Trizz – “Baseline Cavi” review

Trizz is a 30 year old MC from Los Angeles, California who first picked up a microphone at the age of 9. But it wasn’t until his late teens where he properly introduced himself to a wider audience in the form of his debut mixtape Suicide with No Note, which was followed up with New West & The Right to Bear Arms before being taken under the wing of Sacramento horrorcore veteran Brotha Lynch Hung by signing to Madesicc Muzicc for a brief period of time. He would later go on to drop 5 more tapes, 4 full-lengths, 5 EPs, 5 collab projects with Chuuwee, 1 with Flashy B & another with Sahtyre all within the last decade. But for his 5th album over here, he’s decided to bring in former Strange Music in-house producer 7 behind the boards from start to finish.

After the titular intro, “the inLAnd” kicks off the album with an incredible g-funk ode to Los Angeles whereas “Keep It a Buck” works in a trap instrumental with a weeping loop talking about being legit. “90210” comes through with a warm romance anthem with it’s acoustic instrumental & Bino Rideaux’s hook leading into the synth-funk “Shit Don’t Stop” flexing with an insane amount of charisma.

Meanwhile on “Summer Break”, we have Trizz delivering a mellow summertime bop just before “Tha Front Yard” brings back the g-funk talking about how people wanna be like him & the John Givez hook is pretty catchy. “Hollywood, Oh Hollywood” is a rich yet jazzy depiction of the titular city, but then “Red Headed Stepchild” kicks off with an eerie sample confessing he doesn’t even know how many time’s he’s been counted out.

T.F. & IceColdBishop both come into the picture for “Bless the Dead” with it’s soulful boom bap beat opening up about seeing their deceased colleagues looking at the sky tonight while the song “Crashed” fuses trap with rock spit reflecting on a car accident that he got into back when he had nothing. The penultimate track “Had to Do It Myself” is of course a spacey ode to self-hustle & to round it all off XV tags along for the cloudy “On & On” talking about a walking a path that never ends.

As someone who’s been rocking with Trizz for about a decade now, this is his most well-rounded body of work to date & one of the best West Coast albums I’ve heard all year. He gets a lot of his chest detailing his life in the City of Angels as far as lyricism goes with 7’s production being incredibly versatile pulling from g-funk, boom bap, rock, trap, synth-funk & jazz rap.

Score: 4.5/5

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Mr. Grey – “Operation: Delirium” review

Mr. Grey is a 42 year old MC from Gilroy, California who came up as 1/2 of the duo Gorilla Voltage alongside ClockworC. However, he would drop his first 2 solo efforts Lost Soul in the fall of 2012 & then Remain Raw a couple summers later prior followed by The Damn Dirty Apes the year after Remain Raw. Gorilla Voltage then signed to Majik Ninja Entertainment on Christmas Day 2016 & manage to dropped 2 more full-lengths together, but quietly disbanded following their final album Gods & Claws which is a bit of a shame considering that I consider it to be their best work musically. That being said, Grey dropped his 3rd album Vicious Vendetta a little bit after the pandemic started & celebrated last year’s Valentine’s Day to go fully acoustic rock on the Righteous Devil mixtape. Few months later, he formed the trio Cabal with Philly horrorcore pioneer Lo Key alongside Louisville veteran Bukshot released their debut The Watchers to widespread acclaim within the underground. Considering that, it was only right for Buk to sign Grey to Mobstyle Music for his debut EP fully produced by 7.

After the titular intro, the opener “Into the Wasteland” sets off the album with an occult instrumental talking about being born for this just before Gorilla Voltage reunite for the somewhat industrial “Outrage da Jour” asking why people are mad at them. “Justice?” works in a creepy ass beat to call out the system leading into “American Meat Grinder” embracing a trap metal sound talking about fiending for blood.

“The Day the Angels Day” frantically confesses all he sees now is the darkness that came from the fog while the penultimate song “Zerk!” finds Boondox joining The Berzerkers for an uncanny prelude to their upcoming debut EP. And prior to the “Codicil” outro, “Winter Soldier” truly ends the EP with some strings & hi-hats declaring himself as such.

Compared to his earlier work, Operation: Delirium is easily the best solo effort that Grey has put out yet in my opinion. The apocalyptic concept is well conceived & 7’s production is dark, yet comes through with a range of interesting ideas from trap metal to industrial hip hop. He’s a great addition to Mobstyle in my opinion & have high expectations for the Berzerkers EP.

Score: 4.5/5

Bukshot – “Never Safe” review

Bukshot is a 47 year old MC from Louisville, Kentucky who’s been around for a quarter of a century at this point whether it be his lengthy solo discography or groups/duos with some of the biggest names that the underground has to offer. The last we heard from him on his own was Night of the Zombie back in the fall & in light of his appearances at Astronomicon this weekend, he’s enlisting former Strange Music in-house prouder 7 behind the boards for his 17th EP.

After the “Under the Surface” intro, the title track kicks off the EP in his wicked shit bag down the thrilling instrumental whereas “Asleep” works in some pianos to diss the woke. “Role Mode” goes into cloudier territory getting more vulnerable lyrically just before “Molotov” mixes keys with guitars showing motherfuckers that he’s a problem. The song “Hog-Tied” has a more dramatic aesthetic to it declaring his lack of respect for anyone who plots against him while the penultimate track “Round Here” ghoulishly cautions everyone not to stop coming around his turf. “Alright” then closes out the EP by incorporating elements of orchestral brushing off his haters.

Now 2021 had to be one of if not the biggest year in Mobstyle Music’s history & for this to be the label’s way of keeping the ball rollin’, I’m highly impressed. Buk sounds incredibly ferocious on the mic & on top of that, 7’s production is absolutely chilling & compliments the aggressive bars very well.

Score: 4/5

Ransom – “7” review

Ransom is a 42 year old MC from Jersey City who came up as 1/2 of the short-lived duo A-Team alongside Hitchcock. After their disbandment, he branched out on his own beginning with his 2008 full-length debut Street Cinema & the Statik Selektah-produced sophomore album The Proposal. But it’s safe to say 2020 was his biggest year yet so far, dropping a total of 5 EPs produced entirely by Nicholas Craven & all of them being equally stellar. And now to warm us up for Ransom’s upcoming albums with Rome Streetz as well as Big Ghost Ltd. & Pete Rock respectively, we’re getting a concept EP revolving around the 7 deadly sins.

Craven slides through behind the boards for the soulful opener “Envy” touching down on how jealousy can corrupt oneself whereas V-Don infuses keyboards & dusty boom bap drums on “Gluttony”, where both Ransom & Lloyd Banks mix spiritualism with the street shit they’re known for. Meanwhile on “Greed”, we have Royce da 5’9” tagging along assisting on the theme of selfishness with Lord Sear bringing in some horns into the production before Chup goes into a more rock-tinged sound for the vengeful “Wrath”.

38 Spesh takes things into chipmunk soul territory on “Lust”, which is about how you can see the emotions when your life’s an open book. The penultimate track “Sloth” has a weak verse from J. Arrr at the tail end of it, but I do like the sluggish instrumental as well as Ransom’s lyrics about not letting your master confuse your view. And for the self-produced closer “Pride”, we’re treated to a soul sample much like the opener & a look into egoism.

I knew exactly what I was in for going into this EP & he delivered. Not just because the production is raw yet super diverse, but the concept is executed in a way that feels natural rather than hamfisted or corny. Beyond excited to hear where he’ll take it with Rome, Big Ghost & Pete Rock just before 2021 ends.

Score: 4.5/5

Bernz – “Sorry for the Mess” review

Bernz is a 42 year old MC from Miami, Florida most notable for being a co-founder of the band ¡MAYDAY! alongside Plex Luthor in 2003. But after bringing a co-frontman & 3 other instrumentalists into the fold by the end of the decade, Kansas City icon Tech N9ne signed the group to his evergrowing independent powerhouse Strange Music in 2011 & have remained on the label since. However, it wouldn’t be until 2016 where Bernz branched out into a solo career & dropped See You on the Other Side. Fast forward 4 years later, he’s enlisting 7 to produce his sophomore effort in it’s entirety.

Things kick off with the title track, where Bernz apologizes to the listener for what they’re about to hear over a dreary instrumental. The next song “Don’t Wait on Me” then tells this woman to walk out the door over a boom bap beat with an acoustic guitar while the track “On My Way” talks about how this woman makes him feel over a jam session-like instrumental. The track “Necessity” with his ¡MAYDAY! partner in rhyme Wrekonize sees the 2 getting confessional over a piano & some explosive drums while the song “Outchea” talks about keeping things on pace over some blissful guitar melodic & some handclaps.

The song “Limited Time” with Futuristic finds the 2 talking about out of town romance over a funky ass beat while the track “Done” talks about waking up from the wrong side & still feeling good over a tropical trap instrumental. The song “Slow Dance” is a beautiful foot tapper backed by a sensual beat with some heavy drums while the track “Old Cutler Drive” looks back on his younger days as a hungry artist over a trap instrumental that kinda has a jazzy flare to it.

The song “In My Mind” opens up on being epileptic over a lugubrious beat while the track “Party in My Room” talks about sex over a fast-tempo instrumental. The song “Lie to Me” talks about not wanting to hear any hard truths over a rhythmic beat while the track “Sunny Rain” talks about what it’s like for him to love this woman over a warm instrumental.

The song “Hold On” teams back up with Wrekonize as they tell their partners not to let go of them over a calming instrumental while the track “Double Down” talks about getting back up when you’re on the ground over a psychedelic beat. The closer “Let You Down” talks about getting lost in his thoughts over an acoustic instrumental & then the bonus cut “Late Checkout” is essentially Bernz doing dumb shit in the club over a beat that I almost wanna say is a bit Latin flavored.

Strange Music has been constantly staying busy all year & if this is the last full-length album we’re getting from them until 2021, then what a damn-near perfect way to finish it off because Bernz really took it to a whole nother level on here in comparison to [i]See You on the Other Side[/i]. The lyrics are most personal yet & his chemistry with 7 is just astounding, as the production on here is incredibly versatile.

Strange Music has been constantly staying busy all year & if this is the last full-length album we’re getting from them until 2021, then what a damn-near perfect way to finish it off because Bernz really took it to a whole nother level on here in comparison to See You on the Other Side. The lyrics are most personal yet & his chemistry with 7 is just astounding, as the production on here is incredibly versatile.

Score: 4.5/5

The Underground Avengers – “Dark Matter” review

The Underground Avengers are a supergroup consisting of Boondox, Bukshot & Claas. They first assembled in 2012 with their self-titled EP, but then disappeared shortly after. Then with the help of Majik Ninja Entertainment late last August, they reformed to drop their debut album Anomaly 88. Now 11 months later, they’re back with their sophomore album & have enlisted Strange Music in-house producer 7 to produce it from front to back.

After the “Dragonfly 44” intro, we go into the first song “Black Summer”. Where the trio get vicious over a haunting trap beat. The track “Tribulation” attacks fake people over a symphonic trap beat while the song “1 More Night” of course talks about partying over a rap rock beat. The title track is pretty much a decent spoken word interlude & then the next song “Chimera” talks about internal conflict over a nocturnal beat.

After the “Hecatomb” interlude, we go another interlude with with “Protocol”. We finally get back into the music with “Invasion”, where the Avengers get with Young Wicked & The Jokerr to compare themselves to aliens over a sinister trap beat. The penultimate track “God Particle” is a fantastically gritty sequel to the equally star-studded “Thanos” off of the Avengers’ previous effort & then album ends with the “Coda” spoken word piece.

This is yet another solid effort from the Avengers. There are a little too many interludes/skits for me, but the chemistry between the trio is still strong & 7’s production suits them fantastically.

Score: 3.5/5

MURS – “A Strange Journey Into the Unimaginable” review

On the day of his 40th birthday, former Living Legends member MURS is celebrating by delivering his 11th full-length album & he has enlisted  7 to produce it in it’s entirety. The album starts off with “The Unimaginable”, where MURS vents about his recent divorce & the death of his newborn son over a gloomy acoustic guitar with some militant drums added halfway through. The next song “Melancholy” touches down on the titular feeling over a somber acoustic guitar & some live drumming while the track “‘Midtown” reflects on coming up from South Los Angeles over a twangy guitar. The song “Same Way” with Tech N9ne sees both MCs telling their loved ones they know that their families don’t like them over a laidback beat while the song “Powerful” takes a jab at the current state of hip hop over a woodwind-infused boom bap beat.

The song “G Lollipops” with Fashawn & Prof is a humble brag about their talents over an fun instrumental fit for the clubs & then the track “Superhero Pool Party” sees MURS telling a bedtime story to his son where he was at the fictitious titular party. It is filled with creative references to iconic superheroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman & The Incredible Hulk just to name a few. Also, Kanye West & Jean Grae are both mentioned as well. The song “Whiskey & Patron” with XV is a fun liquor tune with a druggy beat while the track “A Lean Story” recalls a time where he tried lean before a show in 2000 over a gloomy beat.

The song “Lo-Fi Nights” touches down on internal conflict & finding inner peace over a beautiful instrumental while the track “So Far Close” is a heartfelt message to his ex-wife Kate over some somber yet jazzy instrumental. The song “Celebrate” is a smooth ode to all of the good memories in MURS’ life while the penultimate track “Vows” tells us how he met who I presume to be his new wife & where they are now over a beautiful piano instrumental. To be honest with all of you, this song almost made me cry the first time I heard it. The album finishes with “God Is the Greatest”, where MURS is getting in the faces of his critics over an eerie boom bap beat.

As a whole, I think this was a beautiful way to celebrate the man’s 40th birthday. MURS gets at his most personal lyrically & 7’s production suits him near perfectly. I’ve always wanted the 2 to work on a whole album together ever since MURS signed to Strange Music in 2014 & the end result is his best album with the label as well as being tied with …The End of the Beginning as the magnum opus in his solo discography

Score: 4.5/5