Logic – “Vinyl Days” review

Logic is a 32 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, author & Twitch streamer from Rockville, Maryland who came up just about a decade ago off the strength of the first 3 installments of the Young Sinatra mixtape series. His potential would continually be shown on his first 2 albums Under Pressure & The Incredible True Story but it’s no secret that since the release of Bobby Tarantino in 2016, the dude’s discography has become a definition of inconsistent. ΞVERYBODY, Bobby Tarantino II & Young Sinatra IV were all mid at best, but who can forget the embarrassing attempt at going indie rock on Supermarket or the unlikeable bitterness of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? No Pressure however was a mature sequel to his full-length debut & I also thought the Doc D concept mixtape Planetory Destruction was decent too, but Bobby Tarantino III was pretty underwhelming. That being said, almost every single he dropped leading up to this 8th album of his albeit his last with Def Jam Recordings has been incredible & had me very excited going into it.

After the “Danger” intro, “Tetris” kicks off the album with a soulful boom bap note spitting some braggadocio whereas “In My Lifetime” with Action Bronson has a more energetic tone to it warning their competition to be concerned. “Decades” flips “Oh How You Hurt Me” by The Fabulous Performers talking about how money isn’t everything & after the J.J. Abrahams” skit, “BLACKWHITEBOY” comes through with a visceral shot at everyone who’s ever doubted him.

Meanwhile on “Quasi”, we have Logic asking Madlib to start rapping again with an instrumental that’s clearly influenced by The Beat Konducta just before “Bleed It” heavily samples the Beastie Boys looking back on his childhood. “LaDonda” has a bit of a J Dilla influence to the production with Logic looking back on his career up to this point & after the “Aaron Judge” skit, “Clouds” with Langston Bristol serves as a decent prelude to College Park with the beat-switching up during the last minute so Curren$y can steal the show.

After the “Michael Rap” skit, “Therapy Music” was the only single that I didn’t like prior to the album’s release due to how similar Russ & Logic both sound. However, I do like the jazzy instrumental. After the “Tony Revolori” skit, “Rogue 1” works in some dusty drums & a whistling teapot kettle to talk about how he had to take a step back leading into “Breath Control” sampling “I Really Really Love You” by Father’s Children as he & Wiz Khalifa tell anyone who wants to set up to them not to try them.

After the “NEMS” skit, “Nardwuar” marks the return of Logic’s alter-ego Doc D accompanied by a fuzzy boom bap beat while “Kickstyle” is just a decent Ratt Pack reunion & I’m disappointed that Bobby doesn’t have a verse on here at all because Big Lenbo & IamJMARS’ are both just mid. After the “EarlyBird” skit, Royce da 5’9” tags along for the raw “10 Years” to celebrate their accomplishments in the previous decade while RZA comes into the picture for the basement-sounding “Porta 1” to spit some hardcore bars.

After the “NeedleDrop” skit, “Introducing Nezi” is basically Logic’s way of showing Nezi Momodu to a wider audience with a siren-laced instrumental while “Orville” with Blu & Exile and Like has a chipmunk soul flare to it letting y’all know how they get down. “Carnival” with AZ finds the 2 over some horns to creep up on them lyrically & after the “Lena’s Insight” skit, the title track goes into a more symphonic direction talking about getting it all.

The penultimate track “I Guess I Love It” with The Game brings back the jazz to admit that it’s funny how their feet been on the beach lookin’ at the sky & the stars above with “Sayonara” ending the album with a 10-minute open letter to Def Jam since Vinyl Days fulfills his contract with the label after being signed to them for the past decade.

Going into this, I had a strong feeling that this would be the best album of Logic’s career given how much I loved almost every single that he put out prior & that ended up being the case here. Granted there are WAY too many skits & some of the “mumble rap” lines are outdated as Hell but once you get past that, the actual music on here is actually his most artistically definitive yet.

Score: 4/5

Pusha T – “It’s Almost Dry” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Virginia emcee, songwriter & record executive Pusha T. Coming up as 1/2 of the duo Clipse alongside his older brother No Malice about 3 decades ago, their debut Lord Willin’ & their sophomore effort Hell Hath No Fury would go on to become some of the best of the 2000s & essentials in the coke rap scene. But following the brothers’ final album together ‘Til the Casket Drops, they would disband after No Malice became a born again Christian & resulted in Push signing to Kanye West’s very own Def Jam Recordings imprint G.O.O.D. Music as a solo act. He has since made himself home under Ye’s wing by dropping 3 solo efforts, with the last one being the Kanye-produced DAYTONA in the spring of 2018 & one of the greatest diss tracks of all-time “The Story of Adidon” merely days later. But after 4 long years, Push is returning with It’s Almost Dry.

“Brambleton” opens up the album with a cloudy yet rubbery instrumental from longtime collaborator Pharrell & lyrics addressing Pusha’s relationship with his former manager Geesy whereas “Let the Smokers Shine the Coups” has a more triumphant tone to it saying he’s just here to find the truth. Kanye tags along for “Dreamin’ of the Past” sampling “Jealous Guy” by Donny Hathaway to belittle their competition, but then JAY-Z comes into the picture for “Neck & Wrist” working in some experimental undertones talking about the rapstar life.

Meanwhile on “Just So You Remember”, we have Push reminding the whole world who they’re fucking with over a sample of “6 Day War” by Colonel Bagshot just before “Diet Coke” flips “Take the Time to Tell Her” by Jerry Butler taking jabs at those who be selling impure shit. KIDS SEE GHOSTS reunite 1 last time for “Rock n Roll” due to KiD CuDi & Kanye’s falling out talking about how this is their story over a sample of “1+1” by Beyoncé leading into the eerie “Call My Bluff” telling listeners that everything don’t need to be addressed.

“Scrape It Off the Top” has a more playful sound to it as Lil Uzi Vert helps Push spit them coke bars & “Hear Me Clearly” was one of my favorites off Nigo’s recent solo debut I Know Nigo, so I’m happy he put it on here. The penultimate track “Open Air” incorporates some flutes talking about slanging powder in an unenclosed space outdoors & “Labyrinth” ends the album with an organ-heavy Clipse reunion talking about all the people they pray for.

This has been one of my most anticipated albums of 2022 for a minute now & boy it did not disappoint. He continues to spit the gangsta rap we all know & love, except Kanye & Pharrell’s production is like yin & yang with the Chicago genius’ signature chipmunk soul sound that he came up on or the some of the pop rap undertones coming from some of the cuts that the Virginia visionary has to offer.

Score: 4.5/5

2 Chainz – “Dope Don’t Sell Itself” review

2 Chainz is a 44 year old rapper from Atlanta, Georgia who came up as 1/2 of the duo Playaz Circle. They eventually signed to Disturbing tha Peace Records & Def Jam Recordings in the 2000s releasing only 2 albums. He eventually ventured off into a solo career, with the biggest standouts being Pretty Girls 👍 TRΛP MUSIC & Rap or Go to the League. Last we heard from him was a little over a year ago with So Help Me God! but after dropping 2 singles last month, Tity Boi is returning in the form of his 6th full-length outing.

“Bet It Back” starts off the whole album with a rubbery bass-line & a sputtering sample talking about working hard to be well made whereas “Pop Music” with Moneybagg Yo & BeatKing comes off as a boring strip club anthem. “Kingpen Ghostwriter” picks things back up as Lil Baby tags along over a symphonic Buddah Bless instrumental talking about money coming in a hurry leading into “Outstanding”, which has a high spirited Hit-Boy beat & lyrics paying tribute to his lifestyle.

Meanwhile on “Neighbors Know My Name”, we have 2 Chainz bastardizing the classic D4L joint “Laffy Taffy” for 2 minutes just before 42 Dugg comes into the picture for “$1M Worth of Game” to talk about how shit can’t change them accompanied by a mediocre Lil Ju instrumental. “Free B.G.” takes a more wavier route with the help of Mannie Fresh obviously calling for the former Hot Boy$ member of the same name to come home, but then “10 Bracelets” has a more feel good tone to it as he & YoungBoy Never Broke Again get materialistic.

“Lost Kings” with Lil Durk has some woozy synthesizers throughout pondering how they’re supposed to breathe if all people do is kill & fight while the song “Caymans” with Swae Lee goes into a more stripped back direction talking about taking care of you & yours if you got something that people wanna see or be a part of. The penultimate track “Vlad TV” with Major Myjah, Stove God Cooks & Symba finds the trio over a funky ass beat calling out the interview platform for being the feds & “If You Want Me To” just seems like an awkward send-off to the album trying to get seductive.

Coming from someone who’s enjoyed his last 3 albums, I feel like Dope Don’t Sell Itself is slightly above average in comparison & could’ve been a tad bit better. 2 Chainz’ lyricism is absolutely not the problem at all because he’s the been the best he’s ever sounded throughout the past 5 years. The main problems I have with this album are the production & the features being hit or miss.

Score: 3/5

Big Sean – “What You Expect?” review

This is the debut EP from Detroit rapper & singer/songwriter Big Sean. Coming up as a protege of Chicago icon Kanye West & signing to his Def Jam Recordings imprint G.O.O.D. Music, he generated some buzz in the late 2000s by dropping the Finally Famous mixtape trilogy, but it wouldn’t be until 2011 when his profile significantly increased when Sean dropped a 4th installment as his full-length debut. This was followed up the next year with the highly acclaimed Detroit mixtape & then a sophomore album the year after that entitled Hall of Fame. However, his next 2 full-lengths Dark Sky Paradise & I Decided. were both mediocre in comparison to all those past efforts. Now the last time Big Sean dropped a project was in late 2017 with Double or Nothing which had INCREDIBLE production from Metro Boomin’ top to bottom, but Sean himself was SEVERELY lacking. He just fulfilled his G.O.O.D. contract last fall by dropping the surprisingly mature Detroit II & is re-enlisting Hit-Boy for What You Expect?, except he’s actually producing the whole thing rather than overseeing it.

“Chaos” is a shrilling yet triumphant opener about catching them Ws whereas “Into It” follows it up with an airy backdrop & some fast-paced snares boasting. “The One” appropriately samples the SWV joint “You’re the One” admitting he doesn’t know what it’s like for girls to not want him while the song “Loyal to a Fault” with Bryson Tiller & Lil Durk vibrantly speaks on betrayal. The penultimate track “Offense” with Babyface Ray & 42 Dugg finds the trio on their Detroit trap shit talking about being on top, but then “What a Life” ends the EP by picking up where the previous joint left off sonically & recapping on his life up to this point.

If you enjoy Detroit II like I did, then you’re gonna love What You Expect? just as much if not even more because dude is continuing to impress me more & more as of late. Sean’s songwriting is continuing to level up at an unbelievable rate & Hit-Boy’s production suits him like it did Nas on his last 2 albums.

Score: 3.5/5

Kanye West – “DONDA” review

This is the 10th full-length album from Chicago rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, businessman, fashion designer & supposed politician Kanye West. What can be said now about this man that hasn’t been said already? Regardless of how you feel about his public image, you can’t deny his creativity nor the impact his discography has had on hip hop over the last 17 years. More specifically The College Dropout & My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The last time we heard him in secular form was back in 2018 with ye, which in my opinion doesn’t get enough appreciation for detailing his struggles with bipolar disorder even to this day. Kanye later became a born-again Christian & went into gospel rap territory for his previous album Jesus is King in which the music was fine, but the mix was absolutely horrendous. But now after a embarrassing attempt at becoming president of the United States last fall & divorcing his Hobbit ex-wife, one can only go into DONDA expecting Ye to get a lot off his chest.

After the tedious “Donda Chant” intro, the first song “Jail” is a rock-tinged kickstarter with The Throne returning saying God’s gonna post their bail with co-production from Mike Dean alongside Dem Jointz & 88-Keys whereas “God Breathed” has assisted by E*Vax some choir vocals hanging in the back encouraging the listener to put their faith in the higher power. Playboi Carti & Fivio Foreign tag along for the trap-tinged “Off the Grid” co-produced by with 30 Roc proclaiming they did everything for the crib just before the Lil Baby-assisted “Hurricane” brings in some organs & snares with co-production from DJ Khalil & Ronny J to tell God to hold them close.

Meanwhile on “Praise God”, we have Baby Keem & Travis Scott joining forces to say they’re gonna praise their way out the grave helping work in an organ & choir vocals leading into “Jonah” with Lil Durk & Vory having some hypnotizing production as well as lyrics about loneliness. “Ok Ok” is an atmospheric cut co-produced with Boi-1da linking up with Lil Yachty & Rooga to call out those who’ve betrayed them, but then Ye & Carti pay homage to Junya Watanabe on the organ-bass infused “Junya” assisted by Digital Nas.

“Believe What I Say” does a fine job at sampling the iconic Lauryn Hill joint “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” telling the listener not to let the lifestyle drag you down whereas “24” brings back in some organs to say God’s not finished. “Remote Control” with Young Thug satirizes society these days with an ambient backdrop & snares whereas “Moon” is the greatest interlude of the year hands down, with Don Toliver & KiD CuDi hitting every note perfectly as the guitars that’re wailing behind them.

The way “Heaven & Hell” samples Drum Broker’s “Arena” is really cool with Ye standing up to to the system & after the titular interlude co-produced by BoogzDaBeast, “Keep My Spirit Alive” with Hall ‘N Nash finds the trio saying “you can take it all with the Lord on my side” over a cloudy instrumental. Jay Electronica & The LOX come in for the gorgeous “Jesus Lord” co-produced by Swizz Beatz & Gesaffelstein wanting to know someone who needs God, but then “New Again” sounds like a throwback to the Graduation days production-wise talking about being born again.

Tell the Vision” from the latest posthumous Pop Smoke album Faith feels out of place given that Ye has no presence on this version, but “Lord I Need You” makes up for it with it’s pillowy beat co-produced by Wheezy as Ye asks God to wrap his arms around him whereas the Roddy Ricch-assisted “Pure Souls” fuses organs with bass & handclaps to say “The truth is only what you get away with”.

The penultimate track “Come to Life” is an luxurious ballad pondering if you’ve ever wished you had another life & finally, “No Child Left Behind” ends the album with a straight up gospel ballad saying God has done miracles on him. We are then treated to alternate versions of “Jail”, “Ok Ok”, “Junya” & “Jesus Lord” as bonus cuts.

It should really go without saying that DONDA is what Jesus is King should’ve been & it’s a respectable tribute to Ye’s mom. There are a tad bit of filler cuts running at 27 joints & nearly 2 hours, but the mix sounds so much better in comparison to the last album.

Score: 4/5

Logic – “Bobby Tarantino III” review

This is the 8th mixtape from Maryland rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, author & Twitch streamer Logic. Coming up just about a decade ago off the strength of the Young Sinatra mixtapes, he potential would continually be shown on his first 2 albums Under Pressure & The Incredible True Story. But it’s no secret that since the release of Bobby Tarantino in 2016, the dude’s discography has become a definition of inconsistent. ΞVERYBODY, Bobby Tarantino II & Young Sinatra IV were all mid at best, but who can forget the embarrassing attempt at going indie rock on Supermarket or the unlikeable bitterness of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? Then he bounced back with No Pressure last summer, which was a mature sequel to his full-length debut. I also thought the Doc D concept mixtape Planetory Destruction was decent too, but now Logic is looking to close out the Bobby Tarantino trilogy with Bobby Tarantino III.

The intro is just him jumping on top of a boom bap instrumental admitting that his retirement didn’t last very long whereas “Vaccine” is a mediocre attempt at a vibrant trap anthem about going hard all year. “Get Up” takes a more melodic turn trying way too hard to get motivational, but then “My Way” is a HIDEOUS contemporary R&B/pop crossover despite the decent synth instrumental.

Meanwhile on “Call Me”, we get a moody sequel to “1-800-273-8255” just before the flute-tinged “Inside” opens up about his depression. “Flawless” is forced sex song that’s really anything & after the admirably self-aware “Stupid Skit”, he addresses to the new generation on the short yet smoky boom bap-tinged “Theme for the People” except this time he isn’t dissing them like he & Eminem did a couple years back with “Homicide”.

The song “God Might Judge” sounds a lot more sincere than “Get Up” down to the instrumental being inspired by College Dropout-era Kanye like he says at the start while the penultimate track “See You Space Cowboy…” is a bassy trap cut about putting his city on the map. Finally there’s “Untitled”, which works in some vocal harmonies hanging in the background for him talking about being blessed.

Although this is a step down from No Pressure, I’m not saying it’s as unlistenable as Supermarket & Confessions of a Dangerous Mind were either if that makes any sense. Like half of these sound like they actually come from the heart, but then the other just seems as if he’s trying too hard to appeal to a mainstream audience.

Score: 2.5/5

DMX – “Exodus 1:7” review

This is the 8th & final full-length outing from Yonkers icon DMX, whom originally started off as a beatboxer for Ready Ron as a teenager in the mid-80s. However it wasn’t until 1998 when X saved Def Jam Recordings from bankruptcy by dropping 2 of the most critically acclaimed hip hop albums of that decade back to back: It’s Dark & Hell’s Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. The follow-up …And Then There Was X at the tail-end of the next year was just as great in my opinion but from there, the next 4 albums from Ruff Ryders Entertainment’s flagship artist would range from average at best or hideous at worst. But after completing Exodus 1:7 just before his unfortunate passing 7 weeks back, Swizz Beatz & Def Jam are coming together to release it publicly.

The araabMUZIK co-produced “That’s My Dog” with The LOX kicks the album off as a misty ode to friendship whereas the next track “Bath Salt” with both JAY-Z & Nas is an aggressive, blaring theme for the streets. We get a cool sample of “California My Way” by The Main Ingredient on “Dog’s Out” as Lil Wayne joins X to wreak havoc on the mic whereas the Moneybagg Yo assisted “Money Money Money” is a weak attempt at trying to get a radio hit despite it’s Phantom of the Opera-esque production.

Meanwhile on “Hold Me Down”, we go into a more electro direction as X alludes to spirituality just before doing his own version of an unreleased Swizz/Kanye collab that is “Skyscrapers” co-produced by the underappreciated Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis. After the “Stick Up” skit, the almighty Griselda comes along for “Hood Blues” as the 4 reminisce on their come-up whilst sampling “Shady Blues” by Lee Mason before things take a turn into a more romantic direction as X & Snoop Dogg jump on a “Sexual Healing” sample provided for the mR. pOrTeR co-produced “Take Control”.

Nas is re-enlisted for the meditative yet uplifting “Walking in the Rain” & after the titular skit, the penultimate track “Letter to My Son” finishes off the album by making a guitar-tinged tribute to X’s youngest son Exodus (whom the album was named after). To round it out, the “Prayer” outro is a spoken word piece that asks God to always look after us whether it be good times or bad times.

Anyone who’s been following me long enough probably already knows my stance on posthumous albums, so I’m not gonna get too deep into it. That being said, Exodus 1:7 is absolutely amongst the better ones out there. I understand some heads might be turned off by the large amount of features going into it which I understand because that tends to be the case with a lot of posthumous albums, but you can definitely tell this was completed before X’s passing because every joint sounds fully fleshed out & he actually has chemistry with those who contributed. Rest In Peace to the Dog!

Score: 3.5/5

Jeezy – “The Recession 2” review

This is the 12th full-length album from Atlanta veteran Jeezy. Dropping 2 mediocre albums at the beginning of the 2000s, it wouldn’t be until 2005 where he completely revolutionized trap by dropping Thug Motivation 101: Let’s Get It. Last we heard from Jeezy was a little over a year ago when he dropped his “retirement” album Thug Motivation 104: The Legend of the Snowman but after becoming the senior advisor for Def Jam Recordings’ chairman & given the times we’re currently in, we are being treated to a sequel to the 2008 classic The Recession.

Things kick off with “Oh Lord”, where Jeezy opens up on how nobody know his troubles but God over angelic instrumental. The next song “Here We Go” talks about keeping faith when times get hard over a gladiator-sounding beat from Don Cannon while the track “Modern Day” talks about how being black is a crime these days over an maniacal instrumental. The song “Back” with Yo Gotti sees the 2 talking about carrying their hoods over a vibrant beat while the track “Da Ghetto” with E-40 finds the 2 talking about getting their blessings in the streets over a hair-raising instrumental.

The song “Niggaz” talks about lame ass people over a wobbly beat from Charles Hamilton of all people while the track “Death of Me” talks about needing this woman over an easing instrumental. The song “Stimulus Check” gets on the woke side of things over a soulful boom bap beat while the track “My Reputation” with Lil Duval sees the 2 getting back on the romance tip over a Silkk the Shocker sample.

“The Glory” talks about g-stepping over a Marvin Gaye sample while the song “Live & Die” talks about life in Atlanta over a serene instrumental. The track “Praying Right” get spiritual over some keys & synths while the song “Therapy for My Soul” is a diss towards 50 Cent & Freddie Gibbs backed by a wavy J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League instrumental. The penultimate track “Almighty Black Dollar” with Rick Ross finds the 2 calling out big name designer brands over a horn-inflicted beat & then “The Kingdom” talks about giving them his heart over a fancy boom bap instrumental.

We all know everybody says they’re gonna retire, but I can’t even mad at this album because I think it’s Jeezy’s best album since Seen It All: The Autobiography. The production has stepped up tremendously in comparison to his last few studio efforts & his maturity really shines through.

Score: 3.5/5

2 Chainz – “So Help Me God!” review

This is the 5th full-length album from Atlanta veteran 2 Chainz. Coming up as 1/2 of the duo Playaz Circle, they eventually signed to Disturbing tha Peace Records/Def Jam Recordings in the 2000s & only released 2 albums before venturing off into solo careers. His last 2 outings Pretty Girls 👍 TRΛP MUSIC & Rap or Go to the League have truly become staples in Tity Boi’s career as both of them excellently showcasing his maturity. But after being hyped all year, here we are with the man’s 5th full-length album.

The album starts with “Lambo Wrist”, where 2 Chainz boasts over a wavy instrumental from STREETRUNNER & LilJu. The next song “Grey Area” talks about being old enough to be & do a number of things over a jazzy beat while the track “Save Me” with YoungBoy Never Broke Again sees the 2 talking about being their own worst enemies over a soulful instrumental from Mike WiLL Made-It. The song “Money Maker” finds ColleGrove reuniting to make a decent strip club banger backed by an awesome sample of “Piece of My Love” by Guy while the track “Can’t Go for That” ponders where to draw the line with this woman over an instrumental sampling The Bird & the Bee.

The song “Feel a Way” with Kanye West finds the 2 talking about how God don’t make no mistakes over a nightly beat from Boi-1da & Mike Dean while the track “Quarantine Thick” with Mulatto sees the 2 paying tribute to all the sexy ladies in the world over an instrumental with a dope piano-loop. The song “Ziploc” with Kevin Gates finds the 2 talking about drug dealing over a monstrous beat while the track “Free Lighter” with Chief Keef & Lil Uzi Vert sees the trio talking about getting hooked up with their dope over a rowdy instrumental from Keef himself.

The song “Toni” talks about how ill this bitch by the same name is over a TM88 beat with some prominent bells while the track “Southside Hov” if you couldn’t tell by the title compares himself to JAY-Z over a climatic instrumental. The song “Vampire” talks about keeping a gun by his car seat over a lavish beat from Cool & Dre while the track “Y.R.B. (Young, Rich & Black)” with Rick Ross finds the 2 talking about what it means to be such over an orchestral instrumental. The penultimate song “Wait for You to Die” talks about how no one cares about you until you’re gone over a David Banner beat with an Alan Lomax sample & then the closer “55 Times” talks about how he’s doing something right over a chilled out instrumental from Dem Jointz.

A lot of cats put out their best work when they’re younger, but 2 Chainz is one of the few instances of an artist getting better as they get older & it’s undeniable. There are a few features in the tracklisting that I could’ve done without, but the personal lyrics are compelling & the production choices are very consistent as well.

Score: 3.5/5

Public Enemy – “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down?” review

Public Enemy is an iconic political hip hop outfit from Long Island, New York lead by Chuck D. Their first 5 albums are hip hop essentials as what Chuck & company were saying on all of them are still very much relevant today. They ended up leaving Def Jam Recordings in ‘98 after releasing the He Got Game soundtrack, but have put out a total of 10 albums independently. But with everything that’s happened in 2020, the group has seen fit to return to Def Jam for their 16th full-length album.

After the George Clinton intro, the first song “Grid” with Cypress Hill finds the 2 groups talking about the current digital age over a funky instrumental from my homie C-Doc while the track “State of the Union (STFU)” takes a jab at Donald Trump over a hypnotic boom bap beat from DJ Premier. After the “Merica Mirror” interlude, the song “Public Enemy Number Won” with the Beastie Boys & Run-D.M.C. is a modern version of “Public Enemy #1” off their 1987 debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show down to the Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s sample while the track “Toxic” continues to take aim at Trump over an doomsday-sounding beat.

The song “Yesterday Man” with Daddy-O ponders what happened to hip hop over a rap-rock instrumental & after the “Crossroads Burning” interlude, the following track is a star-studded sequel to one of PE’s most iconic joints: “Fight the Power”. The song “Beat ‘Em All” talks about being ready to fight over a dusty instrumental while the track “Smash the Crowd” with Ice-T & PMD discusses how great they are over a dynamic beat.

The track “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em” is a noisy & repetitive interlude while the song “Go at Me” with Jahi talks about revolution over a beat with some more rock influences to it. The track “Rest In Beats” with The Impossebulls pays tribute to all the hip hop legends we’ve lost over a forlorn beat co-produced by Easy Mo Bee. Then before finishing with the “I’m Black” outro, the closer R.I.P. Blackat” is a Flavor Flav solo cut paying tribute to Clyde Bazile Jr. with a melancholic instrumental.

If anyone asks me, this is Public Enemy’s best effort in a while. The lyrical content is as stronger & thought-provoking than ever before, but what makes this stand out more than a handful of their output in the past 21 years is that it’s a lot more well-produced. However, I don’t get why 6 songs on here from the group’s previous album Nothing’s Quick in the Desert reappear on here. Nonetheless, definitely worth checking out for the current times.

Score: 3.5/5