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.

Advertisements

De la Soul – And The Anonymous Nobody… Review

This is a fantastic album with plenty of replay value and that will appeal to all listeners of Hip Hop. The group have used the kickstarter campaign to make a piece of art that will last for years to come.

The production is excellent with a lot of influences from other genres, predominantly jazz. While many rappers these days might struggle with these backings, each member sounds at ease over them which helps contribute to the cohesiveness of the project. There are no issues with the selection here as De la Soul once again push the envelope looking to expand others attempts to pick great beats.

The lyricism is complex and clever, while sounding laidback. Each member sounds like it is the easiest thing in the world to be such clever rhymers while being comical, telling a story or sending a serious message. Again, there are no serious issues with how thier vocals come across on this album.

The features all do good work, even if it is only a skit or interlude. The guests on the songs help to bulk it out with new voices and opinions while not detracting from the somewhat experimental sound De la Soul put across. They have a good balance of rapping to singers as well as people from different eras to help make this album great.

Overall, this is truly a fantastic album that will have listeners begging for more. Since that is how this album came around, after crowd funding this project, maybe more can be made the same way in the future.

DJ Drama – Quality Street Music 2 Review

This album shows that DJ Drama can still put together a great project after all his years in Hip Hop. While he is more of a curator than a performer, he shows he has connections and puts together exactly what the title describes.

The production is energetic while creating the atmosphere the track needs. Each is individual while bring cohesive with the overall listen through. When you listen through the whole thing, it does seem formulaic on first listen, but each backing is crafted well and will appeal to the listener.

The features really help to make this project as they are the main focus of all the songs. All put in good effort and on each track, the guests work well together as DJ Drama knew they would. He picks a few veterans as well as a great selection of up and comers to show their skills and flesh out the tracks. Maybe some artists further from what Drama already knows could make some moments further from the formula, but he knows what works and works it well.

Overall, this is a great playlist for songs for the street. DJ Drama has put this together very well and will hopefully go on to cultivate new talent as he has been.

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.

Wale – The Album About Nothing Review

This album does not have a great finish to it like other albums released in recent times but it does still have a lot of great qualities. Wale seems to be trying to imitate Drake or J. Cole in his delivery while trying to keep his individuality intact.

The production is good but can sometimes feel like it is missing something. A lot of the tracks have a lot of good, strong moments that really help to make this a project to listen to, but they tend to lack flair and relying on Wale and his rapping to bring it all together. While that can work some of the time, it should not be relied on for one element to bring every track together.

The lyricism is good but not great. In recent times, the level of lyricism in the rap game has increased and Wale may need to increase his level higher to help himself stand out more from the rest of the pack. However what he delivers on this project is still enjoyable and fun to listen to.

The features do a great job helping to bring a higher level of diversity to this otherwise single track project. Each of them puts in good effort to bring the level of entertainment on the song they are on to a higher level. Some features that weren’t so generic or almost expected may have made some more interesting moments.

Overall, this is a nice project that does not have the flair to be an elite album in todays game. A lot of elements on this album are good but do not rise to the level of greatness that Wale needs to keep his high ranking position.

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.

Kid Ink – Full Speed Review

This is a good project for Kid Ink as it shows him making a whole variety of tracks with some good features and some different flows. There is not a whole lot to criticise about this project.

The production is smooth and refined. The beats blend together easily and are accessible for both lovers of Hip Hop and to lovers of Pop music. The way the producers have put the tracks together comes across as very polished without a fault in them and that is a big bonus for this project.

The lyricism is there and is scattered throughout but may not be as involved as some would like. While Kid Ink does very well to involve wordplay and lyrical devices in this work, the songs aren’t saturated in them so as to help expand the audience further into the realms of Pop music. For Hip Hop purists, Kid Ink could have used more wordplay.

The features are good and add to every track they are on. Each helps to bolster the cohesiveness of the tracks and helps introduce different opinions and angles on the message of each track. If the features weren’t there, this project would not be as good as it currently is.

Overall, this is a great project for Kid Ink and for rap as a sub-culture of Pop music. Kid Ink may well be part of a movement to move Hip Hop out of the darkness and into the mainstream of radio around the globe.