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Oliver Wang
11 October, 2005 12:00 am

  I could talk about Raising Hell as a rap critic: it’s certainly one of those albums that any writer has to contemplate at some point – as essential to hip-hop as any album you could possibly name. But the Raising Hell always meant  more to me besides its historical significance. It was also the [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

Yo, wasn’t Jo-Ell like Superman’s half-cousin, once removed or some sh*t? I don’t know if this is supposed to be one guy or two but there’s definitely two emcees on this joint and from the subtitle of the “How They Do” (“from PA to BK”) I’m assuming one reps Philly, the other the Planet. The key [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

It’s been a minute since this blue-eyed, Boston duo dropped anything and they team up with former Beantownian Mr. Lif for “I Am Myself”. I wanted to like the song more than I actually did – the production lacks substance and really needed some harder drums just to anchor the floating melodic elements. Lif’s cameo is [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

Casual’s comeback trail is still getting blazed but the road isn’t as smooth as we’d probably like. His braggadocio style is as brutal as always and “Same O.G.” gives you a full three verses to marinate in. The hook is the only things that’s really off – “just because I got my own CD/and I’m [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

Last heard getting down with LA’s Self Scientific, Lao Fai returns for an ABB Records affiliated 12″. DJ Khalil lends his production talent to the sides but hits a slight misstep with “My Word”. The guitar melody is a welcome departure from the conventional boom bap but it comes off too light, lacking the meat to bring you [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

If the beat on “Full Contact” was just better, this might have been a hot collabo – Evidence, Swollen Members, and Chali 2na all pop up, but the simplistic track had me reaching for the FF button even before Chali got his turn on the mic. How did someone manage to sleep on this one? A wasted [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

 If you were here to experience it, hip-hop in the early to mid ’90s around the Bay Area was nothing less than magical. If New York had its moment in the early ’80s, the Bay followed suit a decade later, blossoming into a vibrant local scene on the strength of the success of the Hieroglyphics clique [cont.]

1 January, 2001 12:00 am

What do you get when you throw together Dan “The Automator ” Nakamura, Cibo Matto’s Miho Hatori, Blur’s Damon Albarn, Tank Girl’s Jamie Hewlett and Del The Funky Homosapien? A surprisingly superior example of how collaborations can actually achieve the synergistic potential they’re meant for. Nakamura’s no stranger to the practice – he’s been a [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Is it me or could Encore , Planet Asia, and Kazi  battle each other with no one being able to figure out who’s who? Not to say that they sound absolutely identical, but there’s a lot of similarities in their baritone flow as well as short, punchy rhyme scheme. None of this should take away from [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I’m not going to front – I like this two-EP project even if I wasn’t one of the DJs named on the “Just Tryin’ To Make Friends With Your Deejay” (note to Atmosphere - I better be on your next installment). While it’s the type of hyperactive, self-enthused hip-hop that just screams “midwest” and/or “white”, there’s [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

After raising some hopes with his Delicious Vinyl 12″ “Observations”, the Ase One takes it back down a couple of notches with the middling “So Now U A MC? (Original)” a remake of Run DMC’s “Sucka MCs”. Producer Paul Nice does a slight flip on Run DMC’s original, leaving the familiar hand clap break that we [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Either the Pharcyde decided to bite into the Hieroglyphics’ rhyme scheme or it’s the other way around but on “Trust” they do a mighty good impression of their Northern Cali peers in certain moments, especially on the funkdafied original mix. It’s good to hear these guys back up in the spot, and they pull it off [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I’ve always cut LMNO some slack because while I don’t always like his flow, he at least stays true to it rather than trying to switch up styles ever two weeks like others. LMNO is one of those take it or leave it MC’s and there’s no good reason why I’m willing to champion him further [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I know it’s part of his act, but I could really do with D.V. Alias Khrist rhyming more and singing less. It’s just a matter of taste but I’m not feeling D.V.’s Nate Dogg impression. That being said, this is the first pair of songs feat. D.V. that I’ve gotten into, thanks to Maseo’s rattling production on [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Damn, did these take long enough to come out or what? I remember talking with the folks at Certified about this single months ago (maybe even a year?). Better late than never I suppose and both songs were some of the best material that Encore’s put out (and yeah, I’m including stuff off his album in [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Erule might have to live under the shadow of his own achievements, having cemented his name with “Synopsis” and “Listen Up” from the mid-90s, but at least he’s striving to reach that peak again. His last 12″ was pleasant enough (“The Real Me”) but “Milestone” seems to go a step further. While a lyrical style that [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Don’t know much about Decompoze though I’m assuming he’s the producer here. The MC on “Decompoze Presents”, J.U. seems to have borrowed a page from the Alkaholiks’ book of flow. Not that this is a bad thing, but he overreaches on some lines, e.g. “I take it back to the day so of Harold Melvin [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

Boston’s Akrobatik jumps into the virtual ring to take on the cyberfreakin’ rappers out there on “Internet MC’s”. Had he dropped this two years ago, he’d be a visionary, as it is now, Akrobatik’s latest is likable in that “isn’t that funny” sort of way but his self-production isn’t half as clever as his lines. “Cats [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I’m not going to front – I like this two-EP project even if I wasn’t one of the DJs named on the “Just Tryin’ To Make Friends With Your Deejay” (note to Atmosphere - I better be on your next installment). While it’s the type of hyperactive, self-enthused hip-hop that just screams “midwest” and/or “white”, there’s [cont.]

1 January, 2000 12:00 am

I really liked these guys’ last 12″ (“One, 2″) enough to stick it on my mixtape (and not to sound self-aggrandizing but that must mean I REALLY liked it). This new one only confirms what I thought the first thing – their sh*t is tight. “Live Ordeal!” flips up some raucous guitars and smashing snares for [cont.]

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