Alla Xul Elu – “Mauxuleum” (Album Review)

This is the 4th full-length album from Ohio horrorcore trio Alla Xul Elu. Starting off as a duo, Billy Obey & Joey Black started making noise in the underground by releasing their first 2 albums Head of Horns & Sci-Co in 2015. Couple years later, Lee Carver joined & they dropped their debut EP Necronomichron that same year. However it wasn’t until 2018 that the Xul made their biggest break when Twiztid signing them to their label Majik Ninja Entertainment, dropping their 3rd album The Almighty shortly after & then their 2nd EP Church of Xul last spring to universal acclaim. Fast forward to now, Xul is enlisting Slasher Dave to help take listeners a trip into the Mauxuleum.

After the “E.N.D.”, the title track that kicks the album talks about the Mauxuleum being worse than Hell over a ghostly beat, but then the next song “Blood Moon & Back” is an unexpectedly dark love tune that goes over better than you’d expect. The track “Rituals of Rot” talks about becoming undead over a spine-tingling beat while the song “Donna, The Dead” talks about the titular Donda taking her own life over a groggy instrumental.

The song “L.I.F.E. (Let It Fucking End)” talks about how going on living is a joke over an industrial beat while the track “Deathbed” talking about their desire to rest in peace for eternity over an abrasively eerie instrumental. The song “Nails” talks about failing when they try over a bass-heavy instrumental while the track “Rigor Erectus” talks about necrophilia over a somewhat funky boom bap beat.

The song “Deadline” talks about purgatory over an horror movie-esque instrumental with some heavy guitars during the hook while the track “Random Axe of Violence” portrays themselves as serial killers over an intoxicating beat. The song “Mask Made Me Do It” talks about their forever faces over a Frankenstein-like beat fusing boom bap, metal & even trap whereas “The Harvester” that finishes the album off talks about how there’s no escaping from the titular character’s clutch over a bleak instrumental with a guitar wailing in the background.

These guys have become the greatest horrorcore act in recent memory & they really outdid themselves on this new album over here. Not only do the lyrics continue to delve deeper into more disturbing territory, but Slasher Dave really hones it & cooks up some of the best production of his entire career.

Score: 9/10

Black Thought – “Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cain & Abel” (EP Review)

Black Thought is a MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania most notable as the frontman of The Roots. Since the very beginning of his career, Black Thought has solidified himself as one of the most skilled & well respected lyricists in all of hip hop from his work with the band or his lengthy list of show-stopping features. However, it wouldn’t be until 2018 when he finally started putting out projects under his own name with the 9th Wonder-produced Streams of Thought & the Salaam Remi-produced Streams of Thought 2: Traxploitation. But just about 2 years later, Black Thought is enlisting Sean Cane for the long-awaited 3rd installment.

The EP kicks off with “I’m Not Crazy (First Contact)”, where Black Thought completely shits on Christopher Columbus in complete reverb over a slow guitar-laced beat. The next song “State Prisoner” talks about needing each other for survival over a dynamic instrumental with some choir vocals during the first half while the track “Good Morning” with Killer Mike & Pusha T finds the trio talking about the struggles African Americans face along with ego-trip over an apocalyptic beat. The song “Magnificent” boasts his lyrical prowess over a funky instrumental with some live drums & after the “Experience” interlude, the track “Quiet Trip” reminisces about the old times over an fiery beat.

The song “Nature of the Beast” talks about how everyone in this country is all going through the same shit over an instrumental with some well incorporated synths while the track “We Could Be Good (United)” talks about this woman who complains all the time over a sensual boom bap beat. The song “Steak Um” with ScHoolboy Q finds the 2 talking about oppression over an instrumental with a haunting atmosphere to it while the track “Thought vs. Everybody” talks about being the most powerful black man in America over a funky beat. The “Ghetto Boys & Girls” interlude talks about coming from nothing over a spacious instrumental whereas the final song “Fuel” reads as a power open letter to the listener over a gospel-esque beat. Then for the outro, it’s just a decent reprise of the intro.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this one going into this but coming away from it, it’s a solid listen. Sean Cane’s production being a bit more glossier than the last 2 EPs were but that doesn’t hold it back at all as Black Thought provides a unique perspective on a wide range of topics on here, further cementing himself as one of the greatest MCs of all-time. Really looking forward to see what’s in store for the 4th installment.

Score: 7/10

Benny the Butcher – “Burden of Proof” (Album Review)

This is the sophomore album from Buffalo emcee Benny the Butcher. Coming up as the leader of the Black Soprano Family collective as well as a signee to Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine’s label Griselda Records, he would make his presence known in the culture with his Butcher on Steroids that dropped on his birthday in 2017 as well as his full-length debut Tana Talk 3 on Black Friday 2018. This was followed up 7 months later by releasing The Plugs I Met but a little over a year later, he’s teaming up with Hit-Boy for Burden of Proof.

The title track that kicks the album off is pretty much Benny talking about expanding himself over a boom bap beat with some horns along with an outro from Pain in da Ass whereas the next song “Where Would I Go?” with Rick Ross sees the 2 talking about being big bosses over a heavenly instrumental. The track “Sly Green” talks about money ain’t changing shit for him over a beat that kinda has a JAY-Z feel to it while the song “1 Way Flight” with Freddie Gibbs finds the 2 talking about bitches over a soulful instrumental. The track “Famous” talks about how he still doesn’t feel like a celebrity over an climatic beat while the song “Timeless” with Big Sean & Lil Wayne sees the 3 talking about their legacies over an energized instrumental.

The track “New Streets” talks about only being concerned of what hustlers think rather than haters over a classy soul sample while the song “Over the Limit” talks about success over a smooth, cavernous instrumental & it’s great to hear The Madd Rapper during the outro. The track “Trade It All” talks about his desire to give up his wealth to see those he’s lost once more over a somber beat while the song “Thank God I Made It” talks about being grateful for where he is today over a lavish instrumental. The penultimate track “War Paint” with Conway the Machine finds the 2 spitting the usual pusher bars over a beat with hypnotic vocal loop hanging in the background & then the album finishes with “Legend”, where Benny proclaims himself as such over a delicate instrumental.

Even though I’d have to go with From King to a God for my Album of the Year pick so far, this is just as great in my personal opinion. The production Hit-Boy brings to the table is somewhat more glamorous & clean in comparison to Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met, but it manages to suit Benny well as we get to hear him at his most mature.

Score: 8/10

Mic Pro – “Staring Thru My Rearview” (Album Review)

Mic Pro releases his 1st debut album “Starring Through my Rearview” inspired by the Hip-Hop Legend 2Pac Shakur. At 1st Glance you see the Cali influenced cover as the beach and palm trees bring you right to the scene. The 2nd track on the album “Life Lessons” was like a breathe of fresh air. Not enough artist in todays climate are creating educational stories within their music, Listening to Mic Pro was like a blast from the past. The sonic vibration and delivery reminded me of Ahmad the Los Angles legend who’s hit single “Back in The Day” took the world by storm.

As the album continues “Come Fuck with me” which was pretty dry sonically but still reminded me some what of Dj Quik. I can see potential in Mic Pro but his delivery needs to be more compact. “Windows Down” was for sure a g-funk vibe but the hook was incredibly simple and Corny, Now as for the feature verses from Micheal Antonio & Den Rock which were solid west coast vibes. “No Juice” was actually a catchy song and melodic vibe, I like the Chucc Dizzle fast pace flow and how it compliments the slower pace hook.

“Hand In Greed” started with a horror musical vibe with Hip-Hop overtones I like the creativity behind the production and look forward to seeing a video to this record. The Horror death rap scene is a mobilizing movement within underground Hip-Hop, I can see Mic Pro working within the niche. The production behind “Ego” was very dope I caught on to the hook instantly sound like an island collaboration of sounds. This would also be another fun interactive music video.

“Tippin” right off the back gave me an early 2000s feel of smooth productions, Even some of his lyrics felt like they were pulled from the Bad Boy aesthetic. The cruise vibe and P-Diddy vibes is like homage in todays climate. “Cherilyn Monroe” was a prostitute origin story who becomes part of much larger dark spectrum. This is a common theme in poverty because of the easy access to funds in a chaotic economy. What most people don’t know about Marylin Monroe she grew up in the city of Compton notorious for prostitution and poverty.

“Gurella Pimpin” was one of those raw Hip-Hop records with that high energy lyrics and animation. The production was gritty and matched the deliveries as I can see this being a good workout track. Mic Pro has an assort of different styles on this album  and we can’t wait see his growth within music. For more news updates and musicals campaigns follow Mic Pro on Spotify and keep up with the latest.

Rate 5/10

Rolling Stone Premiere’s Benny The Butcher & Hit-Boy New Video, “Legend”

There is no disputing that Benny The Butcher has arrived.  With anticipation now at a fever pitch, Benny puts a bow on his and Griselda’s genre-shifting year with his new album Burden Of Proof; an album that aligns the best rapper alive, with the hottest producer (Hit-Boy) of 2020.

Mastered by Guru, Burden of Proof is The Butcher’s official level up.  After announcing his new album last week with “Timeless” featuring Lil Wayne and Big Sean, on the eve of Burden Of Proof’s release, Benny shares a visual for “Legend,” which as he states, was supposed to be the lead single. The video also was premiered by Rolling Stone.

“Hit-Boy contacted me and said lets work.  We linked up in LA and the first song we did together was fire.  The first song we recorded was “Legend” and it was supposed to be the first single” he commented to Rolling Stone.  “The shit was so good, we were just like let’s keep going. And our chemistry was so great and the music was so good and really happening organically, and before we knew it, we had an album.”

Benny The Butcher’s Burden Of Proof  will be released on 10-16-20 and features appearances from Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Freddie Gibbs, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn, Queen Najia and Dom Kennedy.  Burden Of Proof is executive-produced by Benny The Butcher, Hit-Boy and Westside Gunn.