This release does show growth from Westside Gunn as well as a touch more versatility. There is still room to try new things and experiment a little more, but there is no doubt that Gunn is in for big success here.
The production is great, with a lot of haunting backings that Gunn excels over, as well as some softer moments to peel back a few more layers of his psyche. The only issue here is that with the delivery of the main artist, the beats sometimes overpower the lyrics and make it hard to hear. On the other hand, this does prove the backings are strong enough to stand on their own and are a good selection to work with.
The lyricism is great and Westside Gunn really shows why he is a rising star of the rap game. He has a great grasp of strong wordplay which really plays into all his songs. It would be interesting to see more changes in his flow to help make a couple of exciting moments, but his delivery works well for the lyrics he spits.
The features all do a good job of expanding the play through with fresh voices and styles. It is great to see him still working well, and having great chemistry with, his label mates, who all show their own considerable skills. The addition of a few big names in hip hop also shows how Gunn has made connections in the rap world.
Overall, this is a great release from one of the rising lyricists in hip hop. Westside Gunn should take all this experiance forward as he prepares for his first major label debut.
This album has all the flavours that a Jedi Mind Tricks album should be. It has the aggression as well as the soul searching that makes a complete listen through.
The production is amazing with a lot of interesting sounds and plenty of power behind them to really push the lyrics forward. It could be argued that the beats are too packed with sound to be effective, but it is actually very effective with the content and delivery of the artists on the songs. It is great to see an ebb and flow of the album as the backings get softer and harder as it plays through.
The lyricism is strong, with the delivery really boosting its appeal. With the performance elements making the rhymes stand out, they may not be the most complex raps out there, but they are still smart which makes a great combination. This element is one of the top reasons that this album is phenomenal.
The features all do great to add cohesiveness and extra voices to this project. All have great talent and show it in abundance on this. It would be interesting to see more singers appear on this, but the guests do a great job on this.
Overall, this is a very energetic album that has a lot of what makes great hip hop albums. A lot of aggression and chemistry between the group members mean this album will be spinning for a long time.
This is a nice collection of songs but it does not feel like a total album. It might have some great moments, but it only feels like a piece of something bigger.
The productions is great with a lot of different offerings opening up a lot of avenues for content. The way it plays through can feel a little stop and go, but it does work for the duration of this project, although not anything longer. The main issue is that anything longer wouldn’t work, but this feel surprisingly short, while replay ability is moderate it can feel the listener feeling cheated.
The lyricism is clever and sharp, as Nas always is. Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest wordsmiths of the modern age, Nas does not disappoint with his wordplay on this release. His performance on here will help show the newest generation of rappers, not to throw shade at the older generation because they can still do a damn good job.
The features all help to build this track up, but on such a short project, it is a shame to see time taken from the main artist. They do a good job of showing their skills as well as add more cohesiveness to the release. It would be interesting to see how Nas would interact with a few other artists, but its good he kept at least that much time for himself on here.
Overall, this is a nice selection platter for what Nas is capable of, but is not totally satisfying. Maybe on his next release, it will feel like a meal, rather than a sample.
This album is a step away from the more street rhymes and moves towards a more open view of Jay Rock. He shows personal growth and is willing to try new things here that could pay off in a big way.
The production is great with the right touches in place for the appropriate songs. With this being a softer album, there is a high level of polish throughout the release that makes a very cohesive listen. It might be nice to hear a little more aggression in the beats, but Jay Rock’s delivery takes care of that.
The lyricism is strong and there is an increase in diversity from Rock too. He plays around more with a little bit of auto tune, used very tastefully, and variation in flow to keep every song sounding fresh. Again, it is missing a little bit of an aggressive edge, but the personal growth on this out shines that fact.
The features all do fantastic work helping to make this album great. Each puts across their own talents and finds the right tone for every song. The only thing missing for a lot of listeners is the rest of the Top Dawg Entertainment label, but there are still brilliant moments from the ones on here to tide people over.
Overall, this is quietly phenomenal and should be highly commended. People seem to forget that Jay Rock was the first one to break into the mainstream from Top Dawg and should keep this in mind when he releases projects like this.
This project is an intriguing listen as the two artists are both highly creative and have clear styles that blend well on this. However while this is a revitalizing project for Kid Cudi, Kanye West does not seem at his best.
The production is truly amazing, with each beat capturing the atmosphere of the tracks superbly. With each instrument being masterfully used to create the feeling needed deep inside the listener, there is no doubt that the beatsmiths put their best work into these offerings. It is a shame that they feel squandered with the vocals that are layed over the top.
The lyricism is strange, with a lot of clever wordplay used, but also some basic shouting and some just noise making. While both the main artists have some top verses given, for a short project they don’t fill out the songs and are happy to let the instrumentals run their course. Now while the beats are fantastic, it should also be important for the vocals to stand up and take some control as well as not be tampered with, which unfortunately they are.
The features are a mix of phenomenal and confusing. Some put in great work and create moments of greatness, while others seem to be barely contributing and leave a lot to be desired. Maybe some guests with a bit more punch could create some more memorable moments.
Overall, this project seems hit and miss, with more hits from half of the duo then the other. Let it be said that it can not be a great project when the best part of the whole thing is how Kid Cudi hums.
This album is a bizarre mix of excentricity as Kanye tackles his own difficulties throughout last year. However there doesn’t appear to be any regret over things he said while lacking passion to fill out his own tracks.
The production is interesting, with a lot of creativity being shown through the use of unusual sounds and patterns. This level of variation helps keep the songs sounding fresh, but stops them feeling fluid as the album plays through. A but more cohesion would go a long way to helping this project as a whole.
The lyricism is, if you take how it was technically put together, great. There is some clever wordplay as well as his signature shout at the end of his bars. However the content leaves something to be desired where, when he tackles some of his more turbulent moments in the year, he doesn’t seem to apologize for anything he said that might have been upsetting or wrong, morally or otherwise. This detracts from what Kanye is saying and may put off some listeners all together.
The features all do a fantastic job of showing their own skills and how they work together with Kanye. Everyone contributes, even if it is just a tiny amount in the background, but it all helps make the songs as good as they are individually. If they were all named on the tracks could be a nice touch, but their contributions are not forgotten.
Overall, this is a nice collection of songs but it does not have the impact of a great album. Some of the songs needed a bit more Kanye on them ot be included on this Kanye album.
This is an amazing EP released by one of the top lyricists out there. After his impressive ten minute freestyle, people have been craving more from this artist and this is as good as it gets.
The production, handled by 9th Wonder and the Soul Council, is incredible. There is plenty of variation and distinct sounds to make each beat stand out. Sometimes the beats are a little too strong and override the lyrics a little, but all of these backings could be used as instrumentals and still be a success.
The lyricism is, as expected, amazing. Black Thought is renowned for clever lines and he packs all of these songs with bars. Considering the messages throughout the release, this is no easy feat and Black Thought weaves through the wordplay masterfully.
The features all do a great job of showing their own skills while keeping the project cohesive. All three show good chemistry with Black Thought and assist in making the EP flow freely. It is also impressive that they all work with the content so well and can add their own experiences as well.
Overall, audiences everywhere are hoping that this EP is just a taste of what is to come, as the title suggests there are more volumes coming. Black Thought will hopefully take this momentum and continue to put out music that the world wants to hear.