DJ Khaled – Grateful Review

This release is full of big names and big tracks that make this a very entertaining listen. With DJ Khaled acting more like a  on this album, only the best tracks make the cut, and this album proves it.

The production is varied but always interesting. Every beat is energetic and works very well with the artists chosen to work on it. There may be something for everyone, but most will appeal to any listener as they are all polished and work as a full listen through as well as individual songs.

The Features on here make this project such a success. All show great skill and have great chemistry with the other artists on the songs as well as DJ Khaled. It is possible that some guests further from his comfort zone may have made some more interesting moments, but DJ Khaled has chosen most of the biggest names in Hip Hop to be a part of this release, and they don’t disappoint.

Overall, this is great for those who want to stick on an album and not use the skip button at all, leaving it to play through. DJ Khaled continues to have enormous success with his albums, but it should be noted that it is mostly down to other artists work. Not to take from Khaled’s ability to bring artists together, but most of the entertainment value is down to the features and not him shouting out during the project.

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2 Chainz – Pretty Girls Like Trap Music Review

This release shows that 2 Chainz knows his core audience, but doesn’t grow to increase his listeners and therefore earn more money, as one of the songs on here is all about. Something to think about at least.

The production is good with a lot of interesting and entertaining sounds that create a lot of energy and keep it flowing through the whole project. A lot of the beats however are very much within the wheel house of the main artist. Trying to expand his repertoire further out of his comfort zone would make a more balanced release.

The lyricism is good, but is more of the same from 2 Chainz. He has respectable wordplay and his delivery is still entertaining, but his hooks are repetitive and the content is more of the same. Something fresh could give a lot of boost to this release, but it would have to be a big boost.

The features do great at breaking up the monotony that can set in by adding fresh voices and styles to the mix. Each does a good job of showing what they are capable of, but also at bringing fresh energy streams in ot stimulate this project and stop it dropping rankings any further. Some more singers would help bring more diversity too.

Overall, this will appeal to Chainz’s core audience, but does not have a lot to give other rap listeners. The title does not reflect the content and a lot of it will already have been heard before.

Big Boi – BOOMIVERSE Review

This is a great release from Big Boi as it is smooth and does encompass every listener with one play through. Something for everyone and high levels of cohesion have built this up into a top quality product.

The production is fantastic as each beat is strong and can stand on its own, while leaving room for the artists to work and not encroach on their space. You also get the feeling of outer space and the expanse as each song plays and really helps link back to the title. Maybe something with a little grit could appeal more to the more aggressive listener, but the selection here is outstanding.

The lyricism is excellent with Big Boi utilising his clever rhymes with a fast flow to create interesting and enjoyable performances on each song. It could be argued that the actual raps aren’t overly complex and could be more intricate, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective and impactful. Something slower may show a more complete balance of skills, but Big Boi only does good work on this project.

The features all help to lift this to new heights as they each put in great performances. Everyone does some of their best work on this album and none feel out of place. Maybe something a little further from the comfort zone of Hip Hop would make more interesting moments, but the guests on this help keep things feeling fresh.

Overall, BOOMIVERSE is a success and is definitely worth a spin. Big Boi should continue to explore his musical skills like this and expand his repertoire of artists he has worked with, as he has done here.

Gucci Mane – Droptopwop Review

This is another solid release form Gucci Mane, but it is carried by its beats. Gucci does his thing, but it becomes monotonous as a whole listen through.

The production is fantastic with Metro Boomin providing some great backdrops. Each song is individual while having similar elements, but that is due to the same producer doing every song. There are no issues with the backgrounds as they are all sonically great.

The lyricism is not complicated but it is effective. The wordplay is there with some clever rhymes used, but there is a lack of variation in flow that drags it down a little. Some more effort in the performance and diversity could help lift this up a level, but it is still enjoyable.

The features are great as they help break up some of the monotony. Each puts ina  good verse and while some sound similar to Gucci in style, they seem to have more energy and passion to fuel their verse. Maybe some singing would add another edge, but this is still a strong selection.

Overall, this shows that Gucci Mane does not plan to slow down or change the formula, especially when it puts up numbers like he was doing last year. If he wants to stay on this hot run, he might need to look into adding a little more flavour, but he will still make a bunch of money off of this.

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.

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.

The Lox – Filthy America…It’s Beautiful Review

This release starts off strong with all three members having strong verses, but some safe choices later can make a full listen through disappointing. Some of the more mainstream options takes this edge off this gritty album that could have been solid without them.

The production is good with the right atmosphere on every track helping to make this have more of an impact. While some of the beats are perfect for the group, the attempt to seem more radio friendly makes the group seem like they are trying to grow their audience. However by doing this they may have lost some of the core group that liked their old stuff. By sticking to what they know, they may have created a more cohesive project.

The lyricism is fantastic with all three members trying hard to be the best. They also try hard at the performance aspect with their individual delivery making the tracks stand out slightly. On the downside, the hooks are not as hard hitting as the verses and can be repetitive in places. While there are no major works to be done, this is not a totally smooth ride.

The features are the weakest part of this release because they don’t necessarily fit with the style of the group. While none do particularly badly, some do not gel with the chemistry of the group and sound a little out of place. Some singers would have been a better way to show the softer side than radio attempts.

Overall, this is an enjoyable release if you can sit through the few rough patches. Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss should be proud of their individual performances as well as how they work as a team.