There’s not much that I can write about Joell Ortiz that hasn’t been said already. The man is just a rap monster, and every project he drops proves it more and more. In this case, he gifted the internet population with his latest free EP, Farewell Summer. Personally I’m still waiting for the Bay Area’s indian summer to begin, but it probably won’t happen being that we had our coldest summer since 1975. Anyways Joell provides 5 tracks to close out my favorite season, and rather than being reminiscent and nostalgic about lounging in the sun, this project seems to be gearing the listener up for the colds of winter. This largely means that a lot of the production is hard, gritty and emotional (especially in my 2 favorite songs “Battle Cry” and the title track “Farewell Summer”) rather than smooth and relaxing.
The supergroup phenomenon that hit hip hop last year was clearly a marketing success. For example, it would have been a quiet year for the likes of Joell Ortiz and Royce Da 5’9, had it not been for the formation of Slaughterhouse. It makes a lot of sense, cross marketing, creative brainstorming, and most importantly, the reinvigorating effect the formation of a group can have on a solo artist.
Now that David Banner is working with 9th Wonder, the conceptual benefits of teaming up have been elevated to new heights. For, with these two gentlemen we have two composers first, a rapper and a producer, second. The Southern roots of these two may explain their union to some, but the fruit of their pairing will surely be the true testament for the masses. Check the track D. Banner cut with 9th last May. Somewhat scary I’d say.
Crooked I is one twisted California swine. Not too long ago Crooked was expressing his doubts about furthering his rap career on account of being “too accessible,” more poignantly, being shot at. This week Crooked finally dropped his EP ingeniously titled “Mr Pig Face Weapon Waist.” Crooked’s new persona is a pig mask wearing, bulletproof equipped, Desert Eagle touting maniac. The EP only boasts 8 tracks, and at least 3 of them have been leaked a while back, including the Scram Jones produced so-called banger with Snoop titled “Guess Who’s Back.” Snoop is relegated to the chorus on that track, so don’t get your hopes up if you haven’t yet peeped it. Apart from the track “Freestyle Cypher” where Crooked and Royce get down with the Horseshoe Gang, this EP falls way short of expectations. Crooked sounds lost on certain beats, specifically the Frequency produced “U Shoulda Made a Phone Call.” The beat inspires visuals of a sexy night in Miami Beach, a Miami Vice throwback, yet Crooked gets lazy on it, choosing to focus on his swag at the cost of a track sans any noteworthy rhymes.
In summary, Crooked’s new EP boasts arguably the illest moniker ever and cover art to boot, but the tracks (all eight of them) fail to measure up. Considering this EP was pushed back over 5 times, the brevity and lack of substance on this EP scream of artistic apathy. And there’s nothing worse than a lazy pig. Give it a listen, I’m a vegetarian, fry your own bacon.
Crooked I- Mr Pig Face
Crooked I – U Shoulda Made A Phone Call Ft K-young
Crooked I – Freestyle Cypher Ft Royce Da 59 and Horseshoe G A N G
alternate artwork after the jump
If you’ve been hanging around ER wards or perhaps black market opium parlors, you may have crossed paths with Joe Budden recently. His critics would argue that you wouldn’t have noticed him, for he’s a social hermit, a perpetual loser. His recent scuffle with Wu-Tang, specifically Raekwon and Inspectah Deck, has added fervor to the plethora of anti-Budden sentiment that has residualy festered ever since Budden dropped “Pump it Up” in ’03. What can come of all this collective hate?
This latest Budden installment, the “LP” titled Escape Route, recently dropped and screams one word: introspectiveness. My review may startle some of you; the new Joe Budden is more than listen-able, it’s outright good. Perhaps this is a testament to subjective taste rather than artist development, but Budden has never sounded genuine to me, till now. Right off the bat he comes hard on Intro, spitting the following steel bars:
Look psychotic it’s what they call you ignore you going by my logic
That a law will secure you looking through my optics
Lead and steel put pillow in front of me i pop it
Tried to stop it but couldn’t look at my eye sockets
The rest of the album you anticipate him to come across as flaky, failing miserably to represent dirty Jersey with genuine filthiness. Well you’d be wrong, as I was, simply put, Budden is pissed. And you push any man to his limit, regardless of street credibility, that man will crack. When that breaking point occurs, two things can happen. One, the artist self-implodes, spinning into a downward spiral reminiscent of Canibus post LL Cool J beef. Alternatively, they may channel their frustration into their artistic realm, maximizing the god given talent that they do objectively possess, regardless of hate.
I’d argue Budden kills it and that we should all watch Budden TV for updates about the conclusion of his musical trilogy , The Great Escape drops next year, but that’d fall on deaf ears. But believe this, Budden is not the man he says he is, nor the man many wish to him fail to be. All we can ask from an artist is to leave themselves on a track, the proverbial blood and sweat. That, Budden did, thanks Joey.
Joe Budden – Intro
Joe Budden – No Comment
Joe Budden – Clothes on a Mannequin
-Wale & 9th Wonder’s Back to the Feature mixtape dropped, and it features Talib Kweli, Freeway, Black Thought, Young Chris, Joell Ortiz, Bun B, Torae, Joe Budden, and Curren$y. Sounds pretty dope, but I can’t help be feel that Wale is o-ver-rat-ed. Grab it here.
-Not sure what project this is supposed to be off of, but Nas’ newest Swizz Beatz-produced track is kind of nice. This is probably the first Swizz Beatz joint that I’ve ever enjoyed. Still, he’s firmly cemented himself as the 21st Century DJ Clue and needs to shut the fuck up.
-A second track, “Car Service,” has leaked from Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y’s upcoming, collaborative mixtape How Fly. Looking forward to this one.
-Jamie Foxx has a new track out with The-Dream, Kanye, and Drake. Is anyone downloading this track to hear Jamie Foxx? Didn’t think so.
-The Wu continues to make noise, leaking tracks off of their live band-backed Chamber Music. Peep “Kill Too Hard” with Masta Ace, U-God, and Inspectah Deck.
-In case there was any doubt that Slaughterhouse (Royce Da 5’9, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Crooked I) is going to be raw as shit already, the first leak off of their album features M.O.P. Check it.
-After what seems like 2 decades, Chali 2na is getting set to drop his debut solo album. If anything, “When Will I See You Again” has reminded me how dope Elzhi of Slum Village is.
-You can’t sample The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” Kweli already tried. But J Dilla could interpolate the melody and throw Guilty Simpson on the track. Yeah, that could work…
-I’ve been a bit disappointed by Torae and Marco Polo’s collabo, Double Barrel, but I’m really feeling the last track.
-BONUS: The sample to Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune),” produced by No I.D. Ill, but pretty standard issue.