Saigon – “Pain, Peace & Propserity” (Album Review)

Saigon is a 43 year old MC from Brooklyn, New York who broke out in the early 2000s off his debut mixtape Da Yardfather. However, it wouldn’t be until 2011 when he would make his full-length debut by dropping The Greatest Story Never Told under Suburban Noize Records. The album would spawn a sequel to fulfill his contract with the Spade the following year & then a final installment on his own imprint Squid Ink Squad Records in 2014. He returned from a 6 year hiatus last summer by signing to Strange Music’s new subsidiary It Goes Up Entertainment & dropping the STREETRUNNER-produced EP 777: The Resurrection almost right after but here we are 7 months later with Saigon’s 4th full-length album.

After the DJ Kayslay intro, the first song “Head Blown (Vitabudz Theme)” talks about vibing until his head is gone over an instrumental that hawks back to 80s electro while the track “2 for $5” makes multiple comparisons to the titular deal over a bountiful beat. The song “My Gun” talks about being strapped at all times over a boom bap instrumental with some sirens while the track “Blessings” pays tribute to those murdered by the system from Mike Brown to Sandra Bland over a bereft beat.

The song “People Next Door” talks about the person living next to him getting laid down the night before over a cinematic instrumental while the following track is a pointless remix to “Mechanical Animals” off of The Greatest Story Never Told 3: The Troubled Times of Brian Carenard. “The D” with Jay Varcity is a gross, lovey dovey disco tune while the song “Warm Honey” is almost as painful to listen to except the production on this one is more silkier.

The track “U Do Understand That, Right?” with Axel Leon sees the 2 talking about partying all night over a jazz/trap infused beat while the song “We Don’t Need You” talks about cutting off punks in his life over a Satanic instrumental. The track “Same Ol’ Me” talks about how he hasn’t changed after all these years over an inspiriting beat while the song “U Don’t Know Me” is a catchy bop calling out those who think they know everything about him.

The track “Buss It Down” with Bam Vito is a terribly written strip club anthem backed by generic instrumental while “The Streets” talks about how it ain’t no joke in the hood over an organ-laced beat. The track “It Goes Up” with Rough finds the 2 talking about firing at their squad if they take food out their mouths over a boom bap instrumental with some choir vocals while the song “Deeper” with O.T. the Real sees the duo talking about how deep they are over an exultant beat. After the “Saigon Speaks” skit, “The Co-Op Cipher” teams up with Cassidy to get on the battle tip over a sullen instrumental. He also takes the time to announce 2 more albums coming later this year, one produced entirely by Buckwild & the other with Jahlil Beats.

Even though I prefer 777: The Resurrection, I still think this is a solid album. There are joints on here that felt out of place like the “Mechanical Animals” remix & that cringey disco joint, but Saigon can still rip up mics like it was nothing & the production is pretty tight for a good deal of it.

Score: 7/10

Armand Hammer & The Alchemist – “Haram” (Album Review)

Armand Hammer is duo from New York City consisting of Billy Woods & Elucid. Forming together in 2013 off their only mixtape Half Measures & the debut album Race Music, the pair would go on to release an EP & 3 more full-lengths worth of abstract political hip hop. Their latest effort Shrines just came out this past summer & not even a year later, Billy & Elucid have tapped on The Alchemist for their 6th full-length album.

The album kicks off with “Sir Benni Miles”, where Armand Hammer gets cryptic over a grimy instrumental with a couple of vocal samples laced in. The next song “Roaches Don’t Fly” talks about how “you don’t have to be here if you don’t wanna” over a synth-heavy beat with some occasional guitar passages while the track “Black Sunlight” gives the listener profound motivation over a cheerful instrumental. The track “Indian Summer” talks about swearing vengeance in the 7th grade & how they “can’t walk them dogs with you” over a mystical beat while the track Aubergine with Fielded finds the 3 talking about hysteria over an instrumental that starts off with a demented atmosphere, but then switches into something more forlorn.

The song “God’s Feet” talks about “blowing that horn fast” over a glistening boom bap beat while the track “Peppertree” talks about how “there’s something else out there” over a saxophone & a reversed loop. The song “Scaffolds” talks about always being late with the epiphanies & having excuses over a paranormal instrumental while the track “Falling Out the Sky” with Earl Sweatshirt sees the trio opening up about their demons over a lachrymose beat.

The song “Wishing Bad” with Curly Castro & Amani finds the 4 talking about how all their problems come from no compensation over a minimal, yet deranged instrumental while the track “Chicharonnes” with Quelle Chris sees the 3 talking about corrupt cops over a ghastly beat. “Squeegee” is another favorite of mine with it’s enraged verses, the ear-grabbing hook & repose production while the penultimate track “Robert Moses” talks about a new day over a jazz-laced instrumental. The album ends with “Stonefruit”, where the duo talk about having so much to undo over a celebratory beat.

This is hands down one of the best albums I’ve heard all year & I’ll even go as far to say that it’s Armand Hammer’s magnum opus. Couple of the features were a miss for me personally, but the gruesome imagery that Billy Woods & Elucid paint goes hand to hand with Uncle Al’s signature sound almost flawlessly.

Score: 9/10

Level’d Up Music Group ft. Young TL, Cheez Tac, NSG Blatt – “Walk Thru” (Official Video)

Meet the new Level’d Up Music Group.

For the formal introduction, the buzzing label introduces their latest roster of stars in Young TL, Cheez Tac and NSG Blatt with the release of the new visual to the album cut “Walk Thru.” The newly-formed trio head to Miami to show us what a day in the life of the new stars is like, filled with new ice, good smoke and a lot of beautiful half-naked women. The song appears on the new album, Essence to the Streets.

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For the new video, Young TL takes the lead with Cheez and Blatt providing the necessary star power to make the track the album’s best work. The label has a lot in their arsenal ready to let loose and do so on the latest effort.

Essence of the Streets is made for the streets. The 11-track collection delivers undeniable hits in fan-favorites, like “New Body,” “Wet The Bed” and “Dive In” with guest appearances by Pee Wee Longway, Cap 1 and Peso Peso. After the views and stream, for more on the label, follow them daily on Instagram.

Watch “Walk Thru” and Essence To The Streets below.

John Jigg$ & BP Unleash “The Madness” With New Album & Video Feat. A-F-R-O

John Jigg$ x BP‘s new album “The Madness” is out now. This high grade offering clearly draws inspiration from the cult classic doc “Reefer Madness” and it conveys a similar vibe. Features include Ras Kass, A-F-R-O, Shabaam Sahdeeq, King Magnetic, and more.

To celebrate the release of this new record, the duo are unveiling the video for the title cut, which features rap kaiju A-F-R-O. The beat that BP serves up on this joint sounds like a slowed down, old school video game. Jigg$ and All Flows go back and forth with short bursts of dense bars over the wavering synths.

La Lo East – “Fuck The Middleman” (Album Review)

La Lo East is a rising Hip Hop artist from Buffalo, NY. He uses witty rhymes and clever flows to deliver his narrative on some hard hitting production. “Fuck The Middleman” is his debut album. This project spans eleven tracks, is hosted by DJ Superstar Jay and features Monie Adios, Ika Tha Writa and Argeo Rain.

“Dope Boy Dreams” is a stand out and fan favourite. This song has heavy golden era of rap vibes, whether or not it was intended, it’s a good thing. La Lo East flows over the beat with ease with clever rhymes and a catchy hook. Reminiscent of 90’s era Hip Hop when the music was clever and raw. This is a must listen on this project.

“Cassius Clay” just goes hard! The production has that signature La Lo East 90’s sound and he takes advantage of that. Gritty raps that hit hard and with a purpose. Lyrically, it’s clear that La Lo East is gifted with the pen. These are some clever bars to make for a dope track.

“Real Ones” is a well executed song. Relatable story telling done right, with poise and cadence. The production is a dope mix of ambient sounds, rolling bass and clean drums. Argeo Rain, was a perfect feature choice. His flow is a great compliment to La Lo East and the song is just well made all round.

This was a well put together debut. La Lo East sets himself up to become a real story teller of the game. He is a truly gifted lyricist and is able to keep it real without sounding played out. Go follow him on Instagram: @laloeast

Score: 7/10

Houston’s Cam Wallace Signs To Motown Records

It’s draft day for the new sensation Cam Wallace.

Today, it was announced that the Houston rapper just signed a deal with Motown Records. The home of superstars Migos, Ne-yo and Lil Baby made the signing announcement Wednesday (Mar 24) via Instagram with the caption: “We are proud to welcome the multi-talented @camiam4ever to the Motown family.”

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“Cam is a once-in-a-lifetime talent that raps, sings, produces, engineers, mixes at a high quality,” said Vice President of A&R – Motown Records – Shawn Barron in a statement.

A triple-threat, Cam Wallace developed a following with his collaboration alongside Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Slim Thug, Rock City, and Lecrae. Between crafting hits for stars, the rising artist made a name for himself as a solo act with buzzworthy hits “Retail,” “Rigth Quick” and “The Rulez.” The new deal establishes anticipation for a new album, expected 2021.

Wallace released a new visual to commemorate the announcement in the freestyle “Lemon Pepper Freestyle,” made a hit by Drake and Rick Ross several weeks ago. For more Cam Wallace, follow the new artist on Instagram. Watch the new video below.

Cat Stockton – “A Mick’s Tape” (Album Review)

Cat Stockton is an underground MC coming out of Chicago, Illinois. Recently, he just dropped his debut album “A Mick’s Tape”. With a chance at becoming Chiacogo’s next superstar, can Cat Stockton create a classic?

Between the vibrant feel and Stockton’s unique rapping style, this project is definitely like nothing else coming out of the Chicago scene. The intro “Mr. NeighborGOOD” sets the perfect tone by setting up Cat’s life through witty lyricism and hard-hitting punchlines. In addition to his tricky rapping ability, Mick also has a melodic side which proves he can tap into an array of rhythmic pockets. Learning of his Irish background through the project, Cat becomes a distinct character who you will start to feel for and understand where he is at in his life and what’s driving him to success. While these themes and ideas are present, there only really hinted at through what is otherwise a very upbeat performance from Cat Stockton. Cuts that showcase this ability the best art “Old School” and “Charged Up,” which thrive due to their passionate songwriting and deep undertones. Out of all the moments, I found “Moore Smoke” to be the definite standout as we see Cat at his absolute lowest here, speaking in a way that’s both bitter and menacing at the same time. As a whole, Cat Stockton lays out all the intangibles that a great rapper needs.

Behind the boards, there’s an upscale soundtrack that’s raw and integral to Stockton’s ideas. None of these instrumentals break any boundaries, but their simple boom-bap patterns are more than enough to glue the record together. From the classic boom-bap-esc “Mr. NeighborGood” to the climatic strings of “Off ze Record,” each beat captures the pinnacle of what pure hip hop is about. Another touch that makes these loops super memorable is the number of chops and turns in them, which keeps things super exciting and ever-changing. Out of all the well-composed beats, the pinnacle of the production is hands down “Moore Smoke,” which thrives due to its diverse scope, which fuses trap with the boom-bap style the rest of the project contains. Overall, the soundtrack accompanying Cat Stockton adds the perfect backdrop for his unique statement.

In conclusion, A Mick’s Tape is a great entry point into Cat Stockton and what he has to offer. He’s a great MC, and the personality he’s able to build in these six short songs is impressive. Going forward id love to see a full-length effort that takes Stockton to the next level.

Rating: 7/10

Highlights: Lyricism, Versatility, Production

Virginia’s Fresh Porter Releases Buzzing ‘OMDN’ LP

He made a name for himself with Trey Songz, Gucci Mane, Pusha T and seen a skyrocketing rise to the top in a year, but Virginia’s Fresh Porter doesn’t forget where he’s came from and those who could be here to see his success and remembers the fallen with his new album release OMDN. Lead by the red-hot single “Dogg Jigga,” Porter brings the world to the other side of the DMV that isn’t shown on TV. The perfect jump-on point for any newfound fan.

For the new album, Porter keeps his best work for himself as he dives into his past with skillful wordplay, undeniable presence and exhibition of longevity through a cult following. The 22-track collection takes listeners through a rollercoaster of emotions while still maintaining the raw hunger of an artist delivering his first demo. Including standout songs “Dogg Jigga,” “Big Tiper” and “Bussdown,” the project features Pooh Sheisty, Trey Songz, Kahri 1k and more. The album is a letter to those lost along the way.

Porter on making ‘OMDN’:

“OMDN is a acronym for on my dead niggas, which is slang in Petersburg verbatim to the phrase On God; we usually reference our dead homeboys to show sincerity and honesty. The concept for the album came about while I was serving my 4-year sentence in prison. During my bid, I lost three close friends and wanted to do something to honor them. That’s why you see their faces on the cover instead of mine. OMDN also introduces our culture to the world through my music.”

Available now N$G Records, for more on Fresh Porter, join the 20k followers following the rising star on Instagram. Get familiar because 2021 is the year of the Fresh.

Stream OMDN below and watch Fresh Porter celebrate his first birthday free after a four-year bid in the vlog below.