Yelawolf – “Love Story” review


With the release of his major label debut Radioctive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks being 4 years prior & releasing a couple EPs & mixtapes afterwards, Alabama rapper Yelawolf is finally delivering his 3rd full-length album. This is also his first commercial release under his own label Slumerican Records, yet his 2nd with Shady Records & Interscope. The album kicks off with “Outer Space” which has this fun rap rock vibe to it thanks to WLPWR & Catfish Billy himself sounds hyped to finally be back. The next song “Change” tells the listener about him finally finding himself, but Malay’s guitar-tinged production was just ok to me here. The track “American You” sees Yelawolf singing about an average American man & sonically, it is a full-blown country rock song. The song “Whiskey in a Bottle” raps about coming of age & I was surprised to hear that they used the same sample that Madvillain used for “Supervillain Theme” off their must-have 2004 album Madvillainy. The track “Ball & Chain” sees Yelawolf singing about going from a prisoner to a well known rapper over an acoustic guitar, but it really shouldn’t have been an interlude. The song “‘Til It’s Gone” sings then raps about not being taken advantage of & I absolutely love the country vibes of it. It was also perfect that it appeared in one of the final Sons of Anarchy episodes. Similar to “American You” being a full blown rock song, the track “Devil in My Veins” is a full blown country song from the instrumental to Yelawolf’s vocals & it’s just ok. The song “Best Friend” is another full-blown rock song with Yelawolf singing about his religious beliefs & the album’s sole feature from mentor Eminem is just angry as Hell. The track “Empty Bottles” has a few corny shot-glass lines near the end of the first 2 verses, but I do like the guitar & the passionate delivery as he discusses his alcoholism. The song “Heartbreak” is a rapped message to his ex-wife Sonora Rosario & while it’s the only song on the entire album to be produced by Eminem, it doesn’t disappoint. Especially since he surprisingly got back with Dr. Dre production underwings Mark Batson & Mike Elizondo to play keys & guitar on it to give the beat that late 90s/early 2000s Dre vibe. The track “Tennessee Love” is a passionately sung ode to his now ex-fiancé Fefe Dobson over some gloomy keys & as for “Box Chevy V”, it’s yet another great tune of his to cruise to & the record scratches weren’t too bad either. The title track raps about not wanting to be forgotten & the beat has an ambitious tone to it. The song “Johnny Cash” sees Yela using one of his idols to talk about stage fright & the sample used in the beat gives it a gloomy atmosphere to it that’s actually pretty nice. The track “Have a Great Flight” is another fully sung yet beautiful tribute to great-grandmother over a some lovely guitar & string sections. The song “Sky’s the Limit” raps about the American dream over some somber piano chords with some guitars later thrown in & the way he vents about his step-father abusing him on the acoustic penultimate track “Disappear” was very personal. The rapped closer “Fiddle Me This” tells the audiences a few more things he wants to get off his chest before the album ends & while I didn’t expect the fiddle solos & DJ scratches near the end of it, it definitely fits in given the title. I’m not surprised that this was more country/rock influenced AT ALL, but it does work. I really didn’t have to be 18 tracks/75 minutes long & his prominent singing was ok, but he sounds a lot more comfortable & passionate than he did on Radioactive
Score: 3.5/5

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Yelawolf – “Radioactive: Amazing & Mystifying Chemical Tricks” review

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After signing to Shady Records alongside Slaughterhouse earlier this year, Alabama rapper Yelawolf is not hesitating with putting out his major label debut yet his 1st studio album since 2005’s Creekwater. The intro has this decent beat from WLPWR, but Yelawolf’s is going IN both lyrically & delivery-wise. The next song “Get Away” talks about getting drunk over a sample of The Brothers Johnson’s cover of “Strawberry Letter 23” & despite Catfish Billy recycling his verse from the 2011 XXL Freestyle, it still sounds great. Also, the Shawty Fatt verse was decent & Mystikal shows us that he still has it after being locked up for 7 years. The track “Let’s Roll” & the crunk-infused “Hard White (Up in the Club)” definitely sound like party anthems meant for the clubs & radio, but I find them to be pretty fun. The hooks from Kid Rock & Lil Jon respectively fit right in, too. The track “Growin’ Up in the Gutter” with Rittz sees the 2 talking about their rough upbringings & the instrumental sounds chaotic as Hell. The song “Throw It Up” has some nice piano keys & while I did like the guest verse from former 3 6 Mafia member Gangsta Boo in the middle of the track, it’s really the insanely fast verse from Eminem that takes the spotlight. The track “Good Girl” sees Yela telling this girl how good he’ll treat her & the instrumental kinda reminds me of Crush from Warren G’s last album The G Files. The song “Made in the U.S.A.” gets conscious over some pianos & some string sections & the Priscilla Renea hook is pretty nice as well. The song “Animal” gets celebratory over an instrumental from Diplo that sounds like an 80s/90s video game, but the hook from his then-girlfriend Fefe Dobson was actually kinda disappointing. “The Hardest Love Song in the World” is basically Yela talking to a woman who comes from a similar background & while I do like the guitar-instrumental, it doesn’t really make it live up to it’s title. The song “Write Your Name” tells the story of an elderly man & a 16 year old mother before sending endearing message to the people of his homestate over a radio-friendly instrumental from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League & I thought it was really cool that he got a fan to do the hook after she missed out on one of his shows. The track “Everything I Love the Most” has a depressing tone lyrically over a decent rap rock instrumental & the acoustic “Radio” gratefully expresses Yelawolf’s happiness of finally making it as a successful rapper along with being taking a jab at mainstream hip hop of today. The song “Slumerican Shitizen” lashes back at all the people who’ve called Yela white trash & the Killer Mike verse at the tail-end of it enhances the grit & aggression of the track. “The Last Song” is literally just that standard edition-wise & Yela makes good use of it by passionately reflecting on what it was like being raised by a single mother over a set some somber piano chords. The first bonus track “Whip It” talks about him & a chick who likes to party wilding out & the beat will make you wanna do just that. The song “I See You” tells 3 different scenarios in which Yelawolf finds the real you over some pianos & the final bonus track “In This World” is about how there’s no other like him over a decent rap rock instrumental. It’s definitely not better than than Trunk Muzik, but this was still a solid album. I can appreciate that many styles were used on here & Yelawolf is just as much of an entertaining rapper as he was before he got signed. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s a classic like The Source did, but it is a fun album & it’s definitely a solid way to introduce Yelawolf to wider audiences

Score: 3.5/5

J Tantrum – “Hidden Faces” review

After spending the last few months dropping singles, California emcee J Tantrum is now delivering his 3rd mixtape exclusively on DatPiff. The opener “Reap’N” gets braggadocious over a somewhat jazzy boom bap instrumental, but then it transitions into something more eerie halfway through. The next song “Fear the Real” is basically a message to all the Waco rappers out there & the vibraphone instrumental enhances the ominous vibe of the song as Tantrum’s delivering his aggressive bars. The track “Green Light” sees Tantrum getting vulnerable & the somber pianos enhances the stress that he’s venting out. The song “Basics” has a decent spacey trap beat, but the A.Chal hook is beautifully sung & both Tantrum’s delivery & flow is off the wall insane.

The track “The Essence” has a solid beat change from having heavy bass into something more gloomy & his bars during the first 2 verses are straight hardcore. The song “Geddit” charismatically talks about getting money over a piano-trap beat & A.Chal’s hook here reminds me of Frank Ocean for some reason. The song “Nothin’ But a Thang” gets on some gangsta shit & the Guu verse is ok, but the hook is kinda weak to me. The track “Find Out” talks about taking the crown & living like winner now over a funky bass guitar. The song “High” raps about his squad being The A-Team & fucking you up for slippin’ some vibraphones along with some heavy bass & DJ scratches.

The track “Wop” has an ominous yet abrasive beat & while I didn’t expect the A$AP Twelvyy feature at all, he definitely came through. I also like how first verse in Spanish, but the hook sounds too comatose for me. The song “Dutchboy” is basically Tantrum taunting wack rappers yet again over a druggy instrumental & the line about calling him Lamar despite not having crack under his nose is just absolutely hilarious. The track “Damn Lil Mama” sees J getting back with Guu to get on the romantic tip over a smooth instrumental & the next song “Bonnie” talks about his down bitch with a rest the soulful vocal sample in the background.

The track “Hide” is just lethal over a set of twinkling keys with a sinister bassline & the Da$h verse on the song “Not Guilty” might be my favorite feature on the entire album. The song “Izm” gets back on the gangsta tip over a jazzy instrumental & the rhyme schemes on the penultimate track “Gas Chamber” are just bananas from start to finish. The tape then closes out with “‘Bout It”, where he’s flaunting about him being real along with you being a no name & the trap beat is abrasive is Hell.

Overall, this mixtape is right behind The Come Up for J Tantrum’s best work. A couple of the features were decent & I wasn’t feeling some of the hooks, but the production hits hard for the most part & the bars are just as nastier than ever before. I personally feel that Tantrum is one of the best in the LA underground right now & this tape definitely solidifies that

Score: 4/5

Lil Pump – Self-titled review


Lil Pump is a 17 year old rapper from Miami, Florida & this is his full-length debut. The opener “What U Sayin?’” sees & Smokepurrp are rapping about “flexin’ everyday” over a piano-trap beat, but it’s just really dumb. The next track “Gucci Gang” is basically about him now flying a private jet while you’re still living on rent over a dreary trap instrumental & the hook is even more tedious. The song “Smoke My Dope with Smokepurrp has an abrasive beat & while it wasn’t bad to hear the 2 rappers changing bars back & forth, the content about getting high while simultaneously getting head doesn’t do it much justice at all. The track “Crazy” is about going wild at the club & the instrumental definitely gives off that vibe, but Lil Pump’s delivery is absolutely obnoxious from start to finish.

The song “Back” redundantly gets braggadocious about wealth but to be quite honest, the delivery of Lil Yachty’s guest verse was actually ok. Can’t say the same for his lyrics, though. The track “D Rose” is pretty much about having expensive watches on his wrist over a lumbering bass heavy trap beat, but it sounds underwritten. The song “At the Door” raps about serving you drugs & doing gangsta shit like having sex with a woman & shootin’ her dad afterwards over an Atari-ish trap instrumental. However just like the last track, it sounds underwritten. The track “Youngest Flexer” speaks for itself, but the only highlights of it is the explosive instrumental & the Gucci Mane verse. The song “Foreign” has a bass-heavy instrumental that isn’t to bad, but the content about having both cars & girls from other countries sounds so derivative. The track “Whitney” is about (you guessed it) cocaine & while the Chief Keef verse was surprisingly ok to me, Lil Pump’s pretty much repeating himself throughout the whole thing.

The song “Molly” is about (you guessed it again) ecstasy over a bland instrumental & while the beat on the track after that “Iced Out” gets kinda annoying after a while, the 2 Chainz verse was ok. The song “Boss” generically talks about being just that, but the beat here is actually pretty hard. The penultimate track “Flex Like Oou” is basically Pump repeating himself once again with lyrics about moving bricks & going all out in the club, but it seems unfinished. The nightmare finally ends with “Pinky Ring”, where Pump & Smokepurrp get with Rick Ross to talk some boss shit over a chaotic instrumental, but Ross is really the only one out of the 3 who sounds alive.

I know Lil Pump is just a 17 year old kid, but I’m not gonna lie when I say that this was VERY hard to sit through. The features were decent as were some of the beats, but it’s really Lil Pump who makes this album fall flat on it’s face. The song structures are just copied & pasted to the point of annoyance, the lyrics are derivative & his delivery/flow doesn’t get me excited whatsoever. And before any “real hip hop” head calls me a hypocrite because I didn’t like this yet I find Travi$ Scott’s debut Rodeo to be a modern classic along with me reviewing both Gucci‘s latest mixtape Droptopwop & 2 Chainz’ latest album Pretty Girls 👍 TRΛP MUSIC very positively over the summer, at least those projects have charisma & some versatility that made them very listenable. This is just straight up mindless

Score: 0.5/5

CunninLynguists – “Rose Azura Njano” review

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With the release of 2 prelude EPs earlier this year, the horribly underrated Kentucky based hip hop trio CunninLynguists are coming together with their 6th full-length album. The opener “Red, White & Blues” sees MCs Deacon the Villain & Natti saying that they still think the US is alive despite all that’s going on right now over an instrumental from Kno that contains a killer guitar & some boom bap drums. The next track “Riot!” speaks on just that & while the hook is just average, the beat kinda has this churchy vibe that fits well with the descriptive lyrics. The song “Red Bird” talks about spirituality over a smooth instrumental & the sample hook is just as beautiful. The track “Violet (The Upper Room)” has a religious tone lyrically but this time, they’re talking about it over some jazzy keys & the way it’s structure it like a funeral was very creative.

The song “Gone” speaks on the evicted over a soulful boom bap beat à la 9th Wonder & the Trizz hook enhances the somber tone of it perfectly. The track “Any Way the Wind Blows” vividly tells the story of this woman who eventually commits suicide over a lush yet dreary instrumental & I absolutely love the sample that was used during the hook. The next 2 songs “Mr. Morganfield & Ms. Waters (Side A)” and “Jimi & Andre (B-Side)” really could’ve been been a single 8 minute song to me, mainly because the structuring of both individual tracks from the songwriting to the way the beat changes after each verse are very well incorporated. The track “Hustlers” intelligently talks about this woman who gets everyone floored over a smooth guitar loop & the hook fits in with the verses like a glove. The song “Oh Honey” is a creatively written love tune & while the drums are explosive as Hell, the overall vibe it gives off is just right. Lyrically, the penultimate track “No Universe Without Harmony” gets back to the topic of consciousness & the instrumental is pretty wavy yet gloomy. The album closes out with “Earth to Venus (Tiny Orange Star)”, where Deacon & Natti talking to their lovers with some spirituality references & the instrumental is just absolutely beautiful.

While I do recall Kno tweeting last November telling us to expect the CunninLynguists to bring back the Dirty Acres era, I don’t really think they disappointed. Matter of fact, I think the trio surpassed Joey Bada$$’ latest album All AmeriKKKan-BadA$$ (which I also reviewed very positively) for the most conscious hip hop release of the year. Primarily because I find the lyricism is a lot more intelligent & Kno’s production continues to get a lot more beautiful over time

Score: 4.5/5

Marilyn Manson – “Heaven Upside Down” review

Almost 3 years after dropping his most consistent album in 15 years with The Pale Emperor back in 2015, infamous industrial metal/rock singer Marilyn Manson is returning with his 10th full-length album. The opener “Revelation #12” sees Manson making references to the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation (hence the title) & musically, it throws me back to his sophomore album Antichrist Superstar. The next song “Tattooed in Reverse” is basically Manson angrily singing about not being unstable & your confession meaning nothing over some very Hellish guitars. The track “We Know Where You Fucking Live” lyrically has a political tone to it & instrumentally, it’s just EXPLOSIVE! Especially when the hook makes it’s way around. The song “Say10” (great title by the way) talks about corruption & I love the creepy atmosphere that it brings. I also found the bridge about not baptizing whores & being a legend instead of a fable to be intriguing as well.

The track “Kill4Me” has a more alternative metal sound to it & Manson’s singing about death, but his vocals sound somber & raw on here. The song “Saturnalia” continues the topic of murder while returning to his signature industrial metal sound & the guitar riffs are super catchy to me. The track “Je$u$ Cri$i$” (once again: great title) sings about about wanting to write fight music & while it doesn’t get that adrenaline pumping in your veins like “The Fight Song” off his 2000 magnum opus Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) does, it’s still a sinister tune regardless. The song “Blood Honey” starts off with some eerie keys from Tyler Bates & some sinister bass from Twiggy Ramirez, but then Tyler’s guitar that comes in during the hook bitch-slaps. As for the lyrics, he’s singing about us liking him upside down along with being him than mean & you can just hear the passion in his voice. Especially when he’s just screaming his brains out near the end. The title track speaks on attracting what he is & you not being a ghost, but the classic hard rock sound of it is just decent to me. While the closer “Threats of Romance” feels like a sequel to “I Have to Look Up Just to See Hell” from his 2009 album The High End of Low & while the guitar is just as killer as the predecessor, Manson’s vocals aren’t as wild as the first & the piano chords that pop in during the verses aren’t too bad either.

While I did like Marilyn’s last album a lot, this new one could very well be better. It’s more rawer, the songwriting is on point for the most part, the vocals are passionate yet wild & the instrumental performances are more hard hitting. If anyone loved his 1996-2000 trilogy as much as I did, then you have to give this a listen because Manson is truly continuing traveling down the path of consistency with this one

Score: 4/5

Yelawolf – “H.O.T.E.L. (House Of The Endless Life)” review

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Just about a year & a half after the release of his latest album Love Story, Alabama rapper/singer Yelawolf is now delivering his 5th EP in promotion of launching the new website for his own label Slumerican Records. The EP opens with “Supersonic Alley Cat”, which is mostly a country instrumental up until a hook during the last 30 seconds. The next track “You Should’ve Known” is possibly about his ex-fiancé Fefe Dobson over a spacey piano instrumental & while the first verse is decently sung, the rapid-fire delivered rap verse that follows is just the Catfish Billy that I know & love. The song “Renegades” is pretty much Yela singing about living life like a rebel along with addressing his haters over some guitars & the Royal Blood sample is just ok. The track “Someday” samples the Bob Seger song with the same name & you can truly hear the real frustration in Yela’s voice while he’s rapping the verses on here. The song “In Love Tonight” could very well be the weakest track on here, mainly because I find it to sound unfinished as it just has a hook with a guitar in the background. The penultimate track “Be Yourself” with Slumerican’s latest signee Bubba Sparxxx sees the 2 rapping about not being fake & the instrumental is probably the hardest hitting on the entire EP. The EP then closes out with “Good Love”, which about being in love with this chick he invites to his hotel room over some guitars. Once again, the sung verse is decent but the rapped verse is really where it’s at. While I didn’t see this coming, I found this EP to be a solid prelude to his upcoming 4th album Trial by Fire. It’s very similar to Love Story, but this is way more shorter in contrast to it’s predecessor being nearly 75 minutes

Score: 3.5/5