Posts tagged Review

#Drakedown – Drake at Hammersmith Apollo In Depth Review

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Best show I have seen in years.  Not perfect, but undoubtably a major hip-hop force with years of growth ahead of him.

DJ Hero First Review

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We went to the DJ Hero launch party with The Scratch Perverts and here’s what we thought…

Mixtape Review: Crooked I – Block Obama Part 2

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‘My 16’s so fly, I’ll call ’em jail bait’

‘I used to paint pictures with my 16’s, now I spit plasma big screens, look at the vivid scenes’

‘I see these n*****s claiming long beach and ain’t stepped a foot in this city, in MY city, Crooked is Biggie’

Crooked_I_Block_Obama_II

 

Impressed?  You should be.  Crooked I’s second installment of The Block Obama series is a fire tape, jam packed with quotables that are surprisingly easy to digest and not over complex.  If you look at this tape objectively, it should have never come out.  From 1995 onwards Crooked has consistently been beaten down by the music industry, from signing to Noo Trybe and the whole label getting dropped by Virgin, to signing with Death Row and Suge Knight… well… being Suge Knight.  Even half of this experience would have your favourite rapper flipping burgers by now, but it seems to have made Crook stronger, and now one quarter of the new Slaughterhouse has found his running pace.  Click below for full review.

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I Came, I Saw, I Conquered: Review of Jay-Z at Glastonbury

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Jay headlined Glastonbury, and in his own words he’s “pretty fu–ing awesome”.

Hova took the stage during the evening of June 28th 2008, and gave a total performance in front of a very receptive crowd. The supposed opposition to him being the headline act, like Noel Gallagher P.h.D, were no where to be seen [link]. Hova gave a total master class on how to give a show, combined with research to find out how to customise the hour long performance for a UK festival crowd.

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UK browsers can view the full performance on BBC’s iPlayer here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/page/item/b00ccd12.shtml?src=ip_mp

He dropped extra songs, remixes and even some rhymes accapella, letting people truly hear the depth behind his lyrics. Beyonce was side-stage partying uncontrollably, the Oasis diss was incredible and American Boy…whoa. Magic.

The Anti-bush moment was incredibly enjoyable, and the tempo pick up into ‘P.S.A‘ was masterfully done.

It has really made me want to consider going to the festival, and put up with all the mud, just to see a show like this.

Posted by Hip-Hop Singh

Best of Both Reviews: Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III

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Even though this is the first ever Best of Both Reviews (i.e. When two lovesoul writers cannot agree on which review to post) I have to confess that it is not a case of extremes. I do not think this is the best album ever, and Hip-hop Singh does not think this is the worst album ever (otherwise I’m sure Camron, Plies and Tony Yayo would lose the talent that makes them ’special’).

Lil Wayne Tha Carter III Review
So let me start by saying this album is NOT an absolute classic, more a modern day classic. Weezy is superb, refreshing, versatile, humorous and octane fuelled, but the polishing that the absolute classics have had is lacking in this. In the first track, ‘3 Peat’ he threatens to ‘m-fk your kids’, and in the last track he targets paedophiles, mistakes that are too easy to see. So why is this? Well back to the real classics, Biggie had Puff, Em and Snoop had Dre, 50 had Em, Game had 50, and Jay-Z had…well Jay-Z. Weezy has Baby, and although Baby has hits to blow any clubs south of Philly to pieces, Baby he’s not changed hip-hop, just contributed.

But before Hip-Hop Singh uses this against me, let’s focus on why this is one of the best albums of 2008 so far. It’s full of the hits that hip-hop needs. While Soulja Boy and Hurricane Chris claim to have catchy down, their flows and lyrics (and beats) cannot touch the near flawless ‘A Milli’. The ‘young money millionaire, tougher than Nigerian hair’ rips this beat to shreds. The flows, pacing, intonations, metaphors and even riding of the chops and screws is stunning. This song will absolutely explode clubs and cars forever.

Other stand outs include Just Blaze’s Mr Carter. Jay-Z makes an early appearance at Weezy’s party (2nd track, tho I think it should’ve been about 2/3rd of the way in). Weezy is really whatever on this track, we’ve definitely heard him better rapping over khaled and swizz beats. When hova steps up, its magic. Although its not like his Kanye, Rick Ross or Aztec cameos, its damn good, as he spits ‘the dope bwoy just came off the spoon’, forcing weezy to come back spitting ’so far from average’. The saving wack rappers concept track Dr Carter is very similar, it seems like he’s just spitting for the hell of it, until the trumpets come in to remind the Game, take notes on how you shout out other rappers from Weezy; subtle, fast, direct and back to the music.

Weezy highlights his a status as future great by picking some challenging beats. He rides Kanye’s ‘let the beat build’, but the lack of bass and slightly adolescent tone of his voice doesn’t allow his words to cut though and be memorable, like the tracks producer can be. This trait fortunately doesn’t restrict him so much on ‘The La La’, produced by David Banner and feat Brisco and the proven versatile Busta Rhymes. Busta is typically very good, tho I need a more bit of the dungeon dragon style to make me press repeat on him.

‘You aint got nothin’ is a great collab cut feat fabolous (feels like his track when he spits), juelz santana (feels like his track when he spits actually) and weezy himself (oh its actually his track). But weezy does damage this record, straight spraying venom everywhere and showing that he is actually better than his trackmates. Another highpoint to demonstrates weezys confidence.

Also some of the average tunes include ms officer ft bobby valentino (weezy, did u loose lloyds number?), and the hook driven, but otherwise poor, T-pain 2nd single feature ‘get money’. But there are still gems like radio-ready ‘comfortable’ with babyface to keep you two-stepping this summer.
So should you buy this album. Like over a million buyers in his first week out, yes, it will complement your hip-hop collection no doubt, its dope as hell and stands shoulders above most ‘new’ artists (weezy aint new, he’s revived, but you get what I mean). Hip-Hop Singh, take the baton….(Raj Lovesoul signing out)

tha carter III Review

Hip-Hop Singhs Review

Ok, Weezy has dropped his album ladies and gents, the question is does it give credibility to the claim of “best rapper alive”? I’ve heard the album, thoroughly, and the only answer is a resounding no.

The artist comes of with some heavily cliched production and nonsensical rambling lyrics, that try and come together at the end of verses, but more often than fall quite flat instead. That’s not to say the guy doesn’t have highlights and great catchy tracks, but these nuggets are lined side by side with some truly “please-hit-skip-track-now” songs.

Let’s face it Wheezy does get judged harshly due to the hype and hotness surrounding him (the album has a sticker that carries a Kanye West endorsement quote of the man himself) and he HAS greatly improved from his Hot Boy beginnings. The early track show this no less “3 peat” with typical weezy lines like “throw it up like i was trying to lose my gut”. Such lines will cause listeners to smile at the simple idea and effectiveness of such lines, and the realisation that no one else can really get away with such lines. Wayne does, due to the style in which he delivers his rhymes, each line dripping with charisma and swagger, two traits you could never accuse the kid of lacking. But the phrase “all style and no substance” never becomes more apparent later on in the very same song, where such lines like “watch me/ bitch watch me/ bitch watch me/ but they cannot see me” and “abracadabra…..i say up like viagra” cause you to grimace and hang your head in shame. It’s hard to believe that this guy reckons to be on top of the game and wants to lay claim to the crown, YET CHAMPIONS LINES LIKE THOSE??

Straight away Wayne makes amends for such trespasses by flowing over a VERY Just Blaze-esque beat Mr. Carter, along with his namesake. Here Wheezy is far more focused and his lines are stronger and flow much better delivered. Even lines like “I call them April babies because they’re fools!” show his creativity and succeed at keeping a smile on your face. The hook is very catchy and Wayne’s adlibs serve to enhance it further, and I defy anyone to not be singing it or having it playing in their head after only a few listens. But the crowning moment of the song comes of as Lil’ Wheezy’s greatest failing. Last verse duties fall to Jay-Z himself, and even with it being far from Jigga’s best verse, he comes of a class ahead of title artist in flow, lyrics and content. I suspect this is evident to Wayne himself, which is why he even reference lines from Jay’s “Lucky Me” at the end of the song.

Wanye has been known for flip-flopping between being “the best rapper alive” and “the best rapper since Jay retired”. After this song and album, he should stick with the post-retirement line, because at least that way he would be less wrong.

Unfortunately Wayne is not helped with some HEAVILY cliched lazy production, with the same horns and drum count down patterns appearing in virtually every song, making some of the beats nigh impossible to differentiate from standard south hip hop fare. Others are just awful, “A Milli” has a sample and loop that just wears away at the sanity of those who hear it for prolonged periods of time. “Dr. Carter” is a concept song that just fails due to Lil’ Wayne being a rambling mess on a concept that requires focus and execution, two trademarks the rapper lacks here. The Dr. Carter makes you ask “would u want to be treated by a mumbling incoherent unbalanced individual with as much finesse on execution as a monkey performing brain surgery with a wrench”, such is how Wheezy comes across. And “Phone Home” is just terrible, sorry, that’s all i can say about it.

“Tie My Hands” a collabo with Robin Thicke, comes across as a nice slow jam with style and smoothness, even if it comes off more a Robin Thicke song with Lil’ Wayne on it, probably because Thicke produced it as well. “Lollipop” is a standard Wayne club single, and just acts like Ronseal, doing exactly what it says on the tin. “Let The Beat Build” is also a pretty decent affair with Kanye West handling the boards and Wayne delivering decent lines. The rest of the album is pretty much forgettable fare.

I feel Wayne’s style of repeating lines and flipping their meaning was done 1st by Dipset, and all is like Pac than Biggie, as an artist who has stylish delivery more than quotable lyrics.
Even Ghostface can be accused of having lyrics that can border on nonsense, but Ghostface does not sound like Animal from the police academy movies when he raps, Lil’ Wayne does.
 So as an album I cannot call this good, not by a long shot. To be honest it’s pretty poor.

Review of Charlie Sloth 'It's Hard Being Good'

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Mixtape Name: It’s Hard Being Good
Created By: Charlie Sloth [Click for Artist Site]
Overall Rating: 8 out of 10
Reviewed by: Raj Lovesoul

Download it now here whilst you read the review

Charlie Sloth has issues. Way too many than his brilliant mixtape ‘It’s Hard Being Good’ can pack in. But as all good mixtapes should do, it serves as an exciting prequel to an inevitable career as a signed artist.

charlie sloth it\'s hard being good album cover

Camden raised Sloth is a versatile MC, a strength that he exploits when he sounds like he’s rapping in the rain during the thunder-clad counselling session in ‘My Shrink’, to the fairground fairytale killer ‘Mr Rapman’ (I dare you to not say ‘you f—king mug’ within 24hrs of hearing that record). The fact that he chooses so many different sounds and beats shows a certain level of confidence in his own ability as a writer, rapper and rebel. With piercing lines like ‘you’re not you when you rap, you’re your favourite rapper in disguise, oh my God look at this guy, all he ever does is lie’, the vendetta theme of this mixtape is exposing what is wrong with hip-hop, society and himself, all interwoven and presented thoughtfully and brutally honest. Further props to him for the record ‘Can’t forget about UK’ as he breaks down all of his UK hip-hop influences over Nas’s ‘Can’t Forget About You’ beat. Listen to it a few times, then hit Wikipedia, you owe it to UK hip-hop.

In my opinion, without a shadow of a doubt, the best record on the album is ‘Think Positive’. The slow hook, creeping keys and stabbing verses challenge you to hit the forward button, and you just can’t. It’s as if Charlie sit’s you in the car that is his life and then drives you into a wall, as he talks about his son thinning due to lack of food and feeling like he has no spirit (‘where the f—k is God?!?!’). Half way through the record, it switches to the positives that reflect his life now, rolling with The Jump Off team, London’s leading Hip-Hop and sports entertainment collective. The beat changes into up-tempo reggae, and Sloth pieces his life back together in front of you brick by brick.

The fact of the matter is, it was probably harder for me to avoid writing ‘the UK’s answer to Eminem’, than it was for Charlie to put his album together. His flow is effortless, his voice lands right into the beat, deep enough to mix in, but sharp enough to be heard and the content is bang on point. You get the bragging mixed with the truth, the sound effects mixed with quick verbal skits and an on-going sense that your life isn’t that f—ked up compared to this guy. This mixtape is a benchmark of change for Charlie, and as an artist he exists as a metaphor for society as it is today, and how it could be. Hopefully society will be as good as Charlie’s life when he inevitably gets a Brit Award.

Review of Busta Rhymes at Oceana in Birmingham

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Disorganised. That one word pretty much defined the night at Oceana.

Even though the doors had opened at 10pm, and people were being allowed in, the main room was still being set up until nearly 12.30am, and there was no real music being played for the duration either. So by the time people were FINALLY allowed in, a party mood was the last thing on their minds.

Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star at Oceana in Birmingham Review for lovesoul.tv

It’s times like these where real DJ’s earn their cash, and on that night DJ Fricktion did exactly that. Having already heard him perform in numerous venues previously, I knew what to expect once we got in the main room at 12.30, he again delivered. He cut up numerous crowd-pleasing tracks and beats, ensuring the party got started. Fricktion was able to show a diverse choice of music, ranging from rnb, to bhangra, garage, bashment and, of course, hip hop. I have to admit I did get a buzz from hearing him drop Big L “Ebonics” as well.

At 2.30 am Busta’s tour DJ, DJ Scratch came out and delivered a Westwood like set to get the crowd amped for the main man himself. On walked Spliff Star and Busta and immediately the show started. The on stage chemistry and timing between Busta and Spliff was something that had been truly well versed and formed over countless shows. They moved in sync with each other and Spliff did exactly what a hype man should do, blend in the performance of the main star with mic work that was perfectly flawless.

The same could not be said for the microphone levels for the first few songs, a problem that was highlighted most when Busta and Spliff performed over the Ying Yang Twinz beat “whisper song”. Hearing these issues, like a true professional, he addressed and corrected this, ensuring it was a blight no longer.

Busta’s energy was high all night, and to ensure the crowd stayed up there with him, he regularly sprayed the crowd with bottled water, soaking the first few rows and creating a water fight onstage. Indeed, it was actually quite a sight to see bouncers running around on stage, trying to soak all the excess water with towels! Health and Safety would have had a field day.

The track listing performed by Busta greatly underlined how long he’d been doing this hip hop thing, with a full discography of all the big songs he’d had over the years, starting well back with “Woo-Hah! Got You In Check” and “Scenario (rmx)”; each one was well received by a crowd of true fans, not a bunch of people who had first heard the guy with the Pussycat Dolls.

Ensuring the crowd felt involved, he regularly conversed with them, slipping in patois and using plenty of “Blud Clots” and “rude bwoys”. The crowd loved every minute of it. When the topic of plugging his latest album came up, Bussa-buss did turn slightly preachy, but still spreading a positive message nonetheless.

The crowd tired, not due to the lack of effort on stage, but rather with how late it was getting. Busta started delivering more showmanship, clearly spitting more tongue-twisting verses at rapid-fire speed. Hearing him perform “Break Your Neck” at double speed was something to behold, but his delivery of “Turn it Up” was a definite highlight, performing at times acapella, and other times rowdy and raucous. Ending with true style he kept the crowd going with “Touch It” and “Pass the Courvoisier.” Yes, there was a bottle of Courvoisier on stage, but Busta wasn’t really going to be passing it!

The true shame of the night was the lack of ticket sales.  In a venue that could hold about 600-700; only 300 were present. Finally, ending the night at 4am, the people left with a smile on their face… a weary smile, but a smile all the same.

Posted by Hip-Hop Singh

Dillagence Mixtape Review

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Mixtape Name: Dillagence

Artists: Mick Boogie, Busta Rhymes, J Dilla

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer: G.D. (lovesoul.TV Reader Review)

The link to the Dillagence story, mixtape and tracklisting is here

 

dilla

Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing at important moments in history. This reviewer will always remember where he was and what he was doing on 10th February 2006, when news broke that J Dilla had passed away after suffering with an incurable blood disease; at home re-listening for perhaps the tenth time to Dilla’s ‘Donuts’, trying to understand how exactly Dilla had created the musical landscapes on what is now regarded as one of the greatest instrumental Hip-Hop albums of all time. A slew of tribute tracks and mixtapes have since been released, however none have garnered as much hype as the recently released ‘Dillagence’ a collaboration between mixtape king Mick Boogie and long time Dilla collaborator and Hip-Hop superstar Busta Rhymes.

 

The mixtape is a melange of old Dilla productions and a previously unreleased Dilla beats, with vocals from Busta Rhymes and a number of guest collaborators. From the outset though it is clear that the star of the show is the unmistakeable Dilla production, from the heavy thudding bass line of ‘Code of the Streets’ to the trademark drums and hand claps of ‘Takin’ what’s Mine’, Dilla’s beats sound as fresh and raw as ever. That rawness is additionally felt in the final mix for which Busta feels obliged to explain, fans however of the late great producer will need no such explanation, knowing that he liked his music to ‘sound like its straight from the mother****in cassette.’ Busta’s belief that this rawness was down to an eagerness on his part to spit on new Dilla beats straight from the beat CD, does however give the listener an insight into why the emcee puts in a performance full of energy and charisma, that harkens back to the Busta Rhymes of ‘The Coming’ and ‘When Disaster Strikes’. Bar a few embarrassing choruses and forgettable contributions from Papoose and Cassidy, Busta Rhymes sounds hungry and rejuvenated over Dilla’s beats, something that has been lacking from his more recent discography.

 

The general outlook that ‘Donuts’ beats should be left as instrumentals could only have been strengthened with the poor reworking of ‘Lightworks’ that appeared in the recently released ‘Peanut Butter Wolf presents 2K8 B-Ball Zombie War’ featuring lacklustre performances from Talib Kweli and Q-Tip, and which now finds itself on the mixtape. However, perhaps surprisingly Rah Digga’s performances on ‘Best That Ever Did It’ and ‘The Range’ provide evidence to the contrary, as her flow and lyrics fit perfectly into the lush Dilla production. One of the biggest highlights though must be the contribution of Raekwon on ‘Baggage Handlers’ with its chorus of “Yo its Cuban Linx 2 mutha****ers!” that will serve only to increase anticipation for his long awaited follow up.

 

One can only have respect for Busta Rhymes and Mick Boogie for releasing such a quality project in tribute to a producer that was largely slept on in his own time. Those who have never knowingly heard of Dilla will find this a fitting introduction to one the greatest producers to have graced Hip-Hop, and will hopefully be encouraged to seek out other Dilla works. For this reviewer, ‘Dillagence’ is a welcome addition to the Dilla collection, and has acted as a catalyst for me to go back and re-listen to ‘Donuts’ for the fiftieth time and try to understand how exactly he created those musical landscapes. Methinks that it is a futile exercise, genius has no explanation.

Event Review: Flashback, Mustard Bar, 24th Nov 2007

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Event Name: Flashback
Artists: Flashback DJ’s and DJ Rav (Guest Host Raj Lovesoul)
Venue: Mustard Bar, London, EC4M 8EN
Rating: 8.5/10 – Make the effort to attend this party

If your looking for an old school RnB night, Flashback sets the industrial standard. Not only was the beautiful Mustard Bar packed with equally, if not more, beautiful women and well dressed guys, but more importantly, 17 year veteran Flashback DJ, Ritesh Shah, was in his element behind the turntables when we got there.

As a DJ, this vinyl junky’s ‘old school’ records were probably pre-releases when Shah first got his hands on them, and we’re talking all the classics from 70’s MJ to Donnell Jones and everything in between. He has since built up a core following of people who not only loved the music on the night, but also came dressed in anything from suits and cocktails dresses (you know the type, champagne in hand), to girls in vests, caps and whistles raving like they were on a beach in Thailand.

Also on hand was DJ Rav, who’s seemless cd mixes never let the energy drop for a second. Of couse Vik Lovesoul and I were in the house from around midnight, at which point the dancefloor was packed, and the various lounge areas were comfortably populated with the over 25 year olds mingling and catching up from Flashbacks of the past.

Around 1.15am, the mic came my way, and this was the party in London to host for. The response was electric. Leciester was in the house, and typically made enough noise to wake up people sleeping in France. London was putting in some energy, as was a group in town from New Zealand, which all kept the vibe up.

The only reason we kept the rating down to an 8.5 out of 10 is because you can rest assured that the Flashback team are always improving, and we wouldn’t want to use a 10 rating on them just yet, only for them to somehow by even better at their next event, (so maybe at the 20 year special in 2010?). They’re miles ahead of the competition, but definately know that they have the potential to be even bigger. And after 17 years, it would take a giant to stop them.

Click the links to join the Lovesoul Facebook Group, The Flashback Facebook Group and DJ Rav’s Facebook Group.

For all other info on the artists in this article go to www.lovesoul.co.uk or www.Flashback2001.com

Posted by Raj Lovesoul

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