Freeway – Think Free Review

This release shows that despite any health issues, Freeway can still make quality music. He has kept everything that made him a great rapper and improves upon any weaknesses he may have had.

The production is amazing, with some classic offerings blending in with some more modern beats. Each backing accurately reflects the content and message of the lyrics and helps build a cohesive and fluid listening experience. Maybe a few more times on more pop beats will help Freeway be a little more comfortable on the tracks, since he doesn’t sound perfectly at home, but this is still a great selection here.

The lyricism is fantastic with Freeway utilizing his strong delivery to help the impact of his rhymes. There is strong wordplay that really helps with the descriptive aspect of the project. There are no issues with Freeway’s performance here as he even plays a little with his flow.

The features are, on paper, strong choices. However while some pull of great performances and show how clever their rhymes can be, others let the opportunity slide and give less than average verses. Hopefully Freeway will take this experience and not play to what he thinks the audience will enjoy, and make what he thinks is great music.

Overall, this is a great release from a veteran of the rap game. Moving forward, hopefully he can continue to have output like this and make records for real hip hop heads to enjoy.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Belly – Inzombia Review

This project is a showcase of how talented Belly is. He has got the right feel and talents to bring this emotional and haunting project to the public and make it a success.

The production has an apocalyptic feel which creates the atmosphere needed for Belly to explore his self destructive emotions. The almost empty nature the beats create is exactly what the project needs to land home hard which is not easy with the deep nature of the content. Normally a suggestion of a more energetic track would help show some balance, but that would upset the whole point of this project.

The lyricism is clever and does a great job showing how Belly has grown as an artist. He uses multi-schemes to punctuate his lines and paint vivid images for the listener to experience. He doesn’t make many mistakes, but maybe some more experimenting with his flow could make some more interesting moments.

The features are good as they bring great and versatile verses to this project. Each shows their own ability while showing that what Belly has gone through is not a unique experience. Maybe some more singers would make this flow a little easier, but his selection of guests is fantastic.

Overall, this is a dark view of Belly’s deep, dark self that he puts masterfully into music. This should show audiences that Belly is a complicated man as well as a talented musician.