JAY-Z – 4:44 Review

This release shows that it is possible for veterans to change up how they operate in the game and still be a success. JAY-Z sheds a little of his armour to shoe a more complex emotional side that resonates with the listener.

The production is much less in your face but without being less powerful. Each is different from the others but still projects the correct atmosphere to enhance the message of the artist. Maybe something with a little more flair could keep a little bit of the old Jay Z alive, but with the point of this album being to get rid of that alter ego, as shown by the first track, it was a good choice not to.

The lyricism is great with JAY-Z showing that while he may have grown as a person, he has kept all his rhyming abilities. Each bar impacts well with the audience, while containing plenty of smart wordplay to increase the descriptive power. Maybe something with more aggression could add another dimension to the album, but would not fit with the overall, running theme.

The features really help this to come to life with the voices of some of the people close to the main artist lending their help. Each helps enhance the song they are on while not detracting from Jay-Z’s performance. Some more guests could help to show his level of influence in the rap game, but Jay-Z has an agenda here and doesn’t allow others to jeopardise it.

Overall, this is a great piece of work to show where JAY-Z is in his life right now. There is always a chance for the resurrection of his old self, but hopefully he continues to move forward and doesn’t fall back.

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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.

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.

DJ Khaled – I Changed A Lot Review

This album is good if you like the highly energized rap music that pumps out of mainstream radio these days. If you prefer something deeper or more lyrical, there are other options out there for you.

The production is good with plenty of different types of energetic beats, but there are no slow moments. This works fine for the basis of this album as it is DJ led, but should be avoided elsewhere. A few more diverse backings could do well to show that DJ Khaled does not follow a formula, but the concept of this album works for his purpose.

The features all do a good enough job to make the songs enjoyable but there is not a lot of substance. Each guest puts effort into thier verses, but with the same people recurring multiple times doing the same thing, can become stale. Maybe some more variation in guest selection could create some more interesting moments, but at least the songs are not totally boring.

Overall, you will probably like a few songs on this but a full listen through may not be as entertaining to everyone as it might seem. DJ Khaled does show that he can still put together a project however.

J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive Review

This is an emotional roller-coaster of an album. It explores a lot of what people can go through in their lives as a whole as well as in their day to day experiences and this makes for an album that really connects with the listener. It is cohesive and all works together well as an overall project.

The production is amazing and really draws the listener in. It creates the perfect atmosphere on each song and helps to boost the message of each track to get the point across better. It all flows very easily together and isn’t jagged or shifting. Instead it runs smoothly and is a joy to listen to.

The lyricism is clever and has a lot of re-listen ability. Cole masterfully shapes his lyrics into very smart story telling rhymes and witty wordplay. Cole does a great job at staying on point in the songs and making powerful messages in songs, which is also true for this project.

With no features to compare to, Cole does a great  job of shouting out everyone who helped to make this project on the last track where after the first three minutes, leads to him joking around and thanking everybody. He says it is like “the credits rolling” and it is like that if the credits were amusing and made you want to keep listening.

Overall, this is a great album which can be listened to over and over again as it is so easy to listen to while still being engaging to the listener. This is a great feat for Cole and for his Dreamville label as he shouts them out in the “credits” on the album. If you are a fan of Hip Hop, get this album.

Rick Ross – Hood Billionaire Review

This is not a good album. Each track is boring and only gets anyone’s attention by repetition of boring choruses that get stuck in the listeners head. The tracks are all very similar with generic content and it does not make for a good listen.

The production is heavy going and reverberate deep into the brain without being stimulating or enjoyable. All the tracks follow the same formula and if it wasn’t for Rick Ross shouting over the top of it, it wouldn’t twig anyone’s attention. In fact, it may be avoided in such high doses.

The lyricism is terrible. While Ross has the ability to rap, he does a terrible job at attracting any Hip Hop audience that may want to hear lyricism. That being said, he can paint a picture but these moments are far apart on the project and cant make up for the short falls.

The features don’t fit well with the project, the exception being Big K.R.I.T. Whatever track they feature on, they blend too much into the backing beat and Rick Ross’ own style. Big K.R.I.T should be praised for maintaining his individuality so well on his feature, sounding different and bringing a very refreshing relief to the whole project.

Overall, this album has a lot of areas of improvement and to say you enjoyed the whole project means you enjoy only type of song and you like to hear it over and over. Rick Ross has a lot to prove if he wants to stay eve close to Hip Hop elites.

Jeezy – Seen It All: The Autobiography Review

This is maybe not a story telling as the autobiography part of the title would suggest. It comes across as a collection of songs that are ordered from least emotional to most emotional. Not to say the songs don’t show a growth as a person for Jeezy as it shows him moving away from selling drugs and into the rap industry where he seeks bigger and better things.

The production is good throughout but feels a bit segmented, meaning that every few songs the production type and atmosphere changes to allow a step forward in emotional growth for Jeezy to express. It starts off very Trap and moves through the scale until you reach a more open audience range of beats that could be used for a wide range of genres. That being said, none of the production is bad, infact a lot of it is good and keeps the listener interested, it just needed some of the variation sprinkled over the entire album.

The lyricism is present as always and while it is not as prominent as the top lyricists in the rap game, it is included, just a bit more subtly. Jeezy uses his unique voice to stand out against the features. The features themselves are good and they reflect Jeezy’s own style which amplifies both performances.

Overall, This is a good album that helps showcase Jeezy’s evolution during his rap career and where he stands now. It may not be the greatest album of the year, but it is immersive and there will definitely be a few tracks for all rap fans to enjoy.