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Hip-Hop Album ReviewsFuture Album Releases»
Chamillionaire: Ulitmate Victory Album Review
CHAMILLIONAIRE: ULTIMATE VICTORY
Label: Interscope
Release Date: 18th September 2007

  Houston Rapper Chamillionaire is back with his follow up to international success 'The Sound of Revenge'' with Ultimate Victory, which in my opinion is a very worthy follow up. Although the song ''Hip Hop Police'' has not yet (and is not likely to) match the success of the dominant hip-hop single and highest selling rap ringtone ever, the album over all is enjoyable to anybody who remotely appreciates good Hip-Hop. Some of Chamillionaire's mixtape fans will be glad to know he hasn't abandoned his mixtape style at all, and these underground elements mix well with both his lyrical ability and some rather decent beats thrown in on most of the tracks. For those fans who have any of Cham's earlier album you'll appreciate the two skits, which Cham is well known for having in his earlier albums, such as ''Get Ya Mind Correct'' both of which are very entertaining in their own way.

   What i particularly like about this album, which you don't see in many South Side albums is both political commentary, and the state of the Hip-Hop game that Chamillionare is obviously a large fan of. It's not often you get an album so well put together that pulls of a clever combination of the truth and true southside style beats and entirely southside collaborations, such as Scarface, Lil Wayne, Bun B and Slim Thug. My only concern with tracks such as ''The Morning News'' and ''The Evening News'' is how easily these tracks are forgotten about. What i mean by this is i have found myself listening to these songs about twice and once you know the lyrics you get very bored of the song, as it becomes very boring and Chamillionaire's sometimes 'lazy' lyrics show up and you find yourself not very entertained to say the least.

   As i've mentioned, Chamillionaire hasn't pushed the boat out when it comes to collaborations. Although Slick Rick was a complete suprise to me, he did not appear much only appearing on a short verse which was rather dissapointing dispite being entertaining when you first see the video to ''Hip Hop Police''. Bun B is a decent rapper, but if you like Chamillionaire, and you dont like Bun B then you will find him unwelcome in the smooth, relaxed flow of ''Pimp Mode'' even though in my opinion his verse was better that i expected and didn't offset the song pretty much at all. If you bought the album entirely for Chamillionaire's smooth hooks you WILL be dissapointed at the song ''Rock Star'' (featuring Lil Wayne) who's rather annoying and quite ridiculous verse completely ruined the song that was going rather well, despite the occasional guitar outburst. Krayzie Bone impressed me most when it comes to collaborations, Cham and Krayzie go well together and ''The Bill Collector'' is a good song for you bone fans, even non-bone fans such as myself will like this track.

   Overall i did like this album a lot. Quite frankly you will not lose friends if you don't have this album but it's definetly worth the money if you're a Chamillionaire fan. If you aren't a fan of Cham's mixtapes then chances are you will not like this album more than ''Hip Hop Police'' which does get old a little fast. Being a mixtape fan myself i think i prefer some of Cham's earlier songs such as collaborations with Paul Wall, The songs on this album are probobly not much better than most of his not sampled popular mix tape tracks and it's a shame those songs aren't produced on a major album such as this. So... don't expect this album to be a hip hop classic but it still gets album of the year in my opinion, beating both Kanye's and 50's album by a safe amount.

  
TOP TRACKS:  Hip Hop Police, Pimp Mode, The Bill Collector, Industry Groupie

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: Shenron

  
 
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Eazy-ED - 19/Sep/07: I really liked this album, a real step up from The Sound Of Revenge, although this one also has its lesser tracks. On TSOR, I wasn't really impressed with some of the collabos, which is also the case here. Some of those which made me reach out to the fast-forward button were Pimp Mode ft. Bun B (just didn't feel it al all) and, again, the collabo with Lil' Wayne. On the other hand, another Chamillionaire ft. Krayzie Bone track just is one of the best collabos thinkable IMO. Overall a very enjoyable album for both the occasional hip hop listener and the die-hard hip hop heads. Fave Tracks: The Bill Collecta ft. Krayzie Bone, Hip Hop Police ft. Slick Rick (although Rick's verse was a bit short), Industry Groupie. I rate it at 4 out of 5.

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Bone Thugs n Harmony: Strength & Loyalty Album Review
BONE THUGS: STRENGTH & LOYALTY
Label: Full Surface / Interscope
Release Date: 8th May 2007

  Since the departure of Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, many have been curious to whether or not the 3 remaining members Krayzie, Layzie & Wish Bone (also missing incarcerated Flesh-N-Bone, awaiting parole in 2008) could deliver on their own. Many were sceptical as last year's 'Thug Stories' was the first time the act has recorded as a trio (excluding internet only release 'Bone 4 Life'), but we were not disappointed by the independant album last September.

   It appears as if "Dem Bone Boys" don't appear to be missing Bizzy however, with albums coming a year apart rather than 2 or 3 years as in prior years.

   Strength & Loyalty, Bone's first major record label release in almost 5 years does in no way, however disappoint the fans. Bone show their classic fast-flowing lyrics & Krayzie gives the chorus on the track 'Flowmotion', remeniscent of the B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e days with a new twist and production from The Individuals kicks off the album with a good vibe.

   'Wind Blow' makes great work of the Fleetwood Mac sample of 'The Chain' and is one of the highlights of the album with Krayzie more than the others, showing just what he can do.

   The production of the album features such respected hip hop producers as Swizz Beatz (also executive producer), The Individuals, Jermaine Dupri, Will.I.Am and Akon among others. Akon produced & guest appears on the lead single 'I Tried', singing the chorus of the piano laced track. The song tells the story of how things never seem to work out for the trio, family & relationship problems. Not the typical Bone Thugs song, but great none the less.There is plenty of the Thuggish Ruggish side of Bone in this album though, with '9mm' and Gun Blast' among others, these tracks show the Bone of old and would fit in perfectly with the tracks from 'E.1999 Eternal'.

   But with guest appearances from stars such as Akon, The Game, Will.I.Am, Mariah Carey, Bow Wow & even the man who signed Bone Thugs to his Full Surface record label, Swizz Beatz, the Thugs are never overshadowed, after all they have been stars on their own for almost 15 years now and sold over 35 million records worldwide.

   Even Twista makes an appearance on 'C-Town', denouncing the rumors that there was a beef between him & Bone over who originated the 'fast rap' style. The only near negative statement i can make about this record is that the 2 penultimate songs 'So Good, So Right' 'Sounds The Same' lack something that the other songs have and may be considered filler songs by some. Even with these songs though, the final song, 'Never Forget Me' also produced & featuring Akon is one of the gems of the album, stating what Bone has done over the years and how they won't be forgotten because of it, and the lyrics & harmonies end the album on a high note.

   Overall the tightly-knit, fast flowing lyrics and top production makes this album one of the best to come from Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, showing both old and new styles of the group.

  
TOP TRACKS:  1.Flowmotion 3.Wind Blow 4.I Tried 11.Candy Paint 14.Never Forget Me

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: Bronz

  
 
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RapCentral Member Comments:
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Shaydie_Bone - 03/Jun/07: nice review, I really love this album, probably their best since E 1999 Eternal. The only tracks I wasn't feelin were Lil Love & So Good So Right. I'd give this a 4/5 nonetheless. Fav tracks: I Tried, Flowmotion, Never Forget Me

StraightOutOfBrazil - 03/Jun/07: I gave it 5/5 personally i think there was 1 song i didnt like on the album

HitEmUpRobbo - 7/Jun/07: It would have been better if the flesh track that was cut from the album was on there, this would of catered for BTNH's longtime fans, whilst the other tracks cater for newer fans a lil more. I love 90% of the album, and the new feel and style they have in the tracks, but i would have liekd to have seen DJ U Neek on a few tracks too, oldskool BTNH, the BTNH most know and love. but you can see they miss the 2 members as the roster of featuring artists is huge, especially for a group. Akon is a nice "replacement" on the chorus' tho, which would have normally been done by kray or bizzy, he makes up the harmonies quite nicely. I like the fact that wish puts in one of his strongest performances with this album, he is normally overlooked but handles himself better than ever on here. I rate it at 4 out of 5.

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Young Buck - Buck The World
YOUNG BUCK: BUCK THE WORLD
Label: G-Unit / Interscope
Release Date: 20th Mar 2007

  Young Buck's follow up to the highly successful "Straight Outta Ca$hville" album is here. Playfully titled "Buck The World", Buck has crafted a solid album.

   The album's opening track "Push Em Back" is a quality opening track, it's a raw track, the production (from Young RJ) is tight and has a street vibe. Bun-B, 8Ball & MJG appear on the second track "Say It To My Face", continueing from the opening tracks raw sound, the beat has an epic sound to it and the guests do well. J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League lend production to "Buss Yo' Head", is basically a do as it says track, Buck stating not to fuck with him, it is still a solid effort.

   For anyone who coped Hi-Tek's album last year will recognize an uncredited Dion appearance on this Hi-Tek produced track, Snoop Dogg and Trick Daddy add to probably the albums best track so far. "Get Buck" covers the crunk side of things, the beat is too loud to hear what Buck's saying, I didn't like this one.

   The albums title track "Buck The World" is by far and away the albums best track, Lyfe Jennings hook is sweet and Buck's verses are decent. It echoes 2Pac's "Fuck The World" for obvious reasons. I doubt you will see a stranger combination than this, Young Buck and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame, but what an effective one it is, Bennington's hook complements Buck's top notch verses. The production from DOC & Gramps on this track works well.

   The albums first single "Hold On" is a Dre produced track featuring 50 Cent. Hate or love Fiddy, it seems he got Dre on his side now. The production reeks of Dre and thats never a bad thing it's a good track, but forgettable. If you like crunk "Pocket Full of Paper" will appeal to you, but if you dislike over-produced loud-in your face rhymes, its not for you.

   "Haters" is a fantastic track, Buck's rap is heartfelt and the beat by Vitamin D is tight. This is a highlight of the album. The Dr. Dre produced "U Ain't Goin' Nowhere" shows the ladies man side of Buck, Tupac Shakur's influence on Buck is apparent here and is a enjoyable slow groove track.

   "Money Good" is a crunk track, an uneventful trackfiller. "Puff Puff Pass", besides from the horribly repetitive hook is another solid track, the production is solid and so is Buck's verse. "Clean Up Man" is a poor track in my opinion, the hook though is good, but the production could have been better.

   The southern flavoured track "4 Kings" featuring guest appearences from T.I., Pimp C and Young Jeezy. The production from Jazze Pha is uninspiring and is a waste of the rappers verses. Jazze Pha production is slightly better on the second last track "I Know You Want Me", it's a thugged out joint, on which Buck gives a solid performance.

   The last track "Lose My Mind", the Eminem produced track is a highlight, Buck's tough, unforgiving lyrics are at their best here, as well as Em's production. The bonus track 50 Cent's "Funeral Music" is a diss at Dipset's Cam'ron and I have no idea how it ended up on Buck's joint.

   Overall, this is a solid effort, G-Unit heads will love it, I enjoyed a good five or six of the tracks and a few more we of a good standard. It's not a classic but a solid effort.

  
TOP TRACKS:  Push Em Back, Buck The World, I Ain't Fuckin' Wit U!, Haters, Lose My Mind

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: LostSoul89

  
 
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RapCentral Member Comments:
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thegamesadvocate - 03/Jan/07: Nice review, not a G-unit fan but i enjoyed this album, my favorite tracks are: Say it to my face, Slow ya roll, Buck the world, Lose my mind. I'd give it a 4/5

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Nas - Hip Hop is Dead
NAS: HIP HOP IS DEAD
Record Label: Def Jam / Nasir Jones Experience
Release Date: 19th Dec 2006

  With more buzz than the recent Doctors Advocate, every rapper and fan has been asking the question, is hip hop really dead? There hasnt been such a wave of beef, and instability and talk about what state of mind hip hop is in. Young Jeezy,Young Buck, Jim Jones and others have claimed hip hop is alive while others such as Smoke from Field mob, Method man and other old/washed artist are yelling its dead.

   I dont want to go on about "Hip Hop is Dead" contraversy because its still going on and I dont want to forget something.

   Singles on the cd are Hip Hop is Dead produced by Will.I.Am is a flipped track of "The Thiefs Theme" which is pretty much the same exact beat. The song is the theme of the album and the eye brow raiser which was the buzz record around all the controversy that surrounded the cd. This song was vital to the life of the cd. It addresses old rappers, new rappers, beef and if it will be barried. The point of the song is pretty much stop killing hip hop. "Nas is the ghetto american idol, no matter what you do, your not getting my title".

  Ok lets talk the album now! Some hot tracks for the radio are Hustlers ft. The Game which I definatly can see being the next single. Produced by the boss Dr. Dre it was bound to spark some convo about it. This brings hip hop questions, is Dre and Game still on good terms ? Nevermind, but Play on Playa is another good track with Snoop Dog which could be fit for radio, but who really cares what hits radio anymore ? Nas definatly kills Snoop dog on this track.

   Some tracks on the cd that are appealing and stand out. I like to give recognition to good tracks that wont make the Top Tracks Section because that belongs to the official Singles which aren’t always the best. So here they follow:

Let There Be Light – this track is definatly one of those Nas songs that we can all remember next to One mic and If I rules the world. Its not radio friendly but its a beautiful track.
Black Republican - a great collaboration. This is a reason you know hip hop hasnt died because Jay Z and Nas on the same track Thats like Kobe and shaq or Tupac and Biggie. Its a decent song, not the best but some tracks you have to dig for the art in it.
Hope – Song is an acapela (meaning no beat for you people who dont know) and adresses his fire is being directed at people who kill hip hop and also talks about his album isnt a diss to dirty south, new school or old school.
Cant Forget About you & Where Are They Now - tracks for those who have come and gone, won and lost, influenced and destroyed. Nice tracks

  
TOP TRACKS:  5. Hip Hop is Dead 12. Let There Be Light 15. Hustlers

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: ShatterPoint

  
 
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thegamesadvocate - 03/Jan/07: This album is great, its not one of those things with all those radio hits, its true rap

lostsoul89 - 03/Jan/07: nice review, its an ace album, my fave track would be let there be light - different class

Don Esco - 03/Jan/07: Nice review, this is a classic album, i never skip a song cuz they all good

HitEmUpRobbo - 20/Jan/07: im loving this album, its exactly how rap is meant to be done!!! Hip Hop aint dead after this set from Nas!

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Eminem - The Re-Up
EMINEM PRESENTS THE RE-UP
Record Label: Shady / Interscope
Release Date: 5th Dec 2006

  In the months running up to the release of the Re-Up, Eminem had experienced some highs and lows, and then more lows, after getting re-married to his ex-wife Kim, and divorcing her weeks later, the Detroit bred rapper faced possably the biggest blow he had ever felt with the death of his best friend Proof (DeShaun Holton). After this, not much was seen or heard of Eminem in the public eye until he appeared on the 2006 BET awards, with a 'Proof' tattoo on his right forearm, where the late Proof had the original. But, as The Shady Records CEO put it, The Re-Up is not a tribute, to his late best friend, it is to expose new Shady Records talent, Stat Quo, Bobby Creekwater and Ca$his, and a Proof dedication (album or mixtape not specified) will come later. It wouldn't be fair to the new rappers or Proof's memory to put both on the one tape.

   The Re-Up, sports a roster, far greater than the new shady talent, featuring G-Unit rappers 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks, long time Shady Records signee Obie trice, and D12. It was originally intended to be an underground mixtape, but as the producing from Dr. Dre, The Alchamist, and others, increased in quality and likeliness to how a mainstream album rather than a mixtape is produced, it was made a mainstream album project, and in doing so, probably got more exposure to for Ca$his, Stat Quo & Bobby Creekwater.

   The Album does have a hit up it's sleeve with 'You Don't Know', an Eminem produced track with a great beat featuring himself, 50 Cent, Ca$his and Lloyd Banks. But the rest, don't have a place in the charts. Because the project started out as a mixtape, a lot of the songs are remixes over already used beats. And the rest, don't really have that edge to make it in the singles chart.

  Not to say this is a bad album at all, Eminem's rhymes are consistant through the whole album, and 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks perform well on 'You Don't Know', unfortunately the same cannot be said for the newcomer Ca$his, who, underachieves in the lead single, and, MTV or BET isn't going to play the whole album to show that Ca$his was out of form on this song, so, a lot of people will have been put off the California Rapper because of this song. Bobby Creekwater, the Atlanta native however, seems to be featured on less songs than both Stat Quo and Ca$his, and is in a way underexposed, although, he performs well in almost all the songs he is on, as does Stat Quo. Stat had been signed to Aftermath/Shady for a while now, not exactly a newcomer to the rap game, but the album is used to expose him none the less.

   Now enough about the new artists, the one man in my opinion who out-does himself in every way in this album is Obie Trice. On every song he is on in this album, he has a remarkable flow, and on point lyrics, outshining Aftermath veterans Eminem and 50 Cent, and in doing this, Obie trice steals the show, leaving all the other artists trailing on every track he is on, and in doing so, posatively reflected himself to anyone hearing him for the first time.

  
TOP TRACKS:  Pistol Pistol (Remix), You Don't Know, Jimmy Crack Corn, Cry Now (Remix)

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: Bronz

  
 

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The Game - Doctors Advocate
THE GAME - DOCTORS ADVOCATE
Record Label: Geffen
Release Date: 14th Nov 2006

  The Game's first major-label album "The Documentry" and was cited as being the rebirth of West Coast hip-hop, selling 586,000 copies in its first week and recieving rave reviews from critics.

   The Game's follow up album, "Doctor's Advocate" is here and despite all the fueds and the "Doctor's Advocate" featuring no Dr. Dre produced track, Game has crafted the best possible sophomore effort one could imagine.

   The beef with G-Unit has been pushed aside by Game (a smart move) and the first track (named "Lookin' At You") is an unapologetic West Coast banger. The second track "Da Shit" is a cruise anthem, it's apparent even at this early stage of "Doctor's Advocate" that this is West Coast Hip Hop and this works in his favour, its very street (unlike Jay-Z's Kingdom Come, glossy beats all around). "It's Okay (One Blood)", originally set to be released as a pre-release single, this track was floating around the internet as far back as July 2006, but the inclusion of this track as the lead single is a good move by Game, it's a very good track (if you are used to Game's excessive name dropping).

   will.i.am deserves credit for the track "Compton", his production on this is quality and Game's rap is only mediorce, but it's still a raw ass track. "Remedy" is probably the weakest track so far and is a run of a mill track.

   "Let's Ride" is a classic L.A. tune, smooth, Game verses and hook are tight, Scott Storche's production is fantastic on this. "Too Much" also produced by Storch and featuring West Coast legend Nate Dogg, it's a another solid track to the album, nothing special though. Anybody who listens to popular music will know that Kanye West produced this track a mile away, but this isn't a bad thing, Game shows his softer side and the lyrics are playful and is basically a take on Tupac Shakur's "All About U". But I'm not taking anything away from Game here, it is a great tune.

   So far so good, after eight tracks Game has already crafed a minor West Coast classic, but it either gets better or worse, and I am delighted to say, it only gets better. The obligatory Swizz Beats track "Scream On 'Em", it's what you would expect from Swizzy, repeditive beat. "One Night" is the albums weakest track so far in my opinion, "Nike Airs" again? It's a bit samely, but does he make up for it on the albums title track "Doctor's Advocate", by far away Game's best track so far in his career. Jonathan Rotem's beat is haunting as Game pours his heart out literally, the hook is beatifully sung and Busta nails his verse and here we see Game's diversity and how far he has come on since The Documentary, he has evolved as a rapper and it is evident by the majority of tracks on this effort.

   "Ol' English" is a slow track (Game's lyrics ever improving) and is a hazy joy of a song. The album's next track "California Vacation" is a classic. It's a raw banger (Snoop and Xzibit guest verses included). The Jonathan Rotem produced track is a another highlight of an already impressive album. West Coast veterans Daz and Kurupt appear on "Bang", all three rappers do good on their verses, but the production by Jellyroll is rather generic in my opinion and its a shame.

   "Around The World" is an average track, but poor in relation to what we have heard earlier in this album. The albums final track, a nine and a half minute tour-de-force with Nas and Marsha (of Floetry). Its a good track, nice production, good verses, but it does ramble on a bit towards the end.

   Game has improved himself as a rapper on this album and without the guidance of Dr. Dre (and even 50 Cent) this is a major achievement for Game, and is a true westcoast album, a classic in the making.

  
TOP TRACKS:  One Blood, Lets Ride, Doctors Advocate, California Vacation

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

REVIEW POSTED BY: Lostsoul89

  
 
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Eazy-ED - 24/Nov/06: Despite what some of my friends thought of this album, I really liked it, although it's not as good as The Docu and some of his shit released on mixtapes, but definately one of the better rap albums in my collection. My Top tracks: One Blood, Compton, Let's Ride, & Why You Hate The Game. Id agree with your 4.5 rating!

shatterpoint - 27/Nov/06: As much as I like the cD, I agree, I liked it half way went I 1st heard it, but now im lovin every song on it except 1 which is with kurupt. This album is WESTCOAST, GAME himself. It doesent sound a bit New York or 50 cent. Its straight westcoast flavor. I think only 2 things documentary has on the Doctors Advocate is Dreams and Start From Scratch.

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Jibbs - Jibbs feat Jibbs
JIBBS - JIBBS FEAT JIBBS
Record Label: Geffen Records
Release Date: 24th Oct 2006

  Jibbs started his rapping when he was 8 years old. He started off trying to impress his older brother (DJ Beats). He wrote a rap and performed it to his brother. He was impressed and recorded him a demo CD. When it went around, everyone was impressed by what the 8 year old had in him. At the age of 11 and 12, he was battling and beating MC’s that were 20 and 25 years old. At this, his ability caught the attention of higher rated rappers like T.I. He was also courted by big superstars Chris Brown, Bow Wow and Young Jeezy.

   His Album, Jibbs ft. Jibbs is a strong debut album for anyone especially Jibbs being a teenager featuring stars such as Chamillionaire. This album looks very promising for the rest of his career as it starts very strongly through ‘Yeah Boii.’ The beat is good, the lyrics are good and he has a great voice to go with it all. His next track (Smile) isn’t as good as the first but the quality of what he raps is excellent. The first released single off his album was ‘Chain Hang Low.’ It has a great beat and everything is perfect. The track ‘King Kong ft. Chamillionaire’ is yet another strong track. The beat is similar to the one used in Nelly’s ‘Grillz’ but not the same. The content of his rapping is unbelievable still and with Chamillionaire also featuring on it, it is an amazing addition to his debut album. So far, the only thing I can fault is the odd chorus not being as entertaining as the verses.

   Jibbs is only a teenager but you wouldn’t know it through this album. There are different surprises in every track in the album. None of them sound the same making the album unique and because there isn’t any similarity through the whole album, it is much more entertaining to listen to.

  The slow track on this album is ‘Go Too Far ft. Melody Thornton.’ Although it’s slow, the quality doesn’t drop at all. Every beat original, all the verses he spits are different. If you’re looking for a decent album to listen to then I suggest you hear this. The quality of this album is much higher than I first expected. You won’t be disappointed after giving this album a listen. I guarantee that much to you.

  
TOP TRACKS:  Yeah Boii, Chain Hang Low, Big Big Kid, King Kong, Hood

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars - Every beat original, all the verses are different. If you’re looking for any kind of decent album then this is for you.

REVIEW POSTED BY: Clear

  
 
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RapCentral Member Comments:
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booj1893 - 27/Oct/06: The albums ok, not really that good, but shit, he's only 15.

markb1 - 001/Nov/06: I was actually very surprised with this album, I mean as was mentioned above the kids only 15. Id heard chain hang low which is a nice easy on the ear song, then I heard king kong which I also liked so decided to check out the album. I have to admit I like the album, id say out of the 12 songs theres only about 2 that I dont listen to, but all in all its an album id reccomend. Be warned tho, your not gonna get inspirational lyrics or a flow that will make you stop what your doing and rewind what you just heard. It doesnt bother me that the cd is what you'd call hip-pop, its a good cd. I gave it 4 out of 5.

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Xzibit - Full Circle
XZIBIT - FULL CIRCLE
Record Label: Open Bar Ent
Release Date: 27th Oct 2006

  'Full Circle' is the 6th studio album from the West Coast artist Xzibit, and during the course of his career he has seen his popularity seesaw up and down. His first 2 albums sold less than 200,000 until his collaborations with Dr. Dre on 'Restless' (probably X's best work) sold Platnum in 2000 as did 2002's 'Man vs. Machine' (another fine album). But 2004's 'Weapons Of Mass Destruction' failed to surpass 300,000. Bringing X to the Z back to square 1. Now he has come with the appropriatley titled 'Full Circle', the first release on his own 'Open Bar Entertainment' label.

   X claims it is the strongest CD he has put out in a long time and the production on this LP comes mainly from Jelly Roll, who also features on 3 tracks. The title signifies Xzibit's change of perspective over the years, as to what he used to rap about when he was 18, 19 or 20. He says that he thinks differently now than he did back then. For example on 'The Whole World' he raps "Big bad insane, strong arm steady game/ way beyond the days of rockin them stupid rapper chains/" "I've definately grown as an individual, as a man and as a father" says the 32 year old MC. This is easy too see on his new tracks 'Family Values' and 'Thank You'. "I feel having powerful music that's saying something is a must for me now" he said in an interview. There are also a few hard hitting tracks such as 'Ram Part Division' where X adopts a deeper voice to play the role of a currupt LAPD police officer and the song tells the day-to-day life of the dirty cop.

   The Album has quite a few collaborations with West coast artists, like The Game, King T, Too $hort, Kurupt, Daz and DJ Quik. As west coast artists were the only artists available to him when he was coming up...like he says in 'Rollin' "sometimes you have to take a few staps back to mentally grow/". One of the harder hitting somgs on the album is 'Black & Brown', which talks about the escalating violence between Blacks and Hespanic's in Los Angeles, one of the better tracks overall. And i agree with X that it is one the best CD's he has put out in a long time (if not his career).

  
TOP TRACKS:  09 Family Values - 10 Black & Brown - 14 Thank You

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars - The Best From X-Z, Bar Restless

REVIEW POSTED BY: Bronz

  
 
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CLEAR - 21/Oct/06: didn't like it, liked family values, probably the best on this album,i can't put him down on his other work but this didn't impress me, hopefully he goes to a better x cuz he was better before in my opinion. Good review man keep these coming.

StraightOutofBrazil - 24/Oct/06: Ive listened to about 6 songs off it like 3 were good 3 were wack I like 'thank you', 'black and brown' and 'family values' was alright. Even though 'concentrate' was weird he had a nice flow in it.

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Lloyd Banks - Rotten Apple
LLOYD BANKS - ROTTEN APPLE
Record Label: G-Unit/Interscope
Release Date: 10th Oct 2006

  'Rotten Apple' is Lloyd Bank's sophomore album and is released under G-Unit/Interscope records. It was supposed to be released in the summer of 2006 but was delayed for a number of reasons, primarily because of lack of airplay and promotion surrounding the album. The title 'Rotten Apple' comes from the G Unit rappers homeplace, New York, the Big Apple as it is known, and this album sets out to show the darker side of New York City. But you get the feeling that Banks abandoned that plan mid-way through the album in favour of rapping about how much ice he has, and of course, he raps about his one night stands as he takes on his 'Blue Hefner' persona in 'One Night Stand' and 'Playboy 2'.

  The Album starts off fairly strong, with 'Rotten Apple' the single, featuring the G Unit general 50 Cent. This song is what the album should stand for, and it is continued into the second song, 'Survival'. Both of these tracks represent the origional concept of the 'Rotten Apple', but sadly, it dosn't continue much further, there are a few tracks with this feel to them, but overall, Banks loses the plot of his own album as we get further into the album.

  It's not the punchline throwing Banks that is respected on the mixtape circut either, all of his rhymes and lyrics seem to be plain boasting of what he has, they have little or no substance at times. Like Banks' platnum selling debut album 'The Hunger For More' Banks underachieves his goal. Frankly, 'The Hunger For More' was a better album than 'Rotten Apple', with the 'Southside Story' track having a heavy beat and lyrics to think about. ("In the seteets of New York you can't trust nobody/ Niggaz will run up on you with a 12 gauge shotty/")...In a perfect world 'Southside Story' would be the first single off 'Rotten Apple' because it is exactly what 'Rotten Apple' was supposed to be. But 'Hands Up' (quoted as being called 'On Fire' part 2) and yet another G Unit club song, but on a good note, between all the boasting, the ladies and ice, this is the only club song on the album. 'Hands Up' is actually a good song though, unlike most of the innumerable G Unit club songs, this one has a good Eminem produced beat and lyrics that are not, for the most part...crap. Aside from that, the album lets Banks down in a number of ways. After the decline in G Unit's popularity in the year previous, 50 Cent was counting on his right hand man, Lloyd Banks' sophomore to prove the critics wrong, but he only proved them right.

  
TOP TRACKS:  01 - Rotten Apple, 02 - Survival, 06 - Hands Up

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Stars - His Skills Are Evident, But He Fails To Build On What He's Been DOne Before

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: Bronz

  

Rick Ross - Port of Miami
RICK ROSS - PORT OF MIAMI
Record Label: Def Jam/Slip-N-Slide
Release Date: 8th Aug 2006

  Rick ross street anthem "Hustlin" lead up to the great anticipation of the release of his debut album. Def Jam announced that "Hustlin" had become the first mastertone to ever sell one million units before the associated album was released. The song ran for approximately 6 months. There was also a remix of the single featuring Young jeezy and Jay-z which also achieved some popularity. Producers on this album include Cool and Dre, Jazze Pha, J. Venom, DJ Toomp, Mario Winans, The Runners, Jonathan "J.R." Rotem. The production on the album was more than good which was a main part of the albums success. The other single "Push it" samples "Push it to the limit" from the movie "Scarface". This also ended up being very popular and also received a good amount of airplay. The third single "Blow" feautured "Dre" from "Cool and dre" was also a hit. Most of the tracks on the album features rick ross talkin about the tales of his drug life, cocaine deals, gunfights, car chases and things of the sort but his multis helps his rhymes along the way to make it more interesting to the ear of the listener. Other catchy tracks on the album include "Cross dat line" feauturing Akon (who co-wrote and produced the track) and "White house".

  New york times refers to Ross as a "hip hop heavyweight". When the album was released it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Within the first week 187,000 units were sold. The album has pushed on to platinum status with a total of 1.1 million units being sold. From being just an underground rapper in Miami to being associated with a label such as Def Jam, Ross has entered the spotlight. "The number one ghostwriter in the South," as he has described his work behind the scenes, now comes into his own with the success of PORT OF MIAMI.

  "I'm bridging the gap between the South and the East Coast," Rcik Ross told Rolling Stone. "The sound is real Dirty South. But I'm spittin' hard, to where the East Coast appreciates it. PORT OF MIAMI," he summed up, "It's gonna be a classic."

  
TOP TRACKS:  Hustlin', Push it, Blow, Cross dat line

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars - It's gonna be a classic, one of the years best

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: Novakaine

  

Busta Rhymes - Big Bang
BUSTA RHYMES - BIG BANG
Record Label: Aftermtah
Release Date: 12th June 2006

  It’s official: hip hop today is in a bad state. With songs like ‘Laffy Taffy’ and movements like Hyphy, the future of the rap world looks bleak. That is, until now.

   Three years on since Busta Rhymes signed to Dr Dre’s Aftermath label, the result is ‘The Big Bang’. With two hot tracks already a success, ‘Touch It’ commercially and ‘New York Sh*t’ underground, Bus-A-Bus appears to be onto a winner.

   It’s been four years since his last album release, and no one knows this more than the man himself. On ‘The Big Bang’, the BK emcee comes at the rap game hard, bringing with him the skills of Nas, Raekwon, Missy Elliot and Stevie Wonder to mention just a few.

   With the album executive produced by Dre and Busta, Bus gets things started with ‘Get You Some’ featuring Q-Tip and Marsha from Floetry, and wastes no time in giving you what you want: hot beats topped with classic Busta lyricism. “Niggas you want heat? I figured you would/That’s why I waste no time to give it to you niggas (this time)/And give you all the jewels in (this rhyme), and then I put it down to you all!” he rhymes on the opening track.

   Old school legends Stevie Wonder and Rick James make their appearance on the insightful ‘Been Through The Storm’, and ‘In The Ghetto’ respectfully. Bus lets his guard down on both tracks and on the former spits about his parents’ struggle emigrating from Jamaica to the “alleged Land of the Free”, just trying to make a living. His tale of pain and hardship pulls ever so slightly on the heart strings, and the violin strings in the background only add to this effect.

   As always, Busta brings the heat on the club tracks, the hot single ‘Touch It’ and follow-up single ‘I Love My Bitch’ featuring Will.i.am and Kelis. As ‘Touch It’ has done for the last couple of months, the next single looks set to be just as big and attract more people to Busta’s ever-growing fanbase.

  Busta recruits the skills of Q-Tip once again on ‘You Can’t Hold The Torch’, and it’s good to see the two back together on a track as good as this. Produced by the late J Dilla, this is definitely one that real hip hop fans can relate to as Tip asks, “What happened to the love for the game?”

   The album is full of hot tracks; it’s hard to single out any one more than the other. Yet, ‘Cocaina’, ‘Don’t Get Carried Away’ with Nas and ‘Goldmine’ featuring Raekwon are the best examples of Busta at the top of his game.

   However, the Missy collab, ‘How We Do It Over Here’, is a bit of a let down, (the only one on the album), as Missy delivers the X-rated chorus over the sinister Dre beat without dropping a verse of her own – a shame since her flow is what we love her most for.

   At first, ‘The Big Bang’ takes a little getting used to – to that, I’d admit. It’s been over 15 years since the dude came into the game, and you can’t expect the 30-something rapper to be packing as much heat as he used to back in the day. Nevertheless, Bus-A-Bus puts it down and reps Aftermath whilst keeping his own distinct style throughout the album. It may take a couple of listens to fully get into it, but make no mistake – ‘The Big Bang’ is a classic and definitely worth a place in your collection.

  
TOP TRACKS:  You Can’t Hold The Torch (ft. Q-Tip), Don’t Get Carried Away (ft. Nas), Cocaina, Touch It.

RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars - Simply Superb, Saviour Of This Years Hip-Hop

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: HitEmUpRobbo - Credits to Brendan Scott

  

Mobb Deep - Blood Money
MOBB DEEP - BLOOD MONEY
Record Label: Interscope
Release Date: 2nd May 2006

  The last time Mobb Deep gave us an album was in 2004 with the unimpressive ‘Amerikaz Nightmare’, which was aided by the men of that moment - Twista and Lil’ Jon. Following this release, Havoc and Prodigy left their label of around 10 years, Jive, and were subsequently scooped up by Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and signed to his G-Unit imprint. The result of that deal is ‘Blood Money’.

   Despite the chaff, such as ‘Give It To Me’, M-O-B-B’s attempt at being sexy – cue involuntary shudder – and ‘Have A Party’ which, minus the profanities, would fit right in at a children’s disco, this album has some really strong tracks. For instance, the stomping ‘Put Em In Their Place’, which rolls along with super powerful horns put together by Sha Money XL, G-Unit’s in-house producer.

   Further along, Mobb affiliate The Alchemist blesses us with another highlight ‘The Infamous’, which compliments the duo perfectly with its slightly sinister yet funky bass guitar, stuttering snares and old school ‘808’ cowbells. Here Prodigy shows a new found hunger and return to form with lines like: “Queensbridge maf*cker we blow your house down/ We the big bad wolfs that eat your food clown/ I ain’t gotta huff and puff, you know my style/ Calm as f*ck I just let my gun wil’ out.”

   Probably the best track on ‘Blood Money’ is ‘Pearly Gates’, which uses a sample from the ’70’s soul group The Tavares, over a dumpy and slumping beat. However, this song also best sums up the albums major weakness. Here, 50 Cent’s verse steals the limelight and illustrates that this show is not entirely run by the ‘Infamous’ Mobb. There has been speculation as to how Mobb Deep’s ‘Blood Money’ would end up sounding, and though it doesn’t scream “G-G-G-G-G-G-Unit!”, it definitely shouts it.

   Back on the classic ‘The Infamous’, we were presented with two young hoodlums painting a dark and brooding picture of their environment, letting us in on a savage way of life that we could enjoy, voyeuristically. In 2006, however, Hav and P are no longer running around ‘jooksing’ shook ones. Instead, you can almost see them clad in cravats and brogues at Fiddy’s mansion, iced teas in hand, enjoying a nice game of croquet and talking business. It seems Mobb Deep are no longer looking to be infamous, but famous.

   There’s nothing especially wrong with this album and to be fair it is far superior to their last two efforts – ‘Amerikaz Nightmare’ (2004) and ‘Infamy’ (2001). All in all there are a few great songs, some good ones and some shoddy ones - as a whole it is cohesive, with a majority of the songs produced by Havoc, and it seems to work. But, it’s not the raw formula that has worked so well in the past and in all honesty there’s plenty of other hip hop albums, old and new, that would be more deserving of your cash when you next go record shopping.

  
TOP TRACKS: Pearly Gates, Put Em In Their Place, The Infamous
RAPCENTRAL RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars - One For Their Fans Only

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: HitEmUpRobbo - Credits to Brendan Scott

  

Bizzy Bone - The Story
BIZZY BONE - THE STORY
Record Label: Real Talk Ent
Release Date: 21st March 2006

  With the Bone Thugs N Harmony era firmly in the past, Bizzy Bone, the man with more aliases than you’d care to "shake a stick" at, has long since emerged as the one to bank your money on…..kinda. Hip hop has been waiting with baited breath for his latest offering since the excellent "Thug's Revenge", but is it worth parting with those pennies that you grafted so hard for?

   There’s not much to be excited about on this album. His Style has seemed to slowly drift away from his masterpieces like "Heaven's Movie" and "The Gift”, This cd is coated in more Christianity than a preacher, and listening to it you can almost see his “demons surrounding him”, expectantly waiting for some extra sales out of it. There is one track titled “The Truth”, This track is a pretty tight track; where his harmonizing seems to blend well but the bad news is that its only a minute and a half. After a battle of depression and a drinking problem after taking the boot from Bone Thugs –N- Harmony and losing his younger brother Adrian “Capo Confuscious” Parlette to a drug deal gone bad, Bizzy fell out of the hip hop scene for a minute but just a minute. A year later in 2004 he dropped “Alpha & Omega” and I’ve seen better songs on A&O; than any one “The Story”, the previous album “Thugs Revenge” was a complete classic from bizzy bone with producing by Mr. Criminal and Crime lab.

   For fans of Bizzy Bone, “The Story “ is a bit of a disappointment Bizzy seems to deliver more gospel than hard core thuggish ruggish hits such as “Thugsz Cry” and “Demons Surround Me”.

   What songs are acceptable are pretty cool and deep, such as “Bizzy’s Story” talking about him in general and what hes been through, although the track has a bit of an odd beat for the lyrics. The beat sounds like a basketball movie song or a sports song.

   The list really does go on and on. With 14 tracks, The producing sounds great but the lyrics could be rearranged, if it weren’t for all the spirituality this album would be flawless. Basically, ‘The Story’ is an alright album . Aside from the great production and the high-pitched, seamless raps we know and love, it simply feels like a logical decrease in the rich line of work we have already been allowed, from 04’s ‘Alpha & Omega’ onwards.

   So, back to the original question, is this album worth parting with those pennies that you grafted so hard for? In a word, yes. For fans, whether avid or slight, it is a must. For those that are indifferent, it’s definitely worth thinking about. And for those unfamiliar with Bizzy Bone, this is as good introduction as any.

  
TOP TRACKS: Bizzy’s Story, When I See, All Day All Night
RAPCENTRAL RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars - Definately Worth Checkin Out

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: sawedoffthugsta

  

Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
GHOSTFACE KILLAH - FISHSCALE
Record Label: Def Jam
Release Date: 28th March 2006

  With the Wu-Tang era firmly in the past, Ghostface, the man with more aliases than you’d care to shake a stick at, has long since emerged as the one to bank your money on. Hip hop has been waiting with baited breath for his latest offering since the excellent ‘The Pretty Toney Album’, but is it worth parting with those pennies that you grafted so hard for?

   There’s much to be excited about on this album, but the bad news first. The lead single ‘Back Like That’ featuring Def Jam’s most recently acquired crooning wonderboy, Ne-Yo, is coated in more sugar than a kid’s mouth on their birthday, and listening to it you can almost see Jay-Z peering over Ghost’s shoulder, expectantly waiting for some extra sales out of it. Elsewhere, we are put through ‘Three Bricks’, the ‘bonus’ track featuring Biggie…hmm. This track is decidedly fishy; that fish being the commonly spotted make-bucks-outta-tacking-a-revered-dead-rapper-on- your-song – wack, wack, wack! But enough with the grumbling, ‘Fishscale’ is everything you’d expect but in a (really) good way.

   Early on, Just Blaze hits us, to great effect, with ‘The Champ’. This tune bangs hard with its screaming sax, heavy beats and cowbells and guitar laced breakdown replete with dialogue from the ‘Rocky’ films. As our man goes for the title we are treated with his pot-shot at what he sees as undeservedly successful pop-hop with the dope lines: “Revenge is my arts is crafty darts/While y'all stuck on ‘Laffy Taffy’/Wonderin' how y'all niggas get past me/I been doin’ this before Nas dropped the Nasty.”

   For fans of the Wu-Tang, ‘Fishscale’ offers a special treat with a long-awaited reunion on ‘9 Milli Bros’! There’s something deeply warming about hearing all of the clan back together, particularly over a great piano driven beat, courtesy of Doom. What’s more, with the crudeness of line,: ‘Ya’ll be nice to the crackheads, everybody listen up/I shot one of my bitches, the hoe ain’t trick enough’ announced in that familiar blare that can only belong to our leading man, aficionados won’t be disappointed.

   What makes Pretty Tone really great is that he’s not afraid to deal with topics that other rappers either decide not to or simply don’t even consider. ‘Whip You With A Strap’ uses a Luther Ingram vocal sample, thanks to J Dilla (R.I.P), to compound the message that nowadays kids are too spoilt and don’t get the disciplinary beatdown they deserve once in a while.

   The list really does go on and on. With 17 tracks, not including skits, produced by the likes of MF Doom, Pete Rock and the late J Dilla, this LP is nearly flawless. Basically, ‘Fishscale’ is pure, uncut dope. Aside from the great production and the high-pitched, seamless raps we know and love, it simply feels like a logical progression in the rich line of work we have already been allowed, from 96’s ‘Ironman’ onwards.

   So, back to the original question, is this album worth parting with those pennies that you grafted so hard for? In a word, yes. For fans, whether dedicated fans or slight, it is a must. For those that are indifferent, it’s definitely worth thinking about. And for those unfamiliar with Ghostface Killah, this is as good introduction as any, RapCentral recommends this album to all.

  
TOP TRACKS: 4) The Champ, 2) Shakey Dog, 14) Be Easy
RAPCENTRAL RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars - RapCentral Recommends To All

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: HitEmUpRobbo - Credits to B.Scott

  

E-40 - Ghetto Report Card
E-40 - GHETTO REPORT CARD
Record Label: Warner Bros
Release Date: 2nd May 2006

  E-40 who is seen by much people as a legend has now signed to Lil-john's BME. And now E-40 ("also known as the ambassodor of the bay") has unleashed a new debut album for BME Recordings. Does this new album still have those raw lyrics on them crunk beats? And after 15 albums of E-40, is this a new improved era for him, and most importantly, is this album worth the cash?

   The 18 tracks without the 2 skits arent all too bad too listen. The breakout single "Tell Me When To Go" ft Keak Da Sneak is a crazy track, the lyrics are hot although featured artist 'Keak Da Sneak' didnt drop a hot verse nor flow. But the flow of E-40 is good and the lyrics are also, which makes up for Da Sneak's weak verse, and thats what makes this one of the best songs on the album in my opinion.

   Some tracks have awful beats, like "muscle cars", the beat hurts my ears due to the weird sounds happening. Again, unfortunately, in this track Keak Da Sneak dropped a bad verse. But even tho there are two weak good verses, Turf with his "unique" style drops the best verse. The track "go hard or go home" has a great flow from E-40 with a good verse and this track is definately worth checkin out for any fan of hip-hop. And for once, the featuring artists drops good verses too. Anyone who is a fan of J-know should check out this track cause the artist "stress" sounds a lot alike.

   The track "Gouda" is not a track you should check out. I thought the beat here was bad, the verses are lame, and the flow is bad, i didnt like this track at all. On the other hand 'Stick wit it 2' has a good beat with dope lyrics from E-40 and this track is quality throughout, absolutely worth checking out. But if youre looking for mad flow on this album then the track "They might be taping" is the one to listen to. The flow is just crazy here.

   "Do ya head like this", is easily the worst track on this album, its just ugly as hell, the beat is very BAD, the lyrics are bad, and the flow aint worth to mention. If i were you whilst bumping this album, then just skip this track, and while your skipping that one, skip the next track too "Block boi". But overall this album is definately worth checking if not just for the mad flow/lyrics, and E-40's unique and OG style, definately a must for all his fans, and hip-hop fans alike!

  
TOP TRACKS: Tell me when to go, Go hard or go home, Stick wit it 2, They might be taping
RAPCENTRAL RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars - One For Their Fans Only

  
REVIEW POSTED BY: Loenatic

  


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