NAS – The Lost Tapes II

RELEASED: JULY 19, 2019, Def Jam/Mass Appeal Records, REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and UK AMBASSADOR for WU-WORLDWIDE DJ COALITION

In mainstream Hip Hop, the media have developed an imaginary ‘Mount Rushmore’. The real one has four heads, Hip Hop has FIVE: 2Pac, Biggie, Jay-Z, Eminem & NAS. For Obvious reasons Pac & B.I.G. are exempt, but for the other three, they could well be the most polarizing figures in Hip Hop. Any major release they do will be praised by their fans, but heavily scrutinized by the ‘True Hip Hop Heads’. With Eminem, it may boil down to ‘white privilege’, with Jay, it’s his dumbing down of lyrics and his global status, had Big and Pac be alive, the true heads would surely find a major fault with them let’s Nas The Lost tapes 2keep it 100, and as for NAS, it’s his ‘bad’ ear for beats… every release from God’s Son onwards leaves heads saying one of two things: One – it’s not better than Illmatic/It Was Written or… there’s no DJ Premier production… Nas & Premo made a huge mistake in 2010 – announcing that they would do a joint project together, and ever since then, that’s what the fans have been clamoring for. Life Is Good came out, NO PREMO. After eight years, a ‘quasi’ follow up came in the form of ‘NASIR’, produced entirely by Kanye West, and that brought major disappointment within the fans, and perhaps didn’t get it until Nas released his mini movie. Now in 2019, Nas finally unleashes the sequel to The Lost Tapes, with the predecessor held in high regard by the fans, the pressure is on Nas to come through here. 16 previously unreleased tracks ranging from Hip Hop Is Dead, The Untitled (N!&&£r) Album, Life Is Good and Nasir with an all-star cast of producers, surely Nas cannot falter….can he????

TURNIN’ NOTHIN INTO SOMETHIN’ IS GOD WORK

When it comes to Nas, fans love to play the comparison game, so we are going to do the same thing here. The way the album starts off, one would think the listener is at church with arms spread out and head tilted up with eyes closed as if the heavens have opened up. If Nas is hoping for ‘No Bad Energy’, social media is the wrong place to start let me tell you. Instantly this track sounds as if Swizz produced an ‘Echo Part 2’… one thing is for sure, the glorious start he achieved with Doo Rags from the first Tapes was also achieved here.

Vernon Family sees Nas flawlessly flowing over a relentless Pharrell Williams beat, already by this time, heads are already playing the game ‘Which album was this made for’? We already know by the recent interviews that these are based on the last four album releases.

As we enter the most polarizing track of Nas career… we know he can have his creative moments. It simply boils down to if you are a fan of the Jazz sub-genre – ‘scat’…you will appreciate this track. If you’re not, well good chance is you won’t. On first listen, your confusion will go into overdrive. From that point, you will either decide to listen to it multiple times to absorb it or immediately dismiss it.

YOU GOTTA LOVE IT

Now the Lost Freestyle screams NAS all day long… Statik Selektah nailed this sound perfectly and becomes one of the albums highlights… one would think that fans on social media completely forgot about this being played in the initial trailer and focussed all of their displeasure on the track previous. To keep the zoning out going, Statik lets the beat ride out, always a beautiful thing… Nas is also one of the few non-Wu artists on the planet who can rhyme crazy over a RZA beat, we know how unorthodox they can be… this time Nas directs his verbal intercourse over oriental sounding sonics and a Renaissance sample.

You have heard Royalty by Gangstarr, now hear Nas’ version. In this tune he contemplates getting married again after the failure of Kelis and RaVaughn providing the chorus enforcing our young women to respect themselves.

‘Who Are You’ is an interesting tale of a black man who made it out the hood, and while he tries to teach values to those still in the hood, he seems to have almost lost a part of who he was… “And we all know the code of the block/And you talking some gibberish, anti-n!&&@ sh!t/’Cause you marched back with Rosa Parks?
Brother, don’t start, go build your Noah’s Ark/You could float to the end of the world, and pretend what you not/But I know what you are…”

BYE BABY

…meanwhile in ‘Adult Film’, even though Nas has been well known to go wild for the night as far as sexual encounters, Nas expresses his frustrations with insecure women, and their friends putting words in their ear… almost sounds as if these are wounds re-opened from the Kelis experiences…

The way Nas is talking in this video? It’s as if he’s thinking of pushing this as the next single under the strength of Lauryn Hill, and there is so much truth in this. War Against Love sounds as if it was recorded for the Untitled album as regards to lyrics and subject matter, talking about the savages trying to kill us off since the days of the Moors… “Cause we could be so great, pray it’s not too late/Put pride aside, coincide, I bet we both be straight/Straight to the top, side to side, twin Rolls Royces/We made choices to be devoted
To go at those foes who come at us with upside down crosses…”

WRITIN’ IN MY BOOK OF RHYMES, ALL THE WORDS PAST THE MARGIN

The production guessing continues in this next album highlight with the Pete Rock Produced ‘The Art Of It’, The Soul Brother flips Naughty By Nature’s Uptown Anthem in such epic fashion, and here Nas reveals when this could have been made in terms of his age at the time. The hook sounds a bit unfinished but that doesn’t matter… this track right here further validates some heads claims that Nas doesn’t know how to pick beats for his albums… this one right here is inexcusable. This is an instant banger. According to Nas, he didn’t want to tarnish Pete Rock’s legacy…so that’s why it never initially came out. Then in Highly Favoured, this sounds like one of the Wu-Tang Killa Beez were actually working on it and then Nas stormed in and said – ‘RZA – I’ll take that – this is Highly favoured for me…’ Next, Nas goes all Marvel on us in Queen’s Wolf, but Netflix might have cancelled that season before it even started.

HOW MUCH OF BIGGIE’S RHYMES GONNA COME OUT YOUR FAT LIPS?

Don’t you think it’s ironic that during the legendary battle between Nas & Jay-Z, Nas calls out Jiggaman for reciting many of B.I.G.’s lines, and in The Alchemist produced ‘It Never Ends’, Nas winds up doing the same thing? It’s like John Cena calling out The Rock for turning his back on wrestling in favor for Hollywood, only for Cena to do the same thing years later… and most likely end up on the same film in the future (Fast & Furious 10?)

They say ‘You Mean The World To Me’ could be the best Kanye West produced track for Nas and was meant for Nasir…if that is so, it wouldn’t stop the Kanye haters going in on the Nasir album. In this track, it seems as if the woman in this tale actually took Skyzoo’s words of advice.

Again, with ‘Queensbridge Politics’, it’s hard to buy Nas’ claim of tarnishing Pete Rock’s legacy especially when when you are paying homage to Prodigy, amidst all the ups and downs over the years. Finally RaVaughn rejoins Nas in the album’s feel good finale – Beautiful Life. It feels as if when this was recorded, Nas was juggling between this and Bye Baby for the Life Is Good album closer. Maybe he didn’t want to put too much spotlight on Kelis at the time. Nas fans wouldn’t have minded, they see Kelis as the enemy anyway… especially in the eyes of Redman & Method Man.

SOMETIMES HATING IS CONFUSED ADMIRATION

And that line right there resonates everything I have seen in recent days… this line stuck with me ever since Nas said it in 2012, and heads are falling for it every time. This collection of unreleased material is a nice project, it could have been trimmed down a little to match the original, but it is nice no less with plenty of replay value. Perhaps maybe not as consistent as the first in terms of production (it seemed like Nas worked with the same team over It Was Written, I Am and Nastradamus which made it flow well). However for those fans who most likely gave it one spin and then updated their status with negativity, they will forever be stuck in their ways and there is no helping them. They want that Nas/Premo project and to that I say this: ABANDON HOPE and tweet Royce Da 5’9 why it didn’t happen…and if Nas brings out The Lost Tapes 3 & 4… the same thing is going to happen – heads will pay attention, they will curse out Nas for having a bad ear for beats, listen to it anyway, and curse him more EVEN IF the album is good, such is the case with this. It’s just how it is.

INSPECTAH DECK: Chamber No. 9

Released: July 12, 2019, Tuff Kong Records, REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U, and UK AMBASSADOR for WU-WORLDWIDE DJ COALITION

The number NINE seems like a very powerful number within the Wu-Tang Clan of recent memory. NINE living members (rest in peace Ol’ Dirty), 2018 was the official 25 year anniversary of Hip Hop’s greatest dynasty but the celebrations have spilled into 201(9) big time, with the unveiling of their own district (first Hip Hop group to ever achieve that), Staten Island has an official Wu-Tang Clan Holiday (NOVEMBER 9), to celebrate 36 Chambers… RZA would tell you that 3 add 6 makes 9… with the success of the Inspectah Deck Chamber No 9documentary ‘Of Mics and Men’ and the upcoming show ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga, and the Gods of Rap tour which was originally a UK show but demand made that go worldwide, the Wu-Tang Clan is truly REBORN, as the number 9 suggests in Supreme Mathematics. For Inspectah Deck, his first album ‘Uncontrolled Substance’ was released in 1999 featured a track called ‘9th Chamber’, and that same title re-emerged in his 2010 album – Manifesto, on October 9, 2012, he came out to the UK to perform and did so in epic fashion, and after many Czarface projects, NINE years later Inspectah Deck returns with his new solo album – CHAMBER No.9. For this brother, he feels REBORN.

LET ME AT ‘EM!

The beauty of Clan/Solo projects is when they use kung fu film samples they are not random and just to sound good, they are carefully thought out and with purpose, particularly with intros. Here the Shaolin Rebel steps up vowing to do the best he can and putting everything on the line, but he’s been doing that for 25 years! He continues his disgust for how the rap game has turned out now an even worse, comparing him to them like one of the same… You know your man asks/How you gang gang with yoga pants and handbags?/I don’t get it, maybe I ain’t supposed to/Comparin’ ‘em to me is like Stop and Shop to Whole Foods…

Track 2 on the album is the opposite of what it’s title suggests… and by this time we should already be taking note of a one Danny Caiazzo… doesn’t come across as a hip hop name, or sounds like somebody we would see on Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge, but this is a producer we should keep tabs on. He has gone all soulful with this one with hard hitting thumping drums to boot, and Deck is letting the young ones know that the fast money lifestyle is No Good do not get it twisted.

The tributes to Ol’ Dirty just keep on coming, and guys like Deck, Rae and even RZA himself will let you know that ‘Life Changes’ will never be the lasting tribute remembered through the ages, but instead of being emotional and reflective, Deck switches up. Just calling the track ‘RUSSELL JONES is a highlight in itself, this goes hard. From here forward, saying the word ‘unique’ is cliche… say ‘Russell Jones’… he is the epitomy of the word.

Can’t Stay Away might be INS’ confession that yes he did want to retire from Hip Hop and realised that wasn’t the case… call it the art of retiring without retiring… Deck talks about his origins and how he fell in love with H.E.R. and then switches up the head nodding volume up with the infectious Na, Na, Na! 5 tracks in and Danny (Caiazzo) is on fire! He is running this skullbuster with ease!

THE 9th CHAMBER, YOU GET TRAPPED INSIDE MY HALLWAY

This track right here is a blatant video waiting to happen, and it appears so the way Deck’s first video ended, with a hook filled with scratches of  classic Wu lines over it’s golden years, Chamber No.9 is EPIC and Certified gig ready… I can imagine this banging at a venue. True indeed, Inspectah Deck and Danny cannot be stopped even if they came with ABS. ’24K’ features the album’s only other guest clan member Cappadonna and Hellfire, and this time Boo Bundy steps in as the producer. Cappadonna even admits he wasn’t on form here! “You’re voices down low and your rhymes are whack/While I been flippin’ that, give me that sh!t, dimes and crack/My darts from the shot bust, I’m taking the shortcuts/You can’t get pu$$y, you’d be paying my whores up/This is the bad me, the good me don’t record stuff…”

…and in ‘What It be Like’, Deck describes the street life which is sounds no different from what they were when he was growing up, that’s why the Game Don’t Change, just the players do.

As far as visuals go, this could well be the best video Deck has done is his career to date. Seemingly paying homage to a combination of Terminator & Blade (incidentally my favorite all time film franchises/heroes), the Rebel is sent from the Wu-Tang skynet to terminate all the wack behaviour going on in Hip Hop today.

KICK THE TRUTH TO THE YOUNG BLACK YOUTH

Dolla Signs has Inspectah Deck & Mz Gemini exploring the subject of C.R.E.A.M even further and what people would do to get it, the opening lines are reminiscent of what a billionaire named Shawn Carter once did, and you would think the youth wouldn’t have to do through that…

‘Who Run It’? Seemingly Hellfire here. It’s either meant for a project Hellfire might be working on, or it’s Deck’s way of stepping back and making him shine as if to say ‘he’s next to blow…’

Even the Shaolin kung fu sample that starts before ‘FIRE’ fits in well, telling the story of how Wu-Tang became #1, and just like the title, Trife Diesel brings just that in his rhymes: “I was made in the Lord’s image/That’s a word to my mama, I was perfectly sculpted/Put rappers in surgery in the infirmary posted/Place ’em in body bags, you leave them virtually roasted/Turn a Moe to a John Doe, I never heard of these culprits
I’m back the being focus, reloaded, the book has been decoded/It was written way before Nas and Hova even wrote it…

YOU NEVER WILL CONQUER THE CHAMPION

With this album, you have to give the Fifth brother maximum props. He made two risky moves – one, he didn’t rely on well known producers like he did all his previous efforts and called on two hungry producers and two, He has always been one to not heavily call on his Wu brothers to jump on a track. I’ve heard heads express concerns about that but that hasn’t stopped Deck consistently put out good material and in this case it may have resulted in arguably Deck’s strongest album since Uncontrolled Substance. After all, Inspectah Deck & The GZA are known to be the clan’s best lyricists, and Deck prefers to keep it that way. Chamber No 9 is an album which does what it says on the tin – chop heads off lyrically with the fatal flying guillotine. Considering he was going to leave the game with ‘The Rebellion’ in 2013 which never came out (thank god), was Czarface responsible for adding longevity? What made INS make that U-Turn on retirement? And interestingly, what happened to Inspectah Deck  – The Producer? These are the questions I would like to ask Jason Hunter given the opportunity… say, are you available for radio interviews?????

 

PRIMAL WINDS: ROAD WARRIORS

Released: May 1, 2019, Hand’Solo Records, REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and UK AMBASSADOR for WU-WORLDWIDE DJ COALITION

1700536-Winston-Groom-Quote-Life-was-like-a-box-of-chocolates-You-never

TRUE STATEMENT. Especially in the case of Toronto Hip Hop Duo Primal Winds. If you know them over the years like I have, you will find that every project they do brings a different flavour,  but the similarity is always there. Hip Hop. Together they have given you a street album, a martial arts album, an 80’s video game influenced album, and quite recently a wild, wild west album. These guys love to explore what they were raised on. This time they have gone the route of the Road Warriors. To most, that title resonates with the classic wrestling tag team legends. That might well be the direction here… a wrestling tag team meets apocalyptic Mad Max style affair.

Road Warriors CoverThe way the album jumps off sounds like their entrance theme coming to the ring, pyro going off all over the arena, feared by all other teams… then Gas Town follows the same principle, only difference is they sound like a babyface (good guy) tag team feeling triumphant. The hi-octane energy continues into War Boys, driving the big toys, showing their dominance.

If a venue books Primal Winds to perform, and they dropped ‘Twisted Metal’… they would have a mean mosh pit on their hands, the likes of which even established rock bands like Nirvana and Megadeth would even be afraid of. Security would have handed in their badges and retreated to the nearest gym to pump some more iron.

At this point the duo have realised there were casualties and fatalities from the results of that last track right there so they have decided to slow it down. The survivors of the mosh pit made it to the Radiation Station. Going by the lyrics of Iron Wind in the Fresh Kils Remix of ‘How You Like Us Now’, he’s also been heavily influenced by disaster movies.

So imagine this is the story so far: Primal Winds walk in your tag team champions of the world, with the power of their rhymes and their metal backdrop, they cause an apocalypse. Survivors found air raid shelters as the aftermath causes an pandemic ‘Outbreak’, and the population continues to decrease. The album sequencing here has been done to perfection thus far. Now the pair mount their motorcycles and prepare for ‘Road Rage’… it’s all survival of the fittest music from here on end.

PrimalWindsPhoto

One thing Primal Winds really excel at – is how they acknowledge the female of the species. They don’t just make a typical song about a love interest and talk about how they wine and dine her before giving her loving no… Tank Girl is their ode to the comic book badass chick. There was one other notable instance when Iron Wind in particular did a homage track and it was Lady Snowblood from The Warrior Inside album.

Don’t you just love when Hip Hop can take a sample from some of the most oddball pieces of music and make it work? Primal Winds have done this with ease with ‘Atomic Love’, sounding like Hip Hop originated during World War 2 and not 1972 as we all believe! Finally ‘Stand By Me’ which features Fortunato and resident songstress Lucy Lovesick closes out the post-apocalyptic conclusion. The album also includes the original version of ‘How You Like Us Now’ but Primal Winds, with the help of Fresh Kils have achieved something quite rare in this era of Hip Hop where the remix is superior to the original, but they included it for the loyal fans who may prefer the original.

1700536-Winston-Groom-Quote-Life-was-like-a-box-of-chocolates-You-never

Which brings us back to this. Primal Winds have listened to constructive criticism over past projects while maintaining the creative juices, they scaled the tracks down whereas earlier projects had maybe 20 songs and after a while some tracks may have sounded either samey or filler, and just like every box of chocolates, you may not like every single chocolate in it and the least popular are left at the bottom. That is the case for Road Warriors if some of the heavy metal driven sounds are not really your thing. On a personal standpoint, on first listen a lot of the tracks were skippable, but on second listen you find that the album tells a story from beginning to end, it flows as far as a conceptual album goes, and if you are really down with the rock/hip-hop fusion you will find this an enjoyable album.  The genius behind all of this is Primal Winds are broadening their audiences, and are able to be booked in more venues depending on what crowd they are catering to, and that can only be a good thing.

 

SMIF ‘N’ WESSUN Live @The Jazz Cafe, Camden June 8, 2019!

GIG REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & UK AMBASSADOR for WU-WORLDWIDE DJ COALITION

This particular story all started with this tweet from 9th Wonder…

9th wonder smif n wessun soul council

It’s one of those moments where Hip Hop heads broke the ‘WOW’ button on Facebook… bear in mind look at the date it was tweeted. July of last year. suddenly we didn’t want to know about the rest of 2018 even though so much great music came out at that time. We just wanted to fast forward to February 2019…

“They said take ’em back to Dah Shinin’ (Nooo)
But they don’t know the shape that my mind’s in (Nooo)…” (Testify, The A.L.L.)

So right off the bat Tek & Steele are letting us know, that we are getting a grown, evolved version of themselves, and artists of this calibre know in their hearts that whatever project they bring out today, they can never go backwards. Nas has been telling us this from Stillmatic. The result, a soul drenching album which indeed re-captures the duos, synergy…

It wasn’t long after that, even after their appearance on shows like Sway In the Morning and the Yanadameen Podcast with Lord Jamar & Rah Digga, they wanted to appear on RePPiN4U HIP HOP SHOW. This shows the humility of these guys.

“It’s been a little minute since we popped out
Sun glistenin’ off her tan skin
Exotic smoke blendin’ in with the wind”…(Ocean Drive, The A.L.L.)

It felt like everything was coming into place. Their appearance on the show landed on the birthday of the beautiful Ladi Vee, (also a former guest and friend of the show) who grew up listening to these guys and it was a special moment for her to co-host this interview with them. Then it just so happened that the duo formerly known as Cocoa Brovaz were touching down at The Jazz Cafe in Camden Town. It was a no-brainer. I had to witness this.

Big ups to The Blackfish Collective, who in my opinion, were thrown in at the deep end of what I describe as an 90s Hip Hop dominated crowd, particularly their youngest and newest member whose name I did not catch, that was his first ever performance, his sound was very modern, really catered for younger audiences, and even though you could blatantly hear his background vocals in the tracks, the crowd were lenient and applauded his efforts. Prnc$$ and Demi-Gosh put in energy into their performances which I considered an alternative, acquired taste…I fear that had they performed in Birmingham, they may have been booed off the stage. I’ve seen it happen before. The London crowd have shown me that their minds are open, based on what acts The Jazz Cafe have lined up following this.

“You owe to your father, honour
You owe to your mother, honour
But to God, you owe your A.L.L.!” (Intro, The Education of Smif N Wessun, The A.L.L.)

Reportedly Smif N Wessun were late coming into their set, Had I not know that little bit of information, one would think that these guys knocked it out the park, AND THEY DID.

Kicking off the set with some good ol’ classics from Dah Shinin’, their first highlight came when they performed their verses to the Mary J Blige classic ‘I Love You’, if their debut from the Black Moon – Enta Da Stage didn’t introduce fans to them, this tune certainly did.

Bless and a curse, watch your mouth in my mother house…” (Stahfallah, The A.L.L.)

smif n wessun the allWhat impressed me the most was how many tracks they performed from The A.L.L. and how the capacity crowd handled it. Usually when a artist performs new tracks from their albums, it is usually met with a lukewarm response, only because they were unfamiliar. That didn’t happen with The A.L.L. They performed 5 of the 12 tracks and all received major ovations, and all tunes BANG in the venue.  Clearly 9th Wonder & The Soul Council knew exactly what they were doing.

Your usual round up of the tribute to the fallen soldiers segment came up, but what made this one different was how they showed tribute to Nipsey Hussle. Tek went OFF on one of his verses and the crowd knew it was Nipsey but were still unfamiliar. #Exposed

Clearly they left Sean Price last for their tribute set, which had the crowd going into a frenzy when ‘Boom Bye Yeah’ was blasted through the Jazz Cafe.

“Enter the cipher with your lighter
L’s are ready, prepare for another all nighter…” (Bucktown! Dah Shinin’)

Surprise of the night was the appearance of Jeru The Damaja and Group Home. No one seen that coming, especially when BUCKTOWN!!! Home of The Original Gun Clappaz was blasted through the speakers. They were there in support of the Boot Camp Pair. It’s a bit of a shame they didn’t pick up the mic for a good ol’ blessing of ‘Ya Playin’ Ya’self’ or ‘Livin’ Proof’… God bles the fan, some of them can go home and say ‘Steele smoked a joint with me!’ Tek on the other hand, had to put it out there that he’s not that guy…

“When-when you’re talkin’ ’bout rap on the East Coast
How you leave our clique out of the convos?” (One Time, The A.L.L.)

I have attended quite a few gigs in my time…but I do not recall an ending as epic as this. Finishing the set with ‘Sound Bwoy Burelli’, The roof went OFF. Suddenly Tek & Steele demanded the DJ to LOCK OFF the tune. The stage was not good enough. It was time to engage in some crowd participation…

PULLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP!!!!!

Up til now, I’m wondering how Sound Bwoy Burelli became ‘Boom Bye Bye’ by Buju Banton! In this current state of the world that we live in, the LGBT community calling or that song to be banned, and yet, people of all backgrounds in The Jazz Cafe embraced the track in unison. Tek & Steele became one with the crowd, and Sound Bwoy Burelli became a 10-15 minute celebration of their 25 years in the game.

I sincerely hope Tek & Steele go back and tell Rapsody & Heather Victoria how crazy the UK crowd were… we need them over here now after that. Smif N Wessun have just shown that you can still be relevant and not have to rely on your classics to keep the crowd rocking. Very few artists can do that.

GRANT & STEELE

 

 

 

 

ERICK SERMON – Vernia

RELEASED: April 19, 2019 – Review written by Michael Grant – C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and UK Ambassador for Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

“Someday there will be a time for us…”

You gotta love surprise gems. Four months into 2019, the world has been up in arms about Robert Kelly. Michael Jackson’s poor soul gets dragged into this, a landmark in Paris gets burned down with no casualties while lesser countries gets no news coverage, Hip Hop suffers a loss in Nipsey Hussle and suddenly half the world act like they knew who he was and Kodak Black decides to take controversy way too far. Mad Skillz and Uncle Murda have more than enough content to wrap up 2019 in just four months… Erick Sermon Verniameanwhile, The Green Eyed Bandit was quietly in the shadows unleashing his eighth studio album Vernia, the follow up to the slept-on ‘Erick Sermon’s Perception’ with the help of nearly 600 Kickstarter supporters, and dedicated to his grandmother no less. So with all these ‘distractions’ going on, Someday there will be a time for us… and by us, I mean REAL HIP HOP.

“…none of this skinny jeans tight shirt cute sh!t, this is that ski mask hoodie, timberland boot sh!t!” (Keith Murray, Culture, Erick Sermon’s Perception 2015)

Thirteen tracks of quality starting with the intro provided by RJ Payne. Now this is what history sounds like in the making. Payne’s vicious delivery warns us of the second coming of Def Squad… because we now know both Keith Murray & Redman are on the horizon with new projects.

That’s just enough to have Sermon Wake Up with No Fear which is such an epic way to start the album with signature Sermon production sounds which are instantly hypnotic. The results should be instant goosebumps..

“ODB wherever you at in the world homie come see me…E!”

Sermon keeps the funky sounds going with ‘Da Wave’. I don’t know how you see it, but this particular track is just begging for a remix with Redman and Method Man blessing the track. Maybe E thought Red & Meth were taking too long with ‘Blackout 3’ and took the beat for himself.

I KNOW YOU’RE GONNA DIG THIS…

E looks for Styles P & AZ and discuss where did Da Game go… in this zoned out vibe, E hits back at the ignorant folk who called him washed up, Styles P chimes in describing the millennial rap generation as sounding the same. Then in ‘Go’, Kaelyn Kastle channels her inner Lauryn Hill for the hook while E speaks the truth… “…you still wanna blame it on the system/that’s played out now ain’t nobody listening/mad information all across the nation/all over the TV, all over the station/……………..coz Trump just a man, he’s human/he can’t stop nuttin that God is doing/y’all keep pursuing, and go be the spirit/tell a hater sit down, be humble word to Kendrick!”

GUESS WHO FATHERED YOUR STYLE…

Erick becomes mad soulful on ‘My Style’ with Raekwon & Noreaga, here he takes his own advice, sits down, humbles himself as he pays respect to his fellow featured MCs. Let us not forget he actually produced on Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part 2. Then he turns his attention on the southern girls and appreciates the way they carry themselves along with Big K.R.I.T. He also explores the women who have to strip to feed the families and then face the harsh reality explaining later in life.

Ever wondered what would happen if Erick Sermon toppled the ‘evil Trump’ and took his rightful place in the White House? He names Hip Hop artists and assigns them to his cabinet, and you cannot argue with his choices either. What’s interesting here is he names Jay-Z as Secretary of State… not sure how Hov would take that whereas Dr.Dre would be vice president…

“…That Kill Zimmerman, and bring Trayvon back, this is that I wont accept less give me all of that respect sh!t…” (Keith Murray, Culture, Erick Sermon’s Perception, 2015)

E returns to his signature sounds and brings forth an unexpected sequel to his No Pressure classic – Stay Real… and this time Nature & Keith Murray join him. Murray claims America likes a good come back story… lets hope this is the case for Def Squad…

WESTSIDE!!!

At this point it seemed as though E travelled to LA to finish up the rest of his album according to the album sequencing. He meets up with Xzibit and David Banner for ‘Zion’. We also see a surprise element appearance in Shaquille O Neal, who most of us thought hung up his mic since the days of ‘What’s Up Doc’ and ‘No Hook’…

Considering this album is dedicated to his grandmother, this ‘May Sound Crazy’, but this might be too explicit for Vernia’s ears… it flows well with the album but I’m not sure Battlecat, Too Short & Devin The Dude got the memo, and then E decides, if I slide this tune here maybe Grandma won’t notice… if this album was not titled Vernia, this would not sound out of place.

‘300 E’ starts off with a dreamy orgasmic backdrop, and then morphs into a cruisin’ anthem. You can imagine the visuals already. Driving in the Mercedes, with that Hollyoaks chick who has the same name seducing you as you drive… (oh that’s just me? Oh okay then!)

Finally the album’s close has Apathy on the production boards… and it’s arguably the best ode to Grandma since DMX & Faith Evans. It could well be inspired by that classic. Here Erick Sermon reveals that it’s because of Vernia how he and Parrish Smith came together. Not sure about how Apathy abruptly ends the track but I’d rather it fade out or let the beat just ride out.

“This ain’t that pretty boy Floyd this be the ruggedness, this be the real deal, that there be some other sh!t, but this ain’t that, because that can’t f**k with this…” (Keith Murray, Culture, Erick Sermon’s Perception, 2015)

At this point I could point the finger to Redman, ask him what is taking so long with Muddy Waters Too, and ask why he wasn’t on this project when E does it just three years after his last album, however this is a well received blessing. This could well be the blueprint of what Muddy Waters Too will be whenever that drops, and for that, Erick Sermon gets maximum praise.  Thankfully heads have woken up to the media distractions that are happening as of late. The question remains – are there enough sufficient funds left in the kickstarter to produce visuals to some of these great tracks?

Erick Sermon

 

LOANESKI – WELCOME TO BABYLON

RELEASED: February 7, 2019, Review written by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and UK Ambassador for Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

“Babylon is the most famous city from ancient Mesopotamia whose ruins lie in modern-day Iraq 59 miles (94 kilometres) southwest of Baghdad. The name is thought to derive from bav-il or bav-ilim which, in the Akkadian language of the time, meant ‘Gate of God’ or `Gate of the Gods’ and `Babylon’ coming from Greek”.

WelcomeToBabylon-Front-Final“The term is a reference to the fact that in the Torah (AKA the Old Testament) the Babylonian Empire forcibly relocated the Jews from the Land of Israel to the city of Babylon, where they were forced to stay for around 50 years. This situation is seen as analogous to the forced deportation of Africans to the Americas by Europeans”.

Now you see the similarities and the breakdown of the term that Leicester City MC, and friend of the program Loaneski has taken on for his latest EP. Five tracks spanning subjects of Self Confidence, Capitalism, Democracy, God and Education, all of which allude to both terms of the word. All inspired by some of his favourite anime films, they maybe come across as mere cartoons by the ignorant eye, but contain so much knowledge behind the entertainment.

The EP kicks off with Air Force 1s…at a glance, one would think that Loaneski is glorifying the sneakers he wears on his feet, but rather, tackles the doubts of making it big caused by voices in his head, (indirect wrestling reference as he reveals he’s a bit of a WWE fan in this track.) Those thoughts flow nicely into the ‘Thoughts of Many’, provided by haunting production by Radiohead Beats which will make your mind zone out more and more after repeated listens.

“In the Book of Genesis, chapter 11, Babylon is featured in the story of The Tower of Babel and the Hebrews claimed the city was named for the confusion which ensued after God caused the people to begin speaking in different languages so they would not be able to complete their great tower to the heavens…”

The behind the scenes story with this track which Loaneski explained to us on our show is a fascinating one. Imagine that the title track wasn’t meant to sound like what you hear now in terms of production. It is loosely reminiscent of Big Punisher’s The Dream Shatterer, in which the album version is actually an ‘experimental remix’ which Pun had subconsciously envisioned. Loaneski does the same here, with a biblical cinematic epic backdrop from producer Jedi and could well be his finest moment to date. Most of us claim the 90s as the greatest era, and social media technology was not even prominent and so dominant, now we act like the world has ended if the ‘gram or the book of faces goes down for a few hours.

‘Dear Lord’ is Loaneski’s letter to who he calls ‘BIG MAN’, with another set of handwriting provided by the EP’s only feature – Jay P. The pair cleverly make this a universal anthem for all religions (and maybe even atheists) to connect and relate. Finally the Dialect Architect speaks on the misled education system and how they want to teach ethnic minorities one way of thinking.

At this point, the Lone Wolf sees himself as his own competition and strives to become better and it really shows in this project, and you owe it to yourself to indulge in some great sounds… you can catch the full interview in the video above where Loaneski breaks down the entire EP and a whole lot more.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL LOANESKI WEBSITE

RAH DIGGA LIVE @CHIP SHOP, BRIXTON February 28, 2019!

GIG REVIEW WRITTEN BY MICHAEL GRANT, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U  & UK AMBASSADOR of WU WORLDWIDE DJ COALITION

I have been a Flipmode Squad fan since Busta Rhymes founded it in 1996. I loved the animated characters, the distinct rhyming styles, the crazy beats to make head nod til you break your neck, and of course… the funniest skits since De La Soul – (You Want A Box skit is synonymous with Flipmode and has gone down in history as arguably the funniest skit in hip hop history.)

Fast forward to September of 2018, the 20th Anniversary of the Flipmode Squad album, RePPiN4U had the honor & privilege of having the Lyrical Lieutenant himself – Rampage on the show, and he gave us one of the most memorable interviews in the show’s history, especially dropping the bombshell exclusive to the show that the Squad have come together to record a new album…

…a month or so later… this happened…

…so in the few months of the Flipmode re-emerging from the shadows, Brixton’s World Famous Chip Shop took advantage of a situation, and announced earlier this year the Rah digga Chip shop 2first female and only female of the Flipmode Squad would be performing there… as a Flipmode fan I was mind blown.

REWIND BACK TO JUNE 2018:

This is the part where I have to give props to Uniqme, Elizmi Haze, Verity Crane & her sister Deb, Kemetstry, Shakezpeare, Starrlight, the International Underground Hip Hop & Rap Connexxion and the Chip Shop staff and management, had it not be for that initial meeting back then, whether I would have been apart of this show would have been under question. Put it like this: I know numerous artists who I am a fan of who have performed at The Jazz Cafe, but I have never been there.

OK BRING IT BACK…

Life is good when you can chill in a ‘Chip Shop’, vibe out to some great Hip Hop Music, classics and gems provided by DJ Shorty and tuck in to some good sweet potato chips and some Korean Chilli Chicken Wings which I was recommended and I recommend to you if you were to ever visit there (which should be on your bucket list if you are a true hip hop head). I nearly turned it down in favor for some chilli prawns (I am a fiend for prawns).

Massive props go out to the opening act – Jaz Kahina… I hope she doesn’t get offended when I say this but she reminded me of one of those characters in Kidult/AdultHood…but in a good way though! Very attractive girl, who would be quick to throw fists should you get on her bad side, based on how she presented herself.

Jaz Kahina chip shop

Jaz Kahina: Photo courtesy of Chip Shop Instagram @chipshop_bxtn

Once she shook off the initial nervousness, the East Londoner was wildin’ out on that microphone, performing her hits from her School Run EP  including Dope MC and  Round Ere, her highlight was a track entitled ‘Quitter’ where she pokes fun at herself for bailing out of everything she tries…excluding Hip Hop which was a beautiful thing… her delivery was reminiscent of classic 1999 Slim Shady. Another highlight was ‘Fatal Attraction’… in which she told the crowd that they need to log in to their YouTube account to view the content because it may be of an adult nature… been as she is attractive as stated earlier, she was quick to point out that she meant VIOLENT nature and not sexual to which she was received with a chorus of playful boos…

Props to the man call Curoc for keeping the crowd hype with the big tune and busting a few 16s of his own before the Harriet Thugman herself graced the stage. Big ups to the ladies in attendance who made sure they didn’t let the thirsty guys overpower the capacity crowd…

The first thing she put out there – was that she may need a chair to stand on and perform… the Chip Shop failed to fulfill Rah’s needs but the show went on and blasted off with a clever version of her verse of Cha Cha Cha over Jay-Z’s Public Service Announcement instrumental. She keeps the crowd rocking over some classic Dirty Harriet classics, but when she performed ‘Break Fool’ the crowd went OFF calling for a Pull up but the DJ looked clueless as to what a Pull Up was… very disappointing. ‘Curtains’ was another surprise highlight, as halfway through that track the DJ made up for his ‘particular lack of skills’ and switched the beat into a Pusha T instrumental which got a great ovation from the crowd since Daytona was considered on e of the best albums of 2018.

#LYRICSMATTER

Moving on, Rah goes in to her later tracks which she believed the Brixton Crowd would not be familiar with… how wrong was she! Performing tunes like ‘Classic’, ‘Who Gonna Check Me Boo’ and ‘I Ain’t Never Lied’…the crowd was with her all the way, especially as she performed ‘Angela Davis’, which had capacity crowd with their fists in the air on some ‘Fight The Power’ vibe. This is an aspect of what I love when attending a gig, I am always interested to see if the people have kept up with the later tracks instead of being trapped in the 90s.

I felt kinda bad for the Female Flipmodian though when she mentioned her podcast with Lord Jamar… it sounded as if not more than five people (including myself) knew of that… either heads are sleeping or they have a lot of respect for Eminem because we all know how Lord Jamar feels about white people and Hip Hop… Rah digga teases Flipmode reunion

She moved on swiftly to some more classic hits including the collab with Talib Kweli (Down For The Count) and Black Rob’s WHOA! Remix in which the capacity crowd forgot they had phones in their hands because they were so caught up in the vibe.

It was an hour set from the one who writes her own rhymes… and after she paid homage to all the female MCs who have gone before, adding that nice touch of the Sean Price interview he had on Vlad where he speaks on female rappers but only had ratings for Digga which had the crowd chanting ‘SEAN PPPPPP!!!’ and announcing to the crowd that a new Flipmode Album is on the way which was met with a response of roars of anticipation, she closed it out with the epic Touch It Remix…in true Flipmode fashion, Digga Digga had capacity crowd getting low and turning it up into a mosh pit. The Chip Shop venue was not built for that! That was a SHUTDOWN! Busta Rhymes must feel proud of his Flipmode sister!

FLIPMODE IZ DA SQUAD!!!

This was my fourth appearance in the Chip Shop, and although none of the aforementioned were in attendance the first time I was there, this was my most enjoyable experience. A place where a who’s who of artists and legends have graced their stage, the management may seriously need to consider expanding, especially when I caught a comment from the Chip Shop on Rah Digga’s instagram, tagging Busta Rhymes and asking him when the Dungeon Dragon would grace the establishment with his animated presence… going by my past experience… there will definitely be no Chip Shop left if that man appeared let me tell you.

The capacity crowd (especially the guys) let Rah Digga know they loved her in more ways than one and she was only happy to bring the love back… but when I got to meet her… she told me she loved her time here in the UK and then told me something so promising and exciting…let’s just say…UK – STAY TUNED! FLIPMODE IZ DA SQUAD!!!

GRANT & RAH DIGGA2