Estee Nack – “Nacksaw Jim Duggan” review

Estee Nack is a 38 year old MC & producer from Boston, Massachusetts emerging as a member of the Tragic Allies. He also branched out on his own my junior year of high school of his Purpose-produced solo debut 14 Forms: The Book of Estee Nack & has since built a lengthy yet impressive discography for himself. Other highlights include the Sadhugold-produced Surfinongold.wav alongside it’s sequel The Order of the Golden Fleece, the Giallo Point-produced Papitas, his collab efforts with al.divino or more recently the V Don-produced B.R.A.P. (Born Rewards & Penalties). But coming fresh off the 6th installment of the #MiniMansionDust series, he’s finally unveiling his 8th full-length album & Griselda Records debut executive produced by the FLYGOD himself Westside Gunn.

“Nackman Coletrain” is a drumlessly jazzy opener to the album produced by Denny LaFlare already getting on his coke rap shit whereas “Mass Money Wires” featuring al.divino works in some pianos, kicks & snares so both of them talking about burning trees instead of bridges which as a weed smoker myself, I can absolutely relate to. “Bonductor We Have a Problem” obviously plays into Conductor Williams’ name as the KC beatsmith ditches the drums once more talking about refusing to fuck around with anyone today that is until “Angeldior” dives back into boom bap territory courtesy of JR Swiftz so Estee can make it clear that he’s been a dreamer encouraging to come get with a crowd pleaser.

On the other hand, “Green Celophane” works in a drumless rock instrumental from Camoflauge Monk talking about being in the jungle with creatures just before “Fetty Guerrero” by al.divino has a more minimal albeit morbid vibe discussing watch what they do when the torch is passed down to them. “Strawberry Milk” has a more cheerful tone sonically calling out those trying to copy the formula who simply don’t get it leading into “We Made History” following the “Knowledge Wisdom” interlude having a more shimmery quality to it courtesy of the big homie CG with the title saying it all subject matter-wise.

“Mini Mansion Bartel” dives into drearier turf saying that his homies go to war for him as if he’s the son of Chapo alongside paying the price since he got stripes like Waldo while “Tal Commando” gives off a more tense vibe this time around talking about turning into Arnold Schwarzenegger in the jungle. The song “Vanilla Skies” returns to the boom bap cautioning that it’s gonna be a hot summer while the penultimate track “Space X” laces a crooning instrumental talking about finding him in a space station with Elon. “Old NackDonald Had a Farm” featuring West is a cold boom bap closer dissing those for growing shit that ain’t as half as strong as theirs.

Considering that Ester’s lengthy history of working with Griselda, it was only a matter of time he put out an album of his own through them & it sure enough happens to be amongst the strongest in his discography. The production is rooted into the label’s signature sound & Mr. Rose’s performances throughout are on par if not stronger than B.R.A.P. (Born Rewards & Penalties)’s, which should be more than enough to satisfy longtime fans & has me anticipating his future with the Buffalo powerhouse even more

Score: 4.5/5

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$uicideboy$ – “Yin Yang Tapes 3: Fall Season”

The $uicideboy$ are a hip hop duo from New Orleans, Louisiana consisting of Ruby da Cherry & $crim. For almost a decade now, these guys released a plethora of projects whether it be the Kill Your$elf saga & Eternal Grey or even I WANNA DIE IN NEW ORLEANS & the Travis Barker-produced Live Fast, Die Whenever. The boy$’ just dropped their last album Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation over the summer & continuing the Yin Yang Tapes series in the form of their 26th EP.

After the “Fall Season” intro, the song “whatwhat” opens things up with some gritty synthesizer patterns & hi-hats cautioning that you better stay the fuck away from them while the penultimate track “Every Dog Has His Day” gives off a more atmospherically Memphis kind of vibe to it this time around getting on their Scarface shit. “Provolone & Heroin” featuring Freddie Dredd however happens to be a mediocre closer despite its mystic trap production the lyrics representing the north side of New Orleans.

If you’re already familiar with the last 2 installments of the series, then you pretty much know what you’re getting yourself into here as they drop off 3 songs that fans can get themselves into the fall mood in about 4 months when the leaves actually start to turn brown. The feature at the backend is probably the weakest of the tetralogy so far, but they continue to expand on the cloudy rare phonk sounds from before & dropping their signature gangsta-infused lyrics on top of it.

Score: 3.5/5

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MonStar Entertainment – “Game Ain’t Safe” review

MonStar Entertainment is an independent hip hop label based out of Flint, Michigan, founded by local emcee Lyte & his business parter Matt Estep almost a decade ago by now. Their presence was first felt in the summer of 2014 when Young Lyte put out his debut mixtape Follow the Lyte, but took a backseat once he signed to Psychopathic Records on New Year’s Day 2017 & preluded his full-length debut Broke But Still Shining at that summer in the form of a debut EP Psychopathic MonStar before leaving the next fall. Eventually, he returned last March by dropping Metamorphosis solidly detailing his artistic & personal growth since taking time off in music. But after signing longtime affiliate Skitzo as well as Hypnotic Sound Studios co-founder Str8jaket & even Psychopathic’s first act that they signed Project Born, all 5 of them are joining forces to deliver a debut EP showcasing the ever-growing MonStar roster.

After the intro, the title track truly opens the whole thing with a nocturnal trap ballad so they can talk about taking over the rap game whereas “Can’t Stop Us” works in some luxurious keys & hi-hats making it known that MonStar is a force to be reckoned with. “Black Sheep” dives into cloudier turf referring to themselves as the underdogs while the song “Another Level” laces a booming trap instrumental addressing their elevation. The penultimate track “Heavy” blends these hi-hats with some whistling flexing about the noise they make & “Soldier’s Code” closes it all out with a vulnerable trap ballad bracing for the fight that’ll soothe the soul.

Even though MonStar’s been around for 9 years, most of us were introduced to them through Lyte’s brief tenure under the Insane Clown Posse’s mentorship & to hear the whole current roster together like this gives me the feeling that it’s only the beginning of the Flint label’s rise in the underground. The production’s more trap based, each artist has their own distinct characteristics to them & they all ping off one another naturally throughout.

Score: 4/5

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Planetary – “Project Pluto” review

Planetary is a 44 year old MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania emerging within the underground as 1/2 of the duo OuterSpace with Crypt the Warchild as well as a member of the Army of the Pharaohs collective led by Vinnie Paz. He’s even landed quite a bit of solo features on various albums over the past couple decades too, but it hasn’t been until now where he’s putting out a full-length debut of his own fully produced by his son Elemxnt.

“Ruin Ya Life” is a solemn boom bap opener bringing the truth to the light whereas “You Know Who I Am” works in some more kicks & snares so the man can talk about everyone knowing exactly who the fuck he is as he expands. “Where the Legends Are” has a more morbid atmosphere to it setting out to finish what he started that is until “Vainglory” featuring Elemxnt, Kxng Charisma & Trxstworthy finds the quartet talking about being overly vain over an unsettling piano instrumental.

Meanwhile, “Holy Water” takes a more haunting route aspiring to excel just before “I Get It” switches it up by energetically talking about giving them all that dope shit & wanting all the smoke possible. “The Bicentennial” has a really cool organ melody throughout keeping it 200 calling himself the best in the building in general leading into “Self Destruction” featuring WRD Life goes into sample-based boom bap turf as they both talk about being sent to win.

“It’s Elementary” begins the final leg of the album with some chimes, kicks & snares making it clear that they shining with the darker days in the past along with slapping OGs prior to “Get Slumped” is a rugged ode to getting your shit fuck up with a fitting piano instrumental. “1 2” reunites with Elemxnt on the mic 1 last time to belittle their opposition with an echoing boom bap, but then “Keep On” ties up the album with a tearjerking ballad about time trying you & encouraging everyone to never stop for any given reason.

Considering that no one in OuterSpace has ever dropped a solo effort until now, I was a bit surprised when Project Pluto was announced yet it didn’t bog down any expectations considering how much of an AotP fan I’ve been since high school & it definitely has me looking forward to what he has to offer by himself down the road. Elemxnt’s production game is sounding better & his dad mixing more personal topics with the usual hardcore bars one would expect.

Score: 3.5/5

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8tari – “Lofi Punk” review

This is the debut EP from Japanese-American transplant 8tari. Born in Tokyo, she moved to New York as a child & began piano lessons before returning to Japan at when she was 12. However, a freak accident with a prototype blockchain connected gashapon machine outside of a keki shop near Takeshita Street resulted in 8tari being decentralized & becoming an NFT. Lost in the network & no longer able to physically touch a piano, she began making beats that soon began to fill the back streets of Shibuya after down-resizing them for transmission at human audible levels. Renown west coast producer DJ Muggs eventually took 8tari under his wing & is producing her debut EP in full.

“Neon Sunburn” is a dreary piano opener to the EP that I can only visualize serving as the soundtrack to a rainy ass day whereas “The Guns of Brixton” continues on with a lo-fi instrumental cover of the Clash song of the same name off their iconic 3rd album London Calling. The penultimate track “Paradise” has a more climactic vibe to it almost as if it were playing in the background of an important scene to a really good movie leading into “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault” ending the EP with another cover except this time it’s the joint off Jawbreaker’s 4th & final album Dear You.

What we have on Lofi Punk here is essentially Muggs dabbling with chillhop for a duration of 4-songs, 15 minutes & it makes me wonder if he plans on traveling further down this rabbit hole in the future because it’s a really interesting change of pace for the seasoned west coast producer. The covers truly make the EP live up to it’s name, but the 2 original compositions are an even better homage to the style pioneered by the late Nujabes.

これは日系アメリカ人移植8tariのデビューEPです。東京で生まれ、子供の頃にニューヨークに引っ越し、12歳の時に日本に戻る前にピアノのレッスンを始めました。しかし、竹下通り近くのケキショップの外でプロトタイプブロックチェーン接続されたガサポンマシンとの異常な事故により、8tariは分散化され、NFTになりました。 ネットワークで失われ、もはや物理的にピアノに触れることができなくなった彼女は、人間の可聴レベルで伝送するためにそれらをダウンリサイズした後、すぐに渋谷の裏通りを満たし始めたビートを作り始めました。有名な西海岸のプロデューサーDJ Muggsは、最終的に彼の翼の下で8tariを取り、彼女のデビューEPを完全に制作しています。

「ネオン・サンバーン」はEPの退屈なピアノオープナーで、雨の日のサウンドトラックとして視覚化することしかできませんが、「ザ・ガンズ・オブ・ブリクストン」は、象徴的な3rdアルバム「ロンドン・コーリング」から同名のクラッシュの曲のlo-fiインストゥルメンタルカバーで続きます。最後から2番目のトラック「Paradise」は、まるで「Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault」につながる本当に良い映画の重要なシーンの背景で再生されているかのように、よりクライマックスの雰囲気を持っています。今回はJawbreakerの4th&finalアルバムDear Youのジョイントです。

Lofi Punkで私たちがここで持っているのは、本質的に4曲、15分間チルホップをいじるMuggsであり、それは経験豊富な西海岸のプロデューサーにとって本当に興味深いペースの変化なので、彼が将来このウサギの穴をさらに下って旅行する予定があるかどうか疑問に思います。カバーは本当にEPをその名前に応えていますが、2つのオリジナル作品は、故ヌジャベスによって開拓されたスタイルへのさらに良いオマージュです。

Score: 3.5/5

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Chavo – “Chavo’s World 3” review

Chavo is a 29 year old rapper from Atlanta, Georgia notable for being the son of Benzino & the older brother of Coi Leray. However, my introduction to him was when South Carolina recording artist & producer Pi’erre Bourne signed him to his very own Interscope Records imprint SossHouse Records. His 2018 debut mixtape Hood Luva was solid & the sophomore tape Mixed Emotions was even better in my eyes until the full-length debut Chavo’s World continued to show his elevation. However, the sequel generally received moderate reception & his debut EP Hood Luva 2 is considered to be his weakest body of work. The next EP Blue Hills returned to a more mixed response, but is now re-enlisting Pi’erre to fully produce his 3rd album.

“I Love It” lets it all off with a synthesizer-based trap instrumental explaining that he be getting money whereas “Fort Worth” featuring Sharc works in some strings & hi-hats so they can both talk about pulling up to Texas. “B.M.D. (Bitches, Money, Drugs)” is a flute/trap hybrid detailing the 3 things that he loves the most in this world just before “Black Tint” has a more vibrant feeling to it boasting that he feels like the president when riding around in the titular kind of whip.

Meanwhile, “Queen of the Demand” brings back the synths to acknowledge that his girl is well aware of the fact that Chavo gon’ fuck on her friends if she fucking her also leading into “I.D.W.T.F.N.L.W.U.” (I Don’t Want to Fall n Love With U)” is a shimmering trap cut about not wanting to fall in love with this bitch he’s talking about. “HEY!” keeps things wavy telling this woman who wants to her to smash at a party to not pay attention to nobody, but then “Hoola Hoop” dives into more atmospherical territory talking about spinning around after dropping the addy.

“Procedure” blends the sounds of a submarine & these synthesizers so he can show off his luxuries that come with a life of fame while “For Me (Babygirl)” is a catchy trap ballad with some pop rap elements throughout a confesses that he don’t know if this chick is his soulmate. “Up Up Up” incorporates a booming instrumental telling this woman not to be a stranger while “Postman” featuring Veeze finds the pair over a hazy beat talking about running laps all year long.

Moving on from there, “Call on Me” has a more minimal sound telling his lover to drop the addy whenever while “Hiccups” dives into moodier turf talking about the game needing him & that none of his boys are victims. The song “Serena, Venus” gives off a more trippier aesthetic describing this Brooklyn girl he met seeing the difference between Chavo & her own man while the penultimate track “Shiesty” talks about how reckless the homies be over synth-strings & hi-hats. “System” though is a futuristic closer with his lover making it clear she’ll catch a case for him.

As disappointing as Hood Luva 2 & Blue Hills have been, I still respectfully maintain that this guy has an overall discography superior to his younger sister’s & Chavo’s World 3 further solidifies that because this is a dope return to form for him. Pi’erre’s production here is refreshing considering that was the biggest issue I had with both of those previous EPs & Chavo himself sounds more focused throughout his performances.

Score: 3.5/5

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Oodaredevil – “Rawr” review

This is the official full-length debut album from Dallas, Texas recording artist Oodaredevil. Getting his footing in off the strength of his 2019 debut EP Dr. Daredevil after early collab after being featured on some of Yeat’s early material, he would continue to make his presence in the trap scene known by building up a discography for himself by putting out a total of 10 more EPs & even a couple mixtapes. He’s just coming fresh off Diary of an Inky Kid 2.5 a couple months ago & of course Diary of an Inky Kid 2 back in February, but all those tapes & EPs have all been leading up to rawr.

The title track is a moody trap opener to the album describing feeling like Mowgli since he be in the jungle whereas “Dangerous” has some grin piano chords & hi-hats courtesy of Kevi with co-production from Henney of the 808 Mafia & Svdominik talking about not playing with them because of how menacing he is. “Zone” makes it clear that he’s in his lane & that no one else can get on it with a bit of a psychedelic trap flare to the instrumental that is until “Maniac” talking about going crazy over a more quirkier beat this time around.

“woahwoah” on the other hand a hazier sound to it discussing riding around in a foreign & blowin’/shootin’ up the spot just before “Bonquisha” refers himself as to a monster than needs to be fed accompanied with Lucid taking a more minimal approach behind the boards. “Both Ways” makes it known that his brand new shit ain’t rinky dinky even though there’s not a whole lot to say about the instrumental just before “Bad Feet” talks about needing a mansion & a couple acres over a quasi-futuristic trap beat cooked up with the help of 20, Safari, Ds2Krayz & Jakik

Meanwhile, “Loose” has a cloudier tone to it courtesy of Bugz Ronin responding to being asked what’s good by saying that it’s simply up leading into “Good Morning” featuring Keen Cortex continues to delve deeper into a more chilled out vibe as the 2 talk about first thing they say in people in the morning is “Diamonds hittin’, they glistenin’”. “Kimjun” talks about bringing the thunder over a peppily cloudy beat from Steven Shaeffer & Kelewya while the song “ok 🆗” blends some hi-hats & flutes to go into a more repetitive direction lyrically.

The penultimate track “King of the Jungle” continues to expand on the sounds of the previous cuts with more woodwind-infused trap production except Kavi & Spaceman elevate it to the next level talking about trying to be humble these days & the round the album up, “2 Phones” admits that he don’t know how to act & that he’s in lane preceding to ask if anyone else is in theirs with Mingo & Juice delivering a more playful vibe with the instrumental.

For those of you who’ve been following Oodaredevil through the features on those couple early Yeat EPs, this day has been a long time coming & it’s certainly safe to say that he pulls off a full-length debut album worth revisiting. One that new fans can familiarize themselves with as to who he his stylistically & personally too with it’s flavorful trap production & captivating performances.

Score: 3.5/5

Heem – “From the Cradle to the Game” review

Heem is a 30 year old MC from Buffalo, New York who caught my attention in 2020 after becoming of a protege of Benny the Butcher & signing to his MNRK Music Group imprint Black Soprano Family Records. He also made a few appearances on the label’s showcase EP prior to dropping his debut mixtape Long Story Short that same winter & a debut EP High Art last spring, but is up next at bat in the BSF camp to drop a full-length debut.

“Reasonable Doubt” is a soulful boom bap opener to kick things off admitting that he’s feeling better than ever since the last time we heard from him whereas “Radio Raheem” has more of a Daringer influence to the beat asking what you really know about dope game cocaine. “Mob Business” featuring Benny the Butcher & Styles P says it all with the strongest instrumental on the album thus far courtesy of Rick Hyde just before “Caper Boy” works in some more kicks & snares talking about running up 7 figures.

Meanwhile, “Black Sheep” picks up with a piano boom bap crossover telling y’all his story as a lil’ ghetto boy from the east side of Buffalo leading into “Cocaine County” featuring Conway the Machine keeps it raw sonically talking about drowning in the dope & calling to send a rescue boat in to save them. “Picture Me Rollin’” goes chipmunk soul acknowledging that he’s come a long way from the hard white, but then “Tears of Blood” is a boom bap-inflicted ode to his real street homies.

“Mamie Lee” chops up what I assume is a gospel sample paying tribute to his grandmother while “Guilty By Association” featuring Rick Hyde returns to the boom bap talking about being products of crack money. “Long Way Home” saying it just might be do or die at the end of the day over a pillowy beat while “The Motto” dives back into the basement talking about being from the streets. The penultimate track “Young N***a Old N***a” incorporates a piano instrumental from DJ Green Lantern calling himself the chosen one & “Same Ole G” jumps on top of some organs making it known he ain’t changed.

Long Story Short was a great introduction to Heem & what he’s capable of doing on the mic, but From the Cradle to the Game gives listeners a more introspective look into his background for anyone wanting to know more about him. Although I think the production on that previous tape is better by a hair, the concept presented here of him growing up a good child & jumping into the game after going to the line is cohesively laid out with a brief yet tight feature list.

Score: 3.5/5

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$uicideboy$ – “Yin Yang Tapes 2: Summer Season” review

This is the 25th EP from New Orleans duo the $uicideboy$. Consisting of Ruby da Cherry & $crim, these guys released a plethora of projects within the last decade whether it be the Kill Your$elf saga & Eternal Grey or even I WANNA DIE IN NEW ORLEANS & the Travis Barker-produced Live Fast, Die Whenever. The boy$’ just dropped their last album Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation over the summer & are now coming off the EP they dropped last weekend Yin Yang Tapes: Spring Season for the sequel Summer Season.

After the intro, the first song “5 ‘n the Mornin’” is an occult trap opener with the boy$ declaring that players never die while the penultimate track “Starry 9” has more of a Memphis-inspired sound to it à la one of my all-time favorite groups & one of the Nawlins duo’s biggest inspirations Three 6 Mafia sonically so they can rep the 7th ward. “Bloody ‘98” featuring Ghostmane concludes the first half of the Yin Yang Tapes tetralogy with the trio collaborating for the first time with a demonic trap closer & all 3 MCs gelling with one another better than one would anticipate discussing their killer instincts.

I can only assume Fall is coming next Friday & eventually Winter the weekend after, but I really can’t complain because this is a tad bit superior to Spring in my personal opinion & it has me anticipating the 6 songs from the other 2 installments later on in the month ahead of Grey Sheep III afterwards. Blanco & Wetto continue to build upon the cloudy trap sounds of the predecessor with their production here as they keep spitting some gangsta-laced braggadocio for us to vibe to in time for next month.

Score: 3.5/5

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Recognize Ali – “Guerilla Dynasty 2” review

This is the 14th full-length album from Ghanan emcee Recognize Ali. This guy has been a dominant force in the underground from his vast discography of LPs, mixtapes & EPs within the last decade or so to the stellar feature performances that he’s provided for numerous artists. Some standouts in his ever-growing catalog to me personally include the Giallo Point-produced Back 2 Mecca, the Stu Bangas-produced Guerilla Dynasty & the Bronze Nazareth-produced Season of the 7 to only name a few. He’s just coming off Back to Mecca II & is reuniting with Stu Bangas to drop Guerilla Dynasty 2.

After the intro, the first song “In a Rebel’s Mind” is an eerie boom bap opener talking about being on another level with the MCin’ whereas “Guerilla Warfare” works in some pianos, kicks & snares getting in his battle rap bag saying he slays rappers for the fun of it. “Put You to Sleep” jumps on top of a boom bap instrumental with a crooning sample claiming none of y’all are realer or iller than him leading into “Pulverized” featuring Lord Goat bringing you the hardcore over some string sections.

“Full Clip” has a futuristic boom bap quality to the beat letting it be known that your whole crew can catch a whole round just before “Get Folded” talks about hating actors that play as rappers with a dingy ass instrumental. “Real Housewives” by the Dueling Experts brings back the pianos aiming to leaving heads backwards whenever this comes on & after the “Che Guerilla” skit, “Sheep’s Clothing” featuring Eff Yoo &Spit Gemz sonically feels like something ripped out of a monster movie as they deliver a catastrophe in the making.

Ali begins the final leg of the album with the intergalactic-leaning boom bap joint “Eat What You Kill” tackling the titular metaphor while “0 Smoke” eerily makes it clear that he’ll start clapping motherfuckers. The track “Murder Was the Case” featuring Boob Bronx & Sage Infinite is a rock/boom bap crossover informing what the case they gave them was that is until the final song “Bearer of Bad News” prior to the outro giving off a scary atmosphere preparin’ y’all for an ass-kicking.

Back to Mecca II in my opinion was Jamal’s best album since Season of the 7 & my expectations were already high going into this but needless to say, Guerilla Dynasty 2 is his finest album of this year as of me writing this because I’m sure he could drop at least 1 or 2 within the next 6 months. The feature performances are mostly ok, but he & Stu Bangas really elevate their chemistry to the next level here building upon what made the previous Guerilla Dynasty as great as it was.

Score: 4/5

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