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D101 (Dub, Irl)

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Man On The Moon: End Of Day
Man On The Moon: End Of Day
Price: £7.47

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Phase In The Evolution Of Hip-Hop..., 17 Sep 2009
I wrote a detailed & passionate review of Kid Cudi's debut album, 'Man On The Moon: End Of The Day' last week, which for some reason has not been published. I am not going to try & re-create word for word what I had written - I simply want to say that having listened to rap/hip-hop for over a decade now I sincerly believe that this is one of the finest albums to come out in years. It is innovative, creative and unlike any of the other generic garbage that saturate our radio-waves these days. By using less established producers (excluding the two tracks produced by Kanye West) Kid Cudi has created his own unique based on minimal, electronica-inspired drum programming. For me every song on the album works, every track tells its own story - from the haunting 'My World' to the banging 'Cudi Zone' to the forthcoming single 'Pursuit of Happiness' featuring MGMT. In my opinion there are no weak tracks here, no filler. I know many people will buy this album off the back of the 'Day N Night' Crookers Remix (which I cannot stand) and on that basis they might not necessarily like what they hear - but this is a hip/hop album of the finest quality. Buy this record - I emplore you! You will not be disappointed!

Kamaal The Abstract
Kamaal The Abstract
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £6.82

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Time Coming..., 14 Sep 2009
This review is from: Kamaal The Abstract (Audio CD)
First thing I'd like to say is that I am only giving this album four stars in comparison to Q-Tip's latest album, 'The Renaissance', which was an outstanding album. 'Kamaal The Abstract' has been a long time coming...recorded around 2001 but deemed too un-commercial for release - this album has been sitting on the shelves for years. Indeed advance copies of the album have been floating around the internet for a long time (I've had it for a good few years now) but the sound quality was a bit lacking so its great to finally have a perfect sounding version to take home.

In a way I can see why Arista Records were unsure what to do with this album. Recorded just a short time after Tip's most commercial sounding record 'Amplified', which had semi-radio friendly songs such as 'Breathe & Stop' & 'Vivrant Thing', 'Kamaal The Abstract' is NOTHING like its predecessor. Even compared to 'The Renaissance', which was a true hip-hop album for hip-hop heads this album can be a bit out there. As a whole the album has a jazzy feel to it and unlike 'Amplified' which mainly had Tip rapping over Dilla beats, this album makes use of live instruments much more (in that respect this album can at times sound like something we are used to hearing from The Roots). 'Do You Dig U?' is essentially a seven minute instrumental, 'A Million Times' is largely instrumental as well, whilst the last 2-3 minutes of 'Abstractionisms' tail off into what sounds an impromptu jamming session.

The music itself is outstanding - 'Feelin', the saxophone inspired 'Even If It Is So', and the aforementioned 'A Million Times' are among my favourite Tip songs. 'Barely In Love', however, gets my vote for best song on the me you haven't heard Tip sounding anything like this before! 'Caring' is really the only song on the album which does nothing for me...very out of place! The two new songs that were added to the original tracklist are 'Make It Work' & 'Damn You're Cool' - both sounds solid enough.

Overall, the album deserves a listen if nothing more than for being an extremely innovative & creative effort from Q-Tip. Perhaps not everything comes together on the album but it is a breathe of fresh air among all the crap rap/hip-hop that is out today (even tho it was recorded almost a decade ago!). True Q-Tip/hip-hop fans will love this album - though it has to be noted it wont be to everyone's taste!

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
Price: £15.53

9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instant Classic!, 5 Sep 2009
First thing I have to say is that I am by no means a big Wu-Tang Clan fan. I have no full albums by either the group or any of the individual solo efforts. The exception to this is 1995s `Only Built 4 Cuban Linx', which I only downloaded recently after learning it was similar in sound and style to NaS and Mobb Deep's early albums. Indeed from what I read it was seminal in influencing albums such as `It Was Written', `Hell On Earth' and even `Reasonable Doubt' (all among my favourite albums!). OB4CL has some great songs - `Knuckleheadz', `Criminology' `Verbal Intercouse' and `Heaven & Hell' are classics. But personally the rest of the album didn't compare to `Infamy' or `Hell On Earth'.

14 years later Raekwon returns with `Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II' - in my opinion an album that at least is on a par with its predecessor if not in fact surpassing it. The album starts exactly where OB4CL left off and from that point onwards there is nearly not one misplaced step. In fact almost ever song on the album is an instant classic. I guess with production from RZA, Pete Rock, The Alchemist and the late, great J Dilla it was always going to be hard to go too far wrong. Even Dr. Dre pops up with production on `Catalina' and `About Me'. Stand out tracks include `House Of Flying Daggers', `Canal Street', `Ason Jones' and `Kiss The Ring' - but to be honest there are so many its hard to pick just a few out. If I had to pick out any negative points with OB4CLII they are 1) that Rae couldn't get NaS to collaborate with a follow up to `Verbal Intercourse' (though from what I read he tried his best so that is poor form from NaS) and 2) that `Criminology `09' wasn't included on the LP. But with an album of this quality they are merely side issues.

Overall, `Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II' is not just a great Wu-Tang album or rap album it is a great album full stop. Wu-Tang fans will love this but as someone who has no particular interest in the Wu-Tang Clan I guarantee this album does not disappoint. Jay-Z recently tried to emulate his `Blueprint' album with a distinctly average `Blueprint 3'...this however is a sequel worthy of its predecessor!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 15, 2010 8:37 AM GMT

The Blueprint 3
The Blueprint 3
Price: £14.19

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment..., 5 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Blueprint 3 (Audio CD)
Contrary to what I just read the 'Blueprint 3' is far from "absolute quality"...The supposed follow up to 2001's critically acclaimed 'Blueprint' & 2002's 'Blueprint²: The Gift & The Curse' (though in truth the three albums have little if anything in common other than their name) comes after a long wait. In September 2008 'Swagga Like Us' was released - a great single which we were led to believe would appear on both 'Paper Trail' & 'The Blueprint 3'. This was followed by 'Jockin' Jay-Z', 'Brooklyn (Go Hard)' & 'History' - the latter a wonderful Kanye West produced track in homage to the newly elected President Obama. The signs looked good for the forthcoming album...but this proved to be a false dawn.

The album starts off well enough - 'What We Talkin' About' is a solid track featuring flavours of the month Empire of the Sun. One of the album's best tracks 'Thank You' precedes the two lead singles 'D.O.A.' & 'Run This Town'. 'D.O.A.' is a great song but for me the radio friendly 'Run This Town' is weak. I usually love pretty much anything produced by Kanye but for me this is a pop song put on the album to sell records. 'Empire State Of Mind' brings me to a recurring problem with the 'Blueprint 3' - namely good verses, bad choruses! Alica Keys' hook doesn't work for me at all. Similarly the hooks on 'Venus Versus Mars' & 'Reminder' are dismal. As a consequence these Timbaland produced tracks are two of the album's worst. The other track produced by Timbaland 'Off That' featuring Drake (another flavour of the month) is probably the best of the three but in truth none of these songs are worth remembering. They sound like something Timbaland had left over that took him 5 minutes to produce. It is hard to believe this is the same person who gave us 'Dirt off Your Shoulder'.

The album cover alone conveys the move by Jay-Z to try & come out with some 'futuristic sound'. 'Hate' is a great example of how this doesn't work. This is not the typical "chipmunk Soul" we are used to from Kanye. More filler tracks include the Swizz Beatz produced 'On To The Next One' & The Neptunes produced 'So Ambitious'. It's not all bad though! 'Real As It Gets' featuring Young Jeezy is a very solid tune, whilst 'A Star Is Born' & 'Already Home' featuring Kid Cudi (another flavour of the month...but the real thing in my opinion!) are two of the best tracks on the album. Perhaps the song that will split opinion most on the album is the Kanye West produced 'Forever Young' featuring Mr. Hudson, which samples the 80s song of the same name by Alphaville. With this song you are either going to love it or hate it. Right now I am of the opinion that it is a good song but I do think I could get sick of it very easily.

Overall the `Blueprint 3' is a solid album (probably 3.5 stars but definitely not 4). You put it on and you will enjoy it. But is it a masterpiece?! Is it a fitting end to the Blueprint Trilogy that started so well 8 years ago?! Probably not! This album is a step forward from the abysmal `Kingdom Come' but a definite step backwards from `American Gangster'. In terms of `Reasonable Doubt', `The Blueprint' or `The Black doesn't even come close! I'll end with something another reviewer said on another site..."Jay-Z's like a classic rock group (like, say, U2); we expect him to keep delivering same-old, same-old new music, but are we going to like the Blueprint 3 more than we liked the old classics?! No!"
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 15, 2009 10:04 AM BST

The Renaissance
The Renaissance

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hip-Hop is NOT dead!!!, 9 Nov 2008
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
Now I haven't written a review on here in a long time but I really felt like people need to know how good this album really is. Two shelved albums & almost a decade after the release of "Amplified", Q-Tip is back with "The Renaissance". Amplified was an unusual album. Pure Hip-Hop songs such as "Let's Ride" were mixed in with more commercial sounding tunes such as "Breathe & Stop", which were clearly aimed at attracting a broader audience. The results were mixed. Whilst his first solo LP boasts some excellent individual tracks, the album itself feels forced & does not work. This is not a problem, however, on Tip's latest effort. Here you really get the sense that he was free to pursue whatever musical direction he wanted & the result is one of the finest Hip-Hop albums in years.

The album is almost entirely produced by Q-Tip himself. The exceptions are "Won't Trade", which is produced by Mark Ronson, & "Move", produced by the late, great J Dilla (Dilla also produced the UK bonus track "Feva"). It is worth noting that 4 of the 13 tracks - "Johnny Is Dead", "Official", "I Believe" & "Feva" - are re-workings from one of Tip's earlier shelved albums. All four tracks can be heard in there original form on his "Abstract Innovations" mixtape.

The Renaissance has an old school Hip-Hop, dare I say Tribe-esque feel to it. Best songs on the album are the first single "Gettin' Up", "Won't Trade", "Official" & the excellent "Move". But honestly the whole album is good - there are no weak tracks.

Overall, The Renaissance is a true Hip-Hop album for Hip-Hop fans. It highlights just how talented Q-Tip is, not only as an MC but also as a producer. Unfortunately it also serves as a reminder as to just how disappointing it is that this is only his second album (which was released) in almost 10 years. Support Q-Tip, support Hip-Hop & buy "The Renaissance" - you won't be disappointed! Let's hope there is a new Tribe album to come...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 1, 2009 1:50 PM GMT

The Shining
The Shining
Offered by giag-uk
Price: £13.36

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A True Hip-Hop Great!, 23 Aug 2006
This review is from: The Shining (Audio CD)
"The Shining" is the second album to be released since J Dilla (Jay Dee) passed away earlier this year. The first thing to say is that in my opinion Dilla has been behind some of the best hip-hop to come out over the past decade. The second thing to point out is that this album was only 75% complete when Dilla died. Karriem Riggins was given the job of finishing the album.

For fans of J Dilla's the bad new is that this album is a bit of a let down. To start with there are only 12 tracks on the album including three instrumentals and an intro. Furthermore I have to say I was slightly let down with the artists featured on the album. Considering this is the first release to feature guest appearances since Jay's death I was disappointed not to see the likes of Q-Tip & especially Slum Village.

In terms of the music itself it is rather mixed and there is no flow to the album. "Baby" sounds like it belongs more on a Diplomats album, while "Geek Down", "Jungle Love", "Over The Breaks" and "Body Movin" quite simply do nothing for the album. However, it is not all bad. "Love Jones" is an amazing instrumental (although its only a minute long), while "Love" feat. Pharoahe Monch, "E=MC2" feat. Common & "Love Movin" feat. Black Thought of the Roots are all good songs. "Dime Piece" sounds like an extended version of the last twenty seconds of Dwele's song "Sho Ya Right". The final let down with "The Shining" is that there is not more of Dilla himself on the mic. Jay only appears rapping on one song "Won't Do". Fortunately this is one of the best songs on the album. Yet not the best. In my opinion this accolade goes to "So Far To Go" feat. Common & D'Angelo. This is a wonderful song and it shows just how much Dilla still had to offer.

Overall while "The Shining" may not be the best release in his career this should not detract away from the fact that J Dilla has been producing some of the best hip-hop for over a decade and as such he should not be judged on this posthumous release. As such any fan of Dilla's or hip-hop in general will like this album.

Fantastic Volume II
Fantastic Volume II

5.0 out of 5 stars Jay Dee/SV At Their Best!, 23 Aug 2006
This review is from: Fantastic Volume II (Audio CD)
With the release of J Dilla's (Jay Dee) "The Shining" this week I have been listening to some of the music he has produced over the last decade from Tribe to Common, D'Angelo & De La Soul. I have owned Slum Village's Fantastic Vol. II - produced almost entirely by Jay Dee - for a long time now and the bottom line is that it is one of the best hip-hop albums ever to come out. Six years after its release it simply has lost none of its appeal.

Slum Village have gone through a lot of changes since the release of Fantastic Vol. II both in terms of the personnel who make up the group and in relation to the music itself. For fans of T3 & Elzhi's most recent work, such as the Kanye West produced "Selfish" or their most recent single "Ez Up", this album is very different. However, don't let that put you off. Fantastic Vol. II is SV's best album and in my opinion the best work of the late great Jay Dee. A must have for all true hip-hop fans.


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feedback - J5's Future Sound!, 15 Aug 2006
This review is from: Feedback (Audio CD)
"Feedback" is J5's long awaited sequel to 2002's "Power In Numbers". The 1st thing to make clear is that without a doubt this is a more commercial album than any of J5's previous efforts. The most obvious example of this is the Scott Storch produced "Brown Girl (Suga Plum)", which is going to be the next single. While I appreciate the fact that J5 are trying to widen their fan base this song is simply all wrong and is by far the worst song on the album. "Baby Please" & "Radio" are 2 more songs that are not exactly what we have come to expect from J5. While I would consider "Baby Please" nearly as bad as "Brown Girl" the Salaam Remi (best known 4 his work on NaS' "God's Son") "Radio" is one of the best songs on the album. While fans of the classic J5 sound may not like these new soundings songs they are the exception rather than the rule. All this crap about "Feedback" sounding nothing like J5 & having an RnB feel to it is wrong. "Back 4 U" & "Gotta Understand" are 2 of the best J5 songs I've ever heard. Other great songs include the laid back 1st single "Work It Out", "In The House", which has a great old school hip-hop feel to it, "Red Hot", which sounds like the classic J5 stuff, the mellow "End Up Like This" & "Canto De Ossanha", a great instrumental with a Spanish feel to it.

Overall "Feedback" is certainly a different album compared with "Quality Control" or "Power In Numbers" but different does not mean worse. Forget these negative views. If you like Jurassic 5 you will like this album.

Second Rounds On Me
Second Rounds On Me
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.97

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Not Great!, 15 Aug 2006
This review is from: Second Rounds On Me (Audio CD)
Obie Trice returns with his 1st album since 2003s "Cheers". 1st off even tho it wasn't the biggest selling album of the year I gotta say I really liked Obie's 1st album. The 1st thing to say about "Second Round's On Me" is that unlike "Cheers" the album is not overloaded with guest appearances. 50 Cent only appears singing the hook on 1 song, whilst similarly Eminem only drops a verse on 1 song. Other than the rather unknown Big Herk & Trick Trick, Obie handles the rest of the rap. The other guest appearances (Akon, Trey Songz, Nate Dogg, Brick & Lace) only appear singing the hooks. Likewise the production is not handled by the big names that were a part of "Cheers" - there is no Dr. Dre or Timbaland here. Eminem handles the majority of the music on "Second Round's On Me" producing 8 of the tracks. Other production is handled by Akon, Emile & Jonathan "JR" Rothem.

In terms of the music itself it's a mixed story. The biggest problem with "Second Round's On Me" is that there are not enough stand out tracks. "Wanna Know" is by far the best song on the album. Its hard-rock guitar driven sound is very original & gives us something from Obie that we have not heard before. Unfortunately this is the only real stand out track on the album. Everything else is good but simply not great. Yet that certainly does not make this a bad album. The 1st single "Snitch", although very much similar sounding to some other songs we have heard Akon singing on, nevertheless is still a good song. Other good tracks include "Wake Up", "Violent", "Cry Now", "All of My Life", "Every Where I Go", "Obie Story", "24's" & "Ghetto". The rest of the songs on the album are fillers.

Overall this is a good album and if you're an Obie fan or a fan of the whole Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit thing you should like "Second Round's On Me" but it is probably not as good as "Cheers".

Killa Season [Us Import]
Killa Season [Us Import]
Price: £24.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good album from the head of the diplomats!, 15 May 2006
Killa Cam returns with the follow up to 'Purple Haze'. Fans of the last album or any dip-set albums for that matter won't be disapponited with 'Killa Season'.

Like any offering from the diplomats it is not perfect. Tho very much in the dip-set mould 'Leave You Alone' is just irritating, while the likes of 'Triple Up' & 'I.B.S' do very little for the album. Nevertheless there is more than enough hits to make up for these misses. 'Wet Wipes', 'War', 'Get Em Daddy Remix', 'Suck It Or Not' & 'Girls, Cash, Cars' could all be considered new dip-set anthems, while the slower 'He Tried To Play Me', 'Do Ya Thing Remix' & 'Love My Life' are all good songs. The most controversial (& one of the best) songs is 'You Gotta Love It' - aimed at Jay-Z, the thumping beat is great & Max B. sounds perfect on the hook. However, in my opinion the best song is the infectious 'White Girls' - very much dip-set sounding & a likely 2nd single.

Having being already established Juelz Santana & Jim Jones don't have much of a role on cam's new album. Instead he uses the more relatviely unknown Hell Rell & 40 Cal. Nor is there many guest appearances with Lil Wayne being the only artist to feature outside the diplomats camp.

As always lyrically cam doesn't have much to say (the first single 'Suck It Or Not' being a testament to this) and although it is probably not as consistent as Juelz Santana's 'What The Game's Been Missing', nonetheless Killa Season is a very good offering from the head of the diplomats.

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