recordsroundup: October 30th, 2004
The Frontline "Who R You"
We mentioned this album in this weeks newswrapup. Now we got the album, and it's banging. And we say that about a record that in many ways is 'gangsta' (listen to...uhm..."Gangsta"), it features a lot of westcoast influenced trunk rattling beats (by E-A-Ski - of "is your solo album out yet?" fame and his longtime partner CMT). The hits of course are "Time 4 Bizness", "Playin' Wit Fire" (both actually produced by Left) and "The Ripper" (even though it's kinda dissing the old school). The biggest disappointment of course is that Locksmith never gets as agitated as on his infamous battles, like "KMEL Battle (Made You Shook)". But nevertheless, him and Left are good rappers. But yes, you could argue if they actually get to show it on this album. Still: get it when it drops nationally December 16th. More information on www.thefrontlineonline.com.
Wordz "You Haven't Heard Me Yet"
Fresh from - is it Chicago again? - comes Wordz with his album of eighteen tracks. He features collaborations with Sev Statik, Manchild of Mars ILL, Adeem and Thaione Davis. He goes through a lot of intelligent topics, including a political "Welcome To America", battle rhymes and everything in between. Production comes from Overflo, Dust (of Mars ILL) and deftone, who offers some of the best beats on here. Much of the message is contained in interview excerpts that are featured throughout the album. Too frequently though, as it always gets the album to a full halt. While very interesting, it should have been contained to less parts. Apart from that, another one to check out. More info on www.reservedrecords.com.
Avatar "Deus Ex Machina"
Avatar returns a with a new album, after last years "Double Negative Pt. 1 : For Lack Of A Better World". There's many differences in his rhetoric: he sounds much more frustrated, less depressed and in a different way angry. So the topics range from politics to certain people better not giving birth to kids, asking the question: why do you need a license to drive, need to be 21 to drink, but can have a kid whenever, however? The production was all done by DJ Obi, who matches Avatar's style well, with less industrial backgrounds (compared to the last album), but complex soundscapes that feature much more organic funk. More info on www.dumptruckrecords.com.
Elyops "The Ops LP"
There's not much we can say about this CD-R release (on Break Ya Neck) despite that it didn't impress us much. There of course - as almost everywhere - are a couple of joints that are worth listening to again, but overall the album fails to really stand out and do much. Beats by The Beat Down Committee. No credited guests. Holler at them at email@example.com.
Blueprint "Chamber Music"
The album opens with excerpts of a radio show. And the host talks about how this album is going to be of Blueprint's 'experimental side.' Yes, this does not sound like what we're used to from Blueprint, what at the beginning will disappoint enough people to dismiss this record. However, once you got over those first damning expectations, you'll really get into this record. It's mainly instrumental and features very few guests, but those are notable: Vast Aire, Aesop Rock, Illogic and WindnBreeze. More info on www.weightless.net.
Infinito vs. Molemen "He's Definitely Not In The Building!"
There's a million people that claim that they are the hardest worken men in the business. They are not. Infinito is though. Shooting videos (including the great Thaione Davis video for "The Connection") all the time, recording an album ever two weeks or so, Infinito is one of the most productive out there. And not just that: he has a consistency to it, what makes every one of his releases worth listening to. There's more out there we could mention, like the new I.T. album "Low Income Housing" (check www.dominationrec.com), but this one is kinda interesting. As it is combining Infinito on the rhyme and the Molemen behind the deck. Mixed by DJ Waht, you get two of the best Chicago entities team up. More information at: infinito2017.tripod.com and www.molemen.com.
Kurram "The Anonymous Network"
Whenever people say that it's a bad thing that everybody and their mother gets to release an album, this album could be one of those they are referring to. Then again, this is one of those typical cases where the record is not meant for everybody. Out on Basement Troubadour, there's little that had us wanna go back to it any time too soon. Then again, this was maybe not meant for us. Maybe it's meant for you though.
Raw Produce "The Wack MC / Breathe Deep Remixes"
Raw Produce is very good at milking their equally good "The Feeling Of Now" release. There's the album, there's the EP, there's the Japan only release. And you know what: you shouldn't be mad at it. This is quality music and considering all the crap that gets released, we should praise good music to come out; in all forms and fashions. Next is this 12" that features two songs off the album in all new remixes. Who did them? Jon Doe (of Prophetix fame), 7L (of & Esoteric fame), J. Rawls (of Lone Catalysts fame) and Omid (of a whole lot of fame). Favorites: the 7L and the Omid remixes are really, really good. So check the record, as it will come out on Female Fun.
Cadence "...presents State Lines"
Speaking of Raw Produce: one half of the troupe Cadence will release his debut production album. After last years "Poisons The Minds Of The Children" that features Cadence production along with his rhymes, he now lets other emcees rip the mic, while still providing the boom bap. It's enough to just mention who's on here to get you interested in the project. As you'll get Mike G of the Jungle Brothers, Binkis Recs, Yesh, Zimbabwe Legit, Esoteric, Dooley-O, Mike Ladd, and many, many more. The record will drop on Domination Recordings.
Plus, as a special bonus, urbansmarts.com will 'leak' one of the songs exclusively on this blogger within the next couple of days. Watch this space.
Human Cropcircles feat. Ubiquitous "The Tiananmen Square"
Avid readers of urbansmarts.com will already know this name, considering that we have already reviewed two Human Cropcircles albums: "Human Pride And The Lack Thereof" and "The Future Is Not What It Used To Be...". While the first album was a collaborative effort of the brothers Hexagram23 and Joker70, the second was a Joker record and so is this EP here. That has him team up with Ces Cru's Ubiquitous to do a record that's half instrumental and half with rhymes, while all political. But there was something very good about the first album: it was uncomfortably eerie. That has gone now, turning this EP in a more or less typical rough indy album. What's not yet a bad thing, but it lacks that special quality the first album definitely had.
The Ces Cru, by the way, have also just released an album: "Capture Enemy Soldier". And that one is ill. Just listen to "Black Water" to be convinced. More information on www.cescru.com.