The Alchemist – “This Thing of Ours 2” review

The Alchemist is a 43 year old producer, DJ & rapper from Beverly Hills, California who started out as 1/2 of the duo The Whooliganz in 1993 with Scott Caan. They would only disband a year later after recording a debut album that eventually got shelved & Scott went onto acting like his father, but Mudfoot on other end quickly established himself as one of the greatest producers in hip hop history with a resume including ranging names from Mobb Deep to even Eminem. Over this past spring, he produced the latest Armand Hammer album Haram to universal acclaim & followed it up his 9th EP This Thing of Ours a month later. But now in light of the confirmation that he’ll be producing the next Earl Sweatshirt album, Uncle Al dropping a sequel to his latest EP hopefully as a little warm up.

“Miracle Baby” by MAVI is a heavenly opener proclaiming himself as such whereas “Lossless” by MIKE serves as a jazzy boom bap follow-up talking about never losing. The song “Flying Spirit” by the Bruiser Brigade works in a drumless loop for the group to proclaim their work isn’t done while the penultimate track “Wildstyle” by ZelooperZ has a more ominous sound showcasing his wordplay. “6 5 Heartbeats” by Vince Staples ends the EP by somberly recalling his youth.

Uncle Al has made it known that he’s one of the most consistent producers in the game & it’s no surprise that This Thing of Ours 2 wound up being a little bit more enjoyable than the predecessor. Another notable factor of it is that he brings in some less-bigger names into the fold & give them the exposure they truly deserve.

Score: 4/5

Oh! The Horror & Blaze Ya Dead Homie – “Oh! The Horror Meets Blaze” review

This is the brand new collaborative EP between Oh! The Horror & Blaze Ya Dead Homie. One is a rap metal trio from Sacramento, the other being a household name in the juggalo scene for a little over 20 years with the help of his childhood friends Twiztid & their mentors the Insane Clown Posse. They’ve only worked with each other a few times in the last couple years but to kick off Majik Ninja Entertainment’s favorite time of the year, they’re taking things to new hights for Oh! The Horror Meets Blaze.

After the “This is a Breakdown” intro, the first song “I.D.G.A.F. (I Don’t Give A Fuck)” is a cool little rock/gangsta rap fusion to kick the EP off whereas “D.R.E.A.M. (Death Rules Everything Around Me)” follows it up with a cavernous take on the iconic Wu-Tang cut “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” with some guitars sprinkled in the mix. After the “Meeting Blaze the Dead Caretaker” skit, we get right back into the music with “Can’t Fuck with Us!” fusing together electronica & metal talking about being top dogs.

After the “Smoked Out” skit, we have “Listen Up!” serving as a straight up rap rock crowd energizer while the penultimate song “Chop Shop” aggressively gets on their murder shit just before the “Level 1: Horde Swarm” skit comes into effect. “Blood, Sex & Violence” then ends the EP by manically detailing the only 3 things they give a fuck about.

Although I think 1692 is Oh! The Horror’s best work yet & being a big Blaze fan, I was admittedly a bit skeptical going into this EP because there are collabs on MNE’s latest Attack of the Ninjas compilation that felt forced. That being said: It’s not bad, but it feels more like an Oh! The Horror project & I mean that in terms of the overall sound of the EP.

Score: 3/5

King Klick – Self-Titled review

The King Klick is a West Coast supergroup consisting of Chucky Chuck, Johnny Richter & Obnoxious. 2 of the members have already made themselves household names with the Malibu-based independent powerhouse Suburban Noize Records by lending their hands in founding the groups DG@F & Kottonmouth Kings respectively, but the other is a bit of a fresh face to the label after signing to them about a year & a half ago. However with a few well received singles under their belts so far, the Klick’s finally dropping their eponymous debut EP after much anticipation.

“Throne of Spades” is a soulful boom bap opener reminding listeners how they do whereas “Subnoize O.G.’s” rightfully proclaims themselves as a such on top of a g-funk instrumental. “Everyday” is a epic 7 & a half minute posse cut showcasing a majority of the current Suburban Noize roster while the song “Who’s Next?” apocalyptically talks about slaughtering shit. The penultimate track “Spaceships” with Lil Saint & Underrated has a bit of a robotic beat getting on their weed shit, but then “We Want It All” with Madchild & M.C.U.D. ends the EP with a grimy trap banger getting at their enemies.

I’ve been looking forward to this EP from the very first time I heard that closer when they dropped it as the lead single over the spring & my God, did they deliver. The chemistry between the trio comes off as natural than forced, each member stands out in their own unique way & the production has a little something for everyone. Suburban Noize really gave their fans a true celebration of their legacy with this one.

Score: 4.5/5

maticulous – “no caps” review

maticulous is a 40 year old producer from Brooklyn, New York who originally broke out a decade ago off his eponymous debut EP & then a self-titled debut a few years later. This was followed up with The Chrome Tape in 2016 but after producing a couple albums for Justo the MC More recently, he’s dropping a sophomore EP with a jam-packed cast of MCs coming along for the ride.

“Shouts To…” by Homeboy Sandman starts off the EP with an alluring boom bap propping up those who got him out of a bind whereas “Everything” by Justo the MC & Skyzoo finds the pair putting all on the line on top of some strings. “Close Range” by J Scienide & Kev Brown takes a more soulful route getting at their competition, but then “Home Goin’” by Guilty Simpson is an airy boom bap cut detailing going to a funeral with the killers in the room.

Meanwhile on “Take Heed”, we have Breeze Brewin’ & Al Skratch coming together over a harp-laced instrumental advising to watch your surroundings just before “Bein’ This Nice” by Uptown XO & yU gets in that grimy shit talking bag. The penultimate track “Keep ‘Em High” by Beedie, Justo the MC & Rim has a more smoother vibe encouraging listeners to move with them & the closer “Survival Mode” by Ill Conscious & M.A.V. has some slick guitar melodies speaking on how it’s normal for them trying not to get killed in the hood.

Between this & the self-titled joints, I think no caps has to my favorite solo projects that maticulous has dropped so far. Some of the best beats he’s ever made pop up on here & the guests are a bit more consistent in terms of their performances.

Score: 4/5

Lucky 7 – “Lucky & the Laser Gun” review

Lucky 7 is a 35 year old MC/producer from Buffalo, New York who I first started noticing after he laced what I personally believe is one of the mort underrated Conway the Machine singles ever: “Temple”. But he’s dropped a total 2 albums, a mixtape & 3 EPs since then before signing to Drumwork Music Group over the spring of this year. And now with only 8 dates left on the Love Will Get You Killed Tour, it’s only right for Lucky to prelude his upcoming debut on Con’s very own EMPIRE imprint with his 4th EP.

After the intro, the first song “Nuke Dropper” works in a blaring boom bap instrumental to tell his opposition to get the fuck out of his way whereas “You Gotta Make It” has a more uptempo vibe encouraging listeners to getting theirs. “Motorbike Music” takes a more luscious turn with Luck & Elcamino proclaiming themselves as rebels, but then Flee Lord tags along for the morbid “Orange Soda” talking about their young shooters.

Meanwhile on “Metal Arm Tesuo”, we have Luck & Jae Skeese wickedly bragging about their extraordinary skills leading into “Kaneda Loves Kei” soulfully pays tribute to his lady. The song “Snoopy’s Penthouse” smoothly details the lavish lifestyle while the penultimate track “Playgrounds” has a more grimier sound with the help of Stu Bangas & Elcamino returning to help shoutout those who’ve been there since the beginning. “Goodbye to Your Life” ends with some strings & lyrics about getting the millions if you follow him.

Coming away from Lucky & the Laser Gun, it’s definitely a solid precursor to Lasertron Arcade. I think the anime concept is well executed, I fuck with the wide range of emotions throughout it’s 24 minute run & how Lucky brought in some fresh faces behind the boards for him to showcase his penmanship to new listeners.

Score: 4/5

Larry June – “Into the Late Night” review

Larry June is a 30 year old MC from Vallejo, California who’s been grinding his ass off for the last 15 years. My favorites of his ever-growing discography include the Lex Luger-produced Trap Larry, the Cardo-produced Cruise USA, the Harry Fraud-produced Keep Going & even his last album Orange Print got some notable buzz over the summer. But now that he has a Griselda Records-backed collab tape with Jay Worthy on the way, Cardo & Larry are getting back together for the latter’s 14th EP.

“Gas Station Run” is a flawless late night cruiser with a g-funk flare to it whereas “Either Way” works in a synth-heavy instrumental talking about a lot of shit going down in the late night. “Don’t Try It” has a more hypnotizing sound advising not to fuck with him just before “Friday Activities” serves as a slick party starter for the weekends.

The song “Bigger Risk” has some jazz undertones to the production saying he’s thinking a decade ahead while the penultimate track “Red Book Chronicles” gets back into that vintage west coast sound asking where his boys were when he was taking a lot of risks. “Saturday Night Interview” is an odd choice for a closer, but it’s still a decent romance ballad nonetheless.

Although it’s only an EP, I’d actually say that Into the Late Night is a bit better than Orange Print. Cardo’s production style on here is a lot similar to that of Payroll Giovanni’s latest album Another Day Another Dollar which is perfect given Larry’s geographical background & his chilled out flow.

Score: 4/5

Rittz – “S.O.S.” review

Rittz is a 41 year old MC from Gwinnett County, Georgia who made himself a household name in the underground a decade ago by dropping his only mixtape White Jesus under Yelawolf’s independently owned Slumerican Records. Eventually, this lead to him jumping ship to Strange Music for a 4-album contract with each one showing his fantastic growth both as an artist & as a person: The Life & Times of Jonny Valiant, Next to Nothing, Top of the Line & Last Call. Once the contract was fulfilled, Rittz formed his very own CNT Records & Put a Crown on It became the inaugural release on Black Friday a couple years back. But with the 1-year anniversary of Picture Perfect coming next month, he’s celebrating with an 8-track EP.

“Frozen Peas” is a ghostly opener detailing his lifestyle whereas “Dig Deeper” works in some keys & snares telling us he’s harder than ever. The atmospheric production “UFO” is perfect with Rittz comparing his whip to such just before “La Familia” gives us an energetic CNT ode.

Meanwhile on “Keep It Like That”, we have Rittz & Vinnie Paz on top of a signature boom bap instrumental from C-Lance going at fake motherfuckers leading into the short yet beautiful “Expert” declaring himself as such. The title track has a morbid trap beat pleading to be saved from his misery & “Sick of Suffering” ends the EP where the previous cut left off on all fronts.

Even though I was personally a bit indifferent towards Picture Perfect & Rittzmas, I can’t deny that S.O.S. is an improvement. I think the production choices have stepped up in comparison to those last couple projects & some of his most vulnerable lyrics pop up in effect.

Score: 3.5/5

A.M. Early Morning – “Late Night Early Morning III” review

A.M. Early Morning is a 34 year old MC from Chicago, Illinois who emerged off his debut EP The Maxi Single Project back in 2017. He would later go on to release a couple more installments making a trilogy & then 7AM 747 but with the 1-year anniversary of Oakley approaching this Devil’s Night, it’s only right for A.M. to return for a 6th EP enlisting local producer Nightwalker to lace the entire thing.

The title track that kicks the album off is a jazzy boom bap with [Eto] tagging along to talk about hustling 24/7 whereas the PozLyrix-assisted “Herb Adams Sniff” has a bit of a [i][Wu-Tang Forever][/i] era [RZA] feel to the production getting on their gangsta shit. Otis Ghost comes in for the bluesy “La Historia De Mi Primo” addresses the opioid crisis in their city just before the symphonic “Holy Matrimony” expresses being married to the game

The song “Dusk ‘Til Dawn” with [King Magnetic] is a lot like the opener in the sense that it’s a boom bap joint about grinding except there’s no jazz influences while the penultimate track “Bape Sweats, Supreme J’s” serves as a rich dedication to their favorite streetwear brands. Little Vic then joins A.M. for “Jacob’s Ladder”, a guitar/soul infused closer about making it up to their own heavens.

Coming away from this, I think it’s A.M.’s best work yet. He paints a vivid picture of the Hell that he’s been through in his hometown & Nightwalker’s production has a bit of an East Coast flare to it despite the fact that he’s from the same city as the MC is.

Score: 4/5

Konspiracy Kamp – “Infidel” review

The Konspiracy Kamp are a quintet from Kalamazoo, Michigan consisting of Checkmait, Drama Treason, J Cutlass, Shneal & Young Ghost. The group has gone on to release 4 full-length albums & an EP throughout the 7 years they’ve been together but for the 20 year anniversary of 9/11, they’re enlisting Boston veteran C-Lance to produce a 7-track EP in it’s entirety.

“TV & Jesus” hypnotically kicks the EP off by telling us the 2 things that America really needs whereas “Neck Cutter” goes into boom bap territory getting bloodthirsty. 9th Prince tags along for the Middle Eastern-tinged “Blood on the Hand” proclaiming themselves as rebels. The titular song has a more trap vibe calling for unity just before “Regicide” heinously calls to kill all the kings. The penultimate track “Loud Ass Mouth” is a boom bap banger about how they’re always talking shit, but then the closer “Heretic” works in some snares & a guitar talking about how people wanna burn them.

I’ve been following these guys for a few years now & coming away from Infidel, I was not disappointed by it whatsoever. The raw production of their previous efforts is taken to a whole new level as is their conscious lyricism & even the way all the members bounce off one another.

Score: 4/5

SK da King – “Horus” review

SK da King is a 31 year old MC from Baltimore, Maryland who came up as part of the Checkered Flag Boyz under the original moniker Paul Skola. However, it wasn’t until this past spring where he signed to Conway the Machine’s recently formed Drumwork Music Group as a solo act. And since the whole crew is starting to hit the road for the Love Will Get You Killed Tour tomorrow, it’s only right for SK to drop a debut EP to get new listeners familiar with him.

The opener “I’m God” starts off with a slowed down vocal sample that later transitions into a rich trap instrumental talking about rising to the throne whereas “Blood in My Eye” works in some strings to say he was made for this rap shit. “Dancing Wit the Devil” takes a much more darker approach detailing his lifestyle just before “Actions” calls out those putting on a front.

Meanwhile on “Different”, we have SK delivering an uplifting ode to turning a new page leading into the celebratory “Winners”. The song “P.M.D.” is another upbeat cut talking about doing it on his own while the penultimate track “Ventin’” gets confessional with an instrumental soothing to the ear. “Horus Flow” ends the album with a more minimal sound flexing his lyrical abilities.

Cloud 9: The Update was cool tape, but I think Horus is SK at his best so far & I can’t wait to hear how he’ll carry that over for a full-length capacity because this would be an ideal place for new listeners to start. He sounds a lot more hungrier lyrically & the production sounds crisper too.

Score: 3.5/5