The Musalini is a 34 year old MC from New York City who’s been making noise in the underground since 2018 after dropping his debut mixtape Musalini Season. He would go on to release 3 full-lengths & 1 more tape before signing to TCF Music Group, where he’s made himself home since then by dropping a couple EPs & Return of the Oro in the early part of this decade. But to follow up his 38 Spesh-produced 3rd EP In God We Trust that came out over the fall, he’s enlisting 9th Wonder behind the boards throughout his 5th album right here.
Planet Asia tags along for the charming opener “Summer League” spitting that fly shit on top of a guitar whereas “Skyview” has a more rich, boom bap quality to it talking about how he still gets around. “Been a Minute” goes into a more calmer route telling his lover that he ain’t like other guys, but then “Paid in Full” works in an incredible jazz sample talking about how even the blind can see the whole different sequence.
Meanwhile on “Don Music”, we have 38 Spesh joining Mus on top of some horns of course getting in their mafioso bag leading into the soulful “Cat Daddy” talking about the girl he sees in his dreams being all on him now. “Deja Vu” is a cool little anthem detailing that nobody can stop his crew just before “Sun Child” has a more drumless feel to it talking about how he’s that dude.
The song “Tunnel Vision” with Izzy Hott incorporates some strings taking aim at those who tried to break them down while the penultimate track “Miami Vice” with Ice Lord mixes a vocal loop with some keyboards to spit that braggadocio. And to round it out, King Draft & Swank come into the picture for “Sincerely” once again going into jazz territory to remind listeners they spit the shit they do because they live it.
For all the readers out there who’re fans of both parties, then you’re gonna absolutely be enamored by this album. The features at the back end of it can be hit or miss & a few of the songs could’ve been more fully fleshed out in my opinion but nonetheless, 9th cooks the best production of any Mus project & the latter scorches everything in his path lyrically.
Khrysis is a 39 year old producer & occasional MC from Durham, North Carolina coming up 1/2 of the duo The Away Team alongside Sean Boog. He’s also a key member of Jamla Records’ in-house production team The Soul Council, lacing a chockfull of albums for the label up to this point. But with 4 solo albums under his belt already, Khrysis is celebrating 4/20 by dropping a 5th one.
The opener “Never Change” is actually Khrysis himself spitting about always staying true over some bongos & a guitar, but then the next song “Granted” by Mumu Fresh is literally her expressing hope that she doesn’t get taken for granted over a funky instrumental with some popping drums. The song “Delta9” by Geechi Suede is of course about getting stoned & the instrumental has a trippier edge to it, but then “Mr. Big Mouth II” by De La Soul goes into a boom bap direction as the trio deliver a sequel to “Big Mouth” off their 2009 mixtape Are You In?.
The Away Team reunite like they haven’t stopped working together on the keyboard-laced “The Return” & then “Why?” by Problem is about being clueless towards the haters he has on top of a soul sample & some militant drums. The song “Asylum” by Evidence is more synth-induced as he spits about being an original gentleman, but then “Colombian Necktie” returns to the boom bap sound as Niko Is delivers one of the more underwhelming performances on the album.
“The Code” by Chi-Ali is a jazzier cut that’s about him being happy to be released from prison after murdering his ex-girlfriend’s brother while “The Devil Wears Designer” by Reuben Vincent is about a deceitful woman over a horn-inflicted beat. “Negro Spiritual” finds Khrysis joining Busta Rhymes & Pharoahe Monch has a crooning vocal sample in the back as the trio spit that Black Power shit, but then “The Disrespect” by Rapsody & Sa-Roc goes into that College Dropout sound as the 2 go in about being disrespected.
The penultimate track “Keep on Walkin’” by Del the Funky Homosapien is a piano-boom bap banger about how nobody owes you shit & then the album finishes off with “Be Alright”, which is Khrysis himself hopping on top of a soul-tinged Eric G. instrumental to spit about working too hard for earn loyalty.
In comparison to his previous solo efforts, I think this is Khrysis’ best one yet. There are only a couple guests I could’ve done without, but almost every one of them delivery fiery performances as the dude presents a well-tuned showcasing of what he’s capable of doing behind the boards with a dash of his MC skills every here & there.
Rapsody is a 36 year old MC from Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina that rose to prominence this decade with a handful of mixtapes & EPs. Her 2012 debut album The Idea of Beautiful continued to show her potential, but it wouldn’t be until the Roc Nation Records backed Laila’s Wisdom in 2017 that she would truly refine her style & sound almost perfectly. 2 years have passed & she has teamed up with Def Jam Recordings to deliver her highly anticipated 3rd full-length album.
The album kicks off with “Nina”, where Rapsody gets ambitious over a soulful beat. The next song “Cleo” sends a message to the naysayers over a boom bap beat from 9th Wonder sampling Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” while the track “Aaliyah” ponders about that somebody over an Eric G beat with some beautiful background vocals. The song “Oprah” with Leikeli47 sees the 2 talking about being masters over an instrumental with some rubbery bass while the track “Whoopi” gets cocky over a quirky Khrysis beat.
The song “Serena” talks about not stopping over a restful instrumental while the track “Tyra” talking about how fine she is over a woozy beat. The song “Maya” talks about elevation over a soulful yet flute-heavy instrumental from 9th Wonder while the track “Ibtihaj” with GZA is pretty much a modern version of “Liquid Swords” down to the exact same Willie Mitchell sample.
The song “Myrlie” gets conscious over a glitchy vocal sample & after the “Reyna’s Interlude”, the next joint “Michelle” talks about a lady’s party over a funky beat. The track “Inman” with J.I.D sees the 2 paying tribute to black men over a minimalist yet luscious beat while the song “Hatshepsut” with Queen Latifah sees the 2 talking about being the right women for their fellas over a piano-inflicted boom bap beat. The penultimate track “Sojourner” with J. Cole sounds just as witty as it did on Jamla’s the Squad II last winter & then the album finishes with “Afeni”, where Rapsody is talking to abusive men over a grand instrumental.
All that being said, Rapsody gives us another example as to why she’s the best female lyricist in hip hop right now. The production is sweet to the ear & her intelligent bars never fail to amuse me.
MURS & 9th Wonder are an underground super-duo consisting of former Little Brother producer 9th Wonder & former Living Legends wordsmith MURS. The pair made their debut in 2004 with the Definitive Jux backed MURS 3:16: The 9th Edition & followed it up in 2006 with Murray’s Revenge. They continued to show how strong their chemistry was on Sweet Lord, Fornever & were supposed to disband after The Final Adventure in 2012. They eventually reformed in on New Year’s Eve 2015 with Brighter Daze & with the 15 year anniversary of their debut this past March, they’re celebrating with their 7th & supposedly final full-length album.
The album kicks off with “The Hulk”, where MURS reaffirms his rapping prowess over a boom bap beat with a funky bass-line. The next song “Cancun ‘08” with Pookie Blow & $ilk Money sees the 3 recalling a party they went to over a jazzy boom bap beat while the track “My Hero” tells the story of a woman named Alexis over a somberly jazzy beat.
The song “Ga$ Station Gucci Belt” talks about the street life over a venomous beat while the track “Unicorn Glitter” insightfully talks about pussy over a boom bap beat with an acoustic guitar. The song “High Noon” with Rapsody sees the 2 going back & forth nonchalantly about grinding over a mellow instrumental from 9th Wonder’s 15 year old daughter JDEAFBEATS while the song “Night Shift” talks about his live performances over some prominent piano chords.
The song “Give Me a Reason” tries to apologize to an ex over an atmospheric boom bap beat while the track “Super Cojo Bros.” with GQ sees the 2 talking about going at their enemies over an instrumental with some amazing retro video game samples. The song “Fuck Them” tries to console a woman who gets constantly cheated on over a soulful beat while the track “Tony Robbins Pocketbook” talks about searching for God over some strings. The album then finishes with “SIN”, where MURS vividly details relationship drama over a boom bap beat with a beautiful soul sample.
If this truly is the last time we’ll ever hear these 2 in a full-length capacity, then they went out on a high note. The features were mostly ok, but MURS’ storytelling remains on point with 9th Wonder providing a fantastic musical backdrop.
Jericho Jackson is a duo consisting of New Jersey producer Khrysis & renown Detroit MC eLZhi. Both members gave been in the game for a hot minute now, but they formed Jericho Jackson together very recently & this is their full-length debut. After the “World of Illusion” intro, we dive into the first song “Overthinking”. Here, eLZhi touches down on just that over a settle instrumental. The track “Self Made” talks about eL’s success over a jazzy boom bap beat & the song “Cuffin’ Season” gets conscious over a boom bap beat with a laidback guitar in the background. The song “17” vividly tells the story of an unnamed 17 year old going down the dark path & I was surprised to hear Khrysis sample “Deep Down Body Thurst” off of N*E*R*D’s new album NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES.
The track “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” vents about needing true friends over a gloomy beat while the song “To Do List” talks about the things he feels he was set out to do & I love the strings on here. The track “Talkin’ ‘Bout” goes at the fakes & the Khrysis verse at the beginning was surprising yet super dope. The song “Listen” gets romantic over a smooth instrumental & the penultimate track “Breguets” gets braggadocious about eLZhi’s rapping prowess over a jazzy beat. The album then closes perfectly with “Thank You”, where eLZhi gets grateful for his success over a soulful boom bap beat.
Overall, this was just as fantastic as I thought it would be. Both eLZhi & Khrysis show quite a bit of chemistry from the beautiful production to the ever so top notch lyricism. Hopefully, we get a follow up at some point in the future
After signing to Roc Nation last year, North Carolina MC Rapsody is delivering her sophomore full-length album & her first in 5 years. The album opens up with the title track, where Rapsody tells you not to worry about anyone tells you along with knowing your worth & the instrumental from Nottz has some great piano chords along with some boom bap drums & even choir vocals. The next song “Power” with Kendrick Lamar gets self-explanatory & their chemistry on here is just as great as it was on “Complex (A Zulu Love)” off of Kendrick’s previous album To Pimp a Butterfly. Also, I really like the Bootsy Collins sample that Rapsody’s mentor 9th Wonder uses for the instrumental. The track “Chrome (Like Ooo)” talks about ending your career if you diss her along with respecting the driver more than the ride & while the production from Ka$h & Khrysis was just ok to me, her ambition really makes up for it. Also, I found the Forest Whitaker line near the end of the first verse to be pretty funny & clever. The song “Pay Up” vividly tells the story of a money hungry woman along with the final verse being about her bum-ass boyfriend who wants to get her pregnant over a funky instrumental. The track “Ridin’” with GQ speaks on finding oneself but with a dark tone to it & the instrumental from 9th & Eric G. starts off with a spacey time, but then it nicely transitions into something more boom bap-esque for the final verse. The song “Sassy” flaunts about success over a vibrant instrumental & the charismatic tone in her voice is absolutely absolutely flawless. The track “Nobody” intelligently talks about how no one really knows anything from Biggie & 2Pac’s murderers to even minding one’s business over a smooth instrumental. Also, I think the one line during the 2nd verse about how you can’t divide hip hop at all despite not everyone liking someone in the vein of Waka Flocka Flame is absolutely true. As for the features, the Anderson .Paak hook is on point & the Black Thought verse is just as flawless as one would expect. The song “Black & Ugly” dives into beauty over a 9th Wonder instrumental with some scent guitar licks as well as some explosive boom bap drums & I really like how she incorporates her personal experiences into it. Also the hook from BJ the Chicago Kid kinda reminds me of D’Angelo for some reason, but not in a bad way at all. The track “You Should Know” sees Rapsody getting braggadocious about her skills over an menacing instrumental from 9th, but then it transitions into something more lush & we are treated with a verse from Busta Rhymes that compliments Rapsody perfectly. The song “A Rollercoaster Jam Called Love” talks about staying with her man no matter what & the way 9th constantly changes the instrumental after each verse is just fantastic. The track “U Used 2 Love Me” is basically Rapsody speaking to her ex-boyfriend & musically, it really gives me some Zapp vibes & 9th did a damn good job at it. The song “Knock on My Door” vividly talks about Rapsody’s desire to have a man over her place over some jazzy piano keys along with a soul sample in the back. The penultimate track “OooWee” was taken from Rapsody’s 3rd EP Crown that came out last November, but it still sounds great from her aggressive delivery & the Anderson .Paak hook to the guitar loop throughout. The album then closes out with “Jesus Coming”, where Rapsody creatively spits about “going home” in 3 different perspectives over a spacey instrumental & the Amber Navran hook is beautiful. If you ask me, this could very well be Rapsody’s best work yet. The production (mostly handled by 9th Wonder) is beautiful, the features fit in perfect, Rapsody’s lyricism is stronger than before & the passion that was put into it is as bright as day. I know a lot of cats are stuck on Cardi B’s latest hit single “Bodak Yellow” but if you want an actual female MC with intelligent lyrics & organic production, PLEASE give this a listen