Yeat – “Lyfë” review

Yeat is a 22 year old rapper from Portland, Oregon who out in 2018 off his debut EP Deep Blue $trips. This was followed up with 2 mixtapes & 3 more EPs, but he began dominating the mainstream in 2021 whether it be him dropping a total of 4 projects (2 mixtapes, an EP & a full-length debut) or cosigns from the likes of Drake & Earl Sweatshirt. He just dropped his sophomore effort albeit major label debut 2 Alivë under Geffen Records during the first quarter of 2022 & is commemorating the 1-year anniversary of Up 2 Më this weekend by dropping his 3rd album following the huge success of “Rich Minion” earlier this summer.

“Flawlëss” is an otherworldly trap opener with Yeat on the hook & a sole Lil Uzi Vert verse boasting their lifestyles whereas “Up off X” dives into rage territory talking about being wide awake at night due to taking ecstasy. “Out thë Way” has a more calmer vibe to it declaring himself to be the baddest, but then “Wat it feel lykë” works in some wailing synths & hi-hats to diss rats.

Meanwhile on “Got it all”, we have Yeat over a bass-line & snares to flex his wealth leading into “Can’t stop it” brings some rock undertones to the beat surprisingly refusing to quit going hard. “Krank” almost has a cinematic quality to the instrumental talking about geekin’ just before “Talk” returns to the hypertrap sound to deliver some braggadocious lyrics.

“Comë on” shoots for a more electronic aesthetic to it going for the necks of his competition while the song “Systëm” has a more darker tone sonically talking about the drugs hitting right. The penultimate track “Holy 1” is a cloudier cut detailing his mob ties & “Killin’ ‘ëm” sends off the album on a wavy yet deadpan note talking about coming from that dirty.

Considering that Geëk Pack was just a decent collection of microwaved 2 Alivë leftovers, I had no doubt that Lyfë was gonna expand on what made the predecessor the fun major label debut it is. Lo & behold, that’s what happened here. It’s refreshing to hear Yeat dabbling with some new sounds than last time & his knack for catchy songwriting remains unmatched.

Score: 3.5/5

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ΠΔV – “Demons Protected by Angels” review

ΠΔV is 32 year old rapper, singer, songwriter & producer from Toronto, Canada who came to my attention in 2016 after signing to The Weeknd’s very own Republic Records imprint X♥O Records & his verse/production on “beibs in the trap” off of Travis Scott’s sophomore effort Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. Even though the first brown boy to get it poppin’ has dropped a total of 3 full-lengths along with a 5 mixtapes & an EP since, I think that it’s been made pretty clear that I personally haven’t been the biggest fan of ΠΔV’s music up to this point. Primarily because of his robotic delivery, insipid lyrics & generic production choices (especially on Reckless & Bad Habits). However I did find the Wheezy-produced Emergency Tsunami to be ΠΔV’s best work to date, albeit not by much. I also think he’s always been a pretty solid producer so when I found out he was gonna return behind the boards for his 4th album over here, it definitely had me intrigued.

“Count on Me” is a psychedelic opener produced by Mike Dean talking about self-trust whereas “Baby” takes a more symphonic route thanks to Boi-1da telling his girl to relax & play her part. Lil Uzi Vert tags along for “Dead Shot” comparing themselves to that of the DC Comics villain of the same name over an uninteresting Pro Logic instrumental, but then Lil Baby & Travis Scott come into the picture for synth-trap hybrid “Never Sleep”laced by Tay Keith talking about building their respective legacies.

Continuing from there with “Last of the Mohicans”, we have ΠΔV over a cloudy beat asking God to protect him & asking why he took Lil Keed this past spring prior to the Future-assisted “1 Time” coming through with an intoxicating Wheezy instrumental talking about smashing bitches. BenjiCold brings a rage vibe to “Demons in My Cup” resolving his problems with lean just before “Playa” with Gunna has a more meditative flare to it boasting.

“Weirdo” shoots for a more woozier aesthetic talking about your favorite rapper winking at him whenever he speaks while “My Dawg” with Lil Durk has an aquatic vibe to the beat discussing loyalty. “Don’t Compare” dives into more heady turf talking about giving his girl the real him while “Interstellar” with Uzi weaves some wailing synths into the fold saying everything they do invasive.

Meanwhile on “Loaded”, ΠΔV jumps over a rich trap beat bragging that all of his pocket have exploded while RealestK gives us the weakest feature on the album on “Lost Me” despite the piano instrumental & themes of betraying one’s trust. “Reset” with Bryson Tiller is of course a decent trap/R&B fusion expressing their desires to start their relationships from scratch while “Mismatch” with the current King of Detroit himself Babyface Ray finds the 2 over dense Wheezy production asking not to be judged for their past.

The song “Wrong Decisions” was another solid choice for a single with it’s cloudy instrumental & it’s subject matter detailing the cons of fame while the penultimate track “Destiny” keeps the spacious beats coming talking about being who he was meant to become. “Ball in Peace” however is maybe the best closing track of a ΠΔV project yet, as it serves as a heart-wrenching tribute to his homie jayxxclusive3 that passed away earlier this year.

Although I’m a little disappointed that it’s not primarily self-produced like he originally said it was gonna be because ΠΔV’s always been a great producer in my eyes, Demons Protected by Angels is a surprisingly decent listen & quite possibly his most consistent body of work thus far. The songwriting is getting better, he sounds less robotic & more human than he did on a lot of his earlier work, the production’s more detailed & almost every feature comes correct also. Fingers-crossed that he’ll continue to improve from here.

Score: 2.5/5

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Madopelli – “No Bluffin’” review

Madopelli is a California City-based duo consisting of M.A.D. & Ant Dog. The pair have gone on to drop a full-length debut as well as a couple of mixtapes & EPs ever since forming in 2016, with the last being Everybody’s Poison about a year & a half ago at this point. However after signing to Lyrikal Snuff Productionz this past spring, they’re returning with a sophomore effort backed by the Denver horrorcore powerhouse.

The title track is a trap-laced opener talking about buying themselves straps first thing in the morning with a raspy ass hook whereas “Shoot for the Stars” aggressively disses all of those who said they’ll never make it as far as they have with some great back & forth delivery. Lex the Hex Master tags along for the boom bap-laced “Perfect Chaos” talking about being on the roll, but then The Gorefather himself Scum comes into the picture for the haunting “Snuff Anthem” repping their crew.

Meanwhile on “Straight to the Underground”, we have Madopelli confessing the demons inside taking control of them over an atmospheric instrumental just before “Time is Lost” talking about that being the reason why they be looking up to a killa & the sample throughout is incredibly unique to me. “War is Coming” fuses trap with rock for a couple minutes ready for smoke leading into “Time to Ride” works in an organ talking about fucking the game up.

Insane Poetry accompanies the duo for the eldritch “A Killer’s Diary” getting in their wicked shit back prior to the song “Falling Off” has a more fiery flare to it talking about not taking any Ls anytime soon. The stripped back trap banger penultimate track “We Up Next” finds the duo celebrating the fact that it’s all from here & “Mission Complete” brings the organs back for 1 last hurrah talking about being known to rock stages time & time again.

If you haven’t heard these guys by now, then PLEASE give No Bluffin’ a listen because it’s another reminder of the amazing run that LSP’s been having this year. The production that M.A.D. & Tilli Mack cook up together is some of their craziest thus with the lyricism from the duo rightfully sounding ready to take on the world lyrically.

Score: 4/5

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Cappadonna – “3rd Chamber Grail Bars” review

Cappadonna is a 53 year old MC from New York City notable for being a member of the almighty Wu-Tang Clan since the mid/late 90s. His verse on “Winter Warz” is still regarded by many to this day to be one of the greatest verses in hip hop history & as much as I love his criminally underrated solo debut The Pillage, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say with all respect that his solo discography since has been nothing short of inconsistent ranging to be mediocre at best & complete trash at worst. But when it was announced that underground veteran Stu Bangas was going behind the boards for Cappa’s 15th album right here, my expectations for it were very high considering that Stu has been on a ROLL for the past few years now producing projects for the likes of Ill Bill & Recognize Ali only to name a couple.

After the intro, the first song “Bring It Out” sets it all off with some braggadocio on top of some suspenseful boom bap production whereas “Get Lost” takes a more solemn route talking about how the Wu’s the hardest team. After the “Discovery” interlude, Celph Titled tags along for the horn-laced “Toss the Blick” to get on their hardcore shit just before “How We Rolling” dives into more playful turf talking about a fun night out.

Meanwhile on “Continuous Threat”, we have Planet Asia accompanying Cappa over a keyboard-driven boom bap instrumental spitting some lethal battle raps leading into Sick Jacken coming into the picture for the dusty “Everything is Measured” talking about how fly both of them are. The track “No Fake Dreads” following the “Redemption” interlude works in some more horns to get that bread & prior to the outro, the final song “Tryna Survive” with Ill Bill ends the album on an uncanny note talking about life in the projects.

All 3 of the singles that Cappa has dropped throughout the summer had me anticipating 3rd Chamber Grail Bars to be amongst his best solo albums yet & not only did it achieve that status, but it’s also my favorite project to come out of the Wu-Tang Clan anthology this year. Stu Bangas’ production is a breath of fresh air compared to most of Cappa’s output post-The Pillage & lyrically, he reminds everyone exactly who the fuck he is.

Score: 4/5

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Black Soprano Family Records – “Long Live DJ Shay” review

This is the 2nd showcase compilation from Buffalo independent hip hop label Black Soprano Family Records. Founded in 2016 by Benny the Butcher of Griselda fame, the roster has significantly grown throughout the years with the likes of Duffel Bag Hottie to Rick Hyde & even battle rap icon RJ Payne. The label has maintained a distribution deal with MNRK Music Group since everything was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic a couple summers back & put out an eponymous debut EP hosted by DJ Drama not too long after, but is following it up in the form of Long Live DJ Shay.

The intro kicks it all off with a sinister boom bap instrumental from the late DJ Shay himself & Fuego Base popping in during the last minute or so after a spoken word piece from Westside Gunn going at B$F’s opposition whereas “Shay Face” by Benny & Rick Hyde works in some piano chords to remind everyone of their authenticity. “297 Parkside” by Elcamino, Rick & Stove God Cook$ brings a high-pitched sample to the fold thanks to Camoflauge Monk paying homage to the titular street in NY prior to “Danger Zone” by Heem, O.T. the Real & Ricky grimly talking about spending many nights in the titular space.

Meanwhile on “Pandemic Flow”, we have Conway the Machine & Cory Gunz accompanying Rick Hyde over some spooky Uncle Al production to brag how crazy they go leading into the Heem solo cut “Bastard Child” declaring himself as such over a flute-tinged boom bap beat. After the “Sit Down with Preemo” skit, Benny returns alongside Heem & Ricky for the dusty “Times is Rough” laced by none other than DJ Premier confessing they’re running out of reasons to sympathize just before “Mustachios” by Boldy James, Chase Fetti & Heem brings a guitar & hi-hats into the fold talking about the mafia lifestyles they live.

“Li-Lo” by Elcamino, Krayzie Bone & Loveboat Luciano comes through with a summery love anthem & the song “Bigger B$F” by Armani Caesar, Benny, Heem & Rick following the “Respect to Shay” interlude sees the quartet ruggedly bragging about their increasing profile. The penultimate track “Brody” by Elcamino & Heem has a more soulful tone to it confessing that the streets made them who they are today with “Mr. Pyrex Man” by Benny ending the album with a glistening trap instrumental spitting that hustler shit.

If you enjoyed the self-titled EP that B$F put out a couple years ago, then you’re probably gonna like Long Live DJ Shay even more. The production has improved, everyone on the label roster sounds even hungrier than last time, the features are all well-picked out for a good majority of the album & I think it would all make Shay more than proud.

Score: 3.5/5

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Pi’erre Bourne – “Good Movie” review

This is the 3rd full-length album from South Carolina producer, rapper & engineer Pi’erre Bourne. Becoming one of the most in demand beatsmiths in hip hop today off Playboi Carti’’s “Magnolia”, he’s also made a name for himself on the mic by dropping 9 mixtapes along with a couple EPs & LPs within the last dozen years or so. He just dropped the 5th & final installment of The Life of Pi’erre series last summer & then the TM88-produced Yo88! in the winter, but is coming fresh off the Space Age Pimpin’ collab album with Juicy J by dropping Good Movie.

The first song “Shorty Diary” following the “Opening Scene” intro kicks off the album with some synths & a rattling bass-line detailing a relationship that’s beyond repair & after the “Logline” interlude, “Ex Factor” takes a more calmer route talking about not wanting sloppy seconds. After the “Intro to Love” interlude, “Love Drill” comes through with a catchy yet atmospheric banger confessing that he wants something real whereas “Hop in My Bed” goes into peppier territory talking about a bitch that wants to fall in love with him a little.

“Superstar” works in these incredible string harmonies to tell his girl who she fucking with even though the hook’s trash leading into “Where You Going?” shooting for a moodier aesthetic talking about the love he has with this woman being priceless. “What I Gotta Do” vigorously asks his girl why she likes him to begin with, but then “DJ in the Car” dives into futuristic territory calling his girl a DJ in the Uber.

Don Toliver tags along for the cloudy “Psane” to get raunchy & after the “Kingdom Hall” skit, the actual “Kingdom Hall” song itself has a more sensual vibe to it comparing to his girl popping up at his place to that of a Jehovah’s Witness believer. Also, the guitar near the end was unexpected yet interesting. After the “Witty” skit, “Kevin Heart” brings some delicate synths into the fold talking about putting all his problems in a blunt just before “SossHouse Party” dives into bop turf to rep SossHouse Records.

Meanwhile on “Safe Haven”, we have Pi’erre talking about chilling in his hideout with some rage undertones while “Rounds” jumps on top of an airy backdrop & some finger-snaps to describe a bitch wanting to get fucked up off the alcohol & dropping a corny Star Wars reference during the first verse. “System” weaves some synths along with hi-hats more finger-snaps explaining to his lover that she got a real one with her while Young Nudy comes into the picture for the heavenly-produced “Moving Too Fast” to talk about sex. The title track however was a great choice of a single with it’s up-tempo instrumental & Pi’erre’s with the closer “Heart Say” bringing some unexpected rock undertones to the beat telling his girl to speak from the heart.

As much as I respect Pi’erre for both his talents behind the boards & on the mic, I’m pretty indifferent on Good Movie to be quite honest & would personally prefer Yo88! over this. The production is dope don’t get me wrong on that whatsoever & I’m not against romantic subject matter in hip hop songs in any way shape or form, but it’s so excessive to the point where it gets annoying & at some moments cringey for me personally.

Score: 2.5/5

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LMD – “Flying High” review

LMD is a supergroup from California consisting of LMNO, M.E.D. & Declaime. One of whom initially saw success as a member of the Visionaries & the other 2 being childhood friends/longtime collaborators with Oxnard DJ/producer/emcee Madlib. The trio initially formed in the fall of 2010 but now a little over a decade later, they’re finally coming together for a full-length debut with The Beat Konducta behind the boards from top to bottom.

After the intro, the title track with some upbeat synthesizers & the trio delivering that feel good shit lyrically whereas “Advice” takes a dreamier route instrumentally as they send a heartfelt message about the fucked up music industry. “Pop Fly” is a rugged boom bap infused battle rap cut for all the battle rap heads out there, but then Fly Anakin tags along for the jazzy yet soulful “Kool” boasting how fly they all are.

“The Cypher” has a bit of a Bollywood influence to the beat as LMD giving us a fitting jam for weed smokers like myself & after the first skit, “Super” returns to a more dreamier aesthetic to spit some braggadocio just before the 80-second “Steppers” delivers a groovy dance anthem with some phenomenal back & forth delivery from the trio. The song “Birthday” has a funkier flare to it vividly describing having shitty born days & after the final skit, the penultimate track “High Skates” embraces a more electronic sound encouraging to get the bread. “Duwop” though is a grand closer to the album expressing their passion for music.

Even though the album got pushed back a handful of delays throughout the summer, Flying High was much worth it as a fan of all 3 members of LMD & someone who ranks Madlib as one their top 10 producers of all-time. The Bad Kid himself sticks to his uniquely signature sound behind the boards with LMNO, M.E.D. & Declaime coming through with an interesting chemistry.

Score: 4/5

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Roc Marciano – “The Elephant Man’s Bones” review

This is the 10th full-length album from Long Island emcee/producer Roc Marciano. Starting out in the very late 90’s as a member of the Flipmode Squad, he then went solo in 2008 to drop classic albums that would pave the way for those like Griselda such as Marcberg & Reloaded. However after focusing on producing projects for other artists like Flee Lord & Bronze Nazareth following Mt. Marci a couple years ago, Marci’s enlisting The Alchemist to produce The Elephant Man’s Bones.

“Rubber Band Grip” is a spaciously suspenseful opener talking about having the pump on him whereas the Action Bronson-assisted “Daddy Kane” works in synths to deliver bars like ”I been gettin’ off that soft white long before shorties was rockin’ Off-White. Water color ice, I call it Walter White” or “Know the in and outs, they want dinner? We get ’em In-N-Out”. The lead single “Deja Vu” takes a more drumless route with it’s bare piano instrumental confessing he had a breakthrough, but then “Quantum Leap” has some jazzy undertones to it talking about how your favorite rapper send him fan mail & your album ain’t worth 12 pennies to him.

Meanwhile on the title track, we have Marci brings back the luxurious keyboards providing food for the spirit just before “Bubble Bath” has a more glistening yet dusty quality to it talking about being rich for real. “Liquid Coke” shoots for a more symphonic aesthetic saying that’s exactly what he’ll leave when he slits ya throat leading into Boldy James tagging along for “Trillion Cut” getting in their hustle bag on top of a flute & some pianos. Stand-out bars being “Me & G on Stockwell, filthy as Rockwell. Turn an eye on high fresh out a dry spell” & ”My pops had tracks in his arms from heroin, this is rap meets Gil Scott-Heron”.

“The Horns of Abraxas” however has these chilling organ harmonies throughout talking about the road to success being Hell sandwiched in the middle of a great spoken word intro/outro from the O.G. himself Ice-T while “JJ Flash” returns to soulful territory spitting that kingpin shit. “Zig Zag Zig” is dramatic boom bap ballad about his life being a fantasy & you getting no pussy while “Stigmata” takes it back to the soul samples as Marci gives free game. Favorite bar is definitely “Like 2 teens playin’ Call of Duty, but all of these is real toolies”.

Following that, the sinister” Zip Guns” with Knowledge the Pirate intimidatingly paints some vivid gangsta rap imagery while the song “Think Big” has a more summery vibe to it talking about taking destiny in his own hands. The penultimate track “Macaroni” returns to a synth-based sound encouraging his competition to hang up the mic & get a job with “Momma Love” sends it off with fireworks as Marci hops on top of a on operatic loop putting it all on Ma Dukes.

From the moment I first heard “Flash Gordon” alongside “Pistolier” & “Paradise Pimps” during my sophomore year of high school a decade ago, I’ve been screaming for Marci & Uncle Al to do an album together. Now that it’s here, it’s the masterpiece that I could’ve ever dreamed from them. There is not a single moment from the beginning of The Elephant Man’s Bones to the end that I genuinely dislike from the smooth & witty gangsta rap lyricism from the New York veteran to the perfectly crafted production pulling from drumless, boom bap & jazz rap.

Score: 5/5

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DJ Khaled – “God Did” review

This is the 13th full-length album from New Orleans DJ, record executive, producer & media personality DJ Khaled. Most people know him as a living meme pretty much & for the hilariously embarrassing temper tantrum he threw when IGOR outsold Father of Asahd, but many forget that that he actually came up as a tour DJ for the Terror Squad. As for his solo output, he already has a dozen LPs under his belt with Major 🔑 being the most enjoyable of the bunch & has decided to tell the world that the man upstairs believed in him when no one else would on God Did.

“No Secret” by Drake is a gospel-inspired 48 second intro talking about how he spills all his feelings unashamedly whereas the title track by JAY-Z, Lil Wayne & Rick Ross is an uplifting ballad about God believing in them when no one else would with Hov steals the show without a slightest bit of doubt. The highly anticipated “Use This Gospel, Pt. 2” by Eminem pops up on here somehow someway although I absolutely love the rock/boom bap infused production from Dr. Dre & the subject matter from Em refusing to break suits the original, but then “Big Time” by Future & Lil Baby delivers a lavish trap banger produced by TM88 talking about their statuses in the rap game.

Meanwhile on “Keep Goin’”, we have Lil Durk & 21 Savage over some horns & hi-hats to boast just before “Party All the Time” by Unc & Phew feels more like a Takeoff solo cut given that Quavo only does the hook & the painfully underwritten first verse accompanied by a weakly flipped sample of the Eddie Murphy joint of the same name from STREETRUNNER disappointingly. “Staying Alive” by Drake & Baby pretty much bastardizes the iconic single by the BGs, but then “Beautiful” by Future comes through with a sensual ode to toxic love.

“It Ain’t Safe” by Kodak Black & Nardo Wickbrings some pianos & bells together provided by Tay Keith quenching for blood while “Ley’s Pray” by Don Toliver & Travis Scott shoots for a more apocalyptic aesthetic talking about how nobody’s on their level. “Fam Good, We Good” by Gunna & Roddy Ricch basically feels like a parody of “Hot” by Young Thug down the horn-heavy beat while “Bills Paid” by the City Girls & Latto is an obnoxiously funky ode to boss bitches.

Continuing from there, “Way Past Luck” by 21 blends chipmunk soul with trap talking about going from the mud to a millionaire while “These Streets Know My Name” by Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Capleton, Sizzla & Skillibeng is the typical dancehall cut guaranteed every time Khaled drops. The song “Juice WRLD Did” by the late Juice WRLD stands out to me as a bittersweet ode to Khaled from Nick Mira’s production to the references that Juice drops throughout while the “Jadakiss Interlude” starts off with an audio clip from the obvious battle where Verzuz peaked & an aggressive beat with Kiss spitting hardcore shit. After the “Asahd & Alaam Cloth Talk” skit, “Grateful” by Vory ends the album with a full-blown gospel ballad talking about letting his blessings glow.

Everyone going into God Did should know what they’re getting themselves into at this point in my personal opinion & the reason why I say that is because how formulaic Khaled’s albums have always been. Is this an exception? Absolutely not. I can appreciate that he tried to give it more of a spiritual concept & the production even pulling from gospel music, but it’s just so unfocused & all over the goddamn place.

Score: 1.5/5

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Autumn! – “Golden Child 2” review

Autumn! is a 24 year old rapper, singer/songwriter & producer from Lafayette, Louisiana who made he got his start by dropping 16 EPs & a full-length debut on SoundCloud since 2018 prior to signing to Victor Victor Worldwide & Republic Records following Not Much Left this past fall. He just put out his sophomore album albeit major label debut Antagonist! few months back to positive reception & returned to his plugg roots a month ago with ##B4GC2, but is steadily grinding by putting out his 18th EP.

The intro sets it off with a glistening instrumental talking about being up now whereas “Inside My Head!” takes a more atmospheric route refusing to let the industry take his soul. “Can We Talk!” goes pluggnb responding to everyone who said he fell off prior to “Golden Child!” confessing about lying that he’s fine when he’s really not over a tranquil instrumental. The song “Jay n Bey!” works in a guitar comparing his love for his partner to that of The Carters while the penultimate track “Should Know Me Better!” spaciously talks about needing to relax after moving too fast & that he’ll always be here in the scene. “Myself!” though is a fun send-off to the EP telling this hoe not to deny that she’s like the rest.

As a sequel to one of the best projects in Autumn!’s ever-growing discography, it certainly lived up to my expectations. Much like the prequel & the predecessor, the actual follow-up itself picks up where things left off with it’s well-crafted pluggnb production that helped blow him up & the subject matter all comes from a unique perspective that he continues to bring to the table. He & Weiland are definitely holding it down for Victor Victor right now.

Score: 3.5/5

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