Thursday, July 17, 2014

Matt McGhee - Dark ft Al Hostile & Kasey Jones

Over brooding and ominous production from JohnnyJon who brilliantly flips Portishead's "Mourning AirMatt McGhee attacks the track right off bat with a verse full of warning shots and bravado, sounding more confident than ever. It seems he is slowly but surely getting to a place where he feels Gram Fam and himself are untouchable and that isn't him being cocky but just the assurance that comes with knowing you put your best effort into your craft. Think 07' Wayne or even Drake right now; example. However, to get back to the track 3rdiiiUth's Al Hostile joins in providing his brash energy, spitting one of if not thee best verse I've heard from him and more then delivers for his moment on "screen". Assisting the two on the hook is Kasey Jones with a little help from Matt himself. 

If we're following the TV show theme then the appropriately titled "Dark" would be the mid-season finale with just two more episodes left. Matt has definitely upped the ante for himself with episode three, although every episode has been unique the drastic change in direction made this one stand out even more. We'll see what else the season holds for us in the coming weeks, I just hope Matt doesn't do like the Soprano's series finale and end the shit mid sce...

Marki$ Apollo - Shawn Kemp ft Poppacap & Yo! X

Marki$ Apollo has been relatively quiet since dropping his excellent project Chapter XX late last year aside from dropping a random freestyle two months after the release. However, that is not to say the young man hasn't been working I know he currently has at least two projects in the works plus other ventures. Realizing it's been some time since he last release Apollo decided to drop "Shawn Kemp" a nice track especially for the Summer. If Apollo is Shawn Kemp then Poppcap and Yo! X are Gary Payton and Sam Perkins assisting and holding it down for him on the track. It is interesting to note that this is the first time I've heard him spit on a track with other emcees something I'd like to see more from him in the future. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

[Mixtape] Nomad - The Royal House of Thebes

Maryland wordsmith Nomad had been crafting The Royal House of Thebes for almost two years, dropping off the radar to begin work on it after releasing his Nocebo project in late 2012. Coming back to the scene this year with his Unsung Collectiv, what once was an idea now fully realized, the crew dropping its first official project Bucket Boys back in May. In the biggest example of irony The Nomadic One finally found a crew of similar minded individuals to run with and he has become all the better for it. The polish of taking his time with TRHoT is very apparent this is the best you'll hear from him lyrics, production, technical-wise as well the mixing/mastering is better then past projects.

No' has found a nice balance in duration TRHoT isn't too short (Think Again) and isn't overwhelmingly long (Nocebo) with 14 tracks and around 45 minutes in length. It seems as if he has tried to appeal to a wider audience with this project and that isn't to say he has "sold out" or changed his style he just has took past critiques from others into consideration and applied changes where they were needed. Even the production is more versatile then his past works, tracks such as "Theban Alphabet" featuring EZ Gustow and the Ciscero assisted "Royal House" (which is produced by Grammy Family's rMell) deviate from his traditional sound but don't come across as attempts to leave what has made him behind.

These small and simple tweaks give the project great replayability something that has been a weak point in the past. Even with the various styles in production that make up the project the cohesiveness is still there and the interludes (a Nomad signature). I could go on and on about how great this project is but I told myself I would no longer do reviews so before this turns into one (too late?) I'll just recommended you listen for yourself as this is definitely the strongest outing from a great and very under appreciated artist. I'd even go as far to say that it is his magnum opus. With that being said welcome to The Royal House of Thebes...


[EP] Louseph Bruise Em' - Summa

Summa is the latest EP from the ever enigmatic Louseph Bruise Em' who has a habit of popping up out of nowhere with entire brand new bodies of work after taking small hiatuses (sounds like a certain blogger I know). As with all of Lou's projects that signature sound is there but the core elements and themes always change. Now with a title like Summa you may be thinking this is some cruise around the city, take a trip to the lake and roast marshmallows type of shit but this is Lou we're talking bout here.

The EP is his interpretation of the season and a self described ode to the 80's which if I had to describe it would be as an combination of insomnia and LSD. Composed of five tracks; three instrumentals, one remix (a very awesome one at that) and a track featuring Jodie Riggs. I really enjoyed the whole project but the last track is definitely my favorite by far mainly because I'm such a fan of how Lou spits I wish he would do it more often. Still GSL.

It seems that Lou isn't finished dropping work just yet as he tweeted this out earlier... 

King Rosé - Lightshow

Switching gears from his last single, "Lightshow" finds King Rosé in the spotlight with a little more attention this time around after his crazy debut single. Although the tempo of his latest work is more slowed down, the intensity and hunger is still there something which is slowly becoming a trademark for Rosé. "I'm aware of how their making them aware of me" is a very telling line I was interested in how he would follow up his first single "SZA" which definitely was a statement track and I think with this track he has done well. He isn't shying away from the attention that he is starting to find and that shows that he is ready for whatever may be next.

Look for his upcoming project Pushing My Luck to release sometime in the near future.

Dark Nimbus - Represent ft Steezy Grizzlies, Mike of Doom & Jack CityZ

It's a 93rdiiiWhop affair as various members from the groups come together to "Represent" on this banger of a track. Starting off the track with his trademark energy is 93' Bandits own Steezy Grizzlies who absolutely kills his verse, followed by 3rdiiiUth's Jack CityZ and Dark Nimbus who both spit dope verses but it's the latter who stole the show for me and has my favorite verse on the track. Only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that Mike of Doom's only contribution was the chorus, this joint sounds right up his lane I can only imagine how much harder this track would've been with a Mayor verse. 

Matt McGhee - Premium ft rMell & Ponch Royyel

"Premium" is the latest "episode" in Matt McGhee's SHOW and for it he tabs rMell and CHESS' Poncho Royyel who in turn do great in their respective "scenes". The episode is split into two incredible halves thanks to Panama Red with the later half featuring an uncredited special surprise guest. Overall I would say this is the best episode of the season so far and I'm definitely looking forward to the next one and the rest of the series.

I have to admit I was initially confused by the whole show/episode theme due to a lack of visuals but with Matt previewing this track with a video it all made more sense. Credit to him and Gram Fam for always coming up with creative roll outs for their songs, videos, projects etc. even going as far as to change or create a website around whatever their promoting, instead of the same ol' "Yo at midnight I'ma spam a link on Twitter" that most of these indie artists do. I'm actually surprised a lot of their peers haven't adopted or at least attempted to try and do something similar. It not only draws up more interest but it also more professional and is less annoying then posting a link but hey I'ma let you silly niggas cook.

Lastly, Matt decided to let the fans choose what the next joint would be and it seems like a track entitled "Dark" won so be on the look out for that and the "La Familia" montage footage soon.

Sidenote: this dude Matt mixed/mastered the shit outta of this track...and the streak is still alive. Props.

Aceology - Assumptions (prod. MadBliss)

Aceology is back and in rare form on "Assumptions" backed by some nice production provided by MadBliss for the first single from his upcoming Karma EP. AceGawd has been on a hiatus for about a year now, just dropping tracks here and there but with this he seems to be finally ready to release a new project. 

On his latest track he addresses his hiatus, those speaking on him and even brings up the critiques of his style. Speaking of his style it is funny how he brought it up seeing as for the last year or so he has had a "trap" influenced sound (see this and this) and many of his fans were asking if he was ever going to return to his more traditional/jazz influenced sound (see this and this) that he had earlier in his career. It is how he says in the track though "gotta switch it up, no problem versatile and focused" he can do both equally well and because of that I don't have a preference but it is nice to hear him on this style mainly because it's been so long. I have to say it seems like the homie always sends me quality music and this is definitely one of the strongest singles he has put out from the lyrics to the mixing of the track everything works. Hopefully his Karma EP will be out sooner rather than later I'm interested in hearing what Ace has cooked up until then I'll have this on repeat.

Plue Starfox - LO•KI (HFIL)

I came across this nice little gem from Plue Starfox earlier today and found myself pleasantly pleased that I did. "LO•KI (HFIL)" finds Plue spitting over his usual choice of hauntingly-dark ambient production dropping some impressive lines along the way. I thought the way he played around with the title was pretty dope. Similar to frequent collaborator SIR E.U when it comes to wordplay, weaving in and out of lines ranging from various topics of video games, anime and metaphors in general. It is always a treat to listen to both artists because of the sheer amount of references that they spit, maybe one day we'll get a Plue x E.U rap track. Guys?

However, to get back to this track which, in my opinion, may be Plue's best in terms of his flow at least. He sounds more comfortable and polished then he has in the past. He has come along way from the first time I've heard him spit that's for sure. He is also one of the best at making anime/video game references and not forcing them or sounding corny, you ATF niggas should take notes...and he is the AD-LIB GAWD!