Album Review | Pusha T – “Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude”

Darkest Before Dawn (Artwork)

In the last few months, there have been a pair of stellar projects to drop that we were unable to do proper reviews for. It wouldn’t be right unless we remedy that, so check out one of the reviews below. As always, feel free to share the post. New reviews are on the way, so be on the lookout.

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[Written By// @K1ngEljay]

When you mention the word “consistency”, there’s not too many people that can rightfully attribute that phrase to their music. Granted, you have your JAY-Z’s or your Kanye West’s (or, Pablo’s, according to his latest album title change), or even your T.I.’s and your Scarfaces, but outside of the easily recognizable names that helped share Hip-Hop into what it is today, there’s not many (outside of K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar) that qualify. Going even further, there’s not many that can even hold a candle to that type of potency with quote-unquote “drug raps”, but that’’s why Pusha T is such a fascinating anomaly in the system.

Pusha began, for most of us, as half of the Clipse duo with his brother, Malice. Politics halted their initial arrival, but with the Neptunes backing them, Lord Willin’ became a cult classic due to the cleverness laced within the bars. Before them, there weren’t too many true lyricists that took to those types of raps effectively. “Grindin’” and “Virginia” kicked the doors off the hinges, and Pusha T was the flair that lured the casual listeners in with his borderline comical bars that combined his knowledge with his personality:

“In Virginia, we smirked at the Simpson trial. Yeah, I guess the chase was wild, but what’s the fuss about?”

It was refreshing to see the duo (and their cohorts, The Re-Up Gang) keep those lyrical gymnastics going in future projects (including the criminally slept on mixtape series, We Got It 4 Cheap). However, a plot twist arose as Malice discovered the Lord and left those ways in the past. His brother, however…

…Well, his brother has not. I hesitate to say that his music is better for it because of what it would imply, but a guilty pleasure of mine is hearing Pusha T approach a track and make it his own. Teaming up mainly this time with Timbaland, Pusha T’s (aka King Push’s) latest project to drop is something like a Prelude to what he has planned. Darkest Before Dawn is nothing but aggressive raps and surprising production that hits as hard as intended, but still laces that lyricism we became familiar with all of those years ago – which, in itself, is incredible. Continue reading

Mixtape Review | Jacquees – “MOOD”

[Written By // @shanglennon

Although Jacquees has been consistently releasing music for the past five years with several mixtapes and two EP’s to date, his name hasn’t been as prevalent as other young, talented singers who have surfaced within that same time. With MOOD, his most recent drop, we’re given a further developed and experienced artist who can undoubtedly compete in today’s heavily saturated R&B market. The young tenor resonates with fans of a traditional R&B sound with his melodic composition and his sexually blatant lyrics are something that most R&B fans can appreciate. With fewer features than on previous projects and a clearer arrangement, we really get to hear Jacquees’ talent stand on its own. Continue reading

LISTEN | Freddie Gibbs – “Money, Cash, H**s”

  • Artist | Freddie Gibbs
  • Song | “Money, Cash, H**s”
  • Prod. | The Beat Bully

Freddie Gibbs continues his RIDICULOUS run of dope music by dropping yet another crazy song that should’ve been on Shadow of a Doubt. “Money, Cash, H**s”, content-wise, is as generic (not a diss) as they come. The content is about exactly what you think it’s about, but the flow that Freddie flips for this may sound familiar to DMX and Jay-Z alumni. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what inspired the entire track, but regardless it’s a fun listen as Gibbs rides the menacing Beat Bully instrumental into the ground. Press play up top if gangsta rap is your thing.

LISTEN | Elzhi – “coSIGN” (feat. Skonie)

  • Artist | Elzhi (feat. Skonie)
  • Song | “coSIGN”
  • ProjectLead Poison (March 2016)

So a while back, I tweeted about an Elzhi fan toying with the idea of suing him. I thought it was extreme, until it came out that he started a kickstarter, raised a bunch of money, and subsequently vanished into thin air. That’s definitely bad business, and the more I dove into the story, the more it seemed like Elzhi wasn’t being 100% with the fans that rocked with him enough to support the venture.

And then, a few days ago, the skies parted and Elzhi descended upon us with not only a new song, but an interview and an album release date. Turns out, Elzhi had some personal issues he had to deal with. Depression had a bit of a grip on him, and although Lead Poison is a very ominous-sounding title, the album’s supposedly about the recovery. I’m definitely interested to see what’s up with that, but for now, check out “coSIGN” up top, and the interview here, via Noisey.

 

LISTEN | Boogie – “Beats 1 Freestyle”

  • Artist | Boogie
  • Song | “Beats 1 Freestyle” 

Boogie is one of my favorite rappers out right now, and his last project was my favorite project of 2015 (yes, over Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly). I played the mess out of it, and it’s so fresh that I’m liable to throw it on again at any given time and catch a new bar or rhyme or scheme. The homie Melvin hit me with this freestyle he did on Beats 1 Radio, and it’s nothing but flames and potent bars. There’s no such thing as a line wasted with the Compton spitter, so check it out, and wait like me for Boogie’s return.

LISTEN | Sylvan LaCue – “Fall From Grace” [prod. by Linzi Jai]

  • Artist | Sylvan LaCue
  • Song | “Fall From Grace”
  • Project | Far From Familiar (Spring 2016)

So uh… QuESt back.

That’s not the name anymore, as he’s dropped the moniker to go back to his name, Sylvan LaCue. His last project was more for the women, but now there’s no love raps in this drop at all; instead Sylvan’s back with the screw-face flows over fiery production from Linzi Jai (who we might need to do a spotlight on soon; he’s also a talented do-it-all artist, but that’s later). Sylvan’s extremely direct and forward with the approach on this one. We’ve heard him snap like this before, so we’ll have to wait and see how it translates to Far From Familiar when it drops soon. We’ll keep you posted.

LISTEN | Statik KXNG – “February 12th (Part 1)”

  • Artist | Crooked I
  • Song | “February 12th (Part 1 of 3)”

This is in promotion for Crooked I’s upcoming Statik KXNG EP with Statik Selektah (which I am extremely excited for), and it has the vibe of the Hip-Hop Weekly drops that Crook used to do back in the day, before it was cool to drop stuff every week. That being said, this is a nice little warm-up for the main course that’s hitting this Friday that includes references from Stacey Dash and Gabrielle Union, to Black Panther of the Marvel universe (and that aforementioned Hip-Hop Weekly series), so check it out up top.

LISTEN | Blahzé Misfits – “Hillary Clinton”

  • Artist | Blahzé Misfits
  • Song | Hillary Clinton

The duo Blahzé Misfits, comprised of Ly Moula and Georgie Lobstas, are not new to this. Seeing as how they sparked discourse about double standards and humorless critics with their last album, Colonel Custard’s Lonely Dick Pic Band, Blahzé can’t possibly be strangers to controversy, but it doesn’t take much time with their art to realize that while they aren’t quite always looking for it, they absolutely welcome it. Basically, this is a knowingly subversive but fun-loving pair, and that should be fine with us. After all, what is art if not challenging and/or merry?

That being said, their new record, “Hillary Clinton“, should come as no surprise.

Over production by CamGotHits, the Misfits address dubious actions taken throughout their lives with this timely nod to the notoriously inconsistent stance-having presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Here, we have the flip-floppy nature of your standard politician juxtaposed with the “flipping” of various “items” for reasonable purposes, leaving us to debate on the various ethical dilemmas. Aptly-titled song indeed. However, “Hillary Clinton” isn’t to be taken as a form of harsh anti-Hillary propaganda, though; the repetition and tone with which the chorus is delivered assures that the song can’t help but place Clinton in a purely satirical, if not somewhat endearing, light.

Ultimately, in true Blahzé fashion, Moula and Lobstas kept their tongues in their cheeks and a smirk on their faces while finding yet another ingenious way to unflinchingly comment on themselves, the world around them, and how they intersect.