Thursday, September 5, 2013

[Album Review] Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64

After tracks such as "Live This Shit" and "Threatz" a lot of hype was built up for Denzel Curry's first post Raider Klan project Nostalgic 64, in my opinion at least it definitely lived up to it. Curry has always been a promising artist even when he was with RK he was one of the few to gain a fan base of his own. With N64 he stepped out of SGP's shadow and into his own spotlight. 

The main thing N64 has going for it is Curry's excellent lyrical ability. Over the 13 track project you'll hear plenty of that, from tales of Carol City to the various anime/cartoon and 90s culture references weaved in verses. Only thing I could really criticize him for is his over use of the rapid time flow, I know that's something he is know for but after awhile it gets old. Other than that N64 is a treat for people who are big on lyrics. 

Production wise the album sounds like something between Yeezus and Flockaveli, going from dark and ambient to loud and reckless. It sounds like a drastic contrast but sonically it works well together to create a hybrid sound. Credit to POSHstronaut, Lofty305, Nuri, Rem and  Ronny J for helping put together a very cohesive project everything flowed really well from one track to another.

Along the way Curry switches it up by having a few guest appearances from artists you'd expect such as Raider Klan's Nell, JK The Rapper, Yung Simmie, fellow South Floridian Robb Bank$ and a few unexpected ones such as singer Steven A. Clark, the recently retired Lil' Ugly Mane and Mike G of Odd Future fame. Curry gathered a good supporting cast for Nostalgic 64 all bringing value to the tracks that they were featured on.

Nostalgic 64 is definitely a favorite of mine, quite possibly top 10 of 2013 for me but there is still plenty of more albums to be released this year so we'll see if it holds a spot at the end of the year. However for now it is a great listen. N64 has a little bit of everything something you can ride too, vibe too etc. very versatile and unique sound. If you've been sleeping on Curry to this point I'd highly recommend you'd stop and give this project a spin I can almost guarantee you'll hear a track or two you'll like. Press play and enjoy the nostalgia...

Standout Tracks: Zone 3, Dark & Violent, Mystical Virus 3, Benz & Denny Cascade

+ Unique and versatile sound
+ Excellent lyrics
+ Loads of references/lines to decipher
+ Cohesive sound

- Over use of the same flow
- Lacking substance outside of a few tracks


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

[Album Review] Mike of Doom - Rookie of the Year

So often when it comes to following up great projects we see many artists try to capture what made their previous project so good. The follow up ends up becoming a poor man's version of the previous or artists try to hard to deviate from their previous work to make the follow up stand out more. Nine times out of ten that ends up failing and displeasing fans. Take Tyler, The Creator for example, a lot of Bastard/Goblin fans don't like Wolf and vise-versa. What makes Rookie of the Year so great is the fact that it isn't trying to be the The Mane and Mike didn't go away from what made him popular in the first place.

Often in my reviews I talk about how the artist was able to top their previous project and show growth. That's because their previous project was easily surpassable, however with Mike, The Mane was his signature tape. Hell it was his signature, he was literally The Mane. Yet somehow he found a way to best that tape and still retain his signature sound while also expanding it. Take "Lets Get This Paper!" which starts out as your typical Mike of Doom "The Mane" sound, loud and braggadocio, the second half however is an introspective look towards the future when he does succeed. It's similar to how Lupe flipped Kick Push. I honestly didn't think Mike was capable of something like that. 

Another thing that makes ROTY one of my favorite tapes to drop in 2013 is the production. This is probably the strongest tape I've heard all year production-wise. Credits to Mike for his ear for good production and to all the producers on the tape. Also the features on here introduced me to a handful of great artists. Cisero, Goldlink, 431 (I knew of) and Quan The Padawan all kill their respective verses, especially Goldlink who brings "Flair" to the next level with his verse. Similar to Chance The Rapper's appearance on Childish Gambino's "They Don't Like Me". 

Mike has never been the "super-lyrical-miracle" type rapper, that doesn't mean he is a slouch on the mic either. Lyrically he is strong as ever. He even impressed me with a few lines over the course of the tape. The most impressive thing about ROTY to me however is the replayability of it. Immediately after listening to it I wanted to run it back. Not too many projects over the last couple of years has had that effect on me. Much to my dismay I can't say "let's get it" without damn near reciting Mike's verse. It's already bad enough that anytime I hear Brad Pitt's name I instantly think of the classic track from The Mane. 

In my personal opinion this is by far one of the most cohesive tapes of the last couple of years. There was only one or two tracks I wasn't feeling but other than that I have nothing negative to say. If you were a Mike of Doom fan before Rookie of the Year, you'll still be one and if you weren't...welcome to the club.

Standout Tracks: Coolington, Lets Get This Paper!, Flair, Zooted, Your All Welcome

+ Excellent production
+ High replayability
+ Nice features
+ Cohesive sound
+ Excellent features

- One or two lacking tracks


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Steezy Grizzlies - No Limit II ft Johny Locus

If you remember sometime last year on "No Limit" SNB members Steezy Grizzlies and Johny Locus tackled Master P's infamous "Bout It Bout It" instrumental. Well the duo is back with the sequel and unlike the previous track this one features a more swanky bounce, Steezy and Johny finesse all over the original production from Day X. 

[Video] Miles Meraki - Trippin' (prod. by Jaylen!)

While we all await the next project in the Grammy Family trilogy Perfect from Miles Meraki, he and GRAMFAM producer Jaylen! dropped some visuals for their collaboration "Trippin'" from the latter's upcoming project CRUMBS.

Iceburg Jettson - 93' Lexus

Iceburg Jettson has been building buzz for his upcoming project The Peoples Champ by releasing great records. After "92' Ric Flair", he dropped the latest single "93' Lexus" continuing the 90s theme from his last track. I have to say that Jettson doesn't get nearly enough credit for his ability to write catchy hooks, definitely one of the best in the indie game. With his last project Commercial Free trumping my expectations, I can't wait to hear what he has in store for TPC. Look for the full project sometime in October.

[Video] Matt McGhee - Good Luck

Maryland's Matt McGhee is back with "Good Luck" the first single from his upcoming project 1920. It all comes down to execution and Matt proves you don't have to have a major label backing you to have a well shot/edited video. Props to the director/editor Thomas Smith. I wish the indie rap game had more artists like Matt and the rest of the GRAMFAM.

Download available here.