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100GrandRoyce & Dame Grease Have “The Fix” (EP Review)

This is the 10th EP from Harlem emcee 100GrandRoyce. Starting as a member The Stackboys, he eventually went solo in 2011 although it wasn’t until the release of his 5th EP Prodigal Sun produced by 183rd in the spring of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic where he caught my attention. The ReturnTriple Crown & Unfinished Business would all reach the bar that Prodigal Sun had set & The Fix here produced by Dame Grease really peaked my interest.

“Shine” gets the ball rolling by incorporating claps into a cloudy instrumental with an interpolation of the “Wu-Gambinos” hook & grinding until the A.M. whereas “Above the Clouds” talks about having nightmares of ending up like everyone else out here working in a flute along with kicks & snares. “Cheri Amor” goes into soulful turf paying tribute to his sweet love just before “On Me” returns to the boom bap refusing to chase a chicken since they call him sometimes.

Starting the 2nd leg of the EP, “The Last Gone Be First” brings these exuberant piano chords into the fold talking about being cool as long as the bag right leading into “Block to the Bank” featuring BerryA bringing a jazzier flare to the beat going for dollars. “One of a Kind” bringing back the kicks & snares talking about being unique, but then “My Just Due” finishes The Fix on some straight up grimy shit boasting that he got the key to the city from the players.

Lo & behold: The Fix is the most I’ve enjoyed a 100GrandRoyce project since Unfinished Business. The production gives it a timeless & captivating sound blends hard-hitting beats with soulful melodies, the chemistry is evident throughout as they effortlessly complement each other’s styles & it’s a testament to the power of storytelling as well as the resilience of the human spirit offering a glimpse into the realities of street life while also conveying messages of hope, perseverance & the pursuit of dreams.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Stetsasonic Returns to Form on “Here We Go Again”, First New Album in Over 30 Years (Album Review)

Stetsasonic is the first ever hip hop band from Brooklyn, New York consisting of Daddy-O, MC Delite, Wise & Bobby Simmons. They would only put out 3 full-length albums together during the late 80s/early 90s, but remained inactive as a unit although what they did would eventually pave the way for The Roots. But after teasing a comeback by releasing singles over the past 3 years, the band is getting back together for their 4th LP executive produced by Public Enemy frontman Chuck D.

“Message in Our Music” is an old school-inspired opener produced with C-Doc talking about the message in their music has always been clear asking if you have what it takes to escape & change your fate whereas “(Now Y’all Giving Up) Love” works in these triumphant horns to boasting their return after over 3 long decades. Mala Reignz & Smoothe da Hustler both join Stet on the first part of a “Cypher” with Smoothe having my personal favorite of the 2 features, but then “Lolita” gets into their storytelling bag a bit over heavy sampling talking about the titular character.

Moving on from there, “Handled” brings the horns back into the fold reminding y’all they’re known for handling styles that others simply can’t leading into what is probably & with all respect here the weakest track on the album “Stet Dreams Come True” featuring Calvin III being this awkward reggae/pop rap fusion about being the Biggie to her Lil’ Kim. The soulful title track makes their case as being old school like Melle Mel without the disgruntled bitterness he’s shown in recent years while “Notes of Impression” featuring Ruste Juxx hooks up a crooning loop with hi-hats bringing you non fiction.

“Stetsa Anniversary” switches from trap to full-blown g-funk continuing to delve more into their comeback while the song “People in Your Neighborhood” goes for a humorous approach beatboxing & talking about drugs. The penultimate track “Hanging on a String” sonically pays homage to Zapp for a charming club banger rap & “Fallen Soldiers” concludes Here We Go Again by paying tribute to all of those who can’t be with us today.

I was hoping Prince Paul was gonna have at least some involvement behind the boards with this album, but I’m still very happy with what we got on Here We Go Again because it’s similar in a way to one of my personal favorite groups A Tribe Called Quest releasing We Got It From Here…Thank You Your Service nearly 2 decades after The Love Movement. It’s still very much a return to form for the band from the production to everyone sounding genuinely happy to be back doing what they do.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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“Super Shredder” Takes Everything That Made Mickey Diamond & Ral Duke’s “Oroku Saki” EP to New Levels (Album Review)

One of the illest Detroit emcees in the underground currently Mickey Diamond back with his 12th LP. Emerging at the beginning of 2020 off the strength of his debut EP Bangkok Dangerous, the dude has since gone on to turn quite a few heads in the underground by building up the impressive discography for himself with his previous 10 albums alongside 7 EPs & & a mixtape. But for the past year, Mickey has been consistent putting out some of the best material of his career thus far. This includes the Gucci Ghost album & it’s sequelproduced by Big Ghost Ltd., the Ral Duke-produced Oroku Saki EP, the Sadhugold-produced Death Threat$ album, the Camoflauge Monk-produced Capital Gains album or more recently the 3rd & 4th installments to the Gucci Ghost saga this past winter. But to begin the 2nd quarter of the new year, Diamond & Ral Duke are getting back together for the Oroku Saki sequel Super Shredder.

“TGRI” begins with a cold boom bap instrumental treating the sewers like his 2nd home calling himself a bonafide villain with the chrome mask whereas “Shredder Loves April” goes for a soulful approach instrumental likening his romantic interest to April O’Neil. “Foot Clan Party” comes through with a cinematic sample talking about his name ringing bells from the Motor City all the way to Baltimore, but then “Cartoon Car Tunes” takes the uncanny boom bap route to cook in Dex’s lab in hazmat suits & protective masks declaring to be the face of true terror.

Moving on from there, “Coffee Beans” hooks up kicks & snares with a melodic vocal chop grinds on the office scene as well as people not knowing shit about high fashion until you saw him prior to “Rocksteady” ruggedly cautioning to get the fuck out the way since the Umbrella making their way in this bitch. “The Masked Man” menacingly talks about Diamond’s competition knowing the deal with him by now but after the “Feudal Japan” interlude, “Tin Can Assassin” hops over strings discussing his style.

After the “Oozey” interlude, “Technodrome” continues the symphonic boom bap vibes to brush off anyone who steps up to him on the mic as “old news” while “Hyperstone Heist” heinously talks about being a killer. After the “Shredder’s Hideout” interlude, “They Took Splinter” dustily tells everyone else to say their prayers for God’s sake & after the “Anchovies” interlude, the final song “Shell Shock” finishes the album with a fun track for the party people.

4 months after dropping 2 last-minute additions to my Best of 2023 list, Diamond has done it again by taking everything that made Oroku Saki his best EP & translating it for the duration of an entire full-length. Ral Duke’s production is grimier even though he’s still somewhat new to being behind the boards for others’ projects, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles concept remains untouched for any fan of the franchise & Mickey’s lyricism goes harder.

Score: 9/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Marv Won Releases Soul-Baring Mello Music Group Debut “I’m Fine, Thanks for Asking. (Album Review)

Detroit emcee/producer Marv Won returning for his 5th full-length solo LP albeit the first after signing to Mello Music Group. Coming up as a part of the world famous Fat Killahz, he has gone on to become well respected in the battle circuit & has released his last 4 albums alongside a few EPs. It’s been over 2 years since we last heard from Marv on his 3rd EP Hagler & he’s looking to respond to everyone asking about his well-being by simply saying I’m Fine, Thanks for Asking.

The title track is a self-produced boom bap opener expressing that his feeling aren’t allowed when they surely are & that they really be expecting him to save their asses whereas “Measuring Stick” by the Twin Towers featuring eLZhi brings the 3 Motor City titans coming together for a gritty, bass-laden anthem that reverberates with the city’s hard-knock life. “Roc Nation Brunch” featuring Freeway blends epic orchestration & Joe Louis drums that hit like Tommy Hearns to deliver a tableau of Black excellence while “Purple” talks about a woman being destroyed by a kind of love.

“It’s Ok” goes for a smoother approach instrumentally providing comfort food for those simply trying to get through today while “Higher” brings this ghostly vocal sample flip into the fold so Marv can reasonably talk about becoming a better person. “Say My Name” featuring Monica Blaire soulfully encourages to acknowledge them by saying their names out loud so they know who they fuckin’ with, but then “Nosy” featuring Rapper Big Pooh returns to the boom bap explaining why they couldn’t sell dope.

Quelle Chris does the hook on the penultimate track “Good Thangs” crafting an auditory experience that feels like a voyage from the depths of darkness to the first light of dawn by orchestrates a narrative of resilience, guiding listeners through a transformation from enduring life’s hardships to savoring its most luminous moments & subtly reminds us of the virtue of humility, cautioning against the pitfalls of greed & encouraging us to keep our heads held high in adversity prior to “Grand Piano” ending the LP by stripping the drums to celebrate.

For his MMG debut, one of the Motor City’s most prolific battle MCs takes us on a soul-baring endeavor that weaves tales of struggle & triumph inspired by his storied life in his hometown. He brings a lyrical ferocity to his unapologetically raw & heartfelt rhymes by showcasing a seamless fusion of his word play & production with storytelling transcending mere verses that paint vivid portraits of life in the D. In a masterful blend of production & rap, this album is pure Detroit in it’s soul & sound reverberating with the city’s hard-knock life.

Score: 9/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Reuben Vincent’s 2nd EP “General Admission” is His Most Introspective Work (EP Review)

This is the 2nd EP from Charlotte, North Carolina emcee Reuben Vincent. Emerging under the original moniker Esau, his debut mixtape IDOL.escent would catch the attention of 9th Wonder & would sign Reuben to Jamla Records in 2016. His debut album Myers Park would be released the next fall followed by the previous EP Boy Meets World, the latter of which resulted in Roc Nation Records handling distribution for Reuben’s future output much like fellow Jamla signee Rapsody beginning with the sophomore effort Love is War almost a year & a half ago continuing to elevate his popularity. But starting the 2nd quarter of 2024, he’s following it up with General Admission.

“Troops” is a dizzying trap opener talking about the block boilin’ whereas the hypnotic “Big Bank” likening his pockets being deeper than Toni Braxton feelin’ like Mike Jones simultaneously. “Fufu” brings a more playful trap vibe instrumentally to tell everyone business is business, but then “32 Flavors” talking about his closer coming in 32 different flavors & the crew like the 36 Chambers a.k.a. the almighty Wu-Tang Clan.

Beginning the encore of the EP, the lead single “Grand Cherry” goes for a luxurious atmosphere likening the taste of revenge to exactly that although I respectfully prefer the original version over the remix featuring Chris Patrick & SWAVAY that follows “Jump” featuring Southfield, Michigan’s very own Malaya properly concluding General Admission fusing pop rap with trap & R&B talking about bringing some change if you tell ’em what you goin’ through.

It makes me happy to see Reuben getting more love as of lately & this EP much like the last album continues to find himself continually evolving from an artistic standpoint. He’s at his most introspective balancing the wordplay, awareness & bravado you have come to expect from him exploring generational trauma & triumph, self-identity, success, struggle & growth all over a gumbo palette of soulful, southern & tribal sounds.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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The Musalini & Cookin’ Soul Got the “Mackaroni” (EP Review)

New York emcee & Jamla Records recording artist The Musalini teaming up with Cookin’ Soul for his 6th EP. Beginning to take the underground by storm since 2018 after dropping his debut mixtape Musalini Season, he went on to release 3 full-lengths & another tape before signing to TCF Music Group. Since then, he’s made himself home by dropping a few EPs & Return of the Oro in the early part of this decade. In God We Trust produced by 38 SpeshThe Don & Eye alongside its sequel fully produced 9th Wonder & Pure Izm produced by Khrysis have all quickly become his best material over the past 3 years. And with the run Cookin’ Soul’s been on these past couple months, I can say stakes for Mackaroni were pretty high personally.

“Say You Love Me” featuring Hus Kingpin & Reuben Vincent starts us off with the trio over a soulful admitting to their flings that can’t say they care whereas “Never Be a Stranger” takes the groovy boom bap route talking about being a pimp. “‘92 Olympics” featuring Tha God Fahim gives me a mafioso atmosphere a bit instrumentally likening themselves to the US men’s basketball team over 3 decades ago just before “I Want It All” featuring Planet Asia taking the luxurious route expressing their desire for everything.

MadeinTYO interestingly joins Mu$ on the luxurious boom bap cut “Mack of the Year” talking about being the pimp’s pimps of 2024 leading into “Got Her” showing a J Dilla influence to the beat getting in his romance shit. “1 Time” featuring Le$ works in these organ-synths with kicks & snares bringing that style for the block whilst turning it up a notch while “Fresh Air” featuring Raz Fresco & Skratch Bastid keeps it boom bap with lavish piano chords talking about mornings on the beach. “Lay Up” warmly looks to turn everything he touches into chicken & “Pay the Man” is a jazzy closer demanding to be paid what he is owed.

Despite the fact that some of of Mu$’ output can be a bit too overloaded with the amount guests, I’m not gonna deny that Mackaroni is the most I’ve enjoyed his music in a while. Cookin’ Soul goes on a 3-peat with the production since it’s on par with Supreme Dump Legend: Soul Cook Saga’s & Bakin’ Soul’s, the performances from the features themselves are more consistent & Mu$’ is straight mackin’ for nearly 26 minutes.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Eddie Kaine & Big Ghost Ltd. Invite Y’all to Take the “Last Exit to Crooklyn” (Album Review)

This is the 6th full-length LP from Brooklyn emcee Eddie Kaine. Turning heads at the beginning of the decade off his Big Ghost Ltd.-produced debut A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the next couple albums Wonderful World of Kaino & Chosen were both moderately received until the Finn-produced Quincy Street Blues marked a return to form for Eddie. But coming off the BP Infinite-produced House of Kaine last fall, Kaine & Big Ghost are linking back up to take the Last Exit to Crooklyn.

“The Wrong Era” opens up shop by bringing a jazzier flare instrumentally so Eddie himself can admit he feels like he’s gettin’ lit in the wrong era giving flowers to those who paved the way like Gil Scott-Heron & Bobby Womack whereas “Reflections” works in some piano chords to get more spiritual than some think he is. “Gylan Kaine” shifts into soulful territory talking about the only goal is to do what they say he can leading into “Chain Walkers” featuring Planet Asia bringing the 2 backed by horns to get in their battle rap bags.

Moving on from there, “Could Never” clashes these somber keys with kicks & snares boasting that he cannot be touched just before “Crooktown” featuring Rim going back & forth with one another perfectly over a rugged boom bap beat sounding better than most of the cuts off their collab EP Meta if I have to be honest with myself here. “To the Pedal” has a warmer approach sonically talking about having his foot on the gas pedal full throttle, but then “Lanier vs. King” featuring Jae Skeese brings back the soul flips referencing Marcus Lanier & Lee King.

“Misery” keeps the chipmunk vocal sampling in tact talking about feelin’ like B.I.G. with all the Versace & Coogie on while “Cutthroat Drills” mixes pianos with kicks & snares getting back on the hardcore tip lyrically. The penultimate track “Roundtable Meeting” featuring Emilio Craig, Odawg, Passport Rav, Rim, Smaccz & Spoda is a cool 4-minute posse cut with a rawly rock-inspired sound just before “All the Above” shows off Eddie’s artistic versatility since he’s singing his heart out during the LP’s final moments.

A lot of the same essence that made A Tree Grows in Brooklyn so personal & relatable had crept it’s way onto Last Exit to Crooklyn, but it’s still very much a different story with new perspectives & some artistic maturity thrown in the mix. Big Ghost’s production is a bit jazzier than last time although the elements of boom bap, chipmunk soul & drumless are still present as Eddie touches on topics & has a true gift for making you feel like that’s your homie from round the simply just talking to you.

Score: 9/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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M.A.D’s 4th LP “Me Against Death” is His Most Passionate (Album Review)

M.A.D is a 33 year old MC/producer from California City, California notable for being 1/2 of the duo Madopelli. Much like his partner-in-rhyme Ant Dog who put out his 3rd solo effort albeit LSP debut Sadistic Symphony yesterday, M.A.D himself has quite a few solo efforts under his belt already including Predominantly Me as well as Full Circle & 24/7. But considering the acclaim that Madopelli has gotten ever since Lyrikal Snuff Productionz signed them & Sadistic Symphony releasing a day prior like I said, it makes sense for M.A.D to go eponymous for his 4th LP by himself.

After the intro, the first song “Murder Music” opens the album with a bleak boom bap instrumental wanting his flowers when he’s here whereas “Tell on My Name” takes the trap route sonically talking about calling him Suge White since he’ll leave muthafuckas hanging off the balcony. “Ay Mad How You Feel?” brings back the kicks & snares with a soul sample in the mix admitting that he’s feelin’ incredibly high leading into “New Snuff Sound” by Madopelli putting a Snuff twist to the hardcore hip hop/boom bap style.

”Watered Down” incorporates more kicks, snares & even some piano chords calling out those watering themselves down artistically while “Gutted Like a Fish” keeps it dusty reminding that what goes around does in fact come around & that you’re only gonna hate your own self in the end. “Long Way Home” brings a bluesier flare to the beat for a dedication to those who never had a home & “Mt. Snuffmore” by Madopelli featuring M.M.M.F.D. establishes themselves as the LSP-equivalent to Mt. Rushmore itself.

Starting the last leg of the album, “Juggalo Love 2” is this acoustic trap crossover showing mad juggalo luv while “Go to Sleep” incorporates this high-pitched vocal sample with kicks & snares passionately asking why they be sleeping on his name. And before the outro, the final song “Feel Alone Again” concludes M.A.D’s best solo album yet going trap metal talking about loneliness.

Madopelli has quickly established themselves within the underground ever since signing to LSP & much like Sadistic Symphony which we got only yesterday, it’s counterpart M.A.D (Me Against Death) further exemplifies the freshness that they can do as solo acts. Very much indeed the best albums that they’ve done on their own. M.A.D is not only one of the most interesting producers rising in the underground wicked shit scene in the last couple years, but his hunger here is next level.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Q-Unique Enlists Jake Palumbo for His 3rd EP “Royal Blood” (EP Review)

Brooklyn emcee, singer & producer Q-Unique teaming up with Jake Palumbo for his 3rd EP. Emerging as 1/4 of the Arsonists & the lead singer of the 3-man hard rock outfit Stillwill, he’s also built up impressive solo discography for himself since the Uncle Howie Records-backed Vengeance is Mine nearly 2 decades back at this point. He would follow it up the previous decade with Between Heaven & Hell alongside BlaQ Coffee and The Mechanic before Stillwill bassist Fieldy of KoЯn fame to produced his last EP Pound for Pound in full last spring. So hearing Jake was producing Royal Blood, I was just as excited.

“Bad Meaning Good” sets the tone with it’s horn-laced boom bap instrumental to the lyrics looking to shatter dreams like LeBron whereas the rugged “Eye Don’t Sleep” works in strings, kicks & snares talking about being up before the sunrise. “133rd Psalm” takes the soulful route describing how wonderful & pleasant it is when brothers live in harmony just before “Don’t Wanna Wake Up” intricately pays homage to everyone that paved the way for hip hop culture. “Chess Checkers” ruggedly talks about being done running from trouble with blood on his knuckles while “Random Play” keeps it in the basement instrumentally to discuss the street life. “Ingredients” closes the EP by admitting he got that Bruce Banner anger mixed with the love of a ‘60s hippie.

Pound for Pound was received to mixed responses although I felt it was a great comeback for Q & it only made since for Fieldy to hop behind the boards throughout the duration of it. That said, I feel like those who didn’t get a lot out of that previous EP will come away from Royal Blood enjoying a tad bit more. Jake’s production is more rawer in comparison to Q’s Stillwell bandmate & Q himself goes just as aggressive on the mic as last time.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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They Liv3 Release Incredibly Raw Debut EP “Obey” (EP Review)

They Liv3 is an underground trio from Milwaukee, Wisconsin consisting of Jaysin Logik, King Relik & Prolifik. All of whom have collaborated with one another extensively since signing to Force 5 Records as solo artists before forming a group together over a year ago & properly introducing themselves as a unit on their eponymous full-length debut. However with the first quarter of 2024 coming to a close on Easter weekend, They Liv3 are linking back up for a debut EP.

“TCOB” begins by hooking up horns, kicks and snares so everyone can go back & forth with each other on the mic whereas “Galvanized” goes rap rock to talk about being the real deal. “Evil Wayz” brings a Memphis trap atmosphere instrumentally to get in their wicked shit bags & after an interlude, “Hollow” featuring Rick Dogg works in these summery guitar passages going where the wind blows while the trap-driven “Killaz” talks about drinking. “Crazy” featuring their deejay Danny Diablo sends off Obey with a 2-minute hardcore jam.

Self-titled was a solid showcasing of They Liv3’s chemistry & Obey continues to further establish themselves as one of the most integrating groups that the Milwaukee hip hop scene has to offer right now. The production goes from boom bap to rap rock, Memphis rap, trap & even a bit of hardcore punk as they all continue to ping off each other impressively just like they did on the debut from 13 months ago.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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