MASTA KILLA: Loyalty Is Royalty

RELEASED: September 29, 2017, Nature Sounds, Review written by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & International Rep of Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

Masta Killa is a man of the people. More specifically, the Wu-Tang fans. He’s that dude that may not come when you call but he’s always on time. He knows what the fans want, and for three albums straight, he has delivered. Fans knew of this album for a good few years now, they expected it to drop in 2012, but instead Masta Killa ‘seemingly changed Masta-Killa-Loyalty-Is-Royaltyjpegthe title of the album to ‘Selling My Soul’ which was a great project drenched with soulful vibes. The title track ‘Loyalty Is Royalty’ would eventually appear on 9th Wonder’s own project and brought HaLo into the mix, which led to the joint project – ‘Mansa Musa’ which dropped in 2014. This was a nice stop-gap to the true destination which is this album right here. Just like the latest projects from Prodigal Sunn, Rez SPS Kings and the Clan themselves, this album couldn’t have come at a better time.

Ming-Hsueh Lin provides the album’s intro, which is a calm but deadly melody, those traits are often used to describe the clan’s laid back but machete wielding member, before diving into a good ol’ boom bap banger ‘Return Of Thee Masta Kill’ with Cappadonna & Young Dudas. Now here’s a guy who has the word ‘Young’ before his name and is a dope MC. So heads take notes, just because somebody has ‘Young’ or ‘Lil’ before their name does not necessarily mean they are wack!

Moving into the album’s title track as mentioned earlier, was brought into existence five years ago, but still sounds as fresh as ever. This is the original version without HaLo, and sees Masta Killa refer to Loyalty as his woman so the track can be taken as a double meaning.

In ‘Therapy’, Masta & Method Man feel the same way as we do as regards to being around this music, and Redman has really molded in well with the clan. 10 years ago, I would laugh at people who said Redman was an official member… I cannot give the same kind of response now.

One thing that is admirable about Masta Killa (and the rest of the clan for that matter) is that these guys are headed for their 50s, and yet, they always have high praise for the Older Gods. Respecting their elders is a powerful trait which must be upheld, such as what this Dame Grease produced single suggests.

RZA chimes in to break down the meaning of Loyalty is Royalty. Let’s hope Phonte of Little Brother doesn’t hear this interlude, as his imitation of RZA in ‘The Story of US’ parody project was one of the most hilarious things ever recorded.

Consider the next track as what I like to call a ‘counteraction’ of Shyheim’s track of the Masta Killa Loyalty Is Royalty2same name. 9th Wonder flips the track ‘Trouble’ slows it down to match the pace of the 9th member of the bunch’s flow.

Masta Killa’s Skit is cruel. It feels so good to have True Master behind the boards, but with it being a minute long, it leaves you begging for more verses. It’s like being on a cooking show or wine tasting show and you can only have one bite.

This is such an album highlight, another Wu Camp Clik or Camp Wu Banga, Sean Price & Masta Killa connect on a 9th Wonder scorcher in ‘Down with Me’. Fans can now practically take these collaborations and create their own playlist on iTunes. Wu-Tang and Boot Camp need to stop the teasing and create that crossover album. Failing that, I sincerely hope Masta Killa convinces Ghostface Killah – ‘executive producer’ of the next Wu album to get 9th Wonder on the production team.

The next track is begging for the visual treatment… Tiger & The Mantice featuring GZA & Inspectah Deck sees producer Blocade tapping into the Wu-Tang sound. When these three get together on a track it is just pure magic. Wu-Massacre 2 anyone? YES PLEASE!

You want more gunplay? Masta Killa will be more than happy to oblige. This time featuring Prodigy & KXNG Crooked in ‘Real People’. Prodigy shows once again why he was far from ready to return to the essence and KXNG Crooked is an unlikely feature to say the least but it works.

If the previous three albums from Masta Killa has taught us anything, is that he will go outside the box and surprise you. ‘Flex With Me’ featuring Chanel Sosa  samples from the classic Scarface movie and flips Mad Cobra’s ‘Flex’ and this goes down really well. With

Chanel Sosa Good Lovin

CLICK HERE FOR CHANEL SOSA WEBSITE

this and ‘Lovely Lady’ from made In Brooklyn, it makes me want to pick Masta Killa’s brains as far as his love for reggae dancehall. Where this was a hit, the next track is a miss. ‘Calculated’ should be called ‘Mis-Calculated’ because this is Masta Killa’s attempt of making a club track with that ‘trap feel to it’ and it just doesn’t work. It also goes on a bit too long as well. At least there is no mumbling. Oh wait… there’s the hook… I stand corrected.

However The High Chief Jamel Irief makes up for that and goes deeper into his Wu Gambino alias – Noodles in a two-part story, the first part produced by !llmind and the second part produced by Masta Killa himself which sees a smooth, moonlight backdrop. With a nice applause at the end, the album ends with a somber piano tone by Ming-Hsueh Lin.

From this point forward, call Masta Killa Mr 2nd Most Consistent member of the clan. (Next to Ghostface Killah). Even with that ‘Calculated mis-step’, it’s understandable that veterans would want to jump on a beat like that to attract newer audiences and show them how it’s done. The most glaring difference between this and it’s predecessors are the album’s producers and features. This time around it seems more star-studded and not just Wu appearances. Masta Killa should find his crown and fix it on his head because it is rightfully deserved.

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REZ SPS KINGS & TIMBO KING – Bar Essentials

RELEASED: OCTOBER 6, 2017, Absalom Recordz/Real Estate Records, Review by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & International Rep for Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

“…I’m watching the Brandy video, I’m watching brothers doing Janet Jackson and Brandy choreography, the same stuff they doing since the first academy awards, nahmean? So I’m buggin’ off of that right there, so right now there is about to be another flood of Wu-Tang, coz I think we got the strongest name that a group got right now that can bring it back through to the people, and right now it’s about to be a flood…and this flood should reinstate Hip Hop, and if this don’t do it, we might as well wait til the next generation…” (RZA, sometime between 1998-1999)

RZA might as well have said this in 2017. Check it out. Wu Wear has recently relaunched. One off singles randomly came out (Don’t Stop) & (Savor.Wavs) Then DJ Allah Mathematics took everyone off guard with ‘People Say’ followed by The Saga Continues REZ SPS KINGS (BAR ESSENTIALS FRONT COVER)album. Just before that, Masta Killa proved once again that by sticking to the formula, Loyalty is Royalty. Then Prodigal Sunn comes out with a solid offering weeks later in ‘The Spark’.

In the midst of this flood, Rez SPS Kings & Timbo King believe in the ‘Bar Essentials’, a beautifully worded title which sees the two emcees strip Hip Hop down to just that – Bar(e) Essentials, which is Concept, Lyrics, Attitude, Music, and Performance, and they are not alone, they have brought along an army of  a who’s who in the Wu-Tang Killa Beez from the well-known originals (Dom Pachino, Kinetic 9) all the way to the more recent and obscure (Lord Fury, iNTeLL).

The great thing about the Clan and the Killa Beez is there is always a running theme in their albums, for example the Clan keep on the Shaolin Kung Fu side, Killah Priest goes into a spiritual chamber, Dirty was that drunken master, Meth was your man when it came to getting high and kissing the sky, Rae was your Mafia type dude, Killarmy were all about the war, and so on and so forth. Rez and Timbo take us to a Medieval, Game of Thrones like – chamber, and that’s the tone set as soon as you press play.

No messing about, bombs are dropped. Spirit Bombs that is alongside Solomon Childs, but it’s Bliss who shines here putting guys on blast who are feminizing themselves to stay current, when that comes from a female, alarm bells should be ringing. Too many cats caught up in the ‘Matrix’ as Kinetic 9 chimes in over a battling backdrop.

The furious pace continues in ‘Man Made Slaves’ featuring none other than Lord Fury who states that’s what we are if we believe in mystery gods and the reality of the New World Order. Rez continues the onslaught not sword swinging but rather axe swinging, determined to chop the ball and chain off our ankles.

Big shout out to fellow Wu Coalition brother DJ Flipcyide who lends his hands on the ones and twos just in case any challenger feels like an ‘Enemy’…

SOUND THE WAR HORNS!!! Anything iNTeLL touches becomes Golden just like his daddy. A visual may be needed here (hint hint!) The Symphony of the Damned really puts the listener in that zone as Rez & Grone Da Radikal sound like they are about to perform a justice execution in the most torturous way possible.

BAR ESSENTIALS DISC IMAGE

The sequence of tracks thus far in the project flow very well. Kinetic 9 and DJ Flipcyide rejoin the duo in Catastrophic Prophets. They have really captured the sound of the dark ages right here, and combining them with straight bangers like that displayed in Xerox Clones, and Witty is as grainy and basement sounding as you can get, that’s the sound fans kind of wanted in The Saga Continues, proving that sound can still be created in 2017/2018.

Timbo King shines here as he gives vivid storytelling in the Bionic Homeless Man. Rez & Stumik complement him well. The violins are out in one of the album’s highlights – Chemtrails. Shabazz The Disciple is straight fire on this, Rez refuses to be out-rhymed, and Lord Fury, well his voice will tell you how he feels about the wickedness.

You may have heard Solomon Childs cry out on ‘Mama Can You Hear Me’ from the Theodore Unit 718 mix tape, this is the flip side, Rez & Dom are asking their Fathers if they can hear them, and by the sounds of this, their biologicals have faltered again… it’s a reoccurring and frustrating topic. Notice – the violin is said to be an instrument mainly symbolical to sadness, and there is not an ounce of sadness shown here, yet the violin is featured in Chemtrails and the next track – Dueling Kings, and it’s not even used for sadness. You got Rez & Timbo out on a sparring session with the bars here, complimented with a great jewel in the sample used.

BAR ESSENTIALS INSIDE PANTHLET

Raise Your Swords people, we have reached the album’s close. From top to bottom, Rez & Timbo stay true to their word – the album is straight BARS, some of which the listener may not dissect on the first go round, but it will take quite a few listens to fully break it all down. For those Hip Hop fans out there who cannot stand any R&B elements in the music, they will be overjoyed here as that is non-existent in this project. If there are any criticisms, it’s that one or two of the beats sound passable, and may need a visual to bring it out, and that’s all this album needs, is to knock out a few visuals. But from Lord Fury’s disregard for religion to Rez’ lyrical flow to Timbo’s storytelling to Dom Pachino’s disappointment in his father, this is a good project which deserves the CD changer with the latest flood of Clan/Killa Bee offerings.

Massive respect to Rez & Timbo for including us in their inlay shout outs. That means a lot to us. SALUTE.

 

 

 

UNIQUE HEAT Vol. 4: The Culture Is I -God

Rashad Unique presents: Unique Heat 4:
The Culture Is I-GOD
Hosted by: Ka Zodiak
Unique Heat Hip Hop/Rhythm Box Music
Release date: October 10th
, 2017

Review by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U and International Rep of Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

“You can get with this… or you can get with that…” – Black Sheep

“I leave alone the foolishness & partake in what is important & relevant to me. Peace. #WisdomWisdom #Culture – Rashad Unique

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CLICK HERE TO FOR STREAM/FREE DOWNLOAD

It’s plain and simple really. You can argue all day with keyboard warriors about Eminem’s attack on America’s president to the point where you have to block people, or you can take in the latest offering from Unique Heat. Personally I know which one I would pick. 22 tracks of quality hip hop from the 5% hosted by Ka Zodiak.

Since’s he’s hosting, he’s kicking off the project with ‘Channel The Infinite’ at a deliberate and calculating pace.

What’s the Science Lord? We gotta stay sane… Stone & Robert are right. The world is going mad…or already gone mad. People shooting up churches, kids getting blown up in concerts, tower block flats set on fire. UK voting for Brexit purely on the basis of eliminating immigrants. America taking three steps back putting a clueless bigot in power.

When you hear of the St. Lunatics, you instantly think ‘Nelly’, the next thing you think of is how KRS-One bodied him. You haven’t gotta do that in this project. Instead think of Ali, who brings the essential 120 lessons here. Don’t sleep or be tempted to hit the skip button.

On to one of the many highlights of this instalment that may ruffle the feathers of Christians. KanKan calls out those who are on their knees hoping for Jesus to save them, and he really hits home in the third verse when he speaks on Black Lives Matter and how those who believe in the mystery god get caught up in the 10% tricknology.

Righteousness, Reefas, Rifles…Japreme Magnetic brings that fire in ‘Betrayal Is Irreversible’. That is a true statement in life we must all adhere to. Then Queen Sha Mecca shows her strength in ‘Righteous and Refined’ with a New York State Of Mind. Referring back to Rashad Unique’s status, foolishness includes debating on who the best female rapper is. We don’t do that over here.

Switching gears to Almighty Shing Shing Regime. Only The Real can get down with this. Only the Real will have their heads nodding big time on this one. Only The Real will be developing screwfaces. The bangers continue on into ‘Knowing How To Build’ with Bazz-O The Great One.

It may sound like a Beanie Sigel record, but the subject matter Sigel usually comes with is not seen here in King Dome of Heaven by Born Allah a.k.a. Daddy Grace. Straight out the gate he goes in “Now Cipher God that’s not how my lessons go/and that flag you got on your chest has got to go/How you gonna take it to the heavens/ain’t mastered Earth yet/the gods don’t wear FOI suits and screw white chicks?”

See this project right here Unique Heat 4, brings you the brightest light you ever saw. This is Music For Revolution, reparations included by Rashad Sun. This is the best example of taking that old school classic hip hop sound and make it sound current.

When I first came across the track ‘Legend Of the Overfiend Flow’ by Now Cee Allah, I expected vicious rhymes and flows over a looped beat from the anime itself, which would have been dope but Now Cee Allah didn’t do that, instead he drops jewels like the chojin drops heat all over Osaka Japan.

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Now for those who love their deep science, this is for you. Allwise360 & Sol Asar together are Beyound Galactic, if this was a cassette tape, consider ‘Metaphysical Fantasy’ the beginning of Side 2/B. You gotta love the Fist Of the North Star sample they used here and the science behind it.

The mixtape enters another one of its many highlights with the ‘Gods Remix’ featuring Bill Biggz & Glock George, who flip the Mack Wilds ‘Henny’ instrumental or rather, the Mobb Deep ‘The Learning – Burn’ instrumental.

Sounding like Dr Dre’s Aftermath studios were raided, Mars Hall and uses ‘Mathematics’ and puts it to great use. Mars goes from 1 (Knowledge) to 0 (Cipher) and breaks it down in a vicious flow reminiscent of The Notorious B.I.G. Ten Crack Commandments.

Black, Poor & Strugglin’… sounds like most of us. It also reminds us of how Chris Rock broke it down about the difference between being rich and being wealthy, Akril Magnetic and Cipher 7000 add-on from that. The harsh sounds of the streets continue on with Mullah Don aka Magnetic with ‘Gun Down’ Well needed at this time when a recent twitter trend said #WhiteLivesMatter, which was a straight slap in the face to our people killed with injustice.

The project switches gears with ‘All Praises Due’ with Cause and Effect. Fire flows & rhymes on this track is an action, head nodding and screwfacing is the reaction, followed by All Wise 360 asking himself ‘Did I Do That?’ over a good ol’ soulful sample which never fails. Blu & Exile recently dropped a track speaking on how they felt the soul was gone from hip hop – this track right here is the answer. Lord Justice keeps that soul vibe going by using the Barry White ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ sample.

The project reaches its epilogue as S. Quannah becomes ‘Professor Moriarty’, only difference is the Sherlock Holmes character was a criminal mastermind but Quannah switches it around to a righteous way to help our black communities as demonstrated in the speech used at the end of the track.

Ka Zodiak started the project, it’s only right he ends it with Illuminati Teardrops. So-called because one can zone out and not be afraid to shed tears over a six-minute medley, which immerses itself into your soul upon more listens.

“Don’t trap yourself in other people’s expectations & negative views of you. Live your life successfully. Peace. #WisdomBorn”Rashad Unique Allah

For the bonus track, Heads will recognize the beat from Beanie Sigel’s The Truth. Kasim Allah and the like-minded hate F**k Bois in this ‘F**k Em’ Remix. He already warned those Jive Pretenders before from the last instalment of Unique Heat.

Rashad’s words sum up this newest instalment perfectly. Everyone involved in this project go in and have never cared about what others may think of them with the subject matter. They are more concerned with contributing to the culture just as the theme suggests, and Unique Heat 5 will bring pure Power to the game.

STREAM/DOWNLOAD HERE

 

 

WU-TANG: THE SAGA CONTINUES

RELEASE: OCTOBER 13, 2017, EOne Music, Review by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U & member of Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

THE STORY SO FAR:

“If you have a good day, you want A Better Tomorrow, if you had a bad day, you NEED A Better Tomorrow…” (RZA, 2014)

Sounds like RZA had a bad day at the office with the last LP. We all have a bad day at the office at some point or another. He needed A Better Tomorrow… so he told Ghostface, if we gonna form like Voltron again, I want you at the helm. Even at the press conferences for A Better Tomorrow album, when asked if this was the last Clan album, Method Man was the first to pipe up and say emphatically – NO….

wu tang the saga continues artwork maybe…but in August of 2017, the Wu-Tang Clan adopted the Killarmy like approach and emerged like Camouflage Ninjas with a new single – People Say… and took Hip Hop by surprise. Just like that, like an RKO outta nowhere, RZA & DJ Allah Mathematics announce a new album, took to all major radio outlets for interviews where the creator of the Wu logo publicly put his own neck on the line by saying “he studied the 36 Chambers album & Dr Dre’s 2001 and crafted the album based on those two releases.” …and just like that, fans expectations are raised to the highest.

With Mathematics now behind the boards for this one, he starts the album the right way with the Shaw Brothers introduction. Kung fu heads know that when they hear that, they are in for a quality film, and that was Mathematics approach here. Great science behind the kung fu sample chosen as well. To Mathematics, this is a test, he knows the consequences should he fails in this social media driven era, and the clan are out to kill the game on this go round. The Abbott still overseeing the project but keeping his hands away from the boards.

With that said, is it a Lesson Learned? Who better to kick off the album with the Rebel INS? Nice to hear the evil Skhreli himself get a mention in the track and it feels great to have Redman jump in the track with a clan member other than Method Man and share that synergy. It’s a refreshing dynamic. The track flows nicely into ‘Fast & Furious’ with Raekwon and Hue Hef which sees them on the good ol’ Cuban Linx style storytelling tip.

In the hook of Lesson Learned, Redman states that his people don’t play, particularly his tag team partner Method Man who keeps his new curse-less rhyming style ferocious over a smooth beat in ‘If Time Is Money’. It’s almost like a two-part series as Meth continues in ‘Frozen’. His Wu-Massacre brothers jump in the hook, Killah Priest & Chris Rivers go in unfazed. Can’t help feeling that Ghostface’s vocals didn’t sound fresh though, slightly out-of-place but hey – it’s a minor right?

He more than makes up for it in the skit ‘Berto and the Fiend’ which its soulful vibe sounds like it was originally going to make Supreme Clientele 2…

As we enter one of the album’s many highlights: Pearl Harbour where we see yet another Boot Camp Clik appearance in Sean Price who ‘f**ks with Wu-Tang and a couple of new n!&&@$’… the track is so epic that it makes you wish Wu Camp Clik came with an album a few years ago instead of Wu-Block… or is it still possible in the next year? Calling Bernadette Price/Rockness & RZA/Mathematics! Said before in the Sean Price Imperius Rex review and again here – MAKE IT HAPPEN! Rockness himself would have been great on this track too…

…the same could be said for Ghostface Killah on the track that started it all in August 2017! Every MC went in, Mathematics lost his mind with the beat, and when it was released initially, turns out Mathematics still wasn’t satisfied, he went back and made some minor changes as Redman went in! You can hear all the signature sounds Mathematics does here especially when Masta Killa steps in to finish the track.

Big shout out to Shahrazad Ali who drops jewels in the ‘Family’ skit about the importance of the black man in families. I may not be an American Citizen, but going by what’s happening as of late, I say impeach Trump and elect this woman for president.

Then in ‘Why Why Why,’ another album highlight, we see a more hungry RZA rather than the somewhat ‘lazy’ flow we have seen RZA do as of late, here he’s sounding more like ‘The Cure RZA’ rather than the ‘Bobby Digital RZA’. Big up to Swnkah, putting a nice reggae riddim touch on the track.

In G’d Up, Method Man is throwing shots at wannabe Killa Bees… there they are, all over social media claiming they are a Wu-Tang affiliation. It’s a desperate and embarrassing sight… “You ain’t my people, I don’t care if you know RZA/‘Cause at the end of the day
I’m a problem boy, stay out of my way/if you see me in the streets, you better give me my space/And if I beat you to the punch I punch you dead in your face…” With Mzee Jones on the hook, you can hear the Dr Dre 2001 influence Mathematics was talking about.

Ol Dirty Bastard continues to prove he was light years ahead of everybody. at the end of the banger ‘If What You Say Is True’ which also shuts down speculations of GZA’s appearance on the album, Dirty tells the people how the media are trying to bring about a race war. RZA & Mathematics continue their teasing techniques on the Saga skit, wishing a full version of the song exists somewhere in 36 Chambers studios, then this is how it sounds when the Hood Go Bang…a track that makes you wish Red & Meth went in a bit longer.

Finally, with assistance from Steven Lattore, Ghostface encourages RZA & Cappadonna to channel their inner Pretty Toney in ‘My Only One’… directing their attention to the ladies, who probably wish Method Man jumped in on this one.

The album closes out with a great message addressing the young artists doing their thing in music and the older generation who have their constant qualms about their music.

RZA Mathematics quote

Sometimes in mathematics, you don’t find the correct answer straight away, and in this album, it will take quite a few listens for you to absorb everything, and once you have done that, you realise that Allah Mathematics has done a great job here. He has stayed closer to the Wu-Tang sound, and it is a vast improvement over the last LP (A Better Tomorrow) but here’s the twist: To those who had high expectations and were disappointed in this surprise project, on one hand I don’t blame you, because of the way this album has been promoted. This is in actual fact a glorified sequel to Wu-Tang: rza-dj-mathematicsChamber Music and Wu-Tang: Legendary Weapons. If Mathematics put this out with little promotion like he did with his previous projects – (Love, Hell & Right, The Problem and The Answer), the album may have been better received. But because it was promoted like it was a new Wu album of the bat, and because Allah Math modeled off 36 Chambers & Dr Dre’s 2001 in interviews, I can sympathise with you to an extent. Here we realise that fans actually care about U-God who is absent from this project, maybe due to legal reasons at the top of 2017, but this album felt like U-God’s face would have been replaced by Redman via Photoshop in the Wu-Tang Forever album cover. The album also suffers from a not having a full posse cut which has been on every major Wu album. After you get over U-God’s absence, this is a very enjoyable album that will get regular spins alongside Masta Killa’s Loyalty Is Royalty, until the next solo or group project surfaces.

BUSTA RHYMES – When Disaster Strikes… 20th Anniversary

Released: September 16, 1997 on Elektra Records

Don’t you miss the countdown to the millennium? Can’t lie, it was an exciting time. Either two things were gonna happen as it hit January 1, 2000… either everything instantly turned futuristic on some Back To The Future style, cars would be flying, that sort of thing, or the world was going to blow up after ‘spinning around in space 2000 times’. But Busta Rhymes When Disaster StrikesBusta Rhymes took a double meaning to this approach. To him it also meant at the time 2 and half years left until he and the Flipmode Squad took over the rap game… well at least that was the plan.

I cannot pinpoint the actual time I purchased this album but I know it wasn’t on day of release. I do remember it was sometime between September and November of 1997. The days of Ruby Red Records were near its end, me and my people had discovered Birmingham. Those journeys from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and back again on the 126 bus…oh boy, there were untold stories. When the Gravediggaz album dropped (Pick, Sickle & Shovel) We gave that 126 bus a new name, but maybe that’s another article waiting to happen…

A lot of us hail E.L.E. Extinction Level Event as Busta Rhymes most well-rounded and overall best album, but for me personally it was a toss-up between Anarchy and When Disaster Strikes… 20 years later, THIS IS MY STORY.

INTRO

I wanna give a big shout out to my long time friend @imfootballmad on twitter, doing major things now on United Peoples TV. You gonna hear about @imfootballmad throughout this story. Back then we used this intro for every journey we made, every female orientated mission we had… “ALRIGHT BUSTA, LET’S GO!!”

THE WHOLE WORLD LOOKING AT ME

I FEEL SO SUPREME!!! This was my anthem when I got my NVQ in Accounting from the Chamber of Commerce. At 17, I was hoping to become the next great accountant… er… that didn’t turn out too well…

But now? As a proud member of the Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition and the GGO (Ghetto Government Officials) and host of the Best Damn Show In Wild1 Radio… Take a look at me, take a look… HA!

SURVIVAL HUNGRY

“I refuse to lose, look at the news and read the interviews… FLIPMODE IZ DA SQUAD!” I live by that line!

Here I’m not addressing the bandwagon jabronies who purchased the album after Turn It Up Remix (Fire It Up) came out… because they may not know about this tune which was cruelly taken off the album in favor for that Knight Rider sampled hit. I know which tune I would have taken off the album but more on that later. But hey, I gotta big up the bandwagon jabronies who supported Busta after Knight Rider. It may have been his most defining moment breaking into mainstream.

Just know this – Survival Hungry got a REEEEWWWWIINNNNNND!!!! On my way back from Birmingham on the 126 bus the day I brought this album.

WHEN DISASTER STRIKES…

…YOU WILL SEE!!!! Already by this time my concerns about Busta Rhymes evolving rhyming style had already been eradicated. Initially I didn’t think Busta could top ‘The Coming’ judging by ‘Put Your Hands….’ but I’ll talk about that later… the feisty, full-blown in your face dungeon dragon Busta Rhymes was here in full effect in the first three tracks… that’s the Busta I like! But if you followed Busta from Leaders Of The New School, and each year you took a recording of him, over a period of time you would hear his voice change, and change, and adapt and evolve…

SO HARDCORE

“I walk through brick walls, f**k around hijack your whole shopping mall!” Busta’s animated persona made me really think he was really capable of walking through brick walls! You could imagine it in a music video, especially when he had his dreads! This was an early favourite of mine! If your headpiece is not banging at this point, your local GP is open from 8am til around 7pm Monday to Friday. Make that appointment.

GET HIGH TONIGHT

Everybody who knows me well knows I’m not that guy, I don’t do drugs… but tune like this – that’s how I get my high… If there was anyone else outside of De La Soul & Redman who were kings of the skits, it’s Busta & Flipmode. So if you don’t smoke weed or anything like that, don’t think this is not for you – IT IS!

TURN IT UP/FIRE IT UP

I seriously think the original Turn It Up was so underrated. Imagine this at house parties on some Kid N Play style and the bass pumping and there you are grabbing a female’s thigh and wrapping it round your ribs while you’re killing the full set of teet like your name is Eddie Murphy! That’s the vibe this tune gave to me…

Now my favourite story of Fire It Up… it was 1998, May Bank Holiday. Atlantis nightclub was the place to be… if you loved dance and house music that is! But this time, everything changed! There was me, my cousin Clint, @imfootballmad, and a few others, we all got in the club after strategies of going in separately, or pairing up with women we were hoping to score with later in the night, walking round with our birth certificate, passport, whatever…because you know bouncers don’t like a bunch of brothers trying to get in the club!

Anyway, the DJ did something at the time was unimaginable. He suddenly switched from dance music and played Busta Rhymes – Fire It Up. Unknown to us at the time, this track blew up the pop charts and suddenly, black people rushed the dancefloor. Sampling Knight Rider was never done before, and the way Busta took us back to our youth while keeping it Hip Hop was incredible. Atlantis Nightclub and every nightclub in the UK was never the same again.

PUT YOUR HANDS WHERE MY EYES COULD SEE

Now this is the track that had me nervous… it was his first single and Busta dropped this new calmer style to kick off the second album… but as mentioned earlier my doubts went out the window and as that happened, I warmed into this, best memory of this was the Lick Party with Trevor Nelson at the Mezzanine Nightclub 2000 I think it was…holy smokes this blew up the party! Once again there was me at @imfootballmad dropping two foot and being dutty with the women around us – I have only been to two MTV Lick Parties… good lord the females!!! Ok enough of all that – Keep it moving…

IT’S ALL GOOD

This is one of my all time favourite skits… and I have always wanted to do this – it WAS on my bucket list… let’s just say I never did it, but if you’re talking about two guys dancing with one girl in the club, and hollering the word ‘FLIPMODE!!!!’ in great joy, then YES! It’s all good!!!

The only thing I couldn’t understand was – how this track was initially banned… after you had 2 Live Crew and all their shocking lyrical content….

THERE’S NOT A PROBLEM MY SQUAD CAN’T FIX F/ JAMAL

Big tribute to the classic disco track ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’ – see we have to teach the youth about foundation and Busta knows about foundation! So this is why I can never knock Busta for working with today’s mainstream artists – bottom line – dude knows his foundation. Some hip hop fans think if artists work with people they don’t like – it makes them a sellout or something. NONSENSE. Look at Raekwon for instance. dude worked with the likes of Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber – then turns around and makes a great album in The Wild.

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WE CAN TAKE IT OUTSIDE

This is one of my all time favourite Flipmode Squad tracks! First time I heard this – it was on Tim Westwood Radio 1… remember him?

I was told that recently Tim Westwood was trying to flirt with Cardi B – do you know this guy is about to hit 60 this year? Cardi B as I understand, has not hit her 25th Birthday, or has just turned 25. Let that sink in…

Anyway I digress… THIS TUNE!!! Damn it was intense! But my favourite story revolves around my good friend Steven Downie, because the skit before this reminded him of himself back in school days… I mean, when Lord Have Mercy is beating down the jabroni down the stairs in a house party and with each punch he exclaims ‘HAAH!’ ‘HAAH!’ move move move move – HAAAH!!! That is straight comedy to a serious situation!

Talking of  a ‘serious situation’… whatever happened to ‘SERIOUS’? Remember him?

RHYMES GALORE

I still haven’t done it! It shall be done! I mean I know my dude @imfootballmad knows what I’m talking about! Acting a fool in the car when this tune drop just like Busta & Spliff! I’ve always wanted to learn the words to this… and never got round to it…

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 1

I could be wrong – I feel like this turned out to be more filler than a great 2-part story highlight…  the other tracks on the album were just too strong!!!!

THINGS WE BE DOING FOR MONEY PART 2 F/ RAMPAGE/ANTHONY HAMILTON/THE CHOSEN GENERATION

…then after all that it turned out to be a bad dream, and Rampage has to cuss Busta for phoning him up at ungodly hours! I’ll keep it 100 – I don’t like guys running up my FB inbox talking nonsense at those breed of hours, that’s the perfect recipe to being blocked!

ONE F/ ERYKAH BADU

I swore blind there was a video to this… I mean this is the portion of the album where Busta tries to let us know that there is a serious side to him, which was hard to digest at the time given his past music videos. But see this tune here? It’s still relevant and perhaps even more needed now, given all this terrorist business going on, North Korea acting a fool, Mr Trump pulling funny faces…

DANGEROUS

Aaaaah sheeeeeeeeeeet!!!! This was a mad favourite – back in the day me and my people used to hang in a little area called Lanesfield… once again – untold stories… there was this one dude who (for legal reasons shall not be named) we all used to hang round his house… we treated it like a playground, his moms was never around… we used to blast tunes, get drunk, act a fool the lot. When this tune dropped, it was party time – until we broke his moms coffee table! Up til now the breakages have not been paid in full…

THE BODY ROCK F/ RAMPAGE/PUFF DADDY/MA$E

I didn’t like this track… I thought it was dull. 20 years later, I STILL don’t like it. You know what happened? When RZA & GZA called out guys turning hip hop into rap & bullsh!t and all this playa dressing up acting like it was some fashion show… it was Puff Daddy & Ma$e they were referring to! They were mumble rap BEFORE mumble rap. Busta should have taken this track off in favor for Fire It Up (Knight Rider) but obviously I know why he didn’t…

GET OFF MY BLOCK F/ LORD HAVE MERCY

I call this the heartbreaking part of the album you know why? Busta was showcasing Spliff Star and Lord Have Mercy… both were next to blow according to this album… and they never came out. Instead The Flipmode Imperial album came out. As much as I love the Flipmode album, I thought it was a good chess move before Spliff and Lord Have Mercy dropped their projects but then suddenly Extinction Level Event dropped like a month later… I’m glad it didn’t deter Rah Digga from dropping her solo…it was meant to be my mission there after to purchase every Flipmode album as I became a big fan but the movement never really took off…

OUTRO – PREPARATION FOR THE FINAL WORLD FRONT

That’s actually the original title of the third album: Extinction Level Event – The Final World Front… but people are acting like that’s about to happen now! Maybe it is about that time for Busta to finally drop that new album… he got that new tune featuring Vybz Kartel, a next one featuring Swizz Beatz… Eight years Busta… don’t do a Dr. Dre, keep the fans waiting after like 15 years, then finally drop an album that’s not really up to par!

Take a bow Busta… they call you the Woo-Hah! man, the dungeon dragon and all that, but this album defined you, and E.L.E. just added on. SALUTE

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SEAN PRICE: Imperius Rex

RELEASE: AUGUST 8, 2017, DUCK DOWN RECORDS

PHYSICAL RELEASE (According to Amazon.co.uk) AUGUST 25, 2017

REVIEW BY MICHAEL GRANT: CEO of RePPiN4U & Member of GGO/WuWorldwide DJ Coalition

“You ain’t gotta wait til I’m gone… you should have built the ‘Pac statue when he was here to see it!” (Busta Rhymes, 2011)

Busta Rhymes is RIGHT. We as a society do it all too often, take things for granted while it is still here, and as soon as it’s gone, everything changes. But let’s be real, on August 8, 2015, NO ONE was prepared for the tragedy that would strike Hip Hop.

Imperius Rex Cover 3000x3000Sean Price wasn’t a man who had a record of major health issues like say Prodigy with Sickle Cell or Dilla with Lupus. He wasn’t a man we had to keep tabs on. He was a man who despite being loved by his fans from his Heltah Skeltah days all the way to Mic Tyson, he wanted to be acknowledged as just a regular guy who liked to make people laugh, and particularly in his solo career he brought out this mean, Bernie Mac style delivery in his rhymes.

Two years later, Price’s family and Duckdown Records unleash what is believed to be his final album: Imperius Rex, and going by the track listing, think of it as Notorious B.I.G.’s Born Again LP… done properly. Again let’s be real, when Born Again dropped, the tracks on it were a bit hit and miss. Everyone remembers B.I.G.s first two albums. Even now, if you asked the casual fan, they wouldn’t have realised that Faith Evans recently dropped a project called ‘The King & I’, which is a collaboration of tracks performed by her and B.I.G.

APE DON’T KILL APE – P!!

If only Sean did the soundtrack to the Planet of the Apes film, how wonderful would that be? We are not trying to hear what he and wife Bernadette do in the bedroom – we want to hear that out-of-order and bright delivery he is renowned for on the album’s title track produced by Alchemist! He’s not Martin Luther, he’s the man who punches through school buses!

The album’s second video – ‘Dead or Alive’ boasts that Wu-Tang Production in 4th Disciple and features his wife in the hook. Who would have thought she was nice on the mic like that? At the same time, why do we act surprised? This track goes hard. If your face isn’t screwed up at this point, ready to kick down racists, stop reading this review now. This album is not for you!

P! continues his ‘Shawn Carter is nice but Sean Price is the best’ bravado on ‘Definition of a God’. Here P! proves his point way ahead of his time – 4:44 is a nice album but it’s been under debate and controversy since it dropped, and maybe the album achieved it’s purpose, but only three tracks in and the impact of Imperius Rex has already hit home faster than Jay making it back from ‘Becky’s house.

Many would believe that Sean was indeed a ‘Ape in his Apex’ at time of his passing. Over a MF DOOM sounding beat, actually produced by Crummie Beats, Ruste Juxx would concur, to the point where he believes he laid down one of his best verses in his career here, even playfully reveal P! as his ghostwriter.

‘Apartheid’ sees hints of reggae roots seep through and Buckshot defining what Hip Hop heaven is: “If Ruck don’t like you, Buck don’t like you/Ruck down, buck down, what a n!&&@ might do/Black moonwalk on ’em, rest in peace to Michael
R.I.P. Phife from Tribe, he in the light too/Hip-hop heaven, you see seven, that’s the god
All praises due to Allah, sun, moon, star…”

This along with ‘Lord Have Mercy’ may or may not show examples of unfinished tracks which P! started and Rim P & Vic Spencer finished, such as the ‘Born Again’ theory suggests.

‘Negus’ sees Hip Hop’s favourite supervillians combine their force and form a deadly alliance: Imperius Rex & MF DOOM featuring Ike Eyes. This is also appears on Adult Swim’s the Missing Notebook Rhymes in which DOOM releases a new track every Monday (At time of this review).

What hurts fake thugs/road man worse than being punched through pizza shop windows? Taking a knife to their Nike air bubble, as Sean demonstrates in Church Bells featuring Junior Reid. And Sean is right – I have seen such guys over the years enter Foot Locker and cause an argument with the staff because they want a refund from their Nike TNs after they splashed in the puddle wearing them after a day.

RUCKUS IN A P MINOR

This is an album highlight and a half, and on an even bigger scale because of Prodigy. Only Styles P can tell this story of how it came about. The 3 Lyrical Ps is Hip Hop History. Hard hitting lyrics over  haunting deliberate sonics. This is sure-fire on every DJ’s best of 2017 playlist when the year is said and done.

Imperius Rex tracklist

NOT97 is a crazy parody of how Funk Flex and Hot 97 acts, and well deserved, because Flex’s comments about 2Pac as of late has not made him a likeable man. It also painfully reminds us that we may never see visual sketches that P! likes to do every now and then going forward. That aspect of him specifically will be sorely missed.

Omarion’s Ice Box has nothing on Refrigerator P! Yes he jumped on the remix of Girl with Destiny’s Child, he has shown ‘love’ on Heartburn and ‘I Love You B!tch’, but that’s the closest you are gonna get to P! going full-blown R&B: “Never catch P on the girl song
I smack sh!t out your “We Are the World” song/Get a hater scary
My defense intense Refrigerator Perry!”

Freeway admits he is a ‘Prisoner’ to this rap, but he and Sean are out to ‘Bea Smith’ the game over a Marco Polo beat. Then in ‘Resident Evil’,  P! comes with lyrics that would make Capcom proud and even Eminem drop his jaw: “Rape an atheist ’til the bitch say, “our father”/Hail Mary/Brenda Had a Baby
Threw the baby out the window, now Brenda is going crazy”!

If that was any other artist, for the sake of argument – Jay- who said that same lyric, Hip Hop fans would be up in arms and adding on to his illuminati accusations.

FANS PRAYERS ANSWERED

Call it posse cut of the year. After wishes and petitions, a true Boot Camp Clik/Wu-Tang Clan track has come true in the Nottz produced ‘Clans & Cliks’. This is far too epic to not have a video produced for it, or even performed on stage. This is critically acclaimed and well received, one must wonder – are there still unreleased ODB & P! Verses enough to make that joint album we have always wanted?

It is great that the album closes out with Rap Professor which was released exactly a year after his passing, followed by ‘Price’s Family’, which further confirms what was alluded earlier about Sean’s way of life with Bernadette’s few bars which also go impressively hard, along with a fun fact which Bernadette reveals in the interview below…

This is a near perfect album to come out this year. Not because Sean is no longer here in the physical, but I say near perfect because as solid and flawless as it is, there are certain elements us fans wanted which may not be there, for example, some fans wished there was a 9th Wonder beat in there somewhere, a good ol’ Heltah Skeltah duo cut, or in my personal case – a Random Axe cut. Again these are minors, and like Dru-Ha explained in the video above, Bernadette put the body of work together that is Imperius Rex, approving the features, putting verses together, and she did it 100 times better than Puff Daddy did with Born Again – no wait – 1000 times better why? Because Sean Master Flex liked that number. P!

RAEKWON – THE WILD

RELEASE DATE: March 24, 2017, ICEH2O RECORDS/EMPIRE

Written by Michael Grant, C.E.O. of RePPiN4U, member of GGO – Ghetto Government Officials and Wu Worldwide DJ Coalition

IN THE LAST EPISODE…

“Usually, the chef will tell their customers, what is in the dish that they prepared for them in detail. Raekwon has done no different in many interviews prior to this album coming out months in advance. So why didn’t Rae’s loyal heads not take heed? While this album has been received well by casual hip hop fans, the hardcore fan base are not so pleased, especially in a time when Raekwon most notably trashed the Wu album – A Better Tomorrow…”

Raekwon The wildThis basically summed up F.I.L.A. Fly International Luxurious Art. I saw what Rae was trying to do. We all did, but I stand by what I said last time. He let his fans know before hand and as a result, the fans let themselves down with their expectations. Rae’s most hardcore fans want the Wu-Tang sound and nothing less. But with RZA’s production sounding more left field as of late, this has led our Wu generals looking elsewhere for beats that will appeal to their fan base.

RZA has handed the Wu keys over to Ghostface Killah if we are to see a new Wu Album, and who is Ghost’s longtime tag team partner? The Chef himself, who has heard the constructive criticism regarding F.I.L.A. and so this is another attempt to fine tune his sound to appeal to loyal fans and new fans. We recently learned that Justice League will be producing on the new Wu Album, and they are featured here on this new project – The Wild, which has no Wu features at all, and dedicated to Mel Carter. With all this in mind, is this an early inkling to what the new Wu Album could sound like?

No messing about, straight into the first single. ‘This Is What It Comes Too’ right? Raekwon is bringing the ferocious flow back over classic drums brought into 2017. A remix has recently surfaced featuring that man who had been gone for 36 Seasons. Now not for ‘Nothing’, Rae comes through with sonics which resemble the Wu-sound. You will not find Kung Fu skits here, but instead you hear parodies based on the real in the form of a guy singing about shorties getting their head right…

Talking of stories based on the real, Rae takes you back to April 2, 1939 with a sure-fire album highlight, sending a tribute to ‘Marvin’ Gaye. The track is a soul drenching winner thanks to the hook supplied by Cee Lo Green. The soulful flow continues on into ‘Can’t You See’. If the listener is not zoned out at this point with a tear in their eye… I don’t think this album is for them.

This is the ‘controversial’ track of the album. Wu-fans worst nightmare has come true in ‘My Corner’. All the Lil’ Wayne hating memes, all the pictures of his album in the toilet or set on fire, has all come to bite Wu-Fans in their backside. The chief hip hop villain joins the Chef here and to make matters even more disturbing, Mr Carter Jr brings his A-Game in his rhymes over a vicious frantic beat because he knew he had no choice against a hostile Wu-audience.

Rae shows a bit of a comedic side to him which you don’t see very often, introducing the ‘F**k You Up Card’, a young kid (whose voice sounds suspiciously like Rae but switched up and we have seen Rae do this sort of thing before – remember Clyde Smith?) puts Rae on to a service where he can get his enemies taken out for a small fee. 02-Andra-Day-wim-crop-bb31-kdln3-billboard-1548

In ‘M&N’, Rae and P.U.R.E. go bar for bar on some Grid Iron Rap style. Then Andra Day provides her vocals on the 2017 dedication to the incarcerated in ‘Visiting Hour’.

‘The Reign’ is Raekwon’s new victory championship belt anthem. the production on this is epic and sounds like Rae raided the Maybach Music studios and put the beats to good use. Then Rae brings more soul and that feel good factor as he puts the ‘Crown of Thorns’ on his head.

G-Eazy looks like a fan whose wish of rhyming with his long time idol come true. He’s on point in ‘Purple Brick Road’ when he states that 20 years from now he would be still rock the purple tape. Go back a bit into the track and the production intensifies in glorious fashion.

However was the Chef being a bit too experimental here? ‘You Hear Me’ sounds out-of-place, could have passed as a bonus track, or a track where Rae edited out the trap artists that may have featured with him. Granted Rae rhymed over the trap sounding beat with ease, it’s not something he should do often, or better still, kept off this album – it really doesn’t suit the body of work which is presented here.

That’s the only mis-step on The Wild, otherwise this is a massive improvement over the last offering. If you imagined Raekwon as a stand alone artist and Wu-Tang did not exist, this is the album that reflects that imagination. Even Lil Wayne’s appearance is not a factor (remember Nas & Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives?) Raekwon has finally hit his stride as far as a non-Wu endorsed offering.

The time is still running on Cuban Linx 3, but for now, this is a nice album to take minds away from the WWE-like nonsense they call ‘beef’ that’s happening currently.