Avarice – When Pawns Become Kings

Album Review

When Pawns Become Kings
Release date: April 14th 2017

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Avarice then familiarize yourself here with his Bio:
Originally hailing from Uniondale, New York, Avarice is an independent hip hop artist. His material can always be expected to be witty, lyrical, and to have a certain measure of authenticity that is currently (and unfortunately) rare in hip hop. He lists artists such as Nas, Mos Def, Ras Kass and Pharoahe Monch as some of his influences, and the same inclination of those individuals, as far as pushing the bounds lyrically and conceptually within a song, is shared by Av.
In the past Avarice has opened for acts such as Mobb Deep, the aforementioned Mos Def, and Shabaam Sadeeq. Recently he has released “Words And Sounds”, a six track EP, and followed that with his latest full length project, “When Pawns Become Kings”. Currently he resides in Waterbury, Connecticut, and is recording and performing with a CT-based collective of hip hop artists called the “Ninja Science Team”.

Now onto his latest album release:
When you drop your release on the same day as projects by Kendrick Lamar & Talib Kweli/Styles P, you have some serious competition in getting it noticed. All you can do is put out an album worth noticing. Avarice has done this by following up his “Words And Sounds” EP, released earlier this year, with “When Pawns Become Kings”.

Sometimes, if something is worth doing then it’s worth doing yourself. As Avarice explained to me he had to take this route when releasing the album. All the efforts reward any listener & should reward the artist.

When describing the general sound, the words “Jazzy” & “Boom-Bap” instantly spring to mind. On first listening I detected particular concept to the album, although mentions to subject matters such as racism, police brutality, poor vocal deliver of some rappers & of course, the vocal skills of the artist himself often appear in the lyrics. Then, after continuous rotation, it becomes clearer. It’s all about overcoming your struggles & the constant strive to do so.

For me this is an album strictly for the hardcore Hip Hop heads to bump loudly. No gimmicks, no preaching, just non-stop lyrical gymnastics. Some rappers attempt to spit 10 or more words in every bar & fail miserably. Not so with Avarice. Also, many a time he never pauses for breath when he raps & does so with ease. Clearly the man has no time for simplistic words & delivery, unlike the “Mumble Rap” that dominates the commercial airwaves.

High profile guest features give a boost to you as an artist. On this album it’s provided by Ras Kass on the track “96​ (​Quadriplegic Centipedes)”. You wouldn’t expect anything less than vocal excellence from the LA legend, but Avarice is equally adept verbally as he yet again proves.

When Pawns Become Kings
When Pawns Become Kings
Directed by: Zenith

The title track in my opinion should always be the standout joint, so I guess that’s why it got the visual treatment.
You can totally appreciate the concept & the album’s title after watching. No frill, just pure feeling & if you get that feeling too after listening, you’ll feel like Avarice does as well, like a King!!!

(Rashad Unique)

Preview the “When Pawns Become Kings” album here

Visit Avarice @ Twitter here
Visit Avarice @ Bandcamp here
Visit Avarice @ Facebook here

Kasim Allah – R.O.T.G.E. (Return Of The God Emcee)

Album Review

Kasim Allah
R.O.T.G.E. (Return Of The God Emcee)
Sandy’s House Entertainment/Right & Exact Entertainment
Release date: March 17th 2017

Us Hip Hop purists feel that the artform is in a stage of Emergency. No fear, the God Kasim Allah from Now Rule (New Rochelle, N.Y.) has come to the rescue & “R.O.T.G.E. (Return Of The God Emcee)” is his panacea.

A blend of social commentary, rhyme skills & attack on the wack elements of Hip Hop are delivered in Kasim’s trademark monotone voice, backed by thumping beats that are all tightly produced & varying in style.

The intro of the opening track “Call Me Dat” at first leaves you thinking “What the f*ck is goin’ on?” “Is this gonna be some trap sh*t?” Naah! Don’t be fooled, it’s a smokescreen. The old school drums soon kick in with a rhyming style that complements.

Kasim’s love for Hip Hop is evident, that’s why he !”Can’t leave rap alone” therefore “The Game Needs Me”. It’s a history lesson of the artform that goes back & forth through the good & the bad of it all over the years. The production is bouncy & swirls around the eardrums Golden Era style. Pure listening pleasure.

The title of the track speaks for itself: “Hip Hop Is Black” let the facts stand clear. Again, more lyrical assessment of the game according to Kasim Allah.

It’s ass whuppin’ time for all the new cats out there, acting the fool with their “Ignorant” nonsense they portray. Short in time length, but straight to the point in it’s indictment against the perpetrators. The same subject matter is continued with an attack on those who act all soft yet thuggish, happily being what the media & record companies want them to be. What’s that? Industry whores who promote negativity. Why? Just to get a chump change paycheck so that the paymasters can get rich off their foolish behavior, not caring about it at all. “F*ck Boi” is an appropriate label for them.

One of the many alarming & disturbing acts of police brutality, leading to yet another death of a Black male is highlighted in “Eric Garner”. On July 17, 2014, Garner died in Staten Island, New York City, after a NYPD officer put him in a chokehold for around 15 to 19 seconds while arresting him. Why did the police kill him? Because he was suspected of selling “loosies” (slang for single cigarettes) from packs without tax stamps, then deemed to be resisting arrest. It’s only right that these incidents are raised & the police are condemned for their brutal behavior.

“Return Of The God Emcee” has Kasim flowing over a triumphant & dramatic fanfare of a music track. This is who I am & what I’m about is the agenda here. The last verse has some sword swinging lyrics & head get severed!

The social commentary touched on in “Eric Garner” is revisited again. The clarion call is to “Fight Back” against injustice, police brutality & racism towards black people. No justice, no peace.

An insight into Kasim’s foundation in Allah’s Five Percent is given on “The Time”. This is followed by retrospect concerning important women in his life & how he would have told the word he loves them, “Anytime”. It’s a smoothed out break from the hardness of the album’s content so far. Don Scribbs provided a melodic sung chorus.

Remaining in the chill out zone, “Foolz Paradise” is a clear contender for summertime jam of 2017. The Meli’sa Morgan sample sets the scene perfectly & gives the track club appeal. Relationships that aren’t right & exact for you can bring you some major emotional stress, nobody needs that. A man needs to know when to bring a romance to an end if that’s the case. Health, wellbeing & being able to say to yourself “I’m Alright” are more important.

Next up is a tribute to “Keita “Wizo” Speed” from Now Rule (New Rochelle N.Y.) who was murdered in early 2014. Along with Don Scribbs, Da God Jaquan, Sadat X & Bullet Baines they ask “Who Was There?” when it happened…

When it comes to negative & fake talk, the message is clear “Save It”. At the same time, many don’t want to adhere to the track’s title when it comes to saving Black lives & decaying neigborhoods. Damn shame.

It’s imperative that we all do the knowledge to those people around us. Nobody is above examination & by doing so you separate the real from the fake. Many claim to be something that they are not & “Who Dat?” covers the topic perfectly. Never take anybody on face value, let them show & prove.

What is shown & proven yet again is Kasim Allah’s ability to command attention with his strong vocals, deliver a message in his music & entertain all at the same time. Return Of The God Emcee? I would say that the God never went away, but he just added on to his impressive back catalog of musical builds.

(Rashad Unique)

Preview the “R.O.T.G.E. (Return Of The God Emcee)” album here

Lord Jessiah presents: Grounds Of Detroit 2: The Wrath Of God

Album Review

Lord Jessiah presents:
Grounds Of Detroit 2: The Wrath Of God
Black 7 Productions
Release date: March 21st 2017

It’s been an almost 4 years to the day wait for the follow up to the “G.O.D. :Grounds Of Detroit” album, but now the wait is over. Lord Jessiah presents for us “Grounds Of Detroit 2: The Wrath Of God” & I can personally say it was worth the eager anticipation. This is the kind of Hip Hop I like, it’s ruff, rugged & raw & then some! This album also shows that there is more to D-Mecca (Detroit to the 85’ers LOL) than Eminem & people that he put on. Lord Jessiah does the same by having features on each & every track, including guest cameo appearances from Guilty Simpson & Njeri Earth.

The production:
All the tracks are produced by Jessiah himself, apart from two which were constructed by X The Detective. In general the sound is a mix of chopped samples, sound stabs, hard beats & occasional cuts & scratches. Most times there are smooth, dramatic & melodic samples used, yet they don’t detract from the ruggedness of the album’s sound. The DJ work is provided by DJ Los & can only be described as vicious. There are no interludes or sung, harmonized choruses, just straight up hardcore beats. With this high standard of product I’d be happy to work with Lord Jessiah myself.

The vocals:
The album to me is like a continuous freestyle cipher. The raps are aggressive & packed with metaphors, none of which are intended for commercial radio play. Each rapper showcases their ability to spit their best lyrics without the aim of trying to outdo, or upstage one another. There is no preaching or teaching here, just hard street rhymes.

The tracks:
Let the wrath begin! From the onset & right to the end of this album, every track is a sonic assault. The album begins with “Pistols” feat. the Wisemen. With their mics being the aforementioned pistols, you can picture them storming stage to the dramatic musical backdrop provided. Now the arrival is over, a steady pace comes in the form of “Karma’s Kitchen” feat. Beej & Slautah & “Horse Power” feat. O1 & Kawshus.

As it suggests “No Friend Of Ours” feat. Illah Dayz tells a tale of betrayal which will be followed up in a later track. “Gun Chariots” feat. Loe Louis, La Peace & Drugs TheEmCee & “Nights At The Round Table” feat. Metasyons & J-Kidd both have an uplifting sound to them.

The title track “Wrath Of God” feat. Alius Pnukkl & Fatt-Father & “Detroit Decembers” feat. Konphlict & Da Prezident Chris Walker calm things down musically a little before “Cold Dishes” are served with Drugs TheEmCee & Venus Sky. The debut single off this album comes across as being the follow up to the story in “No Friend Of Ours”. I may be wrong, but it certainly gives that impression. After all the album is entitled the “Wrath Of God” & every rapper sounds mad vexed!!! What I can confirm is that it’s my standout track on the album. The production is fiyah!

“Prize Fighters” feat. 5-Star & Njeri Earth is a bass driven battle track. Even though she has already more than proved her worth, trust me, on this evidence Njeri Earth could easily outrap many male rappers. Man, she went in hard on this joint!

“Suicide Doors” feat. Rome & Jade Josephine & “Cry Later” feat. Fat-Ray & Phillie see the album continue in the same vein as the rest of the content, a posse type track with hard raps.

Now for the album finale. Without trying to be condescending, or taking anything away from the talent of others, it’s always a massive advantage to have a well known artist on your album or track. This is provided by Guilty Simpson on Stress Plates, also feat. Bronze Nazareth. The beat is choppy, but smoothly rapped over by all featured.

This album, as I stated earlier is not for commercial radio play. What “Grounds Of Detroit 2: The Wrath Of God” is, is an album that stays true to the original format of hardcore Hip Hop. If that’s your vibe, then you’ll surely appreciate it as much as myself. Long may the wrath of The D-Mecca God Lord Jessiah Allah continue!

(Rashad Unique)

Preview the album “Grounds Of Detroit 2: The Wrath Of God” here

Raekwon – The Wild

Album Review

The Wild
Ice H20 Records/Empire
Release date: March 24th 2017


“Usually, the chef will tell their customers, what is in the dish that they prepared for them in detail. Raekwon has done no different in many interviews prior to this album coming out months in advance. So why didn’t Rae’s loyal heads not take heed? While this album has been received well by casual hip hop fans, the hardcore fan base are not so pleased, especially in a time when Raekwon most notably trashed the Wu album – A Better Tomorrow…”

This basically summed up F.I.L.A. Fly International Luxurious Art. I saw what Rae was trying to do. We all did, but I stand by what I said last time. He let his fans know before hand and as a result, the fans let themselves down with their expectations. Rae’s most hardcore fans want the Wu-Tang sound and nothing less. But with RZA’s production sounding more left field as of late, this has led our Wu generals looking elsewhere for beats that will appeal to their fan base.

RZA has handed the Wu keys over to Ghostface Killah if we are to see a new Wu Album, and who is Ghost’s longtime tag team partner? The Chef himself, who has heard the constructive criticism regarding F.I.L.A. and so this is another attempt to fine tune his sound to appeal to loyal fans and new fans. We recently learned that Justice League will be producing on the new Wu Album, and they are featured here on this new project – The Wild, which has no Wu features at all, and dedicated to Mel Carter. With all this in mind, is this an early inkling to what the new Wu Album could sound like?

No messing about, straight into the first single. ‘This Is What It Comes Too’ right? Raekwon is bringing the ferocious flow back over classic drums brought into 2017. A remix has recently surfaced featuring that man who had been gone for 36 Seasons. Now not for ‘Nothing’, Rae comes through with sonics which resemble the Wu-sound. You will not find Kung Fu skits here, but instead you hear parodies based on the real in the form of a guy singing about shorties getting their head right…

Talking of stories based on the real, Rae takes you back to April 2, 1939 with a sure-fire album highlight, sending a tribute to ‘Marvin’ Gaye. The track is a soul drenching winner thanks to the hook supplied by Cee Lo Green. The soulful flow continues on into ‘Can’t You See’. If the listener is not zoned out at this point with a tear in their eye… I don’t think this album is for them.

This is the ‘controversial’ track of the album. Wu-fans worst nightmare has come true in ‘My Corner’. All the Lil’ Wayne hating memes, all the pictures of his album in the toilet or set on fire, has all come to bite Wu-Fans in their backside. The chief hip hop villain joins the Chef here and to make matters even more disturbing, Mr Carter Jr brings his A-Game in his rhymes over a vicious frantic beat because he knew he had no choice against a hostile Wu-audience.

Rae shows a bit of a comedic side to him which you don’t see very often, introducing the ‘F**k You Up Card’, a young kid (whose voice sounds suspiciously like Rae but switched up and we have seen Rae do this sort of thing before – remember Clyde Smith?) puts Rae on to a service where he can get his enemies taken out for a small fee.

In ‘M&N’, Rae and P.U.R.E. go bar for bar on some Grid Iron Rap style. Then Andra Day provides her vocals on the 2017 dedication to the incarcerated in ‘Visiting Hour’.

‘The Reign’ is Raekwon’s new victory championship belt anthem. the production on this is epic and sounds like Rae raided the Maybach Music studios and put the beats to good use. Then Rae brings more soul and that feel good factor as he puts the ‘Crown of Thorns’ on his head.

G-Eazy looks like a fan whose wish of rhyming with his long time idol come true. He’s on point in ‘Purple Brick Road’ when he states that 20 years from now he would be still rock the purple tape. Go back a bit into the track and the production intensifies in glorious fashion.

However was the Chef being a bit too experimental here? ‘You Hear Me’ sounds out-of-place, could have passed as a bonus track, or a track where Rae edited out the trap artists that may have featured with him. Granted Rae rhymed over the trap sounding beat with ease, it’s not something he should do often, or better still, kept off this album – it really doesn’t suit the body of work which is presented here.

That’s the only mis-step on The Wild, otherwise this is a massive improvement over the last offering. If you imagined Raekwon as a stand alone artist and Wu-Tang did not exist, this is the album that reflects that imagination. Even Lil Wayne’s appearance is not a factor (remember Nas & Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives?) Raekwon has finally hit his stride as far as a non-Wu endorsed offering.

The time is still running on Cuban Linx 3, but for now, this is a nice album to take minds away from the WWE-like nonsense they call ‘beef’ that’s happening currently.

(Written by: Michael Grant of RePPiN4U)

Rashad Unique presents: Unique Heat 3: Clearer Understanding. Hosted by Saladin Quanaah Allah

Album/Mixtape Review

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Rashad Unique presents
Unique Heat 3: Clearer Understanding
Hosted by Saladin Quanaah Allah
Unique Heat/Rhythm Box Music
Release date: August 7th 2015

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I just want to take this time to give praises and recognition to the man called Rashad Unique, who has been instrumental of me finding my calling as a Hip Hop journalist.

This review is a long time coming, maybe too long, and this is my way of giving back to the God who helped manifest my career, and now while I truly understand (pun intended) that, it is only right that I bring you the review of the third installment of the Unique Heat saga.

20 tracks of uncut, unedited righteous grown man’s hip hop from some of the best emcees from the Allah School In Mecca hosted by the God Saladin Quanaah Allah, who provides narration throughout the project. He kicks off by putting up his ‘Modulated Shields’. Great start to the album… the pace flows into the holy sounding ‘Boom Baptizm by Kalik Scientific who as Saladin suggests, really becomes one with the beat as it progresses.

The epic feel of this album continues into ‘Yakub’ by Kasim Allah, warning our people of the ‘race of devils’ and their heinous acts of tricknology. It’s one of those tracks that you could imagine a visual being made to, only to be met by trolls who have no clear understanding of what the message entails.

Golden Era Hip Hop fans will rejoice as Rashad Sun brings back that essence in ‘Self Saviour’. Halfway through the beat flips around to more haunting sonics and Rashad takes full potential of his 7 1/2 ounces of his dome. Keeping in that same mindframe, Build Destroy and Master K-Bar lets purists know that ‘Message Sent’. The backdrop is so reminiscent of that Gang Starr sound that we all know and love.

The video above is the original, but insert 9th Wonder sound bite here – “THIS IS THE REMIX!” Lord Jessiah comes back through with the track – Blitzkrieg featuring Drugs ThEmCee and All-Wise. The relentless head banging feel of this project shows no sign of slowing down. By now a typical Hip Hop release will have featured a R&B radio type record. Not Unique Heat 3. Then Japreme Magnetic lets people know that when Dealing With Us 5%ers, be prepared to deal with the gritty drum sounds that goes with it. Unless that was Japreme’s intention, his building on the track might be slightly overpowered by the said drums…

…but Nowaah The Flood wants to go back further than Hip Hop’s Golden Age. Try 1960. Think of what our people had dreamed to accomplish and today we are not carrying out those dreams to the letter. But it’s Mullah Don aka Magnetic who brings us back to present day while keeping his rhymes ‘Fresh’.

Keeping with the album’s concept, Nato Caliph & Power God Allah breaks down who they are as the ‘Original Almighty’ and what it means to be a 5%: ‘Many come, few are chosen/knowledge comes before wise words are spoken/I learned that from the father who broke from Elijah/1964 when he produced the products…’

The next track that follows is designed to destroy all those memes people post on their timelines stating ‘rap was better before’… how about now? That’s the question posed by Born Allah, Erule & Planet Asia when they drop that ‘Classic’. If there is one thing I hate, is those said memes. This track erases that ignorance as they cleverly use scratches from other tunes and most notably from Nas’ Ether ‘you wanna be on every last one of my classics’…

In 2013, Kasim Allah & Brand Nubian went out and exposed the ‘Jive Pretenders’, but this is the remix… one of many highlights on the album about people now throwing the mighty 7 chain around their neck hoping to get recognition and props with no evidence of the real teachings. Eyebrows were indeed raised when this man pictured right rocked the chain recently despite blatant allegations about him. Is he really down with the 5%? Only he knows, and the jury is still out there for some people, and if he is, why hasn’t he revealed his righteous name by now? If you can’t show & prove, you WILL get found out.


It is only right that Saladin Quanaah Allah tells you to do the Knowledge (1) and Understand (3) why, so fitting for the album’s 13th track, ‘Deserted Blocks’ by Master K Bar. Kicking the tune off quoting Public Enemy’s most prolific album, Master K Bar lets the people know how crooked and twisted the streets are, neighbourhood blocks getting emptier, and the prison system continuing to be packed up.

All Wise & Sol Asar are Beyound Galactic. They are about to show you ‘The Way’ to the uncharted regions into the unknown as explained by the album’s host. This has a zone out, ‘Killah Priest’ like feel along with some good ol’ kung fu samples.

Clay Borne/13Five adds on from what Kasim Allah and Brand Nubian were saying earlier and becomes ‘The Punisher.’ It’s not just those jive pretenders, but those who try to play God and abuse such power and go on like they are above the law.

NYOIL (Kool Kim) has become that artist who doesn’t record as much music as he should, but when he does he always makes a powerful impact. He has become one of the most respected emcees in the game who always connects with his fanbase and communicates with the like-minded in social media. This is a man who is not afraid to express his ‘Culture Freedom’ and encourages his people to do the same.

Wu-Tang trainspotters may remember Njeri Earth from GZA’s ‘1112’ from the Beneath The Surface album. Here she talks to her sisters and her track ‘Food For Thought’ has a double meaning, encouraging the young generation to breast feed their future seeds, as well as giving them knowledge from they’re young. Njeri sees this as a growing a problem with the sisters in America particularly.

Say what you want about Barack Obama, when it comes to race, he’s no different to his fellow brothers when it comes to race and the struggles that go with it. The Almighty Shing Shing Regime bring facts and statistics and empower us to ‘Stand Your Ground’, not just that, they flip the script to those outside their race and ask them how they would feel in those situations.

As the album nears it’s close, the Righteous Ruler wants to take you back to The Genesis. If the good book was written by this man, this is how the book of Genesis would be like as demonstrated here. Just as Saladin Quanaah Allah opened the album, is the same way he will close it with the track entitled ‘Windtalkers’.

This project truly opens minds who takes in all 20 tracks. It might be over people’s heads, but that is exactly the intention. The gods are not dumbing down for anybody and comprising their integrity. Just because I described this as grown man’s hip hop, does not mean young people cannot listen to it. If anything, the project is aimed at the younger generation as the gods reach out to teach one. What these gods do, is speak the truth. It’s up to the listener to take heed of all the messages contained here, however for those who have listened through the first two installments of Unique Heat, they are the ones who will benefit the most by the Gods builds and teachings.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN4U)

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Adrian Younge presents: 12 Reasons To Die II starring Ghostface Killah

Album Review


Adrian Younge presents:
12 Reasons To Die II
starring Ghostface Killah
Linear Labs
Release date: July 10th 2015

“Let me tell these n!&&@$ something god, I don’t want n!&&@$ sounding like me… on NO ALBUM, you know what I’m saying? Because I’ll approach the n!&&@…” Ghostface Killah, ‘Shark N!&&@$ (Biters)’, 1995

We are fast approaching the 20th Anniversary of perhaps Wu-Tang’s most critically acclaimed album. That skit where the quote came from, had artists on notice. Somewhere between then and now the no biting rule in Hip Hop has broken. Not only was it broken, it was destroyed. Abused. Mutilated. Victimized. Emasculated. Artists came out sounding like Biggie (Shyne), Nas (Your Old Droog) and Ghostface Killah (Action Bronson). It may seem like a co-incidence, but when Twelve Reasons To Die Part 2 Hit stores, Bronson appeared on ESPN and threw shots at Ghostface. The Supreme Clientele Champion took to YouTube, threw the killing plate at Bronson and put him on blast. Don’t call it a beef, call it an inevitable rivalry.

The album’s executive producer – The RZA described Ghost as ‘The Powerful One’ in the Wu-Tang Manual. He’s back people!!! The Return of the Savage!!! And the album thriller begins! As you look at the track listing, there is a striking difference – the Wu clansmen who were predominately featured in the first instalment are all exchanged for Chef Raekwon (who plays Lester Kane) who appears on 5 of the 13 tracks. RZA returns as the album’s narrator. Seems like a new hobby that the Abbott has adopted since he really immersed himself into movies.

The ongoing battle to be the King Of New York is different to the one described in this sequel. This is about Kane Vs Luther Luca, the head of the remaining members of the DeLuca clan. Soon time for Tony to Rise Up once again… featuring Scarub, there’s a difference between biting one’s style and actually paying homage to a classic hot line: “The Luger’s rain, man, ain’t nothing but purp b!tch/That’s the cane clan, they ain’t nothing to f**k with/My tools say blam, change man to chump bits/Fools gonna lay in the Hudson or some ditch…”

Something interesting occurs in the ‘Daily News’… Clan rivalry killings hit the headlines, but the track is cut short… Ghost’s last bar tells Shawn Wigs of Theodore Unit to tell the priest how it went down… but alas, no Wigs to be seen…an unfinished track due to time restraints? Was Wigs’ verse not good enough?

Maybe Wigs couldn’t ‘Get The Money’, but Def Jam’s Vince Staples was able to! Staples plays the role as one of Lester Kane’s men in the war against the DeLucas over an intense Adrian Younge beat.

RZA continues telling the story, as Lester closes in on Luca, and discovers a few things…there she is, Logan – the woman who caused all this mess, and a child…who happens to be Starks secret son…that could change everything.

Death’s Invitation sees Scarub, Lyrics Born and Chino XL attack the beat in an unorthodox style and it’s all poppin off…but Adrian Younge’s beat may overpower the MCs lyrics in places so the listener cannot catch everything said, but they get the idea of what is going on.

We come to the album’s highlight.. ‘Let The Record Spin’ sees Raekwon’s character summons he who has the Wu-Tang-ClanGhostface killing plate by doing just that. The DeLuca clan are in trouble now! They know what happened last time they went up against him. Lester finds himself sealing the deal in exchange for his life…


This flows nicely into ‘Blackout’, Lester now has the power of the Ghostface Killah. This is a two-minute assault with Ghost & Rae going tag team mode, they could have went another minute at least… so enjoyable, head nodding screwfacing, and boom – it’s all over, now it’s Resurrection Morning, which sees a different, more haunting Bilal appear on the track, not the smooth soul of Bilal that we know and expect. Time for Lester to seal his deal and he’s a man of his word…but Ghostface instead takes the soul of his son in ‘Life’s A Rebirth’, and finally puts an end to the woman who started it all.

The end of this album is clearly saying that this is a trilogy of events, so expect a 12 Reasons To Die Part 3 in the next year or so, or at the rate of albums that Ghost is going in, the next few months!

In the space of 8 months, Ghostface Killah has released 3 albums, all of them conceptual, all consistently good. Recall another MC who has done that. Right – NONE. Even though Wu fans would prefer to see RZA rhyme in the album, his role as a narrator fits perfectly. Ghost carries on tradition of giving fans an instrumental version of the album, however it’s a shame that Apollo Brown wasn’t available to put his version of the events this time round (Here’s looking at you Cylent Assassin – accept challenge?) As good as these short, movie like albums are, fans are really crying out for the Supreme Clientele: Blue & Cream. When Mr Bronson can at least match Ghostface’s consistency in 8 months, then there is a conversation. One thing is for sure, fans of the STILL reigning, defending Supreme Clientele Champion will enjoy their summer.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN 4U)

Slum Village – Yes

Album Review


Slum Village
Yancey Media Group/Ne’astra Records
Release date: June 16th 2015

There seems to be an unwritten rule in groups, no matter what genre: That once a key member either leaves or passes away, the morale of the group is never the same and usually for the worse. Look at the evidence: Left Eye dies, TLC isn’t the same. Poetic dies, Gravediggaz isn’t the same. Proof dies, D12 isn’t the same. Biggie dies, Junior M.A,F.I.A. isn’t the same. Freaky Tah dies, Lost Boyz isn’t the same. The list goes on, even the almighty Wu-Tang Clan aren’t the same without Ol’ Dirty. Very few will argue that.

All of the aforementioned groups lost one member. But Slum Village lost three: Baatin, Elzhi & J Dilla. While Elzhi left due to business decisions, Baatin & Dilla returned to the essence. Anyone would think that Slum Village were finished as a group for sure. But Illa J & T3 refuse to let that curse effect them. Can Slum Village survive??? An emphatic – YES! YES! YES! YES!

The striking difference between the groups past efforts post 2009 and this one, is that this newest project is produced entirely by J Dilla & Young RJ, and the album has the official seal of quality stamp approved by Ma Dukes herself, on the Yancey Media Group imprint. If Busta isn’t going to use the plethora of beats Dilla left him, why not have his esteemed group use them? We can’t let Dilla’s work be in vain???

The album’s intro isn’t as epic as in previous projects, like ‘Giant’ from the self titled album, or the Detroit Deli opening, but this is a minor, as this intro sets the tone of that classic sound that fans have wanted since ‘Fantastic’. But you know what ‘Love Is’…it’s NOT bullsh!t as Bilal joins in on this latest chapter. The nostalgic vibe continues with a vintage hook in ‘Tear It Down’ featuring Jon Connor. Ess-Vee keeps things ‘Bonafide’, 20 inch rims on the ride!

The Detroit Duo has always had their ‘Expressive’ ways with the women…bringing in BJ The Chicago Kid in for the hook.. only for the grown and sexy. If you’re 18 and a big fan of say… Miquel, THIS TUNE IS NOT FOR YOU!

Switching it up, the guest appearances in this project are those that Dilla would work with, it’s a fact that fans have an issue with certain artists on Dilla beats, even those that they respect in high regard. Phife Dawg brings the aura of A Tribe Called Quest in ‘Push It Along’… but the album’s highlight may go to the ‘Windows’… T3 & Illa J assault a thunderous Dilla track tailor made to cause a riot at a jam, then J.Ivy just had to go and put his epic poetry over it at the end.

The track ‘Yes Yes’ originally appeared last year for a mixtape. Picture a Detroit branch of the ‘Bad Intentions’ hotel…and that’s essentially what this track is. Dr Dre and Knoc’turnal would be proud. Throughout the album Ess-Vee are out to give ‘Right Back’ to the fans… give them an album the fans crave for, but they can’t do this without the assistance of De La Soul.

‘Where We Come From’ is a good ol’ ‘reppin’ yo’ city’ track… complimented with live drums riding the beat out. This continues into a story of meeting the girl of their dreams in the ‘Big City’, where the sex is compared to the ‘World Series’…

‘What We Have’ goes into the deep intimate sexual thoughts… this is straight classic Dilla, midnight maruaders music… you gotta close the eyes and ears of a young person with your hands. Again, if you’re an 18 year old who loves artists like French Montana, Young Thug and the like, THIS SONG AIN’T FOR YOU!!!

The album reaches it’s end with ‘Just Like A Test’. Don’t you think Ess-Vee should have started testing the instruments first before going in? The tempo goes from the slow midnight maruaders tone of What We Have and goes into a frantic drums. Those who heard the stream of this will notice that two tunes were omitted from the physical release. ‘Too Much’ Featuring Keely and the Black Milk produced ‘We On The Go’. Reasons for the former are not known which is a real shame, however reasons for the latter might be because of the Black Milk aspect of production and the song’s initial release.


Somewhere in the heavens, Baatin & Dilla are proud of what the surviving members have created here. They truly continued to keep it them while rummaging through Dilla’s beats…giving the fans a true representation of what brought Slum Village to the dance and brought it into 2015. This album is sure to continue the YES! movement that WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan started. The question remains: Will the ‘bandwagon’ Dilla fans support the project??? Bootlegging Dilla should be a criminal offence in Hip Hop.
(Michael Grant of RePPiN 4U)

Slum Village 2015 tour dates:
July 4 Ericeira Portugal
July 5 Den Haag, The Netherlands
July 7 Corsica France
July 10 Washington, DC
August 7 Leicester, UK
August 9 Croatia Soundwave festival
August 10 London, UK
August 22 Singapore
August 25 Manila, Philippines
August 28 Seoul, Korea