Wu-Tang – The Saga Continues Review

This release has a lot of elements of a Wu-Tang Clan album, but lacks a certain cohesion to fill out all the criteria. This album feels a little unbalanced and is gratefully accepted as almost a tribute to the group, rather than an official effort.

The production is classic Wu-Tang. There is plenty of haunting backings that reflect the groups starting point and how they have kept their flavor. There are a few more modern beats that never sound like a perfect fit, but do help show that the collective is trying to keep up with modern times.

The lyricism is solid from everyone, but only a few really shine out. No one does a bad job, but a few of them don’t perform at their finest and the rest have to pick up the slack. While you couldn’t pick out anyone performing terribly, but only a small percentage performs well.

Overall, with the features performing along the same lines as the legendary group, this release is a little too long. Maybe if it was a little more cohesive, it could have flowed a little easier and made this a little easier to listen to.

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Masta Killa – Loyalty Is Royalty Review

This is a strong showing of why you can’t think any member of the Wu-Tang Clan is not talented. Masta Killa may not be the most well known member of the collective, but he can still make high quality music.

The production is a throwback to the nineties with its haunting and darker sounds than a lot of modern beats. While it can seem like some of the backings can be confused for each other, they all create the right atmosphere for the track they are part of. Maybe something with more of a modern feel could help bring Masta Killa an edge for the newer audience, but the selection here works excellently for the project.

The lyricism is great with the rhymes full of passion and clever lyrical devices to increase the level of description. The delivery helps with the skill and dexterity needed to make it sound so effortless. Some changes in flow might help show a little more flexibility but the bars in this show that Masta Killa is still hungry to make quality music.

The features do a great job of fleshing out this release and showing not only that the Clan is still strong, but also some of the other connections that Masta Killa has made. Each of the features shows why they are talented while keeping a high level of consistency for the project overall. Something a little further from the Hip Hop field might make a few more interesting moments, but there is no doubting the star power of the guests here.

Overall, this release has some great messages as well as a lot of enjoyability. Masta Killa has done a great job curating this album and hopefully it gets the recognition is deserves.

KXNG Crooked -Good Vs. Evil Review

This album is full of all the things listeners love about KXNG Crooked. He is focused and that keeps his work sharp and following the theme of this project.

The production is great with the atmosphere reflecting exactly the message of the tracks. The beats are all dark to reflect the subject matter but are smooth enough to transition easily between the songs without becoming muddled together. Maybe something more light hearted could show another side of Crooked, but he excels on these tracks, so no one will be too bothered.

The lyricism is some of the best that has been released in recent years. Crooked uses some intensely descriptive and clever wordplay to make a project laced with absolute bars. His style might not be for everyone, but his rhymes should suit all.

The features are good as they help add a little more depth to this album. Each may not be in it for very long, but the fact they contributed is more than enough with some legends showing enough respect to this west coast MC that he is brought to some listeners attention at all. The way this is put together with the guests is great as they don’t control the project, just gently shape it.

Overall, this album is great to listen to from top to bottom, as long as you can get on board with the concept. KXNG Crooked is one of the best lyricists out there and should be respected by all hip hop fans as such.

Ghostface Killah – Adrian Younge Presents: Twelve Reasons To Die II Review

This album is a great continuation of the story as well as of the story telling ability that Ghostface posesses. While it may not have a hit songle, it does have a lot of replay ability for those who enjoy concept albums.

The production is classic RZA haunting minimalism. There is plenty of scope for content and for Ghostface to try a few different things. The beats work well with how the story flows which helps the project stay cohesive. A few more modern beats could balance the project out on the timeline more, however that would upset the atmosphere of the album and ruin the story.

The lyricism is good through this album and helps to add to the story telling element. While not overly complicated, it assists the imagery and makes it impact more on the listener. Some more rhymes with some more complexity could showcase Ghostface’s talent some more, however the way this story is told, it may have detracted from what the artists are saying.

The features all help to build this album up with the addition of thier verses. Each brings a lot of effort and a lot of great verses that add a lot to not only thier tracks, but the whole project. A few more singing features could have added another dimension to the album, but again, may not have fit with the story.

Overall, this is a great concept album that shows that not only does Ghostface have the ability to still make great albums, but that concept albums are making somewhat of a comeback after a few releases through the last few years.

Raekwon – Fly International Luxurious Arts Review

This album has a good balance of most elements that make Hip Hop the defining genre it is today, but it lacks a certain shine that would attract newer listeners. Raekwon does very well to keep his rap qualities that he has had for over twenty years now and keep them as sharp as they were at the start.

The production is excellent and shows a real mixture of Hip Hop eras combined into one album. The range is great and the variety in noises, sounds and patterns used almost shows Raekwon lasting the ages. There are not many problems with the beats, they simply may not be to everyone’s taste.

The lyricism is fantastic and Raekwon showcases why he has lasted so long in the rap game. He uses a lot of lyrical techniques to embellish his work and pad out his imagery with an extra dimension. He may want to be a touch louder on the tracks to stand out more, but no one can really criticise this rapper.

The features are good and show that Raekwon can work well with a variety of rappers with a variety of styles. Each puts in some good effort and helps to make each track more cohesive. Some features with less of a connection to rap and Hip Hop may have made some more interesting tracks but these are still interesting.

Overall, this is an enjoyable album with a real mixture of tracks for any mood. Raekwon has been in the rap game a long time and his solo work, as well as his group work, has only improved.

Young Dirty Bastard – A Dirty Tomorow Review

This is an homage to ODB, Ol’ Dirty Bastard,¬†but doesn’t quite make it to his level of greatness. While YDB, Young Dirty Bastard, does well to emulate his father, it does come across as an impression rather than YDB trying to come across as his own being.

The production is good and works well with YDB’s style. The beats excel at showcasing the range of pitches and voices that are used and it makes it even more entertaining. With a lot of retro sounds that are a bit of a throwback to the time of ODB, the production really helps to show that the particular style can still be effective.

The lyricism is good but there could be more diverse techniques used to make it even more appealing. However, the performance of the lyrics is incredible with the pitch and tone changes along with the signature voice create a great set of tracks from a lyrical perspective.

The features are good and help add a comparison to YDB. It is good to see an original Wu-Tang Clan member on a track in the form of Ghostface Killah, supporting the child of an old colleague and friend. All the features are good and bring additional diversity to each track to help keep it grounded and not flying away with YDB’s quirkiness.

Overall, this is a good project that helps to bring YDB more to peoples attention. It is unfortunate that YDB seems to be trying to be ODB but he still differentiates himself enough so that he can be considered his own artist and not an impression of his father.

Ghostface Killah – 36 Seasons Review

This is a good album. A timeless and classy feel while still showcasing Ghostface’s signature style. This has the feel of an old album while maintaining roots in the modern age of Hip Hop. This is a god¬†addition to this years Wu-Tang Clan releases.

The production is good and is refreshing to the ear as it sounds like real instruments. It can’t be proved if it is or not, but it’s good to hear something that doesn’t sound totally manufactured, but has had thought go into it. It doesn’t exactly flow but that is part of its charm when the content is considered. It is a bit jagged in places but is a very enjoyable listening experience.

The lyricism is definitely there and really helps with the story telling of this album. Ghostface weaves tapestries in the songs, helped by his features, that paint vivid pictures of whats happened to him and other content. It is very powerful, while not being the elite of the elite, and should be commended in its efforts.

The features are good and can take a moment to celebrate how Ghostface can work well with select emcees or with new artists as well as the other. The features can add a new perspective or change the pace on the tracks which helps to add more to the song than if Ghostface was on it alone. It expands the meaning of the song and it can help connect more with the listener.

A surprise part of this album is that the second half of the project is the instrumentals from the first half. This gives you a closer glimpse into the world of song creating as you have the piece of the puzzle the artist started with and the end product that they turned it into. It is quite remarkable how they can see a song from just the backing.

Overall, this is a good album to listen intently to or enjoy in the background, but if you want music to get you pumped up, this may not be the best album for you. This is a journey, not an energy pill.