Joe Budden – Rage & The Machine Review

This album is the album fans have been waiting for. Joe Budden does some of his finest work on this project with something for all Hip Hop fans and none of which disappoints.

The production is clean but brutal which works well with Joe Budden pouring his emotions into the tracks. There is a range of styles and influences on the beats that help reflect the topics discussed throughout the release. Budden has chosen beats that not only he raps well over, but that also help emphasise the point of the track.

The lyricism is fantastic as expected from one quarter of one of the most lyrical rap groups of the modern age. The imagery is more than impressive with detail in his metaphors and similes helping to paint a vivid picture for the listener. There is no doubt on each song how Budden feels unless he himself doesn’t know which would be reflected in the rhymes.

The features are good and don’t stop the project feeling cohesive. Each does a great job showing their own skills while also pushing the main artist to do more in their own work. Where a guest is featured however, these songs have a tendency to run long, like Joe doesn’t want to give up any of his own time, and while this isn’t true in all cases, he may want to look at keeping the songs consistent and balanced.

Overall, this level of project has been a long time coming from Joe Budden and fans have finally got the album from him that they feel he deserves to make. Hopefully he will continue on this path with any future releases.

Tsu Surf – Newark Review

This album is full of personal and emotional stories peppered withg the big ego that has made Hip Hop great. Tsu Surf takes his battling experiance and uses it to make his rhymes exactly what the tracks need.

The production is somewhat haunting and helps create the thought provoking atmosphere that the album needs. Each beat has similar aspects but have enough changes so the listener knows when the tracks have changed. Maybe a more vibrant and energetic track could show that Surf can handle more than one type of track, but he does that one type well.

The lyricism is great with Tsu drawing on his battles to allow for a wealth of wordplay wisdom. He easily bends his rhymes into complex, complicated masterpieces that really allow the story telling to shine through. Maybe some changes in flow or delivery could make a few more interesting moments, but Surf does an excellent job on this.

The features are great from big names to people with great chemistry. Each does a really great job of pushing Surf to greatness while showing that they either have what it takes to be a star, or still qualify as one. Some more singers might have been a good addition to the project but the selection on here is fantastic.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album with  lot of back story. Tsu Surf has made a respectable project here and is opening doors for battle rappers everywhere.

Joe Budden – All Love Lost Review

This album is full of great personnal stories that are fantastic if you have been following or are looking to follow Joe Budden as an artist. If that is not the case, then this is not the album for you as it does not contain a lot of universal songs.

The production is interesting as it is deep with a lot of space for Budden to tell his story. While they would hold thier own weight, the story telling that Budden does over the top rteally makes the tracks, even if he sounds uncomfortable over some of them. Maybe some more energetic tracks could show that he can still appeal to the mainstream, but otherwise this is a very small audiance to be aiming at.

The lyricism is obviously fantastic while combining in the story telling element. Being one quarter of the greatest groups Hip Hop has seen, he shows he knows his way around a rhyme and litters this project with not only emotional content, but creative ways of getting it across. He may want to look at how he comes across over a beat, but as he grew up freestyling this is somewhat explained. maybe somthing to look at in the future however.

The features all help take care of the hooks as Joe knows he is not the best at this part of song making. Each puts in a lot of passion to help build the cohesiveness of the project, as Budden puts so much of himself in his music. Maybve some features from other genres would help with the chorus and add another edge to the songs.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album if you understand where Joe Budden has come from and how his songs work. If not, then you may want to familiarise youself with his previous work to prepare for this.

Fabolous – Friday Night Freestyle Review

This is a built up, bigger version of the mixtape that recently released. Fabolous takes those releases and adds even more great tracks to further secure his spot as one of the greats out of New York.

The production is a mixture of old and new while all being able to give a great background for Fabolous. All of the beats have significance to New York and are well known to a large portion of the Hip Hop community. The selection of beats on this project are Ideal for Fabolous and he has chosen them wisely.

The lyricism is fantastic and shows that Fabolous is still a great lyricist and rapper. He weaves a lot of lyrical techniques into his rhymes that really show his creativity as well as the complexity that rappers can achieve. There is not a lot to comment on when it comes to improvement as Fabolous appears to be helping lead the way on how raps should be written.

The features all do a good job of supporting Fabolous on a lyrical front as well as helping build New York up. They each bring great effort in which helps keep this cohesive. A few more features that will help to push Fabolous’ further into greatness by making him test himself would be great, however there are no problems with what has taken place on this album.

Overall, this album is not for those looking for a production heavy listen. Instead this is for the lyrically inclined who enjoy hearing what the rapper is saying and how cleverly he is saying it and Fabolous does not disappoint.

Fabolous – Friday Night Freestyles Review

This is a daring project to take Hip Hop back to a more lyrically focused time and Fabolous does a great job doing it. The fact that the production is all from previous songs makes this even more challenging for him but he takes it all in his strides.

The production is excellent, although not new. Most of the beats may have an old times feel, but each comes from a classic track that makes Fabolous compete for the best verse. It would be nice, even though he recently released a new album, to hear some fresher production but he works well with the backings on these songs.

The lyricism is excellent and there are few ways for it to improve. Fabolous crams every track with an assortment of lyrical techniques that improve the impact of each bar as well as the imagery. His laid back delivery can sometimes make it feel like he is not really trying but the way he structures his rhymes helps to show his passion.

The features all do a great job and all help build the lyrical ability on this project. All of them are lyrically adept and showcase their own ability while somehow boosting Fabolous to new lyrical heights. While this mixtape needed the lyrically able, it may be interesting to see Fabolous work with some artist further afield from his own ability.

Overall, this is a great mixtape because it doesn’t rely on the production to carry it. All the production is from previous songs by other artists and Fabolous simply takes it to show that he is still one of the best to do it.

Joell Ortiz – Yaowa Nation EP Review

This is not a Joell Ortiz project as much as a simple showcase of how he can add a strong verse to a range of song types and how he can be appealing to a wider audience. Joell brings his strong verbal abilities to a host of popular tracks and this has the affect of showing that he can be great on almost any beat.

The production is good and has been proved to be popular with audiences already. It is energetic and full of life which makes it more enjoyable to listen to as it gets the listener pumped up and ready to get out and do things. This doesn’t get dull on the full listen through as it is only six tracks. It is great from a production point of view.

The lyricism is strong as it is with every Joell Ortiz verse and as he is putting himself, pretty much, as a featured artist on these tracks, it makes him stand out against others on the tracks. Any other srtist on the tracks doesn’t sound as good as Joell in any aspect and he really improves each track overall with his wordplay.

As Joell is acting as the feature on these tracks, he does great. The other people on the songs are good and help make it an entertaining and enjoyable listen. However they do not compare to Joell on any track and he is behind the driving force behind making these songs great rather than good.

Overall, this is a great project to listen to and for Joell Ortiz to show how great of an emcee he is on yet another set of songs. It is cohesive and fun to listen to and Joell proves he can improve almost any track by being on it.

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.

Joe Budden – Some Love Lost Review

Joe Budden returns in emotional rap mode to make a thoughtful and solemn EP. This project is full of the classic Joe Budden that talks deeply about his personal life and how it impacts his music career. It is clear that he doesn’t just make music for the masses. He makes music for his fans and, it would seem, as a form of therapy.

The production is full of emotional and brooding sounds and instruments that fit perfectly with the overall tone and message that Budden is trying to get across. The atmosphere created is a combination of suspense, fear  and undertones of anger and it all leads to the perfect canvas for Budden to paint his message on.

The lyricism is of course there and helps with the story telling element of the project. Although most of it is emotional messages and personal tales of problems and anecdotes, the way they are weaved together and described with wordplay and intricate rhyme schemes is masterful and makes you want to keep listening to find out the rest of the story.

The features are good and assist in building up the tracks so that it builds up into not just a Joe Budden story, but a much wider reaching tale. While it is only on two tracks, they open up the possibilities of his upcoming album by showing he can work with a wider range of people than just Slaughterhouse, although they are a fantastic hip hop group.

Overall, this EP is a glimpse into Joe Budden’s mind-set as he gears up for his next full length album and it is full of his emotional pain and suffering that he is channelling into another great album.

Joell Ortiz – House Slippers Review

The title of this album is a perfect reflection of how it sounds. Joell sounds comfortable on every track, even on tracks where the content is dark, and it is clear that he has come into his own as an individual rapper and not just as one quarter of Slaughterhouse.

Joell Ortiz is clearly a fantastic lyricist as shown in his work with Slaughterhouse but with these solo tracks he really showcases why he is one of the greatest lyricists in the game today. His tone, style and flow also have unique properties and help him stand out amoung the features.

The features themselves are good, and add a lot to the dimensions of the tracks. they are mostly singing on choruses, but the verses on there are also very focused and concise. “Brothers Keeper” is the obvious stand out track for features with the rest of Slaughterhouse on it but Joell actually stands out on the track, even with such talent.

The production on the album is excellent. The beats are very diverse and help to give Joell a varied palette to work with. They help to create a great atmosphere on each track that helps lend itself to the message on each song.

Overall, this is a fantastic album that helps to give Joell a solo platform to show himself as a great rapper and not that Slaughterhouse is a great music group.