Westside Gunn – Supreme Blientele Review

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.

Hodgy – Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide Review

This is an enticing release as Hodgy shows his skills after the disbanding of Odd Future. He does well to prove that he is his own artist and does not shy away from the spotlight.

The production is great as it is energetic but also somewhat laidback, which leads to an easy listen. Each beat is individual, yet remains cohesive in a full listen through. This selection works very well for not only Hodgy’s style, but for hip hops general audiance.

The lyricism is solid, with plenty of good wordplay making this an interesting listen. Hodgy dips in and out of the beats but always staying within the flow of the track to help give his delivery an edge over the formulaic of the average rapper. Hodgy would stand out among the crowd if he was close enough to them to be part of it.

The features are excellent and show the connections Hodgy has. With only a few of the tracks having guests on, each one counts, which makes the great performances by them all the more important. With some big names on there, it is fantastic to see Hodgy holding his own against them.

Overall, this release is different from the normal, as well as putting Hodgy on more people’s radar. With this album under his belt, Hodgy should be able to continue with this momentum to greater success.

Various Artists – The Hamilton Mixtape Review

This release is incredible. Everyone knows how great the songs from Hamilton are, and letting these artists re-imagine them shows that they work as more than story telling devices in the show.

The production is great with some of the original Broadway backings used so the artists can give their own impression or interpretation of the originals. Where new songs have been created or tweaked, there are no missteps and actually helps keep the listen through fresh. This is a clever re-imagining of an already successful show and should help bring even more attention to it.

The lyricism is fantastic as Lin-Manuel crafted stunning rhymes from the original used in a lot of the tracks here. The new lines are all amazing with fantastic imagery and passion put into the messages of the songs. These tracks are put together with such a close eye on the precision of the craft that each of these feels almost brand new, despite there already being versions of a lot of them.

The selection of artists on here are fantastic. Each compliments the part they play on here in style and fits the need of the track perfectly. There are no problems at all with these features.

Overall, this is a really incredible showing of not only the talent of the artists, but how to put a release together. Lin-Manuel had a bright future after the musical release, but this will help solidify him as a future for music everywhere.

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service Review

This is a great project from a legendary group. Not only does it show that there is still a way to make unique sounding music, but it is the best farewell they could ever give to Phife Dawg, may he rest in peace.

The production is full of the jazz influences you would expect to hear from this group. They use the instruments to create great atmosphere throughout the project as well as affect the energy as it flows through the songs. There are some moments that are sudden changes but they are out there for effect and are not mistakes as they are part of how the project plays out.

The lyricism is great with each member who raps doing a great job of showing their signature flow with enjoyable rhymes to make tracks that are thought provoking and yet easy listening. maybe a few more changes between flows could make slightly more impact, but there are no weaknesses in the performances on this album.

The features are great as each shows off their own impressive skills while showing great chemistry with the group. All are uncredited on the album which means that on first listen through they are a surprise and are somewhat refreshing. This is a nice touch as there is a good balance between singers and rappers which leads to a smooth project on each listen through.

Overall, this is a great alternative project from what is popular in the mainstream and should help show people that rap is more than the generic pop tunes. Each member should be proud that they could make Phife Dawg’s last project as great as this.

DJ Khaled – Major Key Review

This album had high hopes, but falls flat a lot more than it soars. Some tracks come across as cohesive genius whereas others seem more like formulaic noise to try and bring in more listeners who are not Hip Hop educated.

The production is good in places and great in others. There is a lot of energy running through the project but in a lot of places the elements in the tracks become more merged together into background noise rather than being effectively tools. Maybe some more beats with less happening in them would open up more space for the artists.

The features all do their job and most do it well to help flesh out this project. The verses tend to be effective but the hooks come across as repetitive in a lot of cases which really lets the album down. Some more imagination in that particular aspect would go a long way.

Overall, Khaled has made his playlist of high value artists and put together a collection of music that will appeal to most. However only a few tracks will remain with the listener.

Busts Rhymes – The Return Of The Dragon (The Abstract Went On Vacation) Review

This mixtape shows that Busta Rhymes is still making great music that helped raised his profile in the first place. Without Q-Tip to help, he carries more of the burden and excels while doing so.

The production is good as it works well with Busta Rhymes style Each beat has its own feel and atmosphere which helps show the variation that Busta can work with. Maybe a few more slowed down tracks could show a higher level of diversity but the backing selection on this is fantastic overall.

The lyricism is fast paced, rapid fire and full of multi schemes. Busta shows that he has not slowed down over time and keeps his rhymes coming with barely a breath in between bars. A few different techniques could show more growth as an artist, but Rhymes has done a great job keeping his level so high after all these years.

The features all do a good job too as they show thier own skills as well as filling out the project with fresh voices. Each has a good verse which helps keep the entertainment high and keeps the project cohesive. Some singers could have had an interesting effect, but the selection on here is great.

Overall, this project is great fun to listen to and keeps Busta Rhymes in the public light. He shows his talent and shows plans to keep his momentum going.

The Game – The Documentary 2.5 Review

This album is the second disc of his release last week and it continues the standard of greatness. There is at least a few tracks for every Hip Hop listener and they are done very well.

The production is good and keeps his west coast feel well and truly alive. Each song may have the diversity to keep its individuality, but it definately has that west influence through all of it. There are no issues with the backings on this as he covers every aspect of Hip Hop with it.

The lyricism is good and shows he is still improving upon his previous performances. The way he moves within the beats shows great talent as Game has shown every step of his discography. There is little to improve on here, but maybe some radio friendly songs to appeal to the mainstream.

The features all help flesh this out and, while they all put in a lot of effort, show that Game is one of the best out there. Each guest shows that they have some talent and that they can put passion into thier work, but few come close to the main artist. There are no issues with his selection however because each helps make the project more cohesive.

Overall, this album is a fantastic continuation of his previous work that shows Game is not missing a step. If Game can keep this up, then he will truly be one of the greats.

Jay Rock – 90059 Review

This album has a great performance from Jay Rock, but his choice of production, while the beats are enjoyable, can make the songs seem quirky and difficult to follow. Individual good components, but not great put together.

The production is good with interesting sounds that make the beats interesting. Each beat is individual with not a lot of confusion between the songs. They could stand on thier own two feet a bit more rather than relying on the artist but at least it gives Jay Rock plenty of room to show what he can do.

The lyricism is good without being overly complicated or confusing. Jay Rock keeps it relatively straight forward, packing his rhymes with delivery and messages to keep the listener interested. Some more complexity could show that Jay Rock is still evolving as an artist, but what he does here shows that he is still making good music.

The features are great and compliment Jay Rock very well. Some showcase his label mates trying different techniques, while others do just enough to enhance Jay Rock on the tracks. There is a great blend of people for the eleven tracks on this album that help build the project.

Overall, this album shows that Jay Rock can hang out with the best of them when it comes to signiture songs, but may want ot look at making some more radio friendly type songs to gain more of  an audiance.

Raekwon – Fly International Luxurious Arts Review

This album has a good balance of most elements that make Hip Hop the defining genre it is today, but it lacks a certain shine that would attract newer listeners. Raekwon does very well to keep his rap qualities that he has had for over twenty years now and keep them as sharp as they were at the start.

The production is excellent and shows a real mixture of Hip Hop eras combined into one album. The range is great and the variety in noises, sounds and patterns used almost shows Raekwon lasting the ages. There are not many problems with the beats, they simply may not be to everyone’s taste.

The lyricism is fantastic and Raekwon showcases why he has lasted so long in the rap game. He uses a lot of lyrical techniques to embellish his work and pad out his imagery with an extra dimension. He may want to be a touch louder on the tracks to stand out more, but no one can really criticise this rapper.

The features are good and show that Raekwon can work well with a variety of rappers with a variety of styles. Each puts in some good effort and helps to make each track more cohesive. Some features with less of a connection to rap and Hip Hop may have made some more interesting tracks but these are still interesting.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album with a real mixture of tracks for any mood. Raekwon has been in the rap game a long time and his solo work, as well as his group work, has only improved.

Murda Mook – Eazy Doez It Review

There is no doubt that Mook is a great rapper, but this project shows that he may need to work on his song chemistry. The tracks on the project are good but they don’t blend together enough to make a great track. The hooks in particular are not up to standard with his verses. They also feel like they don’t have that passion he has when he is battling on stage. It needs a bit of a pick me up.

The production is good, but it is not great. There is quite a lot of similar sounding beats and there is a lot going on in those beats and the project could use some more diversity. That would allow for a wider scope on what this project could do and how it could be more enjoyable on every listen through.

Lyricism is present on every track, as Mook is well known for. His verses are crafted to a very high standard, due to his battling experience and veteran battling status. His hooks need more work as they sound forced and aren’t fluid with the rest of the song. However the verses far overshadow the hooks as far as impressiveness on this project.

The features are good and definitely help to break up the monotony of the same beat with the same voice. They each add to the overall tone of each track and also lend a sense of growing in Mook’s music career, getting Raekwon or Busta Rhymes on a track gives the impression that Mook is impressing a lot of important musical people.

Overall, this isn’t a great project for Mook as it does not show his complete range of song possibility, but does help to show his lyrical ability and what he is capable of doing over a beat.