Monday, July 30, 2012

A Quick Note

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quick Reviews by Dom

A lot of albums have come in the past few months and I wish I could review them all, but I can't due to time constraints. So here are 5 quick reviews where I'll give you a sentence or two and a rating, here we go.

1. Whitechapel - Whitechapel: One of the best deathcore acts around, this is their 5th album and they just keep getting better and better, a great album. 8/10

2. Woe, is Me - Number[s] (Deluxe Reissue): If you own the original then don't buy this, they did not re-record it with the new members of the band making this reissue pointless. It brags of 6 new songs but 2 have been released over a year ago and around a year ago respectively. There are 2 awful dubstep remixes, an outdated cover song and an acoustic rendition of one of their songs, it's an unnecessary release. 4/10

3. The Word Alive - Life Cycles: I haven't enjoyed TWA as much since they released their debut EP, this album feels more complete and more thought out. They escaped the sophomore slump while there are some issues with the album it certainly isn't a bad album. 7/10

4. Sleeping With Sirens - If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack: A 5 song acoustic EP with 3 originals and 2 renditions of older songs, the new renditions aren't bad but the originals are significantly better but the 3 originals are fantastic songs and it gives me hope for the next album. 7.5/10

5. Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music: I can't explain how much I love this album, from the politically charged songs to talking about rap as a religion this album is phenomenal and is what real rap truly is. This album is in the running for best hip-hop album of 2012. 9/10

"Joe & Box - We Just Fucked Your Beat Vol. 2" - Review by Dom

Joe & Box are a rap duo from New Jersey made up of rappers Joe Urso and Andrew Boxman who also go by Weasel and Boogeyman respectively. This the duo's second official mixtape following volume one of the We Just Fucked Your Beat series. In the series they rap over non-original beats, some instantly noticeable, some not. At a quick 10 tracks one assumes that this tape is a showcase of the young group's chops and potential. How do they measure up?

1. House Party - A beat by Meek Mill and an infectious song. Right off the first line you can tell that Joe & Box know how to make you laugh. The song is definitely a showing of how both of these guys rap, their flows are impeccable.

2. Can You Work With That - The comedy and rapping continues to ensue, the track is a funny great chill song. This is the first track where they talk of how they're white rappers as well which comes up later on.

3. Shady 2.0 Cypher - Attempting to go over a beat that originally had Eminem, Slaughterhouse and Yelawolf on it is a bold move. Joe and Box trade off verses in a cypher-like fashion where topics range from rap and how essential it is to their lives and how radio rap is garbage.

4. Mercy - This Kanye song gets a nice make over, I'm not a fan of the original but this version is far superior. The duo takes shots at rappers and keep the comedy going. This song is a huge standout.

5. Exodus 23:1 - This beat comes from Pusha T and is a slower track. Here we finally hear some real emotion and substance in the duos lyrics. Joe talks of wanting to make it big and hating himself if he ends up at a 9 to 5 job. Box talks of how weed has taken over his life and his struggles with his addiction. This is my favorite song off of this tape.

6. Dirty Dancing - Joe starts off the track with an Eminem reference, the wordplay on this track is nothing short of fantastic.

7. Thoughts from a Balcony - The duo fucks Mac Millers beat. This track also shows some emotion and it is a great song.

8. Good Evening - The beat on this track is interesting but somehow it doesn't really keep my interest. Joe and Box do their thing on it but I don't return to this track often.

9. Daylight - They tear this beat apart, with a fast flow filled with emotion, not many rappers can do that. It makes for a memorable track.

10. Burn - Another Meek Mill track where the duo takes shots at trap rappers. The comedy comes back. This song is one of my favorites off of this mixtape and it ends it on a fantastic note.

Overall - It's obvious that the group is young and into having a good time. They have a lot of potential, coming from someone that loves substance in the lyrics Joe and Box are lacking in that department with the exception of a few songs. In their defense this tape wasn't made to be deep and insightful it was meant to be an introduction to the duo and to be a fun summer record and that's what it is.

Rating - 8.5/10

Download the mixtape for free:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Top 10 Favorite Rappers by Dom

As many of you know I am a pretty big hip-hop fan, as many of you know I hate most rappers. Guys like Drake, Wayne and Tyga do absolutely nothing for me. That being said I thought I'd make a quick list of my 10 favorite rappers, some will change over time and some won't, maybe I'll update it one day. But here we go.

1. Eminem - He's the rapper that got me into hip-hop and I've loved everything he's put out. (check out: The Marshall Mathers LP)

2. Nas - I mean, what is there to say? It's Nas, he tells a story better than anyone else and his messages are great, he's a great rapper. (check out Illmatic)

3. Jay-Z - Again, it's Jay-Z, what is there to say? He's stayed relevant since 1996 all while staying real and not selling out, that's talent. (check out Reasonable Doubt)

4. 2Pac - 2Pac is still to this day one of the greatest ever, who knows where he would've went had he not died? He's prolific, a story teller and a genius. (check out Me Against the World)

5. T.I. - He's got that southern drawl in his voice when he raps that just elevates his flow to the next level. In my mind his albums get better and better each one he drops. (check out No Mercy)

6. The Notorious B.I.G. - Biggie Smalls, no intro needed, if you don't know who he is you're not a hip-hop fan. That's a fact. (check out Ready to Die)

7. Lupe Fiasco - This guy has a fantastic flow, never fails to put out thought provoking songs that point out issues within America, around the world and in music itself. (check out Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor)

8. Common - Another one of the best storytellers in rap, he's got a great flow, great voice and a great message. (check out Be)

9. Kendrick Lamar- This guy released one of my favorite albums of the last 5 years, his storytelling ability is unmatched and his lyrics are phenomenal. (check out Section .80)

10. Tyler, the Creator - I know that the first 9 on this list are all storytelling, socially conscious rappers but I love this kid. His voice, his gruesome and funny lyrics are just great and the fact that he can do serious songs proves he's good, plus his flow is great. (check out Bastard)

Honorable Mentions: Big K.R.I.T., Reks, B Real, Chuck D, Tech N9ne, 50 Cent, Earl Sweatshirt and Joey Bada$$.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

"Linkin Park - Living Things" Review by Dom

Linkin Park. Do they even need an introduction? In my opinion, no, but I'm gonna do one anyway. To the 90s kids, they are a band who released two of the greatest albums of our generation, then they dropped off. I'm of course talking about the classics Hybrid Theory and Meteora. With songs like "In the End", "Numb" and "Points of Authority", Linkin Park had set themselves up to become legendary. Then 2007's Minutes to Midnight split fans into two groups, those who liked it, and those who hated it. It was a shift in sound to a more straightforward rock sound. Then 2010's A Thousand Suns dropped and it alienated the fans that made Linkin Park big. With Living Things Linkin Park talked of going back to their roots and to a sound more influenced by their first two albums. But this has been said before by many bands, and most didn't live up to the hype. Did Living Things live up to the hype and the hopes of all of the original Linkin Park fans?

(DISCLAIMER)- While I try to be unbiased with my reviews Linkin Park is one of those bands that I will love no matter how terrible they became because of their first two albums, I will attempt to be fair but I apologize if it doesn't seem like it.

1. Lost in the Echo - Shockingly LP starts this album off with possibly my favorite song on the album. Mike is rapping again, Chester's chorus is amazing and he screams again. This song is a great song, and a great way to open the album.

2. In My Remains - This song is actually pretty good as well, the verses remind me of the slower Meteora tracks blended with a Minutes to Midnight-esque chorus. They blend it well and this track is pretty good.

3. Burn it Down - For most people, this was the first track they heard off of the album as it was the lead single. While I usually hate the singles off of most albums I actually enjoy this one. It's got more of the A Thousand Suns sound but I don't know, I like the song, it's catchy and I can't really ask for more from the band.

4. Lies Greed Money - This track is weird for me, it's got the new "electronic" vibe of the last album but it's constructed like Hybrid Theory songs. I'll try to explain, Mike is rapping the verses and Chester is singing/yelling the chorus ,it's got the spazzy/sporadic-ness to it that reminds me of Hybrid Theory, I like it and I don't at the same time.

5. I'll Be Gone - This track could've been released with Minutes to Midnight, it sounds like an unused song from the album, and that's not a complaint. Good verses with a powerful chorus, it's what Linkin Park has come to be known for.

6. Castle of Glass - This song stands out, and not in the best way, it's different, it's slower but not like the songs LP is used to doing. It features a lower-range of vocals, it's not bad, it catches you off guard at first but it's not one you revisit much.

7. Victimized - A short under 2 minute blast of older-style Linkin Park, Mike rapping, Chester screaming, not much else to say, it's a hell of a song, but I wish it was longer although it works as a short song.

8. Roads Untraveled - This track is a polar opposite of "Victimized", it's a slow, mostly piano driven song. It's nice to hear Mike and Chester both singing, neither stretching their vocals too much, mostly doing lower register vocals, it works for the song. I like it, but I don't revisit the track much, it's a filler track that you don't skip if it's on, but you don't go looking for it.

9. Skin to Bone - One of the more interesting sounding tracks on the album, with Mike providing more singing vocals instead of his usual rapping, this song is straight filler, I find it hard to finish.

10. Until it Breaks - Mike is finally rapping up to par with his older days and even to his Fort Minor material, this track sees him using pretty good wordplay and his flow sounds great. Oddly enough, Chester's chorus seems lacking on this track and the bridge sucks. No other way to put it, overall not a bad song.

11. Tinfoil - A short, minute and ten second interlude track used for ambiance. It sounds good leading into the last track but it's not really serving a purpose.

12. Powerless - A slow track to end the album, albeit powerful(no pun intended). It's a personal track and the first track that I finally feel like real heart was put into. I'm not sure how to explain it, it just has a very personal feel to it. As a track, it's okay, nothing too special about it.

Overall - First off, let me get this out of the way, I loved Hybrid Theory and Meteora, I liked Minutes to Midnight and I hated A Thousand Suns. Going into this I was not expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised with this album. While it won't win all of it's original fans back it's a step in the right direction and if they continue in this direction I believe more people will look back on this album as a good album. For now, I think people will still be split. The best way I can explain the sound is A Thousand Suns and Minutes to Midnight put together with a couple shots of Meteora put in. If you're not familiar with Linkin Park, don't start with this album, start with the classics. If you're a 90s kid, you will always love Linkin Park, do them a favor and listen to this album, you may be surprised. Basically, if you enjoy the track "Lost in the Echo" you'll mostly enjoy the album, if not, then you most likely won't.

Rating - 6.5/10