FREE MP3 DL: Rapsody’s “She Got Game”

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People who are in tune with 9th Wonder’s Jamla label know how much he and others have been pushing for people to become aware of Rapsody. Songs with her have been dropped here and there, and then word of an album materializing was out. The album has finally been released for all to hear, and best of all, she’s making it available for free. It’s called She Got Game and it’s safe to say when you, your main man and your mama hears this, they will all repeat the name of this album. The entire package is hosted by DJ Drama with a wide range of special guests and producers, and now you can take it for a car test, courtesy of DatPiff.

VIDEO: El Da Sensei featuring Mela Machinko’s “2 The Death (M-Phazes Remix)”

To The Death (M-Phazes Remix) (Official Video) from Darius Waters on Vimeo.

As the saying goes, no rest for the wicked, and I say this because everytime I look at my e-mail and press releases, I’m thinking “holy buttfalakian, when do these guys get any sleep? For one, El Da Sensei always seems to be coming out with something new. “2 The Death” is a track with Mela Machinko. On top of that, fricken M-Phazes, when does HE get any downtime? The good thing about all of this is that “the more you work, the more they know”, the “they” being you. So know.

REVIEW: Pharoahe Monch “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)”

Photobucket There was a time not too long ago when the lyrics of Pharoahe Monch was considered ahead of its time, futuristic, and yet as the music evolved into new eras, everyone loved him but so-called experts refused to rank him up there with alleged greats. Pharoahe Monch doesn’t need validation, although I’m sure there’s a bit of that ego in him which says “fuck that, of course I want that recognition” but having a hard work ethic has made him one of the best MC’s of the last 20 years. He is now making music in his third decade, how many people from back then can still sound “of the future” and “in the now” without people ever having to think of what came before?

Okay, maybe that last comment was kind of rude so let me say it differently. With quality artists, you always should acknowledge what came before, because they wouldn’t be what they are without everything that lead to it. Yet with his new album, Pharoahe still sounds like he’s speaking to people of the future, hoping for everyone to catch up someday and yet a lot of what he has been speaking about for the last 20 years is being realized today. W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) (W.A.R. Media/Duck Down) is a collection of songs that fits what some would call an audio movie. There are no interludes even though some of the tracks are as long as them. Instead, the pace of the album and how it’s programmed show how important the process of making music is for Pharoahe, as you get a sense of the horrid outlook he has on the world we live in, which maybe is a reflection of how we view ourselves. These songs are filled with metaphors and complexities that show classic Pharoahe, but by taking a deep listen to tracks like “Haile Selassie Karate”, “Let My People Go”, and “Calculated Amalgamation” you realize he has always been speaking like this, it’s just that he’s capable of looking for, exploring, and discussing new stories and ideas. This is the kind of hip-hop that seems perfect for sci-fi junkies, those who seek to use metaphors as ways to speak in code so that those easily offended will not realize they’re evil ways are being exposed. Yet you don’t have to hang out at Comicon’s or Dungeons & Dragons to understand what he’s talking about, he’s direct and to the point at times almost too direct but that’s how he cuts and soothes listeners at the same time. He knows he’s capable of saying something that will make fans go “wow, now this feels good, I sense something great here” while fans will put faith in him, knowing that he’s in control of his destiny and people admire the paths he’s willing to take.

In other words, W.A.R. is what The D.O.C. once called “Rhythmic American Poetry”, a/k/a the essence of R.A.P., a dialogue that isn’t just someone speaking out of his ass just because he admires the sound and smell of his own verbal farts. Pharoahe Monch is a communicator, and fortunately there are enough fans who put faith in what he does in order to keep hearing it year after year. As a hip-hop record, people need to listen to this and understand what proper programming and producing can do and sound like.

REVIEW: El Da Sensei & The Returners’ “GT2: Nuworld

Image and video hosting by TinyPic El Da Sensei has been one of underground hip-hop’s most exciting MC’s, and every time he comes out with an album or drops a cameo, you can’t help but move back and be impressed by it all. He has returned along with The Returners for a new one called GT2: Nuworld (Coalmine), and the man continues his wicked lyrical ways once again.

This time around he’s joined with Rakaa Iriscience, Sean Price, Treach, Bekay, and Akrobatik among others but throughout it is very much El’s game, and that’s a good thing. For the most part, the production of The Returners is very good but I found one problem with it, a minor one. The album features scratched acapellas from hip-hop songs of yesterday, something a lot of groups of the mid to late 90’s did, so it has that classic feel to it. Sometimes I felt the use of scratched vocals overwhelmed a song, or it gets to a point where the song felt more like the artist being scratched than El. There’s a track that samples Mobb Deep ridiculously and to good effect, but at the end I caught myself saying “oh yeah, this is an El album.” The scratching is great, don’t get me wrong, but too much of a good thing can sometimes be too much.

The one song I really liked, and one that didn’t feature any scratching, is a remix of “2 The Death”, by M-Phazes, featuring Mela Machinko. It sticks out because it features female vocals in the chorus, the only song on GT2 to do so. It isn’t new in hip-hop but it managed to end the album on a high note.

Could the album have been improved with a better balance of things, perhaps, but I don’t want to get overly critical here. But what is here is a good album that only gets weighed down occasionally by excessive scratches from the past. Otherwise, a fine job from El & The Returners.