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Reviews Written by: Gfunk

The Foreign Exchange - Connected (re-issue) 2xCD
The Foreign Exchange - Connected (re-issue) 2xCD

Slept for a minute., January 10, 2009

I wasn't feelin' this album nearly as much when I first played it. After getting accustomed to it however, this is some straight up beautiful music. Classic material for sure. The production is crisp and refreshing and Phonte does great things with this project. Anyway, I've had this in the whip on repeat for a couple days vibing out feeling high off Nicolay and shit, haha. Really cohesive produciton with dope change-ups with beats, with less R&B feel than the newer album which led me astray. Great album, buy some!

Juggaknots - re:release CD
Juggaknots - re:release CD

Classic material., December 12, 2008

The Juggaknots provide nothing less than amazing hip-hop. Breezly Brewin is one of the illest emcees to touch a microphone, and their production is and always will be raw and original. It's so good to hear this record again. Timeless HEAT!

The Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind CD
The Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind CD

Straight up R&B shit!!, December 12, 2008

I just copped both foreign exchange albums, not really realizing what I was getting into. I thought it would be mellow vibed hip-hop, which it is, I just can't hang with all the R&B hooks and shit. I can't really see myself playing this stuff unless it was on the late night tip, but props to Nicolay on some dope production (even if it's not my speed) and Phonte for expresing a different side than we are used to, I just can't get passed what I would describe as heavy R&B influence. This album was worth buying mainly for the instros though for me. Super chilled out sleepy beats I'm really feeling on their own!

DJ Babu - Duck Season 3 CD
DJ Babu - Duck Season 3 CD

NEW QUACK SLAP!!!, December 11, 2008

Every time duck season comes around, you know it's time to pull out the shottys and BLAST THIS SHITT to death!! I'm half way through the album and already quaking my ass off, real talk. Babu always comes strapped blastin' the HEATERS!!!

Formula Abstract - Audio Autopsy vol. 1 CD
Formula Abstract - Audio Autopsy vol. 1 CD

Hip-hop outer-body experience., December 9, 2008

I don't even know where to start... there is no way to even classify these cats, shit is on a whole different level. The only time I felt a similar reaction to an album being so unique might of been that old school Omid/Blowed album "Beneath the Surface". These guys definitely hone in on that ferocious fast-paced rap style I associate mostly with the LA/Project Blowed movement, but the rhyme schemes sound even crazier to me. You can't compare this shit to anything as far as I'm concerned, and that is why it is so dope. Dudes are straight up poetic with their raps, spitting bars that flow on so many differing levels it is mind bending. Beginning words with the same sounds, intricately lacing rhymes with paralleled syllable formations. These emcees are like a hungry pack of lyrical innovators strapped with hydrogen assonance artillery! Wow, god damn syllable assassins to say the least. Production is gritty and grungy too, unique and ethereal sounding. I would say this is some raw underground shit, but it's more like overground! Haha, next level hip-hop shit, I will buy anything these dudes make, hands down. I'm still recovering from my face nearly melting off from these abstract chemical compositions. F=ab! Apocalyptic auditory acrylics to stain your metropolis and bring rapid fire to your synapses. "Transformation mutation termination, civilization invasion... metaphoric metamorphosis, euphoric contortionists..." Haha, what!? You're not ready!

Elzhi - The Preface CD
Elzhi - The Preface CD

Detroit keep this shit up, these sounds are ruthless!, December 6, 2008

This album is great. It just sounds really solid. I'm really feelin' this album! If you are a fan of Dilla/Slum Village, you need not to sleep on Elzhi's solo release. I'm loving all this Detroit shit right about now, the production being distinctly reminiscent/influenced by the original style started back by Jay Dee himself (super crispy drums, and plenty of bass in the atmosphere). With this album, along with the new Black Milk "Tronic", I will remain more than satisfied until the next shit drops out the D.

Bicasso - For Rent CD
Bicasso - For Rent CD

This is a come-up!, December 6, 2008

Not as good as "Livin' Life Lookin' Out", but it's up there. I associate a lot of Bicasso's work with Legends collab. projects/albums, or on feat. crew shit. I've always thought Bicasso's style/delivery was really unique and his voice is just plain, raw dopeness. Often times I like his verses the best on Living Legends albums, and I feel like my folks don't give him enough credit. I think it's tough with the Legends, because almost all of them produce/write their own shit and it is so diverse, that sometimes their solo shit sounds different then you might expect. If you like Legends though, this won't disappoint. It is, as Bizzaro himself would say, "a dirtworks slump oroginalias"! Haha, fully slapable and only 6 bones, what!?

Devin the Dude - Hi Life CD
Devin the Dude - Hi Life CD

The Dude is here, grab your tall cans n' swishers!, December 6, 2008

This is the album Devin heads have been waiting for! If you're a long time Dude fan, and "Landing Gear" was a little less than expected due to its overwhelmingly strong R&B influence (which I usually welcome as an accomplice to Devin's laid back style), you have got to get this album! It's just that raw, original "same shit different day" beauty that Devin is known and loved for by fans and rappers alike! Don't let this one pass you by, this is the essential album for Dude fans. I am a long time listener, and this album really hit home for me (even more than "Waiting to Inhale" did on a whole). "Hi Life" is HEAT!

Emanon (Exile+Aloe Blacc) - Waiting Room CD
Emanon (Exile+Aloe Blacc) - Waiting Room CD

Emanon and on and on, shit like this never gets old!, December 6, 2008

I'm really glad I've become keen to Exile through the likes of Blame and Blu, because it sparked my interest in the Emanon album. Kind of slept on it for a while cause it's been hard to come by (even at Amoeba!). All I got to say is this shit is straight up amazing! Perhaps it's not for those who are looking for straight up knock, but if you're a universal hip-hop head like me you should find this to be some of that deeper, high quality hop that you feel lucky to come across from time to time. Amazing beats and raps, amazing balance and cohesiveness... Aloe Blacc is DOPE! If you liked "Below The Heavens", you will Love this.

Binary Star - Masters of the Universe CD
Binary Star - Masters of the Universe CD

Masters of Hip-hop!!, November 1, 2008

I can't believe I somehow slept on these cats until last year! This album was literally music to my ears the first time I heard it. It's as if you can taste the sweat and passion that went into this record! Hands down, this instantly became one of the greatest albums in my collection among hundreds. Usually you just don't get hip-hop that sounds this raw and original. One.Be.Lo aka OneManArmy is an amazing lyricist and I would have to place him among my top ten favorite emcees today. His intelligence shines on the mic through his thought provoking lyricism. His brutal honesty and disregard for the high amount of egotistical and often times non-genuine conformist lyricism (we hear too much of in hip-hop) is undeniable, and proves powerful by touching the listener on a deeper level than we as listeners have come to expect. With Decompoze seemingly out of the picture, it looks like this will be the only Binary Star album that will go down in the history, and it will undoubtedly do just that!

Jake One - White Van Music 2xCD
Jake One - White Van Music 2xCD

"Backpackers don't try and confuse it, being icey ain't got nothin to do with this music!" -J Dilla, November 1, 2008

Man, maybe it goes without saying this album is off the hook? Jake One is an amazing producer, and this album is game tight. Dude's beats are so versatile! He has produced tracks from De La, MF Doom, Casual, Lifesavas, Gift of Gab, 50 cent... you name it! What is so dope about this album is that it unites the highly segregated notion that hip-hop is supposed to be this or that. Man, hip-hop IS what it is fool!! Too many underground cats are overly skeptical of "non-concious" lyrical content and shit like that. This is a good album to open up the minds of the mainstream or underground hip-hop skeptics alike. You get a dope track on here with Freeway and Brother Ali for example. Then you got everything from a slamming M.O.P. joint to the one of the illest Little Brother songs I have ever heard! Every joint on here is fire; whether it be MF Doom, Black Milk, Keak da Sneak, Casual, or even Young Buck! Jake One seems to have found the perfect beats to match each rappers style! It just goes to show that good music has no boundaries. The beats are undeniable, and they seem to bring out the best of each and every emcee. I can't get enough of this album right now!

Blame One - A Complex Burden CD
Blame One - A Complex Burden CD

High quality hip-hop offerings.., November 1, 2008

I have come accross this dudes stuff on access, thought it looked interesting, but never really got around to checking it out until a couple months ago. His albums are only like 8 bones, so don't front. Haha, all I gotta say is dudes music is legit; I own all three albums now! He has a unique style and the rhymes/content are on point too. Plus he works with Exile, who produced the Blu & Exile "Below the Heavens" album - which was a major blessing for hip-hop last year, no doubt. Exile is producing his entire next album, and I am in high anticipation. (By the way, if you still don't have Exile's solo project you are tripping!!) Anyway, Blame 1 is a dope emcee! Living in the bay, I probably never would have heard this guy except for on here. This is probably my favorite album of his, but they are all good. This one is essential, but buy at least Priests + Thieves until this one is back in stock.

Gang Starr - Moment of Truth CD
Gang Starr - Moment of Truth CD

Do your homework., October 31, 2008

When it comes to Gang Starr, I have always felt this album is their most bangin' and solid effort front to back. It bangs ridiculous! One might argue that certain cuts from earlier releases are more classic or whatever, but yo, this album is solid. DJ Premier kills it with the production and you got guest slots like M.O.P. and Inspectah Deck that just add more heat to the fire! This is such an essential record, that any self-proclaimed hip-hop head needs to have at least heard this shit before. Likewise with Wu-Tang's "36 Chambers" or old school Smif-N-Wessun to name a couple others. Peace though, I don't want to be no preacher, Haha!

Talib Kweli - Right About Now CD
Talib Kweli - Right About Now CD

Blacksmith movement son!!, October 30, 2008

Talib has always been one of my favorite emcees, so I have all of his records. This one is kinda pricey, but access doesn't mention you get a bonus disc with four extra tracks on it (at least I did). Anyway, this album is notable because it is on Talib's Blacksmith record label. In my experience, Blacksmith mixtapes are always pretty bangin'. If you can find Blacksmith "The Movement" cop it, it is all Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady and Talib assasinating. Some beats you've heard, some not. There is a S.A.S. version of that CMA song "Windows" that is SO savage on that ish. Anyway, likewise with this Talib mixtape, there is a song with the exact same sample as the Dilla produced "Hidding Place" which was my favorite track on one of the Little Brother albums (it is a softer beat but still pretty cool). Not all the tracks on Right About Now are top notch. But there is plenty of raw dope on here to satisfy, and it is more than worth it too hear Talib bust on the underground tip. He comes out so smooth for the first verse of track 1. Track 2 is ruthless (I love how Talib snaps out the chorus on this one), and there are a handful of other memorable joints on here like "Beast", or "Roll of me". There is even a track on here with MF DOOM which is a pretty unlikely team up in my mind. This is music Talib made for himself, so the fact that it's available is pretty cool. I'm telling you, keep watch for Blacksmith if you want to hear Talib and them keeping the underground alive.

Siah & Yeshua DapoED - The Visualz Anthology CD
Siah & Yeshua DapoED - The Visualz Anthology CD

Norm don't play!!, October 30, 2008

Haha, I remember having this on an order there was some problem with so access had to call me about it. When I was on the phone that dude Norm was going off about how dope this shit was. Hands down, this shit IS really dope. No joke! This is for sure some dope and unique underground hip-hop not worth sleeping on. A few of these tracks are so memorable once you hear them you will more than likely always bang them from time to time. There is even some crazy experimental shit on here as well, like a twelve minute song where the beat changes like every two minutes. Dudes lyrics are on some whole other ish too. I guess they only had stuff out on wax forever and now it is all on disc. So if you haven't heard, this is some hip-hop from a few years back that was definitely ahead of its time. Awaken from your slumber.

The Alchemist - The Chemistry Files CD
The Alchemist - The Chemistry Files CD

Oh hell no!!, October 30, 2008

I copped this because I've always thought Alc was a pretty dope producer, but hands down this shit is wack! I didn't feel like Alc or any of the guest spots brought any heat whatsoever on this album, with the exception of the B-real joint. I think access got the description twisted with this too, cause there are no instro's and NaS ain't even on this ish. Anyway, I thought this disc was a complete waste of money and it surprised me how flat it sounded. If you want a quality collab album by another good producer you should buy Jake One's new album "White Van Music"! That is a solid release that comes with instro's and you won't have to throw it out of the window on the freeway. Word.

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Megaton Bomb Droppings!!, October 18, 2008

The production DJ Lex drops on the vast majority of these quick, one-two punch style tracks is undeniable. I've seen Lex open lots of Hiero shows but had no clue this dude had bombs of his own up his sleeve! Seriously, some of these beats will melt your face off if your speakers don't blow first! Phes kills it with the rhymes as well, it just sucks the album and tracks are so short. Beats seem too good to be so short, but I'm definitely peeping for a full-length release from these cats or anything else by Lex in the future.

One Be Lo - Sonogram CD
One Be Lo - Sonogram CD

Re-issue Madness!!, October 18, 2008

Oh man, the bonus tracks on this re-ish bang ridiculous! Harder than the originals, hand down. The Pete Rock version of Decepticons is so lethal I can't stop smackin' it again and again! Just imagine an entire One Be Lo/Pete Rock collab album, that shit would be an instant classic!! Props to fat beats for making an incredible album even better.

Guilty Simpson - Stray Bullets CD
Guilty Simpson - Stray Bullets CD

Sure fire heat!!, April 10, 2008

I was an instant fan of Guilty Simpson the first time I heard him on Dilla's Ruff Draft or the Jaylib ish. Aside from his name, his voice is SO hard, and his lyrics are even harder! With his precise no-frills delivery and savage raps - creative but genuinely unapologetic in their blunt gutter level beauty. "Bring your heater when you come to the D, that's why the invitation reads B.Y.O.G." This fool is so undeniably raw in sound/style! I find myself listening to Guilty sometimes like, "Is this the hardest shit I have ever heard in my life?" haha. F'real though this entire mixtape is incredible with the exception of like two tracks.. not to mention it contains the best Guilty track ever put down by Dilla that didn't go on his debut album. So you gotta cop this unless you've picked up Man's World on wax. Rhettmatic even busts out a XL megamix at the end with all the Dilla/Guilty stuff that just bangs ridiculous. When I bought his full-length, I was missing tracks like Beast, and Man's World, and some others - plus many of the albums bangers were already on this mixtape.. do it!

The Grouch - Show You The World CD
The Grouch - Show You The World CD

Good god damn.., April 10, 2008

The man is at it again. Not really surprising in the least, considering Grouch has been elevating his rhyme and production styles year in and year out for as long as i can remember. I love the entire album with the exception of Shero, just not my flavor. Yardwork, Clones, Watch Watch, and Favorite Folks stand out without looking at the track names, and the entire album is really solid. Best of all, Grouch puts a lot of thought into his lyrics, which are really down to earth and refreshing to hear these days - where rappers and producers are on some wack ass McDonalds style franchise shit, trying to sell recycled big macs to trash hungry radio stations. Thankfully for us, rappers like Grouch hold it down! Hopefully you already knew that.


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