly’s latest mixtape Mumble Rap.

Overall, this was well worth the 4 year wait. There are some weak moments, but the production bangs & Juicy sounds energetic as ever for the most part

Majik Ninja Entertainment – “Twiztid Presents: Year of the Sword” review

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Majik Ninja Entertainment is an underground hip hop label that was founded in 2014 by Detroit hip hop duo Twiztid. The roster has been immensely growing since it’s inception of this year specifically, they’ve dropped 1 great release after another. And now to close out such a great year for them, they’re now giving the fans a compilation featuring new songs from every artist on the label. After a 90 second intro, we then get into the first song “Heads Will Roll” by Gorilla Voltage & Jamie Madrox. Here, they‘re bragging about how their skills will amaze you over a sinister instrumental. The next track “Turn It Up” by Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Bonez Dubb & Lex the Hex Master sees the 3 MCs aggressively getting in your face over a chaotic beat while the track “Fucked” by Boondox, Gorilla Voltage & The R.O.C. talks about how crazy they all are over a haunting instrumental. After a 15 second skit with “Level Up!”, we then get into the next song “Their Fault” by Jamie Madrox & Young Wicked. Here, they’re predominantly singing about those who never gave them a chance & while the vocals during the first half seem nasal, it definitely picks up on the second half. The song “Ignite” by King Gordy, Mr. Grey & Zodiac MPrint talks about how they’re never gonna fall over a killer rap rock instrumental & then “Cut ‘Em Up” by Twiztid & Young Wicked rapidly talk about killing their competition over an abrasive yet eerie instrumental. The song “Lights Out” by G-Mo Skee, Mr. Grey & Twiztid angrily talks about getting murderous on their last day alive & the rap metal instrumental on here fits the vibe like a glove. After the 30-second “Harassment” skit, we then dive into “Don’t Fuck wit Us” by ClocworC, the House of Krazees & Lex the Hex Master. The lyrics are self explanatory, but they’re delivered fantastically over this menacing yet thumping instrumental. The song “Better Than Ever B4” by the Axe Murder Boyz, G-Mo Skee, Lex the Hex Master & Triple Threat talk knowing now than ever before about over some twinkling piano keys & an organ while “Flix ‘n Chill” by ClocworC, Triple Threat & Young Wicked is a predictably decent love song with a wavy instrumental. The song “Get High” by the Axe Murder Boyz, L.A.R.S., Mr. Grey & Triple Threat is self-explanatory weed anthem with a druggy beat while “Galaxy” by G-Mo Skee, Jamie Madrox & King Gordy sees the 3 looking for a challenge over a synthesizer-heavy instrumental. The song “Don’t Tell Me” by Boondox, Gordy & Twiztid tells the haters they’ll never listen to them over a grimy yet thunderous beat & then after the 20 second “Summon the Majik Ninja” skit, we then get into the final song in the standard edition “B.N.U.” (an acronym for Brand New Underground). It’s an explosive posse cut where everyone on the label all talk about their prowess. The “Did You Unplug It?” skit is the final track on here, but there is a bonus disc with 9 tracks. All of which are new solo cuts from each signee on the label, with the exception of Lex the Hex Master’s being previously released on his latest album Beyond Redemption. As a whole, this was a great way for Majik Ninja to end their 2017 & it’s just another example of why they’re one of my favorite labels out right now. The production is gritty as usual & everyone compliments each other fantastically. Can’t wait to see them continue their string of successfully raw releases in 2018

Score: 4/5

Miguel – “War & Leisure” review

As the final month of 2017 begins, Miguel is delivering his 4th full-length album following up his last 2 modern classics Kaleidoscope Dream & Wildheart. The album opens with “Criminal”, where he & Rick Ross compare their love to just that over a wavy yet smooth instrumental. However, there are a handful of cringey lines on there. Especially the ones about Columbine & Duck Duck Goose near the end of the first verse as well as the one about 9/11 at the start of the second verse. The next song “Pineapple Skies” sees Miggy telling his lover everything will be ok over a spacey instrumental while “Sky Walker” with Travi$ Scott cleverly inserts many pop culture references as they brush off their haters over a druggy beat. The song “Banana Clip” talks about protecting this woman in a war on love over a funky instrumental & the song “Wolf” compares himself to just that over a guitar & explosive drums. The song “Harem” encourages this woman to follow him to see the world in a new way over a mellow instrumental & then the track “Told You So” talks about setting his lover free over an instrumental kin to Michael Jackson’s output during the 80’s.

The “City of Angels” is a vividly told story of Los Angeles fictionally getting destroyed & Miguel expressing his remorse of cheating on his girlfriend prior to her getting killed in the bombing over a down-tuned guitar. The track “Caramelo Duro” (“Hard Candy” in Spanish) is Miggy’s first predominantly Spanish song, but he does it fantastically over this funky beat. The song “Come Through & Chill” is pretty self-explanatory, as both Miguel & J. Cole encourage their ladies to swing by their cribs to have sex all night over a tropical instrumental. The track “Anointed” is pretty much Miguel telling his woman that she makes him feel like a God over some bass & then the album then finishes off with “Now”,’ where he gives his take on the world today over a twangy guitar.

Overall, Miguel has come through with his 3rd consecutive classic. The production is just as slick as before as are Miguel’s beautiful vocals & while the lyrics are still romantic, they’re also his most political yet.

Score: 4.5/5

Big Hoodoo – “asylum” review

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A little over 3 years after the release of his debut album Crystal Skull, Psychopathic Records signee Big Hoodoo is finally delivering his long-awaited sophomore effort. After a 2 minute intro, we finally get into the first song with the title track. Here, Hoodoo gets confrontational over a haunting instrumental. The next song “Runnin’ from My Magic” telling the listener to witness his illumination over some creepy keys & a super funky bass-line. Also, the Mystikal nod at the beginning of the first verse was really cool. The next 2 songs “I Bring Death” & “The Yard” get murderous over eerie beats, but I think the first one does a better job at it minus the nasal hook from Young Wicked. Then on “Out My Mind”, he talks about insanity over a semi-druggy instrumental. Also, the line about a hoe telling him his jizz was delicious at the beginning of the final verse was pretty hilarious to me. The track “Boom Boom Piggy” disses crooked cops over a menacing instrumental & the song “Go Get ‘Em” sees Tha Hav Knots angrily attacking at their enemies with an instrumental & hook that will get you in the mood to fight. The track “Calm Down” may have uplifting instrumental, but everything else about it is just alright outside of that. The next track “Monster Squad” with Anybody Killa, the Axe Murder Boyz, DJ Paul & the Insane Clown Posse is a gritty Psychopathic posse cut with a haunting instrumental while “Psycho Love” is a predictable Bonnie & Clyde-esque love song, it’s not that bad. The song “Shadows” talks about the end coming over an eerie instrumental & then the penultimate track “I’ve Seen Pain” vents about the world of sin over an sinister instrumental. The album then closes with “The Passage, where Hoodoo & Blac gets ambitious over some keys. However, Blac didn’t really captivate me & it didn’t need to be 9 minutes long. Honestly, this was an improvement over Big Hoodoo’s debut. It sounds a lot more darker & Hoodoo really improves himself as an MC

Score: 4/5

Fabolous & Jadakiss – “Friday on Elm Street” review

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Just when it seems it would never come out, Fabolous & Jadakiss finally deliver their long-awaited collab album just in time for Black Friday. The intro sees the 2 MCs comparing themselves to Freddy Krueger & Jason Voorhees respectively over a haunting beat that switches up during each verse. The song “Stand Up” is an ode to the “real niggas” over an abrasive trap beat & a decent Future hook. The song “Theme Music” sees Fab & Jada going back & forth about rising up from the bottom over a Swizz Beatz instrumental with a beautiful Marvin Gaye sample & then “Ground Up” tells all the frauds to be careful around their hoods over a gritty instrumental. The track “Soul Food” gets insightful over a fittingly soulful instrumental & while the song “Principles” does talk about the g-codes from their perspectives, the execution of the hook isn’t all that great. The track “Talk About It” intelligently gets conscious about the world today over a wavy instrumental & the Teyana Taylor hook is on point as well. The song “All About It” sounds like a failed attempt at a radio hit from the production & the French Montana hook to Jada & Fab starting off their verses by singing for a bit. The track “I Pray” sees the duo sincerely asking God to forgive them, but the Swizz Beatz hook kinda gets annoying after a while. The song “Ice Pick” is a gritty Jadakiss solo cut with Styles P on the hook & the penultimate track “Nightmares Ain’t as Bad” is a Fabolous telling the listener to make their dreams meet real life over a somber instrumental. The album closes out with an unnecessary remix of “Stand Up” which is pretty much the same thing as the original with the exception of a Yo Gotti verse where he copies Jeezy & then a verse from the actual Jeezy. This thing has been hyped up for a while now & I think it lived up to it. Despite some weak moments, Fabolous & Jadakiss show quite a bit of chemistry together during it’s nearly 45 minute run-time

Score: 3.5/5

Hopsin – “No Shame” review

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With his last album Pound Syndrome being release in Mid-July of 2015 & his previous label Funk Volume going defunct at the beginning of 2016 due to a falling out with his former business partner Damien Ritter, California rapper/producer Hopsin is back on the scene yet again with his 5th full-length album & his first under his new 300 Entertainment imprint Undercover Prodigy. The album opens with “Hotel in Sydney”, where he passionately vents about his arrest for alleged assault over a symphonic instrumental. Unfortunately after that, the album takes a drastic nosedive. The next song “Right Here” basically tells the audience he isn’t going anywhere & while it’s just ok, the hook is annoying as fuck. The track “Twisted” informs the listener to respect him over a generic trap beat & then after a 1-minute skit, we then go into the song “All Your Fault”. Here, he disses his ex-girlfriend Alyce Madden along with his former label mate SwizZz & his haters in an angsty fashion over a Middle Eastern influences instrumental, but I think SwizZz was a tad bit uncalled for & the hook is annoying as fuck. The track “Money on the Side” has a nice flow, but the beat is synthetic & the lyrics about fingering a hooker’s asshole ruins it. The song “I Wouldn’t Do That” talks about being in his zone over an eerie trap beat, but calling yourself “the only MC in this wack genre” is flat out disrespectful to all of those who came before you. The track “Black Sheep” talks about being the titular idiom albeit in a corny fashion over a somber instrumental & then “I Must Be On Somethin’” talks about being crazy over a hard hitting beat. The song “Tell’em Who You Got It From” disses Alyce yet again, but the delivery is cliché as is the hook. The song “The Purge” talks about Hop’s return over an eerie trap beat & his rapid-delivery on here is insane. As for “Happy Ending”, it could very well be the worst song I’ve heard all year. It’s supposed to be a “humorous” tale about Hopsin getting fucked by an Asian woman in a massage parlor, but it’s actually in horribly bad taste. Especially with the God awful stereotypical Asian accent he does during the hook. The song “No Words 2” is a follow-up to the song “No Words” off his last album & while the original was funny, it’s hypocritical that he’s dissing Migos on this sequel considering the fact that he’s rapping over their type of trap beats on a lot of the other tracks on here. The track “Panorama City” talks about grinding over a g-funk beat that actually isn’t too bad & then “Ill Mind of Hopsin 9” is the new installment of Hopsin’s popular song series. This one is Hopsin talking to his newborn son that he can’t see due to being banned from Australia & while I can see where’s getting at about gold diggers, the lines towards Alyce make it this message come off as bitter. The penultimate track “Marcus’ Gospel” sees Hopsin getting vulnerable over a a churchy instrumental & then the nightmare finally ends with “Witch Doctor”, where he’s telling the listener not to fuck with him over a tribal instrumental. Over the course of it’s 73 minute run-time, I can say that Hopsin has only come through with SLIGHTLY better album. I will give him credit for him improving his delivery & flow but I can’t say the same for his lyrical topics, production & hooks. There are a few decent moments, but Hopsin still comes off as corny as ever on here

Score: 0.5/5

Twiztid – “Mostasteless” review

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Twiztid is a Detroit hip hop duo composed of Jamie Madrox & Monoxide, both of whom started out as 2/3 of the House of Krazees with The R.O.C. before departing in 1996. They went on to send demo to Psychopathic Records & eventually, Violent J signed them to the label. After a 45 second intro, we are then lead into the first song “2nd-Hand Smoke”. Here, the duo talk about just that over a hard hitting beat from Scott Sumner & while the track “Diemuthafuckadie!” gets aggressively murderous over a hard hitting instrumental. After a “Smoke Break” interlude, things transition into the next song “Murder, Murder, Murder”. This was obviously a leftover from the final House of Krazees album from Jamie Madrox referring to himself as Mr. Bones to the eerie beat from The R.O.C., which heavily samples “Cereal Killer” by Method Man & Redman. However, Twiztid made it into their own song very nicely. The song “1st Day Out ‘98” is actually a cover of the 1992 Insane Clown Posse song with the same name & despite the original song’s producer Mike E. Clark giving this a new instrumental instead of reusing the original one, it was just alright. The track “Somebody’s Dissin’ U” discusses “player hatin’” over a funky instrumental & then “Meat Cleaver” with ICP alongside Myzery is a nice Psychopathic posse cut with a rap rock instrumental that isn’t too bad either. The track “How Does It Feel?” has a haunting instrumental & while I do enjoy Monoxide’s confrontational verse, Jamie’s storytelling during his verse takes the cake. The song “She Ain’t Afraid” talks about a fat slut over a smooth yet funky instrumental & then “Whatthefuck?!?!” talks about increasing the deceased over an explosive beat. After “Anotha Smoke Break”, we get right into 85 Bucks an Hour with ICP. The verses are ok & I do like the “It Takes 2” sample, but I’m not all for the Eminem jab right after Violent J’s verse. The closer “Renditions of Reality” is probably the most insightful song on the entire record & the somber instrumental suits the verses very well. The album would eventually be reissued in 1999 by Island Records with 5 brand new tracks, all of which I’m gonna discuss right now. The first of which called “Rock the Dead” talks about doing just that over a piano rap rock instrumental & then the next one “Spin the Bottle” with ICP sees both duos playing the titular game in hopes of sex over a funky instrumental. The 3rd new song “Blink” sees Jamie & Paul going back & forth about seeing a despaired world every time they blink over an eerie beat & then the 4th new song “Bury Me Alive” is them basically saying this is strictly for the juggalos & not for the mainstream over a dreary beat. The 5th & final new song “Hound Dogs” sees Dark Lotus humorously talking the titular type of groupies that don’t know anything about their music & just want to fuck them over a mellow guitar & an averagely sung hook. While I do enjoy The Green Book & Abominationz a lot more, this was still a very solid debut. The production is dark & Twiztid proved themselves to be more lyrical than their mentors

Score: 4/5

Insane Clown Posse – “The Great Milenko” review

When talking about Detroit hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse, it’s impossible to leave out the controversy with their 5th full-length album right here. They left Jive Records shortly after the release of their last album Riddle Box in 1995 so they could get the Disney-owned Hollywood Records to be the new distributors for their own label Psychopathic Records. As for this album, it was taken off shelves by Hollywood just hours after it’s original release on June 24, 1997 & the duo were dropped from the label shortly after in response to criticism from the Southern Baptist Church that the release didn’t reflect Disney’s family-friendly image, despite Disney themselves claiming the album was released due to an oversight by its review board. ICP then signed another new distribution deal with Island Records after they agreed to release the album the way it was originally intended & then it was back on the shelves again in August 12, 1997. The first 2 tracks are both 2-minute spoken word intros pretty much telling the listener what to expect, the first one being with Alice Cooper over an ambient-esque instrumental & then the other one with ICP over an eerie yet more traditional hip hop instrumental. The album’s first song “[Hokus Pokus]” is basically the duo introducing themselves (starting the first 2 verses with a decent back wordplay line) & as for the instrumental, I think the album version is a lot more fun than the [Jason Nevins] remix. The next song “Piggy Pie” gets murderous towards an incestive redneck as well as crooked cops & even the wealthy over an ominous rap rock instrumental with some DJ scratching from Mike E. Clark, who produced this entire album along with a bulk of ICP’s previous material. The track “How Many Times?” is a Violent J solo cut talking about a day in his life & while it’s not that intriguing, the haunting beat is nice. The song “Southwest Voodoo” sees J going back & forth with Shaggy 2 Dope about dark magic over a dreary guitar. The track “Halls of Illusions” talks about using a carnival attraction to murder a wife beater & a child abuser with a killer Slash riff during the hook & the song “Under the Moon” is Violent J talking about a man who was convicted of murdering someone who tried to rape his girlfriend over a gloomy instrumental. The track “What’s a Juggalo?” sees J & Shaggy going back & forth informing their new listeners about their fanbase & I really like the g-funk-esque bass on here. The song “House of Horrors” talks about 2 serial killers trapping people in the titular attraction over a fittingly haunting rap rock instrumental. The track “Boogie Woogie Wu” is Violent J rapping from the perspective of the boogie man over a creepy instrumental & the hook is somewhat catchy too. Especially the maniacal laughter at some parts of it. The song “The Neden Game” is basically a juggalo version of “The Dating Game” & it’s actually somewhat humorous, but the line about Sharon’s 13 year old sister near the end of the first verse does make me feel a bit uncomfortable. The track “Hellelujah” sees Violent J rapping from perspective of a late-night TV Evangelist who‘s begging for money because it’s “what God would want” over a Hellish guitar & then on “Down with the Clown”, he pretty much tells the juggalos not to forget him over an old schoolesque instrumental. The nearly 90 second “Just Like That” sees J getting killed in a drive-by & then it leads us into the closer “Pass Me By, where he & Shaggy talk about immortality over a somber beat. While this is far from being a perfect album, it is ICP’s magnum opus. Primarily because it’s their most well-groomed effort it is (especially on the production tip)

Score: 4/5