Deuce Ellis – “Midnight Ouroboros” (Album Review)

Deuce Ellis has a really cool origin story. This guys is based out of Honolulu, Hawaii. Was gifted RZA’s old Korg Triton by none other than Popa Wu, so not only does Deuce rap but he is also a beast on the boards. He draws inspiration from artists ranging between Marvin Gaye & Quincy Jones, to J Dilla, RZA and Pharrell Williams. Today, he dropped his latest project titled “Midnight Ouroboros” a ten track world of art.

I feel pretty privileged to get to review this album so early. A definite stand out track for me was the final track, titled “RZA’s Keyboard”. This song sounds like a classic. Deuce delivers with a slick flow and some really clever lyrics. He explains how he ended up with RZA’s keyboard and the effect that has had on his music. Believe me, we can hear it. This is a track for the rappers and a track for any Wu-Tang fan. I’m not saying that this was Wu Tang status, but you can definitely hear the influence.

“Mem1” was another dope track. The intro is such a vibe. I love the production on this track and the hook is super catchy. The verses whole song has a heavy Odd Future feel to it, which is really refreshing because I feel like we don’t get to hear this sound done well often enough. Deuce, once again comes with the flows, technical rhyme schemes and vocabulary of a lawyer – I would know, I am one. But in all honestly, Ellis’ pen game is fire.

If I am being honest this album is full of stand out tracks. But if I didn’t mention Steps on Giants, I wouldn’t be doing my job right. The feature from Napoleon Da Legend was a super nice touch! These two men together on one track is one of the coolest things I have been blessed to hear in a while. Both rappers have impeccable flow. In terms of lyrical prowess, I think this was Deuce’s best performance on the tape and Napoleon came with that same energy as both rappers literally painted pictures over a boom bap beat… Bliss.

This was a really cool project! I score this a 8/10! Had some very well placed features from the likes of G4 Jag, Hus Kingpin, Ty Farris, Camoflauge Monk, Napoleon Da Legend, Estee Nack, 7xvethegenius, Billie Essco, Jae Skeese, Rome Streetz and the late and great Popa Wu. Deuce Ellis has an extremely bright future ahead of him. Follow him on instagram: @deuceellis

Rasheed Chappell & Buckwild – “Mass Media” (Video)

With their new video for “Mass Media,” the duo of Rasheed Chappell & Buckwild deliver a stirring look at the issues plaguing our society today, from the global pandemic to police brutality and the impact it has on us all. The video is directed by Trevor Lang, who utilizes the power of Chappell’s sharply written rhymes to carry the experience from one topic to the next. While the emcee certainly speaks on tragedies from this year—the murder of Breonna Taylor and COVID-19 pandemic—he also points to systemic racism, prison being the new cotton field and other pertinent matters. There’s also an added level of urgency within his delivery thanks to the driving production from Buckwild, but also the stirring imagery provided by Lang. Check out the visuals and head over to your preferred digital retailer or streaming platform to support. The 11 track LP which boasts guest appearances by Che Noir, 38 Spesh, Ransom, Planet Asia and more, officially drops on Nov. 20 and is available now for pre-order via iTunes, Bandcamp and Amazon Music, as well as vinyl and CD formats courtesy of Get On Down.

OxfordGang – “Election Year” (EP Review)

OxfordGang is a group who utilize clean production, lyricism and slick flow to deliver cerebral rap projects that not only make your head bop, but also leaves you thinking. “Election Year” is their latest instalment, a 4 song EP where Black Canvas takes us into his world view on American politics with a view from the streets. I’ll be honest, this project is reminiscent of a Nas era album.

“Larger Than Life” was a stand out for me. The production was clean and the flow was smooth as Black Canvas literally dances over this beat. Lyrically, this song is clever and you can kind of tell that these guys had a bit of fun with this, even though the subject matter is quite serious.

Another favorite was OXG Forever. This is the shortest song on the tape and has no hook, but that sample! This is a great song and it felt like Black Canvas was really in his zone by this point of the project. With bars like “When you trying to change the world, commercialism don’t attract”, it’s clear that OXG weren’t playing on this track. What I love is that he manages to maintain the subject matter of the project as a whole. This is proof of the ability to put together a complete body of work.

“Control” is the final track and it goes hard! Black Canvas does a great job with his cadence on this track. He does a good job on this across the project, really, but this is a stand out. My biggest criticism of this song is that it is the final project. It left me wanting to hear a little more because by this point, I felt as though I was beginning to understand Black Canvas’s view point and then we were finished.

I am always a fan of well thought out concept projects. This was definitely one of those. Everything seemed to fit, sonically. The production, lyrics, flow, even song placement. Again, my point of criticism is that I would have like to hear a little more. But maybe that means that Oxford Gang did their job. This is a politically charged EP, so if you are not in the mood to think, this may not be for you. But if you have an open mind and enjoy well put together hip hop music, you might enjoy this one, regardless of where you sit politically.  All in all, this was a good project. Go show Black Canvas some love on IG: @black_canvas_oxg.

Score: 7/10