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.

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Common – Black America Again Review

This project is a statement about the state of America for Black people in the country. It also has a wider message as other minorities will recognise the oppression that Common raps about and relate to it.

The production is smooth and while not being aggressive, reflects how Common feels about the message of each song. It all flows together beautifully with each cohesive song becoming the next effortlessly but with a definite break. With the politically charged nature of this album, the production works beautifully.

The lyricism is smart with Common making poignant comments and striking remarks in his rhymes about a subject close to his heart. He pours his emotions into what he is saying and you can tell he truly believes what he is rapping. There are no issues with Common’s performance at all.

The features do a great job of reinforcing what Common is saying and helping to keep the political message fresh. Each shows talent and works very well within the confines of the theme which helps keep the message clear. For this to work at its best, Common has chosen some of the best guests to make this project great.

Overall, this is a really amazing album with a beyond strong signal to America and the world. Common should be commended for his work here and will hopefully keep campaigning for equality among the human race.

Rick Ross – Black Market Review

This album shows both the strengths and weaknesses of Rick Ross. The songs tend to have good verses but the hooks really lack the flair to carry the song home.

The production is good with the atmosphere of each track being captured perfectly. There is plenty of energy running through the whole album and even the sombre moments having a certain bounce to them. Maybe some more traditional sounds could show that Ross has not forgotten how music has evolved but there are no real issues with the beat selection.

The lyricism is alright in the verses with most of the effort going into the delivery. While some of the hooks are ok, they tend to be the ones with features doing them. With more creativity going into the hooks and some more attempts at lyrical devices to up his rhymes, Ross could stop being considered the bottom of the top and start climbing some more.

The features do a good job of giving comparison points for Ross. Each on thier own does a great job of thier part while also helping to make thier tracks more cohesive with the rest of the project. There is a good balance of rappers to singers and the features may be one of the best points on this album.

Overall, this is a good album for those who like Ross but it can be difficult to sit through with the hooks being so plain. Creativity is needed in music.

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.

Scarface – Deeply Rooted Review

This is a great album that shows a lot of depth from one of Hip Hop’s veterans. Scarface does a great job of showing many sides of the rap game and shows how the community has moved forward.

The production is fantastic and compliments Scarface style very well. Each beat is individual without being harsh in the transitions. Maybe some beats with a more modern feel could show that Scarface can work with how the culture has moved, but Scarface makes a point that some of the old school is where Hip Hop flourished and is where he operates at his best.

The lyricism may not be fast flowing but it is crafted extremely well with Scarface putting together rhymes that speak to the listener with a lot of impact. His slower than the modern average raps mean that on first hearing the words, the listener feels the full force of the words as well as every time after that. Maybe more of a variety in his flow could show that Scarface can bring more to the table, but there is no doubt that Scarface knows what works for him.

The features all bring a fresh take on the song they are on. The guests all bring a lot of effort to thier verses which helps thier talents stand out as well as boost Scarface’s work. A feature or two from further afield could make a few interesting moments, but Scarface has a great range of people on this that adds a lot of flavour.

Overall, this is a great album to listen through with a lot of great tracks and features. Scarface has made a great album that older listeners can enjoy and younger people can learn from.

Ludacris – Ludaversal Review

This is a great project from Ludacris who seems to be following the same lines as his 1.21 Gigawatts mixtape. The messages and energy levels are great and keep flowing through the whole project.

The production is smooth and polished, making each song easier to listen to. They are beats that Luda has proved time and time again that he can use effectively and he continues to do so. Usually, more diversity is good but there is enough variation in this production to keep it very enjoyable.

The lyricism is obviously fantastic as Ludacris never disappoints with his verses. The wordplay comes across with a lot of passion with a lot of emotion packed in to give it some extra kick. There is no bar left without some lyrical technique involved and it makes this a great album to listen to.

The features put in good verses and help bring another dimension to the album. Each may have different qualities to Luda but that helps strengthen the project further. Some features that were a bit more unexpected may have made some slightly more interesting tracks but there is not anything wrong with what has been produced here.

Overall, this is a great album to listen to, although it will probably not get the recognition it deserves from any award communities. A great project from Luda and a great project for the Hip Hop world.

Big Sean – Dark Sky Paradise Review

This is a good project for lyricism andbeats, but Big Sean’s delivery can become monotonous if you listen to it for a lengthy amount of time. However the high level of diversity when it comes to features and beats helps make this an enjoyable listen.

The production is excellent with a high level of quality and range. Each track is different from the one before and fits with the content of each song very well. Some could argue that there is not a lot of slower tracks or not a lot of emotional tracks in comparison to the number of songs on the project, but there is a lot of energy throughout the album so you tend not to notice too much.

The lyricism is good and above average, if let down by Sean’s delivery. The way the rhymes are put together is very clever and entertaining to listen to. The patterns used and the schemes involved are intricate and complex enough to attract that audiance in Hip Hop. However the performance from Big Sean does not have a lot of variation and instead seems to drone on in a way that makes it difficult to really get into the lyricism.

The features are also good as they help bring the variation to the project that Big Sean fails to bring. Eaxch is different to Sean in either style or delivery. Even a change in pitch or vocal tone helps to make the album more enjoyable overall.

Overall, this is an enjoyable project due to the energy and lyricism involved but the lack of forward moving when it comes to Sean’s performance holds this album back. While this can be a problem, the general project is very good and of very high quality, to be enjoyed by almost any fan of Hip Hop.