Tag Archives: Reviews

Che Noir – “Food for Thought” (Album Review)

Che Noir is a 27 year old MC/producer from Buffalo, New York who caught my attention after 38 Spesh signed her to TCF Music Group & fully produced her first 3 EPs. However, her Apollo Brown-produced full-length debut As God Intended & then her self-produced 4th EP After 12 during the 2nd half of 2020 where her potential began to blossom exponentially. Given all that, I had a very good feeling going into her sophomore album right here.

After the “Eat to Live” intro, the first song “Split the Bread” kicks off the whole album with some rich pianos talking about being mentally dangerous whereas the self-produced “Eat or Starve” with Jynx716 has this killer guitar loop with the pair letting listeners know they never had it easy. After the “Daily Bread” skit, “Bless the Food” has a cheerful sound to it talking about being the voice of the people just before Armani Caesar & 7xvethegenius tag along for the string-laced “Ladies Brunch” reminding themselves that they’re the nicest females in the underground currently.

Meanwhile on “Praises”, we have Che on top of a cinematic boom bap instrumental from Chup talking about going down as a GOAT just before Ransom & 38 Spesh come into the picture for the piano/vocal loop infused “Table for 3” treating necks like footsteps lyrically. The track “Good Cutlery” encourages listeners to make wise decisions over some hi-hats & synths while the JR Swiftz-produced penultimate song “Brains for Dinner” goes straight into battle rap territory. After the “Water to Wine” interlude, “Communion” ends the album with a powerful ballad talking about some pain she’s been through.

Despite the brief delays the album faced prior to it’s release, it was very much worth it. It demonstrates her massive range, styles & techniques from nostalgic reminiscences to crime-driven narratives accompanied by the golden age-inspired production that’s all over her previous works.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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King Iso – “Get Well Soon” (Album Review)

This is the 5th full-length album from Nebraska emcee/producer King Iso. Coming up as a protege of San Diego chopper Twisted Insane, he would only drop first 2 albums & The Insanity Plea & Autophobiaunder Brainsick Muzik. Shortly after, they had an unfortunate falling out & it prompted Iso to put out his next album DeMenTia independently in 2018. However, I was thrilled to see him sign with Strange Music the following spring & his debut on the Kansas City powerhouse World War Me has quickly become one of the label’s best albums ever. So given that & the singles that Iso released for Get Well Soon over the fall, my expectations were very high.

The title track opens up the album on top of a somber trap instrumental confessing that he no longer feels the same whereas “0 Dark 34” weaves some hi-hats behind the sound of a phone beeping talking about being too busy to work on himself. “Today” has a more jangly ring to it pondering if people would call him if they didn’t need a favor or wanted to get money leading into “6 AM” has a darker tone sonically talking about getting high before the sunrise.

Meanwhile on “Big Farm A”, we have C-Mob & X-Raided tagging along with Iso over some tropical guitar licks & skittering drums letting the masses know we’re living in a sick market just before “Under My Tongue” takes a more spacious yet bass heavy route talking about how he was getting it in in the mental hospital. Rittz & Twista come into the picture for the rambunctious “Self Destruct” admitting they’re about to implode any moment, but then “Hellthy” talks about smiling while burning away over a downtrodden trap beat.

King Kash joins his brother for the cloudy/trap infused “I’m Okay” lying about their state of mental well being prior to jumping on top of some hi-hats & pianos admitting he’s “Not Well”. Following this, “Window” kinda has the same feel as the previous cut instrumentally except it’s more somber & detailing having so much on his mind while “Made Me Crazy” makes the sounds of cuckoos into a trap beat with Snake Lucci & Tech N9ne talking about being unhinged.

“Big Facts” with Taebo tha Truth finds the 2 taking shots at those who be talking too much over an atmospheric instrumental whereas the guitar-heavy “My Flowers” is basically The Brazy Bunch demanding their respect. Taebo returns for the aggressive “6 PM” reminding the world that they had to run it on their lonely. The song “Cover the Scars” is an acoustic/trap banger paying tribute to all of those out there who have Iso tattoos while the penultimate track “Hypocrite” has a churchy quality to it talking about how his music has helped others yet he’s not helping himself. “Help Yourself” ends the album with an energized ballad encouraging self care.

I think it’s safe to say that Iso’s output ever since signing to Strange has been the best of his career thus far & Get Well Soon wound up being a fantastic follow-up to World War Me. His production skills continue to progress while continuing to raise awareness of how much mental health matters further & detailing the obstacles he constantly faces.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Rigz & DJ Muggs – “Gold” (Album Review)

Rigz is a 30 year old MC from Rochester, New York who came up as a member of Da Cloth. He eventually broke out solo in 2017 off his debut EP Calculated & then the debut mixtape I Got Samples, which was followed up with a sequel tape & then his 2nd EP A Piece of the Action. However, Rigz’ popularity began to grow in 2019 off his Chup-produced 3rd mixtape Roach Gutta Slums & then the Big Ghost Ltd. produced collab effort with fellow Cloth member Mooch called The Only Way Out. Then he brought in Futurewave to produce his full-length debut Substance Abuse to universal acclaim & now after coming fresh off the sophomore effort Wake Ups that came out over the summer, DJ Muggs is coming in the picture to produce Rigz’ highly anticipated 3rd album.

After the “Gold Standard” intro, the title track with Mooch sets off the whole album by talking about how all they need is a brick over a morbid instrumental whereas “Every Season” with Rob Gates finds the pair on some spectral boom bap shit going at those who’re only tough in their heads. “Supreme” weaves in some keyboards & dusty drums talking about keeping 10 toes down just before Meyhem Lauren tags along for gritty drug dealer’s anthem “Cook Off”. Meanwhile on “What We Got”, we have Rigz on top of a beat kin to Wu-Tang Forever era RZA just giving the listeners who he is leading into the Rome Streetz-assisted “Heads on the Wall” talking about keeping their foots on cats’ necks on top of some luxurious piano chords & sputtering drums.

Mooch returns for the bare soul sample-laced “Where Ya Soul At?” speaking on turning the streets to their home, but then “Fool’s Gold” works in an enticing vocal loop going into battle rap territory. “24 Karats” goes back into drumless turf expressing his desire for a fortune while Big Twins comes into the picture for the forlorn “We Want In” talking about riding for their respective cliques.

The guitars on “Eastside Blues” are a nice change of pace sonically reminding that you can’t change where you came from & they carry their way over to “Crack the Code”, where Times Change jumps in to talk about how masterful they are. After the “Balance” interlude, the final “Never Met a Real Gangsta” with M.A.V. sees the 2 on top of some strings telling listeners all the G’s they know wound up not wanting be involved with crime anymore & then “The Culture” ends it with a spoken word piece.

It’s been a long time coming & I’m glad it finally came because this would be an excellent entry point for those who’re aren’t already familiar with Rigz or Da Cloth as a whole really. He continues to reveal himself as the sharpest lyricist of the crew even though I got love for all the members & Muggs’ production is as equally superb as Futurewave’s was on Substance Abuse a little over a year back.

Score: 9/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Maez301 – “Hello, Goodbye.” (Album Review)

Maez301 is a 28 year old rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland that first got his start in 2017 with his debut mixtape Nowhere. The project eventually caught the attention of Ervin Pope & Jerome Taylor, both of whom helped Maez get a record contract with Strange Music the following year & dropped his eponymous full-length debut showing Strange fans who he is artistically a little bit after his 26th born day. The sophomore effort HASAAN took a more personal tone to it & now that he’s home from the Strange New World Tour, Maez is keeping EP behind the boards for his 3rd album.

The title track has some gospel qualities to it telling listeners to be ready when he goes whereas “Let Up” with Tech N9ne is a west coast-tinged banger talking about never slowing down. “First Place” goes into cloudy, trap territory striving for victory & “Black” has to be one of the best songs of his career thus far detailing issues that’re very much relevant today on top of a bluesy instrumental.

Meanwhile on “Frenemies”, we have King Iso joining Maez on top of an acoustic guitar as well as a flute & some snares addressing trust issues leading into “Olsen Twins” serving as a romantically lush trap banger. After the “Different” interlude, “Fallen” is a downtrodden cut cussing out those who wanna see him fail just before “Inspire Me” tells his lover how much she means to him & the beat kinda reminds me of DJ Mustard for whatever reason.

Jehry Robinson tags along for the ethereal “Strange Flows” talking about hoes, but then “Slow Down” keeps the cloud rap vibes going by trying to steal a girl fed up with fuckboys. “Girlfriend” is a smooth dedication to his new sweetheart whereas “Lot on My Plate” has a bit of a cavernous feel to it venting about people hating him because he did it his way.

“Nun 2 Me” is a more spacious cut saying it ain’t shit to him while the song “What a Life” follows it up with a high-spirited bop about how blessed he is. The penultimate track “Ecstasy” psychedelically encourages listeners to live in the moment & “No Limit” rounds it all off has this sparkling quality to the beat talking about taking things as high as possible.

If you liked how Maez introduced the world to who he is artistically & personally on the last 2 albums as much as I did, then I HIGHLY encourage you to check this new one out as soon as you can because he really outdoes himself this time. I always appreciate when one tries to expand themselves artistically & that’s EXACTLY what he does with EP on here successfully.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Dango Forlaine & DJ Swab – “Mazmanadium” (EP Review)

Dango Forlaine is a 26 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who got his start in the summer of 2018 off his debut EP 95. He has since released 9 more EPs & a full-length debut but coming fresh off his stellar verse on Ty Farris’ latest magnum opus No Cosign Just Cocaine 4 a couple months back, he’s kicking off the new year by dropping his 10th EP & is bringing DJ Swab along to produce the entire thing.

The title track is a jazzy boom bap opener spitting that divine real whereas “The Ambassador” gets on some grimy hardcore shit. Ronnie Alpha tags along for the symphonic “Get It Up” talking about how they can’t slow down leading into the dramatic “25 Jefferson”, where A-Minus & Nappi Dev come into the picture to compare themselves to hustlers.

Meanwhile on “Blood Claat Ting”, we have Falcon Outlaw joining Dango on top of a guitar & some popping drums getting ready to go to war while the song “Night Owls” with Miskeen Haleem works in a crooning vocal sample going at those who think they’re better than them. The penultimate track “Crime of Passion” with John Jigg$ has a bluesy quality to it keeping the battle raps going & “In the Flesh” finishes it off in boom bap turf with a brief yet fiery verse that later transitions into some turntablism.

Now I’ve been following this guy for a little over a year now in thanks to my good friend/Middle Finger Music co-founder Pat Deegan & I definitely think Mazmanadium has to be one of my favorite projects that Dango has made so far. His pen-game’s continuing to sharpen up & DJ Swab’s production is great. However, I feel like the features are a little bit too much.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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The Musalini & 9th Wonder – “The Don & Eye” (Album Review)

The Musalini is a 34 year old MC from New York City who’s been making noise in the underground since 2018 after dropping his debut mixtape Musalini Season. He would go on to release 3 full-lengths & 1 more tape before signing to TCF Music Group, where he’s made himself home since then by dropping a couple EPs & Return of the Oro in the early part of this decade. But to follow up his 38 Spesh-produced 3rd EP In God We Trust that came out over the fall, he’s enlisting 9th Wonder behind the boards throughout his 5th album right here.

Planet Asia tags along for the charming opener “Summer League” spitting that fly shit on top of a guitar whereas “Skyview” has a more rich, boom bap quality to it talking about how he still gets around. “Been a Minute” goes into a more calmer route telling his lover that he ain’t like other guys, but then “Paid in Full” works in an incredible jazz sample talking about how even the blind can see the whole different sequence.

Meanwhile on “Don Music”, we have 38 Spesh joining Mus on top of some horns of course getting in their mafioso bag leading into the soulful “Cat Daddy” talking about the girl he sees in his dreams being all on him now. “Deja Vu” is a cool little anthem detailing that nobody can stop his crew just before “Sun Child” has a more drumless feel to it talking about how he’s that dude.

The song “Tunnel Vision” with Izzy Hott incorporates some strings taking aim at those who tried to break them down while the penultimate track “Miami Vice” with Ice Lord mixes a vocal loop with some keyboards to spit that braggadocio. And to round it out, King Draft & Swank come into the picture for “Sincerely” once again going into jazz territory to remind listeners they spit the shit they do because they live it.

For all the readers out there who’re fans of both parties, then you’re gonna absolutely be enamored by this album. The features at the back end of it can be hit or miss & a few of the songs could’ve been more fully fleshed out in my opinion but nonetheless, 9th cooks the best production of any Mus project & the latter scorches everything in his path lyrically.

Score: 8/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Phonk P & godBLESSbeatz – “Off-White Underbelly” (EP Review

Phonk P is a 32 year old MC from Compton, California who came to my attention in the spring of 2019 after dropping the collab EP Up’s & Down’s with his mentor Flee Lord, who would sign P to Lord Mobb Music following the release of his Local Astronauts-produced EP Bitters. However for his official debut under the ever-growing New York based indie imprint, godBLESSbeatz is being brought in to his sophomore EP in it’s entirety which caught my attention given the fact that the Loyalty or Death: Lord Talk trilogy was a lot of people’s introduction to Flee with myself being included.

After the titular intro, the first song “Murder Medley” opens the EP with Fred Blaze & Hyde Park tagging along on top of some melancholic piano chords thirsting for blood whereas “Hiatus” takes a smokier route putting a pause on the haters out there. Compton Menace comes into the picture for the horn/trap infused “Ghetto Byrds” talking about family over everything leading into the hypnotic “Resin” encouraging to keep your enemies closer. The dusty penultimate track “Bity of Industry” finds Hyde returning to proclaim that they’ll bust on anyone who disses them & “Lately” ends it off on a jazzy yet introspective note.

From the get-go, I had a feeling that Off-White Underbelly was gonna be P’s best work thus far & I stood corrected at the end of the day. I feel like he kinda overdid it on the features a tad bit, but there’s no denying that this is the best he’s ever sounded lyrically & godBLESSbeatz’ production on here compared to his previous efforts is just on a different dimension.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Shady Ray – “Blood Work” (Album Review)

This is the sophomore album from Inglewood emcee Shady Ray, who’s been around for a little over a decade with a handful of mixtapes under his belt including The Sinister & 1 Man Gang. But now that he signed to Lord Mobb Music a little bit after dropping his full-length debut Blood Pool, Ray celebrated Christmas Eve by having Sushi Punk produce Blood Work from front to back.

After the titular intro, the first song “Dark Path” starts off the whole EP by enlisting Jameel Na’im X for a drumless look at them fighting demons whereas “Fine China” has a more alluring sound to it saying he doesn’t make threats. “Appetite” goes back into drumless territory spitting some vicious battle raps leading into the calming “Medicated” talking about being blessed to be where is now.

Meanwhile on “Water on the Spoon”, we have Ray & Aaqil Ali coming together on top of a soul/horn sample to spit that heroin shit leading into Bale as well as T.F. & Young Act tagging along for “Where We At” to call out those who act like they came from the slums over yet another melodic vocal loop.

The song “Cannes” with BVNGS, Eto, Gifted Gab & Phonk P finds the quintet on top of some guitar licks going at those who have beef with them while the penultimate track “Act n’ Shady” with Flee Lord & Young Act weaves in some dreary pianos telling punks to leave all 3 of them alone. “Soul Food” finishes it all off by getting inspirational lyrically with these heavy horns backing him.

In the end, I think this is the crown jewel of Ray’s discography so far & have a feeling this is only the beginning. Lyrically, I feel like listeners will get a good idea as to who he is personality-wise & Sushi Punk comes correct behind the boards as well.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Daniel Son & Futurewave – “Son Tzu & the Wav.God” (Album Review)

Daniel Son is a 32 year old MC from Toronto, Canada who came up as a member of the Brown Bag Money collective back in 2016. His profile began to rapidly increase in the underground off projects like the Giallo Point-produced debut mixtape The Gunners or the Futurewave-produced sophomore album Yenaldooshi but after spending 2021 dropping a few EPs, he’s bringing Futurewave back in the picture to lace his 4th tape from top to bottom.

“Son Rise” kicks the whole thing off on some boom bap shit with an almost glistening loop showing cats how he does it in his neck of the woods whereas “Full Moon” goes into a more euphoric route sonically talking about having nightmares that’ll haunt him until he’s gone. Rome Streetz tags along for vengeful “Field Trips” going at the throats of those jealous of their success, but then “Nostrildamus” incorporates a soul sample to get on his pusher shit. Meanwhile on “Death & Taxes”, we have Daniel Son talking about not having a choice to lead the way even tough Pro Dillinger’s verse at the start is just decent leading into the jazzy “Hallelujah” speaking on dying for his chips.

Flee Lord comes into the picture for the sedatively-produced “3rd Eye”talking about having records that’ll play when they’re both gone while the song “Stove Dance” goes into drumless turf up until the 2nd half saying he applies a pressure that they can’t take. The penultimate track “Talk to Yourself” has a horn-heavy sound advising to keep his name out these punks’ mouths & “Son Set” with Saipher Soze ends it all with some grimy street shit that hopefully serves as an appetizer for a Divizion Rivals sequel.

I know 2022 literally just started today, but we already got an Album of the Year contender straight out the gate. Daniel Son’s lyricism goes hand-in-hand with Futurewave’s raw production as always, but they really take it to another level much like they did on Yenaldooshi & Moonshine Mix 2.

Score: 9/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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Jay Jules – “U.N.I.T.E.D.” (EP Review)

This is the 2nd EP from emcee Jay Jules. Coming up at the very beginning of 2019 off his debut EP One Shot, the man has continued to stay busy since then by dropping a handful of singles including “Bills Payed” & “3/4 Choppin’”. However for “U.N.I.T.E.D.“, he’s enlisted Gabiga to produce the whole thing & has brought a wide range of MCs on board.

“U” kicks off the whole EP on some dusty boom bap shit talking about how the way we get it matters whereas the Ned-E assisted “Neglected” takes a mellower turn saying life can’t be easy. Possibility tags along for the summery “Intentions” clarifying that they’re both far from malicious, but then Rapture Boy hops on the piano-laced “Together” talking about love being supreme. 

The song “Enemies” with Ms. C-Line somberly finds the 2 saying they have love for those who don’t feel the same towards them while the penultimate track “Different” enlists Mabreeze on top of some synthesizers encouraging listeners to not let people tell them they can’t do shit. “Unity” then ends the EP with a fresh 11-minute cypher showcasing talents from all over the world.

Compared to One Shot, I really dig how Jay went in a completely different direction. Gabiga hones it in with the lo-fi production, every MC involved has a style of their own & provide some unique perspectives to the range of themes presented throughout the half hour.

Score: 7/10

Source: UndergroundHipHopBlog.com

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