Goldlink – At What Cost Review

This release is great as it shows Goldlink in a great light and shows he can put together an entertaining, cohesive listen. A lot of great choices on here make this a standout album of 2017 so far.

The production is great with a lot of smooth, easy listening backings that blend together well without becoming one long song. The laid back nature of some of these helps to make this a project you can put on anytime and enjoy. Maybe something more in the mainstream, upbeat region could have helped bring more listeners to it early on, but there is no doubt that there is a good ear for beats involved here.

The lyricism is fantastic. Goldlink does well to keep his wordplay sharp as well as work in the high level of detail that the listener feels. There are no real issues with Goldlink’s performance on this as it is a joy to hear on this release.

The features do a great job of adding additional depth to this with some singing and some strong verses. Each guest showcases their own ability, while blending with the message or theme of the song with ease. Maybe something a bit more brash could add another edge, but the people picked for this work wonders.

Overall, this is is a great release for Goldlink and rap music, as it shows that not only trap music can be catchy and enjoyable. May this sentiment keep going and push other rappers to branch outside the drug based topics.

Mike WiLL Made-It – Ransom 2 Review

This is an energetic release reminiscent of the first Ransom project, but there is a certain amount of formula that is clear in each of the tracks. While the production from Mike WiLL is fantastic, what each artists does with it all seems to lead down the same path, with a few exceptions.

The production is phenomenal, with Mike WiLL creating trap beats that may seem similar, but all have different aspects that makes each individual. In a few cases it seems like there is a base guideline rather than an organic blooming to his creative process, but it still yields some great results. Maybe seeing what he can do outside the trap sub-genre could be an interesting challenge for the producer.

The features on this project are exactly what you would expect to find on songs from a producer as big as Mike WiLL. A stream of A-List rappers as well as fresh up-and-comers helps show a great level of respect for the producer here. It is a shame that so many come from the same vein of writing and delivery, but individually, they all still have good performances.

Overall, this is another release from an exceptional producer that proves he deserves the money and respect he is given. Only time will tell if he will attempt to branch out and attempt to work with a wider pool of talent.

Raekwon – The Wild Review

This is a great release from Raekwon, because it is simply him making music he wants to make, and not trying to horseshoe in artists that are popular but might not fit in with the song. This is a much smarter and smoother project than some will give Raekwon credit for.

The production is amazing with some good range and a lot of smooth transitions between songs. There are a lot of slowed down beats that compliment Raekwon’s flow perfectly and the jazz influences help make this easy to listen to. This is a smart choice because Raekwon does not always fit on modern trap offerings due to his vocal tone which can blend him away, but the selection on here works beautifully.

The lyricism is obviously fantastic with Raekwon showing that he hasn’t missed a step. There is still incredible wordplay as well as storytelling and almost every other lyrical device. While his delivery is solid and works amazingly for him, it might be interesting to hear Raekwon try to switch his flow a little in places.

The features are smart choices because Raekwon appears to have great chemistry with everyone he works with. He doesn’t simply choose people who are hot right now, he picks artists that fit with the song and the atmosphere of the track. There is some good singing heard too which helps this strike a cohesive balance on a full listen through.

Overall, this is a solid release from one of raps most consistent artists. Raekwon has made another great album and hopefully it gets the recognition it deserves.

Bonkaz – Quality Control 2.0 Review

This is a solid release from Bonkaz with a good range of songs, but with quite a few rough edges. While Bonkaz shows some good skills, he doesn’t sound completely comfortable throughout.

The production is good with a safe amount of variety to help keep it fresh. With the strong UK influences, this is not totally cohesive because of the cutting between most of the songs. A little more easing in between tracks might help make this flow a little better.

The lyricism is great with Bonkaz showing a lot of clever lyricism as well as solid delivery. However he doesn’t sound like he totally fits in with the timing of the beats and can sometimes sound like he is struggling to keep up the rhythm. Maybe he should try staying at a slower pace and really hitting his mark instead of sounding out of place on the faster songs.

The features are entertaining and help add a lot to this project. The choice is great because he is bringing up his team with him and helping them get their name out into the public. There is a good balance of singing and rapping, but maybe adding a few more higher profile rappers would help show that Bonkaz can rap with the higher tiers.

Overall, this is a good showing of what Bonkaz is capable of, as well as highlighting a few areas he may want to look at. Bonkaz should use this as motivation towards his next album.

Drake – More Life Review

This is a nice release from Drake with plenty of energy to make a listen through a delight. Drake is right to call this a playlist instead of an album because it is not so balanced as an album should be, but makes a great playlist for almost any situation.

The production is fantastic with all the elements that helped make Drake a household name to begin with. There are influences from grime to dancehall that help keep the palette fresh and cleansed as you listen through the whole project. The beat selection here is fantastic, but maybe a few more slower songs would give this a little more diversity.

The lyricism is great with Drake flexing his wordplay muscles as well as as continuing to shine with his singing. He takes a few subliminal shots at other artists but in ways that still show creativity and that he is still working to stay the top artist in the world right now. There are no problems with Drake’s performance on this project as he continues his run of greatness.

The features are great and show how Drake is growing as an artist. He is not worried about just choosing the biggest names, but instead chooses the artists he wants to work with. All of them do a good job and help make this release more cohesive.

Overall, this is a very entertaining listen through and could be a step into the future of music releases. Instead of trying to make an album that shows every side of you, Drake makes a list of songs that sound great all the way through, and maybe that is the direction the industry is headed in.

Jordan Westbrook 0.2 Shoe Review

This shoe is comfortable to wear and provides good support for your ankle, but can be a pain to put on. The height of the collar means that it is a pain to get around the bend of the ankle. On the other hand, when on and tied, it feels natural and flows with the foot.

The upper is constructed from layers of materials, leather and fabric, which make a sturdy construction while the different textures make a nice focal point to make the shoes stand out. It also makes it easier to put different colours into the design.

The outsole follows the classic pattern with the turn circles at the back and at the ball of the foot. It gets good traction and the cushioning in the midsole makes this  very comfortable to walk in.

The laces are great because they tend not to come undone if tied properly and the designs on the tongue and and heel clip show the makers of this shoe as well as looking fantastic.

Overall, a very comfortable shoe to wear once it is on. The Westbrook range is great for off the court wear as he pilots the flagship Jordan model on the cart and will hopefully continue to do so.

Fredo – Get Rich Or Get Recalled Review

This release shows that Fredo knows a little about how to rap and that he can make one song relatively well. However he does not show a complete ability or a balanced project with this.

The production is all trap based with a lot of energy and a lot happening in the background. While this is what Fredo is trying to show here, some diversity goes a long way when done with cohesion, instead of making the same song in different ways. Something softer would show help show the main artist as more of a human being instead of just a drug dealing bad guy.

The lyricism isn’t bad, but the delivery gets boring after a few tracks. Fredo utilises the shout rap style, but without attempting to change his flow or tempo enough to make it effective. The wordplay is good in places but a lot of the entertainment is based on how he puts the word across. Fredo may want to look at changing something every now and again to keep the songs fresh.

The features are good as they help break up the monotony that is Fredo. Each puts in good effort for thier own part to show what they are capable and are one of the only variables on this album that is different from song to song. Maybe trying to vary it a little to include people further from his own group would show he fits well with the rest of the UK rap scene, but the selection on here brings a lot to the release.

Overall, Fredo needs to look at his formula and try to tweak it to appeal to a wider audience. He may rap about how much money he has, but to survive in this industry, he may want to move into more universal content.

Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me Review

This release show more of a softer side of Ross that listeners might not have expected. There are a few of the more street based tracks, but they appear to have less effort put into them than then slower ones that Ross shines on here.

The production is great with a few gritty beats mixed in with the slower, emotional ones. The slowed down ones leave room for Ross to be more creative, whereas there is so much going on in the backing with the energetic ones that the lyrics can get lost. On the whole, it is a good choice to try to balance the productions but if you do, then you should put equal effort into both.

The lyricism is good with Ross doing more to prove he is lyrically nice on this project. While not evident on every track, the verses on this show personal growth as well as a possible increase in skill. Rick Ross does well to flex his lyrical muscles on these tracks, but maybe still try on the more hood based efforts too.

The features are good and help build up the cohesiveness of this project. Each does a great job of showing what they bare capable of and how it blends with the styles of the others on the songs. Maybe trying to bring up new artists could help solidify his status as a rap great, but the guest selection on here is fit for purpose and works well.

Overall, this is a great release for Ross as it shows he is still working on his talents and becoming the best to ever do it. Maybe trying to improve on the formulas he is using for a few of his songs might help, but this works as a project.

Your Old Droog – Packs Review

This release is a great showing for lyricists everywhere, but lacks a certain star power to help bring it back to the forefront as a skill. Your Old Droog clearly has some talent, but may want to expand his repertoire to attract more listeners.

The production is good but with a lot of unusual instrument placement. The way some of the instruments are incorporated make the beats more unique,, however do not make them more mainstream so are unlikely to make Droog a household name. A few more mainstream backings could help bring more listeners to the audience, but Droog does great on the selection here.

The lyricism is obviously incredible with Droog showcasing his abilities with amazing wordplay. Each of the verses is packed with an assortment of techniques that make the bars so entertaining for the real hip hop listener.Maybe Droog could try varying his delivery and performance, but the actual lyrics are truly amazing.

The features are good and help to flesh out this release, but they do not add a huge amount to the finish. Each does an alright job, but their main contribution is breaking up the monotony of one tone and voice. Some more variation in the guests could add another dimension to this project.

Overall, this is an enjoyable release for every listener who loves true lyricism. If you are looking for pop beats and autotune, you are definitely in the wrong place.

Murs – Captain California Review

This release is fantastic as it shows Murs making songs for every rap listener to enjoy. At least one of these songs will appeal to everyone who enjoys hip hop as a genre.

The production is all west coast as expected from the title, but not so much the party side. It comes across much more classic and slowed down, to match Murs’ own style. Something faster paced and lighter could help this feel more universal, but Murs strikes a great balance for the stories he tells.

The lyricism is good, with a slower paced rapper finally getting some recognition. In an industry filled with fast paced, multi-syllable schemes, it is fantastic to hear someone take the art of wordplay and put it into the story telling that has been decreasing throughout rap. Murs shows another side of skills that everyone seems to be forgetting and doing it will great effect.

The features all do a great job of playing into the narratives on this album. Each lends a new voice which fits with the part it is meant to play and shows their own levels of skills. Maybe a little more singing could help with the softer sections, but the selection of guests on this works to the overall project’s advantage.

Overall, this is a fantastic release from one of the west coasts finest rhymers. Murs should be proud to uphold a craft that is dying out, in the ability to make interesting songs that don’t rely on energy or shouting.