A.P. x Talk2walls – “The Green Destiny” (EP Review)

The pairing of Long Beach-based rapper A.P. and Orlando producer Talk2walls has resulted in a new joint EP “The Green Destiny”. In their first-ever effort together, will these two gifted artists be able to become hip hop’s next major rapper/producer duo? 

When it comes to A.P.’s performance, he does everything you want a great MC to do. Hard bars, witty punchlines, and a memorable delivery are some of the things that make cuts like “Act One” and “Coast Line” so enjoyable. In addition, his hook game on songs like “Jack Nicholson” shows he’s way better at creating memorable bridges than the rest of his contemporaries. On the closing leg of the extended play, A.P.’s performance only gets more intense as we see his topical depth and connectedness focus down on moments like the elusive “Green Destiny” and the introspective “White Window”. Summed up in the vocally mellow but topically powerful “Sundaze”, the poetic demeanor that A.P. utilizes through this entire record makes him one of the smoothest MC’s in the entire underground right now. 

Behind the boards, there’s a well crafted intricate soundscape from Talk2walls. Whether it’s the jazzy “Act One” or the immersive “Green Destiny,” each song does an amazing job at adding layers to this well thought out experience. The moment that shows off Walls’s production ability at its pinnacle is hands down “Interlude,” which is a solely instrumental track that captures a handful of emotions with some simple loops and samples. With the sonic range that this record covered, I honestly believe Talk2walls has all the skills going forward to become an all-time great producer.

In conclusion, “The Green Destiny” is a great EP that shows off what can be the next great rapper/producer duo. Both A.P. and Talk2walls do their thing with their intricate lyrics and soulful score. Going forward, if these two can put their efforts into something much more significant, we may be able to see hip hops evergrowing boundaries broken once again.

Rating: 8/10

Highlights: Intropsetve lyricism, Soulful production, Atmosphere

C-Lance – “The Demon of Hiroshima” (Album Review)

C-Lance is a 33 year old producer from Boston, Massachusetts who broke out in 2010 after becoming an in-house producer for Vinnie Paz. He would go on to become one of the underground’s most prominent names for the likes of the Army of the Pharaohs, La Coka Nostra, Swollen Members, R.A. the Rugged Man & G-Mo Skee throughout the last decade. However, C-Lance has decided to drop a new album every month throughout 2021 & is kicking it off with a sequel to his previous instrumental album The Ghosts of Mt. Fuji.

Things kick off with the title track, which has these dusty boom bap drums & some horns that kinda remind me of the classic Pharoahe Monch joint “Simon Says” for some reason. The next instrumental “Duel Under Autumn Leaves” has a sound kin to that of Visions of Gandhi while “The Ghost of Yarikawa” gets back on the boom bap rip albeit with a more alluring loop attached to it. The “Bamboo Forest instrumental has these string sections throughout that give it a cinematic feel to it while “The Hannya Mask” sounds like it was originally made for Chaly & the Filth Factory.

The “Curse of the Snow Woman” instrumental perfectly lives up to it’s name with it’s spooky vocal harmonies & icy keys whereas “Oni & Yurei” dives right back into that Jedi Mind Tricks sound. The “Haunting in Kawasaki” kinda reminds of me C-Lance’s first instrumental album House of 1,000 Beats with its horror movie quality while “Shrine of Kobe” stands out as the most uptempo beat on the entire project without question.

The “Spirits of Inunaki Tunnel” instrumental is laced with a heavenly vocal loop throughout while the penultimate beat “Shadow of the Samurai” is the complete opposite as the crooning samples sound evil & the trumpet is a nice touch as well. The album ends with “Tears Falling in Tokyo”, where C-Lance & Aaron Hiltz come through with a more mellow & relaxing beat.

This dude has been one of my favorite producers in recent memory & I can’t wait to hear everything else he has in store for the year. Much like The Ghosts of Mt. Fuji, he does a good job at taking all these Japanese samples & putting his own grimy spin on them.

Score: 7/10

Born Allah – “Analog Baby” (EP Review)

Los Angeles rhyme veteran, Born Allah, has teamed up with German production powerhouse, Zpu Zilla, to bring us something special this week in “Analog Baby”. This is a 6 track EP which is definitely one for all the real hip hop heads out there. The dynamic duo enlisted the collaboration of DJ Mark Luv and Rakaa and the combinations are deadly!

“Dedication”, wow! What a way to begin. The production itself is a hit, then you get DJ Mark Luv to bless the track some more and Born Allah does what he does best. Born Allah’s flow is hard hitting but also cool, calm and collected all at the same time. Clever rhyme schemes as he effortlessly rides the drums with even more clever bars. My favourite part about this is that it genuinely sounds like he is having fun with it. Witty and braggadocios, this is hip hop!

“Analog Baby” is the third track on the EP and once again, that production! You can probably tell that I am pretty excited about the way Zpu Zilla cuts up samples and laces them with some of the cleanest hip hop drums I have heard in a long time. Born Allah consistently delivers heat, merging impressive wordplay with a catchy hook. This song captures the vibe of the project from start to finish. Beats, bars and what seems like an everlasting cadence.

“Jabril (Let the Horns Blow)” is the final track on the EP and features Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, and man, does this song live up to the hype! Born Allah starts us off as Zilla literally lets the horns blow. From that point on this song is filled with lethal bars, buttery smooth flows and truly world class production. Rakaa gives us everything that we love about him and more. It’s rare that we are blessed with the opportunity to hear two veteran wordsmiths just devour a beat like this. Thank you Born Allah and Rakaa, I am so glad I was here for this!

If you have made it this far, you will know that I really enjoyed this body of work and I think you will too. It was pure hip hop through and through. This is the kind of EP that will be talked about as a classic. A genuine congratulations to all involved, you really blessed us with this! Go follow Born Allah on Instagram: @daddygrace

Score: 9/10

Various Artists – “Conflicted: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (Album Review)

This is a brand new soundtrack album brought to you in part by Buffalo hip hop labels Griselda Records & Black Soprano Family Records. Both of whom have been taking over hip hop with a plethora of high quality albums, EPs & mixtapes since late 2015.Their first feature-length film Conflicted is set to be released next Friday & of course the movie had to be accompanied by songs from or inspired by it.

After the intro, the first song “Mobbin’” finds Benny the Butcher teaming up with Chase Fetti & Heem to talk about just that over a devilish instrumental while the track “Element of Surprise” by Lloyd Banks talks about being mindful of snitches over a supernatural beat. The song “Ain’t Hit Nobody” by Westside Gunn, Flee Lord & Eto sees the trio coming together for the brick buyers over a grim, drumless instrumental from Daringer while the track “Pride” by Ransom triumphantly talks about his success over a soulful beat from the man himself.

The song “Welcome Home DMX” by Dave East & Jonesy finds the 2 comparing themselves to Sam Giancana & John Gotti over a weepy trap instrumental from the late DJ Shay & the 808 Mafia while the track “Squaaaaad” by Elcamino, Rick Hyde & Smoke DZA sees the 3 talking about being baptized by the streets over a victorious beat. The song “3:30 in Houston” by Benny the Butcher addresses being shot a few months back over a despondent instrumental while the track “Voices” by Boldy James, Chase Fetti & Heem finds the trio telling their opposition to run over a bloodcurdling beat.

The song “Rank” by YN Billy gets braggadocious over a mediocre trap instrumental & after the “I’m Not the Enemy” skit, the track “Nerve of You” by Armani Caesar talks about someone doing her dirty over a Camouflage Monk beat with some plinky keys. The song “Conflicted” by Flee Lord talks about the hustler lifestyle over a dreary instrumental from GhostDave while the penultimate track “Mission Accomplished” by Armani Caesar, Benny the Butcher & Westside Gunn sees the 3 talking about turning to the boss life. “The Hurt Business” by Westside Gunn, Smoke DZA & Wale then talks about being the flyest in the game over a thunderous instrumental.

I was curious to hear how this would turn out given how cheesy a lot of soundtrack albums turn out nowadays, but I’m actually pretty impressed with what we got here & it has me even more curious to watch the movie when it comes out next weekend. Much like Griselda’s collective debut W.W.C.D. (What Would Chinegun Do?) that was released under Shady Records a couple years back, everyone involved manages to stay true to themselves & not whip up a focusgrouped product.

Score: 7/10

Trent Stark – “CIRCA 97” (Album)

Out of Phoenix, Arizona rising independent Hip Hop artist Trent Stark releases his new 8-track album titled “CIRCA 97“.  Follow him on Instagram @trentstarkmusic.

ethemadassassin – “Bear Handz 5: Gram Newton” (Album)

North Carolina hailed and currently making his mark in California, ethemadassassin premieres the latest installment in the “Bear Handz” series, “Bear Handz 5: Gram Newton.” Produced entirely by Akthentik, the album features guest appearances from Hus Kingpin, Supreme Cerebral, and XP The Marxman.

Shaw Calhoune – “The Rudy Tape” (Album Review)

Shaw Calhoune is a rapper from Maryland who has recently blessed us with his new 9 track album, “The Rudy Tape”. The rapper, known for his heavy hitting bars and boom bap production, enlists the help of some very cool samples from the late, great Rudy Ray Moore, himself. From start to finish, this tape is sprinkled with sound bites of the Godfather of Rap.

“Rudy Moore” is the second track on the project and Shaw delivers a special performance. Several different flows and multi syllable rhyme schemes over production that has you feeling like going for a cruise in a Coupe Deville. This beat is menacing, gritty and gangster. The perfect way to start this project.

“Henny Bottles” is a future classic. Minimal percussion, but a super lush bass laced with a string section and some keys. This is whiskey and cigar music. Shaw’s flow is consistent on this song, reminiscent of a Rick Ross vibe as he uses his lyricism to embody the character of the 70’s pimp, Dolemite. Yes, as far as concept albums go, this is truly impressive.

“Changing of The Guard” is another stand out. That sax was among my favourite moments in this entire project. Again, this one isn’t heavy on the percussion. But it is big on the horns and the woodwind sections. This gives Shaw Calhoune the opportunity to smoothly ride over the beat, playing with different rhyme schemes and seamlessly switching flows. His gritty delivery gives this song a heavy presence without the need for a hard hitting kick.

If you love samples, boom bap, clever rhyme schemes, story telling lyricism and concept projects; then this is the album you have been waiting for! I am honestly pretty happy that this was the first album that I got to review for the year. Shaw Calhoune has set the bar nice and high. This project had a consistent cadence to it that I haven’t heard in a while. Calhoune used vocal samples from Rudy Moore to really bring everything together and the story telling was masterful. Follow him on Instagram: @shaw_thegreat

Score: 9/10

Spencer Bonds & 4DHxH – “Daze B4 Bluebeam” (Album)

Check out this new project “Daze B4 Bluebeam“, by up and coming Hip Hop artists Spencer Bonds & 4DHxH. This project is inspired by the very real Project Blue Beam that goes over the deception of a rapture being seen in the sky and perceived by our population on Earth.  4DHxH (A.K.A. The 4th Dimensional Hitchhiker) introduces us to ancient knowledge and open mindedness while Spencer Bonds introduces us to a life of hustling and being villainized for generating controversy and seeking survival.

Spencer Bonds · Daze B4 Bluebeam By Spencer Bonds & 4dhxh