Presice85 – “Narcos & Boom Bap” (EP Review)

Presice85 is a 36 year old MC from South Gate, California who first emerged at the very beginning of 2017 off his debut mixtape My Life Novel & followed it up a couple years later with a sequel during the spring time. However with a handful of singles that came down the pipe ever since then, it’s all lead up to his debut EP over here.

“War” starts off the EP with some keyboards & dusty drums talking about how no one wants smoke with him & even though I love the positive vibes of “No More L’s”, the King Lil G verse is kinda corny to me. “Street Poets” with KXNG CROOKED has a more orchestral sound declaring themselves as such whereas the somber “City of God” details going crazy for the cash, even though I’m a bit indifferent towards the Iceman Skrill verse.

The song “Russian Roulette” with Oside Blaze finds the 2 on top of a suiting Russian sample spitting that battle shit while the penultimate track “Body Catcher” gets on that sinister murderous shit. “Blood Sport” ends the EP by forebodingly comparing the rap game to such & taking shots at anyone who wants to step up to him.

If you’re not familiar with dude already, I think Narcos & Boom Bap is a pretty good place to start. I think he’s definitely a talented lyricists, but there are features sprinkled into a good 60% of the EP & it really didn’t need to be the case.

Score: 7/10

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Mykill Miers & Pawz One Commit A “Double Homicide” In Their New Album

In a Hip Hop match-up as heavy as Freddy vs Jason was to horror cinema, Los Angeles emcees Mykill Miers and Pawz One have released their collaborative album titled “Double Homicide“. The project is packed with multi-syllabic lyrical barrages and DJ cuts as gritty as the boom-bap backdrops for a journey through the dark underbelly of the city of angels.

Mykill Miers, the self-proclaimed “Hitchcock Of Hip Hop” has been a threat on the mic since the late 90’s, coming up in the same circle as notables including Planet Asia, Dilated Peoples and Phil The Agony. Pawz One has been releasing music for the past decade has been repping hard for the real ish. Speaking on their initial link-up Pawz recalls “I had obviously known of Myk for a while from killing it on the “Wake Up Show” to all the work he dropped. I was circulating around shows in LA a few years back and we ended up on the same bill a few times. We exchanged contact and did a few songs and I felt like it was a combo people would like to hear more from.”

Production on the album includes work from Default BeatsBig BobPhaisrokDJ Ray SwiftScience and Mykill Miers himself. Turntablists including DJ Merk1200DJ BreezeDJ Romes and DJ Fastcut lend their skills and emcees including Ruste JuxxMic HandzEdo.GEl Da SenseiKing Magnetic and Buddah.

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Grafh & DJ Shay – “Stop Calling Art Content” (Album Review)

Grafh is a 39 year old MC from Queens, New York who came up in 2003 off his debut mixtape The Bang Out. However, he went on to release 7 more tapes before dropping his first full-length album Autografh only a few years later. But with a total of 18 mixtapes & an EP under his belt now, Grafh has signed to Benny the Butcher’s very own MNRK Music Group imprint Black Soprano Family Records for his official sophomore effort produced entirely by the late DJ Shay.

After the intro, the first song “God Bless” is a rich opener praying that his homies make it out the hood whereas “Very Different” with Benny the Butcher works in some high-pitched saxes to compare & contrast themselves to their opposition. “No Reason” has a more settler boom bap tone talking about being the top chef, but then “Chosen” takes a more occult route comparing himself to that of a prodigy.

Meanwhile on “Out the Pot”, we get some keyboard embellishments & dusty drums to talk about how it’s all in the wrist leading into Heem & Rick Hyde tagging along for the uptempo “Promise” which despite it’s annoying hook has a great message to it about staying true to their words. CyHi the Prynce & 3D Na’Tee come into the picture for the ominous “Slums” detailing their way up to the top just before the soulful “From the Start” with Bun B & Styles P speaks on foreseeing their success.

“Bellini” has a bit of a theatrical tone instrumentally talking about doing it all while the organ-laced “Crystals” spitting that slanger shit. The penultimate track “Valid” with Ransom & Sheek Louch sinisterly talks about everything being well-founded & if you couldn’t tell by the title of “God Must Love Me”, it serves as a heartfelt closer thanking the higher power for where he is today.

I’ve enjoyed a couple of this dude’s tapes every here & there throughout the year, but Stop Calling Art Content really exceeded my expectations coming away from it. Quite possibly his finest hour in my opinion. Even though Shay has been gone for almost a year now, his sound & Grafh’s lyricism bounce off each other so naturally on this album.

Score: 8/10

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Jae Skeese – “Revolver Ocelot” (Mixtape Review)

Jae Skeese is a 31 year old MC from Buffalo, New York who first emerged in 2010 off his debut mixtape W.A.C.K. (Women, Alcohol, Cash & Kicks). However, it wasn’t until a decade later where he & 7xvethegenius got their biggest break thus far after the very first signees to Conway the Machine’s very own EMPIRE Distribution imprint Drumwork Music Group. But with only a few dates left on the Love Will Get You Killed Tour, he’s dropping a precursor to his upcoming sophomore effort Abolished Uncertainties in the form of his 7th mixtape.

“Seek/Find” is a soulful, jazzy boom bap opener about how he translates what he sees into music whereas “No Bricks, No Airs, No Rimmys” works in some vibraphones & harmonizing to look for the perfect shot on his opponents. Conway the Machine & OG Sole come into the picture for the vibrant, shit-talking trap banger “Chessmen” leading into the Loveboat Luciano-assisted “Calm Bapes” which feels like something out of a perfect crime flick.

Meanwhile on “Stolen Benz”, we have Toney Boi joining Jae Skeese on top of a smooth instrumental to call out those who weren’t there for them when they needed it just before “EKIN” brings in a bare vocal loop to flex his lyrical prowess for a minute & a half. “Grindin’” serves as an ode to his dedication with a psychedelic Camoflauge Monk beat while the song “She Threw Her 4’s Up” tells the story of a woman he met & I love the enticing sample throughout.

The penultimate track “Mandarin Manuscript” has a bit of a futuristic boom bap sound with the help of none other than JR Swiftz as Jae comparing his music to that of fine art & “All In” with 7xvethegenius is a jazzy finisher to the tape motivating the listener by reminding them it’s either all or nothing. Conway only pops up at the end delivering a spoken word bit about Drumwork taking over the industry which I wasn’t expecting, but it’s still really cool.

If you loved his verses on “Crack in the 90’s” & “Sister Abigail”, then I think you’re really gonna dig this tape. It’s a proper way to reintroduce himself to the new fans as he basically guides you through as to who he is personally & artistically. At this rate, Abolished Uncertainties is destined to be the crown jewel of Jae Skeese’s discography.

Score: 7/10

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Flee Lord & Roc Marciano Drop “Delgado Deluxe” With 5 Extra Tracks

Today, Flee Lord & Roc Marciano give the fans an extra treat and add 5 extra tracks to their highly praised “Delgado” collaboration album as a Deluxe edition. With the reception “Delgado” is still getting since it dropped in August, it is only right to add new songs to this project featuring Eto, G4 Jag, T.F, Bun B, and Knowledge The Pirate.

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Tech N9ne – “Asin9ne” (Album Review)

This is the 23rd full-length album from Kansas City icon Tech N9ne. Getting his footing in 3 decades back as a member of the groups Black Mafia as well as the 57th Street Rogue Dog Villians & Nnutthowze, his profile began to increase in the late 90’s after landing a spot on the Gang Related soundtrack & becoming among the first to join Yukmouth’s then-newly formed collective The Regime. But after having issues with Interscope Records & Universal Music Group following the release of his iconic 3rd album Anghellic, that’s when Tech decided to form his own label with the help of a man at Paradise Originals named Travis O’Guin. Together, they would call it Strange Music & solidified itself as one of if not the biggest indie label in the world. Tech has made it a tradition to drop an album every year since Everready (The Religion)back in ‘06 & given that’s been going on at Strange throughout 2021, I was very curious to hear how Asin9ne would address it all.

“The Herder” kicks the album off with Tech villainously proclaiming himself as just that with production from Wyshmaster whereas the King Iso & Seuss Mace-assisted “I Don’t Fit” has a symphonic trap vibe with the help of N4 talking about not fitting in even though they’re the shit. “Kickiter” has a bit of an EDM flare encouraging the crowds to riot leading into the spacious “Too Good” produced by Ervin Pope & featuring Lil Wayne tackles the idea of being too good for their own good.

Meanwhile on “No See Umz”, we Snow Tha Product tagging along with a poorly sung Russ hook for an anthem going at their doubters just before King Iso returns alongside Joey Cool & even The Rock (although you can definitely tell Tech wrote his verse) with the combative “Face Off” serving as Seven’s only production on the album. E-40 comes into the picture for the explosive strip club anthem “Clydesdale”, but then “Still Right Here” with X-Raided serves as an emotional ballad about loyalty.

“Take Your Halo” reveals itself as an angry response to those who’ve been talking shit on Strange Music as of late while “Knock That Noodle” speaks on the violence in KC over a cavernous beat. “Heightened” despite it’s brevity feels like something you’d hear in the trailer of a good horror movie just before the horrible dubstep/rap fusion that is “What Rhymes With Threat’ll Kill Ya?” with Phlaque the Grimstress & Zkeircrow.

If you couldn’t tell by the title, “I Been Thru a Lot” delivers one of the more vulnerable moments on the entire album & “Dial It Back” has a more cloudier sound talking about how he ain’t bragging. The song “Zaza” with Oobergeek meditatively gets sensual while the penultimate track “Close Yours Eyes” is a more boom bap-tinged pleading to keep faith in him. “Special” finishes it off with a powerful, feel-good guitar ballad.

I’ve been a huge fan of Tech N9ne since my senior year of high school & his music has helped me through some dark times, but I’m kinda indifferent towards Asin9ne. He definitely proves that he can hold an album without Seven but much like ENTERFEAR, he overdid it on the features & their contributions are either hit or miss.

Score: 6/10

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The Alchemist – “This Thing of Ours 2” (EP Review)

The Alchemist is a 43 year old producer, DJ & rapper from Beverly Hills, California who started out as 1/2 of the duo The Whooliganz in 1993 with Scott Caan. They would only disband a year later after recording a debut album that eventually got shelved & Scott went onto acting like his father, but Mudfoot on other end quickly established himself as one of the greatest producers in hip hop history with a resume including ranging names from Mobb Deep to even Eminem. Over this past spring, he produced the latest Armand Hammer album Haram to universal acclaim & followed it up his 9th EP This Thing of Ours a month later. But now in light of the confirmation that he’ll be producing the next Earl Sweatshirt album, Uncle Al dropping a sequel to his latest EP hopefully as a little warm up.

“Miracle Baby” by MAVI is a heavenly opener proclaiming himself as such whereas “Lossless” by MIKE serves as a jazzy boom bap follow-up talking about never losing. The song “Flying Spirit” by the Bruiser Brigade works in a drumless loop for the group to proclaim their work isn’t done while the penultimate track “Wildstyle” by ZelooperZ has a more ominous sound showcasing his wordplay. “6 5 Heartbeats” by Vince Staples ends the EP by somberly recalling his youth.

Uncle Al has made it known that he’s one of the most consistent producers in the game & it’s no surprise that This Thing of Ours 2 wound up being a little bit more enjoyable than the predecessor. Another notable factor of it is that he brings in some less-bigger names into the fold & give them the exposure they truly deserve.

Score: 8/10

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Bronze Nazareth & Roc Marciano – “Ekphrasis” (Album Review)

This is the 4th full-length album from Grand Rapids emcee/producer Bronze Nazareth. Coming up as a member of the group Wisemen alongside his late brother Kevlaar 7 & eventually the Wu-Tang Clan’s in-house production team the Wu-Elements, he would also go on to build a solo career for himself beginning with The Great Migrationin ‘06 & then School for the Blindman only 5 years later. But after returning from a decade-long hiatus at the end of January by enlisting The Four Owls’ very own Leaf Dog to produce Bundle Raps from front to back, Bronze is already kicking off the 4th quarter of 2021 by dropping a follow-up produced entirely by New York titan Roc Marciano.

After the “Proem” intro, the first song “Crazy Horse” starts the album off with a little bit of a jazzy quality to it speaking of something in his spirit burning whereas “The Precipice” takes a grimier route saying you can bet them on the cliff. Skyzoo tags along with Brizz Rawsteen & Termanology on the synth-laced “Brass Jehova” to get on their battle shit but after the “Refocus” skit, the vocal sample that “Survivor’s Vow” is entrancing as fuck saying he has to live it up.

After the “Kevlaar” interlude, Fashawn comes into the picture for the bluesy “Fanta 6” to impressively spit back & forth with Bronze while the track “Kettle Black” with Lord Jessiah brings in a violin addressing elevation. The penultimate song “Papayas ’21” with Roc Marciano & Killah Priest finds the trio on some dusty hardcore shit & just before the “Epilogue” outro, I think “Nosebleeds” with Boldy James serves as the true closer opening up about growing up in Detroit with it’s folksy sample.

As much as I fucked with Bundle Raps, I think it’s safe to say that Ekphrasis is just a tad bit better. Marci’s sample-based production is ever so pleasing to the ear & lyrically, this could very well be the best that Bronze has ever sounded.

Score: 8/10

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Atmosphere – “Word?” (Album Review)

This is the 12th full-length album from renown Minneapolis duo Atmosphere. Coming up as a trio in the late 90’s off at their critically acclaimed debut Overcast!, they would later go on to build an independent empire with their Rhymesayers Entertainment label whether that be signing acts from Brother Ali to the late Eyedea or putting out their best bodies of work like God Loves Ugly or Sad Clown Bad Dub 9. But for the last 3 years now, Slug & Ant have been treating their fans to a new album every year starting out with Mi Vida Local. Now with the 1 year anniversary of The Day Before Halloween coming at the end of the month, Atmosphere is continuing their new tradition by dropping Word?.

“Fleetwood” is a rich boom bap opener saying he’s glad he’s not the same person as he once was whereas “Something” thunderously encourages listeners to get back up when pushed down. Evidence & Muja Messiah both come into the picture for the bass guitar-infused “Crumbs” speaking on their obsessive compulsions, but then “Woes” glisteningly details that you can’t love without misery.

Meanwhile on “Strung”, we have Musab accompanying Atmosphere on top of a melodic vocal sample expressing that they’re feeling tense just before “Clocked” is a misty declaration that time is killing us. “Sleepless” works in some keys & hi-hats as Nino Bless tags along to tackle the theme of insomnia leading into the eerie “Distances” pleads to leave him & his family alone.

“Carousel” mesmerizingly talks about wanting to protect myself from his lover’s sting while “Vanish” is a short yet vibrant & funky little freestyle. “Pressed” serves as a tribal posse cut with Anwar HighSign, Lateef the Truthspeaker & Sa-Roc being amongst the best of the 6 while the song “Skull” hauntingly details a night where he or Ant was supposed to die.

The penultimate track “Nekst” works in some acoustics & handclaps airing out someone he loved ending up betraying him, but then “Barcade” with Aesop Rock & the late MF DOOM ends the album with a complete lyrical annihilation with the Hellish beat fitting into the mix ever so flawlessly.

As much as I liked The Day Before Halloween for it’s experimentations, I think the hardcore fans are gonna dig Word? a bit more. Ant takes it back to the duo’s signature sound & Slug’s lyricism is as lighthearted as it was back in their prime almost 2 decades ago.

Score: 7/10

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Guilty Simpson & Gensu Dean – “Ego” (Album Review)

Guilty Simpson is a 47 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who came up as a member of the Almighty Dreadnaughtz collective & a frequent collaborator of the late J Dilla. However, it wasn’t until late March of 2008 where he officially branched out on a solo career by having Stones Throw Records back his incredible full-length debut Ode to the Ghetto. He has since followed it up with a handful of equally great projects including his Madlib-produced sophomore album O.J. Simpson, the Apollo Brown-produced Dice Game & the Oh No-produced Simpson Tape just to name a few. But with the 2 year anniversary of his 5th EP Actus Reusapproaching in a little over a couple weeks, Guilty is having Mello Music Group help put out his 6th full-length album & is enlisting Gensu Dean to produce it in it’s entirety.

The title track starts off the album with a guitar loop getting on his battle shit whereas “Don’t Pull” is a much more confrontational boom bap cut. “Break’em Off” passionately throws shots at those who’ve betrayed him, but then the piano-laced “Could’ve Been” confesses that he’s only here for his people.

Meanwhile on “Deep Breath”, we have Marv Won & Black Milk tagging along to aggressively continue to go at their opposition’s throats just before “Talk to Me” spookily details how people will kill you for $1K. “Hating” takes a chipmunk soul route as Guilt & Skyzoo address their doubters leading into the gruesomely vile “Dead Breathing”.

“Only” introspectively expresses his desire to have good vibes around him from hereon out while the song “You’re the One” takes a more soulful approach getting romantic. The penultimate track “Right Mind” with Yarbrough brings in some dusty drums talking about taking their people out of their sanity & the organ-laced “Cohiba Smoke” ends the album by attacking his enemies.

Guilty has always been amongst the illest MCs to emerge out of this reviewer’s hometown & Ego has to be one of the best albums he’s out out yet. His ever so sharp pen-game & Gensu Dean’s signature boom bap production coming together as a whole is just as satisfying as PB&J.

Score: 8/10

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