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.

Advertisements

Eminem – Kamikaze Review

This album is full of what listeners thought Revival was missing. Eminem packs it full of rhymes aimed at a huge portion of the rap world as a younger Shady would have. He has grown and matured, as Revival proved, but now they are taking him back to his beefing days and listeners should know from the past that he will not back down.

The production is high energy and is a good base for the bars over the top. Each sets the right tone for the song they are part of and gives them the edge they are looking for. It even has some softer moments that were unexpected given the drive behind this album, and all makes for a good listen.

The lyricism is as strong as ever with Eminem even playing with flow a little more too. His fast paced rhymes are filled with raging indictments of those who criticized his last album as well as himself as an artist. Even if you do not agree with his point of view, you have to admit that his actual skills and talent behind the bars are almost beyond compare.

The features are great and help give listeners another piece of the puzzle they thought was missing from his previous release. They each show a lot of talent and add another dimension to the project. The guest selection on this is strong and it will be interesting to see who Shady will work with in the future.

Overall, this aggressive release might be considered a fail by some for the drive behind it and who he takes aim at, but this is a reflection of how his previous project was received so he has simply switched his approach and given the listeners what they wanted.

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.

PRhyme – PRhyme 2 Review

This is another strong release full of smart lyrics, enjoyable beats and poignant messages. While there is still a sense of fun, there are some important points made and both artists here do a great job showing their skills while getting them across.

The production is amazing and is entertaining to everyone. There are some good samples that are then flipped and turned into incredible backings that help keep the listener interested. DJ Premier continues to deliver his signature sound in ways that keeps the audience enjoying every second.

The lyricism is, of course, steller. Royce shows he is still a strong lyricist with examples of wordplay that keep Royce in contention for one of the best lyricists. He could have played around with his flow a little more, but he is well known for this style and exploits his creativity through it with ease.

The features do a great job of adding fresh voices to the tracks and enhancing the message given by them. Each brings a lot to the table and shows great chemistry with the rapper and producer. It would be nice to see Royce’s Slaughterhouse cohorts appear here but it is always nice to see that a member of a group doesn’t need to be propped up with them to make a great album.

Overall, this is a top release to show people that both artists are still forces to be reckoned with. Both should push forward with solo projects to continue to show those who have not heard of them why they should have.

KXNG Crooked – Good Vs Evil II: The Red Empire Review

This is another steller release from KXNG Crooked as he continues to use his platform to share and explore his views on America as it stands today. He does all that while showing that he has not missed a step in all his years of being part of the industry.

The production is versatile and fitting for the different content and atmosphere in each song. While the album has some more energetic offerings as well as slowed down songs, every song flows together with ease and makes the listen through so easy. The collection of different feelings and vibes on this release make for a well rounded album that has plenty of replay value.

The lyricism is a masterpiece as well as a master class on how to put what you believe in and your passions into well crafted bars. KXNG Crooked has always been a top wordsmith, but he really pushes himself on this to show once again that he belongs amoung the absolute best. A lot of rappers today could learn a lot from this artist, from rapping and his business acumen.

The features do well to compliment the songs they are on. Each shows that the guest them self is talented but also shows good chemistry with Crooked and only adds to the track they are on. It would be interesting to see some more artists work with Crooked in the future, but this project feels balanced with this many guests to help lighten the load.

Overall, this is a release with great songs that will give the listener plenty to think about as well as a high level of entertainment value. KXNG Crooked should continue to educate the masses on what it means to be a questioning mind with a razor sharp tongue in this day and age.

Royce Da 5’9 – Layers Review

This album shows a lot of different ways to look at Royce Da 5’9 as an artist as well as a man. His clear ability as a lyricist as well as his story telling makes a great listen.

The production is fantastic as it is more background than trying to overpower the vocals. There are many different flavours throughout the tracks which helps give the right atmosphere for the message Royce is giving out. Maybe some more aggression would make a more balanced album but there is a great level of continuity as the album progresses.

The lyricism is incredible. Royce uses his unique flow and incredible ability to weave complex lyrical techniques into his stories to really make them stand out with detail. There is not a lot that can be improved on here as Royce has proved himself a veteran word smith with great verses for many years now.

The features are good and help show that others relate to his stories. Each puts in good effort to make their verses as good as Royce and to add to the listening experience. There is a fair balance of guests who sing and rap, but it is possible that some more interesting combinations with people further from the rap genre.

Overall, this is a great selection of songs to listen to. The skits can become tiresome after a few listens but these can mostly be lifted out as they are individual tracks. Royce might not have crafted a perfect classic, but it is definitely headed in that direction.

PRhyme – PRhyme Deluxe Edition Review

This version of the album is great with all the greatness of the first outing with the addition of extra tracks that take nothing away from the original ones. The great chemistry between the duo continues on all four extra songs.

The production is all as great as it was before with the additional tracks only boosting the cohesiveness of the project overall.  The extra songs all still have thier amazing drive and cuts, while the new ones do a really good job of showing that they have even more greatness in the vault. There are no problems with the beat selection on this.

The lyricism is still fantastic with Royce showing his level of consistency on the new tracks. He does not dip for a second and his unique flow help give him the edge over a lot of formulaic rappers out there right now. There are still no problems with what Royce is showing on these tracks.

The features all do a great job fleshing out this album and the extra tracks have the same thing. Each of the guests does a great job of pushing the track onward to further greatness and the comparison to Royce works wonders to boost ability. Some singers could have shown more sides of the duo, but thier selection of people to work with is fantastic.

Overall, this has all the greatness of the original but with the extras on here, it propels it further to stardom. Congratulations on taking something amazing and making it even better.