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 Wu-Tang Forever 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

Tha God Fahim – “Dump Gawd: Shot Clock King 2” review

Tha God Fahim is a 25 year old MC/producer from Atlanta, Georgia notable for his affiliation with Griselda Records as well as being 1/3 of the Dump Gawds alongside Mach-Hommy & Your Old Droog. We also can’t ignore the massive discography that he’s managed to build for himself, some of the standouts include Breaking Through tha Van Allen Belts & Dump Assassins. He just dropped the Nicholas Craven-produced Dump Gawd: Shot Clock King at the beginning of the month & now they’re ending it the way they started it: A sequel EP.

The opener “Shot Clock Legend” kicks things off with a soul sample & Fahim proclaiming himself as such whereas “Hard to Digest” works in a flute to start bragging. “Hall of Fame” has a bit of a more glossier feel musically to say he gives listeners a piece of his mind when he spits just before taking an ominous bap turn for “Megatron” saying he ain’t doing none less.

Meanwhile on “Sketch”, we have Fahim jumping on top of a moody boom bap instrumental saying he don’t wanna talk too much because of trust issues leading into the penultimate track “Wingz Logo” has an eargasmic loop opening up about the world being against him. The closer “Punishment” has some rich piano chords & dusty drums to declare that he’s milking the game until the well runs dry.

Now despite preferring the predecessor, I personally think we got a stellar sequel. Could’ve used a feature or 2 to break up the monotony, but it’s safe to say Fahim & Craven’s chemistry as an MC/producer duo is continually getting better with each project they whip up together.

Score: 4.5/5

Flee Lord – “Delgado” review

Flee Lord is a 38 year old MC from Queensbridge, New York who came up in 2017 as protege of the late Prodigy. He has since become known for building up a massive discography for himself with projects like the Loyalty or Death: Lord Talk trilogy produced by GodBlessBeatz, the Loyalty & Trust duology produced by 38 Spesh, the DJ Shay-produced Lucky 13, the Buckwild-produced Hand Me My Flowers, the Pete Rock-produced The People’s Champ & the Havoc-produced In the Name of Prodigy. But after dropping the the DJ Muggs-produced RAMM£LLZ££ back in March, the Lord is now enlisting Roc Marciano to produce his 16th EP.

The titular intro is a sumptuous piano ballad to say he’s important to the slums whereas “Slow Down” aggressively compares his verses to the feds pulling up on the strip. “Shouts Out to the Mobb” goes into jazzier territory showing love to his protégés, but then “Medusa” brings in some guitars for him & Conway the Machine to spit that gun talk.

“This is What Ya Want?” has a bit of a more orchestral feel reminding everyone his raps are reality, but then switches up into a classy vocal sample to get on his luxurious trap shit. Ransom tags along for “Breath of Air” to give them that back against the wall music just before Stove God Cook$ comes in for the grungy “Trim the Fat” talking about money, power & respect.

Meanwhile with “Skipping Town”, we have Flee jumping on top of some lavish keyboard embellishments trying to start a hood war leading into him & Marci detailing going from walking to driving sports cars on the unsettling “Breeze in a Porsche”. The penultimate track “1st Kill” has a more sadder tone instrumentally spitting that pure dope & the titular closer reads off as a cool 1-minute freestyle with some piano melodies accompanying it.

I wouldn’t be mad if you preferred Delgado over RAMM£LLZ££ because it’s undeniable that Flee Lord has been putting out some of his best work in the last couple years. Lyrically, he’s one of the illest out of New York right now & Roc Marciano’s production I feel like doesn’t get appreciated as much as his lyricism does.

Score: 4.5/5

Boondox – “Cryptodirt” review

Boondox is a 43 year old MC from Richmond County, Georgia who first came onto the scene in the Early 2000s as Turncoat Dirty. He then changed his moniker after signing to Psychopathic Records from 2005 & remained with them until 2015. Eventually he would join Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2016 & is still on the label to this very day. However, he & MNE are teaming up with Mobstyle Music for his 5th EP.

After the titular intro, the first song “Good Night” is a cold blooded opener getting murderous on top of some baleful keyboards throughout whereas “Time” goes into a more trap direction saying it maintains him. “Wait for Death” heavy-heartedly opens up about suicide just before the penultimate track “187” goes back into trap territory quenching for blood once more. “The Code” finishes the EP off with an energetic Southern Hustlas Inc. reunion as the trio enlist Bukshot to slaughter those who disrespect them.

I enjoyed Dirty Days of Night, but I’d have to say to Cryptodirt is a superior follow-up just by a small margin. Boondox is at his best when he’s on his gangsta shit as proven during his Psychopathic Rydas days a little over a decade ago & 7 literally never disappoints behind the boards.

Score: 4/5

Blu & Mickey Factz – “The Narrative” review

This is a brand new collaborative EP between underground veterans Blu & Mickey Factz. One hails from the City of Angels & the other coming out of the City of Dreams. The pair have worked with one another countless times in the last decade & they were even apart of the 2009 XXL Freshman Class together, but are teaming up for The Narrative produced entirely by Nottz.

“Stay Down” starts things out with a soulful tribute to those who stuck with them up to this day whereas “Freedom” with Kota the Friend talks about what the title means to them on top of some synths & heavenly background vocals. “Roll Up” an eerie boom bap cut up about how rough 2020 was just before Asher Roth tags along for the churchy “Reign” saying they’re taking the through. The penultimate track “1” with Fashawn continues the gospel-influenced production saying they’re one with the moon & stars, but then the Sy Ari da Kid-assisted closer “Dark Souls” is a melancholic piano ballad talking about someone abusing their power.

If you’re a longtime fan of either one of these guys like I am, then you’re gonna love this EP because this was exactly what I expected from it & I mean that in a good way. Both emcees do a great job at bouncing off each other, Nottz’ traditional production is a great addition & almost every feature rips it up on their own right.

Score: 4/5

7xvethegenius – “Thy Will Be Done” review

7xvethegenius is a 31 year old MC from Buffalo, New York breaking out a couple years ago off her debut EP The Calm Before & the full-length album 7xve is Love. This was followed up with the Self 7xve EP & then this past winter, she & Jae Skeese both became the first artists that Conway the Machine would sign to his newly formed Drumwork Music Group. Now since 7xve’s sophomore album albeit Drumwork debut Death of Deuce on the way, she’s preluding it by dropping her 3rd EP.

“Tunechi” is a trap-flavored opener produced by Chup with 7xve & Armani Caesar telling motherfuckers to ask about them whereas “Payback” has an atmospheric boom bap tone speaking on her family. “Roses” goes into jazz territory addressing her lover just before “Marching” returns to that trap sound talking her shit.

The song “Psalm” with Jae Skeese takes it back into jazz turf with the help of Camoflauge Monk saying they out their lives on wax while the penultimate track “If I” with Heem meditatively tells the good they can be anything. Finally, the closer “Bailey Ave” luxuriously pays homage to the street that she came up from.

I feel like this chick has only been getting better within the last 8 months or so. Everything from 7xve’s songwriting to the production choices have improved significantly in comparison to her previous efforts. At this rate, Death of Deuce could very well be her best work yet.

Score: 3.5/5