Friday, April 9, 2010

Mixtape Review: "That Jawn Vol. 1" by BS

1. Entrance
Quirky yet charming intro. Beat is pretty hype. Vocal production not bad, but could be crisper. “Slick but oil-free”, hehe. Flow is stilted at times. Vocal levels a little low on parts, not completely even. “Backwards/dyslexic” was a good concept but could have been written better. “Swine flu/pigs”, decent. Refreshing delivery.

2. Go Kartin’ ft. Kamikaze Picnic
This beat is awesome. KP – Nice voice and interesting delivery that fits the zany, yet detailed, imagery. Vocal production is great and well-mixed for the beat. Unique chorus that is catchy with fitting delivery.
BS – Playful delivery that works well with the beat. “Byeuuum, straight through traffic”, cool line. Nice imagery. Flow too regimented and stiff. Tight use of vocal samples
KP – Lyrics are too abstract. BS & KP – Back and forth sequence sounded good but also was lyrically vague. BS – “What is real is just perspective”, truth. “Eat my ghost, BAM”, chuckle-worthy line although the line is very abstract. The bass riffs at the end were a great sound-off to the track.

3. Break Bad (Remix)
Well known Stoupe beat, I still digs it. “Like Malcolm’s dad” & “Pete Petrelli” are fairly obscure references. “I never see defeat because I stay on my chin up”? This is either a pronunciation or writing issue.

4. Broke With A Plan ft. Chaz Kangas
Choppy flow. “Shouts to my people living budgeted”. Doubles are off. Delivery is unique but microphone presence is weak. Funny and catchy chorus with good use of vocal effects. Dope content and concept. “La vida broka”, hehe.
Chaz – “Off the ladies”. “Withdraw from the first bank of sugar mama”. “Leave with your purse as a disconnection fee”, nice!

5. Hold On ft. Jesse Abraham & Premonition
Sick beat. JAbra – Sounds like a freestyle, very random lyrics. “Hopping turnstiles because of unfair fares”, word. Chorus is ok.
BS – Tight delivery. Flow up from the last couple of tracks.
Prem – Complex and involving rhyme scheme. Flow is precise. “Script the antacid”, decent but also type weak. With this much talent on one song, there should have been more standout lines.

6. Half-Done House ft. Kamikaze Picnic & Chaz Kangas
Funny and novel chorus that sets up the topic well. Lovely mixing and use of vocal samples. KP – energetic and charismatic delivery. Vocal mixing seemed off for this track. Chaz does a nice job on the chorus conveying his character. The beat works very well for the topic and make the song ear-catching. BS – “I came around half-mast”, haha. Flow and delivery is on-point. “Leaky like a pissin’ paraplegic”, lands flat.

7. Work
Very funny intro. Tight concept. Delivery is emphatic. Catchy chorus with a clever little twist on the last line. “Only excelling I see is spreadsheets”, ok. Simple lyrics, lacking poetic devices. Hilarious outro.

8. Shark Eyes
Tight beat, sax and guitar melody makes it happen. Delivery pops. “Sewer patra homicide”?? Are you trying to say “patricide”? Pronunciation a lil murky.

9. Shrink Wrapped ft. Kamikaze Picnic
Chorus is ok but flow is too simple. BS – Small dose of melody in delivery adds a lot. “New Era” line was obvious. Flow could have been a little tighter. “Red ring of death”, hehe. I like how the beat breaks down at the end of the verse. The addition of singing to the successive choruses add a lot. Very catchy. “If they can do it, so can you”...
KP – Lively delivery. Basic flow. “Near the shadows I am shrouded”, dug the delivery there.
KP & BS – BS’s flow is pretty vicious compared to the rest of the track. Again, KP’s flow was to simple and similar to how he flowed everywhere else on the song. Cool little acappella at the end.

10. Get Over Yourself (J Dilla Remix)
Vocal production is crisp. Straightforward lyrics that stay on topic. “The only shine you can see is on the outside”, deep line that works on more than one level. “Sense/cents” is an uber-common metaphor. “It’s not your fault you learned love in dollar amounts, but what will you do once your checks start to bounce”, wow… I can totally relate to that. Good delivery. Proper end to the last verse.

11. Sly ft. Jesse Abraham
OH WOW. KO sampled “the wheel of morality” from Animaniacs for the chorus. It’s hard to get sicker than that. Lighthearted and charismatic delivery.
JAbra – Vocal production could have been crisper, but good vocal effects. “Wild as a walrus”, line and delivery was hysterical. Good use of vocabulary.
BS – Vocal effects were iffy, some may like it but others might now.

12. The Vamps ft. Kamikaze Picnic, Homeboy Sandman, Final Outlaw, & Robo
KP – “Death is not my marker”, nice. “Fangs meant freedom when pushed from a kiss”. Chorus is alright.
HS – Tough delivery. “Then you’re fuel, then you’re food”. The fact that he has a song called “Fuel” makes that line pretty cool. Impeccable flow and rhyme scheme.
Final – Crisp voice and delivery. “Isn’t it shocking, twisted and haunting, how trivial it all is”. “Tackle you and drain you till you cramp”, nice.
BS – “Started with black market nose-plugs for garlic”, nice. “Don’t re-up, I revamp”, haha. Pronunciation muffles at parts.
Robo – Highlarious delivery!! “Power plant”, ok. “Look at my bicuspid, you’re about to get dusted”, haha. Flow is basic. “Hot topic shirts” line was nice, could have been delivery better though.

13. Z-Train ft. Albert Rhymestein & QV
Al – “The hue of doodoo brown”, haha. Tight rhyme scheme and great job staying on topic. “Like solar wind funnelin’ through a jungle”, wild and funny imagery.
QV – Comical chorus, good singing.
BS - “Woke up with a tentacle”, ok. “Bullshit 2.25”. “Bing bong”, hehe.
Hilarious last line by AR.

14. Junk Milk ft. Kamikaze Picnic
Very funny lyrics. “Dry it out, smoke the lumps”. Great structure. Beat fits the topic well. KP – “It’s drippin down my arms”, haha. “It keeps me warm like sunshine on your front line”, HAHA!! Diggin’ how this beat progresses.

15. Sugarthwacked
The beat is very uptempo and makes you want to move really, really fast. HAHAHA!!!: “I could go nuts off glazed donuts until my mouth starts to foam up”. “Wake me up with a fructose aroma”, hehe.

16. Fresh Veggiez ft. Steve Fox
BS – Doubles are a tad off. Flow is ok, a standard hip-hop flow though.
SF - Vocals are a little low. Pronunciation could be better. Chorus is ok.
BS & SF - “Don’t wanna die shittin’ like Elvis Presley”, nice.

17. I’mma Do ft. Steve Fox & Premonition
Chorus is alright, but catchy. Steve – Mic presence lacking. Doubles are off.
BS – Very abstract lyrics. Vocal mixing could have been better.
Prem – Somewhat monotone delivery. Tight flow.

18. Candy Ravers (80C Remix)
Vocals a little low. Funky beat. Fun delivery. Weird vocal effects. Quirky ending.

19. All Wrong ft. Pruven, brokeMC, TruthNow, Albert Rhymestein, Dyalekt, & Steve
BS – Nice multi-syllabics. Flow could have been tighter.
Pruven – Vocal levels and mixing were subpar.
Broke – Good delivery. Tight flow.
Truth – Flow is very rigid. Vocal production is crisp.
Al – “He didn’t want to live naively, that’s all”.
Dyalekt – Pronunciation is very blurry. Rapid flow.
Steve – Cool delivery.

+ Wide and unique range of topics.
+ Entertaining, charismatic, and oftentimes funny delivery.
+ Wide range of talented guest MCs.
+ A few very funny lines.
+ Pretty solid beat selection.

- His flow, while sometimes tight, was often somewhat basic.
- Uneven mixing all throughout the tape.
- Not many standout lines.
- Lyrics were too abstract at times.
- Some guest appearances didn’t go as well as others.

Compatibility Rating:
Underground: 65%
Mainstream: 35%

Favorite Song: The Vamps

Face Value: 8/10



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Album Review: "Spilled Milk" by Top $ Raz

1. Spilled Milk w/ Additional Vocals by Mayo Bass
Feeling the mellow beat. The chorus is well written and sounds official with the background singer. “It’s all spilled milk, but you can’t let it stain”. The beat production is a tight fit for Raz, props to Thinker. This is real talk here and good topical cohesion to boot. Dope imagery. Nice outro by Mayo. I could nitpick and say the flow could have been more diverse, but I don’t feel this track really needed it. As an intro track, it definitely served its purpose.

2. No Tears
Starts up with another mellow beat that lets you vibe out. Flow is different on this one and works pretty well with the beat. I’m not feelin’ the delivery on the first verse that much though, sounds somewhat monotone. This chorus is alright. Second verse drops some eye-opening personal lines. Content was on-point. Not feeling this track as much as “Spilled Milk” though.

3. Get Up, Get Her
This beat is knockin’ a bit. “Underground like Broadway Junction”… I had to quote that; I’m in that station every damn week. Here’s a welcome change of pace, flow, and delivery. “Tryna get an advance”, nice. “Get it crackin’ like eggs”, a little too obvious but delivered well. The chorus is okay, but the delivery is somewhat quirky. Perhaps a hushed and “sexy”-like voice would have worked better for those “If you want that girl”/”They wanna front” etc. parts of it. “Get high like apostles”, forced. “Party like a rockstar, pissin’on a cop car”, haha! The third verse wasn’t impressive, but had a cool flow.

4. Dead!
I love this beat. Vivid imagery. Paints an accurate picture of how no one really gives a fuck about the dirt that goes on in the hood. “20 years later no killer is found”. Delivery fits the beat well, very smooth and calm. Nice vocal effects. *For more on this song, peep my review of the Fighting For Futures Mixtape (Feb. 2010).

5. Far Rock ’95 ft. Mike Love & Vithym
“Moving like Commander Cobra”, hehe, I like that reference. Really digging Top’s delivery and flow on this verse. 2nd MC – Interesting voice that stands out. “Ounce in a shoe”, haha, really?? Nice flow and delivery. 3rd MC – Flow is ok but somewhat erratic.

6. Cold Blooded ft. Imagine That
IT – Nice flow, could be tighter though. Delivery on point. “But hoping I could catch a little light”, decent. Raz has a good voice. Nice rhyme scheme. “Built my city on rock then rolled”, pretty tight flip on a common metaphor. Lyrics were mediocre.

7. Perfect Stranger
Calm but scheming beat, I likes. “Baker man/pies”, played. Interesting concept, but lyrics are rudimentary. “Elevator/stares” punch-line is tight but could have been written better. “Diamonds/full deck of cards”, not bad. Flow is elementary on this track as well. Hehe nice Cosby impression on the outro.

8. Be Gone ft. Kalil Kash
Kash – vocal production not on par with Raz’, sounds echoey. Overdose of adlibs, reminds me of the commentary track on DVDs. Tight delivery. “Barry Bonds” line was too simple. Feeling this chorus and the sax that plays during it.
Raz - “You’re not pussy, you’re a yeast infection”, nice. Digging Raz’ delivery on this track.
Kash – “Cream”/money, played. “Booted” line was played too. Definitely not the best I’ve heard from Kalil.
Raz – “You cannot reset or press pause”, played but flipped and delivered nicely.

9. Burning Bridge ft. Scienze
Ear-catching, playful beat. Nice start. I can relate to this, dope concept. The singing isn’t good but I really like the chorus.
Scienze – Tight flow and delivery. “Cause be/Cosby”, not bad. “Clear/Dare” rhyme scheme was sick. “Broken pod”, ok.
Raz – “Rewind”, decent line but the effect and delivery made it dope.

10. Wo(men)
A nice, different style of beat with a similar feel to some of the others. I’m a sucker for good piano melodies. Cool plant allegory. The metaphorical transition in the second half of the verse was a little vaguer. The chorus is powerful in terms of how the beat changes and how Raz’ lyrics and delivery fit on it. Vivid imagery. “When you get to heaven you’ll be a n***a too”, WOW.

11. Farewell
Another absorbing piano melody. Ok first verse. The chorus is bananas with the imagery and delivery. “Anyone of us could have been Sean Bell”, that is deep. ‘He didn’t realize we tied to the same rope”, nice. Beatles references.

+ Raz has a great voice, especially for the type of topics he covers.
+ Delivery was on-point for the most part.
+ Song topics and concepts were relevant, personal, real, and unique. Although, some elements, such as lines about slinging crack, were over-abundant.
+ Great beat selection.
+ Well-constructed album that doesn’t just die off towards the end. It starts strong and ends strong with good content in the middle.

- Flow was fairly simple and repetitive/recycled throughout the album.
- Some lyrics were too basic and not accentuated with enough poetic devices.

Compatibility Rating:
Underground: 40%
Mainstream: 60%

Favorite Song: Spilled Milk

Face Value: 8.4/10