Mixtape Wrapup (March)
Young Buck - Rumors (The Empire and The Cartel) [click here to listen...]
Nashvilles primary rap representative seems to be going through a transitional period in his career right now. His sophomore disc Buck The World was criminally slept on, his G-Unit allegiance seems to be on egg shells, and hes starting his own label with signees like The Outlawz. All things considered, its good to see that Bucks [click here to read recent feature...] still making the great street music thats gotten him where he is. A pair of 50 Cent cameos are placed to reassure that big homeys still backing him, but a listen to the rest of Rumors shows that wouldnt have much trouble holding his own anyway. Continuing to spit his trademark hardnosed bars while adding the occasional change-up, with Buck, what you see is what you getand thats a good thing.
Mick Boogie & Talib Kweli - The MCEO [click here to listen...]
Rappers with their own labels has been the norm for seemingly forever now, its taken a while for Talib Kweli [click here to read recent feature...] to get involved in the mix. But the BK emcee has finally made the jump with his Warner Bros.-backed Blacksmith Music, and hes teamed with Mick Boogie to showcase his roster on The MCEO mixtape. Thankfully, Talib is still an emcee first, and he drops plenty of gems here, from the Independent tribute to labels he respects to DEvils 2008, which features an updated version of the beat to the Jay-Z classic by up-and-coming producer 6th Sense. But apparently, Kwelis a good talent, too. Fellow Brooklynite Jean Grae is undoubtedly the labels designated hitter as she has six appearances on the mixtape, and Strong Arm Steady also make solid contributions, both collectively and individually. Add well-placed cameos by the likes of Busta, Buckshot and UGK, and youve got another home run from Talib and Mick.
Joe Budden & DJ Nice - The Lost Sessions
Since 2003, Joe Budden [click here to read recent feature...] has done an impeccable job of branding the Mood Muzik series into an introspective emotional rollercoaster that chronicled the ups and downs of his career, family life and everything in between, with the shit-talking tracks serving as icing on the cake. That being said, The Lost Sessions is an awkward listen, as its nearly an hour of Budden and friends hurling punchlines and brassy quips. But if you can go into The Lost Sessions without expecting a MM4, its easy to appreciate its early 2000s mixtape format of unfocused, albeit potent bars over familiar production.
Scion Presents: 45 King - Featuring Wale, Pase Rock 4th Pyramid [click here to listen...]
Whoever knows about 45 King, please stand up? For you young'ns, he produced Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life" as well as Eminems "Stan" (not to mention the reason why Queen Latifah ever got on). Hes your favorite producers favorite producer. All the real producers, that is. With that said, real recognize real, so you know going into the project that at least the beats will stand out. The tape starts out with a melodic, yet dark Roof where we see Wale [click here to read feature...] break down the state of Hip Hop. Strings violins are so soulful it reminds me of some Miri Ben Ari. Now, while we have DJ Ayres, Inflagranti, Eli Escobar, and Sammy Bananas on the remix tip, they actually use a formula that works. They all flip the respected 45 King beats into some club/House oriented vibe with the Inflagranti remix being the standout. Clocking in at a short eight tracks, this is a project for the grown and sexy. I only see few people really appreciating this.
G-Unit Elephant In The Sand (DJ Whoo Kid) [click here to listen...]
Did I just graduate high school all over again? Last time I was banging G-Unit mixtapes this much was back in the Gods Plans, No Mercy No Fear, 50 Cent Is The Future days. How did 50 get so hungry all the sudden? "Fully Loaded" has our guns strapped ready to "Put A Hollow Thru Him" because "I'm On It Like That." Even the would-be cheesy, "I Fucked Your Girl" rides out on some smooth shit. I gotta give it up to good ol' Fif, the man is a marketing genius. As much as it is comedy, at least he didnt flop and give us music that was garbage. Thisis50.com has the net in a choke-hold right now. G-Unit soldiers, single file please.
DJ Soul Presents: Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group [click here to listen...]
Was it just me or was the intro hilarious? The mixtape starts out very soulful with Naledge dropping his usual science. "Shake It Off" is lyrical assassination, especially coming from Torae. His wordplay is some of the best Ive heard from the Brooklyn emcee. "Stay Tuned" definitely makes the head nod. "Golden" is as smooth as it gets. The trumpets on "Golden Ticket" are as jazzy as bebop was back in the '40s. "Brazillian Wax" is some electric relaxation from todays ringtone heavy music. If you want to hear something different and refreshing, then follow the yellow brick road.
Termanology & ST Da Squad [click here to listen...]
Statik Selektah and Termanology is like Eric B & Rakim. Termanology & St Da Squad is like 50 Cent and G-Unit (minus the G-G-G-G). Usually, when we see these group drops, were disappointed. That isnt the case with the Squad. With Statik on the producer side of things, at least we know the beats are hot. Don Cannon even lends a helping hand with Has It Ever Occurred. Dont sleep on DC, Fizzy Womack or Artisin either, because they holding the project down on the production front. That Pink Floyd sample on Welcome To The Machine is classic. Almost as classic as Termanology & Ea$y Money breaking down the whole industry in one song. All and all, its a solid drop from ST. Maybe its the fact that 3/4th of these tracks dropped before the tape did. Maybe thats why it didnt hit as hard as it should have. Regardless, people need to pay attention. The Squad isnt another group people should write off.