Big Left – “Slaughter of the Innocents” review

Big Left is a 47 year old MC from Queens, New York who broke out in 2002 off his debut EP Who’s Left?. This was followed up in 2007 with the debut mixtape World War III & then after his short tenure in La Coka Nostra, he finally unleashed his 1st full-length Walking Dead on Devil’s Night almost a decade ago at this point. But after coming out of a hiatus & signing to Force 5 Records, Left is making a comeback in the form of his sophomore album.

“The Reaper” starts it all off with some killer guitar riffs getting in his murderous bag whereas “Fuck ‘Em” with Aztek the Barfly weaves in some keyboards & dusty drums talking about not playing with the paper. “Flavor” is a violin-infused boom bap cut flexing his lyrical abilities just before the Tekk-assisted “Move Back” brings in some haunting organ harmonies talking about knocking motherfuckers out.

Meanwhile on “Pardon Me”, we have King Relik tagging along with Big Left for a thunderous party anthem just before “The Compendium” hauntingly expresses to be acknowledged as one of the greats when he’s gone. “1 Take” has a more vibrant trap sound to it rapping his ass off nonstop for 2 minutes, but then “50 Caliber Bangs” finds Napalm Drop linking up over a synth-heavy boom bap beat talking about staying underground.

The song “Force 5 Syndicate” is an anarchic Force 5 posse cut while the penultimate track “I Tried” melancholically opens up about him attempting to look inside himself. “Get It” with Masamoon then closes out the album on some beautifully ignorant, disrespectful shit.

Left’s been putting it down for the culture for a long time now & Slaughter of the Innocents really proves that he hasn’t lost a step. Hell, I think it’s the best thing he’s ever done! It’s well-produced, the guests are well-picked, he sounds completely rejuvenated & destroys mics like he never took time off.

Score: 4/5

Slaine – “The Things We Can’t Forgive” review

This is the 5th full-length album from Boston veteran Slaine. Most notable for being a member of the underground supergroup La Coka Nostra, he released an EP & a total of 4 mixtapes before coming through with his debut album A World with No Skies in 2011 under Suburban Noize Records. This was followed up with The Boston Project in 2013 as well as The King of Everything the year after that, but the man went took a 3-year hiatus following the release of the Slaine is Dead EP in 2016 & returned by dropping the mature 1 Day in 2019. Fast forward 15 months later, Slaine is kicking off the 3rd act of his career by dropping The Things We Can’t Forgive.

The opener “When the War Ends”, talks about how we’re not prepared for what happens tomorrow over a despondent beat from The Arcitype, who produced almost every song on the album much like 1 Day. The next song “Everything Once” talks about having a lot in life to lose over a tense piano instrumental while the track “Blurry Eyed” talks about his soul being torn over a portentous beat. The song “Revolver” talks about continuously ending up in the same place that he’s already been in over a cacophonous instrumental while the track “Wrath & Pride” with Snak the Ripper finds the 2 talking about going crazy over an ornery beat.

The song “Chasing Ghosts” opens up about a failed relationship over an instrumental with some melancholic acoustic passages while the track “Beautiful” acknowledges those who call him strange over a fiery beat. The song “Not Enough” calls for strength to get through the day over a pessimistic instrumental while the title track talks about this relationship of his being like a mirror over an optimistic-sounding beat from Statik Selektah. The album ends with “Legend of the Fall”, where Slaine talks about ghosts talking to him in his head over a glum piano instrumental.

This is easily Slaine’s most emotional body of work to date & an equally fantastic follow-up to 1 Day. Once again, the East Coast emcee continues to show maturity through his lyrics & delivery whereas The Arcitype’s dark production goes hand-in-hand with these personal themes.

Score: 4/5

Slaine – “1 Day” review

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Slaine is a veteran MC from Boston, Massachusetts most known for being a member of La Coka Nostra. He released an EP & a total of 4 mixtapes before coming through with his debut album A World with No Skies in 2011 under Suburban Noize Records. This was followed up with The Boston Project in 2013 as well as The King of Everything the following year but after dropping his Slaine is Dead EP in 2016, the man is making a comeback with his 4th full-length album.

Things kick off with “Redemption”, where Slaine addresses his feeling of atonement over a nocturnal instrumental. The next song “Time is Now” talks about living in the moment over a funky boom bap beat while the track “Still Got My Gun” with the Heavy Metal Kings sees Slaine alongside Vinnie Paz & Ill Bill getting bloodthirsty over a funereal boom bap beat. The track “Trick the Trap” vividly depicts the hard knock life over a grimy Statik Selektah instrumental while the song “It Catches You” is laced with emotional lyricism backed by a grand instrumental.

The track “Broken Toys” with Apathy & Locksmith sees the 3 talking about clout chasers over an woozy instrumental while the song “Night Will Fall” talks about embracing your shadows over a bleak boom bap beat. “The Feeling I Get” then talks about rising above it all over a sinister instrumental whereas “The Day Before I Die” vents about his inner demons over a settler yet grim instrumental. The track “Can’t Stay the Same” talks about maturity over a boom bap beat with some plink synths while the song “One More Day” gets motivational over an impassioned instrumental. Then there’s the closer “Do What You Love”, where Slaine advises the listener to follow their dreams over a boom bap beat with some strings.

Right here is the comeback that Slaine truly deserves, easily his most mature body of work yet in my opinion. He really details everything that’s been going on in his life throughout the past 5 years & what little features are present add a lot to the context of the album. Grown man rap at it’s finest.

Score: 3.5/5

Ill Bill – “Pulp Phixion” review

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Ill Bill is a legendary MC from Brooklyn, New York who rose to prominence as a member of Non Phixion. He eventually made his solo debut in 2004 with What’s Wrong with Bill? & would follow it up in 2008 with The Hour of Reprisal. 2 years later, he teamed up with DJ Muggs to deliver Kill Devil Hills & came back in 2013 with his magnum opus The Grimy Awards. He then took a break from music until Septagram in 2016 & now just 4 months after the release of the Stu Bangas produced Cannibal Hulk, he’s returning with his 2nd EP with Sunday producing it in it’s entirety.

The EP starts off with “Warlord”, where Bill compares himself to just that over a grimy beat. The next song “Axe of Abarxas” with Goretex & Sick Jacken sees the 3 getting confrontational over a Godly boom bap beat. The penultimate track “Debbie Abono” is a vicious Heavy Metal Kings reunion while the closer “Shoot First, Die Later” with Goretex sees the 2 getting bloodthirsty over a decent rap metal instrumental.

All & all, this is a decent EP from the cult leader. The production is just ok & Bill’s lyricism remains raw but much like that Cannbial Hulk album, there’s an overabundance of features. Nothing against everyone who was featured on the project AT ALL, but I’d just love to hear new Ill Bill joints where it’s just Bill. Regardless, it’s still a good listen.

Score: 3/5