Juice WRLD – “Too Soon..” review

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Juice WRLD is a 19 year old rapper from Chicago, Illinois who started blowing up just recently due to the release of his debut album Goodbye & Good Riddance just last month. I personally thought it was just average, because I feel like he’s pretty much Post Malone making Lil Uzi Vert & Trippie Redd songs. However, he’s now giving us a 2-track EP in the light of the surprising & devastating murder of XXXTENTACION earlier this week.

The first track “legends :(” is a heartwarming tribute to X & even Lil Peep (who passed away last November) over a somber trap beat & the other one “rich & blind :(” is basically a message to everyone who’s recently lost someone over a moody beat.

I still don’t care for Juice WRLD’s recent album admittedly, but I gotta give credit where it’s due. Not just because he sounds less like Post on here, but I think he refines the emo rap style a little bit on here in the terms of lyrics & production. However, I would’ve loved to hear 3 more tracks from it

Score: 3.5/5

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Bumpy Knuckles – “Pop Duke” review

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After dropping the Statik Selektah produced Lyrical Workout in 2011 & the DJ Premier produced KoleXXXion in 2012, Long Island underground veteran Bumpy Knuckles is returning with his 8th full-length album & he has enlisted Nottz to produce it in it’s entirety. Things start off with the title track, where Freddie talks about his longevity over a triumphant beat. The next song “Flow Temperament” brags about his skills over a boom bap beat with some bass guitar while the track “Head Count” with Kool G Rap & Lil’ Fame gets confrontational over some horns. The song “In Love with the Game” is about the current state of hip hop, but the features don’t really do anything for me. Especially the hook.

The track “Grumpy Ol’ Man” continues the theme of a previous track albeit in a more intriguing way over a funky beat & the song “Check It Out Y’all” with Biz Markie talk about how they’re in their prime over an eerie boom bap beat. The track “Motivation” gets conscious a tropical beat while the song “Ol Morning” talks about his skills over a somber beat. The track “New Enemy” is about shady people mixed with some battle bars over a keyboard boom bap beat & the closer “Legends” recalls first getting into hip hop over a flute.

Despite it’s short length, this is still a very solid return for Bumpy. The production is just as hard hitting as his last 2 as is his ever so gritty lyricism. I assume we’re getting a follow-up anytime soon given that this is labeled as “Vol. 1” & whether Nottz will be back for it or not, I’ll definitely be anticipating it

Score: 4/5

Desiigner – “L.o.D. (Life of Desiigner)” review

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Ever since appearing on the 2016 XXL Freshman Class & rushing his New English mixtape shortly after, New York rapper Desiigner has been laying low ever since. However, it was announced out of the blue Thursday night that he had returned with with his 1st EP.

The EP starts off with “Priice Tag”, where he gets braggadocious over a video gamey trap beat from Ronny J. The next song “Tonka” has an instrumental with an eerie atmosphere to it, but the songwriting is lazy. Especially during the hook & the 2nd verse. The track “After Party” is a generic club banger while the song “Pop iiT” is pretty much a poor man’s “Mask Off” albeit with a spacey beat. The song “Destiination” sounds like a leftover from Future’s last album HNDRXX while the track “LA to New York” does sound charismatic & fun, the songwriting is yet again lazy. The EP finally finishes with “HOOD”, where he talks about seeing another day over a moody beat

This is definitely better than New English, but it’s still pretty bad. Not only did it take way too long to come out but even 2 years after he blew up, the production is generic trap & Desiigner himself still sounds like a poor man’s Future

Score: 1/5

August Greene – Self-titled review

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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

Score: 4/5

Apathy – “The Widow’s Son” review

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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.

Score: 4.5/5

Kap G – “Mood” review

A little over 7 months after the release of his debut SupaJefe & about 5 months after being included into the 2017 XXL Freshman Class, College Park rapper & i am OTHER signee Kap G is delivering a 3-track EP. The first song has a decent piano trap beat, but I feel like he bites Future a little too much vocally. The next track “Marvelous Day” with Lil Uzi Vert & Gunna has a moody beat & all 3 rappers compliment each other pretty well in each verse. The closer “Big Racks” has a decent hook & instrumental, but the lyrics just too cliché for me. While I do enjoy some of Kap G’s songs, this was a mediocre EP. If he’s gonna stick with the trap sound, he really needs to find his own lane. He also needs to work with Pharrell lot more as well

Score: 2/5

WESTSIDEDOOM – Self-titled review

WESTSIDEDOOM is a newly formed duo consisting of recent Shady Records signee Westside Gunn along with the renown MF DOOM. They announced a collaborative project together just a couple months ago & it’s finally here in the form of a 2-track EP. The first song “Gorilla Monsoon” has an grimy boom bap beat from Griselda Records in-house producer Daringer & while Westside Gunn’s verse is as mobster as always, DOOM definitely outshines him on here. Especially with lines like “Overstand the past to get a grasp of the present, I make it faster than you spends it. End it”. The other track “2STINGS” sees the 2 getting hardcore & the eerie instrumental from The Alchemist fits the tone like a glove. Like many others, I am disappointed that this is wasn’t a full-length album. However, I still enjoyed this EP. The production is grimy & both MCs compliment each other very well

Score: 4/5

Big Boi – “Boomiverse” review

Almost 5 years after his last album Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors, OutKast member Big Boi is finally returning with his 3rd full-length album (4th if you count Speakerboxxx). The album opens up with “Da Next Day”, where he’s talking about how “it’s time to stir the pot” over a futuristic sounding yet symphonic beat from Organized Noize. The next track “Kill Jill” with Killer Mike sees Mike hitting on a woman as well as Big Boi talking about his comeback over decent trap beat with a cool vocal sample & the Jeezy hook enhances the energy of the track. Also, I find Big Boi’s flow on here to be WAY better than Mike’s. The song “Mic Jack” is a club track with an old school electrofunk beat from DJ Khalil, but the Adam Levine hook is so-so. The track “In the South” talks about Southern ghetto life & while I do appreciate the Pimp C hook, I was a bit disappointed to hear that Gucci Mane reused the opening verse from “Lil Dudes” off his The Return of Mr. Perfect mixtape for the opening verse for this. The song “Order of Operations” talks about “grinding & stacking” over a spacey beat from Scott Storch. Honestly, it makes me really happy to hear that Scott still has it in him. The track “All Night” talks about kicking it with some chick over some old-timey sounding piano keys & the acoustic guitar strings during the last minute are nice too, but I thought the execution of the hook was just atrocious. The song “Get Wit It” has a beat that I can imagine hearing E-40 rapping over & I actually think the guest verse from Snoop Dogg was harder than Big Boi’s verse. The track “Overthunk” talks about overthinking over a beat sounds somewhat Atari-ish & the Eric Bellinger hook isn’t too bad either. The song “Chocolate” is a club banger with a hip house beat & it actually comes off as pretty infectious. The song “Made Men” with Killer Mike & Kurupt talks about how their styles can’t be cloned as well as how you need to save yourself instead of your homies over a beat that sounds inspired by a retro game, but the uncredited 2nd verse from recording engineer Renegade El Rey was just meh. The penultimate track “Freakanomics” redundantly talks about sex, but the only good thing about the beat is the saxophone that pops in both at the beginning & at the end. The album then finishes with “Follow Deez”, where Big Boi gets with Curren$y & Killer Mike to deliver some hard southern G shit over a menacing beat from Mannie Fresh. Even though I wouldn’t say this isn’t any better or worse than previous album, it’s still a solid effort & worth checking out in my opinion. Some the song topics could’ve been better on a few tracks & I personally would’ve trimmed a couple features, but Big Boi’s underappreciated skills are certainly still there & the production SLAPS!

Score: 3.5/5

Ghostface Killah – “The Pretty Toney Album” review

Just 3 years after dropping the underrated bulletproof wallets, Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah is now delivering his 4th full-length but his 1st with Def Jam Recordings. Although I love how Ghost flows over RZA’s haunting production on the song “Kunta Fly Shit”, my only issue with it is the fact that it’s just a minute long. The track “Metal Lungies” with LOX members Sheek Louch & Styles P is basically gun talk & the production from No I.D. fittingly incorporates menacing horns. The next song “Save Me Dear” sees Ghost taking a whack at producing & I like how he incorporates the soul sample into it as he vividly talks about a woman named Kim. The song after that “It’s Over” is about the world caving in on you just when you got out of some bullshit & as much as I love K-Def, he uses the exact same sample that was used for the classic Biggie track “Who Shot Ya?” for the beat & it’s just ok. The sexual “Tush” with Missy Elliott is an attempt at a club/radio hit & I’m actually indifferent towards it. The next song “Holla” beautifully samples “La-La (Means I Love You)” by The Delfonics & you can just hear the passionate emotion in Ghost’s voice from start to finish. The song “Be This Way” talks about how things are gonna be the same if we don’t change over a soulful instrumental from Nottz. The penultimate track “Run” with Jadakiss talks about having the cops on their tails for drugs over an ominous beat from The Abbott. The album properly closes out with “Love”, where Ghost is thanking God as well as his family & friends over a smooth No I.D. instrumental. While it isn’t a perfect album, I think it sounds more focused than his last album was & it’s a solid “welcome to Def Jam” for Ghost

Score: 3.5/5