Bizarre – “He Got a Gun” review

Bizarre is a 45 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who came up as an original member of the now defunct D12 led by the late Proof. He was also among the first in the crew to put out solo efforts, with his 1998 debut EP Attack of the Weirdos being a hometown classic in my eyes. Fast forward 7 years later, Biz followed it up with a worthy full-length debut Hannicap Circus & has continued to put out music on his own since, with the last time we heard him being his 10th mixtape Peter this past winter. But for his 5th album, the idiotic kid is bringing in one of the city’s greatest producers Foul Mouth behind the boards for the whole thing.

“Uzi” is a soulful boom bap opener with Bizarre going at the throats of anyone who wants to step up to him lyrically whereas “Hecker” with Kool Keith takes a grimier route talking about how they’re just built different. “Gauge” works in some strings reminding everyone he doesn’t think realistically just before Dope D.O.D. tags along for the dusty “Desert E” talking about how dangerous they are.

Meanwhile on “MG3”, we have Kain Cole joining Bizzy over some pianos admitting that they just wanna fly leading into “XM307 (Night Shift)” throwing a soul sample into the mix talking about him looking forward to his bitch clocking out of work as she comes in during the evenings. “FN” returns to boom bap turf asking if people are really living what they’re rapping & after the first of 2 skits, “9MM” shoots for a more psychedelic sound telling the story of his sex life.

NEMS & Young Z both come into the picture for the gully “25” to get ignorant on the mic while “Smith & Wesson” with the homies Dango Forlaine, Nick Speed, Ty Farris & 7 the General finds the quartet over some keys for an incredible Detroit posse cut. “AS50” encourages listeners to run because you don’t wanna get shot by him over an uncanny beat, but then “Dillinger” fuses elements of rock & boom bap talking about fucking up people outside.

Following that, Guilty Simpson & Mvck Nyce join Bizarre for the forlorn “Saw Off” to apply pressure while “45” incorporates a guitar talking about coming from the gutter. “Glock (College Bitch)” is one of the weaker cuts on the album despite it’s soulful production due to it’s subject matter about fucking bitches that’re over 2 decades younger than him & after the “Coney Island” skit, “Detroit” picks it up with a raw ode to the city. Prior to the outro though, “Rusty 38” with Big T ends the album on a chaotic note delivering that raw hip hop.

A lot of people like to dismiss Bizarre as an MC, but I came away from He Got a Gun liking it just as much as Attack of the Weirdos & Hannicap Circus. Easily some of the best work of his career in my opinion. There are a couple lackluster features & song topics throughout, but Foul Mouth’s production doesn’t miss a step & Peter S. himself has a fire under his ass lyrically.

Score: 4.5/5

Bizarre – “Rufus” review

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This is the 4th studio album from Detroit rapper Bizarre, who is widely known for being a member of the now defunct D12. He was one of the first members of the group to already have an established solo career, as his 1998 EP Attack of the Weirdos as well as his 2005 debut album Hannicap Circus are hometown classics in my eyes. Last time we heard from him in a full-length capacity was in 2010 with Friday Night at St. Andrews but after years of focusing on mixtapes & more recently the duo L.A.R.S. with King Gordy, he’s back with his first studio album in 9 years with Rufus.

The opener “RIP Bizarre” talks about how wild he is over a woozy instrumental, but then it cuts into a spoken word piece where he announces that the Bizarre character will be out the window for a while. The intro is an auto-tune trap ballad about all the drugs he does while the song “Day in the Hood” talks about what it’s like living in Detroit over a haunting trap beat. The track “Puffin'” with Danny Mellz & Wack Rac sees the 3 of course talking about weed over a nocturnal beat while the song “Grandmom” is an endearing tribute to Biz’s late grandmother.

The track “Wish I Was High” is an hallucinogenic banger about wanting to be under the influence & while I like the bass-heavy instrumental on the song “Dope Fiend”, Biz’s whispery delivery doesn’t do it for me. The track “Leatherface” finds L.A.R.S getting with Lazarus & Hopsin to deliver an epically grimy horrorcore cut while the song “Get Hi” talks about his love for weed over an intoxicating beat. The track “Treat Yourself” talks about appreciating the simple things in life & not letting the world bring you down over a skeletal instrumental whereas the song “Late Night” with Oba Rowland is an awkward attempt at a “sexy” radio hit.

The track “Lose Weight” talks about wanting to live a healthier lifestyle after recently being diagnosed with diabetes over a soulful instrumental while the song “Man on a Mission” with Danny Mellz & Tay Kova sees the 3 talking about ruff riding over a druggy trap beat. The track “Petty” with former D12 bandmate dEnAuN sees the 2 talking about being just that over a stripped back instrumental while the song “Step Father” is a dedication to all the stepfathers out there backed with a rich instrumental & while the song “Free” talks about being relieved, the beat is nondescript.

The track “My Daughter” talks about not wanting to be a bad father over a vibraphone-inflicted trap beat whereas the song “Breathe Deep” talks about being on the verge of a panic attack over a grim instrumental. The track “Marijuana” needs no further explanation lyrically although I do like the vibrant production while the penultimate track “Bizarre Back / Have You Ever” starts off with a spoken word piece announcing the return of the Bizarre character & then he busts in asking rhetorical questions over a dazing instrumental. Then there’s the closer “Fans”, where Biz invites a handful of independent rappers on to showcase their talents.

This is actually a pretty solid effort from Biz overall. Sure it’s 80 minutes long & there are some cuts on here that I can personally do without, but it’s a nice change of pace as he spends a good 95% of the time telling you who he really is as a person & where he’s at now.

Score: 3.5/5

L.A.R.S. – L.A.R.S. (Last American Rock Stars) review

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After signing to Majik Ninja Entertainment in August of 2016 & dropping a free prelude mixtape called Foul World on Devils Night of that same year, Detroit horrorcore duo L.A.R.S is now dropping their full-length debut. After a 1 minute intro, we then get into the first song “Stomp”. Here, King Gordy & Bizarre both talk about fucking people up over an eerie beat. The track “Just Got Out the County” with Fury talks about them getting arrested for doing wild shit over a menacing beat, but the hook is kinda annoying. The song “Cocaine in Miami” talks about partying in Miami over a smooth beat with some synths & the “LARS Spangled Banner” interlude sees Gordy doing his own rendition of the United States National Anthem, but it’s just so mediocre.

The track “Lit” is a club banger with a trippy trap beat & the song “California” talks about going to Cali to ease their minds over a rap rock beat. The track “Rock n Roll” with Majik Ninja founders Twiztid talks about how wild they are over a grimy beat from L.A.R.S.’ DJ & honorary 3rd member Foul Mouth. The song “Suicide” has an eerie soul sample all over it & Gordy has some funny ass lines during his verse near the end, but the first verse from Bizarre didn’t really do much.The “Moshitup” interpolation during the hook wasn’t too surprising, but I liked it generally. The track “Ganja Man” is a reggae inflicted weed song, but it’s just ok. The song “No Lights” talks about their early life in the ghetto over some smooth bass & some keys. While endearing, the reference to The Pharcyde’s “Passin’ Me By” during the hook is just ok. The penultimate track “Start a War” with G-Mo Skee, Trizz & Twista gets confrontational over an explosive trap beat & the closer “I Believe I Can Fly” gets motivational over a beautiful piano instrumental from mR. pOrTeR.

As a whole, this is one of the best releases in both King Gordy & Bizarre’s catalogues. Sure there are some weak moments, but it’s more refined than the prelude tape from the production to the duo’s performances & their ever so natural chemistry. I’ll say it here like I did in my Foul World review, but here’s to hopefully some solo albums from both members because they fit with Majik Ninja very very well

Score: 4/5

Majik Ninja Entertainment – “Twiztid Presents: Year of the Sword” review

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Majik Ninja Entertainment is an underground hip hop label that was founded in 2014 by Detroit hip hop duo Twiztid. The roster has been immensely growing since it’s inception of this year specifically, they’ve dropped 1 great release after another. And now to close out such a great year for them, they’re now giving the fans a compilation featuring new songs from every artist on the label. After a 90 second intro, we then get into the first song “Heads Will Roll” by Gorilla Voltage & Jamie Madrox. Here, they‘re bragging about how their skills will amaze you over a sinister instrumental. The next track “Turn It Up” by Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Bonez Dubb & Lex the Hex Master sees the 3 MCs aggressively getting in your face over a chaotic beat while the track “Fucked” by Boondox, Gorilla Voltage & The R.O.C. talks about how crazy they all are over a haunting instrumental. After a 15 second skit with “Level Up!”, we then get into the next song “Their Fault” by Jamie Madrox & Young Wicked. Here, they’re predominantly singing about those who never gave them a chance & while the vocals during the first half seem nasal, it definitely picks up on the second half. The song “Ignite” by King Gordy, Mr. Grey & Zodiac MPrint talks about how they’re never gonna fall over a killer rap rock instrumental & then “Cut ‘Em Up” by Twiztid & Young Wicked rapidly talk about killing their competition over an abrasive yet eerie instrumental. The song “Lights Out” by G-Mo Skee, Mr. Grey & Twiztid angrily talks about getting murderous on their last day alive & the rap metal instrumental on here fits the vibe like a glove. After the 30-second “Harassment” skit, we then dive into “Don’t Fuck wit Us” by ClocworC, the House of Krazees & Lex the Hex Master. The lyrics are self explanatory, but they’re delivered fantastically over this menacing yet thumping instrumental. The song “Better Than Ever B4” by the Axe Murder Boyz, G-Mo Skee, Lex the Hex Master & Triple Threat talk knowing now than ever before about over some twinkling piano keys & an organ while “Flix ‘n Chill” by ClocworC, Triple Threat & Young Wicked is a predictably decent love song with a wavy instrumental. The song “Get High” by the Axe Murder Boyz, L.A.R.S., Mr. Grey & Triple Threat is self-explanatory weed anthem with a druggy beat while “Galaxy” by G-Mo Skee, Jamie Madrox & King Gordy sees the 3 looking for a challenge over a synthesizer-heavy instrumental. The song “Don’t Tell Me” by Boondox, Gordy & Twiztid tells the haters they’ll never listen to them over a grimy yet thunderous beat & then after the 20 second “Summon the Majik Ninja” skit, we then get into the final song in the standard edition “B.N.U.” (an acronym for Brand New Underground). It’s an explosive posse cut where everyone on the label all talk about their prowess. The “Did You Unplug It?” skit is the final track on here, but there is a bonus disc with 9 tracks. All of which are new solo cuts from each signee on the label, with the exception of Lex the Hex Master’s being previously released on his latest album Beyond Redemption. As a whole, this was a great way for Majik Ninja to end their 2017 & it’s just another example of why they’re one of my favorite labels out right now. The production is gritty as usual & everyone compliments each other fantastically. Can’t wait to see them continue their string of successfully raw releases in 2018

Score: 4/5

L.A.R.S. – “Foul World” review

L.A.R.S. is a Detroit horrorcore duo consisting of childhood friends & longtime collaborators Bizarre of D12 fame & King Gordy of the Fat Killahz. The duo originally formed & debuted as The Davidians on Esham’s Butcher Shop mixtape back in 2008, but now they’re re-emerging with a new name along with a recent record deal with Twiztid’s Majik Ninja Entertainment & this 7 track mixtape preluding their upcoming debut album.

The opener “L.A.R.S. (Last American Rock Stars)”, sees the duo talking about partying over a decent rap rock instrumental from their DJ & honorary 3rd member Foul Mouth, who produced all but 1 song on the entire project. The next track “Put Me Thru” has a very surprising soul sample throughout & the way Gordy talks about this woman who’s being physically abused is super vivid. Also, there’s one line during Bizarre‘s verse where he accidentally mixes up Conway with his brother Westside Gunn (both of whom got signed to Shady Records earlier this year). The song “Fuck Yo Baby Daddy” with Big T shittalks an unnamed baby daddy over a decent trap beat from Rooq, but I think both Gordy & T’s verses at the beginning & the end respectively fit the concept a lot better than Bizarre’s verse in the middle. The track “Lose Your Mind” gets gangsta over a sinister boom bap beat & the way they go back & forth with each other just goes to show how strong their chemistry still is. The song “Mother’s Best Friend” is a hilarious sex tune over a jazzy instrumental & then the penultimate track “Savage Life” talks about how insane Gordy & Bizzy are over a fittingly sinister instrumental. The closer “I’m a Celebrity” then boasts about the lavish life & the rap rock instrumental here sounds a lot more exciting than the one we heard during the opener.

I personally think Majik Ninja is one of the rawest labels out right now & I think this latest mixtape from their newest sign act is no exception. Sure it feels like an EP given that’s only 7 tracks & 23 minutes long, but Foul Mouth’s production is on point & both King Gordy & Bizarre sound as crazy as they’ve ever been. Here’s to their upcoming debut album & hopefully some solo albums from both MCs at some point in the future

Score: 4/5

D12 – “D12 World” review

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A lot has happened in the 3 years since the release of their successful debut Devil’s Night but now, Detroit hip hop sextet D12 is finally returning with their sophomore album.

Things start off with “Git Up”, where Eminem links up with Kuniva & Swifty McVay to get confrontational about their return over a punchy beat. The next song “Loyalty” sees everyone sans Em linking up with Obie Trice to talk about just that over an abrasive beat while the track “Just Like U” is a filthy Bizarre solo cut over a somber Hi-Tek beat. The song “I’ll Be Damned” sees everyone sans Proof & Em talking about 1-night stands over a smooth yet funky beat from mR. pOrTeR & after the Dude skit, we go into the song “My Band”. Here, all 6 members unite to parody the concept of Eminem being “the lead singer” of the “band”. The track “U R the One” sees everyone minus Em getting sexual over another funky beat. The song “6 in the Morning” sees everyone sans Proof & Bizarre dissing Benzino over a punchy beat while the track “How Come” addresses the strain between Em & the other members over a gritty beat. The song “Leave Dat Boy Alone” is essentially Swift & Da Brigade telling you not to fuck with them over some drums & a vibraphone while the song “Get My Gun” sees all 6 members making a sequel to “Pistol Pistol” that’s almost as great as the original.

After the Bizarre skit, we go into the song “Bitch”. Here, all 6 members mocking dumb women over a decent beat. After the “Steve’s Coffee House” skit, we go into the title track. Here, everyone sans Em goes back & forth about their universe over a soulful instrumental from none other than Kanye West. The song “40 Oz.” is a rowdy club banger with a chaotic beat & after the Commercial Break showcasing Young Z, we go into the track “American Psycho II”. Here, everyone minus Proof & mR. pOrTeR deliver a gritty sequel to the classic tune off of Devil’s Night over a Dr. Dre instrumental with a prominent guitar riff throughout. After a decent remix of Bugz’ verse off of “Desperados”, the closer “Good Die Young” is essentially everyone minus Eminem paying tribute to Bugz in a heartfelt manner over some gloomy guitar licking.

Honestly, I don’t think this is as bad as some make it out to be. There are a couple obnoxious songs & the production is a bit cleaner than their debut, but it sounds just as passionate & the chemistry is still there. It just sucks that this is the last album we’ll ever get from them. Big Proof Forever.

Score: 4/5

D12 – “Devil’s Night” review

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D12 is a hip hop sextet from Detroit Michigan consisting of Eminem, Proof, Swifty McVay, Bizarre & Da Brigade (mR. pOrTeR & Kuniva). They first came onto the scene in 1997 with The Underground EP, but then Eminem left the following year after he signed to Aftermath Entertainment. He eventually rejoined just 3 months after the release of his sophomore album The Slim Shady LP in light of original member Bugz being murdered & the group became the very 1st act to be signed to Em’s then-newly founded Interscope Records imprint Shady Records. Fast forward 2 years later, Em is now helping them get in front of the spotlight with their full-length debut.

After the “Another Public Service Announcement” skit, we go into the first song “Shit Can Happen”. Here, Em links up with Da Brigade & Swift getting in your face over a quirky yet funky beat. The track “Pistol Pistol” sees everyone sans Em spitting gun talk over a punchy beat & after the Bizarre skit, we go into the song “Nasty Mind”. Here, Bizarre gets with Da Brigade & Swift getting raunchy over a mellow Dr. Dre instrumental. The track “Ain’t Nuttin’ But Music” sees all 6 members humorously brushing off the people who say their music is damaging the youth over a Dre beat with a much more playful vibe to it while “American Psycho” sees Em, Bizarre & mR. pOrTeR talking about insanity over an eerie beat. After the “That’s How” skit, the actual “That’s How…” song sees Da Brigade going back & forth with Proof & Swift explaining how they can fuck you up over some punchy drums & a bass-line.

The track “Purple Pills” is a classic tribute to every drug known to man while the song “Fight Music” perfectly lives up to it’s title as the sextet talks about violence over a Dr. Dre beat that suits the tone perfectly. The track “Instigator” sees everyone sans Em & Bizarre describing themselves as just that over some sinister keyboards while the song “Pimp Like Me” is essentially everyone minus Em talking pimp shit over a smooth beat. The track “Blow My Buzz” sees all 6 members talking about people ruining their high over a funky bass-line with handclaps & after showcasing Obie Trice on the Obie Trice skit, we go into the title track. Here, everyone sans Proof talks about the titular Detroit tradition over an ominous orchestral instrumental. After the Steve Berman skit, we go into the penultimate track. Here, all 6 members talk about not needing school over a sinister Dre beat. The album then finishes with the Eminem solo cut “Girls”, which is a grim diss towards Limp Bizkit over a somber piano & drums.

Overall, this is easily the group’s best album. Obviously Em & Proof are the most lyrically talented of the 6, but they all sound fully formed with perfect production backing them up.

Score: 4.5/5