APOLLO BROWN – GRANDEUR

MELLO MUSIC GROUP

Release Date: September 25, 2015

UK Release: October 9, 2015

DEFINITION: splendour and impressiveness, especially of appearance or style. “the majestic grandeur and simplicity of Roman architecture”

Apollo Brown isn’t the type to boast about his work. He just sat there, but the needle on the record (as he does), and crafts the beats, chops the samples and creates bodies (plural, not singular) of work.

_apollo_brown_grandeurOver the last 5 years, heads have heard this man create projects with artists such as OC, Roc Marciano, Ghostface Killah, Ugly Heroes and most recently Ras Kass. Three of the aforementioned artists have had their projects reviewed here on RePPiN4U. Apollo Brown has become one of the most sought after producers. Now Apollo Brown wants to work with Apollo Brown. He has assembled some of the most respected and prolific artists around and compiled it into one project. The formula cannot possibly go wrong. It’s like concocting a bad apple but in reverse, it’s objective is to kill the wackness in the game today. Call it weed killer, the type that kills weeds in the garden… not marijuana! Calm down readers!

It’s time to once again put that needle on a record. Prepare to zone out in the coliseum, and listen to the Grandeur.

Finally it’s Apollo’s time. Standing Ovation for that man who has delivered consistently great music. The inlay reads ‘Neva Eva’ Feat. Barrel Brothers. Skyzoo & Torae are officially a duo. This is great for Hip Hop. There hasn’t been an exciting duo to come out in recent memory. Great kickstarter to the album, and that’s without begging for people to put in…(see what I did there?)

Oddisee hopes you found what you was looking for… if you have already purchased this album,you have definitely found it. Those who haven’t, have Oddisee saying this: “I see these people hunting for something with no direction/No discretion, no lessons, no motive, no loaded weapon/Where ever they could get ain’t worth catching, guess what they left with/A whole lot of questions…”

DROP THE BOMB ON EM!!!

MOP_fenceThat’s exactly what M.O.P. just did, they Detonated that thing! It’s the first single from the album. Only 3 tracks in (Not including the short intro) and this has shown Apollo Brown as a candidate for at least Producer of the Year (if RePPiN4U had awards…) Apollo’s Brass Tacks has awoken Chino XL from his coffin mentally and musically. It’s great hearing him tell the sheeple that Worldstar does not provide the answers for their life solution. Worldstar is degrading entertainment, but we are all guilty of having a chuckle to what we see on it. The next track, ‘There’s Always Radio’ could well be Evidence’s way of sarcasm. You may not hear this on radio but you may do on RePPiN4U Radio Show! (Cheap Plug but it’s not because I help contribute to it!!!) Apollo begins teasing his listeners with beats he got stashed away which may or may not find itself on future projects should the right artist decide to work with it…

You heard Pharoahe Monch and Jill Scott’s epic end to their album W.A.R. But now hear Rasheed Chappell tell you how he’s ‘Still Standin’ by himself. Let’s hope this translates into listeners to what they might be going through in their lives, this is great positive music.

The next track is aimed at the ignorant and arrogant, and on the internet that is multiplied x3. They’re everywhere! Sags & Ty Farria learned the Hard Way because they were like that, so they wanna heed warning to those like that… sometimes it’s no use arguing with those fools… just leave them be and watch what happens.

Nine tracks into this album and the listeners ears feel like they are saying THANK YOU! Even James Avery a.k.a. Uncle Phil (pictured below) is loving the Grandeur that is Apollo Brown…

Uncle PhilIn Getting By, Rapper Big Pooh and the lady call Dynasty let their frustrations spill on what we call Tell-Lie-Vision over a flipped beat 9th Wonder once used for Skyzoo’s Stop Fooling Yourself…Hip Hop Sample trainspotters will continue their work into the next track featuring no holds barred MC – Ras Kass in Enemies With Benefits… since Mr West’s production has failed us as of late, Apollo flips the Overnight Celebrity instrumental… I suppose Apollo sees Kanye’s early production as just that – An Enemy With Benefits…

Army Of The Pharoahs fans will be overjoyed as Vinnie Paz and Blacastan bless the soul drenching beat and tell Apollo he should walk with them… the beat teasing continues at the end in a ‘name that artist who could flow to this’ game…

The next track is so refreshing as generally most hip hop glorifies smoking weed and the like, this is the opposite. ‘Not That Guy’ featuring Your Old Droog will make the listener forget all those Nas sounding comparisons as a negative. Speaking of Nas, funnily enough Apollo flips the beat from the Hi-Tek produced ‘Letter To The King’ by The Game which featured the Illmatic poet.

Those soothing sounds flow right into making a lot a ‘Money’ Featuring Masta Ace & Wordsworth’s ferocious bars over Apollo’s striking piano chords has to be a sure fire favourite among heads…truer words are never been spoken, you can never have enough money, and people will kill for it…

Who’s That? It’s Maffew Ragazino and Freddie Gibbs. Hip Hop’s favourite Detroit producer hasn’t finished with those piano chords…he’s already ‘In The Moment’ from the first track, he was In the Moment from he made the project ‘Trophies’ with OC, with a track that sounded like it didn’t make the album back then. Even OC says it’s a continuation…recognize that? Yes Apollo applied the beat from Nas’ Live Now from Street’s Disciple. So that settles your curiosity of where you thought you heard the beat before.eternia

If Apollo Brown existed in the 90s and made a beat for the Clan, it would sound like this. Westside Gunn & Planet Asia are the lucky ones to flow over this. Apollo then does a part 3 to his ‘Name that MC to match the beat game’, before re-introducing the world to Canadian MC Eternia (pictured right). She tells her story of insecurities of her significant other in ‘Eachother’.

Before the album closes out, Apollo finds his most demented beat he could craft because Reks and Sean P are about to bless the album. 2015’s biggest Hip Hop tragedy reminds us why Sean Carter is good but he is the best on ‘Yesman Sh!t’: “I’m a work in progress/Work hard so God know my words are honest/Do a verse worthless/Sell it to a clown, universal soul circus/You are now rocking with the best/Everybody wack bop, stop rocking with the rest/ – P!”

It is only right that Apollo closes the album with the Ugly Heroes seeing the ‘Checkered Flag’. Assisted by the sample ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me’, Red Pill tells of his battle of not just himself but everybody fighting and winning against their demons at some point of their lives.

You can now lift the needle off the vinyl, or put it back on from the beginning. More likely you can do the latter, because Apollo Brown has done it again people. He may not win any BET awards and by the sounds of things, you the people are boycotting it because of lack of coverage from the Million Man March, but to real heads, this album should be at least nominated for Album of The Year. Apollo has managed to craft together 19 tracks hard to skip, and there is no outright standout track because all tracks live off each other. This will be in your CD changer or your iPhone for quite some time.  To describe this album as Grandeur, is RIGHT. One more thing: “Don’t ever come around me trying to get high, I’m NOT THAT GUY… I DON’T DO DRUGS!”

Granduer back

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UNIQUE HEAT Vol 3: Clearer Understanding

Rashad Unique presents
Unique Heat 3: Clearer Understanding
Hosted by Saladin Quanaah Allah
Unique Heat/Rhythm Box Music
Release date: August 7th 2015

Review written by: Michael Grant (C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & Radio Presenter of the RePPiN4U Show on B.D.S.I.R. Network)

UNIQUE HEAT 3 FRONTI just want to take this time to give praises and recognition to the man call Rashad Unique, who has been instrumental of me finding my calling as a Hip Hop journalist.

This review is a long time coming, maybe too long, and this is my way of giving back to the god who helped manifest my career, and now while I truly understand (pun intended) that, it is only right that I bring you the review of the third instalment of the Unique Heat saga.

20 tracks of uncut, unedited righteous grown man’s hip hop from some of the best emcees from the Allah School of Mecca hosted by the God Saladin Quanaah Allah, who provides narration throughout the project. He kicks off by putting up his ‘Modulated Shields’. Great start to the album… the pace flows into the holy sounding ‘Boom Baptizm by Kalik Scientific who as Saladin suggests, really becomes one with the beat as it progresses.

The epic feel of this album continues into ‘Yakub’ by Kasim Allah, warning our people of the ‘race of devils’ and their heinous acts of tricknology. It’s one of those tracks that you could imagine a visual being made to, only to be met by trolls who have no clear understanding of what the message entails.

Golden Era Hip Hop fans will rejoice as Rashad Sun brings back that essence in ‘Self Saviour’. Halfway through the beat flips around to more haunting sonics and Rashad takes full potential of his 7 1/2 ounces of his dome. Keeping in that same mindframe, Build Destroy and Master K-Bar lets purists know that ‘Message Sent’. The backdrop is so reminiscent of that Gangstarr sound that we all know and love.

The video above is the original, but insert 9th Wonder sound bite here – “THIS IS THE REMIX!” Lord Jessiah comes back through with the track – Blitzkrieg featuring Drugs ThEmcee and All-Wise. The relentless head banging feel of this project shows no sign of slowing down. By now a typical Hip Hop release will have featured a R&B radio type record. Not Unique Heat 3. Then Japreme Magnetic lets people know that when Dealing With Us 5%ers, be prepared to deal with the gritty drum sounds that goes with it. Unless that was Japreme’s intention, his building on the track might be slightly overpowered by the said drums….

…but Nowaah The Flood wants to go back further than Hip Hop’s Golden Age. Try 1960. Think of what our people had dreamed to accomplish and today we are not carrying out those dreams to the letter. But it’s Magnetic who brings us back to present day while keeping his rhymes ‘Fresh’.

unique-heat-3-bannerKeeping with the album’s concept, Nato Caliph & Power God Allah breaks down who they are as the ‘Original Almighty’ and what it means to be a 5%: ‘Many come, few are chosen/knowledge comes before wise words are spoken/I learned that from the father who broke from Elijah/1964 when he produced the products…’

The next track that follows is designed to destroy all those memes people post on their timelines stating ‘rap was better before’… how about now? That’s the question posed by Born Allah, Erule & Planet Asia when they drop that ‘Classic’. If there is one thing I hate, is those said memes. This track erases that ignorance as they cleverly use scratches from other tunes and most notably from Nas’ Ether ‘you wanna be on every last one of my classics’…

In 2013, Kasim Allah & Brand Nubian went out and exposed the ‘Jive Pretenders’, but this is the remix… one of many highlights on the album about people now throwing the mighty 7 chain around their neck hoping to get recognition and Jay Z 5percentprops with no evidence of the real teachings. Eyebrows were indeed raised when this man pictured right rocked the chain recently despite blatant allegations about him. Is he really down with the 5%? Only he knows, and the jury is still out there for some people, and if he is, why hasn’t he revealed his righteous name by now? If you can’t show & prove, you WILL get found out.

It is only right that Saladin Quanaah Allah tells you to do the Knowledge (1) and Understand (3) why, so fitting for the album’s 13th track, ‘Deserted Blocks’ by Master K Bar. Kicking the tune off quoting Public Enemy’s most prolific album, Master K Bar lets the people know how crooked and twisted the streets are, neighbourhood blocks getting emptier, and the prison system continuing to be packed up.

All Wise & Sol Asar are Beyound Galactic. They are about to show you ‘The Way’ to the uncharted regions into the unknown as explained by the album’s host. This has a zone out, ‘Killah Priest’ like feel along with some good ol’ kung fu samples.

Clay Borne13Five adds on from what Kasim Allah and Brand Nubian were saying earlier and becomes ‘The Punisher.’ It’s not just those jive pretenders, but those who try to play God and abuse such power and go on like they are above the law.

NYOIL (Kool Kim) has become that artist who doesn’t record as much music as he should, but when he does he always makes a powerful impact. He has become one of the most respected emcees in the game who always connects with his fanbase and communicates with the like-minded in social media. This is a man who is not afraid to express his ‘Culture Freedom’ and encourages his people to do the same.

Wu-Tang trainspotters may remember Njeri Earth from GZA’s ‘1112’ from the Beneath The Surface album. Here she talks to her sisters and her track ‘Food For Thought’ has a double meaning, encouraging the young generation to breast feed their future seeds, as well as giving them knowledge from they’re young. Njeri sees this as a growing a problem with the sisters in America particularly.

Say what you want about Barack Obama, when it comes to race, he’s no different to his fellow brothers when it comes to race and the struggles that go with it. The Almighty Shing Shing Regime bring facts and statistics and empower us to ‘Stand Your Ground’, not just that, they flip the script to those outside their race and ask them how they would feel in those situations.

As the album nears it’s close, the Righteous Ruler wants to take you back to The Genesis. If the good book was written by this man, this is how the book of Genesis would be like as demonstrated here. Just as Saladin Quanaah Allah opened the album, is the same way he will close it with the track entitled ‘Windtalkers’.

This project truly opens minds who takes in all 20 tracks. It might be over people’s heads, but that is exactly the intention. The gods are not dumbing down for anybody and comprising their integrity. Just because I described this as grown man’s hip hop, does not mean young people cannot listen to it. If anything, the project is aimed at the younger generation as the gods reach out to teach one. What these gods do, is speak the truth. It’s up to the listener to take heed of all the messages contained here, however for those who have listened through the first two instalments of Unique Heat, they are the ones who will benefit the most by the gods builds and teachings.

UNIQUE HEAT 3 BACKUNIQUE HEAT 3 is Available for free download. Click the pic above or HERE to get your copy.