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Category Archive for 'Rap/Hip Hop'

“It’s an amazing, cool, and filling mix, and with Homeboy himself being that right mix of persuasive and challenging, First of a Living Breed is an easy recommendation for any lyric-loving hip-hop head.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Meek Mill: Dreams and Nightmares

“Having torn it up on the first two volumes of Maybach Music’s Self Made compilations, Philadelphia rapper and former Grand Hustle artist Meek Mill finally busts out on his own on Dreams and Nightmares… As far as graduations from mixtapes to major-label releases go, this one is still satisfying and a step forward, plus slicked [...]

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“Offered the opportunity to direct a karate flick — and with all the freedom, funding, and flash that an executive producer like Quentin Tarantino would allow — Wu-Tang leader and kung-fu fanatic RZA must have been like a kid in a candy store. Still, the soundtrack to his directorial debut is classic, restrained RZA, as [...]

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“A predictably righteous volley of rhyme grenades on race and pop-culture politics, tinged with grumpy nostalgia, it’s startlingly potent. Grooves clobber, facts sucker-punch; and Flavor Flav lights up ’31 Flavors’ like a Christmas tree, riding a hot go-go groove. They’re still partying for their right to fight, hard as ever.” –Rolling Stone Check Our Catalog

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“K’NAAN['s] 2012 effort, Country, God or the Girl, another grand step down the Wyclef and U2 road where you’ll find sincerity, grandness, poignancy, political anthems, and big productions. …K’NAAN’s a rock-solid songwriter with a charismatic delivery that rains down sparks of cool guy and clever, so call this familiar but rewarding one ‘Gracedland’ or just [...]

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“This journey through the concrete jungle of Compton is worth taking because of the artistic richness within, plus the attraction of a whip-smart rapper flying high during his rookie season. Any hesitation about the horror of it all is quickly wiped away by Kendrick’s mix of true talk, open heart, open mind, and extended hand. [...]

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Ne-Yo: In My Own Words

“Ne-Yo is a real talent as a songwriter, and as a vocalist he is unmistakably more concerned with serving the song than his ego. He’s not the flashiest vocalist, but he’s able to put across contrasting emotions with slight adjustments, and he balances toughness with tenderness exceptionally well — all of which are uncommon traits [...]

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Nas: Life is Good

“…[Nas] sells it all, delivering everything here as if its classic status was assured and will never fall into an embarrassment trap… If the game needed Illmatic, this is the one Nas needed to get out of his system, acting as a clearinghouse for all venom and bile, plus some gloss that doesn’t fit but [...]

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B.o.B.: Strange Clouds

“This is bold pop-rap at an “Arena” level, and while partying like a rock star means cohesiveness takes a hit, Strange Clouds is still thrilling and persuasive.”–All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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Slaine: A World With No Skies 2.0

“Slaine doesn’t inundate listeners with a bunch of hedonistic, cartoonishly decadent lyrics about “getting crunk in the club” or how much hard liquor a groupie in daisy dukes or booty shorts consumed before she stumbled onto the dancefloor; instead, he keeps it street (although not gangsta) and spends most of this effort rapping about either [...]

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Blitz the Ambassador: Native Sun

“Native Sun is a cry of both joy and of pain that began in his roots in Accra, was forged in the African diaspora and is now fulfilled upon a hip-hop platform that stretches far beyond his homeland and transcends the idea of the conventional hip-hop album.” –PopMatters Check Our Catalog

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Drake: Take Care

“Take Care has the feel of a late-night R&B album, full of slow tempos, muted textures, impassioned crooning, and an introspective tone.” –All Music Guide Check Our Catalog

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The Roots: undun

“Over 14 tracks and 38 filler-free minutes, the album traces the birth, cold-sweat life and early death of a street hustler, consumed by paranoia, crack and unfulfilled dreams…If an album can be both chilling and beautiful at once, undun is it.” –Chicago Tribune Check Our Catalog

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Common: The Dreamer/The Believer

“At his best, the MC has managed to balance a modicum of street strut with a lover’s sensitivity and deliver both in an irresistible velvet flow. That’s exactly what he does here while firing out smart, intricate couplets.” –The Boston Globe Check Our Catalog

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“Well-Done is un-apologetically steeped in the classic East Coast sound, but in Statik the album has the perfect maestro. From the funky horn bump of “Keep Off the Grass’’ to the intoxicating vibe of “White Silk,’’ Statik serves up Action’s verses over superb beats that should keep hungry fans satiated for months.” –The Boston Globe [...]

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“Absurdly expensive samples, a pair of choruses from Odd Future R&B singer Frank Ocean at the exact moment where he’s turning the corner and becoming a Thing, another chorus from long-been-a-Thing Beyoncé…a murderers’ row of producers working on almost every track, and a fleeting moment where Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon sounds like the funkiest man [...]

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“In terms of straight-up free-spirited musical fun, the Beasties might as well be a f***ing pharmacy of rap-funk escapism. In Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (evolved from a proposed Part One after delays, resequencing, and MCA’s cancer scare), they’ve combined the live-band focus of 2007′s all-instrumental The Mix-Up with the old-school hip-hop of 2004′s The [...]

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““Q: Soul Bossa Nostra” collects newly recorded versions of songs associated with Jones in one way or another…None of it’s unpleasant to hear, particularly when someone as dependably charismatic as Snoop Dogg shows up, as the rapper does in a typically laidback take on “Get the Funk Out of My Face.” And Jones hasn’t lost [...]

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John Legend & The Roots: Wake Up!

“Bustling through funk, Philly soul and gospel, taking on songs famous (Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy”) and obscure (Mike James Kirkland’s “Hang on in There”), Legend and the Roots capture the old feeling of protest and uplift while updating the sound. They’re not imitators — they’re heirs.” –Rolling Stone Check Our Catalog

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Von Pea: Pea’s Gotta Have It

“Pea’s Gotta Have It’s appeal lies in the artist’s ability to tap into nostalgia…He connects with shrewd bars and witty narratives of timeless situations to which nearly anyone who has ever attended high school can relate.” –HipHop DX Check Our Catalog

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