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Mixtape: Taylor Bennett – Mainstream Music

9 May

Young Chicago rapper, Taylor Bennett recently delivered his sophomore effort entitled, Mainstream Music. Mainstream Music features everyone from MMG signee, Rockie Fresh to Chicago mainstay, King Louie. Although, we hear Taylor still attempting to find footing on certain tracks, Taylor shows a huge amount of growth since his debut release, The Taylor Bennett Show. While the majority of the songs on Mainstream Music were produced by Saint The Good Boy the tape still remains eclectic in nature; with standout tracks ranging from the hard “Ballin” to the laidback, surefire summer hit “New Chevy”. While Mainstream Music is not a classic by any stretch, it is successful because it gives us a valid glimpse into the life of a young man on the rise, sets Taylor apart as an artist with his own individual sound–despite of his vocal similarities to his brother (Chance The Rapper) and leaves us excited for what the future will hold, because we all know that dude will only get better as time goes on.

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Mixtape Review: Casey Veggies & Rockie Fresh – Fresh Veggies

8 Jan

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Unsigned hype (I mean that in the nicest possible way), Casey Veggies and recent MMG signee Rockie Fresh teamed up to create what may be a contender for one of 2013’s finest mixtapes–Fresh Veggies.

Kicking it off with “Fresh Veggies”, the track introduces us to the young rappers in the best way possible–sparring bar for bar on a bass heavy beat. Although Casey is the more famous of the two, he is out-rapped by Fresh on the mixtape’s intro. While Veggies isn’t outdone by much on the intro, Casey is out-rapped on more than a few of the mixtape’s cuts. Fresh comes into the mixtape with much more to prove whereas Casey comes off as complacent. For instance, the intro song sees Casey Veggies using “the boy” to lazily end multiple bars. Most likely in a not so subtle attempt at teasing and hinting at his unreleased song, “The Boy” featuring Drake–allegedly dropping before the end of the year.


Casey seems to be intensely comfortable with his position in this mixtape and that lack of growth shows. However, it should be noted that both Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh are coming off of mixtapes released during the summer of 2013; so expecting a large amount of growth from Casey under such a short amount of time may be a bit of a reach. In contrast Fresh’s hunger led to more experimentation with his flows and lyricism, making his verses fall short in places where he could have shined. Fresh’s hunger for fame may be his Achilles heel–as he sounds a bit uncomfortable on certain songs like “The World” and “You Would Too”, with Fresh delivering forgettable verses.

Aside from the aforementioned issues, this mixtape is good. The beats are top notch–the features, while minimal, are great with Juicy J being the latest to utilize Migos’ flow and pull it off well. Ty Dolla $ign, OverDoz, Kirko Bangz, Hit-Boy, Rick Ross, and Anwar Carrots also make appearances although the latter three are reduced to brief cameos. Casey Veggies and Rockie Fresh sound natural when collaborating, akin to Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes. While I’m not saying that these two carry the same lyrical prowess or will even have the same impact on the game as the two legends; if Fresh and Veggies continue to grow and evolve as individuals they can achieve a similar status as a dynamic hip hop duo. Standout tracks on Fresh Veggies are: Celebrating Life, Sacrifice, Love All Around Me, and Aladdin; with Celebrating Life hands down being the best track on the mixtape.

Pros: Great beats and great verses from both Fresh and Veggies. All in all a solid mixtape.

Cons: Both rappers are a hit or miss when it comes to certain songs; with Casey being too comfortable and Fresh at times losing his identity when experimenting with his flows.

David Dixon (@SlickYourKing)

Rating: Nice (3/5)

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Nino Blanco Reviews Beyonce’s Latest Album

20 Dec

Check out our very own Nino Blanco’s take on ‘Yonce’s latest work:

Free LP: MoRuf – Shades of Moo

16 Nov

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Looking for some dope new music?

Look no further (you know we got you). New Jersey native, Moruf delivers Shades of Moo, a record that is quickly becoming a personal favorite with us at Sickerthanyouravg. Shades of Moo is a refreshingly street smart mix of jazz and hip hop. Moruf brings you into his life, including the ups and downs of love, in a real way. For the project Moruf grabbed up TDE’s songstress SZA for a skit as well as singer Jesse Boykins for the standout track, “Homie.Lover.Friend”. Shades of Moo also features some well-worked in samples from Love and Basketball (I mean who doesn’t love, Love and Basketball) and an array of great beats from multi-talented producers such as: Like (of Pac Div), Melo-X and Iman Omari. Moruf has quietly dropped what may be one of the best records of the year, offering good music with no gimmicks. Shades of Moo is something that you definitely won’t regret listening to.

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Video Review: M.I.A – Matangi

12 Nov

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Our girl Nino Blanco just dropped her newest video review for M.I.A’s long-awaited eclectic album, Matangi. Grab the album and check out the review below and leave some comments on the video with your opinions.

The Marshall Mathers LP 2: The Review

6 Nov

Marshall Vs. Marshall

Let’s turn the clock back 13 years. In 2000, Marshall Bruce Mathers (aka Eminem, aka Slim Shady) is 28 years old. His debut album The Slim Shady LP has just gone multi-platinum, and has managed to draw a firestorm of controversy in the process. In just a couple of years, Marshall Mathers has gone from being an obscure, struggling Detroit MC to the most controversial mainstream artist in America. On top of all of this, Mr. Mathers is faced with the task of topping his wildly successful debut album. It’s safe to say Marshall Mathers is under a lot of pressure. Fortunately (both for us and him), pressure makes diamonds. In his case, pressure made one of Hip Hop’s most critically acclaimed albums, one that went on to be certified diamond in the United States – The Marshall Mathers LP.

Okay, let’s return to 2013. Eminem is 41 years old, and has found himself in a much better, happier (drug-free) place in life. He is one of the highest-selling artists of all time, and is considered a legend by Hip Hop fans and artists alike. Some may be of the opinion that Eminem has nothing left to prove – I beg to differ. In my opinion, The Eminem Show was the last quintessential Eminem album we’ve gotten the pleasure of experiencing. Next came Encore, Relapse, and Recovery. Recovery proved to us that Eminem still has skills after all these years. However, with all the radio-friendly music and pop star guest features, purists like myself were wondering if we’d ever see the clever, biting, genius Slim Shady of old. Well, someone must have heard us wondering aloud, because Eminem has decided to channel some of his younger self for his latest effort – The Marshall Mathers LP 2.

Now…let’s look at how The Marshall Mathers LP and The Marshall Mathers LP 2 compare…

Continue reading

Video Review: Mack Wilds – “New York: A Love Story”

30 Oct

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Yesterday, our girl Toyosi dropped her third video review on actor Tristan Wilds aka Mack Wilds’ debut album, New York: A Love Story. Toyosi’s commentary on the album pretty much mirrors my own. While I had heard about the buzz that this tape was gaining in New York–its pretty much unheard of in the Bay Area. With that being said I’m always interested in testing out some new music for myself, but I was honestly a bit reluctant with this one; chalking him up as the black guy from 90210 probably trying to rap *insert eye roll here*–you know that “Disney Channel syndrom”e. Needless to say I almost missed out on a good thing. The album effectively introduces us to Wilds the musician by bringing us into this young man’s world, supported by a good voice and backed by excellent production. Check out the video review below!

-Christine Ahamefule (@cleanyournyash)
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Video Review: The BET Hip Hop Awards

23 Oct

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Our girl Nino Blanco is back at it with a new, thorough review on this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards. She reviews each cypher individually and keeps it real by going into exactly why this year’s Hip Hop Awards was frankly, a big disappointment (BET take notes). Watch the video below and see if you agree.

Album Review: Danny Brown – Old

21 Oct

Let’s start it off by taking it back a bit.

Danny Brown has proven to be one of the most eccentric rappers to come up in recent times. From his personal style to the music he creates–everything seems to be on a different level of crazy. Dive into his discography and you will learn that at least musically this was not always the case; before his 2010 project The Hybrid, Danny Brown’s music consisted of J Dilla beats coupled with gritty street tales. This is a far cry from the drug loving, high–pitched, party animal that we all now know and love. Understandably, some of his original fans were alienated by this transition– leading Old to be a careful combination of the past and present.

 

 

The first half of the album, (Side A) is the “Old Side” while the second half (Side B) is the “New Side”. Danny starts the album off with the gritty reality that has become life in Detroit. While the first ten songs are all street narratives backed by sample-heavy beats–the first song (“Side A [Old]”) hits the hardest. The chorus flagrantly boasts about the activities of the “old Danny Brown”. The first half of Old is effective in illustrating to listeners how “real” things get in Danny Brown’s hometown and “Gremlins” assists in this message by serving as an unflinching portrayal of the hood.

The second half of the album opens up like a film–effectively separating the two sides for listeners. While Side A serves as gritty realism Side B balances everything out through escapism, delivering listeners from the destructive ways of the first half. Similar to the “happy place” frequently referred to  in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore, Side B sounds like an acid induced utopia. Although some songs still tell tales of drug dealing in the hood (“Dubstep”), it doesn’t sound quite as gritty, nor as real; this side is pure fantasy in the best way possible. Juxtaposing Side A with Side B helps to fully paint a picture of the two sides to Danny Brown–showing that Danny Brown cannot be labeled as anything other than a versatile rapper.

Despite of all of this, the album is not without faults. Songs like “Wonderbread” and “Break It (Go)” are out-of-place; “Wonderbread” being too nonsensical for even the purest Danny Brown enthusiast. While the rapper shows us both the old and the current sides of Danny Brown, there is no room left for Danny to push himself and show us a new side of him. Also, if you’re not a fan of dubstep/EDM/house music the last half of the album is chock full of songs that you will want to skip (but with the direction that music is taking, not liking any of those genres might just be you hating on change).

 

Overall the album is great with dope guest appearances, but could have been better. Danny Brown is one of the better MC’s in the game so it is surprising that he didn’t try and push himself further by presenting something new along with the old.

 

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Album Review: Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Part II

20 Oct

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This is the album that should not have been made.

The 20/20 Experience Pt. 1 was a certified hit–with the world welcoming the abrupt return of Justin Timberlake to music with open arms. Given its brief nature, the announcement of a followup (in 8 months no less) was met with immense excitement. However, after the excitement died down and the album was released it became very apparent that Timberlake should have left the album alone.

The 20/20 Experience Pt. 2 is not by any measures horrible, however it is misguided and unnecessary. The songs sound like leftovers from the first album and most likely would have been better off as a free mixtape. Not to say that there are not great songs on the album, “TKO”, “Cabaret”, and “Murder” being standouts; “Cabaret” boasts a Drake feature and “Murder” reunites Justin alongside Jay Z once again.

 

This is not some misguided attempt at trying to say that Justin Timberlake and (arguably) Timbaland are no longer in their prime. The production was still great, as well as the singing and lyricism. But somehow that ends up being the problem–it’s just great. Not as deep and thoughtful as it’s predecessor, edgy as FutureSex/LoveSounds, nor as fresh and sincere as Justified; everything about this album seems mediocre by the high standards that we associate with Timberlake and Timbaland.

 

The biggest problem with this album is simply that it lives in the shadow of the first 20/20 Experience album–it fails to further the experience excellently delivered by the initial album and instead stays stagnant. If the tables were turned and for some reason this had ended up as part one rather than part two–this would not be how I would want to be reintroduced to Justin Timberlake and Timbaland as a duo and would honestly be an artistic disservice to musicians of their caliber. As a whole this album just feels like the leftover tracks from The 20/20 Experience Part I and comes as a huge letdown.

 

Pros: TKO, Caberat with Drake, and Murder with Jay Z are great songs, if you listen to nothing else from this album then listen to these songs.

 

Cons: Pales in comparison to any of Timbaland and Timberlake’s previous work; all in all it’s a very average album.

-Dave Dixon (@slickyourking)

 

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