Tag Archives: Reviews

Little Simz – “Grey Area” (Album Review)

Grey Area” is the third album from the English rapper Little Simz. It was released on 1st March of 2019, through the record label Age 101. Since its release the album has received very good reviews and high ratings from the listeners.

Simbi Ajikawo, better knew as Little Simz, is one of the most underrated and talented pioneers of UK rap, with a unique flow and capacity to shake the male-dominated hip-hop scene. The 25-year-old female musician new album is very confident and has an ‘in your face’ vibe that most of the artists don’t have, in a sense, it is a strong proclamation of who Little Simz is as an artist. Even if she can be a dark horse of the industry at times, she does a great work at making you understand who she is and that her work is worthy being noticed.

The album takes a different take on the genre in terms of beats, using much more instrumental, and sometimes even more jazzy bits as well with some old school voice distortions. Certainly not the typical trippy trap beasts that are flustering the hip-hop scene in recent times. Present in this album is a variety of features staring guest singers and not rappers, thus giving a different undertone to the tracks not heard of in recent times.

Some of the tracks on this album just feel like the artist is the badass women not afraid to show who she is and that she will speak her mouth out, she shows just that right from the start of this album with the track, “OFFENCE” followed with the crispy drums and ambient noise and with bars that are tougher than a bulldozer as quoted “I’m Jay-Z on a bad day, Shakespeare on my worst days”  or “Gas level ain’t even on 10 and still they can’t manage”. So many tracks on this album make it feel like Little Simz just enters the scene like she was in a tank, being upfront and honest showing that she is like that and will not apologize for what she is saying and doing.

Gray Area isn’t all in your face vibe and badass all the time it mellows down further into the album but keeps the flow on spot and the quality of the final product doesn’t go down. Little Simz Talks about her life memories and experiences and hardships, she even raps about the betrayal she suffered, through this album you get the feeling of being in the middle of the ups and downs of her life story. You get to hear how she dealt with everything and still pulled through, you can feel a sense of relatability in certain aspects of the tracks, being passed through the amazing bars she keeps dropping.

On the final track, “Flowers” Little Simz wonders if the ambition she has for herself, of wanting to be an icon and a legend, comes with a price. Here, she reflects on her idols, such as Amy Winehouse and Jimi Hendrix, and ruminates on their brilliant highs, but saddening ends.

Giving us an indication of the mindset, she was in while writing Grey Area, making it seem like the English rapper was going through a dark time, which became pivotal in her creative process to create this album. You can testify by hearing in the flow of the energy that emanates through the album and flows up and down.

Across these 10 tracks, Little Simz utilizes one of the most valuable commodities that people seem to forget and that is honesty and speaking her mind and heart out. The hype and the high praise this album is getting surely is deserved, backed up by a great artist with great talent, thus creating to this moment one of the best rap records of the year so far.

Written by Luis Montez

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Nolan the Ninja – “SPORTEE” (Album)

Nolan the Ninja is a 26 year old MC/producer from Detroit, Michigan who’s been gathering attention in the underground for the past few years now, especially with the release of Yen back in 2017. He signed to the highly consistent Mello Music Group at the beginning of the year & with the help of 5YNOT mostly producing his debut for the label over here, Nolan continues to show his rise as one of the finest spitters in The D.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=277207749 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Tech N9ne – “N9NA” (Album Review)

This is the latest full-length outing from the highest-selling independent hip hop artist of all-time; the King of Darkness himself: Tech N9ne. If anyone is far behind in his catalog, the dude has made himself one of the hardest working men in the culture by dropping at least 1 or 2 albums a year since 2016 & his previous one Planet ended up being one of his best ones yet. However with a new tour starting earlier this week, he’s celebrating by releasing his 21st album.

After the “Le Horde” intro, we dive straight into the first song “Lord of Weird”. Where Tech pretty much proclaims himself as just that over a gloomy trap beat. The title track serves as a reintroduction for N9na’s new fans with Seven’s trunk-knocking production fitting like a glove while the song “Hit the Ground Running” with JL & King Iso sees the 3 talking about how no one can stop them over a trap beat with some acoustic strumming over an eerie beat. The track “Like I Ain’t” reflects on his accomplishments while the song “Green Lit” with Iso alongside Tech’s latest Strange Music signee Maez301 sees the 3 calling out people who double crossed them over an infectious instrumental.

The track “Chuki Fever” is a shot at everyone jealous of his success over a somber trap beat while the song “Fuckin’ Do It” with Futuristic & JL is a decent alcohol anthem with a skeletal trap beat. The track “Don’t Let Me Fall” is a boring diatribe of a 1-night stand with a simplistic beat while the song “You Line!” with Krizz Kaliko viciously attacks frauds with a perfectly suiting beat. The track “EDI’s” serves as a tribute to edibles with a monstrous beat while the song “Rata” takes a surprising direction in Latin territory & it somehow works.

The track “F.T.I. 2.0” serves as a vicious sequel to the iconic “Fuck the Industry” off his 2001 classic Anghellic while the song “She Fell” is a moody sex tune with a horrendous hook. The track “Sink” talks about depression with a gorgeous bass-line while the song “H.O.B. (History Of Bitches)” talks about crazy chicks trying to come back into his life over an atmospheric beat. The track “Ion Memba” recalls his past drug addiction with an average C-Mob verse over a spacey bass-heavy beat while the song “Active” talks about gang life over a nocturnal instrumental.

The track “EF U (Easier For You)” with Jelly Roll is a heartfelt dedication to the broken with a pretty guitar passage while the song “I’m Caught Crazy! (4Ever)” is essentially Tech embracing his insanity over a nocturnal instrumental. The closer track “I’m Sorry” is a triumphant ode to his family & then there’s the bonus track “Disparagement”, where he & King Iso diss their haters over a generic trap beat.

While I personally prefer Planet, this is still a solid listen. Of course Tech brings his A-game lyrically & I like how he kept the features minimal just like that previous album, but some of the production choices on this one in comparison could’ve been better.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Erick Sermon – “Vernia” (Album Review)

Erick Sermon is a legendary MC & producer from Brentwood, New York known for being a member of EPMD & the Def Squad. He made a flawed yet solid comeback in 2015 with E.S.P. (Erick Sermon’s Perception) but now 4 years later, he’s at it again with his 8th full-length album.

After the “Payne Intro”, the first song “Wake Up (No Fear)” brags about his skills over a futuristic instrumental. “Da Wave” brags about his skills over a vintage instrumental from Rockwilder while while the track “Tha Game” with AZ & Styles P sees the 3 dissing people only out for the fame over a bass-line & a soul sample. The song “Go” with No Malice talks about life in the streets over a luscious boom bap beat while the song “My Style” with N.O.R.E. & Raekwon sees the 3 showing all of their unique styles over a laidback soul sample.

The song “That Girl” with Big K.R.I.T. is a smooth dedication to Southern women while “Cabinet” shouts out a plethora of legendary MCs over yet another funky instrumental. The track “Stay Real, Pt. 2” with Keith Murray & Nature is a fantastic sequel to a highlight off of Erick’s underrated 1993 debut No Pressure while the song “Zion”with Xzibit alongside David Banner & even Shaquille O’Neal spit battle bars over a boom bap beat with a sinister piano-lead. The track “May Sound Crazy” with Devin the Dude & Too $hort sees the 3 getting romantic over a g-funk beat from Battlecat while the song 300 E is essentially E-Dub charismatically boasting over a beautifully futuristic instrumental from Rockwilder. The album then finishes with the Apathy produced title track, which is a heartwarming dedication to his grandmother.

All & all, this is a fantastic comeback for The Green-Eyed Bandit. Could’ve done without a couple tracks but this late into his career, Erick really sticks to his guns lyrically with the features mostly adding into the equation & the production is absolutely top notch.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Dragan – “Road to Balkan” (Album Review)

The impact Hip Hop has had on the world since day one has been undeniable, especially outside the U.S. The love, emulation, and imitation for Hip Hop overseas is addictive to foreigners. Birthing countless aspiring new artists like Netherlands’ Dragan, eager to cement their name next to the idols. Ready to have his name among the stars, the aspiring artist unveils his debut project, titled, Road to Balkan.

On the debut, Dragan develops a 12-track offering inspired by a vintage history of Golden Age Hip Hop. Embarking on a journey of self-reflection and promises to do amazing things with music, Dragan is eager to join the game and shine.

Stream Dragan’s new project, Road to Balkan, courtesy of Spotify.
[bandcamp width=350 height=470 album=1934409755 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false]

Dragan first attempt is nothing short of trial and error. 12 tracks, Dragan easily understands the basics with subject matter about his life filled with mental stability, worldly issues, and messages of overcoming adversity. Nothing radical, while playing it safe with trendy lyrics, the production chameleons the novice level entry.

Like his accent, the project’s production is unique thanks to the use of foreign bass and curious blues. The production is deep with experience and works in the star’s favor. Developed a strong presence with the instrumental, making the road to Balkan, streets of gold. Tailor-made, Dragan’s sound is genuine, organic, and amusing.

For the first effort, Dragan is a work in progress but occasionally enjoyable. The language barrier may disrupt from time to time but is excused by the artist’s undoubted creativity. Making a debut gives him a lot of leeway and opportunity for a second date; however, on the second go-round, Dragan will have to deliver a standing ovation.

Rating: 7/10

Highlight: Production

Follow Dragan on Twitter: @89Dragan

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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RudySamA – “Love You 2” (Album Review)

SoCal’s RudySamA is familiar on the underground scene thanks to his witty wordplay and promising appeal. The Perris recording artist follows up his first project with a must-hear sequel in the new album, Love You 2. While most sequel fails to live up to the hype, RudySamA is eager to change that assumption on his latest effort with an impressive collection of new music.

While following up his 2018 EP, Relics, Love You 2 is regarded as the rising star’s most promising effort to-date. Already known for his impressive lyricism, RudySamA looks to entice on the new 7-track effort with a deeper dive into the psyche.

Stream Love You 2 by RudySamA below, courtesy of Spotify.

Moody production filled with murky elements, the complete body of work sonically is ambitious. Similar to unlocking a mystery, the project’s sound grows into fruition gradually and it’s indeed smart execution. Helping tell a compelling story, the production strength and spirit is very strong as RudySamA indulged so much of himself personally.

Atop of the production, RudySamA dark tone is as appealing as his story. A short story (7 tracks), RudySamA is smart with his wordplay as he explains his mental point-of-view while retelling what appears in the present in a single verse. Using single self-explanatory words with multiple meanings, the storyteller is overall demanding and after all still a rubric cube mystery.

“Humbly entertaining thoughts which later manifest into reality,” the clever rapper express. Like before, RudySamA’s dark metaphors and poetic imagery is at the forefront of the project. While a first-time listener will be intrigued, a core fan would be left feed satisfaction but inquiring if this is the peak or spark of his potential. The material isn’t the same but the quality is stagnant on the new project as it doesn’t either underperform or overperform.

Final review, Love You 2 is another acquired taste by the rising star. A project’s opinion that will open for debate for year’s to come.

Rating: 7/10

Highlight: Lyrics

Follow RudySamA on Twitter: @sqwrtnastie

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Fame & Phonz – “That Pressure” (Album Review)

Cincinnati is stacked with fresh out the oven hot up-and-coming artists right now. Leading the classes of newbies is the popular duo known as Fame & Phonz. Today, the swagalicious duo prepare to put Cincinnati on the map with their latest project, properly-titled, That Pressure.

The extremely talented duo have well-earned respect throughout the music industry. Cincinnati has thrown huge parties project X-esque style over the years for the two and recently did a two-day music festival called, “That Pressure Fest” that featured the rising stars. Bringing out their cult-like fan base. On the new 9-track release, Famz & Phonz display an energetic, tribe, underground rap persona that you can’t resist.

Stream Fame & Phonz new project, That Pressure, below courtesy of Spotify.

The project’s production is unknown as it lacks attention. Plain because of its “regular” drums and claps, the project’s production fails to amuse, unlike most underground Hip Hop projects. Thanks to the group’s undeniable energy, the project’s lack of sonics are properly unbeknowst without a single complaint. Under the circumstances, the group’s unnecessary needs for explosive production only makes the group more marketable.

Lyrically, both Famz and Phonz are fun to hear on the beat. Entertaining, the group’s slick rhymes, hustling scriptures, and intriguing impression speak volumes to newfound fans. The unlimited creativity allows fans to accrue interest as they see the album through. Through great story-telling of today’s Cincinnati, we get a complete aspect of what the city has to offer, and it’s a must-see.

On That Pressure, the duo exhibits luxurious shopping spree-like tenacity with abundant use of expensive fabrics terminology. Reassuring the city’s pride in the hood rockstar lifestyle. Aggressive but braggadocious, its the group’s confidence that is most admirable on the project. However, flawed, the duo boast and brag a level of skill that they overcompensatedly haven’t yet reached.

Their chemistry is well-groomed, their lyricism is flashy with its flavor for the fabrics, but overall there is plenty of room for improvement. Better competition will make the duo an even bigger force with the purpose of raising their creativity. Until then, the group will be a promising prospect with a continuously growing buzz.

Rating: 8/10

Highlight: Energy

Follow Fame & Phonz on Twitter: @fameyno

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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JOSEPHNSPARROWB – “VV” (Album Review)

Nova Scotia artist JOSEPHNSPARROWB drops his 1st full length album titled “VV” representing “Win”. “VV” is an experimental album mixed with Hip-Hop, Punk & House.  The greatest thing about music is everybody has their own unique signature & JOSEPHNSPARROWB sure did that with a name longer then any tongue twister and and album sonically mixed with multiple genres. The album cover is tranquil as I liked the mellow approach to the visual very different from any album I heard previous.  The 1st song on the album is titled “Riverwood”, this song is very emotionally driven as I can hear the pain in the artist voice trying to explain the events of his life. “Tundra” production reminded me of something odd future world work with, The substance behind the record is great but the delivery could use work along with the rhyme scheme.

“Nihilist” My fav line from this song was “The plot thickens & my art sickens” this shows the potential in the Nova Scotia artist as he assembles his 1st LP to continue to grow his craft. “Ration” had a really dark reflective vibe to it as JOSEPHNSPARROWB switched up his rhyme scheme and added another dynamic to the album. “Task” was also reflective but this time more so mellow dramatic song with tragic comic overtones.The production behind “Action” is beautiful I can see this instrumental in film and Tv, JOSEPHNSPARROWB should explore that option as a copyright owner and creator. “Loud” was straight out of a horror movie film I can forsure see this featured in Sci-Fi tv-shows and films. “Calm” was just that and reminded me of 21 savage in many ways from the voice tone to the actually delivery, At the end of the day their is a lane for all music its just finding the people it helps.

“Swing” is Dope I like the flow and atmosphere created from this cut as it gives its own sonic sound. I can see this song kicking the moshpit off in the club, the hype approach and lyrics are exciting, I can no doubt see “VV’ in the emo punk community. “Fight” is also one of those songs that can ignite a moshpit the anger and retrospective lyrics make you anger it seems what makes this artist art is the past trauma of life and being an empath.  Follow him on twitter.

Rating 5/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Diabolic & Vanderslice – “Collusion” (Album Review)

Diabolic is a legendary underground MC from Long Island, New York who made a name for himself by battle rapping in the very late 90’s/early 2000’s. However, it wouldn’t be until 2009 that he would release his debut album Liar & a Thief. Which was solid, but he would eventually outdo himself 5 years later with the release of Fightin’ Words. But now, another 5 years has passed & he has teamed up with Vanderslice to help him return with his 3rd full-length album.

After the intro, we go into the first song “Think of That”. Here, Diabolic talks about returning to the throne of hip hop over a soulful boom bap beat. The track “Jitterbug” talks about not crossing him over an instrumental with a prominent keyboard & synthesizer while the song “Normalize” vividly describes the criminal activity he involves himself in over a perfectly sinister boom bap beat. The track “See the Light” with Nems gets cold-blooded over an eerie beat while the song “Who We Are” with Tre Mark Star, Coast & John Jigg$ is about how living rough made all 4 of them the people they turned out to be today over a spacious instrumental.

The track “Other Side” talks about living like he’s on his way to death over a vicious beat while the song “Once Again” is laced with deadly battle bars over a jazzy beat. The track “Simon Phoenix” boasts about his skills over a haunting beat & before the album finishes with the outro, the final song “Last Day” with Coast sees the 2 talking about keeping it live forever but the beat on here is just ok to me.

All that being said: I think this was a dope comeback for Diabolic. It’s a bit too short as it only runs a little over a half hour, but he & Vanderslice display a pretty great chemistry together from start to finish.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Camouflage Regime – Self-titled (Album Review)

The Camouflage Regime is a newly formed hardcore hip hop duo consisting of 2 East Coast underground heavyweights: former Juice Crew member Tragedy Khadafi & Army of the Pharaohs leader Vinnie Paz. The 2 have collaborated with each other a couple of times in the past (most notably the iconic Jedi Mind Tricks joint “Genghis Khan“) but now, they’re teaming up for their highly anticipated debut.

The album kicks off with “Bloody Jungle”, where Paz & Tragedy get murderous over an eerie Stu Bangas beat. The next song “Canaan’s Bracelet” with Agallah sees the 3 spitting that gun talk over a piano-inflicted boom bap beat while the song “A Warrior’s Fate” is laced with vicious battle bars over a sinister beat. The track “Cinematic Echo” boasts about their skills over a soulful beat while the song “Jummah Rituals” gets back on the violence tip over an apocalyptic beat.

The track “Fibre Optic Weapons” with Ill Bill sees the 3 vividly describing life in the streets over an ominous beat while the song “Nocturnal Militia” talks about how they ain’t ready to die over another keyboard-inflicted boom bap beat. “The Most Gracious” pretty much speaks for itself over a piano & some strings while the song “Thought Machine” gets conscious over an abrasive beat. And before the album ends with a decent remix to “Canaan’s Bracelet”, the final song “Persian Legacy” talks about being military minded over a boom bap beat with some keys & a killer guitar.

It’s been a few years coming & at the end, I enjoyed it. Paz & Tragedy could’ve padded it out with a few more tracks, but their chemistry really shines & the raw production suits them fantastically. If the 2 ever plan on making a follow-up in the future, then I’m all for it.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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