recordsroundup: March 4th, 2005 (part one)
Hezekiah “Hurry Up & Wait…” (Soul Spazm)
Not just the title of this record is rather clever, but the whole project really holds its ground and achieves to be interesting. Especially for the ones that like this new vibe and style that’s coming from the Beat Society people. Hezekiah does not depend on many outside producers, but still gets M-Phases on one song, Illmind on two and Anthony Accurate on one. Guests are Aaron Livingston, Chief Kamachi, Richard Raw, Keziah, Scratch, Grand Agent, Santi White, Eleon and Bahamadia. The vibe is mostly smooth, the lyrics are never overtly ignorant (can be kinky though, like on “Photograph”), and don’t be surprised to hear this record in the summer more often than in the cold months. For more information check soulspazm.com.
DJ Juice “Hip Hop Mixtape Volume 13” (Double Impact Productions)
This little mixcd basically showcases everything that’s wrong with rap music – none the least that they dare to put ‘hip hop’ in the title. Cause what we get here is a selection of the currently popular songs, along with a couple of freestyles. And while the club and the thugs and everybody that started to listen to rap after 1998 will be impressed, those that remember the good old days will cringe and refuse to admit that they are rap fans too. Cause you don’t want to be associated with this music, those horrible keyboard stabs, those simple and blah lyrics. Seriously now… come one… right? But you cannot blame DJ Juice for it, who pulls together the not so good, the bad and the ugly, i.e. Lil Scrappy, 50 Cent, Game, T.I., Young Buck, Mannie Fresh, Lil Jon, Dem Franchise Boys, etc. And while some stuff is catchy, some might even be okay, that doesn’t change the fact that just a couple of years ago people would have laughed about such mediocrity and lack of skills and bump. So yes, get this mixcd to know why you may, can and must dislike all that horrible, uncreative, simple, basic and boring mainstream rap. Know your enemy. For more information check djjuice.biz
Knickerbocker “Knickerbocker” (Knickerbocker)
There’s not much to say about this record, apart that it’s a Jazz Band from Switzerland, who carry a couple of tunes and a couple of styles. Sometimes the whole thing swings, sometimes it’s more mellow and on one song we even have one dude rapping. The good news: he’s not even that bad. And nor is this EP. Check it if you come across it.
Mattr. and friends “Consequence Of Thoughts” (Ramadan)
Don’t be surprised if some time during the record you catch yourself saying: “why can’t those geezers just shut up?” The rappers on here, like The Mole, Ancient Mith, Terms None and Demune are not really bad – sometimes a little simple and tiring with their rhetoric maybe, but not bad. However, the true quality is in Mattr.’s beats. Thankfully there’s occasions where you can fully concentrate on his dense and dramatic compositions like the great second half of “Confusion” or the equally appealing “Down w/ The Cause”. Mattr. really is quite a find when it comes to this style and thus the record is definitely quite a pleasure. Thus this should also come with the instrumental version slapped to it. So petition this request by going to zhark.de and motionrecordings.com
Josh One “Narrow Path” (Myutopia)
This is an interesting package, as you get the album on CD and you get a Bonus DVD with the entire album in Multichannel Surround Sound and Stereo, plus video and the CD-Rom contains seven bonus instrumental tracks. But the album itself is worthy your attention as Josh incorporate live instrumentation that are used well enough to keep a certain grit and dirtiness to the whole offering. Oftentimes he lets someone sing or rap, like super emcee (who does too much singing and producing instead of rapping lately) Aloe Blacc on “Risin’”, Micah 9 on “Afterhours”, Rashaan Ahmad on “Less Traveled” or singers Lili De La Mora and Jule Walehwa on the smooth, almost Acid Jazzy “Day Dreamer” and “Contemplation” respectively. But there’s also the instrumental and very jazzy “Grey Skies” and more Acid Jazz on “Midnight Samba” with singer Kandace Lindsey. And finally a great vibe on the instrumental “Narrow Path”. Certainly not a boom bap album in any sense, but a great musical exploration into different fields and open areas.
Copperpot “Chapter 7” (EV Production)
He’s a producer from Chicago and he worked with Edo.G, Diverse, Mr. Complex, Pace Won, Iomos Marad, Akbar, Earatik Statik, Braintax (from the UK) and Longshot on this record. Nuff said, right? Right. So check him out on evproductions.net
J-Zone “Gimme Dat Beat Fool” (Old Maid)
One of rap’s funkiest and funniest – J-Zone – did a little treat for y’all. He grabbed a bundle of acappellas and put his own flashy beats behind ‘em. Who got the treatment? Folks like Redman, M.O.P., De La Soul, Project Pat, Capone-N-Noreaga and Tash. However, that’s not all, J steps up to the mic himself for “Late Greatness” with Devin The Dude and for “Rockaway And Crenshaw” with Eazy-E; all the while commenting what’s happening. Yes, this is a must get for every J-Zone fan, a dope record for every rap fan and a should get for all those that don’t know just yet. Check zonesite.net for mo’ information.
Lyric District “Souliliquies EP” (Lyric District)
A couple of years ago we reviewed the LD’s album “Morlock Modernisms”. And while we weren’t exactly thrilled with it back then, listening to it now, it sounds actually quite good. The LD’s return with a six song EP, including two bonus tracks. And this little platter is proper. All three members, Ban Alpha, Mr.Rha.Gers and Kenny Keys have stepped up their respective contribution. And if you say: damn, Kenny Keys rings a bell, then it better does. Cause that’s the man who hooked up the supreme “The Connection” by Thaione Davis. So, plenty reasons to check this out, as Chicago is again solidifying its place as the most happening city right now. Check lyricdistrict.com
DJ Fisher & DJ Jon Doe present “The Domination Mix Vol. 1 – Family & Friends” (Domination)
Domination is quite busy right now with putting mixcds out. What we don’t mind, cause they are doing things right. The Dooley-O one was funkier than a construction site worker’s armpits and DJ Cade Money’s gave us more rare songs than, than, well, just gave us a lot of rare songs. This little project here now gives us a selection of new songs from the Domination universe - not all Domination artists, but all Family and Friends. Things go from 4Zone to Braille, to Majik Most feat. louis logic, to Cadence feat. Esoteric to Supastition, to Sev Statik, to J-Zone feat. Celph Titled who give you the previously heard “Spoiled Rotten”. And that’s just track one to nine, leaving out the two UJ Empire cuts “Motivate” by Surreal and the super nice “These Eyes” by Blakout. To round out the full UJ experience there’s Xodus Ph.D “Feeling Great” and the very fresh “Determination” by Tzarizm, and you know that the Urban Jungle galaxy is something to watch out for too. There’s more though: we also have I.T. (Infinito2017 and Thaione Davis), we have O.U.O feat. Cadence, Time Machine, Dutchmassive, Lost N Found Department, Shorty Raw and Count Bass D. But not less important is DJ Jon Doe’s excellent mixing, reminding us what a mixtape used to be about: dope tunes with dope turntable trickery. This here has both, so get it now. More information on dominationrec.com and meetjondoe.com.
Emanon “The Waiting Room” (Shaman Work)
Finally we get more Emanon material, heck, took ‘em long enough. But around the time you read this, you should be able to buy this album in stores. And it gives us all that we always liked about the twosome: Aloe’s incredible rhyming and Exile’s just as nice beats. There’s exactly that on here, plus if you shove the CD in your computer, you should get a whole lot more, if the final version includes everything this little promo does. The everything being a bundle of videos (including a solo Exile performance where he shows how good a rapper he is), a gallery (where you might find the mug of yours truly) and some hidden MP3s from Emanon’s crew. Sure, we’re still a little hesitant about Aloe’s singing, but hey, this cat must blow up. He must be rap’s next superstar. So catch him now and brag about how you already know him for years. More information on shamanwork.com, essdub.com and emanonhiphop.com
Dub-L “Day Of The Megabeast” (Day By Day)
This record is so star studded, it’ll take us the whole duration of this short write up just to give you an idea on who’s on here. So let’s start: We got X-Clan’s own Professor X, Jemini The Gifted One, Fivefeet:Perspectives, Pack FM, open gay rapper Soce The Elemental Wizard, Ivizabul Man and Lord Scotch of the MIC, Windnbreeze, Karniege, Rayna Shine, GM Grimm, C-Rayz Walz, Poison Pen, DJ Js-1, Percee P, Razhel, Breez Evaflowin and a couple of more cats. Actually a surprise appearance by Jer of the Party Fun Action Committee and Hangar 18 provide the best song on here with “World Premier”. Dub-L does the beats and a host of skilled rappers do the raps, so this can’t and does not go wrong. Now check it out on daybydayent.com and dub-l.com
The Perceptionists “Black Dialogue” (Definitive Jux)
A new super group appears on the horizon, but you already know about it, right? Well, Akrobatik, Mr. Lif and DJ Fakts One are The Perceptionists and have teamed up for a full length album. And this thing is rather proper. The song “Blō” (produced by El-P) is a killer and while some songs like “Breathe In The Sun” and “5 O’Clock” are a little ‘sweet’ they are still good. The latter especially with a great topic and with Phonte of Little Brother crooning the hook. And even though “Party Hard” feat. Guru and Camutao and produced by the latter is desperate for some club play, hearing Humpty Hump on “Career Finders” will make up for that slump. Add to that Akrobatik sounding better than he has ever sounded before, actually really coming through with his verses, and Mr Lif sounding as dope as he always does, add production by Fakts One, more El-P, Willie Evans Jr, and you have a record that just might blō up. More information on definitivejux.net
Ambidex “The Great Potato Famine (Pass The Freedom Fries)” (Early Spotter)
This probably has one of the most stupid titles in quite some time, but don’t let that have you pass this by. Cause this thing is actually good. It’s very political – what the little ‘freedom fries’ bit suggests – it talks about “the economic and cultural differences that reside in American Society” as the bio says. It features beats by Joey Beats (of Non Prophets fame), by Jerm The Just One, Tommy Hearns and El Tripps. Plus it drops on Early Spotter, which is a new label (you’ll soon learn) that stands for quality. Cause their other releases include Access Immortal’s “Shades Of Reality” (featuring production by J-Zone, Insight, and Low Class Productions and guest appearances by Breez Evahflowin, Karniege, Wordsworth, Insight, Loer Velocity and Oktober) and maybe even more so Shed Light “Perseverance” (featuring Cadence, Alias and Access Immortal, as well as the funny “Everyone And Their Mother Wants To Be An MC”). So make sure you bookmark earlyspotter.com