Black Soprano Family Records & TCF Music Group – “Trust the Sopranos” review

This is a brand new collaborative compilation between New York independent hip hop labels Black Soprano Family Records & T.C.F. Music Group. One operates as an E1 Music imprint owned by Benny the Butcher & the latter being founded by 38 Spesh. The pair have been working together for a long time now (case in point: Stabbed & Shot), so it only makes sense for them to bring their crews together for Trust the Sopranos.

The opener “Immunity” by Benny & Elcamino kicks off with a succulent instrumental from Rick Hyde as the 2 go on about having their block under control, but then the Camino solo cut “Corner” is a horrendously sung R&B ballad despite the luscious 38 Spesh production. We later have Che Noir, Klass Murda & Ransom detailing their lifestyles on the angelic “Price of Fame” before the latter teams up with Benny to talk about fake people on the piano-laced “Spineless”. Ampichino & Spesh come together to talk about their lives being like a movie for the victorious “Tokyo Drift” whereas the Heem solo cut “Long Story Short” is him jumping on alluring boom bap beat saying that he’s about to take shit over.

Ricky accompanies Heem on the cinematic “Load Up” to talk about their homies mobbin’ while the song “Love Left” by Benny, Che Noir & Klass Murda is a smooth heartbreak anthem. The penultimate track “Blue Money” by Benny, Elcamino & 38 Spesh finds the trio talking about getting it out the mud over an organ-laced instrumental from the late DJ Shay whereas the closer “Silent Death” by Chase Fetti & Rick Hyde is an airy ode to murder.

It was only a matter of time both labels would come together given their intertwining history & the end result is pretty decent. Benny & Spesh always bounced off each other well on projects like Stabbed & Shot and the Cocaine Cowboys duology, but the TCF artists (i.e. Ransom & Che Noir) outperform the BSF signees throughout the half-hour.

Score: 3/5

Elcamino – “On the 3rd Day” review

This is the 10th EP from Buffalo emcee Elcamino. Blowing up in 2017 off his self-titled EP with Griselda Records, his profile increasingly grew after being followed up by Walking on Water mixtape in the summer of 2018 along with dropped 2 studio albums & a few EPs the year after that. But after dropping 3 EPs in 2020, he’s teaming up with German producer TrickyTrippz for On the 3rd Day.

“The Deal” that kicks the whole EP off talks about his boys catching their first bodies & filling his book-bags with Ben Franks over a sorrowful instrumental whereas the next track “40 Belows” talks about doing the most over a supernatural-sounding beat. The song “Extra Baggage” talks about keeping an automatic on him over an instrumental with a dope orchestral sample while the track “I’m the Blame” sings about losing all his money to the dope game over a dramatic beat.

The song “Door Steps” talks about making a killing off crack over a boom bap instrumental with some luxurious keyboard melodies while the track “Stainless Steel” reflects on his past & talks about where he is now over a glum beat. The song “Grimey” advises the listener to leading their life over a cinematic instrumental while the penultimate track “Paying Taxes” talks about rising from the bottom of the pit over a rich beat. The EP finishes off with “Still Remember”, where Elcamino talks about how you wouldn’t believe half the shit he’s done over a bare soul sample.

I wouldn’t be surprised if dude has a few more projects coming down the pipe later on in the year, but this is a solid way to kick it all off. TrickyTrippz comes correct behind the boards & his production is done justice with the help of Elcamino’s unfiltered street tales.

Score: 3.5/5

Elcamino – “Sacred Psalms” review

Elcamino is a 26 year old MC from Buffalo, New York who blew up in late 2017 when he dropped his self-titled EP with Griselda Records. This was followed up by his Walking on Water mixtape in the summer of 2018 along with dropped 2 studio albums & a few EPs last year. He just dropped an dope EP produced by 38 Spesh back in February called Martyr’s Prayer & now as we start the 4th quarter of the year, he & Spesh are back for another one.

The opener “Hammers on the Hip” talks about being strapped over a glistening instrumental whereas “The Avenue” horrendously sings about what it’s like on his block over a slow, dreary beat. The track “Hold U Up” continues to sing poorly (this time on some gang shit) over a gloomy instrumental while the song “Don’t Know” hops back on the rapping tip to boast over a slick beat.

The track “Hustle Like Me” talks about his grind over a woodwind-infused instrumental while the song “What I Be On” talks about being rich over a boom bap beat with some synth-horns. The penultimate track “Camino Season” talks about taking over the rap game over an instrumental with a funky bass-line & some synth-chords whereas the outro is a decent remix to “If You Want It” off the Trust Army’s sophomore album Army of Trust II.

I prefer Martyr’s Prayer of the 2, but this is still a solid effort nonetheless. 38 Spesh comes through with consistent production once again & Camino sounds like he took his time on it in contrast to a handful of his latest material.

Score: 3.5/5

Elcamino – “Martyr’s Prayer” review

This is the brand new EP from Buffalo, New York emcee Elcamino. First time I listened to him was in November 2017 when he dropped his self-titled EP with Griselda Records. This was followed up by his Walking on Water mixtape in the summer of 2018 & last year alone, he dropped 2 studio albums & a few EPs. However to ring in the new year, he’s dropping off the 38 Spesh-produced Martyr’s Prayer.

After the titular intro, the first song “Legal Money” shows off his riches over a spooky instrumental whereas “Flowers” finds Camino aspiring to be respected while he’s alive over a calming beat. The track “Street Signs” talks about how he would’ve died for his block over a boom bap beat & after the “Martyr’s Speech” skit, the song “Young Lordz” talks about coming a long way from the hood over a blissful boom bap beat. The track “Get Hi Too” is a short yet effective stoner anthem with a mellow instrumental & before the outro, the final song “2K20” with Che Noir sees the 2 flexing over an impeccable BADBADNOTGOOD sample.

Compared to Elcamino’s last 2 projects that he dropped this past fall, this is a big step-up. I feel like it could’ve been more fleshed out since every single cut is under 3 minutes but nonetheless, Spesh cooks up some of his best production & the pen-game has improved also. Looking forward to see what else he does this year.

Score: 4/5

Elcamino – “Where’s My Pyrex?” review

img_3230This is the sophomore album from 26 year old Buffalo, New York MC Elcamino. I first caught wind of him in November 2017 when he dropped his self-titled EP with Griselda Records. This was followed up by his debut mixtape Walking on Water last August along with his debut album Don’t Eat the Fruit & his DJ Shay produced sophomore EP Lott & Abraham, both of which dropped earlier this year. But if that wasn’t enough, Camino has decided to team up with Netherlands producer Oh Jay for his sophomore full-length album.

After the “We Can Never Die” intro, the first song “Back & Forth”. Where Camino & Duffel Bag Hottie show off a great chemistry over a sweet yet skeletal instrumental. The track “Bullets from Opps” brags over a haunting beat while the song “Bottom to Bottom” with Milano Constantine sees the 2 talking about coming from nothing over some vibraphones. The track “Crack on Broadway” talks about drug dealing over a boom bap beat with some pretty keyboards while “The Night Shift” gets back with Duffel Bag Hottie & while I like the smooth instrumental, the rapping from both MCs isn’t as captivating as it was on “Back & Forth”.

After the “I Know Him” interlude, the song “Change Spots” with 38 Spesh sees the 2 getting mafioso over a blaxploitation-esque instrumental & then the penultimate track “Ghetto Symphony” with Che Noir both talk about their experiences in the hood over a lush instrumental. The album then finishes off with “Wash My Sins Away”, where Elcamino continues to brag over a nondescript instrumental.

Compared to his previous projects, this was just alright to me. The instrumentals are a lot more mellower which isn’t necessarily a bad thing & even though there are some deadly verses on here, the rapping is pretty cumbersome this time around. That being said, I’m still looking forward to Elcamino 2 whenever it drops.

Score: 3/5

Elcamino – “Lot & Abraham” review

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Elcamino is an MC from Buffalo, New York that I discovered when he dropped his self-titled EP with Griselda Records in November of 2017. He then followed it up with his debut mixtape Walking on Water last summer & now just 2 months after his debut album Don’t Eat the Fruit, he’s already delivering his 2nd EP with DJ Shay producing it in it’s entirety.

After the intro, we go into the title track. Where Camino reflects on his past over a mellow beat with some horns. The song “2-Tone Joint” talks about his crack dealing days over a soulful beat while the track “Formula” pays tribute to Camino’s mother over some background vocals & a piano load.

The song “Break Bread” talks about knowing his time is coming with over an orchestral beat while the track “Strolling Down Rodeo” continues to brag over some joyous piano chords. The song “Gutta Shit” lives up to it’s title lyrically over some strings & then the EP ends with “Can’t Be Saved”, where Camino talks about people he knew over some guitar licking.

This is honestly tied with the self-titled EP for Elcamino’s magnum opus. The lack of features can leave it somewhat monotonous & a few of the tracks sound unfinished, but his lyrics are sharper with each release & DJ Shay solidifies himself as one of the best producers in the underground right now.

Score: 4.5/5

Elcamino – “Don’t Eat the Fruit” review

Elcamino is an MC from Buffalo, New York who‘s been blowing up within the past couple years. He dropped a self-titled EP with Griselda Records in November of 2017 & a mixtape last summer called Walk on Water but now, he’s delivering his long-awaited debut.

The album kicks off with “Davis St.”, where El talks about being made over a soulful beat. The next track “Devotion” talks about just that over a luscious soul sample while the song “Ghetto Luv” talks about making out of the struggle over some horns & an organ. The title track gets bloodthirsty over an atmospheric beat while the song “Venice Beach” with Benny sees the 2 getting mafioso over some epic string sections.

The track “Flu Game” is an unfinished yet gloomy minimalist piece while the song “Redrum” pretty much speaks for itself over an eerie beat. The track “Big Bro” is a dedication to his older sibling over a beautiful instrumental while the song “Too Grimey for the Radio” with Meyhem Lauren truly lives up to it’s title in every aspect. The track “9 on My Lap” with Conway gets back on the confrontational tip over a sinister boom bap beat while the song “Alter Prayer” with Crimeapple gets back on the mafioso tip over a synth heavy beat. The album then ends with “Hidden Hills”, where Elcamino continues to brag over a Termanology instrumental with some congas & an infectious horn lead.

Man, it makes me really happy to see Elcamino outdoing himself with each & every project. The production’s more refined & El sounds harder than ever, but I just wish it was longer than 29 minutes.

Score: 4/5

Elcamino – “Walking on Water” review

Elcamino is an MC from Buffalo, New York who‘s been blowing up within the past year. He signed to Griselda Records & dropped an EP last November but now, he’s back on the scene with his full-length debut.

After the intro, we get into the first song “Ghetto”. Here, Elcamino talks about him being the best over l soulful Alchemist sounding instrumental. The title track speaks on drug dealing over some strings while the song “Friend or Foe” talks about wealth over an instrumental kin to Ghostface Killah’s 1996 solo debut Ironman. The track “Peter in a Porsche” contains more shit-talking over another soulful beat similar to RZA’s production work in the late 90’s & while the song “Communion” does talk about being real, the Elcarnicero feature is just alright.

The track “Coke” pretty much speaks for itself over a haunting beat while the song “Rosemary” gets romantic over a laidback instrumental. The track “Gas Stove” returns to the drug dealing concept over an ominous guitar & the penultimate song “Rayful Bag” with Benny gets murderous over a boom bap beat with sinister keyboards. And before things end with the outro, the final song “Shook” with Benny & Meyhem Lauren goes continues the concept of the previous track but in a much grittier fashion.

Overall, this is Elcamino’s best work yet. Even though it’s only 32 minutes long, the production is rawer & El Camino sounds colder than ever before. If you wanna see a rising star on one of the hottest labels out right now, then give this a listen.

Score: 4/5