Monday, March 26, 2007

Mini Reviews - I will be doing these sporadically when a lot of product drops around the same time.

DJ Soul – Assorted Donuts: A tribute to Dilla, a few decent blends of classic verses over some of the Donuts album. I’m not impressed enough to listen again. @@@ ½

Devin The Dude – Waiting To Inhale: This album is vintage Devin with his standard brand of comedy, raunch, weed, lovelorn tales, southern funk and soulful hooks. Andre 3000 kills his verse on “What A Job”. This further cements why Devin is one of my favorite rappers. @@@@ ¼

Redman – Red Gone Wild: 5 years after Malpractice and he hasn’t lost a step. Another entertaining Funk Doctor Spot trip featuring the usual cast of Chris Tricarico, DJ Say What, Nasty Naj, the stick up man and Soopaman Lova. @@@@ ¼

Prodigy – Return of The Mac: Diehard P fans wishing he was still the rapper of old will use this album to forgive the Blood Money tragedy. For my ears it’s mostly empty thug talk with P going through the motions rather than still trying to make me believe he means it. Alchemist’s production didn’t quite blow me away either. @@@ ½

Young Buck – Buck The World: While the album has more substance than I expected, he should learn that there’s more to making a strong song than a good beat with a crunk hook. The highlight of the album is 50 Cent’s “Funeral Music” (the Camron diss) as a bonus cut. @@@@

Rich Boy – Self Titled: He isn’t talking about much, but Polow made sure he received strong beats and altogether it’s a well done album. I’ve played it once and definitely plan on spinning it more in the future. @@@@ 1/4

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The first and possibly only masterpiece of 2007

After three listens I still I don’t fully understand this album enough to do a proper review. But I'll Sleep When You're Dead finds El-P raising the bar to a level that I cant see being topped this year. I used to write him off as a noisy king of the backpackers, but now he’s incorporated actual melody into his chaos to marvelous results. Part B-Boy, part apocalyptic visionary, part cynical critic, this is what happens when (Cannibal Ox's) The Cold Vein wakes up from an almost 6 year coma angry and totally devoid of hope. El-P has rewritten the book on multi-layering and broken into his own as a full fledged composer, managing to bring artists like Cat Power and The Mars Volta (neither of whom I'd probably give the time of day) to perfectly fit in his world. Do not attempt to listen to this album if you aren’t ready for your head to be taken to a different place. It’s nothing short of hard work perfected into brilliance, and most other hip-hop will pale in comparison until it dares to push the envelope like this while simultaneously succeeding at sounding good.