“I’m On My Grind Cousin, Ain’t Got Time For Frontin’…”

I know I haven’t really been blogging like I should for the past couple weeks, but I’ve been on my grizzly – interviews with DJ Premier, Queensbridge MC/former Nas protege Lake, producer JR Rotem (shout-out to B-Fred for the opportunities), Fat Joe, Young Buck, Sadat X, Dres from Black Sheep, and new school duo Kidz In The Hall are coming soon, along with a blog entry coming this weekend or Monday about everybody’s least favorite rapper. But in the meantime, check the new issue of SCRATCH for my article on up-and-coming beatmaker Soundtrakk, and below for a couple other articles I’ve got on the internets (© Bol).
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Lloyd Banks, Rotten Apple (album review)

Interestingly, Lloyd Banks’ new disc, ‘Rotten Apple’, may be one of G-Unit’s most important releases in recent memory. The group’s first run of the solo releases—50 Cent’s ‘Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ and ‘The Massacre’, Banks’ ‘Hunger For More’, Young Buck’s ‘Straight Outta Cashville’, former member Game’s ‘The Documentary’—succeeded both among the streets and the billboards, helping give them credibility as the industry’s new premier rap crew. But after duds by Tony Yayo and Mobb Deep failed to make waves with fans and critics alike, many are expecting the downfall of 50 Cent and company. With his sophomore set, Banks delivers a solid album that manages to pull the Unit out of its rut, but fails to break any new ground for Banks himself.
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Jedi Mind Tricks, Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell (album review)

The Jedi Mind Tricks’ reputation precedes them in the underground rap world. With their three previous full-lengths, the duo of lyricist Vinnie Paz and beat maestro Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind have garnered a cult following with their breed of elaborate, detail-oriented horrorcore rap. With their senior effort, ‘Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell’, JMT match the gore and violence with concepts and purpose.

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Ludacris, Release Therapy (album review)

Having an established reputation in the rap world is a gift and a curse. On the positive side, it makes the artist distinctive from his competition and grants listeners instant gratification. But a negative aspect of that eminence restricts the rapper from breaking artistic ground or exploring options outside of what he’s already known for, as die-hard fans complain of an unfaithful hero. Def Jam veteran Ludacris has built his reputation on knife-tongued wit, hilarious punchlines and steamy sex raps, but as is evident from his recent shedding of his braids, the ATLien is looking for some change. With his fifth LP, Release Therapy, Ludacris fills your disc changer with a well-calculated risk album.

**Yes, I know this review may seem like a huge change of heart (no Game) from my earlier blog about Luda; but hey, everybody can change their mind once in a while, right?**
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Daz, So So Gangsta (album review)

While the name of So So Def‘s newest signee has had multiple variations—Daz, Daz Dillinger, Dat Nigga Daz—his credo hasn’t. Ever since his days with the historic Death Row Records and the Snoop Dogg-headed Dogg Pound crew, Daz has laced the same bassline-heavy beats and spewed the same West Coast gangsta flows that he helped originate. So, understandably, Daz‘s alignment with Jermaine Dupri‘s notably crossover-friendly So So Def Recordings had a few fans of the West Coast legend raising their eyebrows. But with his So So Def debut, So So Gangsta, Daz maintains his place in the West Coast gangsta scene while gaining new ground.
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