T.I. – DIME TRAP Review

This is an amazingly complete release that somehow doesn’t quite gel together as smoothly as it feels it should. T.I. explores a lot of different things in this album, from how he cultivated the trap sub-genre to how his mistakes have led to a lot of problems in his personal life, that together create a complete picture of the man we know.

The production is great and does compliment the message on each song. Individually, the beats all work, but when you put them together as a full album listen to, they can come across as a bit choppy and it can make listening through the whole thing a small challenge. On the other hand, a lot of listeners will simply pick out their favorites, as is the current trend, so this is not a huge disadvantage.

The lyricism is good, with a lot of uptempo rhyming to help keep energy levels up. However, when on an emotional track, T.I. bears his soul to show his side of the story and show that he knows he is a human being and that he makes mistakes. However you slice it, his performance here is phenomenal.

The features do a great job of accentuating the song they are on as well as showing their own talent. There is a real combination of tough street efforts on top of softer singers to add an extra dimension to the project. The guest selection is excellent and are only additions to this album.

Overall, this is a strong album with a lot of strong performances. T.I. continues to be a staple in hip hop and will continue to be, while hopefully having less drama.

Advertisements

Bun B – Return Of The Trill Review

This is a great album from a veteran artist, showing that he still has a lot of talent behind the mic. Bun B has crafted a release that will resonate with a lot of listeners as having a lot of classic feel, but with a modern twist.

The production is great and works extremely well with Bun B’s rap style and tone. There is a lot of flavour in each beat and each backing creates the right atmosphere for the song. Maybe a few more softer offerings could make this feel a little more complete for some, but this is still a great listen when it comes to the production.

The lyricism is great, not the most complicated, but very enjoyable. Bun B has a unique vocal tone that exacerbates the impact of the rhymes and makes them much more entertaining. A little more experimentation with flow and complexity could show a little more willing to grow as an artist, but Bun B has certainly carved out his own lane here.

The features are great as each does a great job of showing their own capabilities as well as adding to the cohesiveness of the track list. All the guests fit perfectly into the song they are on and only bring positives to this project. It is possible that a few moresingers could add another dimension, but the guests on here are exactly what was needed for these particular songs.

Overall, this is one of the strongest releases of the year so far. Bun B has done a truly fantastic job creating this album and hopefully listeners will recognize that.

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.

French Montana – Jungle Rules Review

This release is full of high energy and entertaining tracks that are enjoyable to listen to. However it feels odd in places where the use of auto-tune could be considered unnecessary.

The production is full of trap based beats and cleaned up street backings that help give the jungle vibe French is looking for. Each is strong as an instrumental but works very well with the rappers and singers over the top. Something a bit more experimental would show another aspect of French Montana, but the beat selection here has no real issues.

The lyricism is good with French Montana coming across as his most lyrically flexible self. His bars have some good wordplay and other devices in them, but can be repetitive in places, like the hooks. While he has definitely improved in this area, there is still room to improve further.

The features all help to increase the cohesiveness of this project and show thier own skills. In some cases, they can come across as very similar to what Montana is going for on the song as well with delivery but they never ruin the others performances. Something further form his own talents could help lift this guest selection, on the other hand these features are all effective on the songs they are on.

Overall, this is an achievement because there are a lot of good songs available on it. The problem is that if you cant sing, then don’t auto-tune everything because it can take from the real talent of the rhymes. Also, consolidate the track length to maximise effectiveness.

DJ Khaled – Grateful Review

This release is full of big names and big tracks that make this a very entertaining listen. With DJ Khaled acting more like a  on this album, only the best tracks make the cut, and this album proves it.

The production is varied but always interesting. Every beat is energetic and works very well with the artists chosen to work on it. There may be something for everyone, but most will appeal to any listener as they are all polished and work as a full listen through as well as individual songs.

The Features on here make this project such a success. All show great skill and have great chemistry with the other artists on the songs as well as DJ Khaled. It is possible that some guests further from his comfort zone may have made some more interesting moments, but DJ Khaled has chosen most of the biggest names in Hip Hop to be a part of this release, and they don’t disappoint.

Overall, this is great for those who want to stick on an album and not use the skip button at all, leaving it to play through. DJ Khaled continues to have enormous success with his albums, but it should be noted that it is mostly down to other artists work. Not to take from Khaled’s ability to bring artists together, but most of the entertainment value is down to the features and not him shouting out during the project.

Quavo – ATL Review

This release shows that Quavo can make enjoyable music without the other members of Migos. This collection of songs is full of energy but lacks a lot of depth in many of the offerings.

The production is trap based with lots of highs and plenty of atmosphere. Each beat has similar elements but uses enough different tones and sounds to make them individual. Maybe something further from his comfort zone would show a little growth in Quavo’s music.

The lyricism is good with some excellent descriptions and an interesting delivery to help keep things interesting. Quavo does use some wordplay and other devices to keep his rhymes impacting on the listener, but it can become repetitive, which is why keeping the project short was a fantastic choice. Maybe trying to embellish his words a little more could help push him further into stardom.

The features are excellent, helping to lift this project out of repetitiveness. Each has an excellent verse or chorus, showing their own skills as well as working well with the other artists. Some more singers would help add another dimension, but Quavo does enough singing on his own, even if it it with autotune.

Overall, this is worth a spin, but if the music of Migos is not for you, then this release from one member is most likely not either. Quavo will definitely appeal to his core audience however and possibly gain a few more listeners.

T.I -Us Or Else: Letter To The System Review

This is a poignant and cohesive release that highlights a lot of political issues as well as others. T.I is trying to show some dark areas of America and he succeeds and then some.

The production is smooth and helps the tracks to flow easily as a listening experience, making it simple to listen to the message of the songs. There is some variation in energy levels as well as pace to bring a good amount of variation to the listen through. There are no issues here as there is nothing dull about the backing beats.

The lyricism is clever as well as passionate, which helps boost the impact of the rhymes. T.I weaves great tapestries of how he currently sees America and the issues inside. There are no problems with the words on this project as there is diversity in the flow, schemes and wordplay used to create an enlightening listen.

The features are great as they help give more points of view on the topics described in the tracks. Each puts in a good effort and pushes the others on the song to try harder themselves. Maybe a few more singers would give a softer touch on some of this project, but there is still a great balance between the artists.

Overall, this is a top release and T. I should be proud of his social work and his attempts to better the people of America. May his lessons not be lost on deaf ears.