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|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 07/26/05 04:02:46 AM ]|
Album: Pete Rock & CL Smooth : Mecca & The Soul Brother
Reviewer: Lost Marblez
Voter outcome: 22-0
I wrote this late last night so sorry it's not up to parr...
1.) Return of the Mecca 5/5
2.) For Pete's Sake 5/5
3.) Ghettos of the Mind 4.5/5
4.) Lots of Lovin' 5/5
5.) Act Like You Know 4/5
6.) Straighten It Out 5/5
7.) Soul Brother #1 5/5
8.) Wig Out 5/5
9.) Anger In The Nation 5/5
10.) They ReminiSce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) 5/5
11.) On and On 5/5
12.) It's Like That 4/5
13.) Can't Front On Me 5/5
14.) The Basement feat. Heavy D, Rob-O, Grap & Dida 5/5
15.) If It Aint Rough, It Aint Right 4/5
16.) Skinz feat. Grand Puba 5/5
Within hip hop circles numerous names are guaranteed to be mentioned when it comes to the greatest producers of all time. There's the Dres, the Premos, the Madlibs and, of curse, there's always a grip of people who mention the soul brother himself, Pete Rock.
Establishing greatness in hip hop Mr. Rock teamed up with his partner emcee CL Smooth to release the classic "Mecca and the Sou Brother" and in doing so mastered a pretty much flawless album with echoing horns blending into the album's production and CL Smooth's trademark flow. It's hard to believe it could be anything other than classic. Sadly upcoming hip hop heads seem to overlook the entire album and, instead, concentrate on claiming how much they love the album's magnum opus and the much touted greatest hip hop track of all time, "T.R.O.Y." but I will come back to that track later.
The album in structure and vibe does not contain much variety at all, in all honesty. The drums are all heavy and there are plenty of jazzy melodies throughout but why digress from a winning formula? With head nodding tracks like this these two legends needn't have worried about varying their sound.
The opening "Return of the Mecca" sets the pace for the majority of the album. It welcomes the listener to the sound and whether you've heard them before or not the opener requires you to listen on. CL Smooth hits the track hard and it's a wonder why he's become such a criminally underrated emcee as he's so very mentioned when it comes to greats. This is not your typical braggadocio emcee with lyrics like...
"Uh, understand the Mecca in command
Part of the plan is the man who built the land He began
A scripture ripped out the piece of a scroll
Better the know, yes, a foretold, the beautiful and bold"
And that's just the first song.
One thing that always stands out to me when listenin to this LP is that the length of the tracks is astonishing. There are so many tracks over five minutes long which many albums fail to accomplish without causing a few people to yawn or skip onto the next track. Even Wu Tang's infamous "Triumph" required ever clan member to drop a verse to keep it solid for around the six minute or so mark. With "Mecca and the Soul Brother" you cannot fail but listen to all tracks all the way through. There's no boredom here because it's hip hop perfection.
Even with CL Smooth cranking out smooth (no pun intended) lady-raps on "Lots of Lovin'" with Pete Rock providing tinkling production and a somewhat 80's RnB hook it becomes a work of damn art. LL Cool J never made a loving song this well...and never will. It seems this dynamic duo can pull off anything. All you have to do is take a look at the small amount of guest appearances to know these cats can hold it down.
Shit "Straighten It Out" (an incredibly dope track) was mentioning Shaolin monks before the Wu!
And then we come to the album's landmark moment. The haunting horns kick in, the whispered half-title swism elegantly through the track and we know we're in the grips of "T.R.O.Y." Greatest hip hop track of all time? Quite possibly. It's a personal ode which compliments itself over and over with being the perfect combination of beats and rhymes. Everyone and I mean everyone who's into hip hop knows "T.R.O.Y." and if you don't then you better recognize fool because you're missing out.
So to summarize my review this album is pretty much perfection. Every hip hop listener should own two copies just in case one breaks. This has classic written all over it from the first track to the last.
|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 08/23/05 04:43:13 AM ]|
Album: Public Enemy : It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back
Voter outcome: 18-0 (2 people never heard it)
Label : Rush/ Def Jam (1988) (re-released in 1995)
Production : The Bomb Squad
1 Countdown to Armageddon
2 Bring the Noise
3 Don't Believe the Hype
4 Cold Lampin' With Flavor
5 Terminator X to the Edge of Panic
6 Mind Terrorist
7 Louder Than a Bomb
8 Caught, Can We Get a Witness?
9 Show 'Em Whatcha Got
10 She Watch Channel Zero?!
11 Night of the Living Baseheads
12 Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
13 Security of the First World
14 Rebel Without a Pause
15 Prophets of Rage
16 Party for Your Right to Fight
Overall : 5+/5
Bass! How low can you go?
Death row. What a brother knows.
Once again, back is the incredible
the rhyme animal
the incredible D, Public Enemy Number One!
Never has a sophomore album sounded better! There is no trace of that dreaded jinx that brought us horrors like “Immobilarity” and “In My Lifetime Vol 1”. Instead the trio consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav & Terminator X delivers the best hip hop album ever…fuck that, the best album ever period!
When Public Enemy came back from their “Yo! Bumrush The Show Tour” they, according to Chuck D, said “let’s make a record like “What’s Going On”….and they did. Everything is done perfect. From the beats to the lyrics and right down to that amazing album cover it’s really hard for me to decide where to begin.
Let’s start with that incredible rhyme animal Chuck D. His flow and delivery is in a whole other league compared to “Yo! Bumrush The Show” and in my humble opinion he crushes all competition on this album. Of course people like Rakim and Krs1 can drop knowledge and rip a mic as well but none of them possess the charisma that Chuck does on this album. He personifies struggle. He personifies anti-establishment. He is the Malcolm X of rap music on this album and by that he achieves much more than Kris or the 18th Letter ever did.
I got a letter from the government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me for their army or whatever
Picture me given' a damn - I said never
With each track it just gets better and better until halfway through D drops the bomb with “Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos”. Paranoia have never been described better than on this track (even though Non-Phixion have made an entire career out of trying to be Public Enemy with a few gay drug references added) and as the US government talks of re-instating the drafts this track just becomes more and more relevant. You also have to look at the fact that Chuck was 27 years old when this record was made so this wasn’t some rookie kid who didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.
If this album had only been Chuck D it would have been perfect. Adding Flavor Flav just pushes it beyond that. They make up the ultimate Ying/Yang partnership ever and he’s a perfect sparring partner for Chucks sinister rhymes. The crazy guy with that huge clock never let’s this album get too serious and therefore PE managed to attract all kinds of audiences. They basically did the same thing as Run DMC did by positioning themselves as the rap group that rock heads liked.
There is little doubt that PE was THE rap super group of that era. They toured all over the world several times (how many times has Jigga done that?) and made some of the nicest videos I can think of.
Just as the lyrics have been stolen by countless biters the production style of the Bomb Squad fathered the style of most producers today. They combined all kinds of styles ranging from jazz and funk to soul and some noisy sirens (and no matter how hard El-P tires he just can’t seem to get the same formula right). The album is full of samples by James Brown, Funcadelic, Isaac Hayes and even Slayer! No wonder Cube turned to them when he left NWA…
And this album was written, produced and recorded in a mere six (6!) weeks.
Not only did this change hiphop but it changed my life as well. “Night of the Living Baseheads” was the joint that got me into rap and this is the 1st rap tape I ever bought (and my CD copy needs to be replaced soon…)
If you haven’t heard it go pick it up. If you have heard it and didn’t like it just pick it up anyway. If there is a such thing as an essential Hiphop album this is it. Don’t even ask for an upload. This album is in the Mid-Price section of any decent music store and if you cop the re-release you’ll even get two music videos as well (“Black Steel…” & “Night of…”).
This is the classic of classics. The mother of all rap albums. This is truly the “What’s Going On” for the rap generation.
|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 12/11/05 08:03:44 AM ]|
Album: CNN - War Report
Voter outcome: 7 - 2
Executive Producers : Neil Levine, Tragedy Khadafi, Martin Moor.
2. Bloody Money (5)
3. Driver's Seat (5)
4. Stick You (5)
5. Patrol Violators (4.5)
6. Iraq (See The World) (5)
7. Live On Live Long (5)
8. Neva Die Alone (4)
9. T.O.N.Y (5)
10. Channel 10 (4)
11. Capone Phone Home
12. Stay Tuned (4)
13. Capone Bone (4.5)
14. Halfway Thugs (5)
15. L.A L.A (Kuwait Mix) (5)
16. Capone 'n' Noreaga
17. Illegal Life (5)
18. Black Gangstas (5)
19. Closer (4)
20. Capone Phone Home Outro
Coming out in mid-'97, this album seems like the tail end of the grimier albums that hailed from New York in the early to mid 90's. CNN had been around for a little while before this debut, getting quite a lot of attention, and when 'The War Report' dropped, it exceeded expectations.
The record has got so many quality songs throughout, and the guidance of Tragedy Khadafi helps keep this album on track. The main dissappointment here is that Capone is the better of the two emcees, and his incarceration halfway through recording, means that he's missed on quite a few tracks. Thats not to say the Naoreaga doesn't hold it down when he has to, but he gets a helping hand from a few guest appearances.
Anyway, if you've heard it you know all this anyway, go vote.
|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 01/02/06 04:26:03 AM ]|
Album: Ice Cube : Death Certificate
Voter outcome: 11-4
Label : Priority (1991)
Production : Sir Jinx, Ice Cube & The Boogie Men (Bobcat, Rashad & Dj Pooh)
1. The Funeral
2. The Wrong N**** To F*** Wit (5)
3. My Summer Vacation (5)
4. Steady Mobbin' (5)
5. Robin Lench (skit)
6. Givin' Up The Nappy Dug Out (5)
7. Look Who's Burnin' (5)
8. A Bird In The Hand (5)
9. Man's Best Friend (4,5)
10. Alive On Arrival (5)
12. The Birth
13. I Wanna Kill Sam (4)
14. Horny Lil' Devil (3)
15. Black Korea (3)
16. True To The Game (5)
17. Color Blind (feat King Tee, Kam, JD, WC & Threat) (5)
18. Doing Dumb Sh** (5)
19. Us (5)
20. No Vaseline (5)
Now what the fuck I look like dissing a whole coast
You ain't made shit dope since AmeriKKKa's Most
Wow! They must've not released "Death Certificate" in Chicago because this album is just as good as "AmeriKKKas Most Wanted" in my oppinion it's actually better.
Concept albums are never easy and for some reason this album is often overlooked when talking about succesfull rap concept albums. Possibly because the concept is very simple. There aren't 10 skits to tie it all together, just lots of dope tracks divided into two parts.
The Death Side is Ice Cube doing his NWA gangster gangster stuff. From the gangbanger stories on "My Summer Vacation" and "Steady Mobbin" to his sex tales like "Givin Up The Nappy Dug Out" followed by "Look Who's Burnin". Just the fact that he follows a song about promiscuous bitches with a song about VD is pure genius. On "A Bird In The Hand" he tells another gangster story but this time he takes time to go behind the character instead of just creating a one dimensional thug
Fresh out of school cause I was a high school grad
gots to get a job cuz I was a high school dad
Wish I got paid like I was rappin' to the nation
but thats not likely, so here's my application
Pass it to the man at AT&T
Cuz when I was in school I got the a. e. e.
But there's no s. e. for this youngsta
I didn't have no money so now I have to hunch the
Back like a slave, thats what be happenin
but whitey says there's no room for the African
Always knew that I would boycott, jeez
but welcome to McDonalds can I take your order please
Gotta sell ya food that might give you cancer
cuz my baby doesn't take no for an answer
Now I pay taxes that you never give me back
what about diapers, bottles, and similac
Do I gotta go sell me a whole lotta crack
for decent shelter and clothes on my back?
Or should I just wait for help from Bush
or Jesse Jackson, and operation Push
If you ask me the whole thing needs a douch
a masengel what the hell cracker sale in the neighborhood
To the whorehouse bitches,
Miss porker, little joe or Todd Bridges
Or anybody that he know
so I got me a bird, better known as a kilo
Now everybody know I went from po' to a nigga that got dough
So now you put the feds against me
cause I couldn't follow the plan of the presidency
I'm never givin' love again
Cuz blacks are too fuckin broke to be republican
Now I remember I used to be cool
till I stopped fillin' out my W-2
Now senators are gettin' hired
and your plan against the ghetto backfired
So now you got a pep talk
but sorry, this is our only room to walk
Cause we don't want a drug push
But a bird in the hand is worth more than the bush
He then kills of his character on "Alive On Arrival" which despite the serious topic is quite funny (and a testiment to Cubes amazing songwriter skills)
Nobody gettin help
Since we poor
The hospital move slow
Now I'm layed out
People steppin over me to get closer to the tv
Just like a piece of dog shit
Now will I die on this nappy ass carpet
One hour done passed
Done watched two episodes of M*A*S*H
And when I'm almost through
They call my name and put me on ICU
Productionwise the 2nd part is similar to the 1st part of the album. Topicswise this is alot angrier and shots are fired in every direction. Ice Cube attacks white people on "Horny Lil Devil" and who can forget the horrible "Black Korea"? He then goes after black people who moves from the hood and starts acting like white people (I wonder is Cube still lives in South Central...) on "True To The Game".
"Color Blind" is one of the finest posse cuts in hiphop history where Kam totally steals the show. "No Vaseline" is arguably the best diss song ever and ends the album on a high note.
There's some really awful songs in the middle of the album (Black Korea and Horny Lil Devil have some terribly racist lyrics and doesn't help the album at all) but most of the album is dope as fuck. You just wonder what the hell happened to the dude that released this album.
5 out of 5
|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 02/08/06 01:22:20 AM ]|
Album: Dr Dre - The Chronic
Voter outcome: 21-0
Label : Death Row (Dec, 1992)
Beats : Dr Dre
1. The Cronic (Intro) [5/5]
2. Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin') [5/5]
3. Let Me Ride [5/5]
4. The Day The Niggaz Took Over [5/5]
5. Nothin' But A 'G' Thang [5/5]
6. Deeez Nuuuts [5/5]
7. Lil' Ghetto Boy [5/5]
8. A Nigga Witta Gun [4/5]
9. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat [5/5]
10. The $20 Sack Pyramid (Skit)
11. Lyrical Gangbang [5/5]
12. High Powered [5/5]
13. The Doctor's Office (skit)
14. Stranded Of Death Row [5/5]
15. The Roach (The Chronic Outro) [4/5]
16. Bitches Ain't Shit [5/5]
Overall : 5/5
I still remember the first time I heard this album in the record store. The second the intro beat dropped I knew this album was going to be special. I had never heard anything that raw but damn smooth at the same time. From the beginning you know you're in for something completely different and that's exactly what you get ; this is the album that changed hiphop music.
Lyrically this album really doesn't offer anything new, it's basically the same things Dre was doing with NWA but with a whole new crew on board. Not only did it introduce the world to a huge hiphop superstar in Snoop Dogg but it also gave somewhat successful careers to people like Daz, Kurupt and RBX. But while the lyrics weren't that different the flow and delivery sure was. This (along with Doggystyle) remains Snoops best work and his lazy singsong drawl makes the first half of the album extremely interesting. His presence isn't as felt on the second part of the CD where especially RBX, Kurupt and Lady of Rage take charge. While this is (in name at least) a solo album the dope result is really a group effort. Who can ever forget Snoop and Dre's old school vibe on the stunning "Nuthin But A G Thang", Dat Nigga Daz show stealing verse on "Deeez Nuuutz" or Kurupts menacing appearance on "Stranded on Death Row" and I haven't even mentioned the Bushwich Bill cameo.
Dated subject matters aside the rhymes are dope but this album all comes down to the man known as Andre Young. He had already produced some classic albums (if you haven't already heard No One Can Do It Better" stop reading, log onto amazon.com and get your copy ASAP!) but few had expected this. Dre cooks up a Parliament/Funcadelic frenzy mixed with soulful backing vocals and perfectly orchestrated live music. The album is perfectly balanced between radio friendly songs and hardcore street music and one highlight seems to be replaced by next. I have to mention the beat on "Lil Ghetto Boy" because it's easily the best Dre ever did (that flute is )
Sure, the album isn't flawless. The skits are still horrible and a few songs haven't aged as nicely as the rest ("The Roach" and "A Nigga Witta Gun") but overall this is a perfect set. It started a genre but set the bar so high it almost ended it as well (there are only 3 or 4 G-Funk albums that come remotely close to this and Dre produced one of them...). I remember reading an interview with ?uestlove who said that The Roots always got by on their ability to rock shows but when they heard "Nuthin But A G Thang" his initial response was "It's all over, we gotta make singles now...!" and I think it sums the impact of this album up pretty good.
It's not just a hiphop classic, it's a piece of music history. Not only did it put gangster rap on the charts but it brought hiphop in general to a whole new audience. Whether that's good or bad is a whole new discussion.
It's more than a classic, it's essential!
|Author:||Mr.Morten [ 04/29/06 12:17:03 PM ]|
Album: Gangstarr : Moment of Truth
Voter outcome: 16-5
Album: Gang Starr: Moment Of Truth.
Rhymes: Guru aka Da Bald Head Slick
Production: DJ Premier aka Primo
Release Date: Mar 31, 1998
Record Label: Noo Trybe
1. You Know My Steez -5
2. Robin Hood Theory - 4
3. Work - 5
4. Royalty - 5
5. Above The Clouds – No Rating
6. JFK 2 LAX - 5
7. Itz a Set Up – 4.7
8. Moment Of Truth - 5
9. BI Vs Friendship -
10. The Militia - 5
11. The Rep Grows Bigga
12. What I’m Here 4 - 5
13. She Knows What She Wants – No Rating
14. New York Straight Talk – 4.7
15. My Advice 2 You - 5
16. Make Em Pay - 5
17. The Mall - 5
18. Betrayal - 5
19. Next Time – No Rating
20. In Memory Of… - 5
How long has your favourite rapper been doing it? Chances are not as long as Gang Starr. But there is a saying “It’s never about how long you do it, but how well you do it” and you’d be retarded if you didn’t know Gang Starr have been doing it oh so fucking well from the start.
The fifth album from the iconic hip hop duo, Gang Starr had been missing for some time before releasing this album (about 4 years to be exact). And by releasing this album they not only solidified their status as great music makers, they also elevated the bar with which hip hop albums are judged.
The album starts of with Guru (Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal) talking about why Gang Starr are so successful and dope, and then the beat drops and you are in hip hop heaven. The track itself (You Know My Steez) should be classified amongst tracks like “Wu Tang’s C.R.E.A.M, Protect Ya Neck, Triumph” because these tracks all have an addictive allure. You just wanna bump your head till it falls the fuck off your neck. Beat is Premier on top form and Guru does the beat justice with simplistic flow and great rhymes.
The second track slows down the tempo of the album with a slow and beat, and has Guru spitting about a theory of the rich people and society as a whole. The track is pretty much a social commentary, and so it’s not really about shinning on the mic but just getting the listeners to listen and Guru achieves just that with his simplistic rhymes and calm flow.
I don’t wanna review every single track so I’ll just keep to the one I really need to talk about.
Royalty is the RnB track on the album it features KC and JoJo and would have probably succeeded in the mainstream market as a single. It shows cases Primo’s diversity as a hip hop producer.
Ah, the fifth track, probably everyone’s favourite track on the album. This is one of the tracks that have influenced me in wanting to rap. The rhymes are top fucking class. Guru is on top of his game with classic and flawless lines and flow but the highlight is probably Inspector Deck, who gets on the track and just totally rips it all up, flow, lyrics, cadence and everything was on point. You will notice that I did not give this track a rating and that is because I don’t think any rating can justify the dopeness of this track.
Moment Of truth- is another diddly dope track with a beat that matches the message of the track, which is “hope”. This might sound weird but that seems to be the only way I can explain it.
The Militia - features Big Shugg and Freddy Foxx. Three Mcs just dropping great lines over a head banging beat, this is what hip hop is exactly about and none of them fail to deliver.
She knows what she wants - another track on the album that could not be rated because of it’s over all greatness. Mellow and chilled out track about women that know what they want and how to get it. A track that is very reminiscent of The Roots.
My Advice To You - as that jazzy beat that lulls you to relax and Guru’s voice fits perfectly on the beat. Proving exactly why he’s the king of monotone.
Betrayal - features Scarface and has both rappers spitting stories of people that have fallen victims to back stabbers. Raw emotion is poured into this track and its one of those tracks you won’t listen to every time but if you ever been betrayed by fake ass muthafuckers that claim to be your friends, then this will probably be one of your favourite tracks not just on the album but in hip hop in general.
Next Time - what can I say? Apart from listen to the track.
On my quest to review the classic album I was looking for an album most people would agree was great but still be debate on whether or not it was a classic. And I’m pretty sure this falls under that category. Even if you don’t think it’s a classic (you’re an idiot for thinking that may I add) this is still a great album, a land mark in hip hop’s pages.
Gang Starr’s fifth album, with two previous certified classic I choose to do this because this was the longest they had been away from the industry (four years and they were no where to be found) and everyone was wondering if they could even live up to their previous material, let alone match it, and this album in some ways don’t just match their previous shit, it surpasses them.
Primo’s Production is so diverse on this album sometimes its hard to believe he made the beats all (with the exception of two which Guru produced) from jazzy, mellow and chilled (She knows what she wants) out beats to head banging shit (the militia) to R&B mainstream type beats (Royalty & The Mall). There’s no point in being diverse if you’re not going to do it properly and I’m sure any one that has ears can say without argument that Primo does it so fucking properly.
Guru. Too many people complain about Guru, I’ve heard people say he is wack, that he’s not that great of a rapper, he’s boring etc and I’ll just like to say that I don’t think anyone fits a primo beat better than Guru. Yes we’ve heard dope tracks that Primo’s produced for loads of other rappers but none of them have that charisma Guru seems to have. Its not just charisma as well I think it’s also because they been together for so long that both of them compliment each other greatly. Guru knows when to sound chilled out on a chilled out beat, his voice will always match and never sounds out of place on a primo beat and I think that’s what makes them so fucking great together. I really don’t think even Nas could pull that off if he had a whole album that was produced by Primo. Guru knows when to sound raw and hard (You Know My Steez) and when to sound sympathetic (Betrayal) and for those that complained that his lyrics are always too simplistic and boring please listen to (Above the Clouds).
So why is this album a classic? Well for one the subject matter of the tracks fantastic, they range from Back Stabbers to paying respect to dead people. There is something here for almost every mood and I think that’s very important and a lot of albums don’t include this and that’s why many dope albums that should be classics fall short.
The second reason why this is a classic is because this album proved to all the people that doubted Gang Starr could make a come back after four years of absence, four years of speculation and they proved they didn’t lose their formula for dopeness. This is a well crafted album, you can tell both Premier and Guru took their time with making this album and the end result is a piece of fantastic musical art.
|Author:||Tearz of Strategies [ 03/16/07 05:18:43 PM ]|
got to say amazed that Tribe's Midnight Marauder's album wasn't on there...hmmm...
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