With the release of her average debut VII in 2014 & the birth of her daughter the year after, Harlem recording artist Teyana Taylor is returning with her sophomore album & she has enlisted GOOD Music founder Kanye West to produce it in it’s entirety.
The album starts off with “No Manners”, where she sings about her husband Iman Shumpert over some strings & piano chords. The next song “Gonna Love Me” gets romantic over an acoustic instrumental & a beautiful soul sample during the hook while the track “Issues / Hold On”. vents about fighting to keep Iman with her over a mellow guitar. The song “Hurry” with Kanye sees the 2 getting playful over a funky beat with my favorite hook on the entire album while the track “3Way” is about Teyana bringing in another woman for Iman so they can have a threesome over a moody instrumental & the Ty$ verse compliments it so perfectly. The song “Rose in Harlem” talks about being betrayed over some horns & a fitting soul sample while the track “Never Would’ve Made It” is a heartwarming tribute to her daughter over some stuttering drums & piano keys. Unfortunately, the worst song on the entire album would pop up with the closer: W.T.P. (Work This Pussy). The house production is ok, but it’s structured poorly & the vocal sample is annoying as fuck.
Other than that, this is the album that I’ve been waiting Teyana to make (even back in her Star Trak days). It’s passionate, the vocals are a lot stronger as is the songwriting & it’s WAY better produced than her debut. If she & Kanye are gonna work with each other in the future, than I’m all for it
Despite saying it was done when DJ Khaled gave us a Major 🔑 in the Summer of 2016, the legendary Queensbridge MC Nas is finally coming through with his 11th album & he has enlisted Kanye West to produce it in it’s entirety.
The album begins with “Not for Radio”, where he vents about how he feels like the world is afraid of African American people over some haunting choir vocals. The next track “Cops Shot the Kid” with Kanye sees the 2 talking about police brutality over a perfect sample of the classic Slick Rick tune “Children’s Story” while the song “White Label” is pretty much a humble brag with a beautiful sample. The track “Bonjour” gets romantic over a soulful beat with some strings while the song “Everything” does talk about the current state of the world over some marching drums & a funky bass guitar, the first 2 minutes could’ve been cut off easily. The penultimate track track “Adam & Eve” lyrically reminds me of his Escobar days over some piano keys & then the closer “Simple Things” pretty much speaks for itself over a soulful beat.
As expected, this is tied with Pusha T’s latest album DAYTONA for being my favorite of the 5 albums that Kanye has dropped within the past month. I’m not surprised by the fact that it’s 7 tracks long given the other 3 albums are also in that length but it sounds focused, it’s well written & the production is more richer than it was on Nas’ last album Life is Good in 2012.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS is a midwest hip hop duo consisting of the renown yet polarizing Chicago legend Kanye West & Cleveland recording artist KiD CuDi. The 2 have worked with each other numerous times dating back to when Yeezy signed CuDi to his GOOD Music record label in 2008 & let him co-write 4 songs on 808s & Heartbreak later that same year. KiD CuDi has contributed to every Kanye album since then. More recently the song “Ghost Town” on his latest album ye, which is a prelude track to this album over here. CuDi even released his first 3 albums with GOOD Music before he left on amicable terms in 2013 to form his Republic Records imprint Wicked Awesome Records. The duo would later have a brief falling out in the fall of 2016, but they would eventually reconcile after the St. Pablo Tour was cancelled due to Kanye‘s hospitalization for stress & exhaustion.
The album opens with “Feel the Love”, which is pretty much being dominated by Pusha T. He definitely goes in, but the gunshot adlibs from Kanye are VERY annoying. I also like the spacey keyboards & the later added drums that come through in the instrumental. The next track “Fire” actually sees the 2 getting together & responding to everyone who criticize them for their failures in the past over some militant drums & an eerie guitar in the background. The song “4th Dimension” has a prominent Louis Prima sample & as for the content, they pretty much talk about sex. I loved Kanye’s references to Master P & Rick Ross’ signature adlibs during his verse & I actually laughed harder than I should’ve when I first heard the line about him trying to have anal with the woman he’s sleeping with. The track “Freee (Ghost Town, Pt. 2)” with a brief Ty$ appearance tells the audience that that’s exactly how they feel right now over a killer guitar, but the way the say the titular word does get old after a while.
The song “Reborn” is easily my favorite one on the entire album. The lyrics are all about moving forward from their pasts & the uplifting instrumental is a serious throwback to CuDi’s 2009 debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day. The self-produced title track has a surprising yet solid Yasiin Bey hook & the instrumental has an intergalactic atmosphere to it that’s very pretty. Lyrically, KiD CuDi‘s verse about how he can’t be stopped & that he’ll be finding heaven in a matter of time while Kanye’s talks about fame. The album then finishes with “CuDi Montage”, where CuDi tells God to save him & Kanye gets insightfully conscious over a fitting sample of “Burn the Rain” by the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
As a whole, I think it’s on the same enjoyability level as ye. The pop rap production is a lot more refined & given the recent hospitalizations of both members, the chemistry between KiD CuDi & Kanye West is stronger than it ever was before.
After going A.W.O.L. ever since his hospitalization in late 2016, the ever so polarizing Kanye West is finally coming out of the shadows to release his 8th full-length album. The opener “I Thought About Killing You” has a beautiful spoken word piece at the beginning about depression & then we get a confident verse over a moody beat, but then it switches into a more trap-like sound as he responds to his haters near the end. The next track “Yikes” talks about drugs over a hard hitting beat with a humorous outro about being a bipolar superhero while the song “All Mine” talks about a supermodel thick woman over a bouncy beat. Also, I found the hook on here to be somewhat hilarious.
The track “Wouldn’t Leave” talks about his sensitivity over a beautiful gospel-like beat & I love how he starts it off by responding to his infamous TMZ appearance a couple months ago. The song “No Mistakes” is a response to Drake’s Duppy freestyle with a beautiful sample of the classic Slick Rick jam “Hey Young World” & while the penultimate track “Ghost Town” talks about being loved over a rap rock beat, I wish it was structured better. Then we have the closer “Violent Crimes”, where he talks about his kids over an atmospheric beat. Also, the I like the references to Nicki Minaj & “Monster” halfway through the verse. It makes even more sense that Nicki pops up at the end via cell phone saying the line & that she wants everyone to hear it, but I don’t know about ending the album that way.
Regardless, this is still a fantastic. While he did say it would be only 7 tracks, it’s mostly focused & consistent with vibrant production & honest lyrics
With the release of Darkest Before Dawn at the tail-end of 2015, former Clipse member & current GOOD Music president Pusha T has been laying on the down low outside of a few features. However, he has finally returned with his 3rd full-length album with a new title & he has enlisted the GOOD Music founder Kanye West to produce it in it’s entirety. The album opens with “If You Know You Know”, where Push spits his signature mafioso bars over a fun beat with a faint sample in the background. The next track “The Games We Play” continues to spit drug bars albeit in more braggadocious manner over a twangy guitar & some jazzy horns while the song “Hard Piano” with Rick Ross sees the 2 talking about living in Santo Domingo over an atmospheric with some BEAUTIFUL keyboards throughout.
The track “Come Back Baby” charismatically talks about the lavish life some monstrous bass & the soul sample hook is gorgeous. The song “Santeria” gets spiritual over a beat that starts off with abrasive, but then switches into a more boom bap vibe. Also I don’t know who the female singer on the hook is, but her singing is alluring. The penultimate track “What Would Meek Do?” with Kanye sees the 2 responding to that everybody that has talked badly about them up until this point over an eerie beat & then the closer “Infrared” talks about the current state of hip hop along with reigniting his beef with Drake over a murky beat.
While it’s been a long wait, I think Push came through with his magnum opus. Despite being only 7 tracks & 22 minutes long, it sounds focused & Pusha’s lyricism is just as sharper & grittier than ever. Also, we‘re getting some of the darkest Kanye instrumentals I’ve ever heard on a handful of tracks
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
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
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
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
Almost 9 months after dropping a modern classic with FishScale, Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah is closing out 2006 by delivering a follow-up to it. Even though the fittingly titled opener “Ghost Is Back” has the exact same instrumental as “Juice (Know the Ledge)” by Eric B. & Rakim, he doesn’t sound bad over it at all. However, it makes me wanna go back & listen to the original. The song “Street Opera” has a soulful beat from Fantom of the Beat & I really love the chemistry between Ghost & his son Sun God on here. The track “Block Rock” has a grimy beat from Madlib & it goes PERFECTLY with the street raps that Ghost’s delivers throughout the song. The song “Blue Armor” with Ghost’s Wu Block cohort Sheek Louch sees the 2 getting hardcore over a rock-tinged beat & the penultimate track “Alex (Stolen Script)” vividly tells a story about a movie script being stolen over a funky beat from his DOOMSTARKS cohort MF DOOM. The album then closes out with a follow-up to “Back Like That” from Ghost’s last album & I like the opening verse from Kanye West. Especially when he starts it off by twisting up Ghost’s verse from “Ice Cream” by Raekwon. Honestly, this is a decent leftovers/b-sides album. A couple tracks on here were pulled from other releases that came out just before this did & while I understand that Ghost was trying to get his entire Theodore Unit side-crew out there, but I feel like the features from them were kinda all over the place