Goldini Bagwell – Secondhand Smoke (The Extended Cut) (2014)

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Artist: Goldini Bagwell

Album: Secondhand Smoke (The Extended Cut)

Tracklisting:

1. Live Without (Intro)
2. Desire Is… (feat. Little Warrior)
3. Get Busy (feat. Tope, DJ Flip Flop & Jon Belz)
4. Words to Live By, Pt. 2 (feat. Bre Paletta)
5. Conclusions Drawn
6. Read About It (feat. Iame, OnlyOne & Illmaculate)
7. Feeling Good (Saul Love)
8. Say Anything
9. WWWH
10. Pandemonium
11. Search Party (feat. Onry Ozzborn, Dj Wels & Nyquil)
12. Everchanging Constant (feat. Little Warrior)
13. Wings of a Seagull (Instrumental)

Note:

This is not a review of any sort.  This is just ‘us’ letting ‘you’ know that this available now.  Bagwell is a favorite and a mainstay on HHD and it’s only fitting for me to encourage you to go pick this up.  90% of the music coming out these days, you have heard before.  There’s a lot of the same old cafeteria cooking going on in the lab these days.  But when something unique comes out, we’ve got to support.  Bagwell is among a very minute population of artists who consistently gives us quality of a different ilk and always makes it fresh for the fans.   So make sure you cop from the Bandcamp page now and check back here later, when I will have more time to do an official review!

Curtessy x The Militia – Expectations (2013)

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Artist: Curtessy x The Militia

Album: Expectations

Tracklisting:

  1. A New Day
  2. What It Seems
  3. One (ft. Khrysis)
  4. Emcee
  5. Expectations (ft. Wally Left x Rome Clientel)
  6. The Lifestyle (ft. MidaZ The BEAST)
  7. All My Life
  8. South Central (ft. Pro Logic)
  9. Aint No Love
  10. End Of The Day

Note:

One thing that I have learned for certain in 2013 is that The Militia is an elite production outfit.   They concoct some raw and innovative boom bap for artists, in this case, Curtessy to spit over.

Expectations is an interesting title for this album, because not really knowing what Curtessy was about, I really had no expectations for this release.  But as it turns out, with this release, he’s starting to set those expectations with this release.  And he sets that bar high.

The project of course features spine-snapping drums and soulful rhythms from The Militia but also a very driven Curtessy.  It sounds like he is a man who has been doubted before.   But on this release, he shows that South Central emcees can come with the lyrics too.  He got the nice wordplay but it is derived from his real life experiences and what’s what makes this joint special.

Expectations on the whole is dope but some of my favorite cuts are One, the posse cut Expectations, and All My Life.  These three cuts illustrate the incredible production from The Militia and Curtessy’s complete repertoire.  Give this project a chance and become a fan.

SGT. Over – School Of Hard Knoxx (2013)

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True to my commitment to post more projects on HHD (minus the lengthy review) I bring you the newest EP from SGT. Over, School Of Hard Knoxx.  This project is short coming in at under 15 minutes but it’s really meant as a teaser for what is yet to come.   What that is, is his forthcoming album, Big Music, from which we have already showcased cuts featuring, Ras Kass and Ransom.  That album is going to be fully loaded and will drop in early 2014.  But in the meantime enjoy this moment in time produced by Knoxx.   The whole thing is certified but I am especially feeling the track, Sarge.  That one really sets the tone for what I think SGT Over is about.

Scuare – Alphabet Soup (2013)

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This one of these moments where I am proud to live in the ATX.   There are a few dope artists in the area, but for the most part I could count them all on one hand, and then comes along Scuare.  HHD actually featured his video single, One, back earlier this year.  What struck me was of course the great production from Tom Bombadil, but also the heavy lyricism from Scuare.   I say heavy, because there is an intellectual quality about his music, but also a cadence and flow that keeps things interesting.  It’s vastly different and needed in this area.   In an era where little is remarkable and much of hip hop is standard fare,  Alphabet Soup offers a different approach to hip hop music.  And that’s what we are about here on HHD…innovation inspired in the culture of hip hop.

Now with any album I have my favorites, and here on Alphabet Soup I tend to favor the following:  One,  Gone Away, General Lee, and Recursive.   But give it a listen and see for yourself.

Quadir Lateef – Fool’s Gold (2013)

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Artist: Quadir Lateef

Album: Fool’s Gold

Tracklisting:

Note:

I can’t go any longer without talking about this album.  Quadir Lateef’s, Fools Gold, is an indictment of all that is going on in the hip hop culture.   He is fierce and fearless when making his observations.   Everything from the songs to the skits has a purpose, and that’s to put this hip hop culture on blast.  As a Muslim, Lateef, has a problem with his surroundings and instead of sitting idly by and giving the perpetrators a pass, he vehemently goes after these individuals within the confines of this music.

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Freestyle Fam – Unleashed (2013)

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Artist: Freestyle Fam

Album: Unleashed

Tracklisting:

1. Bar Fights
2. We Ain’t Down
3. By Your Side
4. Beauty
5. This Ain’t No Party
6. I’ll Get There
7. Beauty 2
8. The High I’m On
9. 5am In Staten
10. Sketch Art
11. True Rap

Note:

This is not a full blown review but rather a strong recommendation for you to check this project out.  Now, typically, I wouldn’t advocate a project like this.  Freestyle Fam is for the most part rocking over instrumentals from the very accomplished AraabMuzik.   I usually post original rhymes over original beats, but I am going to make an exception here.  The rhyme skill here is so good, it just can not be ignored.   I seriously believe Freestyle Fam  is in the top five percent when it comes to writing end executing rhymes.   What’s even more exciting is that they can write some of the hardest bars without cursing and with the Armor Of God intact.  That’s right.  They are Christian men who happen to rap…really, really well.  But this isn’t your typical preachy “religious hip hop”.  This is very different.   It just has to be heard…so bear witness.

I have posted their video Bar Fights on here before, but I am going to embed it here again so you can feel it, and then I want you to DL this project (above) .  You will not be disappointed.

Alpha Faktion – Truth, Lies, & Audiotape (2013)

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Artist: Alpha Faktiom

Album: Truth, Lies, & Audiotape

Tracklisting:

Note:

I really had to mention this EP to you guys as I find myself bumping this release as much as anything else in 2013.    I have featured some of Alpha Faktion’s material here before but that in itself does not do this project justice.    In many ways, Truth, Lies, & Audiotape is very reminiscent of NonPhixion’s first album, The Future Is Now.  Members, Azwun, Kraze, and DJ Enyoutee really have concocted a phenomenal release for hip hop fans of all walks and, at the same time, give the same people food for thought.

On the first two tracks,  Truth, Lies, & Audiotape and Man Against Machine, you have Alpha Faktion rebuking the systematic indoctrination by the government and the media against the masses.  It is also on these initial songs that you can hear a chemistry that has been building over a significant amount of time.   On, Bodybagz, the team seemingly have no problem just dropping a track that bangs, just for the sake of making it bang.   And yes, that joint definitely will ring some bells.  But right after that they come back and show the ability to show sincere introspection on the cut, Reflection Of Self.   They can tackled many a topic but on each cut they bring a straight boom bap sound and sharp lyricism.  They are not taking any shortcuts or easy way outs.  Alpha Faktion brings the same mentality to whatever track that they are on.

This album should make hip hop purists release a shout of joy and I encourage you to go to their bandcamp and purchase this release to show your support for their art.

Black El x Durkin – Color Commentary

Artist: Black El & Durkin

Album: Color Commentary

Producer: Durkin

Guests: Outasight, Jon Hope, Jelani

Best Tracks: Dead Poet Society, Go!,  Sunday Drive

Recommendation: Must Have

Thoughts: Color Commentary sneaks upon the listener.  I didn’t know much about the emcee or the producer but upon track three, I began to realize that a dope record was being achieved.

Consistency is the cornerstone to a great hip hop album and I have to say that each song on, Color Commentary more than holds it’s own weight individually.  Collectively, however, this album is something remarkable.  Durkin’s production talents on the album harken back to that boom bap flavor that so many of us enjoy but rarely hear.  Black El uses Durkin’s talents to the fullest extent. His high energy vocals and above average flow and wordplay kept me engage from track one to track ten.  There was no let down.  The two proved to be a perfect combination on Color Commentary.

This album is banger after banger.  It simply is a pleasure to listen to.  The sound is dope through out but the content certainly is varied.  Pride, for  instance opens up the listener to not just one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but also the confidence that Black El has developed over his years.  He speaks on the situations that have arisen in his life and his ability to step up to the plate and hold onto his pride.

Sunday Drive is the perfect cut to ride to.  The beat for this joint is my favorite on the album.  Black El speaks on the 9 to 5 grind and the ability to escape from time to time in your ride.   The track had me slowing down my speed, rolling the window down, and just chilling.  It’s a very therapeutic joint and a definite head nodder.

Arguably the hardest joint on the album is the posse cut, Dead Poet Society.  The track features Jelani and Jon Hope.  Each of these talented emcees drop solid verses and Durkin laces us with the darkest production on the album.  That production is a little different than you will find on other tracks.  While the rest of the album is that throwback boom bap, Dead Poet Society is more contemporary and is driven more by the keyboard than the hi-hats and snares.   This really makes this track stand out for the better.  Lyrically this track is one of the more superior joints.

I feel that this album is one of the more fun listens of 2010.  I could enjoy the album track for track and not have to worry about the fast forward button at all.  Give Color Commentary a chance and enjoy for yourself.  (Stream/Download below)


Wrekonize: A Soiree For Skeptics

Artist: Wrekonize

Album: A Soiree For Skeptics

Guests: Bernz, Co$$, Snave Nayr

Production: Wrekonize, Miami Beat Wave, Stro, DJ Sharpsound, Plex Luthor, Erik L, Tzarizm, Rudi Goblen

Best Tracks: One Foot In The Grave, Let Go, Winding Road, Children’s Games, Fugitive

Recommendation: Must Have

Note: I can’t front. I can’t even hide the fact that I am in love with the music on A Soiree For Skeptics. Everything screams, ‘classic’ about this album.

Wrekonize is a unique talent. His soul and his passion for music just shine thru. But so much to making good music is more than just having talent. There are a lot of emcees that can flow and have amazing lyrics but what Wrekonize can do where others have fallen short is making a GREAT song. As a matter of fact he made at least sixteen of them on this release.

A hook can ruin a song and rarely can it contribute, or so I thought. Wrekonize turns that theory on it’s head. His ability to melodically do his own choruses enhances every track. He has a soulful vibe that should resonate with every listener. His lyrical parlay is equally as impressive. He has a mastery of the English language. His lines aren’t merely littered with metaphors and similes, they are laced with complex rhyme schemes, filled with idea and purpose, and flow effortlessly. His thoughts drift from the state of the ‘new’ hip hop artist on Winding Road to his perception of war on Children’s Games.  His horizons are indeed broad as you listen to the album from start to finish.

The production is equally incredible.  The album has the bangers (One Foot In the Grave) which will have your head nodding as well as cuts that make you feel like you are in an old smoke filled jazz club (Let Go).  The one constant throughout in terms of production is that is all dope and fit Wrekonize like a glove.

Wrekonize is not a one trick pony and and A Soiree For Skeptics will demand your attention more than once. It has been in steady rotation here since Tuesday. This album will have staying power as long as you give it a chance. I promise you will not regret your time. Classic material in a day and age where that really means something.