Sunday, October 25, 2015

Top 15 Bangers

15. Theophilus London - Big Spender (prod. DJ Carnage)

14. Fat Joe - Safe 2 Say (prod. Just Blaze)

13. Big Boi - General Patton (prod. Jbeatzz)

12. V Stylez - Built (prod. Apollo Brown)

11. Guilty Simpson - Nasty (prod. Apollo Brown)

10. The Game - El Chapo (prod. Bangladesh)

9. T.I. - I'm Talkin' To You (prod. Just Blaze)

8. Waka Flocka Flame - Hard in the Paint (prod. Lex Luger)

7. Jay-Z - Public Service Announcement (prod. Just Blaze)

6. Pharoahe Monch - Simon Says (prod. Pharoahe Monch)

5. Chief Keef - I Don't Like (prod. Young Chop)

4. Drake - Lord Knows (prod. Just Blaze)

3. The Game - Ali Bomaye (prod. Black Metaphor)

2. Ghostface Killah - The Champ (prod. Just Blaze)

1. M.O.P. - Ante Up (prod. DR Period)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hip Hop Time Machine: My Top 15 Favourite Songs of 2013

Forget about the Hot Tub Time Machine. Let's get into the Hip Hop Time Machine as I try to compile a list of my favourite tracks of 2013. This should be interesting.

15. Black Milk - Sunday's Best

I just love the way Black Milk chopped up this sample.

14. Ugly Heroes - Hero's Theme

Apollo Brown combines a great piano sample with some hard-hitting drums to great effect.

13. The Demigodz - Captain Caveman (feat. R.A. the Rugged Man)

R.A. the Rugged Man steals the show on this one. I mean what can you say about a guy who "fucked a monkey and started the AIDS virus."

12. L'Orange & Stik Figa - Decorated Silence (feat. Open Mike Eagle & MindsOne)

How do you turn a classical jazz sample from what sounds like the 1940's into a banging hip hop tune? I guess only L'Orange knows.

11. Kanye West - Blood On The Leaves

I wasn't a big fan of Kanye West's Yeezus album. I felt like it was too much of a departure from his previous work that I loved so much. Having said that, there were two songs that really stood out to me on this album. I really enjoyed "Bound 2" for its throwback sound to the days of College Dropout and Late Registration, but "Blood On The Leaves" turned out to be a track that was true to the sound of Yeezus while also being an absolute banger. The moment the beat drops, shit gets real.

10. Drake - Pound Cake (feat. Jay-Z)

If this track was only an instrumental, it would still make the list. Boi-1da's beat is beautiful. "5AM In Toronto" was close to making this list too.

9. R.A. the Rugged Man - Definition of a Rap Flow (feat. Amalie Bruun)

Such an appropriate song title. R.A.'s flow on this track is out of this world.

8. A$AP Mob - Trillmatic (feat. A$AP Nast & Method Man)

This track has that classic New York hip hop feel to it. Method Man's verse is just the icing on the cake.

7. Action Bronson - Rolling Thunder

Killa Cam was meant to be the special guest feature on this joint, but that ultimately fell through, so Action just rocked the whole joint by himself, and I'm not complaining! Party Supplies and Action Bronson go together like salt and pepper, like cheese and cheddar, like jeans and sweater .....

6. Chance The Rapper - Favorite Song (feat. Childish Gambino)

This song just makes me feel good. There's no better reason to put it on my list. "Acid Rain" could have easily made my list too.

5. Tha Dogg Pound - L.A. Here's 2 U (feat. Snoop Dogg)

It just doesn't get much smoother than this.

4. Ghostface Killah - Revenge Is Sweet (feat. Masta Killa & Killa Sin)

I prefer Apollo Brown's version of this album over Adrian Younge's, but the main reason I love this song is for Killa Sin's killer verse.

3. Flatbush ZOMBiES - Regular and Complex (GNB)

BetterOffDEAD was my favourite project of 2013, and Regular and Complex (GNB) is arguably the best track on there, although I could make a case for "MRAZ" as well. Meechy Darko's verse on this track is simply mesmerizing though. "If rap was illegal, you bitch niggas wouldn't even write a bar. Shit, I'd probably be behind bars, raisin' the bar through these bars!"

2. Big Sean - Control (feat. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica)

Do I even have to explain this choice? The entire Hip Hop world was in shell shock for an entire MONTH after Kendrick dropped "a bomb on this shit".

1. A$SAP Rocky - 1 Train (feat. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Yelawolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T.)

What a line-up. This song is epic. Best verse goes to Big K.R.I.T., but everyone did their thing on here. Funniest line goes to Danny Brown for "bitch's pussy smells like a penguin, wouldn't hit that shit with my worst enemy's penis."

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Gut Reaction Review: 50 Cent - Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

For those that know me, it’s no secret: I am NOT a big fan of 50 Cent. In my opinion, his lyrical ability and technical prowess leave much to be desired. That’s not to say that he’s completely talentless though. In 1999, he showed some real promise and ruffled up quite a few rap feathers when he dropped the track “How To Rob”. To his credit, Fiddy also has a good ear for beats, and has been known to craft a catchy hook or two. Anyway, as the story goes, Curtis James Jackson The Third (as his grandmother liked to call him) eventually caught the attention of Eminem and Dr. Dre, and the rest is history. In 2003, he dropped the "classic" album Get Rich Or Die Tryin' to great critical and commercial success, and it's really been downhill ever since. But now it's time to return to that "classic" album and see what all the fuss was about. You see, I've never really listened to that album from start to finish before, so I think it's about time I gave Get Rich Or Die Tryin' a chance, and find out whether I've been unfairly harsh on the man for all these years (I doubt it). So without further adieu, here is my track-by-track gut reaction review of 50 Cent's Get Rich Or Die Tryin'.

1. Intro
Absolutely pointless. Well at least it's only 6 seconds long.

2. What Up Gangsta
Nothing special here. Reef's instrumental wants to be a banger, but instead, it comes off as overly repetitive and kinda boring. Also, Fiddy is saying a whole lot of nothing on this track. Next!

3. Patiently Waiting (feat. Eminem)
"When I die, they'll read this and say a genius wrote it". No they won't Fiddy. Curtis Jackon's delivery on this track really bores me, as does Eminem's beat, but he's never been the greatest producer anyway. Shady also brings his Eminem Show flow, which is not my favourite phase of Eminem's career. However, Em's verse is still dope, and makes the song worth listening to. "Take some Big and some Pac, and you mix 'em up in a pot. Sprinkle a little Big L on top, what the fuck do you got?" You got the greatest rapper of all time! Yeah, I said it! Anyway, "Patiently Waiting" turns out to be a decent track, thanks to Eminem's song-stealing verse. Moving on ....

4. Many Men (Wish Death)
"I'm the greatest. Something like Ali in his prime". Once again Fiddy, no you're not. However, I think this track actually works. The instrumental grooves along quite nicely, which is surprising with Eminem having had a hand in it, although Darrell "Digga" Branch is credited as the primary producer on the track. Fiddy's hook writing ability comes through on this track too, and he flows quite smoothly over the beat. Not bad Fiddy. Not GREAT, but not bad.

5. In Da Club
An undeniable classic. ALL credit is due to Dr. Dre for this one. The production is monstrous. Fiddy's verses are mediocre at best on here, but like I mentioned previously, his hook writing ability is his saving grace. Also, I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that is unfamiliar with the opening lyrics "Go shorty, it's your birthday". Overall, a great track.

6. High All The Time
Largely forgettable. This is the type of song I would classify as a "skip-aroo", especially when it's in the unfortunate position of being sandwiched between two great tracks ..... wait, does that mean there's another great track on this album?

7. Heat
Once again, Dr. Dre brings the heat (pun intended). Another bangin' production, and this time I actually enjoyed Fiddy's performance, as opposed to the nonsense he was spouting on "In Da Club". I could have done without the 30 second intro that really added NOTHING to the proceedings, but on the whole, I was very impressed with this one.

8. If I Can't
Once a-motherfuckin'-gain, Dr. Dre blesses 50 Cent with a banger! It's a shame then, that Curtis uses this valuable opportunity to say absolutely nothing of worth. Just sit back and enjoy the beat, because you'll be getting nothing of substance from Fiddy. Having said that, I still find this track to be rather enjoyable.

9. Blood Hound (feat. Young Buck)
What the fuck is this? You can't go from bangin' Dr. Dre production to whatever the hell this is. I guess there is a bright side though ..... I actually enjoy Fiddy's flow on this track! Buck's verse is nicely executed as well. Surprisingly, the HOOK is where this song really falls apart, so much so that I'd like nothing more than to forget I ever listened to this shit. Next!

10. Back Down
Ooooh, this beat is so menacing ..... in the best possible way! No wonder Ja Rule doesn't have a career anymore. You can't win against music that sounds this good. It's disappointing to see that this is Dre's final contribution to the album. He's 4 for 4. Let's see how Fiddy fares without him.

11. P.I.M.P.
Talk about a catchy hook! And I don't know who this Brandon Parrott fella is, but this production is on point. Fiddy is back on his bullshit again though, but I'll give him a pass this time, because this song is enjoyable as fuck!

12. Like My Style (feat. Tony Yayo)
The more I listened to this track, the more Rockwilder's beat really grew on me. Also, I think I just realized why Fiddy recruited Tony Yayo to G-Unit. There has to be at least ONE rapper in the group that is worse than 50 Cent. Tony Yayo delivers a truly terrible performance on this track. Curtis fairs a little better, but the hook isn't really doing anything for me. Despite Yayo's contribution, this track was still pleasant enough.

13. Poor Lil Rich
No, no, no.

14. 21 Questions
This track is good for what it is. There's nothing quite like a crooning Nate Dogg on the hook when you're making a song for the ladies. And no Fiddy, if you used your tongue in bed, I wouldn't like that!

15. Don't Push Me (feat. Lloyd Banks & Eminem)
Another Eminem production on Get Rich Or Die Tryin', and I'm just as unimpressed as I was on "Patiently Waiting". However, the difference on this track is that Eminem seems uninspired behind the microphone as well. Subpar performances all around. Looks like we found ourselves another "skip-aroo"!

16. Gotta Make It To Heaven
This track is the definition of "average". The instrumental is nothing special, Fiddy is nothing special, this song is nothing special. Overall, nothing special. Did I forget to mention that this track is nothing special? Next!

17. Wanksta
Uh oh, Fiddy is on a roll now. Skip-skip-skip-aroo!!!

18. U Not Like Me
OK Fiddy, you've officially lost me now. Dr. Dre, where are you!? Come back please. Curtis clearly needs you.

19. Life's on the Line
This track is alright, even if the hook is atrocious. But it's too little, too late.

Final Verdict:
This album wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It certainly had it's high points, mainly thanks to Dr. Dre, but it also had it's low points, which came thick and fast towards the end. My opinion regarding 50 Cent's talent as a rapper remains unchanged after listening to this album in it's entirety. The rappers that I enjoy listening to tend to offer me a little bit more than a catchy hook and a decent flow every once in a while. However, I can see why this album is considered a modern-day classic by some ..... just not by me.

(This track-by-track review was inspired by the work of Max over at Hip Hop Isn't Dead)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Who Flipped It Better: Kanye West vs. DJ Cutmaster Swiff

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - I Miss You

Track 1:
Jay-Z - This Can't Be Life (prod. Kanye West) [2000]

Track 2:
Big Boi - Shine Blockas (prod. DJ Cutmaster Swiff) [2010]

So, who flipped it better?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Who Flipped It Better: No I.D. vs. Buckwild

The game is simple. I present two different songs that share the same sample. Your task is to decide which producer flipped that sample better. Easy. Now let's play!

The SCLC Operation Breadbasket Orchestra and Choir - Nobody Knows

Track 1:
Ghostface Killah - Metal Lungies (prod. No I.D.) [2004]

Track 2:
50 Cent - I Don't Need 'Em (prod. Buckwild) [2005]

So, who flipped it better?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Top 10 Hip Hop Songs of 2014

10. Action Bronson - Easy Rider

Action Bronson does his thing. Dat guitar sample though!

9. 100s - Ten Freaky Hoes (feat. Redinho)

Feels like some vintage West Coast goodness.

8. Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Shame (feat. BJ The Chicago Kid)

This is about as smooth as it gets.

7. Young Jeezy - Seen It All (feat. Jay-Z)

A beat that is both beautiful and a banger at the same time.

6. Rich Gang - Tell Em (Lies) feat. Rich Homie Quan & Young Thug

The perfect marriage of a catchy beat with the unique and infectious rhyming styles of Young Thug.

5. Apollo Brown & Ras Kass - How To Kill God

As an atheist, the song title piqued my interest. Was not disappointed.

4. CunninLynguists - Urutora Kaiju (feat. Tonedeff)

Two cosmic beings (Phallaxor The Matter Lord and Zarcon Steele) battle each other in an epic track of intergalactic proportions.

3. Big K.R.I.T. - Mt. Olympus

Big K.R.I.T. really does "snap" on this one, and once the beat drops at around the 1 minute mark, it's on like Donkey Kong.

2. ScHoolboy Q - Man Of The Year

This is the track you put on when you want to feel like the "Man Of The Year".

1. T.I. - About the Money (feat. Young Thug)

The ultimate showcase of everything that's great about Young Thug, and the beat only elevates this song into the stratosphere.

Download: Top 10 Hip Hop Songs of 2014

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ghostface Killah & Apollo Brown - 12 Reasons To Die

I just heard the most amazing news this morning! According to Apollo Brown himself, "RZA's label Soul Temple hit [him] up to do a second official version of the new Ghostface Killah album. Coming in April." While Adrian Younge is producing the CD version of 12 Reasons To Die, Apollo Brown has been commissioned to produce the CASSETTE version of the album. I've always said that my ideal rapper/producer combo was Apollo Brown and Ghostface Killah, and now it's actually happening! This project has automatically become my most anticipated album of 2013. I can't wait!