A$AP Rocky – Testing Review

This is a release that is the definition of just okay. There are some good things about it but it has too many pitfalls to shine out.

The production is interesting as there is a lot of experimentation in the beats. However it doesn’t break any ground and a lot of them are overbearing in comparison the the rhymes. There are too many backings here that are too far from what people are aiming to hear that there are a lot of missable tracks.

The lyricism is good but there is not enough smart wordplay for it to bring this project out of the mud. What Rocky says entertaining, but his performance gets lost as his delivery is overpowered by the production. This needed stronger delivery to have pretty much any impact on the listener.

The features all do a good job of putting across their skills and are the highlights of these songs. All of their contributions are the highlights of the tracks they are on as well as the best thing about this album. Hopefully Rocky can take lessons from them and improve his own efforts.

Overall, this is a failure for Rocky, but he should still be commended for his efforts. It is important that efforts go into experimentation for progress to happen and there are bound to be mistakes along the way, but without mistakes there would be no lessons learned.

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Drake – More Life Review

This is a nice release from Drake with plenty of energy to make a listen through a delight. Drake is right to call this a playlist instead of an album because it is not so balanced as an album should be, but makes a great playlist for almost any situation.

The production is fantastic with all the elements that helped make Drake a household name to begin with. There are influences from grime to dancehall that help keep the palette fresh and cleansed as you listen through the whole project. The beat selection here is fantastic, but maybe a few more slower songs would give this a little more diversity.

The lyricism is great with Drake flexing his wordplay muscles as well as as continuing to shine with his singing. He takes a few subliminal shots at other artists but in ways that still show creativity and that he is still working to stay the top artist in the world right now. There are no problems with Drake’s performance on this project as he continues his run of greatness.

The features are great and show how Drake is growing as an artist. He is not worried about just choosing the biggest names, but instead chooses the artists he wants to work with. All of them do a good job and help make this release more cohesive.

Overall, this is a very entertaining listen through and could be a step into the future of music releases. Instead of trying to make an album that shows every side of you, Drake makes a list of songs that sound great all the way through, and maybe that is the direction the industry is headed in.

Shorty – Moesh Music Review

This release helps to prove that Shorty is his own artist and not simply a cog in a larger machine. With this album, he can assist in solidifying his status as a solo artist.

The production is good with grime taking centre stage. Shorty picks backings that have all the elements of grime music but that don’t quite have the start power that a smash hit would have. This leaves himself as the artist to show his skills and be the centre of attention, as songs should be. Maybe something softer, or incredibly aggressive, would give Shorty more or an all around appeal, but he picks great beats to work with.

The lyricism is solid, with no slip ups, but nothing overly complex. The rhymes all work well with the production, but they don’t have the powerful voice behind to make them stick the landing. Shorty has a good performance on here, and hopefully he continues to build in confidence and in personal growth to get himself better known outside his label.

The features help build this project up. Each puts in a good verse and every one of them has great chemistry with Shorty which helps to keep the songs fresh and interesting. Some singers could add another dimension but may not have fit with the style of the album.

Overall, this is an enjoyable release with some fun songs on it. Shorty has made some entertaining tracks and should continue to put out music in this vein.

A$AP Mob – Cozy Tapes, Vol 1: Friends Review

This project definitely has the cohesive feel that comes with people who are close making music. It is a shame that a lot of the songs are in the same vein, but they are done well.

The production is good and really punctuates the rhymes with the amount of emotions somehow crammed in. Each beat has a lot of similarities, which can often happen with total in house production, but they are all effective in getting the energy across. A few more variations on the beats wouldn’t hurt but all the backings are still very much enjoyable.

The lyricism is entertaining and the different delivery of each Mob member helps keep things fresh as the project plays out. A lot of solid bars are scattered throughout the album, but there is the odd miss step which is quickly covered up with another rhyme. A bit more consistency would make this flow just a little easier.

The features are good with some big names keeping things moving. Each puts in a good verse or uses their signature talents to bring their own flavour to the songs. Some singing could lighten up this project full of deeper tones and noises.

Overall, this project is a good showing of each of the members abilities and how well they work together. It will be interesting to see how they progress with future endeavours.

Skepta – Konnichiwa Review

This album shows that Skepta is a clever lyricist while showing different sides of fame. The project has a few angles that will help push Grime music to new heights.

The production is good overall with some tracks having much hard hitting beats than others, and the others being more experimental to make them stand out in a different way. There is a lot of classic grime backings that are selected with plenty of room for Skepta to manoeuvre. Maybe some beats further from what we know him to work with could make some more interesting moments.

The lyricism is not the most complex it could be but it is full of passion for the music and Skepta certainly doesn’t slouch at all. His delivery is what really pushes this into greatness with his lyrics being clever and witty to help back that up. There are no big problems from a vocal perspective.

The features add to the project by bringing new perspectives and opinions to the songs. While some of the guests may have similar delivery to the main artist, each is individual and showcases their own skills. Maybe some more guests from different genres could show more of a willingness to stray from his formula, but there are no problems with what was chosen for this project.

Overall, this album has a lot of great moments that can be marred by the skits tacked on the end of songs. Skepta should be happy with how this came out, but may look to make future projects more cohesive.

Krept And Konan – The Long Way Home Review

This album has a great balance of all aspects of Hip Hop. There is content, features, beats and lyricism for all rap listeners to enjoy. Krept and Konan flex thier rhyme muscles hard on this album and it comes out as a great project for them and the UK scene.

The production is excellent and is a good blend of refined commercial backing with gritty street tones. The beats all create the atmosphere that enhances the track and helps the impact of the message from each song. It is possible that there are a few more commercial sounds than raw grind that the core audiance enjoys, but this album still has a mostly even balance.

The lyricism is clear and excellent on every track. Each bar is full of a clever lyrical technique that shows not only how intelligent the rappers are, but also how creative rap can be. A few rhymes may go over peoples heads, however that is not the artists fault.

The features are fantastic and all help make this album as great as it is. Each of them help to make this album more of an international effort as well as using thier own skills to show thier level of talent compared to Krept and Konan. Possibly a few more singing features would help on more of the emotional tracks. On the other hand the main artists do a great job on the hooks themselves.

Overall, this is a great album that should appeal to all listeners of the Hip Hop genre. Krept and Konan should be beyond proud of how this album has finished off.