January 11, 2017

My First Reaction: 8ball &MJG - Comin' Out Hard (August 17, 1993)

I decided to give this album a try because I've seen many times now that this album is considered a Southern rap classic in online forums and such but I haven't heard anyone mention these guys outside of the Internet. I'm going in blind...

1. Intro
A screwed intro that I rather like actually, but I doubt I could listen to it multiple times.

2. 9 Little Millimeta Boys
Ohhhh this reminds me of some UGK's best stuff. Some of the lyrics are weak like the line "I'm a step on your ass like a stepbrother" but the flows, delivery, and the beat especially more than make up for the lyrical deficiencies for me. Runs a little bit too long.

3. The First Episode
Very interesting song as the beat feels similar to others of the same era but different at the same time. Lyrics are gangsta rap all the way with one threat sticking to me "I'm big as a motherfucker, I don't look fast/ But I'll jump up quick, and stick my dick in yo ass" like damn!

4. Armed Robbery
Tale about an armed robbery that is basic but one that still keeps its color due to the enthusiasm displayed by the duo with obvious help from the sneaky-sounding beat.

5. Pimps
Fascinating song in that it helps the listener get into the mindset of the duo with the beat, although slow, sets the right background to the lyrics. However, because of the slow beat I don't think I could listen to this over and over again. Definitely one of the most important songs on the album in my opinion though.

6. Comin' Out Hard
Fantastic song with all the samples used to make the beat and after the last song the lyrics start to sound particularly grim. Also, it seems to me that the beat becomes much harder when they delve into threats before switching back to a more calmer beat.

7. Mr. Big
Feels like the rhyme scheme is much more elementary on this song but it fits with the simple, effective beat. However the little section when the beat stops and switches to that chant is horrendous (you'll know what I mean).

8. N----'s Like Us
Unfortunately the beat is much too basic that it becomes boring. Worst song on the album, even though it is the "hardest" lyric-wise, which is unfortunate.

9. Pimps in the House
The flows on this song work so well with the beat I'm amazed honestly. Fantastic way to end the album.

Final Thoughts: 8ball & MJG crafted a fantastic debut by making fantastic beats, flowing over them with precision, and seperating themselves from most other acts of the 90s. This album at first reminded me of UGK but I was wrong as UGK sound much more "cool" or "smooth" on their songs while 8ball and MJG sound much more "gritty" or "grimy" and have a much bigger emphasis on pimping even though UGK had Pimp C (who has the word "pimp" in his name). Overall, I would definitely listen to this album again and in my opinion this is one of those albums that the Internet fawns over for good reason.

December 16, 2016

T.I. - King (March 28, 2006)

I have always been a fan of Tip, he has his flaws; namely his feature selections and the inability to be lyrically complex, what you hear from Tip is mostly what you get. However, this is also Tip's strength in that he is blunt in an endearing way and has a certain smugness about him that helped make him the "King" at one brief point in time (at least of the South anyway). Many people disagree over which of Tip's albums is the best out of Trap Muzik, Urban Legend, and King so I chose to cover the most recent one because well... it's the most recent one.

1. King Back
Tip announces his return over a brilliantly triumphant Just Blaze (a producer I've always been fond of). This is a pretty good introduction of what's to come.

2. Front Back (Featuring UGK)
This song is one of my favorite on the album for good reasons! Tip, Pimp C, and Bun B sound comfortable with each other over one of the best Mannie Fresh beats I've ever heard, and that man has made some marvelous works!

3. What You Know
A catchy song that's blunt. The beat is boisterous, fittingly for Tip. Sonically pretty good, but there's not much else to say about this song as it is doesn't have much content-wise. In fact, the raps might be a little too elementary for some people.

4. I'm Talkin' to You
Tip comes at a certain rapper (uggh Lil' Flip) so bluntly that you would think he was a hammer. The Just Blaze beat is perfect for Tip's attacking raps. Tip completely destroys Lil' Flip, but I say that my favorite part of this song is the different flows Tip uses throughout this song.

5. Live in the Sky (Featuring Jamie Foxx)
I'm not really too big of a fan of Jamie Foxx but he does his job on here. You would expect this song to be your typical "my homies dead" song but Tip goes much deeper than I would have initially thought, making this song a very special and interesting look into Tip's life and personality. The Keith Mack beat also fits the song and Jamie Foxx beautifully.

6. Ride Wit Me
The beat's a banger, Tip hypes you up with his hook and verses! A show of how to make song that "bumps in da whip"

7. The Breakup (skit)

8. Why You Wanna
I usually dislike these types of songs, and I still think the lyrics are atrocious. However, I think Tip is able to pull it off because of two reasons: His smugness (and overall air of untouchable) and the beat is just so damn catchy.

9. Get It
Swizz Beatz, on one hand I think this beat is a complete mess, but on the other hand I think it's brilliant! Which is it? Tip does a pretty good job regardless handling this beat.

10. Top Back
Creme de la creme indeed! My favorite song on here, it's just too damn catchy!

11. I'm Straight/Pimp C (skit) (Featuring B.G. & Young Jeezy)
Ehh... I think this is one of the lesser tracks.

12. Undertaker (Featuring Young Buck, Young Dro & DJ Drama)
This song sucks donkey balls. As I said before, Tip's feature selection is one of his weaknesses.

13. Stand Up Guy
This song is terrible...

14. You Know Who
Phew, finally a good song. This song isn't just good though, it's fantastic! I put this mostly on Tony Galvin and Travis Barker's beat, which rocks! Tip himself seems kinda lazy on here to be honest.

15. Goodlife (Featuring Pharrell & Common)
I really like this song as it shows Tip facing his adversities head-on and overcoming them over a classy Neptunes beat. Common steals the show on here though.

16. Hello (Featuring Governor)
Nice little song excluding the parts Governor ruins by going completely overboard.

17. Told You So
This song is alright, nothing special though.

18. Bankhead (Featuring P$C & Young Dro)
This song had so much potential! The little part with only Tip sounds amazing but the rest of the features aren't up to par with whoever the fuck is on the hook completely derailing the momentum of the song! Dammit nooooo!

Final Thoughts: This album has the same problem any rap album over an hour tends to have; after around the 1/2 mark things start to become more and more inconsistent. So while the first half of this album was straight fire the latter half wasn't up to par and I feel a lot of it could have been fixed if Tip just remained more focused and concise by trimming the fat off this album. Another thing I noticed was that it seems that after the first half of this album, Tip seems to not care as much anymore with certain songs while still pretty damn good, could have been made amazing with some more effort from Tip (such as "You Know Who"). Overall, I love the first half of this album, but can only listen to certain songs in the second half. Along with the fact that Tip's problem with bad feature selection continues...

December 5, 2016

Gucci Mane - Everybody Looking (July 22, 2016)

Before this album, I never liked Gucci Mane's music as I found him to be quite trite, but I got interested in giving him a chance after everybody and their mother seemed to get on the Gucci's back hype train. Something that surprised me as I was researching this album is that it was all recorded in about 7 days. Gucci certainly has the work ethic for a successful rapper...

1. No Sleep (Intro)
Title seems appropriate as at in the point of time of recording this album Gucci was making music back to back. The hook of this song is pretty catchy and blunt like the rest of this song where Gucci clearly says about some things that have been going on with Gucci and he even sheds some introspection onto his own character saying that he has the best intentions but sometimes makes rash decisions. This song is actually pretty good hmm...

2. Out Do Ya
Gucci's verses are pretty funny but Zaytoven's instrumental is snoozeworthy. Unfortunate because I felt this song could have become something more.

3. Back on Road (with Drake)
The instrumental made by Murda Beatz and Boi-1da make a colorful beat that fits Gucci Mane's raps and Drake's hook. This song is solid, not much more I can say really.

4. Waybach
MikeWill and Zaytoven make a beat that doesn't need to be loud to bump if you know what I mean. Gucci's hook is masterful and makes me wonder if he came up with it on the fly because it sounds so natural and catchy so maybe it's his strength as so far every hook on here has been pretty good. Gucci's raps are interesting with references to things that really happened but I really want to know what "devilish drink" Gucci is refusing.

5. Pussy Print (featuring Kanye West)
I like the hook and the beat is pretty interesting but I the verses were terrible. This song is perfect for keeping in the background but don't look into the lyrics at all and you should be fine. I guess this is one of those times where the atmosphere of the song overpowers the actual content of what is being said on the song.

6. Pop Music
I honestly forgot this song was on here, and for a good reason, absolutely nothing stands out to me from this song. I guess it went into one ear and "popped" out the other hehe.

7. Guwop Home (featuring Young Thug)
This is my favorite song on here and I'm surprised to say it. The lyrics are trashy but it fits the song because everything is so bouncy and colorful. Young Thug on the hook is probably my favorite thing about this song as he makes the song become something more than it would have been without him. Kudos to MikeWill and Zaytoven for the beat too.

8. Gucci Please
Not my favorite song on here or anything but I felt it was solid enough to still warrant an inclusion on this album. The hook and Gucci's flows are definitely the strongest points in this song.

9. Robbed
Now this song was interesting to me because I can't think of any other rapper that would have the balls to rap about when they got robbed. This is certainly a highlight of the album for me, perhaps because of the authenticity of it but also because Gucci Mane tells the story bluntly.

10. Richest N----a in the Room
Another one of my favorite songs on here because this song hypes me up while keeping its coolness throughout the song. In fact I could see this being played in strip clubs because of the beat and the hook. The beat itself, courtesy of MikeWill and Zaytoven, is very airy and rocks the speakers. Just an amazing beat!

11. 1st Day out tha Feds
The lyrics on here are extremely basic, probably because of the short time spent coming up with them, but everything about this song BANGS! The beat made by MikeWill and Pluss is a monster! Gucci does the beat justice by riding it like only Gucci could, I can't think of any other rapper I would prefer on this beat.

12. At Least a M
Pretty good song to follow-up the behemoth that was "1st Day out tha Feds", the beat is catchy while Gucci Mane raps about not associating with people that have no valuable connections.

13. All My Children
This song is more hypnotic than anything, I don't really like this song and consider it one of the lesser songs on this album.

14. Pick Up the Pieces (Outro)
Good thing this song ends the album as it seems that the Gucci was running on his last legs at this point sounding slow and boring on this song. The beat is pretty atrocious as well.

Final Thoughts: This album is pretty damn good if what you want is a straight banger with catchy lyrics. Interestingly enough, Gucci goes above and beyond by managing to incorporate things that have happened in his life and what he is going through and laying out these details throughout the album bluntly. The instrumentals mostly made by MikeWill and Zaytoven MAKE this album as they fit Gucci and his personality so well. Speaking of Gucci's personality, I have never met the man himself but his personality gleams through almost every song on here which make him stand out compared to some other rappers.

September 21, 2016

DJ Khaled - Major Key (July 29, 2016)

DJ Khaled is a producer but I count him more of a compilation executive producer since that's more of what he really does seeing that he only 7 out of the 14 tracks on here even though this is his so called studio album. Maybe he is just some corporate entity that is used to tie in multiple big name artists in an effort to boost those artists sales. Either way will this result in a good listening... probably not but positivity is key! (fuck me that was terrible)

1. I Got The Keys (featuring Future and Jay Z)
DJ Khaled and Jake One (surprising I know) produce a beat that annoys me more than anything. I was never a fan of Future's style which is why I dislike his contribution here. Jay sounds awkward on here as if he was supposed to be on a different beat to begin with. Not a good start to the album.

2. For Free (featuring Drake)
The beat is mind-numbingly boring and Drake sleep-walks his way through this song. I guess this sleep-aid is for free (hah!).

3. Nas Album Done (featuring Nas)
Cool & Dre along with DJ Khaled sample the Fugees in order to create the best beat on the album by far and Nas kills it. More stuff like this please!

4. Holy Key (featuring Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar and Betty Wright)
I've always advocated that if Big Sean focuses that he can be a pretty damn good rapper and on here it showcases his real potential behind the mic. Unfortunately for Big Sean, King Kendrick comes hops on the beat and knocks Big Sean off his perch. The beat for this song by the way is also produced by Cool & Dre along with DJ Khaled and it bangs.

5. Jermaine's Interlude (featuring J. Cole)
This is alright... J Cole is actually spitting some fire on here but the beat fails him in being so slow, boring, and repetitive. 

6. Ima Be Alright (featuring Bryson Tiller and Future)
Terrible in every way.

7. Do You Mind (featuring Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown, August Alsina, Jeremih, Future and Rick Ross)
This song started off kind of gross but still fascinatingly good with Nicki's verse and the beat at the time sounded really good. However after Nicki's verse it feels like the whole song takes a nosedive, which in unfortunate because Nicki's verse is the first verse in the song.

8. Pick These Hoes Apart (featuring Kodak Black, Jeezy and French Montana)
Holy shitballs this is terrible! I don't have better words to pick this song apart.

9. Fuck Up the Club (featuring Future, Rick Ross, YG and Yo Gotti)
The beat is much too boring to support the weight of artists who rely heavily on their beats to carry their work (especially Officer Ricky heh cause fat hurr durr), which makes me sad because this is the first time Cool & Dre have disappointed me so far. YG's verse is the only good thing from this awful song as it really shows how much he's evolved as a rapper as he manages to bring the song to life for his single verse.

10. Work for It (featuring Big Sean, Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz)
I like this song more for its overall sound than for its substance as it reminds me of something from Gucci's Everybody Looking. All the rappers sound in their element over this Gucci-esque beat.

11. Don't Ever Play Yourself (featuring Jadakiss, Fabolous, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes and Kent Jones)
DJ Khaled and Cool & Dre try to make a beat that is hardcore rap but it is waaaay to simple to be effetive and makes the whole song boring, which is unfortunate because everybody on here has pretty good verses (especially Busta).

12. Tourist (featuring Travis Scott and Lil Wayne)
I recognize the producer Key Wayne for producing the best songs in Big Sean's Hall of Fame album. This is a good thing because Key Wayne doesn't disappoint because the beat is pretty good but Travis Scott's and Lil Wayne's contributions are awful enough to bring this song down a LOT.

13. Forgive Me Father (featuring Meghan Trainor, Wiz Khalifa and Wale)
I feel like this was the song that DJ Khaled made specifically to convert into a single and honestly for pop rap it isn't too bad. In fact the beat and flows are on point. Even Meghan Trainor sounds good on here!

14. Progress (featuring Mavado)
Surprisingly this reggae pop track is one of the songs I liked best on this album. I feel like the beat fits Mavado well and Mavado's singing is pleasant to the ear. The beat is decent as well so kudos to that.

Final Thoughts: I thought this album was going to be terrible because, well, everything else I heard from DJ Khaled was terrible. DJ Khaled has managed to make a compilation that is decent and I say compilation because that is what this so-called studio album is. DJ Khaled obviously involved in this album but he is more of the director of the album (executive producer) than being the actual actor in the movie (rapper or producer). There are some godawful songs on here "Pick These Hoes Apart" and "Ima Be Alright" but there are some songs that are awesome "Forgive Me Father", "Holy Key", and "Nas Album Done". I would recommend listening to this at least once because it seems that there will be at least one song off here that you will take a liking to.

Best Tracks: "Nas Album Done", "Holy Key", and "Forgive Me Father"

August 2, 2016

My First Reaction: E-40 - Tha Hall of Game (October 29, 1996)

While E-40's In a Major Way wasn't my first time listening to E-40, it certainly taught me that there is more to E-40. A lot of what was wrong in E-40's In a Major Way mostly comes down to the often inconsistent nature of the beats. E-40's rapping on his previous album was exceptional and I hope to see more of the same on this album. By looking at the album sales it says that this is E-40's highest charting album so I hope that is an indication that the beats are good on this album. I have noticed (while not an absolute truth) that the higher the album is on the charts the higher the likelihood of it having good instrumentals. This albeit dumb theory I have will be put to the test right about now...

1. Record Haters (Rasheed Wallace & AZ Diss) (Featuring Big Lurch & Calvin Hightower)
This should only listened to once and not once more. In this song E-40 disses Rasheed Wallace and AZ but unfortunately it seems like most of E-40's lines aren't really too memorable with the exception of his wordplay of being Rasheed Wallace's elder and with some other line about AZ being on his "rest in piss list", which was pretty damn funny. I guess there's a reason the beef between E-40 and AZ isn't really well known. At first I thought the beat was boring but then it grew slightly on me... slightly its still bad though. This song in general is pretty bad... besides the hook.

2. Rapper's Ball (Featuring Too Short & K-Ci)
I really tried to like this song; I really did! This song is just so damn boring though! The beat is much too simple to be the lead single of the album. Too Short and E-40 have good enough lyrics on here but their energy levels are so low that it doesn't force the beat to come to life. The hook is the best thing on this song and the only real semblance of why I can see this song becoming one of E-40's biggest hits.

3. Growing Up (Featuring Lil E & Shamia McCloud)
The producer of this song should be given a job as a clown because he certainly isn't a producer. This is one of those times you hear a rap song and actually become furious at the beat for being so bad that they bring down some highly interesting lyrics the rapper is spitting (kind of like that feeling for that Kas Soul on Ice album). 

4. Million Dollar Spot (Featuring 2Pac & B-Legit)
The first overall decent song on here but possibly the first song on here where E-40 wanes a bit dropping some lines that are just gross in his first verse. 2Pac is in full thug life mode and spits a clean verse about dropping his enemies. B-Legit comes in with a verse that's bland and uninterested, which is a bit odd to me as he seemed to be one of the standout features on E-40's last album. The beat is the first decent beat on the album, which might actually be raising my opinion of this song more than it should be.

5. Mack Minister (Skit) (Featuring Andre Dow)

6. I Wanna Thank You (Featuring Suga-T)
The beat is actually pretty good on here plus Suga-T sounds tolerable here (perhaps even decent)! What's going on here?! Regardless, E-40 does his thing and the hook is decent enough so we got a good song here.

7. The Story (Featuring Ephriam Galloway)
The beat here is fantastic for E-40's surprisingly introspective lyrics on materialism and little inserts about his life being changed by money.

8. My Drinking Club (Featuring Young Mugzi & Levitti)
The beat here is bouncy and has a thumping bassline to boot. This song is E-40's comfort territory and he delivers accordingly tongue-twisting verses. Unfortunately, the guest rapper (Young Mugzi) is the only thing about this song that isn't up to par, he just feels like a stop-gap before hearing E-40's verses again.

9. Ring It (Featuring Spice 1, Keak da Sneak & Harm)
The beat was inspired by how a phone rings and while that was a pretty interesting concept to entertain, the execution borders on annoying and probably would have caused this song to fail if not for the fact that every rapper on here manages to rap their respective asses off. The concept is that each verse being a different story/conversation. The hook also helps to bring this song up as I found it oddly charming. Overall, I give this song a good rating still because its not like the beat is intolerable.

10. Pimp Talk (Skit) (Featuring Mike Tha Shiek)

11. Keep Pimpin' (Featuring D-Shot)
This song is baaaad.

12. I Like What You Do to Me (Featuring B-Legit)
This song was blander than putting hummus to a sandwich. The verses are just so uninspired and lazy from both E-40 and B-Legit. The beat started okay but it has this feeling that the producer just got frustrated halfway through making the beat and said "good 'nuff". The hook... the lesser said the better.

13. Things'll Never Change (Featuring Bo-Roc)
E-40's verses are really damn good and the beat sets the tone well enough. In fact the chorus is decent too. The only thing is that this song is a bit too close to 2pac's "Changes" with beat being slightly different and the hook almost being the same. That would have been a problem but E-40 spoke about it in an interview that both Pac and E-40 made their own versions of this song to play for each other. Tragically, only E-40 was able to hear both versions of this song. I believe E-40 too because him and Pac were very close to each other.

14. Circumstances (Featuring Luniz, Cold 187um, Kokane, Celly Cel, T-Pup, Yukmouth, and Numskull)
Now there's a lot of names I wouldn't expect seeing here. The Rick Rock beat is decent enough but not anything special but this song is really more of a showcase of which rapper can outshine the other. E-40 doesn't have too good of a verse but ends it well, before going to T-Pup's verse which is legitimately terrifying "way girl burst ya dick and now got ya on one" (what the fuck, is his dick a balloon?), Yukmouth (terrible rap name by the way) comes in next and delivers a pretty good verse, Numskull delivers a verse that does not hold up today at all with all of its dated references to movies people nowadays have wiped from their memories, Celly Cel is in autopilot mode for his verses and clearly doesn't give two shits. Finally for the last verse E-40 returns to spit like 4 lines before disappearing again. Yeah this song was just a massive waste of my time...

15. It Is What It Is (Featuring Kaveo)
The beat is so bland that it makes this song a hopeless cause. Makes me feel bad for E-40 for even trying to rap on this beat as the beat is horrible to rap on with the bpm of it being so unnaturally slow.

16. Smebbin'
This song is E-40's crazier, drunken self personified and is I thoroughly enjoyed how animated he sounds on here. The hook and the beat are perfect matches for E-40's more warped side.

Final Thoughts: E-40's In a Major Way was just overall the better album. It seems that the biggest problem again for E-40 is the production consistency, which unfortunately shoots down my albeit stupidly optimistic theory correlating beats and places in the Billboard charts. The inconsistent production isn't the only thing that plagues this album though, uninspired guest features also play a big role in making this album worse than E-40's previous effort. On In a Major Way guests like B-Legit and Celly Cel both had really good chemistry with E-40 but on this album it seems as if the someone added a toxic chemical causing the chemistry to explode causing the lazy and boring verses both guests gave to E-40. On a mini-rant lazy guest features are dumb as shit, it doesn't make any sense! Some rappers would literally kill to be featured on a commercial album release and for some rappers to release some tepid bullshit as one of their only chances to widen their audience. Regardless of all of its flaws I would still come back to some songs on this album.

Best Tracks: "The Story", "My Drinking Club", "Smebbin" (even though my personal favorite track I realize that this might not be everybody's cup of tea), "Ring It", "I Wanna Thank You"

July 25, 2016

My First Reaction: E-40 - In a Major Way (March 14, 1995)

E-40 is a West Coast rapper that has a unique flow and drawl-ish delivery that makes him instantly recognizable on a song. E-40 has also been hugely influential on shaping the rap game and slang that is seen today. E-40 also has an incredible work ethic by releasing album after album, once even releasing three albums on the same day! Now I obviously can't cover all of E-40's work but I believe that I can at least cover his two biggest works The Hall of Game and the album featured today, In a Major Way.

1. Intro

2. Chip In Da Phone
What was the point of this? E-40 just put two skits back to back!

3. Da Bumble
The first song in the tracklist is a pretty good start to the album. The beat sort of has a West Coast Eminem feel to it and while basic still manages to pass the "head-nodding" test. E-40's lyrics aren't any more deep than typical braggadocio but he is pretty damn good at doing it. E-40's use of obscure slang helps the track feel more authentic and is fun trying to decipher. However, if you didn't like E-40's rapping on here than I'm pretty sure that you won't like E-40 as this is his whole shtick.

4. Sideways (Featuring B-Legit & Mac Shawn)
I found this track to be really fun to listen to as E-40 and B-Legit pass the mic between the two throughout the verses and both of them sound like they are having fun doing it (aka chemistry). There was a really questionable moment from B-Legit said that a 16 year old girl was trying to get with B-Legit and then E-40 responds "But age ain't nothin but a number (number)/Baby got her hair done by Shanda (Shanda)/Nine (nine,) ten (ten,) eleven and up/If you bleed, you get fucked (fucked)". If anyone can explain what the hell E-40 was on about there I would be deeply grateful. The beat is funky and more bouncy than the last track and I feel that even E-40 sounds more at home to this beat.

5. Spittin'
This song had an uphill climb to battle as soon as E-40 said the second line of the song "Gotta take a shit, took a dump in the Mediterranean". Unfortunately I don't think the song recovered enough for me, the beat is alright if a bit annoying but the only time I felt like I was starting to get into the song was E-40's last verse. E-40's last verse managed to squeeze a chuckle out of me out of E-40's bitterness saying "Let tha bed bugs bite, sleep light/Be ready for the tip-toein phantoms at night". Overall though this song was pretty bad.

6. Sprinkle Me (Featuring Suga-T)
This song is pretty good with fantastic wordplay from E-40 and a light beat that fits E-40's smooth flow... at least until Suga T is introduced and this song just goes down the shitter. Suga T's voice is just so grating on this song I couldn't wait until this song was over.

7. Outta Bounds

8. Dusted 'N' Disgusted (Featuring 2Pac, Spice 1 & Mac Mall)
One of the best songs on the album no small thanks to whoever produced this beat. Everybody lyrically massacres this song with the best performer surprisingly being Spice 1. I say surprisingly because I haven't really heard any of his solo work and have only heard features every now and then.

9. 1 Luv (Featuring Levitti)
This song was actually really good as E-40 describes himself growing up with the most vivid lyrics being the usage of socks for hand-towels or the line about using sheets for curtains. The beat itself is pretty good and almost congratulatory to E-40 for finally getting out of that lifestyle.

10. Smoke 'N Drank
I found this song enjoyable as E-40 creates a feel-good atmosphere about well... its implied in the title. The beat is West Coast all the way with a catchy hook to go along with it.

11. Dey Ain't No
Almost everything about this song is horrendous, the title, the beat, the hook... the only exception is that E-40 spits some good lines here and there. Unfortunately, that is nowhere near enough to save this song.

12. Feds (Featuring Suga-T)
Yep, Suga-T is just awful. Other than Suga-T's glass-breaking hook nothing notable happens in this song.

13. H.I. Double L. (Featuring Celly Cel & B-Legit)
This song is kind-of goofy but I really like it. The beat is a bit strange but it helps make this song work as it fits all the personalities on this song, especially E-40. The chemistry on this song between the artists is fun to hear and the hook where they all sing together with some sample of a person saying "there they go!" brings out the best of this collaboration. If I could complain about anything is that I feel this song went on for too long; it should have been cut a minute short.

14. Bootsee
The beat is what really brings this song down for me along with the ear-grating hook. It also doesn't help that I hear something in the beat that reminds me of Jay-Z's "I Know What Girls Like" and that was one of THE WORST rap songs I ever heard.

15. It's All Bad (Featuring Lil E)
This is perhaps the most twisted song on this album. E-40 spits about the darkness that is his lifestyle. Even though the beat isn't that special or anything E-40's lyrics and the hook makes this song a terrifying looming thought as E-40's child asks if it will be this bad when he's growing up and E-40 responds that "It's all bad!". The only complaint I had is the verse that Lil E had but meh at least it was short.

16. Outro
There isn't anybody rapping on this but the beat and chanting on the end closes this album makes the me think about the possibility of E-40 being a much darker character than was originally thought.

Final Thoughts: The ending of this album makes me look at this album in retrospect (even if it was my first listening) and makes me think that maybe E-40 isn't really having fun in the things that he describes like in "Smoke N' Drank" but perhaps he uses these drugs to escape from the harsh reality of his lifestyle. Because of "It's All Bad" I don't think I can look back at this album and E-40 in the same way I had coming into this listening experience. Some of the production on here is... straight up trash, but on the other hand some of the production on here is fantastic or at the very least unique... E-40 is the real star of the show here anyway and his ability to get the best out of a maybe a sub-par is admirable. Overall, I would say that this album is dated but still has some gems in here that hold up to the test of time.

Best Songs: "Dusted 'N' Disgusted", "Da Bumble", "Sideways", "1 Luv", "Smoke N' Drank", and "It's All Bad"

July 12, 2016

YG - Still Brazy (June 17, 2016)

Unfortunately I haven't been able to keep up with this blog as much as I have liked; mostly due to other things happening in my life along with the lack of major rap releases that pique my interest. While I am back for now, I must warn you fair readers that I will no longer be able to jettison out posts like I used to as I have crappy time management. Regardless, I hope you enjoy my review on YG's latest work, Still Brazy.

YG has seemed like one of those rappers that always seemed okay to me but didn't really have anything to differentiate himself from any other rappers aside from his DJ Mustard beats. There are many pros to being paired with a producer for a debut album with the main one being a consistent sound. However, the main detractor of being paired to a producer, as other rappers such as Snoop Dogg have noticed, is that a lot of times the rapper is almost like an accessory of the producer rather than being the main man of the show. This is particularly bad for YG as DJ Mustard has been giving his beats to almost every popular artist for the past few years and while I liked his beats at first they started to grow extremely tiresome and predictable. Before this album though, YG decided to part ways with DJ Mustard and whether I think that is a good thing or a bad thing will be described in the review below.

1. Pops Hot Intro
Usually I don't like intros as they just take up unnecessary space, but this intro is a nice throwback to YG's debut album where his mother is blaming the father for their problems.

2. Don't Come to LA (Featuring Sad Boy, A.D. and Bricc Baby)
A posse cut straight off the bat huh? The song starts off with a wordy hook is that manages to work because it sounds menacing rather than catchy. YG's verse sticks to the theme that's in the title of the track with one particular line standing out being "Cause ya'll paying for the lifestyle that's watered down" trying to shed some light on what he deems as fake rappers only talking about gang-banging for sales. The next rapper in line, A.D., has an intense delivery but says 2 really bad lines rhyming "rare breed with rare breed" but he does say one really good line about 2Pac rolling in his grave at what I believe A.D. is implying where the state of rap is right now. Finally, Bricc Babby comes in and is surprisingly really good with his last line connecting well by claiming that people think that they are untouchable when walking into L.A. but dismisses the idea of their safety as even former President J.F.K. got murked. The beat by DJ Swish is a West Coast banger and serves as a wonderful introduction to the album.

3. Who Shot Me?
In this song YG formulates his paranoid thoughts on who shot him mixed in with thoughts that God has a greater plan for him, which is why he survived the shooting. The DJ Swish beat is pretty cool and subdued which serves YG well in this case as he is seen as the main center of attention of this song and handles it well.

4. Word is Bond (Featuring Slim 400)
This song is about how YG means what he really means hence his words literally bond him to take certain actions. Although some might find the song repetitive, simple, and maybe even annoying, I find it really catchy. The P-Lo beat almost feels like a throwback to 90s West Coast rap if anything and I really enjoyed it with its bumping bass and melody. However, this song is almost ruined for me as Slim 400 spits out one of the most atrocious verses I have heard in a while now. Like that was hot trash! I hope this was an anomaly for Slim 400 as his flow is pretty unique at least so he has that going for him.

5. Twist My Fingaz (Featuring Slim 400)
Anybody know anything else from the producer of this beat? It says his name is Terrace Martin and he makes THE best beat on the album for me. The beat is like old school Snoop Dogg except updated, it would be better to listen to this song now though! This is YG's bread and butter and he takes the opportunity to spit some pretty damn good lines that I first truly notice his improvement as a rapper. My favorite lines that YG spits is "Hold up, I really got something to say
I'm the only one who made it out the West without Dre", a reference back to Eminem on "Forgot About Dre" while also claiming that he is the only West Coast rapper to make it without Dre being a grand statement of intent and shows his ambition (although not really true). The hook is a masterpiece on how to make a hook and Slim 400 serves as a good hype man on this song. (I looked up Terrace Martin later and I did not know that he was the same guy who produced a lot of Kendrick's To Pimp A Butterfly. It starts to make a lot more sense as to why the beat sounds a lot like Snoop's old work is because Terrace Martin actually started his rap instrumental creating career with Snoop)

6.  Good Times Interlude (Featuring Syke 800, Duce, Marley Blu and Burnt Out)
Only serves to set up the next song as someone comes up to YG asking for a handout.

7. Gimme Got Shot
YG replaces the name of the so-called leech from the interlude with "Gimme" and impresses me with his creativity in the idea and YG manages to execute this idea perfectly, even providing a good hook. The DJ Swish beat continues the West Coast sound for the storytelling abilities of YG.

8. I Got A Question (Featuring Lil Wayne)
This song is kind of a dud. The 1500 or Nothin' beat is contrary to the producers name is hilariously slow and plodding. Meanwhile, YG engages on some ramblings and says some of his weakest verses so far. Weezy on the other hand spits some pretty good lines that he probably should have kept for his solo stuff. Bonus points to Weezy for the references to the Wu-Tang. This song should have probably got cut from the album.

9. Why You Always Hatin? (Featuring Drake and Kamaiyah)
While not a DJ Mustard beat, this is exactly what I expected from YG before listening to this album. CT Beats produces an instrumental that is alot more club-oriented than the previous tracks and has that "hey" vocal sample that is seen in many DJ Mustard beats. While I still like this song for some reason (might be the hook actually), it is obviously the "hot single" attempt on the album as seen by the Drake feature on here. You might have noticed that I haven't talked about the verses, but that's because there wasn't anything instantly memorable from them.

10. My Perception (Featuring Slim 400)
This skit was entirely useless. At least it's only 14 seconds.

11. Bool, Balm & Bollective
Terrace Martin and DJ Swish produce a beat that keeps the theme of keeping calm under high-pressure situations. YG tells some pretty cool stories (no pun intended). My favorite line from this song while a bit corny is "I’m friendly like Casper but I wait until I hit to get ghost".

12. She Wish She Was (Featuring Joe Moses and Jay 305)
This song, while probably causing much umbrage to the ladies, is pretty damn hilarious from my perspective. YG himself masterfully leaves the hook "She wish she was a n----a" open as a double entendre as a warning to a girl to not act like a gang-banger with the other meaning being the more obvious warning to a girl to not act like a man. I find this song so hilarious because YG carefully tries to leave both meanings open to the listener before the guests BLAST subtlety out the double decker bus. Some examples include Joe Moses spitting the line "Bitches gon' be acting like Bruce but they wanna be Cait" along with Jay 305's lines "Why girls be calling hoes when they fuck a lot of dude?
Well shit, the answer is this y'all bleed once a month and all we got is a dick". The 1500 or Nothin' beat is much better this time around with its marvelous West Coast flavor weaving around the bumping kick drums.

13. YG Be Safe (Featuring The Homegirl)
Errrm, why is this one here?

14. Still Brazy
I might have to reconsider the statement of "Twist My Fingaz" having the best beat on the album because this DJ Swish and Ty Dolla $ign (wait what?!) beat is one of the nastiest West Coast beats I've heard and bumps hard in the whip. YG rides this beat like he it was his born duty spitting interesting lines about his paranoia and how everything in his life is crazy (in a bad way). The way YG presents his paranoia to the audience shows that it is actually afflicting his way of life with the stand-out lines being "Gotta put cameras all around the crib/Gotta, gotta wear the vest like a bib".

15. FDT (Featuring Nipsey Hussle)
YG is one of the only people that can pull this song off. The hook of this song is literally "Fuck Donald Trump" and the lyrics themselves while not anything intricate is straight to the point with YG and Nipsey Hussle's thoughts on Donald Trump. The DJ Swish beat itself is really simple but perhaps too simple which makes the song drag along. Honestly, this song is interesting to listen the first time but they should have made this song a lot shorter (perhaps even an interlude).

16. Blacks & Browns (Featuring Sad Boy)
YG expresses his desire that was also shown on "FDT" for unity between blacks and latinos against racism, which is interesting in a way because I don't think I recall anybody actually suggest unity between blacks and latinos. Usually rappers and the like only suggest unity under one race umbrella so this is a fascinating development from YG that other leaders of movements should take note of as it might actually prove to be a fruitful strategy. The P-Lo beat could have been better though as it feels too slow along with the strangely calm deliveries of the rappers. In fact, why didn't they make this song more fiery and up in arms. The more I think of it the more I think this song lacked proper execution.

17. Police Get Away wit Murder
This song is similar in topic to the last track but thankfully YG and Hit-Boy (one of my favorite new producers) create a high-energy and pumping song to rant about police mistreatment. I really liked this song and YG's lyrics with the exception of the hilarious line about the Illuminati hiding stuff, which might be part of YG's actual paranoia but still...

Final Thoughts: YG proved on this album that he doesn't need DJ Mustard to have good instrumentals and frankly I like this album's sound more than his debut. YG himself has come leaps and bounds from the rapper he was on his debut and I have to commend him on that. Thank you YG for making a fantastic follow up to your debut and hopefully you can keep this up for your next project.

Best Tracks: "Twist My Fingaz", "Still Brazy", and "Don't Come To L.A."