Album Review: Big Grams, ‘Big Grams EP’

Big Grams Big Grams EP
(Epic Records – September 25, 2015)
(Hip Hop, Rap, Electronic)
Review by Brandon Foster

“I was never just a rapper; the music on the radio, those are just rappers. My last record was being called ‘indie,’ and I didn’t even know what the f— indie was. But then, I was doing all the festivals and was like, ‘Shit, if this is indie, then that’s where I want to be.’”- Big Boi

It has been almost 10 years since OutKast dropped an album. Other than a few appearances on tracks from Andre 3000, Big Boi is carrying the OutKast flag by himself. Releasing one of the best albums of the decade in Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Song of Chico Dusty and the super underrated follow up Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Daddy Fat Sax is nothing short of impressive as a solo artist. Continue reading

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Album Review: Jay Rock, “90059”

Jay Rock 90059
(Top Dawg Entertainment – September 11, 2015)
(Hip Hop, Rap)
Review by Brandon Foster

Black Hippy member Jay Rock (group also includes Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, and Ab-Soul) has not come out with any solo material since 2011 when he dropped his super slept on and underrated project Follow Me Home. In 2011, Rock was the only Black Hippy member with an official record deal. He was signed to underground mogul and world class emcee Tech N9ne’s Strange Music label. While Rock has not released an album in 4 years, he stays busy by being Black Hippy’s official guest verse specialist and killer while we are at it. Continue reading

Album Review: FKA twigs, “M3LL155X EP”

FKA twigs M3LL155X EP
(Young Turks – August 14, 2015)
(Trip Hop, Experimental, Pop)
Review by Stig Rasmussen

Trip-hop is dead, long live trip-hop. Before the 21st century explosion of cringe-worthy genre monikers, trip-hop emerged from Bristol, England to captivate listeners and make musicians tagged with the genre identifier run away from it. Tricky, formerly of Massive Attack, was probably the highest-profile “pure” trip-hop artist, and he always shrugged off the label, saying that if the trip-hop sound was so indebted to him, why don’t they call it “Tricky-hop?” This prelude is because FKA twigs sound, especially on M3LL155X EP is essentially a 21st century iteration of trip-hop, and it is brilliant. Continue reading

Album Review: Vince Staples, “Summertime ’06”

Vince Staples Summertime ’06
(Def Jam – June 30, 2015)
(Rap)
Review by Brandon Foster

 

“Summer of 2006, the beginning of the end of everything I thought I knew. Youth was stolen from my city that summer, and I’m left alone to tell the story. This might not make sense, but that’s because none of it does, we’re stuck. Love tore us all apart.”- Vince Staples

 
After playing sidekick to Earl Sweatshirt and releasing two critically acclaimed projects in 2014 (“Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 and the “Hell Can Wait” EP), Vince Staples is now ready to drop his major label release “Summertime ‘06”. Expectations are high for the LBC (Long Beach, California) native. After dropping stellar verses on Earl Sweatshirts “Doris” and “I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside”), making the XXL Freshman cover, and being signed to Def Jam by legendary hip-hop producer No I.D. (Kanye West’s mentor and worked extensively with Common throughout his career), the stakes are high. Staples along with guys like Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and Freddie Gibbs are the new torch bearers for gangsta rap. Staples has a tough road to follow, those other guys are almost too good at their craft. What does Staples bring to the table that is different? Continue reading

NoParticularOrder: 25 Albums to Check Out – 2015 mid-year

NoParticularOrder: 25 Albums to Check Out
Article by Rob Leonard

 

Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp

Slated to be one of the more memorable albums of the year, Ivy Tripp belongs to everyone but belongs to no one. We’ve all felt the extremely detailed feelings that Katie Crutchfield puts on display – relatively straight forward songwriting but the minimalist appeal is what allows the unavoidable spaces to highlight Crutchfield’s “over-it” semi-anxious lyricism.
Notables: “Breathless” and “Stale by Noon”

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Free Clinic – Wait it Out
 

Wilmington’s own Free Clinic is a brash and energetic blend of riffy pop – at times surfy and other instances you might hear a bit of The Strokes, the opening to “Off My Rocker” is a perfect example. Mildly self-deprecating and under appreciated these sounds remind you that the garage is still the best place to piece together tunes.

Notables: “Better” and “Sappy Talk”

Continue reading

Album Review: Camp Lo, “Ragtime Hightimes”

Camp Lo Ragtime Hightimes
(Nature Sounds – May 18, 2015)
(Hip Hop)
Review by Brandon Foster

Camp Lo is the only group in hip-hop history to be before and after its time. They were able to bring in a 70s New York City flavor in a 90s hip-hop environment and pull it off effortlessly (and with a touch of OutKast). It took a while to fully absorb just how special their classic debut album Uptown Saturday Night was. Since that 1997 debut, Camp Lo pretty much fell below the radar. Yes, they have had a few releases through the years but they were nowhere near the debut album. However, four years ago, they picked up a little steam. Geechi Suede and Sonny Cheeba joined forces with legendary hip-hop producer Pete Rock for the 80 Blocks From Tiffany’s mixtape to a lot of fanfare. Continue reading