Hip-Hop

Trial and Era

Artist: 
Trial and Era
Label: 
None

Trial and Era have the street edge of Mobb Deep coupled with lyric dexterity of Boot Camp Clik meets the Geto Boys. As a whole “Trial and Era” feels like a debut album yet, there are moments which reach the highs of a group far more established within the genre. Trial and Era may still have a long while before they can truly harness and finesse their sound as a group despite their short comings however they still bring enough raw energy to keep you wanting more. 6/10

Sounds Like: 
Mobb Deep
Sounds Like: 
Troy Ave
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

Scattered Thoughts Of An American Poet

Artist: 
Buggs Tha Rocka
Label: 
None

“Scattered Thoughts Of An American Poet” establishes Buggs as a rapper with considerable potential. The project does venture into a lot of different territory and while not all songs hit their mark it showcases how far Buggs is willing to push his sound and experiment.

Sounds Like: 
Dillon Cooper
Sounds Like: 
Bishop Nehru
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

Outer Limits

Artist: 
Swamp Thing
Label: 
Urbnet

Swamp Thing composed of Canadian emcees Timbuktu, Chokeules and Savilion have undeniable chemistry they are as clear an example as any of what a proper hip hop group should sound like, with that being said their latest album is both unnecessary and derivative. Unnecessary because their previous release displayed a more definitive growth in style and cohesion and derivative because everything covered in “Outer Limits” had been done with greater success on their debut album down to the Wu Tang samples and rapping about being an a space adventure. 6/10

Sounds Like: 
Ghettosocks
Sounds Like: 
D-Sisive
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

Blasphemy

Artist: 
Apollo Brown & Ras Kass
Label: 
Mello Music Group

Producer Apollo Brown’s drums are as solid as ever the same however can’t be said about Rass Kass’ rhymes with a few too many pseudo-intellectual lines completely undermining whole songs. Though Rass isn’t on his A game neither artist ever seems to be on the same wave length for very long ending up with an album that only functions as advertised in varying degrees for its entirety. 6/10

Sounds Like: 
Vakill
Sounds Like: 
Pharoahe Monch
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

People of Today

Artist: 
The 1978ers (yU & Slimkat)
Label: 
Mello Music Group

Yu of hip hop group Diamond District finds great synergy with producer Slimkat leading to one of the best releases of the year. The only thing that prevents “People of Today” from classic status is an overabundance of tracks. It’s hard not to argue that an 17 song track list isn't a bit too much, had the duo tightened things up a bit the album’s cohesion would be the better for it. 9/10

Sounds Like: 
Diamond District
Sounds Like: 
Fashwan
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

Live At The Throwdown

Artist: 
Danny Spice and the Wildstyle Tribute Band
Label: 
Crate Escape Records

Danny Spice uses live instrumentation and sample based scratching to make an EP very reminiscent of hip hop from a bygone era. Most of the emcees Danny enlist complement his sound nicely unfortunately the EP never finds its pacing due to a couple of unnecessary interludes and songs dragging on longer then they need to, had Danny tried what he did here on a full length it probably would have fared better. 6/10

Sounds Like: 
Ugly Duckling
Sounds Like: 
Brand New Heavies
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

Secondhand Smoke (The Extended Cut)

Artist: 
Goldini Bagwell
Label: 
Heaven Noise

Sandpeople affiliate Goldini Bagwell is surprisingly able to make an introspective and compelling album centered on the concept of cigarette addition. Don’t be fooled by what might seem as limited amount of subject matter, Goldini uses cigarette addiction as a jumping off point to cover a wide variety of topics but, what is so impressive about the entire project is how he continues to relate things back to the album’s original theme without fatiguing the listener. 8/10

Sounds Like: 
Sandpeople
Sounds Like: 
Illmaculate
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

A Better Tomorrow

Artist: 
Wu-Tang Clan
Label: 
Asylum, Warner Bros.

“A Better Tomorrow” is both the worst album in the Wu’s discography and the most disappointing album of the year. Unlike 2007’s “8 Diagrams” you’ll wish the Wu will finally just call things and never attempt another project as a group again. Never in the Clan’s 20 years have they sounded more disjointed and unenthusiastic about their own music. 0/10

Sounds Like: 
Boot Camp Clik
Sounds Like: 
Ghostface Killah
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

2014 Forest Hills Drive

Artist: 
J. Cole
Label: 
Dreamville, Roc Nation, Columbia

J. Cole once again exceeds his grasp and rest too much of “2014 Forest Hills Drive” success and failure on his shoulders. It’s already tough act for an emcee to hold your attention by himself for an entire album but, by adding the extra responsibilities of handling the majority of production and sinning every songs’ hook Cole pulls a Kid Cudi. It takes a smart artist to identify what he is good at and what he should leave in the hands of others. Yes J.

Sounds Like: 
Drake
Sounds Like: 
Big Sean
Name: 
Roberto Lopez
Date Reviewed: 
12/10/2014

PRhyme

Artist: 
Royce da 5'9" & DJ Premier
Label: 
PRhyme

Royce da 5’9 and DJ Premier make for an effective duo who only ever flatter when Royce overdoes things and doesn’t allow for the album to have a natural ebb and flow. 7/10

Sounds Like: 
Joell Ortiz
Sounds Like: 
Slaughter House
Name: 
Roberto Lopez