The Heatmakerz, Joell Ortiz and Fred the Godson – Gorilla Glue Review

This release shoes some great skills from everyone involved, but it is missing something to make it a stand out project. While everyone does everything right, the tracks don’t blend together to make a truly cohesive listen.

The production is great. The Heatmakerz continue to make great beats which do fit the atmosphere for the song, but not perfectly. While all the backings are enjoyable and with some interesting samples, for such a short project by today’s standards, it feels too unfocused for a full listen through.

The lyricism is incredible with both Joell and Fred continuing to put forth clever lines and hard hitting bars to great effect. While Ortiz sounds the more comfortable of the two, both don’t miss a step. Hopefully Fred and Joell will continue to push each other to new heights, either on their solo work or on more joint projects.

The features are good, but not totally necessary. This is quite a short project and with two rappers already headlining, the addition of more voices could take from their own performance. That being said, the guests showcase their own skills and show why they are to be remembered.

Overall, individual performances make the songs great, but the release falls a little flat overall. The backings need to be a little more gritty and in your face in order to exacerbate the performances and take it to the next level.

Apollo Brown and Joell Ortiz – Mona Lisa Review

This project is a blend of smooth and soulful beats with passionate rhymes. Apollo Brown works wonders with the boards to make beautiful sounds that lift the rhymes from Ortiz to new heights on the emotional side.

The productions is incredible as Brown sculpts these tracks to amplify the rhymes, especially the emotional content, and keeps to the mission statement of the title, to be beautiful and mysterious just like the famous painting. There are still a few grittier offerings to make a more balanced release, but this is still one of the prettiest productions heard in recent times.

The lyricism is amazing as Joell Ortiz continues his run of lyrical dominance. Ortiz fills his words with emotion as well as true confidence in his words as he goes deep into his feelings and psych for content. Ortiz will continue to stun with his descriptive and storytelling ability if he can continue to push with these efforts.

The decision to only have a couple of features was smart as the project is not particularly long and the artists don’t want to detract from their own efforts. That being said, both the guests do a great job of adding to the songs they are on, with one on the production and the other with vocals. It will be interesting to see who both artists choose to collaborate with in the future with this release behind them.

Overall, this is a very creative album that both artists should be extremely proud of. With a wave of drug promoting, hard hitting records, it is refreshing to see a pair of veterans put their effort into something a little different.

Various Artists – The Hamilton Mixtape Review

This release is incredible. Everyone knows how great the songs from Hamilton are, and letting these artists re-imagine them shows that they work as more than story telling devices in the show.

The production is great with some of the original Broadway backings used so the artists can give their own impression or interpretation of the originals. Where new songs have been created or tweaked, there are no missteps and actually helps keep the listen through fresh. This is a clever re-imagining of an already successful show and should help bring even more attention to it.

The lyricism is fantastic as Lin-Manuel crafted stunning rhymes from the original used in a lot of the tracks here. The new lines are all amazing with fantastic imagery and passion put into the messages of the songs. These tracks are put together with such a close eye on the precision of the craft that each of these feels almost brand new, despite there already being versions of a lot of them.

The selection of artists on here are fantastic. Each compliments the part they play on here in style and fits the need of the track perfectly. There are no problems at all with these features.

Overall, this is a really incredible showing of not only the talent of the artists, but how to put a release together. Lin-Manuel had a bright future after the musical release, but this will help solidify him as a future for music everywhere.

Joell Ortiz – That’s Hip Hop Review

This project is a great representation of how Joell Ortiz feels about the state of New York hip hop as well as hip hop overall. The way he rhymes combined with the backing from Domingo shows he is still hungry and wants to push New York back towards the top.

The production is good as there is plenty of variation so that Joell can explore more subject matter. Domingo may not have a true signature sound but he does have a flavour that is present on each song. Once he develops a bit more, his beats will stand out more but this project shows he is no slouch.

The lyricism is incredible with Joell mixing a lot of different elements into very clever lines. He flexes his lyrical muscles and paints vivid pictures as well as using very witty lines to get his point across. There is little room for improvement on this side with his passion really driving the project forward.

The features add a lot to this project as they make up a large portion of the verses. Each brings a lot of effort but some sound more on point than others. None do a bad job but some review of who to use on each track for maximum effectiveness.

Overall, this project shows that Joell Ortiz is a force in hip hop and that he believes New York hip hop can be revived back to the glory days. he just needs more assistance from the rest of New York.

Sheep Louch – Silverback Gorilla 2 Review

This album is a great balance of street content but with more of a refined sound. Sheep Louch has grown musically and it shows on this project.

The production is good with the raw power of street music but with the more refined radio sound that makes this easy to listen to. The beats are all cohesive and follow through well without blending well together. There are no problems with the selection of backings for this album.

The lyricism is good with Sheek using different techniques without a rapid pace to show that bars still exist in Hip Hop. The variation in his rhymes help give his lyrics an edge and make the songs more enjoyable. A few changes of flow could show a willingness to try new things but he knows what works well and does that fantastically.

The features help make this project even more cohesive and show the connections Sheek Louch has in the industry. Each brings a good verse that makes thier tracks more entertaining. There is a good balance of singing to rapping as well so there are no particular issues there.

Overall, this is a very listenable album that will have fans bumping it for a long time. Sheek Louch has done a really good job of putting this together and should be proud of this result.

Joell Ortiz And !llmind – Human Review

This album is a great testament to how much Joell Ortiz has grown musically. This is all crafted to work out brilliantly as a personnal story and as a musical project.

The production works well with the messages of each track and !llmind masterfully puts it together to work almost like a play, in different acts. Each beat does not take over the track and works well through the album to allow the emotions to feel natural. More of a balance of energy to emotional could make this even more cohesive, however it is very cohesive already and does not need it.

The lyricism is great and shows why Joell Ortiz is considered an elite lyricist. He weaves through great imagery and description to make rhymes that really speak to the listener. Maybe some more songs just to energise would be good to break up the emotions, however the tracks are still enjoyable and make great listening.

The features do a great job complimenting Joell Ortiz’s style. Each put in a great effort and make fantastic verses that blend well to make great songs. Some more singing may show that Ortiz can work with all kinds or artists, however he works well with who is on here to make songs that poeple enjoy hearing.

Overall, this is a very personal and intimate album that shows how Joell should not be considered an underdog in any sense. With !llmind handling the production, this project is a highlight of the year.

Jake Lambo – Unorthodox 2 Review

This is a good project for Jake Lambo as he gets some big name features and shows that he has improved his ability. It also helps to show he can put a song together.

The production is good without overshadowing Jake’s rhymes. There is a good amount of variation in the beats which helps show how universal Jake’s style is. If he tried to apply a bit more energy into some more tracks, that may lead to a wider audience.

The lyricism is improved from his last project and helps make a more enjoyable mixtape. With the additional lyrical techniques used, Jake shows himself as a growing force. He may not be the mosty elite lyrical rapper, but he is starting to head that way.

The features are good and show that Jake has some good chemistry with others in the industry. With some larger names on this project, Jake does well not to get overshadowed and holds his own. Each of the features puts in a good verse and helps tie the project together a bit more.

Overall, this is an enjoyable listen with some deeper delving into Jake’s personal history and should be a stepping stone on his way to mainstream success. If he gets a hit single, his ability to craft a project would help him keep the fame.

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.