Review: Big Sean's "Dark Sky Paradise"

Critics are always fighting conflicting urges. On the one hand, there's the need to be objective and evaluate each work on its own merits. On the other, there's the desire to fit each new release...

  • Review: Big Sean's "Dark Sky Paradise"
    37,667 Views
    33 Likes138 Dislikes
    Critics are always fighting conflicting urges. On the one hand, there's the need to be objective and evaluate each work on its own merits. On the other, there's the desire to fit each new release from an artist into an over-arcing career narrative. The trick is to find a balance between the two. This is especially hard to do with Big Sean, largely because his story so far has been one of success...
  • Review: Drake's "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"
    117,524 Views
    120 Likes21 Dislikes
    When Drake released his newest mixtape, If You're Reading This It's Too Late, a few days ago, it took the internet by storm. Falling in line with Jay Z, Kanye and Beyoncé before him, he dropped it almost completely out of the blue, with no real warning. The internet went into a frenzy over the release, and a large portion of the response was relating to the question, "is this an...
  • Review: J. Cole's "2014 Forest Hills Drive"
    103,400 Views
    167 Likes22 Dislikes
    J. Cole has come a long way from rapping about how to get up off the sideline. Three albums in, with 2014 Forest Hills Drive, the “God” is home. The Fayetteville, North Carolina native composed an honest, nostalgic album without any apologies. Cole typically plays it safe, straddling the fence of a conscious rapper who can still create commercial hits and enjoy a good romp...
  • Review: Juicy J's "Blue Dream & Lean 2"
    9,387 Views
    6 Likes9 Dislikes
    In the era of Yeezus Christ and King Kendrick, it's easy to fall into the mindset that every hip-hop album should be an experiment in pushing hip-hop forward. Every track should ooze with idealism and what's new. This feeling goes double for mixtapes. Freed from the binds of needing to make something that is commercially viable, rappers are able to let their wildest experiments roam. If fans...
  • Review: Joey Fatt's "Ill Street Blues"
    1,910 Views
    3 Likes
    Straight out of Long Beach, CA, Joey Fatts is the epitome of a rapper from the streets. He tells his story of being raised in the same neighborhood that was home to hip hop legends Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg on Ill Streets Blues. Similar to them, he is able to inspire and motivate with lyrics that detail the hard work, dedication, and heart necessary to make it out of the streets. In recent...
  • Review: Lil Wayne's "Sorry 4 The Wait 2"
    63,800 Views
    41 Likes51 Dislikes
    Every rapper that can be considered in the G.O.A.T. debate eventually hits a wall.  This drop-off point comes for everyone and leads their stans to add qualifiers to their respective "best all time" arguments, "Of course, I'm talking about Jay-Z from Reasonable Doubt to Black Album, Eminem pre-Encore, etc."  Weezy's GOAT argument comes with  more qualifiers than just about any other....
  • Review: Ludacris' "Burning Bridges"
    24,095 Views
    21 Likes5 Dislikes
    Ludacris is a veteran in the game. Lyrics, beats, hit songs, a unique style; over his 10-plus year career he has obviously shown why he has been one of the most respected and successful stars in hip hop.  But before, during, and after listening to his new digital only EP Burning Bridges - released exclusively through Google Play (for free, at that) - the listener is forced to wonder "do I...
  • Review: Lupe Fiasco's "Tetsuo & Youth"
    27,860 Views
    61 Likes3 Dislikes
    Lupe Fiasco has been in a battle with Atlantic records for what seems to be forever. We all know about his discontent with Lasers and on his mixtape Friend of the People he made it clear that he wanted off the label. He did not get his wish before this album dropped, and that almost prevented us from hearing this album entirely. Lupe has done interviews in which he says the album would...
  • Review: Fabolous' "The Young OG Project"
    30,471 Views
    26 Likes66 Dislikes
    Fabolous has always done a solid job at blending in with his environment. Whether he’s cutting with DJ Clue and The Neptunes in 2001 or jiving with Rich Homie Quan in 2015, he’s done a phenomenal job at adapting to change and staying relevant, something that is easier said than done. That being said, if you’re adapting to trends, you probably aren’t the one...
  • Review: Shady Records "Shady XV"
    22,202 Views
    23 Likes6 Dislikes
    Fifteen years of Shady Records represents an unusual time for rap music, transitioning out of the shiny suit era and into a bubble featuring new names. Aside from D12 and Obie Trice releases, the label’s existence was mostly tied to Eminem signing a certain Queens MC. 2011 proves a critical year with the reformation of Bad Meets Evil with friend Royce da 5’9”, and the signings of...
  • Review: Kid Ink's "Full Speed"
    14,243 Views
    18 Likes52 Dislikes
    Last year in March, Kid Ink reached a big milestone for a new artist: his single “Show Me” featuring Chris Brown went double Platinum. From grinding as an independent rapper to becoming a major label draw with his RCA debut, My Own Lane, Ink has proven worthy of the title "radio hitmaker." “Show Me” took over the rap game in 2014 that the response allowed him to...
  • Review: The Game's "Blood Moon: Year Of The Wolf"
    36,905 Views
    29 Likes19 Dislikes
    Game doesn't quite get the respect he deserves. Sometimes things like his habitual name dropping and controversy divert attention from the fact that he has been one of the most consistent rappers over the last decade. Since the release of his debut, The Documentary, he's delivered a series critically acclaimed albums, out-rapped many of his counterparts and at one point, was one of...
  • Review: DeJ Loaf's "Sell Sole"
    9,411 Views
    13 Likes7 Dislikes
    With a face often free of make-up and a childlike voice that delivers bars filled with tales of gun violence, come-p wishes, survival and tipsy nights off Hennessy, DeJ Loaf, the 23-year-old baby-faced rapper-singer, who hails from the East side of Detroit currently has everyone intrigued. Loaf garnered massive attention this summer with her hit single, “Try Me.” Although the DDS...
  • Review: Joey Bada$$' "B4.DA.$$"
    29,126 Views
    58 Likes3 Dislikes
    Joey Bada$$ is a young Brooklyn emcee who was influenced by those who came before him from his region, the same way most young rappers from any region show clear influence from those who came before them in their region. As rappers from other regions have begun to dwarf New York rappers in popularity and New York rappers have begun taking more influence from other regions, some have viewed...
  • Review: Rae Sremmurd's "SremmLife"
    38,120 Views
    48 Likes28 Dislikes
    2014 may be remembered as one of the weakest years for rap in recent memory, but there were, however, some definite highlights, especially when it came to newcomers. Bobby Shmurda had one of last year’s biggest rap records, DeJ Loaf had one of last year’s most remixed rap records and Young Thug was one of last year’s most talked about rap artists (even if for all of the wrong reasons). And...
  • Review: Kevin Gates' "Luca Brasi 2"
    23,195 Views
    35 Likes5 Dislikes
    The first Luca Brasi Story, released last February, put Kevin Gates on the map. Soon after, he quietly inked a partnership with Atlantic and a management deal with Young Money. He put out another excellent mixtape, Stranger Than Fiction, months later, and he’s had a similar 2014 in terms of output: two mixtapes, both excellent. Though he was one of twelve XXL Freshmen this year, Gates is no...
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