A$AP Rocky – Testing Review

This is a release that is the definition of just okay. There are some good things about it but it has too many pitfalls to shine out.

The production is interesting as there is a lot of experimentation in the beats. However it doesn’t break any ground and a lot of them are overbearing in comparison the the rhymes. There are too many backings here that are too far from what people are aiming to hear that there are a lot of missable tracks.

The lyricism is good but there is not enough smart wordplay for it to bring this project out of the mud. What Rocky says entertaining, but his performance gets lost as his delivery is overpowered by the production. This needed stronger delivery to have pretty much any impact on the listener.

The features all do a good job of putting across their skills and are the highlights of these songs. All of their contributions are the highlights of the tracks they are on as well as the best thing about this album. Hopefully Rocky can take lessons from them and improve his own efforts.

Overall, this is a failure for Rocky, but he should still be commended for his efforts. It is important that efforts go into experimentation for progress to happen and there are bound to be mistakes along the way, but without mistakes there would be no lessons learned.

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Fabolous And Jadakiss – Friday On Elm Street Review

This release shows that both artists and lyrically talented, but the theme of the album is never truly explored. Both artists have come a long way from their roots, but show they have never forgotten where they came from and how they have grown.

The production is great with the help of some of the friends they have picked up on the way. Every beat works very well to create the atmosphere needed to enhance the message of the songs. With the variation of messages possibly throwing off the cohesiveness of this project overall, the backings really help with the songs individually.

The lyricism is obviously incredible. Both Fabolous and Jadakiss are known for their wordplay and flow, and they both exploit those facts to cement their work here. However the title of this album does not carry throughout the project and detracts from what listeners think the album is about.

The features help throw something different in the mix but it does not always feel natural. While some are amazing and really click together, a few sound like they don’t really have the same level of chemistry. On the other hand, on a full listen through, the album plays great with the fresh voices.

Overall, this is a great release, even if it is not exactly what it is described to be. Fabolous and Jadakiss might not be so well known to the newer generation, but their skills are sharp as ever.

French Montana – Jungle Rules Review

This release is full of high energy and entertaining tracks that are enjoyable to listen to. However it feels odd in places where the use of auto-tune could be considered unnecessary.

The production is full of trap based beats and cleaned up street backings that help give the jungle vibe French is looking for. Each is strong as an instrumental but works very well with the rappers and singers over the top. Something a bit more experimental would show another aspect of French Montana, but the beat selection here has no real issues.

The lyricism is good with French Montana coming across as his most lyrically flexible self. His bars have some good wordplay and other devices in them, but can be repetitive in places, like the hooks. While he has definitely improved in this area, there is still room to improve further.

The features all help to increase the cohesiveness of this project and show thier own skills. In some cases, they can come across as very similar to what Montana is going for on the song as well with delivery but they never ruin the others performances. Something further form his own talents could help lift this guest selection, on the other hand these features are all effective on the songs they are on.

Overall, this is an achievement because there are a lot of good songs available on it. The problem is that if you cant sing, then don’t auto-tune everything because it can take from the real talent of the rhymes. Also, consolidate the track length to maximise effectiveness.

French Montana – Mac & Cheese 4 Review

This project is good, fun and energetic which is sometimes what the audience needs. There are a few emotional songs, but Montana remains in his comfort zone for the majority.

The production is very bouncy with a lot of club atmosphere as well as some street beats to help keep this mixtape fresh. With so much power behind the boards, there is a lot of drive pushing this project forward that the backings provide a lot of the entertainment here. The beat selection is great for the music that French Montana wants to make.

The lyricism is straight forward but is effective in places. The rhymes are not made to be the most lyrical and his shouting at the end of almost every line doesn’t help make this more interesting. He knows what his fans want, and supplies that, but doesnt push French doesn’t push himself to be better.

The features help to make this more cohesive and to break up the monotony of hearing French Montana shout. Each puts in good effort and their styles alleviate some more of the similarities between the songs. Some more singing could have added another dimension to this mixtape, but French Montana knows what his fans expect and there are some huge names on here to assist with that.

Overall, this is a good romp through what a formulaic hip hop hit sounds like, but it lacks a lot of substance. French Montana may want to evolve his content if he wants to have more longevity in his career.

Meek Mill – DC4 Review

This project is very entertaining and shows that Meek Mill still has a passion for rap despite all the beef he finds himself in. It is good to see he is better than just a target for any number of rappers.

The production is good with plenty going on in the background to support the lyrics. Each beat contains similar elements but are diverse enough that they are not too much alike. Some slower songs could help balance this mixtape out, but Mill has a strong selection to work with here.

The lyricism is good but is not fantastic. Meek Mill relies on his delivery a bit too much and his rhymes do suffer slightly because of it. While they are still clever, his lines need a bit more complexity to appeal to a wider audience.

The features are ok but many run in the same vein and have thier own weaknesses. There is a lot of autotune that doesn’t work great with the beats and Mill’s own style as well as many other shout rappers that sound similar to the main artist. Some more variation would go a long way on this project.

Overall, this is an enjoyable project because of the energy running through and the fun that comes from it, but it does have its pitfalls. Meek Mill shout take what is in this mixtape and refine it for a future album.

Jeezy – Trap Or Die 3 Review

This is another example of Jeezy showing how to make trap music with more of a refined polished sound that will land with a wider audiance. While there is a lot of trap influenced music right now, Jeezy shows how he helped ot kick off the movement.

The production is good as it is energetic and gritty when it needs to be while becoming softer for the more emotional stuff. While there is a lot going on in each beat, it never eclipses the artists which is a major issue in rap these days. It could be argued that a few different influences would help make a more balanced project, but this is supposed to be a total trap release, so this is not a reasonable criticism.

The lyricism is not overly complicated but still hits hard with the listener. Jeezy has a powerful delivery that accentuates his rhymes so that they are still entertaining without a huge amount of intricacy. Some more complex attempts with the raps could have improved this project, but Jeezy knows what his fans want and he fills that criteria perfectly.

The features do great jobs and help build on the work Jeezy does on the tracks. Each has great chemistry with Jeezy which helps make the tracks flow easier. A few more singers could help give another dimension to the project but would not necessarily fit with the style of beat and music.

Overall, this is a good trap offering but may not be a mainstream success. However, Jeezy has crafted a project that his fans can still enjoy and shows he is still a force to be reckoned with.

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.