Dregs One – “Fog Mode” Ft. Andre Nickatina (Video)

Dregs One‘s campaign for his new project “Fog Mode: The Album” is still movin’! The San Francisco rapper connects with with fellow Bay Area heavyweight Andre Nickatina for the visual to their collaboration “Fog Mode”. Watch as they take viewers on a ride through a foggy Frisco night and shows the gritty side of the city that inspired the artists to hustle.

Dough Networkz Presents: Neako & Spano – “Rules & Parameters” (Album)

Neako kicks off this project spitting “In my time I made some prolific music without influence, I was still fluent, remain exclusive only pop out when it’s necessary… I rhyme like I took 12 senzus, been in the hyperbolic chamber for months.” In true Ghost fashion, the ski-masked spitter hailing from New Jersey announces his remanifestation. And thus the title “Rules & Parameters” applies. A parameter is a quantity whose value is selected for the particular circumstances and in relation to which other variable quantities may be expressed. Neako takes us on a supernaturally braggadocious journey, spitting bars packed with references to high fashion, science fiction and raw street combat. From partying with Griselda in Buffalo on “Party with Gunn” to connecting with Los Angeles barsmith and Lord Mobb heavyweight Phonk P on “Bonnections,” Neako glides over a smooth yet spooky soundscape crafted by producer Spano for an un-skippable 17 track masterpiece curated by Dough Networkz.

Vinnie Paz – “Burn Everything That Bears Your Name” (Album Review)

This is the 6th full-length album from Philadelphia underground mainstay Vinnie Paz. Coming up as the MC for Jedi Mind Tricks & the leader of the Army of the Pharaohs collective, he also started building an impressive solo career off his 2010 debut Season of the Assassin & the 2012 sophomore effort God of the Serengeti. His previous album as above so below just came out last Valentine’s Day & a little over a year later, we’re already being treated to Burn Everything That Bears Your Name.

“Socrates Drinking the Hemlock” is a 2-minute opener with Boxcutter Pazzy spitting that disrespectful shit over an old west-sounding instrumental & then Billy Danze joins him for the horn/boom bap infused “Machine Gun Etiquette”, where both of them comparing their lyricism to that of LMGs. “Body Bag Philosopher” brings out the horror vibes from C-Lance’s piano instrumental to Vinnie’s lyrics about a rat going rogue whereas the Stu Bangas-produced “Papi Wardrobe” talks about letting the TEC spray over what I assume to be a 70’s sample.

We then get on some mafioso shit as Ill Bill & Lord Goat hop on the orchestra-laced “Witches Teeth” while the song “Latka Bravas” talks about murder over some trumpets loops. Things go into a more jazzy direction on the Oh No-produced “Danger’s My Business” with lyrics detailing a war going on outside, but then Vinnie details his woman having an abortion on the track “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” & the way Farma Beats flips “Don’t You Ever Dare” by Dean Friedman is immaculate.

“Guilty Remnant Cigarettes” is a short yet effective cut about being out for blood over a more vintage instrumental from Esoteric & right after funny enough, The Czar-Keys cook up what could possibly be the darkest beat on the album as The Verbal Hologram reminds us of being an old school shooter on the song “Don Eladio”. Meanwhile on the overawing “Warhead”, we have Chino XL coming through to help detail how dirty people are before talking about bodies being stacked up on the sepulchral “Excuse All the Blood”.

The song “White on White Crime” kinda has some trap & rock undertones in the production as O.T. the Real & D-Boy Flowski come together with the Pazmanian Devil to talk about how they rap what they live, but D-Boy’s verse at the end doesn’t hit me like the first 2 did. This is followed up with the powerful Islamic ode “Battle of the Camel” featuring Willie the Kid & the sample Giallo Point uses is just so comely.

Vic Grimes takes shit back to boom bap territory on “Torch Bearer”, which I think might be the Paz Man’s response to the diss tracks both King Magnetic & Doap Nixon put out towards him last year. The song “Affairs in Order” incorporates some synths as Jay Royale accompanies the mic to talk about how you don’t wanna be around when the feds start getting on your ass.

Lord Goat returns for “Tell Gold to Hold the Boneyard” alongside Crimeapple to deliver them gangsta bars over a guitar-driven instrumental from Hobgoblin before incorporating an organ & some sputtering drums tor the track “Duppy or Gunman”, where The Sicilian Shooter says anyone who wants it with him is out of their goddamn minds & rightfully so.

“Angels with Dirty Faces” is a gospel-like homage to everyone Vinnie’s family was enamored before he & Eto talk about acting right around them on “Murder Takes Time”. The penultimate track “Lloyds of London” is a bilious acknowledgement of telling when people don’t want the smoke, but the Boob Bronx verse is another low-point for me personally. Finally to round it off, M.A.V. tags along to get in battle rap mode for the flute-backed closer “Digital Veil”.

In comparison to as above so below, I actually happen to prefer Burn Everything That Bears Your Name a bit more. Did it need to be 22 songs? Not necessarily. However, the dude’s pen-game remains unmatched as does his ear for production almost a quarter of a century deep making music.

Score: 8/10

Twiztid – “Electric Lettuce” (EP Review)

This is the 12th EP from Detroit duo Twiztid. Consisting of Jamie Madrox & Monoxide, the pair originally started out as part of the House of Krazees alongside childhood friend The R.O.C. in 1992 before their initial disbandment 5 years later. Almost immediately after, the Insane Clown Posse took Jamie & Mono under their wings by signing them to Psychopathic Records as the demented duo they’re known as today. They would become the label’s 2nd biggest act being their mentors off projects like Mostasteless, Freek Show, Mirror Mirror, The Green Book, W.I.C.K.E.D. (Wish I Could Kill Every Day) & Abominationz. Shortly after the latter was released, Twiztid left Psychopathic to form Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2014. Since then they’ve released 4 albums, with my favorites being The Darkness at the top of 2015 & then Revelashen from this past Black Friday. But being big stoners for as long as they’ve been around, Jamie & Mono have decided to drop Electric Lettuce just 3 days after Alla Xul Elu’s new album Necronomichron 2: Dead by Bong.

After the “Safe Place” intro, the first song “We All Float” encourages the listeners to “come down here” with them & the trap instrumental Young Wicked cooks up is totally off the wall. After the “Get Matt Nipps” skit, the following song “Light It Up” goes into a more west coast direction I almost wanna say as they talk about “rollin’ rappers up”. After the “Get Blaze” skit, the song “No Smoke” is a MNE posse cut sans Lex the Hex Master & The R.O.C. threatening their opposition with a piano-instrumental from Seven that really helps kick up the grimy tone of it.

The track “High ‘Til I Die” goes back into that trap direction as they talk about always being lifted & Lee Carver just shows why he’s my favorite Alla Xul Elu member. Especially when he said “Breaking up weed on the case of The Green Book”. I’m kinda disappointed that “Right Here Ninja” makes no reference or homage to “Here I Am” off of Blaze’s classic debut 1 Less G n da Hood, but the futuristic sound is fresh. “Feeling Stuck” is a great way to finish the EP, as it’s a guitar-trap driven cut about how COVID has effected everyone.

Despite my expectations not being super high given that this is a holiday-themed EP, I actually like it more than that short Songs of Samhain compilation that MNE put out this past fall. It continues to stray away from the wicked shit in favor of a more traditional hip hop vibe much like Revelashen, except most of the songs are weed-related.

Score: 7/10

Jay-Ef – “Believe It or Not” (EP Review)

Jay-Ef is a 51 year old DJ from Tenafly, New Jersey notable for being a protege of DJ Rob Swift as well as the co-host of The Leschea Show. But after putting out a handful of stuff from different artists on his Mona Hip Hop record label, the east coast veteran is beginning to build a solo discography from himself by dropping a debut EP with J. Pedina on the boards from start to finish.

After the Rob Swift & DJ Total Eclipse-assisted turntablism intro “Back 2 the Basics”, the title track by Wordsworth encourages the listener to take a look around over a classy boom bap beat before going into jazz rap territory as Torae details what happens when the sun goes down on “Night Time”.

The song “Stages of Asia” by Planet Asia is a piano-tinged mafiosio ballad whereas the string-heavy “Still Friends” by Masta Ace details what friendship means to him. The closer “9 Lives” incorporates some saxophones as Pearl Gates spills out wisdom.

Now if Jay-Ef has plans to put out any more material like this down the road, then sign me up. The guests are well picked out with just about all of them giving fiery performances as J. Pedina’s production predominantly sticks to the traditional hip hop sound we’ve all come to love.

Score: 7/10