Eazy-E – “Eazy-Duz-It” review

Not too long after the release of N.W.A’s game-changing debut Straight Outta Compton, we then got the very 1st solo effort from the group & it’s coming from one of the group’s founding members as well as Ruthless Records co-founder Eazy-E. Just like the group’s debut, Eazy’s N.W.A cohorts Dr. Dre & DJ Yella produced the album in it’s entirety while MC Ren & Ice Cube along with former Fila Fresh Crew member The D.O.C. wrote Eazy’s verses. I know some people tend to get all imperialist over the fact that Eazy didn’t write most of his rhymes but on here, the rhymes that were written for him are at their best & Eazy’s personality really brings these well written verses to life when he delivers them. Examples include the HILARIOUSLY vulgar & sexual opener “Still Talkin'”, the well laid-out robbery tale on “Nobody Move”, the gangsta life detailed “Boyz-n-the-Hood”, the vulgar free radio song “Eazy-er Said Than Dunn” & the whole interview concept of “No More ?’s”. The only real guest verses come from MC Ren on “2 Hard Mutha’s” & he even gets a whole track to himself on “Ruthless Villain” which is cool, but I’d prefer hearing it on a Ren album rather than hearing it on this album. Honestly, if there were a little bit more but not too many actual guest verses on here it would be perfect for me. Like I can just imagine Eazy getting his whole group on “No More ?’s” or maybe a verse from The D.O.C. on “Radio” or even a verse written for Dre on “I’mma Break It Down”. A verse from Ice Cube would be cool too but the problem is; I just don’t know what track I can imagine hearing it on. The beats on here too are hands down THE best set of beats that were EVER laid onto an Eazy solo effort as they sound really refreshing & funky every single time I hear one of them. If you ask me, it really is a shame that we never got to hear Eazy over Dre production on any of his solo efforts after this album, because I think he truly sounds at home over them. Don’t get me wrong I think Yella’s sole production credits on It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa & Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin’ Compton are truly underrated, but I just think Dre had a key role in helping Eazy sound fantastic as I find it to be evident on this album. It wouldn’t really be the same for me on his following efforts with only a few exceptions on each project such as “Only If You Want It” off of 5150: Home 4 tha Sick, “Real Muthaphukkin’ G’s” off of It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa & “Just tah Let U Know” off of Str8 off tha Streetz of Muthaphukkin’ Compton. None of Eazy’s later solo efforts would be on the same caliber as this, in my opinion. It’s not as perfect as Straight Outta Compton, but I still consider it to be a West Coast classic as well as his best solo effort

Score: 4.5/5

Slayer – “Reign in Blood” review

After releasing 2 solid full-length albums under Metal Blade Records, California thrash metal band Slayer team up with Def Jam Recordings & one of it’s co-founders Rick Rubin to give us not only Slayer’s best work but also what could possibly be the greatest thrash metal album of all-time. Unlike the band’s previous albums this one features much more explosive drumming & hellish guitar riffs (both of which are played very quickly & intensely but nowhere near the point where it feels like they’re rushing the whole album) as well as gruesome vocals. And rather than having predominately Satanic themes, Slayer decided to ditch those themes & write songs about things such as Nazi physician Josef Mengele on Angel of Death or criticizing Catholicism on Jesus Saves. At the time, a lot of people accused Slayer of condoning Nazism as well as Satanism but I think Slayer just write stuff like that because it amuses them. Not only that but after this album’s release, there would be bands like Gorgoroth with actual Satanist views arriving in the metal scene for years to come. Anyway if you’re looking to get into thrash metal, I HIGHLY recommend this being your gate opener because this is how it really should be played

Score: 5/5

7L & Esoteric – “1212” review

4 years after their previous effort A New Dope, Boston underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric make a comeback with their 5th studio album. This is a return of form for the duo, in my opinion. The boom bap production & battle rhymes are back in effect for this one, as well as a few concept songs. On the opening track Retrospects, Eso reflects back on his career up until this point. On 12th Chamber, Wu-Tang Clan member Inspectah Deck pops up to give us a prelude to CZARFACE’s self-titled debut (which came 2 years after). On No Shots, Eso discusses the current state of hip hop but doesn’t diss any of the current rappers he namedrops in the song (hence the title). On I Hate Flying, Eso discusses his fear of flying & I can somewhat relate to it (I was afraid of flying for years, but I got over it recently). On New Rapper, Eso talks about the fact that he doesn’t do verses for free anymore in an understanding way. Overall, this is one of the duo’s best releases & I’m hoping they’ll drop another album together soon

Score: 4/5

7L & Esoteric – “A New Dope” review

This is completely different from 7L & Esoteric’s previous efforts. Throughout the duo’s 4th full-length album, they ditch their signature boom bap sound & battle rhymes for an electro sound & insightful rhymes. The opening AND closing tracks Get Dumb and Play Dumb discusses dumb (no pun intended) comments & actions. On Everywhere, Eso discusses religion and “keeping your composure” & the beat on here fits the mood perfectly. On Feel the Velvet (my favorite track on the whole album), Eso discusses what he likes & talks some shit over a beat that I can imagine hearing in outer-space (again, no pun intended). The track A.O.S.O. is a diss to the rappers that only look for fame. Cemetery is a hilariously weird interlude. On the track Girls Gone Wild (Then & Now), we get an accurate description about how women weren’t really slutty back in his day. The track Take Note and the second half of Dunks Are Live, Dunks Are Dead are pretty much the only thing you’ll hear that is similar to their previous efforts, but this is a successful experimental album.
Score: 3.5/5

7L & Esoteric – “Moment of Rarities” review

Released a year after their 3rd album DC2: Bars of Death & a year before their 4th album A New Dope, Boston underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric decided to give us fans an unreleased material compilation album that is somewhat in the same vein as fellow AotP/DGZ member Apathy’s It’s the Bootleg, Muthafuckas! series of compilation albums. And as it may sound interesting, this is just an average compilation with some good moments on here. Like on the track Boxcutter Rap, where everything is flawless from the hard hitting beat to the rhyme scheme-a-palooza verses. Not only is this the best track off the entire compilation, but it’s one of my favorite 7LES tracks period. Another highlight on here is the horrorcore-tinged Culture of Death featuring former Jedi Mind Tricks/Army of the Pharaohs member Jus Allah. It’s an eerie track, but my only complaint on here is that Eso’s vocals on here sound awful (no pun intended. If you’re a 7LES fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about). Despite these highlights, you can tell these tracks are dated like on Face Defeat. While you do have a solid beat, the rhymes are basically an extended remix of The Way Out (the final track off of the duo’s 2nd album/magnum opus Dangerous Connection). I mean it’s nice, but it doesn’t sound as triumphant as The Way Out is. Overall, this compilation as a whole isn’t among the duo’s best work but you will get some shining moments. If you want to get into these guys, I wouldn’t say that this is where to start but it sure is a treat for the fans

Score: 3/5

7L & Esoteric – “DC2: Bars of Death” review

Boston underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric are back with their 3rd full-length album, which happens to be a sequel to their previous album & magnum opus Dangerous Connection (which was released 2 years prior). Even though this isn’t as incredible as their previous album, this is still a solid sequel. However, the beats aren’t some of the best I’ve heard from these guys & Esoteric’s excessive “gangsta” content gets repetitive at times (specifically with the tracks Graphic Violence or Murder-Death-Kill). Despite this, we do get to hear how Eso became an MC on the track Rise of the Rebel (the highlight of the album IMO) & some of the typical battle rhymes (Ring Music). Overrall, this could’ve been much better than what it turned out to be. I never viewed Eso as a gangsta rapper & for him to take that persona throughout a whole album is a little saddening

Score: 3.5/5

7L & Esoteric – “Dangerous Connection” review

Released a year after their solid debut album, Boston underground hip hop duo 7L & Esoteric really step their game up with their sophomore album. Not only is it shorter, but both the production (mostly handled by 7L, who only produced 6 tracks on their previous album) and the rhymes on here are more consistent & hard hitting than their previous effort. The opening track One Six is just a short snippet of what to expect on here. On the track Watch Me, Eso lays down his typical battle rhymes over a beautiful Alan Parker sample. On Terrorist Cell (which could very well be the most controversial track on the album), Eso vividly storytells from the point of view of a 9/11 hijacker over a haunting beat from none other than Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind (the producer of Jedi Mind Tricks). On Word Association (which I personally think is the best track on the whole album), Eso rhymes from the perspectives of a mental patient and a psychiatrist in a hilarious way. And while I do admire the jazzy beat on the track Stalker, the lyrical content on here (which revolves around…well…stalking) makes me feel a little uncomfortable. On Speak Now, we hear Eso (along with fellow AotP members Vinnie Paz & Apathy) talk about how hardcore they are & the guitar sample on here fits the vibe. On Rules of Engagement, Eso discusses the state of hip hop (at the time) with the help of J-Live & Count Bass D over a DJ Premier-ish beat. The track Herb is self-explanatory, because we basically hear Eso dissing all the “herbs” throughout the whole song. The album finishes with the appropriately titled “The Way Out”, which features a hard hitting vocal delivery over some triumphant horns. Also, “Fuck battlin’ cats, I’m Jim Abbottin’ cats. Which means single-handedly, I’m embarassin’ cats” is easily one of the best lines (if not THE best line) on the whole album. Definitely don’t sleep on this. These guys have the chemistry of Guru & Premier’s and they really show it by providing a raw/unfiltered underground classic

Score: 4.5/5