Review: Ab-Soul's "These Days..."

Ab-Soul is a complex artist. The Carson, California native and Top Dawg Entertainment signee has overcome a number of major tribulations throughout the course of his life. And while all artists...

  • Review: Ab-Soul's "These Days..."
    38,707 Views
    59 Likes16 Dislikes
    Ab-Soul is a complex artist. The Carson, California native and Top Dawg Entertainment signee has overcome a number of major tribulations throughout the course of his life. And while all artists experience ups-and-downs that become points of growth for them as people while shaping the music they create, Ab-Soul's ups-and-downs are unique to most. On his deeply moving, autobiographical track "Book...
  • Review: Bishop Nehru & MF DOOM's "NehruvianDOOM"
    11,908 Views
    16 Likes6 Dislikes
    In superhero literature, it's not uncommon for an aging master like Bruce Wayne to find himself a protégé. Often arriving at our hero's lowest point -- after the death in the family or, perhaps, a critical injury -- this stranger inspires the hero to get back to doing what he does best: fighting crime and selling a ton of movie theater tickets. No matter how much he...
  • Review: Wiz Khalifa's "Blacc Hollywood"
    41,517 Views
    37 Likes29 Dislikes
    We all know the story with Wiz and his albums, it's a tale as old as time. He goes super, extra hard on his mixtapes to shut up the critics who talked bad about his albums, only to make some of the same mistakes on the next album. It's a vicious cycle, that we're only escaping gradually, in baby steps. Rolling Papers was what the label wanted Wiz to be, and he acknowledged and atoned for...
  • Review: G-Unit's "The Beauty of Independence"
    39,969 Views
    69 Likes14 Dislikes
    After he proved he was a bankable rapper, 50 Cent started his own imprint and made G-Unit his first priority. For a while Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and Fiddy were consistently putting out quality music that fed the streets. But all good things must come to an end. In the Unit's case, the general fell out with first Young Buck and kicked him out of the group. This was already after Cali...
  • Review: Run the Jewels' (Killer Mike & El-P) "RTJ2"
    8,789 Views
    29 Likes7 Dislikes
    El-P was first brought to Killer Mike's studio to commission a beat, or two, for Mike’s R.A.P. Music. This was 2011, and Adult Swim creative director Jason DeMarco, the mutual connection, couldn't have possibly foreseen the two-headed beast he just spawned. By the end of the session, Mike knew he’d found the sole producer for his next album....
  • Review: Teyana Taylor's "VII"
    8,321 Views
    17 Likes1 Dislikes
    We first heard from the young Harlemite in 2008 when she released her first single, “Google Me,” from her debut project, a mixtape titled From a Planet Called Harlem. The Jazze Pha-produced single sank low on the Billboard charts and left Teyana Taylor with something to prove. Before her musical debut, Taylor was featured on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16,” showcasing her...
  • Review: ScHoolboy Q's "Oxymoron"
    44,797 Views
    91 Likes8 Dislikes
    An important facet of memorable groups throughout hip-hop history is chemistry: the dynamics every member brings to the table is an essential part of a group's success. Black Hippy's rise to the top has been so prevalent and quick because each of their four main members - Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Kendrick Lamar - each bring something radically different to what the crew represents....
  • Review: August Alsina's "Testimony"
    31,156 Views
    39 Likes7 Dislikes
    2014 has been quite the year for debut albums thus far. Already, we’ve seen debut studio LPs from Cali artists Kid Ink, ScHoolboy Q, and YG. Now, about a year after he first splashed into mainstream Hip-hop/R&B, New Orleans singer August Alsina delivers his Def Jam debut album, Testimony. In 2013, Alsina released the radio-buzzing single “I Luv This Shit” featuring labelmate...
  • Review: Joell Ortiz's House Slippers
    11,096 Views
    18 Likes3 Dislikes
    Joell Ortiz changed this album’s title from Yaowa, basically because this is him at his most comfortable. In Hip Hop, getting too comfortable can sometimes lead to a decline in effort due to loss of hunger. Anyone familiar with Joell Ortiz would probably find it hard to imagine him not putting effort into a project, comfortable or not. Joell is always known for remarkable lyricism and...
  • Review: PARTYNEXTDOOR "PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO"
    28,412 Views
    26 Likes8 Dislikes
    PARTYNEXTDOOR is Canadian rising star Jahron Brathwaite, formerly a producer of soft, sunny R&B with EDM inflections. His first wide release under the new name represented a new label situation, through signing with Drake’s OVO Sound, and a fully realized change in sound and lyrical content. Taking a sexually aggressive tone, with dark, bass heavy atmospheres, PARTYNEXTDOOR combines it...
  • Review: Rittz's "Next To Nothing"
    8,426 Views
    29 Likes1 Dislikes
    It's no secret that hip-hop at large is lacking in original content. If the music isn't about money, it's about sex; if it's not about sex, it's about who's the hardest (no pun intended); if not who's hardest, it's about hip-hop itself. It's in this musical landscape that a label like Tech N9ne's Strange Music is needed the most. A collective of some of the most bizarre (read: interesting) voices...
  • Review: Big Sean's "Hall of Fame"
    56,943 Views
    43 Likes6 Dislikes
    It’s been a long road to the top for Big Sean. Back in 2005 after hearing Kanye West was going to be at a local radio station in Detroit for an interview, Big Sean headed down there to chance fate. Two years later he signed with G.O.O.D. Music but it wasn’t until 2011 that his debut album Finally Famous would hit the shelves. In that four-year gap, the Detroit native would release a handful...
  • Review: Wiz Khalifa's "28 Grams"
    41,503 Views
    35 Likes41 Dislikes
    Like any Wiz project, there will be a wide variety of opinions on 28 Grams, ranging from exuberant praise to vitriolic disdain. This variance in opinion is common for Young Khalifa, as Wiz has been riding the same strange roller coaster as Weezy the last few years, delivering excellent mixtape projects like Taylor Allderdice and Cabin Fever 2 while disappointing most with his retail...
  • Review: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib's "Piñata"
    17,138 Views
    42 Likes2 Dislikes
    On paper, stone cold gangster Freddie Gibbs and alt-hop producer Madlib have little in common. But after releasing several highly enjoyable EPs beginning in 2011, it quickly became apparent that the duo were capable of vibing off one another. Four songs from those EPs show up on Piñata, and the rest of its seventeen songs fall in line with their smoked-out, sample-heavy sound, creating an...
  • Review: 50 Cent's "Animal Ambition"
    37,759 Views
    67 Likes25 Dislikes
    On Animal Ambition, 50 Cent returns to the old street-ready sound that made him a household name back in 2003. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in hip-hop since 50’s debut. With the rise of Kanye West (or more particularly 808s & Heartbreak), the genre has become more emotive—more artistically diverse and interesting. Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kid CuDi and even Future to an extent...
  • Review: Kevin Gates' "By Any Means"
    13,451 Views
    14 Likes11 Dislikes
    March has been a damn good month for Baton Rouge hip-hop, and for fans of the genre as a whole. The release of Kevin Gates' highly anticipated mixtape By Any Means comes just weeks after southern icon and fellow Louisiana native Boosie was released from prison. It seems fitting that what could serve as a breakthrough project for Gates drops right around the time that Boosie, who helped...
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