Novatore – “Living in the End Times” review

Novatore is a 34 year old MC from Chicago, Illinois who originally came up as a member of the Infamous Crew. He’s also built up an impressive solo career since 2015 by dropping 4 EPs & 9 albums all in that amount of time, with the previous offering Master of Morbid Creations this past spring. But for his 10th full-length over here, Novatore’s enlisting both Johnny Slash & longtime collaborator C-Lance behind the boards for such a milestone in his ever-growing discography.

“Outlaws of Outer Space” opens up the album with a synth-boom bap hybrid talking about being ready for total war prior to King Magnetic tagging along for “Road Warriors” welcoming you to your only future & the crooning sample throughout is flipped really well. “Audio Assault” ruggedly calls for all his enemies to fall to their knees leading into A.M. Early Morning & Nightwalker coming into the picture for “The Time Has Come” to flex their prowesses & my favorite part about the beat has to be the guitar hands down.

Continuing from there with “Terry Funk Syndrome”, we have Novatore over more synth/boom bap production referring himself to be amongst the dopest out whereas “End Times” is just an instrumental interlude. “The Game is Over” with Benny Holiday & iLL ZakieL finds the trio ruggedly letting everyone know they didn’t come to fuck around while the song “Mass Panic” has a more dustier quality to it talking about how we’ve been a nation of zombies. The penultimate track “Wasteland” with OutcastGawd Lord El sees the pair going back & forth with one another over a pitched-loop until “Class Act” is a piano-laced closer talking about never being afraid to fail.

Although I’d personally say Master of Morbid Creations happens to be the better of the 2 albums that Novatore has dropped throughout 2022, you should be more than satisfied with what we got on Living in the End Times. The features are a little hit or miss, but the production & concept are both as strong enough as the predecessor’s to make me be able to want to listen to it again.

Score: 3.5/5

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A.M. Early Morning – “Nicholson” review

This is the full-length debut from Chicago emcee A.M. Early Morning. Coming up 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 out of it as well as 7AM 747 & Oakley. He just dropped the Nightwalker-produced Late Night Early Morning III a couple months back & now to see Johnny Slash fully producing Nicholson from front to back definitely peaked my interest given how much I enjoyed the beats of his that G-Mo Skee freestyled over when he would finish his YouTube video game streams.

“Wendy” is a brief yet gruesome intro proclaiming he’ll turn his competition to slaw whereas “Full Amount” goes into boom bap territory talking about how it’s going out once it comes in. Daniel Son & Poison Pen tag along for the sinister “This Tape” saying that the rap game is a legal hustle just before “Vibes” dolefully talks about fucking with the best.

Meanwhile on “When I Shoot”, we have Johnny Gunnz coming into the picture to earnestly help remind listeners they don’t miss leading into “Can’t Let ‘Em Breathe” fuses together some dusty drums & keyboards talking about having his foot on the rap game’s neck. “The Hammer” with Jaber & Lo Gun then finds the trio bloodthirsty on top of a unhinged instrumental, but then “Criminal Collective” ominously talks about making your own moves.

The song “No Cap” grimily calls out all the studio gangsters out there while the title track with Gavlyn almost has a bit of a dejected yet jazzy tone to the production & the 2 are comparing themselves to that of the retired actor of the same name. “Joe Pesci” then finishes it off by aggressively airs out everyone under the sun.

Coming away from Nicholson, I can say without question that it’s even better than the EP he just put out a couple months ago. He & Johnny Slash couldn’t have payed tribute to one of the greatest horror movies of all-time any better while bringing the best out of each other.

Score: 4.5/5