Christmas is coming early so go and cop the latest collections that are worth your hard-earned chips.
On paper this Ludacris CD is a certified banger, but I’m not quite sure it lives up to the hype all the way. With a diverse group of producers ranging from Don Cannon, DJ Toomp and Swizz Beatz to 9th Wonder and DJ Premier it seemed that Luda was trying to make a classic movie. Lyrically, Luda is consistent with his chuckle-inducing punch lines and “shouting fire in a crowded theatre” flow. As for the guest list he only allows hip-hop’s best behind the velvet rope as T.I., Nas, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Common round out the guest list. As for the beats Clinton Sparks does an above average Dr. Dre impersonation on “Call Up The Homies” and Don Cannon’s chop of Gladys Knight on “Everybody Hates Chris” will have you firing up your MPCs and computers after one listen. While 9th and Preemo kick some much appreciated dirt on the disc I gotta give the nod to 9th for execution of “Do The Right Thing.” Wyldfyer brings the 808s and art breaks on “Last of a Dying Breed” but didn’t quite live up to the drama of having Nas & Jay-Z on a track with “I Do it For Hip-Hop.” Play the Trackmasters produced “One More Drink” and “Contagious” for your girl but “Nasty Girl” will prolly put her to sleep. Good movie, but I coulda waited for the DVD release.
After many false starts and name changes (this collection was originally dubbed Live At The Renaissance) Q-Tip has finally deemed his years of work worthy of the masses and the timing couldn’t be better.
Musically, The Renaissance is a compromise between the fun-loving b-boy leanings of Amplified and the ambitious, live instrumentation of Kamaal The Abstract. The bright and inspirational lead single “Gettin’ Up” is built around the pianos of Black Ivory’s “You And I” and is complemented by some extraordinary live bass guitar work. It seems that Tip is channeling his inner rock star as the six-stringed wooden instrument is at the heart of many of the cuts, either as a sample or played. From the opening cut “Johnny Dead” to the melancholy but satisfying “You” and “Shaka” Tip gives the sound beds a lush twang, as if he took the J-Dilla produced “Let’s Ride” (with its sample of Joe Pass’ “Giant Steps“) from Amplified and used it as the inspiration for much of this project. Read more Q-Tip HERE and HERE and HERE.
When I saw the title and the blinged out cover art I was a little worried that Diamond D was making a run at the kids who write their name on their glasses. Thankfully, the D.I.T.C. beatmsmith/MC stays true to form on his latest solo. The beats bang like Brandon Jacobs in the Red Zone with assists from DJ Scratch on “You Can’t Be Me” and Nottz on the titular “D-I-A-M-O-N-D.” The BX vet hits a few hick-ups on the skippable “Good Time” and “I Getz It In” but Beat for Beat Diamond might have edged out his rhyming/producing peers Pete Rock and Large Pro for supremacy in ’08.
Every hard rock needs to take a day off and when you finally trade in your 40 oz for a high ball glass and a good cognac this is the CD you should reach for. Little Brother’s Phonte and the Dutchmaster Nicolay bring a smoothed out follow-up to their hip-hop/R&B hybrid, Connected. High Water marks are the lush “All or Nothing” and the ethereal “If This Is Love.” Fans of Connected will find comfort in the familiarity of “Something To Behold” and “Take Off The Blues.” If D’Angelo smoked a lot less and ?uestlove smoked a lot more this is what the follow-up to Voodoo might have sounded like.
Put on DJ Revolution’s King of The Decks and watch all of your friends turn into human bobble head dolls as the precise cuts and scratches create a synergy with this blitzkrieg of lyricism. From KRS-One’s declarative “The DJ” to the ultimate show-off “The Biggest Up” (where Rev cuts up DJ Premier of all people giving him props on the radio) there is no shortage of quality tracks on this disc. Instrumental stand-outs include “The Big Top,” “Ey,” “Casualties of Tour,” and “School.” All wack DJS consider your card pulled.
Rock and Ruck are the only MCs that make the term “punchline” feel literal. There hasn’t been a duo as balanced in their attack since Freddy Foxxx’s twin glocks. I had to stomp the mud off my Timbs after a couple of spins of this collection of psycho ward chin-check music. Illmind, Khrysis and Marco Polo leave so much sonic grit between their speech that Duckdown should include a box of q-tips with each copy. Already in tune with the bullies from BK through various mixtape collabs the beats make this the most cohesive HS CD since their debut, Nocturnal. DJs, keep “Everything is Heltah Skeltah” and “The Art of Disresekinazation” in the hard drive and the crates.
What can you say about one of the best producers on the mic? From the down tempo feel of “In The Ghetto” and “Sewin In Love” (with one of the most smoke ready samples at work) to the aptly titled “Hard Body” and the Trilogy of terror, “RuDopeDapNNoyd” Extra P’s Main Source gets the job done with no bells and whistles, just like the paper bag he’s holdin on the CD cover. Hip-hop represent, buy the album when he drops it.