(həd) p.e. – “Class of 2020” (Album Review)

(həd) p.e. is a g-punk outfit from Huntington Beach, California masterminded by Jahred Gomes. From their first 2 albums under Jive to their first stint on Suburban Noize in the mid-2000s, these guys have truly been making a name for themselves for over 25 years whether that be their eclectic sound or the more political lyrics on their most recent output. They returned to Subnoize last year for their 11th album Stampede & to mark the 20th anniversary of their sophomore effort Broke this weekend, Jahred & company are celebrating with a sequel.

The album kicks off with “First Blood”, where Jahred angrily talks about how we’re all living in sin over some head-banging instrumentation. The next song “Watch It Burn” gets confrontational over some popping drums alongside a chugging guitar lead while the track “No Days Off” screams about putting his life on the line everyday & the soundscapes on here are electrifying. The song “Death Awaits” is sure to get the pits going whenever we can have live shows again from while the track “Last Call” is an enjoyable reggae/rock fusion.

The song “Ole Time Sake” is kind of a throwback to 80’s metal as the lyrics talk about being young at heart while the track “Greedy Girl” is a slow, melodic ballad expressing Jahred‘s affection for the titular character. The song “Nothing Lasts 4Ever (The Ballad of C19)” is an optimistic response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic while the penultimate track “We the People” gets on the political side of things & the hellish instrumentation are absolutely perfect. The closer “Overdue” has a depressive & confessional tone to it that I really enjoy, but the hook is a bit too robotic for me personally.

Even though the quartet seems to be self-aware that Stampede didn’t resonate with hardcore fans due to it’s heavy usage of auto-tune, this is a great return to form for them. Jahred Gomes’ vocals are still remarkably commanding & the sound on here is a refreshing callback to (həd) p.e.’s early work.

Score: 8/10

https://open.spotify.com/album/3gD4xdXQY2hxPb4q1giikl?si=gqy0cm-ORfSwTcqcn6HRWg

Flee Lord & 38 Spesh – “Loyalty & Trust 2” (EP Review)

 

This is the 11th EP from Queensbridge emcee Flee Lord. Coming up as a protege of the late Prodigy, he eventually became a force to be reckoned with in the underground. But 2020 has proven to be Flee’s most prolific year yet, dropping a new project every month since February. And to make up for not dropping in January, he’s reuniting with 38 Spesh for a sequel to Loyalty & Trust before dropping Pray for the Evil 2 next week.

The EP kicks off with “5 on Us”, where Flee talks about doing it for his kids over a boom bap beat with menacing piano loop. The next song “Lords & Gods” with the late Fred the Godson sees the 2 talking about building an empire over an eerie instrumental while the track “2 Pics on My Gram” talks about how he isn’t gonna be missing anymore over a beat with some kids singing in the background. The song “Aunty” talks about cooking coke over an instrumental that sounds like something RZA would’ve made in the late-90’s while the track “Weird Time” talks about how “cats kill mice, but the dog kill cat” over a boom bap beat with an nice orchestral sample.

The song “Still Trapped” talks about how he thought he wanted out of the dope game over a bleak instrumental while the track “Motivate tha Real” is a touching dedication to Fred the Godson. The penultimate track with Che Noir is a fantastically cold-blooded sequel to “Both Views” off the original Loyalty & Death whereas the titular outro that finishes the EP off talks about how fucking with him will get your melon banged over a sorrowful boom bap beat.

Flee Lord has yet again come through with another stellar project. He continues to reveal himself as one of the most ferocious lyricists out of New York today with each passing month & 38 Spesh’s production on here compliment his gritty bars just as much as it did on the predecessor.

Score: 8/10

 

Jehry Robinson – “20/Twenty” (Album Review)


Jehry Robinson is a 32 year old rapper, singer, songwriter & producer from Long Island, New York who’s been around for quite a now dropping a self-titled mixtape in 2016 & then an EP the following year. He just signed to Strange Music this past winter & as we approach the end of summer, Jehry is dropping off his full-length debut.

The album kicks off with “Daylight”, where Jehry & Tech N9ne talk about being elites over a woozy beat from Seven. The next song “Follow My Lead” with King Iso sees the 2 talking about being uncontrollable over a cavernous trap beat while the track “No Refunds” goes full-blown reggae to talk about making your time in this world count. The song “Earthquakes” vents about missing home over an tropical beat from Wyshmaster while the track “Daddy Issues” talks about being there for his niece over an acoustic instrumental.

The song “In My Feels” opens up about his inner demons over a smooth beat while the track “Reseverations” telling this person the possibility of staying with him over some more reggae production. The song “Mind Your Business” pretty much speaks for itself over a cavernous instrumental while the track “Impatient” talks about being just that over a dreary beat. The song “Gas in the Tank” talks about going up from here now that he has a record deal over an aggressive trap beat while the track “Walk Away” talks about how life’s amazing & the empowering feel of the production fits just great.

The song “Michael” is a tearjerking tribute to Jehry’s cousin of the same name who passed away of a drug overdose while the track “Closer to the Sun” is a playful summertime bop. The song “Torture” talks about feeling like he’s underwater over an infectiously rhythmic instrumental while the track “Ego” talks about remaining humble over a tropical instrumental. The song “Ritual” with Joey Cool sees the 2 talking about spreading love over a triumphant beat while the track “Lights” is a touching ballad that seems to be written towards Jehry’s incredible manager/wife Tara Ennis.

The song “Backburner” talks about how he’s falling into place over a jazzy instrumental while the track “Disagree” with Cozzy Sutra sees the 2 telling their significant others that they both have their own issues over a boom bap beat with a piano-loop. The closer “Foresight” talks about how everyone’s messing with him now due to being signed over some plinky pianos & then there’s the bonus cut “Say Less”, where Jehry links up with Justina Valentine of Wild’n Out fame to clap back at their nonbelievers over a bouncy beat that has a bit of a modern West Coast feel to it.

Strange Music has been staying consistent for several years now whether it be their signings or constantly working on new projects & Jehry Robinson is definitely a good fit for the label. This album really does a good job at giving listeners a deeper look into his personality along with displaying how versatile he can be.

Score: 7/10

https://open.spotify.com/album/19rHTQvRPeSKozj8scMNCe?si=LD5bMws5TbOPU-19YQZ-MA

FNX – “The Universal Frequency” (Mixtape Review)

FNX is a rising hip hop artist from Connecticut. Since 2016, the upcoming rapper has been building up a fanbase with singles like “Sinners” and “God Watching over Me”. He has just released his debut album titled “The Universal Frequency“. Will FNX be able to astonish listeners with this record, or will he fall into the abyss of mediocrity that most never come out of?

Mixing skill with substance makes every song on the album a teachable moment. From the intro “Energy Frequency Vibration”, listeners are engulfed in the album’s main ideas. Focusing on self-worth and destiny, FNX tells the audience that everyone has a purpose. Cuts like “Bottom to Da Top” and “Let Go” present realistic struggles that nearly every human being will face. With practical premises, it is easy to find this MC relatable, which is a trait many struggle with in today’s musical climate. Spirituality is a significant part of the record as FNX believes its an essential element to one’s health and wellness. “Angles” and “All I Do” show this at its pinnacle. “Daddy’s Baby” shows that being the best father he can be is a top priority of FNX. Closing out the record, the final three tracks do an excellent job of wrapping up the story, which most listeners will be emotionally attached to at this point. Overall, FNX’s genuine spirit and ideas are a refreshing view in an industry filled with fakes. 

Sonically, the instrumentals on “The Universal Frequency” have an authentic feel which perfectly complements the style FNX uses on the duration of the project. “Long Way” sets the tone for what to expect going forward as its smooth chimes battle with an eerie horn for the entire song. “All I Do” sounds like a modern boom-bap track while “Daddy’s Baby” has a jazzy feel. “Addicted to You” was a standout as its instrumental, which revolves around a few guitar notes, should be relaxing but has a menacing undertone. Cuts like “Soul Clean/ Luke 4:18” and “Claire’s Story” are built around the angelic instrumentals they contain. Overall, FNX uses a versatile and high-quality soundtrack in order to tie his vision together.

In conclusion, “The Universal Frequency” is a special record that’s like no other I’ve heard. There is a ton to decipher and learn from here as it tells a blend of stories from the living and spiritual world. FNX is a gifted MC who can rap circles around most guys and on top of that, put together a song masterfully. I hope this record gets the attention it deserves, and if you want to see whar FNX does next, be sure to follow @theofficalfnx on Instagram!

Rating: 9/10

Highlights: Lyricism, Relatability, Depth

Stream ‘New Shit’ By Bossed Up Camp feat. Wody

Bossed Up Camp, a hip hop duo from Suffolk, Virginia, surprised fans with a new drop, a solid summer hit ‘New Shit.’ B Menace and Hollywood Quis deliver blissful progressive rap as they layer their flow, and flex on the toned and ripped beat. ‘New Shit’ is the breeziest track we have heard in a while, a strain on nimble truth-talking that’s as effortless as it’s good. Even if ‘New Shit’ follows all the current trends of HipHop, it is not a tacky track or a brash. Bossed Up Camp took a deep insight into the industry and snatched all hints to produce a single that is made to go viral. The distinctive elements of the melody prepared by Superstar Beats pull off a strong bassline while kicks contrast dynamically with the dance hooks. 

 

New Nas Album “King’s Disease” Drops Tomorrow

Nas’ highly eagerly anticipated new twelfth solo studio album titled “King’s Disease” is set to drop tomorrow Friday, 21 August on Mass Appeal Records and Def Jam Recordings. The 13-track album is entirely produced by Hit-Boy and features the lead single ‘Ultra Black’ which dropped a few days ago. That single drop received wide praise as well as a lot of commentary around his Doja Cat diss, following resurfaced video of the Doja in Alt-Right group chats as well as old music from her that coded racist language familiar to Alt-Right racists on the dark web. The new Nas release is set to contain a range of diverse features, including Big Sean, Lil Durk, Anderson .Paak, Brucie B, Charlie Wilson, Don Toliver, Hit-Boy himself also on the mic, Fivio Foreign, A$AP FERG as well as a resembling the original line-up of The Firm which never came to full complete fruition (AZ, Foxy Brown, and most notably Cormega).

The coming together of the original line-up of The Firm (Nature out for Cormega) some 20 years later on track 11 in the appropriately ‘Full Circle’ will immediately raise eyebrows for many hip hop fans, and appears long in the works with Nas and legendary fellow Queensbridge Cormega long squashing their beef near 15 years ago. It will be well-received, particularly by East Coast and 90s/2000s hip hop fans, with Cormega having himself dropped a handful of classic albums since The Firm issues of the mid-90s and the culture long wanting them to reappear on music together. Interestingly the final track titled ‘Spicy’ featuring Fivio Foreign and A$AP FERG is listed as a bonus track, opening the door up for potential multiple format releases across regions and future deluxe editions too.

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King’s Disease will be Nas’ first solo studio album since his 7-track release that dropped back in June 2018 which was produced by Kanye West, admittingly to mixed reviews in what some felt was a bit rushed and short for a Nas drop. With this new album entirely produced by Hit-Boy as well as being executively produced by both Hit-Boy and Nas together, fans can expect a very traditional sounding album flowing seamlessly from front to back, ultimately with Hit-Boy’s modern twist coupled with Nas’ classic style. Pre-orders are out now for the midnight drop tonight from undoubtedly one of the greatest rappers to ever grace the microphone yet – N A S.