Royce Da 5’9 – Book Of Ryan Review

This album feels like a continuation into Royce’s life that he started on “Layers”. Full of emotions, stories and clever rhymes, this is a masterpiece of music.

The production is amazing. There is a lot of different beats on offer and all help add up to a cohesive listen. There are some missteps where some songs try to cater for specific times and/or places like the club, but it is not like they do not fit the message of the track still.

The lyricism is fantastic as Royce continues to flaunt his incredible ability. The wordplay is smart and adds a level of detail to the anecdotes and helps expand the messages of the songs to bigger proportions. There are no complaints about Royce’s performance on this project as it is this ability that has allowed him to continue despite a few problems earlier in his career.

The features are great and show how a combination of A-List and lesser known artists can come together and create great tracks. Each does astonishing work showing their own skills as well as building upon the work Royce has already put down. There is also a good blend of singing to rapping to help give an extra edge to the project.

Overall, this release is the project that Royce needed to capitalise off the momentum gained from his last releases. Including his work as various duos and groups, this is the peak of his rap career so far and it looks like he is only getting started.

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KXNG Crooked -Good Vs. Evil Review

This album is full of all the things listeners love about KXNG Crooked. He is focused and that keeps his work sharp and following the theme of this project.

The production is great with the atmosphere reflecting exactly the message of the tracks. The beats are all dark to reflect the subject matter but are smooth enough to transition easily between the songs without becoming muddled together. Maybe something more light hearted could show another side of Crooked, but he excels on these tracks, so no one will be too bothered.

The lyricism is some of the best that has been released in recent years. Crooked uses some intensely descriptive and clever wordplay to make a project laced with absolute bars. His style might not be for everyone, but his rhymes should suit all.

The features are good as they help add a little more depth to this album. Each may not be in it for very long, but the fact they contributed is more than enough with some legends showing enough respect to this west coast MC that he is brought to some listeners attention at all. The way this is put together with the guests is great as they don’t control the project, just gently shape it.

Overall, this album is great to listen to from top to bottom, as long as you can get on board with the concept. KXNG Crooked is one of the best lyricists out there and should be respected by all hip hop fans as such.

Dr Dre – Compton Review

This album is crafted to perfection and Dr Dre has made a fantastic listening experiance. It may not be for everyone, but fans of real Hip Hop will adore what has been made here.

The production is flawless with easy transitions and the tracks have an atmosphere that fits perfectly with what they are trying to perpetrate. The beats are smooth and cohesive, allowing the story of Compton to flow easily to the listener. There are no issues with this selection and there should not be with Dr Dre being as talented as he is.

The lyricism is great as it ranges from incredibly intricate to passionate and emotional. While Dr Dre openly admits to not writing all his rhymes, his delivery and the power he puts behind them really land the meaning deep with a lot of impact. For some of the audiance, the fact Dr Dre did not write all of it could tarnish it for them, however he conducts his feelings through them accurately and powerfully.

The features are a huge part of this projectand help to make this a milestone in the rap game. There are a core group who appear repetively and consistently put a lot of effort and pleasure into the tracklist. The other guests all do a really excellent job of putting across thier feeling of genorosity towards how Dre has shaped thier career and that translates into thier rhymes. There were absolutely no problems with the feature selection here.

Overall, Dr Dre has once again shown that his level of ability and experiance in Hip Hop have allowed him to make a really amazing album. It may not be Detox, but from what the public have heard, this is much more personnal.

Tech N9ne – Special Effects Review

This album is filled with raw and total emotion. With feelings from aggression to sadness to happiness channeled into songs, Tech has made an album that can be relatable and enjoyed by most of the Hip Hop audiance.

The production is excellent. The use of instruments rather than random sounds makes for a slightly more enjoyable listen as well as smoother transitions between songs. Each beat perfectly reflects the atmosphere of each track and contains a lot of influences from other genres, punk for example, to make the project additionally cohesive. The skits in between the tracks, while showing a more human side of Tech N9ne, are quite frequent at the beginning and these could have been better spread out a bit more but they are still enjoyable.

The lyricism is definately present and is fantastic. Tech N9ne has always had some lyrical ability but he has definately developed them through his last few projects. On this, he weaves great multi syllable rhymes that suck in the listener, making them wonder when they will finish. He may need to work on a couple other rap techniques as fall backs, but he is definately doing a great job bringing lyricism to the audiance.

The features all do a great job and all have great verses. With guests ranging from his own label to some of Hip Hops elite, Tech has assembled a team here that would make a lot of other rappers extremely jealous. He even has some features that aren’t from a Hip Hop background to great effect.

Overall, this is a great project that has songs for pretty much anyone who enjoys Hip Hop. Tech N9ne has shown why he is an independent powerhouse in the rap game and that intends to stay there.

Yelawolf – Love Story Review

Yelawolf really opens up personally on this album and it creates a great and cohesive listen through. He may have opened up a touch too much for some who would want to see a more aggressive delivery, but this project may well change their minds if they listen to it the whole way through.

The production is fantastic and fits perfectly with the message Yelawolf is sending on each track. Country music is clearly a big influence in this as a lot of sounds from that genre are used throughout the album. It could be argued that some beats with more traditional Hip Hop sounds would please more Rap listeners but the way the beats here work together is a great feat in itself.

The lyricism is good and helps lend itself towards the imagery that shapes this album. Yelawolf keeps his razor sharp lyrical tongue while crafting the rhymes for this project that weave powerful and emotion filled tapestries. Some might still want that lyrical ability used to create aggression but the way Yelawolf puts this together is fantastic.

The choice to only have one feature, and for that feature to be Eminem, is a good choice as it helps to explain the loose narrative that runs through the album. Eminem is on his track because he puts in a passionate performance to rival Yelawolf and shows that he and Yelawolf have great chemistry and have both been through struggles.

Overall, this is a fantastic yet somber album that is extremely cohesive and a great feat for Yelawolf. His combination of lyricism and emotions while being able to put it in a story telling environment is almost unmatched and this should be a celebrated effort.

PRhyme – PRhyme Review

This is a great album to end 2014 on. Both Royce Da 5’9 and DJ Premier bring their best to this extremely cohesive album that radiates pure Hip Hop all the way through. The beats and lyrics work very well together to create great songs for a great new debut.

The production is fantastic. DJ Premier has done very well crafting this album’s beats so that they can cause the listener to flashback to older times as well as compare to the new age of Hip Hop production. The tracks can have jarred sounds but are smooth to listen to and creates a very enjoyable listen.

The lyricism is very clever and engrained in the very DNA of the tracks. Royce Da 5’9 does a great job of weaving great images and story telling through the whole project which works well with the production. The wordplay is complex and shows why Royce is considered one of the top lyricists in the rap game today.

The features are excellent. They all bring top level rap to the project without overshadowing the others. Each spins a great verse that strengthens each track without weakening it and it keeps it as a very cohesive project. It is also good to see members of Black Hippy mixing with members of Slaughterhouse considering all that has been discussed about cyphers and battles between them.

Overall, this is a great album that is very cohesive and very entertaining to listen to. Both DJ Premier and Royce have created a project that has all the elements of a rap album that can be enjoyed by all and seen as a milestone in Hip Hop.

Shady XV – Various Artists Review

The first disc is a well crafted showcase of how the Shady Records roster is prepared to make more hits and the second is a track back at the past records that helped build it up to the powerhouse it is today. Eminem started it up and has kept it rolling through some tough times and a total reboot, but it is in a strong place now and this set of records is a signal that the label is as strong, or stronger than it has ever been.

The production is great, but being a protégé of Dr Dre you pick up an ear for beats. There is a good range of beat type from country to heavy and everything in-between. Each one compliments the message and tone of the track and helps to show the range of songs and backings that the Shady Crew can work with.

The lyricism is clear and present on every track. It becomes even clearer than before that these are some of the top lyricists in the rap game and that they are not to be trifled with. These guys have come to play hardball and they are annihilating almost all other rappers out there. If your a fan of lyricism and wordplay, you have to get this project.

The features are good and show that the group can work well together with an outside influence. As well as working together with them, they also seem to gain a competitive edge and work harder to outdo the feature which creates a sense of the pure nature of Hip Hop as well as creating a great track for the listener.

Overall, this is a fantastic project for both listeners and the performers on it and we can only hope they continue to create tracks of this magnitude. Whether it’s Yelawolf, any member of Slaughterhouse or Eminem, the rest of the Hip Hop world should take heed of whatever they are doing because it is bound to be a success.