When Will It Stop?

Earlier this year we have learned from chambermusik.com that Black Knights member Doc Doom was shot dead in Compton, Los Angeles. Born DeShawn Cunningham, the young MC just got out of jail in December and had been working on new Black Knights songs and the upcoming Bobby Digital project. Like a lot of rappers, especially those on the West Coast, Doc Doom talked about gang violence in his rhymes. The infamous Bloods and Crips gangs that originated in California are very popular topics among hip hop artists. While no one can prove that the proliferation of gang violence and the ever rising popularity of rap music are in some way connected, it’s hard not to make any link.

Hip hop is the culture of the streets; it originated in the streets and even if major corporations are now running the business aspect of it, the hearth of hip hop is still in the streets. Life on the streets is hard: it’s every man for himself and it’s a struggle just to eat. Violence is an everyday reality and hip hop is the voice of this reality. Even today most rappers come from the streets, the ghettos, the projects or the hoods and they talk about what they live and see everyday. But even if they reach a certain level of success they seem to get stuck in that ghetto mentality where it’s all about violence and how you settle your differences with guns. Rappers making a living out of their music shouldn’t be talking about selling crack and busting shots, they should tell the world how they were able to get out of the streets because of their hard work.

Unfortunately most won’t achieve this level of success and even the hardest working artists won’t be able to eat off their music, so they hustle and do all they can to keep their heads above water. They live the street life and like in the case of Doc Doom, horrible things can happen. Being artistically gifted doesn’t guarantee success and without money it’s even less probable. Some people are willing to take serious risks to get that money, but at what cost? Street gangs are often seen by teenagers and even kids as means of getting money; power in numbers as they say. With the publicity they get in rap songs, gangs have never been more attractive to the youth. If your favourite rap star is part of a gang, why not join one since it seems to be so profitable? Five years ago, the average people didn’t even know about the Bloods and the Crips. Now there are kids everywhere sporting the red or the blue. The problem with rappers talking about street gangs is that they glorify the whole thing. They don’t talk about the danger of being part of a gang and if they do, it gets ignore. Kids are so impressionable that they’ll do anything their mp3 players will tell them to. For the past few years, hip hop also known as the music from the streets has been dominating the charts, no wonder there’s so much street violence.

The hip hop community lost a lot of very valuable members over the years due to street violence. But this number is insignificant compared to the number of teenagers, kids and parents who died because of the same thing hip hop artist often glorifies. When will it stop? When are we going to realize that violence has never solved anything and that it only creates victims? Hip hop artists are in a position to do something about it. They should use their influence to stop this ongoing violence movement. It’s either that or they could be the next:

2Pac,
Notorious B.I.G.,
Big L,
Freaky Tah,
Doc Doom,
Chip Banks,
Twin,
Soulja Slim,
Mac Dre
Jam Master Jay
Stack Bundlez
and many others.

Destiny is a strange thing, you either let it control you or you take control of it…
Duck low when the guns blow, ‘cause bullets don’t have no name
Anybody can get it, everybody is fair game
When the guns flame your way, you better duck low
Duck low when the guns blow, duck low

– Chorus from Duc Lo off Every Night is a Black Knight by Doc Doom (RIP)

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Sean Price – Jesus Price Supastar

Sean Price’s first solo effort Monkey Barz came as a surprise to many. Most of his fans expected an album from Ruck, one half of the group Heltah Skeltah, meaning a dark and gritty album with hard and vicious lyrics. However, when the first installment of Duck Down’s “triple threat” dropped, the underground hip hop community was shocked. Usually rap is about how good you are and how much better you do, but when Sean Price reality rap life album showed that life as a rap star can rather be difficult, the critics and the fans loved it. On Monkey Barz, a self-demeaning Sean P rhymes about how broke he is, how much he loves to hate his girl and how bummy he looks over hard hitting beats. The result was humorous, entertaining and especially refreshing. It was the case in 2005 and it still is in 2007 with the release of his sophomore album Jesus Price Supastar.

By now you probably know that the Boot Camp Click and the Justus League are pretty tight. It shows once again on JPS as more than 50% of production is handled by either 9th Wonder or Khrysis and that Phonte and Chaudon have guest spots. Fellow crew members Buckshot, Rock and Steele also bless the mic and represent for the BCC on Ruck’s second release. Sadat X, Block McCloud and protégé Rustee Juxx are also featured on the album.

That being said, the cast is pretty much the same as the first time around, so how does JSP compares to the acclaimed Monkey Barz? Well, it’s pretty much what you could expect from one of the most underrated artist in the game, a strong follow-up that showcases even more the man’s skills. The lyrics are harder and still incredibly clever proving the Sean P is hungrier and than ever. While Monkey Barz was about lethal punch lines, straight forward lyrics and mind blowing production, JSP is artistically more complete. Concept tracks like Da God and Director’s Cut show that Ruck’s creativity is boundless. The Brooklyn rapper can of course battle rap and he does it very effectively on P-Body. While Rock provides a murderous hook, Sean P is as real as they come and dares anyone to test him. On Mess You Made he remains true to his Monkey Barz style with lines like: “My man said he heard me on Mister Cee, yeah that’s cool but it don’t equal chips to P. The brokest rapper you know sell crack after the show”. One thing the album may lack is diversity in the production. The beats are for the most part smooth, well smoother than Monkey Barz and some of the beats sound somehow flat and repetitive. In no way are they bad, but you better like speed-up soul samples, eerie strings and melodious piano notes if you want to enjoy this album more than once. Hopefully you do, because Sean Price’s lyrics are worth it and there’s no way you’ll get their full meaning with only one listen.

Expectations were high for Jesus Price Supastar and it feels really good to say that they were met. With more than 12 years in the game, Sean Price shows he’s still growing as an artist, while it always should be the case it’s a pretty rare feat. Even if he’s part of a crew of eight and a deadly duo, Sean P’s two solo albums prove he can definitely hold his own and succeed in making us await the third one.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

The RZA – Afro Samurai (The Soundtrack)

Not too many artists can proudly say that they have risen from the slums of New York City’s housing projects to later score Hollywood movies. After a very successful first attempt on the Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai picture, The RZA got his big break when he was asked by Quentin Tarantino to contribute to the Kill Bill score and soundtracks. He then did some more music on Soul Plane, Blade: Trinity and The Protector. His latest project is the scoring and the release of a soundtrack for the Afro Samurai animated series. Created by Takashi Okazaki, the japanese manga was origianally featured in the NOU NOU HAU magazine and was recently brought to America in the form of a five-episode television series aired on Spike TV. Co-producer Samuel L. Jackson appears as the voice of the titular character in the blood filled anime. Afro Samurai – The Soundtrack features instrumentals found in the series, but also original tracks inspired by the series and bonus Bobby Digital songs.

Like on the Ghost Dog soundtrack, RZA enrolled a great cast of artists to assist him on this release. Rap legend Big Daddy Kane shows he’s still a force to be reckoned with as he and poison pen holder GZA/Genius destroy Cameo Afro. Wu-Tang affiliate and reggae singer Suga Bang appears on the track as well and can also be found dropping a nice hook on Certified Samurai with Talib Kweli and Free Murda. Young Free shares mic time with veteran Q-Tip on the next track called Just A Lil’ Dude. RZA’s epic beat highlighted by hard hitting drums and cool bongos is really fitting for Q-Tip’s calm flow and Free’s witty punch lines: “When I say I cop cars, I ain’t talkin’ about the police”. Other newcomer Reverend William Burk rips RZA’s fast paced guitar loop on Who Is Tha Man. The RZA also demonstrates his soul/RnB production skills on three tracks performed by Stone Mecca and Maurice. RZA really kept his best beats for him to rhyme on as Take Sword Part 1 and Fury In My Eyes/Revenge are the true bangers of this album. Both beats are incredibly well arranged and while Take Sword Part 1 eerie piano gives a creepy feel to the track, the same instrument makes Fury In My Eyes/Revenge sound heavenly. The diversity of the series instrumentals found on the CD is really appreciated as they all are pretty enjoyable. The same can’t be said about the four bonus Bobby Digital tracks ending the album. Even if they are labeled as bonus tracks, they sound completely out of place and are not necessarily a good way to promote the upcoming third Bobby Digital album.

With the announcement of a new Wu-Tang Clan in 2007, one can only hope that RZA plans on being in the same mind state that he was when he recorded the Afro Samurai soundtrack for the fifth Clan release. The Abbot has mastered the art of mixing Asian and American cultures and making beats out of it. He has made millions of fans doing that, so why not stick to it.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Two 4 War (Fes Taylor) – Moneta (The Album)

Contemporary hip hop classics Illmatic and Ready To Die have a few things in common. One of them is that they both have a child on the front cover; a young Nas and Biggie’s daughter. When Fes Taylor completed Moneta (the album) he felt his work was on par with those two timeless releases, so he decided to put a picture of his son on the cover. You have to be pretty confident to do that, but Fes Taylor aka LG Profes was right, Moneta is a modern day classic.

Even if the artist name is Two 4 War featuring Fes Taylor, Mr. Taylor is the only MC rhyming on the 21 tracks album. Soon to be very sought after producer Killa Mac handles the production on all tracks and Two 4 Warrior LIS is the executive producers. Like in the old days, only a few individuals worked on a project together making it original and authentic from beginning to end.

The album starts off with a soothing introduction where Fes tells a little about himself and also explains the meaning of Moneta, which basically means making money. Killa Mac static filled sample is as beautiful as they come and is the perfect background for Profes’ words. “This ain’t an intro, this is rap terrorism, make sure you got Two 4 blastin’ in your system” is how Fes attacks the title track. This song is just MC’ing at its finest as LG drops lines after lines of pure heat over an energetic head bobbing Killa Mac beat. Track number three is Just Say No and is the first of many topic oriented songs. In this one Fes talks about how hard it is to say no to weed, drinks and girls. Fes Taylor also addresses life in jail, the playa life, snitching, departed loved ones and true love on five other spectacular tracks. One of the highlight of the album is The Chase trilogy. First of all Killa Mac’s string sample is probably one the craziest ever and its combination with subtle and fast paced drums makes this beat ideal for some high action story telling. Fes’s rhymes are so vivid that you can actually picture him running away from the cops and eventually succeeding. Other bangers include Foot Locker where LG shows he’s a sneaker fiend, Stand Back and Party On, the party hardy track of the album. Even the skits on Moneta are amazing thanks to Killa Mac fantastic production and Fes’s ability to make them relevant.

Having only one producer throughout a whole album guarantees great cohesion, but can sometimes result in the effort to sound repetitive. However Killa Mac’s great creativity and wide variety of styles make Moneta a musical masterpiece. The chemistry between Mac and Profes is beautiful and reminiscent of Premier and Guru. Fes rips to shreds every track he spit on and even the ones where he only talks. As the leader of the Two 4 War movement Fes Taylor shows incredible skills on the mic and with albums like Moneta, he will definitely make money off of them.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Long Axe – Lost InTranslation

With the release of Lost In Translation, every member of Black Lotus has now released a solo album. The main difference between Long Axe’s debut album and those of fellow Black Lotus members Bolo Gah and Dragonfly is that it’s truly a solo effort. Axe is the only MC rhyming on the 19 tracks deep CD and most of the production is handled by him. Nevertheless, you’ll find yourself in known territory as this album is definitely staying true to Tha Beggas’ sound.

General Kwan (one of Axe’s aliases) explains that he chose this title because he feels that radio and TV are filtering the music, leaving it diluted and lifeless. This results in the listeners being lost in the translation between grassroots and mainstream, while the underground artists don’t get the chance to express themselves since they lack support and exposure. Nonetheless, Long Axe is determined to be heard and with Lost In Translation he does just that.

The CD starts off with a clever and funny intro that let us know that Axe is new wave, but also ol’ school. The three other skits on the album are as clever and funny and they will surely not leave you indifferent. Now it’s time to talk about some beats and rhymes. The first song is produced by Bolo Gah and as usual it’s a smooth production with a catchy loop. Axe spits about the hardships of life, but tells us that it shouldn’t be so hard; we just have to love life and live. Bolo’s Kitchen produced three other tracks: In My Head, Black Highs and Fed Ex (Fed Up). The latter is truly one of the standout songs on this release as King Cee’s loop is once again amazing while Kwan pours his heart out and reminds us how relationships can change for the worst. In case this last track downed you a little, peep None Left. The beat is by Family Jewels Productions and it’s a real energy boost, the strings are beautiful and are like a sunrise for your ears. Another uplifting track is Mellow Drama. General Kwan shows he’s a rapper of his multiple flows on Industry Beats’ hypnotic keys and high hat.

LongAxe is not really known for his production, but does very well on the eight tracks he produced. Everything I Know is genuine Beggas music; the smooth head-bopping beat is ideal for Axe’s soft voice and slow flow. Same thing goes for I Need; a dreamy sample that when combined with a killer bass line make the perfect landscape for Kwan to showcase his lyrical skills. Let’s finish this review with the highlight of the album. The name of the song is Bitter and the last thing this record will do is leave a bad taste in your mouth. Long Axe’s beat could very well be a club banger with its very catchy keys, voice sample and even a pace switching break highlighted by a reversed voice sample; a simply brilliant beat. However, the subject matter might not be what people want to hear in a club, but for everybody who’s looking for pure story telling, you’re in for a treat. The story is about rape and child molestation, but even if those are very difficult topics, Axe is able to tell it in a way that is movie like making it a very visual track.

LongAxe first solo effort is what solo albums should be; a demonstration of one’s skills on the mic and ideally on the beats. As the only MC on the whole CD, Axe holds it down very nicely. Lost In Translation boast production from five different producers, but Axe is still producing most of the tracks showing that he should also be respected as a producer and that if you want something done, do it yourself.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Bolo’s Kitchen – Blood, Sweat & Years

In the last few years we’ve seen positive soulful hip hop back at the top of the charts. Kanye West, Common, Talib Kweli and Mos Def were among some of the MC’s that got commercial success with lyrics staying away from the usual guns, bitches, cars and jeweleries. This came like a breath of fresh air for the masses, but for everybody who knows a thing or two about hip hop, we all know that this style has been around since the very beginning.

One group that’s been a proud advocate of smooth intelligent rap since their formation is Tha Beggas. They were first heard on the gold selling Wu-Tang Killa Beez compilation The Swarm. Their song On The Strength is a perfect example of what this crew of nine brings to the culture: Food for thought over well orchestrated mellow beats. The producer behind this classic record is Bolo Gah and in 2005 he released his first solo album. Under the name Bolo’s Kitchen he compiled 18 tracks and titled the effort Blood, Sweat & Years. Every song is produced, mixed, arranged and mastered by Bolo while the MC’s blessing those tracks are all from the Begga Clan. Actually the group disbanded more than five years ago, but a lot of the original members are still active and they now rep Hidden Aspects.

First, we have Black Lotus, a trio composed of Long Axe, Dragonfly and Bolo Gah himself. The group can be heard on two very beautiful cuts on Blood, Sweat & Years. The chemistry between the two MC’s is very good as they trade verses over two very different beats from Bolo. While Back The Track Up is more of an ol’ school party record, 18 To Party is a deep record that reminds us that as kids we want to grow too fast, but in the end we wish we could stay young forever. Long Axe and Dragonfly can also shine on their own. Axe is for dolo on two tracks, Rushing and Marching with Begga Ooh on the chorus. The latter is probably the most energetic track on the whole album simply because the beat is a fast paced one compared to the other tracks. In the meantime, Fly tells us What’s Going On in his life on a smooth head bopping Bolo beat. The hook is enhanced by very intense keys and strings while Begga Ooh provides one again the rhymes. The roles are swapped on Nothing as Ooh Aah is the main emcee and Fly does the hook. The piano keys on this one are just perfect and give a lot of emotions to the track.

Begga Ooh has 3 other solo songs on the album, all of them slow paced, but very dope. The world famous I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over sample is used very nicely on Last Night as Ooh tells a very funny story about a night gone wrong. Ooh Aah is also on Two Things along with newcomers Amy Renee and long time Begga Clan affiliate Jim Kelly. Miss Renee sounds beautiful on the chorus and hopefully we’ll hear more from her. Jim Kelly also shines on three other solo tracks and he’s really impressive on all of them. JK is still new to pretty much everybody because he left Tha Beggas before the group officially disbanded. Now he’s back with the Hidden Aspects click showing and proving that he’s a true hip hop OG.

Overall this first official release for the Hidden Aspects/Begga Clan camp is very consistent and has great replay value. It’s a great album to chill and think to. You might not get an energy boost listening to it, but you might as well get enlightened.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Mathematics – The Problem

The Wu-Tang Clan has nine members, but people are often saying that Cappadonna and Street Life are honorary members. What about Allah Mathematics? He’s been down since day one, he drew the infamous Wu logo, he’s been their DJ for years and he reps the W 24/7. His sophomore album, The Problem, shows Math’s allegiance to the Clan even more as all nine members and Cappa are on the album, something very rare nowadays. He also brings back his Queens crew as Eyeslow, Buddah, Allah Real, Angie Neal and others get the chance to be heard once again. Unlike Love, Hell or Right that is basically a collection of various mixes, The Problem is more of a theme oriented album. The concept is basically life in New York and the problems you go through everyday.

C What I C is a perfect example of a tales from the ghetto track. T-Slugz and Eyeslow show some very impressive story telling skills on a fast paced beat. The arrangement of this track is particularly well done as the beat has a lot of different elements in it.

Strawberry & Cream, the sequel to Strawberry off Ghost’s Bulletproof Wallet, is one of the highlight of the album. Allah Real sets the mood of this track that is about all the queens, earths, goddesses, wisdoms and sirens. He sings beautifully throughout the whole song and sweat talk the ladies between each verse. Inspectah Deck starts very nicely and drops a very respectful 16 to a childhood sweetheart. RZA follows with a nice verse and Ghost finishes with his classic dirty verse from the original Strawberry. The beat is just perfect for this type of song. Really one of the best recent Wu-Tang tracks.

Hot Flames kills Can I Rise with three crazy story telling verses. With this one only he just showed he’s able to hold a whole album down. His refreshing flow fits Math’s best loop of the album. The change up during the chorus is really nice too. Mr. Meth brings some more energy to The Problem on John 3:16. Classic Method Man as he drops witty lines on Math’s head nodding beat. The hook shows once again Meth’s loyalty to the Clan. Winta Sno is a lyrical slaughter courtesy of Eyeslow and Ali Vegas. The cold beat switches to a harder one when Mr. Vegas first start to spit and then he switches back to the freezing production while he goes on for another minute. Like on Winter Warz the last MC gave us one of the best verses off all time.

Track seven is the party track and it’s time to work and jerk your body. Two Shots of Henny is about having fun, clubbing and getting chicks. Mathematics proves he can also make some very catchy club banger beat. Buddah, Hot Flames, P.I. and Allah Real all drop party verse, but it’s Buddah who shines the most and does the fly hook too. The bass heavy Bullet Scar is a short track where T-Slugz tells another story of the ghetto hardships. Too bad nobody else jumped on that one because it’s a great beat. Once again the “A fooooooool can’t see the light” sample is used on a Wu track, but with a beat that good nobody can be mad about that. Ghost, Eyeslow and Raekwon provide three hot verses, but the star of Real Nillaz has to be Buddah who drops one of the best hooks ever. His delivery is in perfect harmony with Math’s fast paced beat. Once again a familiar Wu sample is use by Math on Coach Talk. The famous “Don’t You Know” from Return To The 36 Chambers. Bald Head rides this smooth beat while kicking game to the ladies. Hott Nicks is back one more time on Rush, but this time he has help from the Genius himself. Allah Math produced a real beauty for the two generals as the crazy loop and rumbling drums make this track one of highlights of the album. U.S.A. is the posse cut we’ve been waiting for. Ghostface, Buddah, Masta Killa, Todd, P.I. Eyeslow and Hot Flames all represented lovely on this upbeat Math production. The sinister keys give this track a creepy vibe that is always much appreciated. Tommy is the story of a young man whose luck ran off too early. Once again the MC’s are displaying some serious story telling skills. Angie Neil and Allah Real add more emotion to this deep song with a duet that ends the story of Tommy. Math’s beat is the glorious type as the horns are loud and the drums heavy. Recent rhymes from ODB (RIP) are now so rare that it’s always a pleasure to here him. Fellow Clansmen U-God and Masta Killa join Ason Unique on Break That. All three MC’s sound really good, but it’s no surprise that the wildest general steals the spot light. Math dig out some old school breaks for this joint and his bass line is just amazing. The cherry on the sundae is Spot Lite, a genuine Wu-Tang Clan track. Math took it back to the golden years with this beat. From the speed-up voice sample to the dark keys, it’s Wu-Tang in its purest form. Meth shows up for a small intro, but it’s Cappadonna who sets it off with a powerful hook. U-God drops a hot 16 for the second time in row showing everyone that he can be as good as any of the eight other. Then it’s the Rebel INS turn. His fresh flow and slick rhymes are like usual on point. Cap ends the album with a verse that warns everybody that you don’t really want to mess with the Wu.

The Problem should bring satisfaction to every Wu fans as everything they’re asking for can be heard on this album. A Wu-Element, Allah Mathematics in that case, does all the production. There are guest spots from every Clan member and even Cappadonna is on there. There are all types of beats and some off them sounds like they’re straight out of 1995. Math gave us a very solid album and if that was a problem, then how good is The Solution going to be?

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Northstar – West Coast Killa Beez

It’s quite rare that a group releases their sophomore album the same year as their debut album. It’s even more rare that this second album is, overall, better than the first. As some of you may know Northstar accomplished that feat in late 2004 with Underground Shit Volume 1. The title could not have been better since this album was so underground that a lot people never got the chance to hear it. However with the re-release of this underground banger all the Northstar fans around the world will now be able to appreciate Christ Bearer’s and Meko’s second effort. Now titled Northstar Presents West Coast Killa Beez, this remastered version looks even better with new fresh looking artwork.

The contrast between CB’s and Meko’s styles is showcased throughout the whole album, but it is best shown with the two first tracks. While Meko has that deep unique voice with a direct flow, Christ Bearer is the abstract high-pitched voice member. Meko shines the most on the slow-paced Rise Above Emotions. Dr. No, one of the Wu’s main engineers in the late nineties, provides a smooth beat that fits very well the whole concept of the song. Like Grab The Microphone on Masta Killa’s No Said Date, this track would have been more enjoyable if it would not have been the first track since it lacks the needed energy to start an album.

With the first notes of Coming Up, Coming Up you know that this is Christ Bearer’s time to shine. Terry is responsible for the most up tempo track of the album that will make your head nod for a good 3m30s. You may be familiar with the third track, but no matter what, it’s impossible to get tired of such a Wu-banga. First of all, the amazing Warcloud gives one of his best performances ever with clever lines like: “At my weapon factory I am the new prototype/If you’re like me you’re at the repair facility” and “Bank heist at Kathmandu it was a slaughter/The day Buddha was born it rained tea instead of water”. Second, Royal Fam’s reggae singer Mikey Jarrett provides the chorus and the last verse. Third, Christ Bearer and Meko show once again their lyrical abilities. Finally, Da Monstar Mob’s producer Skarekrow (aka Mix Jive Musick) drops the first of his six spectacular beats of the album. He also did Super Star, Tell Mary, Bust Ya Guns, Crazy and Up Town, Down Town.

Terry shows he can also create mellow beats on Sunny. The keys really sound like sun rays and CB emotional hook fits the track’s mood really well. Meko and guest Lil’ Dise drops nice verses as well. The energy level goes up a notch on the aggressive Drama. Melo drops a hard beat with a lovely piano part. He also spits a verse along with Christ Bearer, Concept and Suave, but Meko is absent on this track. CB, Meko and guests Midnight and Coco are very energetic on Super Star. Behind the materialistic lyrics the four MC’s send a positive message saying that you better be a star, no matter who you are. Things slow down again on Tell Mary where Christ Bearer and Meko are lyrically at the top of their game dropping knowledge-filled lyrics. A highly motivated Timbo King ad his revolutionary rhymes on this one to make it even better. I am is produced by Suave and features him on the mic swell. It’s another smooth track with very nice lyrics about the infinite possibilities we have as individuals. GI’s make a lovely featuring on this track too. Peep a daring Christ Bearer on the skit at end with The Juks playing in the background. CB asked for it, now it’s time to Bust Ya Gunz. Skarekrow created a real classic beat with a crazy horn sample and on top of that Warcloud blessed it with a very aggressive hook and the first verse. Northstar and an unknown rapper come up after the children’s books writer and hold the rest of the track down. With Wanna Bang it can’t really get more West Coast than that. Terry brings the Long Beach flavor and to make it even more gangsta Meko’s uncle Tone Bone sings a hook that’s as good as any of Nate Dogg’s. Terry shows once again he can make all types of beats with the sinister Break Bread. You all know that every self-respected West Coast group need their pimped out track. Meko really shines on hook while CB, Madam Scheez and Midnight spit some hot 16’s. We heard it on Bobby Digital Presents…, but this different mix of Crazy is even better. More vocals from Tone Bone and the keys are a little different. Sho Shot’s catchy verse is the highlight of this track. Like on Rise Above Emotions Tone Bone sings a lovely chorus on Up Town, Down Town. It’s the perfect track to end the album since it calms things down and gives a nice positive message for you to think about.

West Coast Killa Beez is more of a real Northstar album compared to Bobby Digital Presents… which had a lot of guest appearances. Also, the local producers that blessed the album showcase more the West Coast style of Christ Bearer and Meko. The contrast between the two members’ style along with their mix of gangsta and knowledge lyrics make this album a very solid one.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

Dom Pachino – The Best Of Dom Pachino

Killarmy was one the first groups to come out of the Wu camp in 1996 with their debut album Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars. The six man crew introduced us to a new aggressive militant style. Then in 1998 they dropped their sophomore effort Dirty Weaponry and finally on September 11th 2001 they released Fair, Love and War. All three albums were praised by the fans and the critics, but unfortunately some internal problems within the group combined with Islord, Killa Sin and 9th Prince doing jail time prevented the group from working together. Not wanting to sit back and let his talent go to waste the Puerto Rican Terrorist Dom Pachino decided to take matter into his own hands. In a little more than 2 years he put out three dope solo albums: Terra Iz Him, Unreleased and Domination on his own label Napalm Recordings. With all this material out it’s only natural that Dom P gives us his own best of CD.

The Best Of Dom Pachino is a collection of the P.R. Terrorist best verses on all three Killarmy albums, some of his best collaborations, classic solo tacks and new exclusives freestyles. Following an intro by Team Napalm member NLZ, Dom Pachino spits an ill freestyle over war sounds, gun shots and bomb explosions; it can’t get more rugged than that. The second track is also a freestyle over the classic I Shot Ya beat that NLZ tweaked a little to make it sound even better. Dom P is flowing like crazy on this one giving you a taste of things to come. Afterwards it’s flashback time with the classic Dom P verses of Lady Sings the Blues, Monster and Shoot Out. Then, Shyheim, 9th Prince and Raaddrr Van are featured on Criminal off Terra Iz Him; a tale of the criminal life. Three more classic verses from the P.R. Terrorist follow with Feel It, The Rule and Whatever We Want. Probably one of Dom P’s first features is next as he drops a verse along with T.M.F. on Shyheim’s 1 Life 2 Live. Off of the rare Manchild album, the four MC’s are telling you on this track that you got to lead your own life and don’t miss out on opportunities. The C.E.O. of Napalm Recordings takes us back again with six hot verses off the Killarmy and Bobby Digital albums. The next track is Dom P’s gift to the fans as he gives us for the first time on CD The Cookout song; a true Killarmy banga. He ends this best of album with two tracks off his second solo Unreleased. Hard Copy is probably one of Mathematics’ best beat ever, the hard-hitting drums are simply crazy and Dom P just lets loose on this production. On Who’s the Spanish Kid Dom Pachino comes off very lyrical letting us know who he is. The outro is one last treat as he gives us yet another crazy freestyle.

The Best of Dom Pachino is for everybody not yet familiar with the Puerto Rican Terrorist or for the people that know that a compilation made of Dom P’s best is always good to listen to. Best of CD’s often mean that the artist’s career is coming to an end, but Dom P is far from finish. As the front man of Team Napalm he’s bringing out a new crew of hungry MC’s and producers. Napalm World was their introduction, now prepare for The Arsenal.

by Pascal LeBlanc
chambermusik.com

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