Darby O’Trill & Devereaux Prelude “The Tomb” in the Form of ”Amputate” (EP Review)

This is the 5th EP from Floridian emcee Darby O’Trill. Coming up in the fall of 2018 off his full-length debut Blood, Guts & a Whole Lotta Love, he would go on to follow it with Fester almost a year later & has extensively been working with Chapter 17/Psychopathic Records in-house producer Devereaux by bringing him into the cut to fully produce his 3rd album Piecemeal to critical acclaim during the COVID-19 pandemic. His last full-length Gully came out this past spring under Lyrikal Snuff Productionz & instantly became a modern day wicked shit classic so when it was announced that Darby & Dev were giving us Amputate as a prelude to The Tomb on Halloween, the anticipation was most certainly there.

“Carcass in the Car Wash” kicks off the whole EP with a synth-laced trap beat taking aim at all the knock-offs while the penultimate track “Take a Shower & Clean Your Clothes, You Smell Like Complete Garbage” has a more haunting atmosphere to it talking about drinking bleach. “I Hate Rappers Who Only Rap About Rapping” though sends Amputate off with an operatic loop, some hi-hats & Darby describing the sick world that we all be living in.

You know for a 3 track/5 minute EP, I think it’ll hold off just fine until we enter The Tomb a little over a month from now. Devereaux’s production continues to elevate, Darby lyrically continues to push himself as one of the best newcomers in the underground right now & the Jugg-A-Holics tags throughout are a fresh homage to DJ Trap-A-Holics.

Score: 7/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Fredro Starr Refines His Production as SmooVth Travels Down a ”Project Near You” (Album Review)

This is the 14th full-length album from Hempstead emcee SmooVth. Coming up as 1/2 of the duo Tha Connection alongside Hus Kingpin, he would also build an impressive solo discography for himself along the way with my personal favorites being just about everything that Giallo Point has ever done with him: Portrait of a PimpMedellin, the sequel to the latter Medellin II: Don Fabio Amongst Wolves. But when it was revealed that Fredro Starr of the revered Queens duo Onyx was gonna behind the boards for Project Near You from beginning to end, my anticipation for it was very high considering that Q started making beats recently as well as Onyx vs. Everybody being the best thing that he & Sticky Fingaz have done together since the Snowgoons-produced SnowMads nearly 3 years back.

“Project” is a soulful opener vividly describing how it be in Hempstead whereas “The High” works in some pianos to talk about making a band. “That’z Us” brings some stellar vibraphones in the mix so that both parties can give it to you raw & uncut, but then Tha Connection links up for the piano/boom bap hybrid “Niggary” with both MCs spitting some gritty ass gangsta raps.

Meanwhile on “17 a Key”, we have SmooVth over a drumless loop getting on his pyrex shit leading into J.D. Era tagging along for the dreary “100 Up” talking about how no one can fuck with them even though J.D.’s verse has to be the weakest feature on the album with all respect. Fredro himself comes into the picture for the title track lacing some acoustics & dusty drums advising that they’ll be pulling up to a hood nearby just before “Straight A’s” brings back the keys looking back on being told he can’t get paid or laid.

The song “Imagine” shoots for a more tranquil aesthetic instrumentally providing food for thought while the penultimate track “Corner Pockets” returns to grimier territory talking about how ruff & rugged shit can get. “Sad & Blue” however ends the album with glossy beat & a sample of “La Di Da Di” by Slick Rick as SmooVth tells his audience that’s exactly how he’s feeling.

Now, if you happen to be a fan of both of these guys like I am, then I highly recommend giving Project Near You a listen because it’s one of my favorite SmooVth albums to date. The lyricism from him & nearly every feature takes you through the harsh realities of the Big Apple with Fredro’s continuing to refine his production game, as the shit he cooks up here is even better than what I heard on the last Onyx EP.

Score: 8/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Fatlip Returns Out of “Torpor” on Long-Awaited Sophomore Effort (Album Review)

Fatlip is a 53 year old MC from Los Angeles, California who came up in the late 80s as a member of The Pharcyde. He eventually branched out with a solo debut of his own The Loneliest Punk the day after Halloween in 2005 & now coming fresh off his recent collab album with Blu this past spring called Live From the End of the World, he’s enlisting Sccit & Siavash the Grouch to produce a majority of his long-awaited sophomore album right here.

After the titular intro, M.O 99 & & RBX tag along for the first song “Wake Up” to jump on top of a funky beat talking about how partying so much to the point where they couldn’t get out of bed whereas “February” takes a more acoustic route getting on a more conscious tip lyrically. Sccit comes into the picture for the trap-laced “Energy” talking about being built to last & after the “Message #1” skit, “Dust in the Wind” dives into more jazzier territory thanks to Chris “The Glove” Taylor with Krayzie Bone joining Lip spitting some life shit.

“My Bad” by The Pharcyde goes into cloudier turf confessing that frustration got them going blind & after the “Message #2” skit, Sccit & Krazyie return for “The Way” to explain how it’s supposed to be over an upbeat instrumental. “DC” brings back the synthesizers talking about still being free & after the final “Message” skit, The Pharcyde returns for the wavy penultimate track “30 Minutes Late” confessing being a half hour late for rehearsal. “Fulla Flava” though is a rich closer talking about never being a fake mobster.

Now I know The Pharcyde has been celebrating the 30 year anniversary of their iconic debut Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde throughout 2022 & hopefully the trio puts out a new album through Rhymesayers Entertainment in the near future but if you enjoyed The Loneliest Punk like I did, then you’re gonna want to check out Torpor. Lip sounds recharged on the mic after his 17-year break from the spotlight & the production throughout is impressively slick.

Score: 7/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Ransom Lets Y’all in How “This Life Made Me” (EP Review)

This is the 8th EP from Jersey City wordsmith Ransom. Coming up as 1/2 of the short-lived duo A-Team alongside Hitchcock, he branched out on his own in 2008 following their disbandment beginning with his 2008 full-length debut Street Cinema & the Statik Selektah-produced sophomore effort The Proposal. But it’s been safe to say these last couple years have been his biggest so far whether it be the 5 EPs that he put out produced by Nicholas Craven & his last EP 7 based around the 7 deadly sins or his previous album Heavy’s the Head produced by Big Ghost Ltd., the Rome Streetz collab album Coup de Grâce & more recently his latest album No Rest for the Wicked earlier this spring. But now that fall’s here, Ransom’s enlisting Mayor & Ty Jamz to produce This Life Made Me top to bottom.

“Pain is Glory” is an organ-laced opener declaring himself to be the modern day Michelangelo whereas “Ignorance” works in a boom bap instrumental to talk about talking about being a businessman. “The Prophecy” takes a more triumphant route bragging that he’s the greatest while 38 Spesh tags along for the soulful “Last Gasp” confessing that they wanna see the best sides of them. “The World is Yours” has some cool rock undertones to the beat talking about swerving the law, but then Havoc comes into the picture to bring back the organs for the closer “Purge Night” belittling their opposition.

Ran went on social media last night calling this EP “a warm up for what’s about to come” & whatever that may be, I’m very excited to hear it because this dude is one of the most consistent MCs in all of hip hop today. His lyricism is only getting better as time goes on with Mayor & Ty Jamz managing to cook up some very eclectic production together pulling from boom bap to soul & even rock.

Score: 8/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Milano Constantine & Big Ghost Ltd. Demand You ”Pay the Ghost” (Album Review)

This is the 5th full-length album from New York veteran Milano Constantine. Coming up in the early 2000s as a D.I.T.C. affiliate, it wouldn’t be until 2008 when he dropped his debut Sidewalk Stories & returned in 2015 with his debut mixtape The Believers. This was followed up with the Drum Majors-produced sophomore album The Way We Were along with the Oh Jay-produced Attache Case & the Showbiz-produced Boulevard Author, which is some of his best work in my opinion. However, I did enjoy his 2nd EP Eating But Still Hungry quite a bit when it came out a year & a half ago. So when it was announced that the revered underground producer Big Ghost Ltd. was hopping behind the boards for Pay the Ghost following up Milano’s last EP Block Work, anticipation going into it was very high for me personally.

“Church Service” is a bout of an uncanny way to start off the album lettin’ y’all know where you can see ‘em servin’ whereas “Target Practice” sonically feels like something out of a horror flick with Milano talking about painting the whole town red. The title track takes a more cinematic route saying that’s exactly what you gotta do sometimes, but then “Judge Mathis” itself is a piano/boom bap hybrid delivering some grimy criminology rap.

Continuing from there with “Parmigiano”, we have Crimeapple tagging along with Milano on top of some synthesizers & similar drums to the previous cut boasting their skills leading into the futuristic yet raw “Ghost Photo” getting on his gully shit lyrically. “Firewater” returns to the boom bap comparing his dialogue to such while the song “Lose You” dives into soulful turf with it’s sample along with some incredible wordplay referencing the likes of Sam Cooke & Al Green.

The penultimate track “Apex Predator” blends some pianos & synths bragging that he’s on the top of the food chain while Daniel Son & Rigz both come into the picture for “Mental Health”, which is a rugged closer to the album from the rugged beat to the vivid lyricism that all 3 MCs on the mic each have to offer individually.

Compared to the 2 EPs that Milano put out last year, Pay the Ghost is the best thing he’s put out in the 2020s thus far & a new favorite of mine in his ever-growing discography. Lyrically, the murals that Milano describes are extremely intricate & I really admire how Big Ghost decided to pull from both horror & 70s/80s sci-fi movies as far as production goes.

Score: 8/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Pink Siifu & Real Bad Man Release New Collaborative Project “Real Bad Flights”

After teaming up to release Real Bad Boldy (2021), and Killing Nothing (2022) with Boldy James, Real Bad Man is cooking again—and this time with rising star Pink Siifu. “Real Bad Flights” is produced in its entirety by Real Bad Man and features appearances from Boldy James, Armand Hammer & Chuck Strangers among others. 

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Joell Ortiz & KXNG CROOKED Welcome You to “Harbor City” (Album Review)

This is the sophomore album from hardcore hip hop super-duo H.A.R.D. a.k.a. the Housing Authority Rap District. Consisting of Joell Ortiz & KXNG CROOKED, both these guys had notorious label issues at the start of their careers only to see success as members of the supergroup Slaughterhouse along with Royce da 5’9” & Joe Budden from the late 2000s up until the mid-2010s. The quartet had quietly disbanded in 2016 after Joe’s retirement from making music even though it wasn’t confirmed until 2 years later, but the other 3 members have been keeping themselves busy ever since. H.A.R.D. introduced themselves a couple months after the pandemic hit with an incredible eponymous debut EP followed by their full-length debut The Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse earlier this spring. But as the 3rd quarter of the year draws to a close in a couple weeks, Crook & Joell are taking the world through Harbor City.

After the “Rookie’s 1st Dead Body” intro, the first song “Heat Wave” kicks off the album with a gospel-tinged instrumental to get into their hardcore bag whereas “Welcome to Harbor City” takes a more airier route thanks to DJ Silk talking about the titular California location. “Energy” works in a deadpan beat to describe how they walked out of the projects, but then “Drip Club” fuses a piano & a hi-hat for a party anthem.

Meanwhile on “Holy Water”, we have H.A.R.D. officer a flute-heavy trap instrumental talking about having permission to take a higher road leading into AZ tagging along for “Vibrate Higher” over some crooning boom bap production provided by The Heatmakerz dodging all the bullshit. “Brooklyn” is a rock-flavored Joell solo cut paying tribute to one of the biggest cities in NY & after the “BK LB Blend” interlude, “Community Center” blends some strings & congo drums reflecting on the days where you used to find them.

“Long Beach Blvd.” is of course a rugged KXNG CROOKED solo joint talking about his neck of the woods while “Pawnshop Jewelry” shoots for a jazzier aesthetic bragging that they have a waterfall full of diamonds. After the “Officer Pirelli Schools the Rookie” interlude, “911” has a more chaotic vibe airing out the biggest gang in America while “1-800-Get-Hard” & “Stop Playin’ with Kim” are 2 skits going up back-to-back with each other.

Continuing from there with “Don’t Forget About Her”, H.A.R.D. jumps on top of a high-pitched sample vividly describing a woman who’s unforgettable while “Dead Body” following the “Nahdeadassyo” interlude ghoulishly paints the image of a corpse floating besides themselves. After the “Pirelli Doesn’t Like Us!” interlude, “Underground” is a soulful Yaowa solo cut talking about getting what you gotta get & staying clear while the track “Ocean Terminal” with Lin-Manuel Miranda dives into calmer yet melodic territory providing inspirational lyricism. And prior to the “Who Shot Ya?” outro, “Game Over” is a gully finisher calling for everyone to quit snitching on themselves.

Now if you loved H.A.R.D.’s self-titled EP & their full-length debut like I did as someone who was a big fan of Slaughterhouse back in my teen years, then you’re gonna wanna check Harbor City out because it’s their 3rd consecutive banger together. I think the production on here is a bit better than Rise & Fall of Slaughterhouse, but I do admire that they took it back to the basics of self-titled as far as lyricism goes & I like how they bring in more features than they did on their earlier work.

Score: 8/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Boondox Takes It Back to Horrorcore For ”So Much Blood” (EP Review)

This is the 6th EP from Georgia emcee Boondox. Coming up as 1/3 of the trio Southern Hustlas Inc. under the moniker Turncoat Dirty, he would go on to sign with Psychopathic Records in 2005 following the release of his debut EP Dama Blanca & remained under the Insane Clown Posse’s wing for about a decade putting out his first 4 albums along with his 2nd EP PunkinHed through the infamous Detroit label that runs beneath the streets. Former label-mates Twiztid then brought the Killer Scarecrow on board over at Majik Ninja Entertainment in the winter of 2016, whom he’s still signed to today. Last time we heard from Boondox was last summer with the Seven-produced Cryptodirt EP that Mobstyle Music backed with the help of MNE & is now ringing in the fall 4 days early in the form of So Much Blood.

After the titular intro, the first song “Prey for Me” is a demented opener produced by Fritz the Cat with some rock undertones talking about being unable to pray for those who be hoping on his downfall whereas “A Beautiful Death” dives into trap territory thanks to Seven pondering how he ends up in the situations he gets himself into. “Re-Animator” works in some more rock undertones expressing that he wants something real while the song “Devil’s Due” returns to the trap talking about possession. The penultimate track “Open Vein” has a bit of a boom bap flare to it admitting that he feels alive committing murders & “Gravely Ill” ends the EP with a heinous trap banger about falling asleep in the cemetery.

In comparison to the heavy gangsta rap themes of Cryptodirt about 13 months ago now, So Much Blood finds Boondox returning to the wicked shit just in time for the Autumn Equinox next Thursday. Lyrically, the killer scarecrow sounds more vicious than ever with Seven & Fritz’ production excellently honing in on a darker sound to help bring these gruesome tales to life.

Score: 8/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Trizz’ Latest Album “Baseline Cavi” Produced By Seven is His Most Well Rounded Yet (Album Review)

Trizz is a 30 year old MC from Los Angeles, California who first picked up a microphone at the age of 9. But it wasn’t until his late teens where he properly introduced himself to a wider audience in the form of his debut mixtape Suicide with No Note, which was followed up with New West & The Right to Bear Arms before being taken under the wing of Sacramento horrorcore veteran Brotha Lynch Hung by signing to Madesicc Muzicc for a brief period of time. He would later go on to drop 5 more tapes, 4 full-lengths, 5 EPs, 5 collab projects with Chuuwee, 1 with Flashy B & another with Sahtyre all within the last decade. But for his 5th album over here, he’s decided to bring in former Strange Music in-house producer Seven behind the boards from start to finish.

After the titular intro, “the inLAnd” kicks off the album with an incredible g-funk ode to Los Angeles whereas “Keep It a Buck” works in a trap instrumental with a weeping loop talking about being legit. “90210” comes through with a warm romance anthem with it’s acoustic instrumental & Bino Rideaux’s hook leading into the synth-funk “Shit Don’t Stop” flexing with an insane amount of charisma.

Meanwhile on “Summer Break”, we have Trizz delivering a mellow summertime bop just before “Tha Front Yard” brings back the g-funk talking about how people wanna be like him & the John Givez hook is pretty catchy. “Hollywood, Oh Hollywood” is a rich yet jazzy depiction of the titular city, but then “Red Headed Stepchild” kicks off with an eerie sample confessing he doesn’t even know how many time’s he’s been counted out.

T.F., IceColdBishop & Bale all come into the picture for “Bless the Dead” with it’s soulful boom bap beat opening up about seeing their deceased colleagues looking at the sky tonight while the song “Crashed” fuses trap with rock spit reflecting on a car accident that he got into back when he had nothing. The penultimate track “Had to Do It Myself” is of course a spacey ode to self-hustle & to round it all off XV tags along for the cloudy “On & On” talking about a walking a path that never ends.

As someone who’s been rocking with Trizz for about a decade now, this is his most well-rounded body of work to date & one of the best West Coast albums I’ve heard all year. He gets a lot of his chest detailing his life in the City of Angels as far as lyricism goes with Seven’s production being incredibly versatile pulling from g-funk, boom bap, rock, trap, synth-funk & jazz rap.

Score: 9/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email

Trizz’ 5th Album “Baseline Cavi” Produced By Seven is His Most Well Rounded Yet (Album Review)

Trizz is a 30 year old MC from Los Angeles, California who first picked up a microphone at the age of 9. But it wasn’t until his late teens where he properly introduced himself to a wider audience in the form of his debut mixtape Suicide with No Note, which was followed up with New West & The Right to Bear Arms before being taken under the wing of Sacramento horrorcore veteran Brotha Lynch Hung by signing to Madesicc Muzicc for a brief period of time. He would later go on to drop 5 more tapes, 4 full-lengths, 5 EPs, 5 collab projects with Chuuwee, 1 with Flashy B & another with Sahtyre all within the last decade. But for his 5th album over here, he’s decided to bring in former Strange Music in-house producer Seven behind the boards from start to finish.

After the titular intro, “the inLAnd” kicks off the album with an incredible g-funk ode to Los Angeles whereas “Keep It a Buck” works in a trap instrumental with a weeping loop talking about being legit. “90210” comes through with a warm romance anthem with it’s acoustic instrumental & Bino Rideaux’s hook leading into the synth-funk “Shit Don’t Stop” flexing with an insane amount of charisma.

Meanwhile on “Summer Break”, we have Trizz delivering a mellow summertime bop just before “Tha Front Yard” brings back the g-funk talking about how people wanna be like him & the John Givez hook is pretty catchy. “Hollywood, Oh Hollywood” is a rich yet jazzy depiction of the titular city, but then “Red Headed Stepchild” kicks off with an eerie sample confessing he doesn’t even know how many time’s he’s been counted out.

T.F., IceColdBishop & Bale all come into the picture for “Bless the Dead” with it’s soulful boom bap beat opening up about seeing their deceased colleagues looking at the sky tonight while the song “Crashed” fuses trap with rock spit reflecting on a car accident that he got into back when he had nothing. The penultimate track “Had to Do It Myself” is of course a spacey ode to self-hustle & to round it all off XV tags along for the cloudy “On & On” talking about a walking a path that never ends.

As someone who’s been rocking with Trizz for about a decade now, this is his most well-rounded body of work to date & one of the best West Coast albums I’ve heard all year. He gets a lot of his chest detailing his life in the City of Angels as far as lyricism goes with Seven’s production being incredibly versatile pulling from g-funk, boom bap, rock, trap, synth-funk & jazz rap.

Score: 9/10

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Reddit
  • Share on Pinterest
  • Share on Email