Twiztid – “Nickel Bag” review

Twiztid is a hip hop duo from Detroit, Michigan consisting of Jamie Madrox & Monoxide, both of whom originally started out as part of the House of Krazees alongside childhood friend The R.O.C. in 1992 before their initial disbandment 5 years later. Almost immediately after, the Insane Clown Posse took Jamie & Mono under their wings by signing them to Psychopathic Records as the demented duo they’re known as today. They would become the label’s 2nd biggest act being their mentors off projects like Mostasteless, Freek Show, Mirror Mirror, The Green Book, W.I.C.K.E.D. (Wish I Could Kill Every Day) & Abominationz. Shortly after the latter was released, Twiztid left Psychopathic to form Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2014. Since then they’ve released 6 albums & 6 EPs on their own label, my favorite of which being Revelashen. But with the 5th annual Astronomicon going down this weekend, they’re celebrating by dropping their 14th EP limited to only 420 copies.

After the melodic yet chilled out “Smoke” intro which only has Jamie on it, the first song “High Life” starts off the EP with a fun little ode to that good kush whereas the “Hydro” remix is alright even though the main version with Layzie Bone is a highlight off The Green Book & hearing it without the latter’s verse feels kinda weird to me personally. “The Clouds Outside” goes into hazier territory talking about being higher than such & as for the remix of “Come On Let’s Get High” off of The Continuous Evilutions of Life’s ?’s, I actually prefer it over the original. Especially with the horns throughout.

Even though it’s only an intro with 2 new songs & 2 remixes, I still look at Nickel Bag as an acceptable way to hold everyone over until the Unlikely Prescription follow-up produced entirely by Zeuss & their “straight up wicked” album. I can do without the “Hydro” remix but other than that, Twiztid & Fritz reunite to deliver something fresh for all the smokers out there.

Score: 3.5/5

Lex the Hex Master – “Palace of Illusions” review

Lex the Hex Master is a 37 year old MC from Queens, New York who broke out in 2015 with his independent debut album Born in Hell. The demented Detroit hip hop duo Twiztid would sign him to their label Majik Ninja Entertainment shortly after & he has put out a plethora of releases since including The Black Season, Contact, the Mr. Ugly duology, Beyond Redemption, Shadow King, Strictly 4 My N.I.N.J.A.S., Party Castle & Haunted Mansion. But after laying low for a good portion of the year so far, Lex is returning with his 4th EP.

After the intro, the first song “Dream State of Mine” kicks off the EP with an acoustic trap banger talking about making them bow down whereas the C.G.-produced “Get Sippy” with Gibby Stites & Skullz has a bit of a more West Coast feel instrumentally talking about turning up. “Thriller” mixes together some dusty drums & synthesizers saying he can’t disappear until they know his name just before “Real One” almost has a bit of a Latin trap influence to Poetic Beats’ production letting listeners know who you’re rocking with.

The song “Closed Minds” with Jamie Madrox finds the 2 going into boom bap territory firing back at those who’re quick to dismiss their talents while the penultimate track “Main Squeeze” takes a more futuristic route in terms of sound talking to his potential ride or die bitch. “Highway to Heartbreak” then closes out the EP with a passionate piano ballad talking coming a long way & still being here today.

We’ve waited a little over a year for this 3rd installment in a 4-part series of EPs & I’d say it’s a solid comeback for Lex. The production in comparison to his past material is probably the most diverse it’s ever been, his lyricism is as cutthroat as always & there’s no denying that he took his time with this one. Very excited to hear how the series will end hopefully next year.

Score: 3.5/5

Twiztid – “Untitled” review

This is the 13th EP from Detroit duo Twiztid. Consisting of Jamie Madrox & Monoxide, the pair originally started out as part of the House of Krazees alongside childhood friend The R.O.C. in 1992 before their initial disbandment 5 years later. Almost immediately after, the Insane Clown Posse took Jamie & Mono under their wings by signing them to Psychopathic Records as the demented duo they’re known as today. They would become the label’s 2nd biggest act being their mentors off projects like Mostasteless, Freek Show, Mirror Mirror, The Green Book, W.I.C.K.E.D. (Wish I Could Kill Every Day) & Abominationz. Shortly after the latter was released, Twiztid left Psychopathic to form Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2014. Since then they’ve released 6 albums, with my favorites being The Darkness at the top of 2015 & then Revelashen which just celebrated it’s 1-year anniversary recently. But after going into rock territory on Unlikely Prescription at the beginning of the fall, Twiztid gave fans a little treat to those who placed an order of $75 or more this Black Friday.

“The Hell That We Been Through” is an impressive opener from Triple Threat energetically encouraging their Day 1’s to stick together with them while the song “Sugar” goes into a bleaker direction talking about how they’re not fine mentally which they always do well with at subjects like that. The penultimate track “Real Clique” is a ghoulish trap banger taking shots at their opposition which is dope if you’re into battle raps & “On the Grind” finishes the EP off with Triple Threat reuniting on top of a misty instrumental flexing their hustle.

Although the mixed reception of Unlikely Prescription was a given & even I myself was 50/50 on it (that’s coming from a place of love too), I came away from this untitled EP enjoying it as much as I did Electric Lettuce back in the spring. They pick up where Revelashen left off in the sense that they demonstrate how talented they are as MCs & returning to a more hardcore hip hop sound, proving that they haven’t forgotten about their core fanbase.

Score: 3.5/5

Majik Ninja Entertainment – “Songs of Samhain 2: Haunted Record Player” review

Majik Ninja Entertainment is a Detroit based independent record label founded by Twiztid & their manager George Vlahakis in 2014, only 2 years after the demented duo’s departure from Psychopathic Records. However, they quickly built an empire or their own from bringing a few other PSY alumni along for the ride to help introduce G-Mo Skee & Alla Xul Elu to a much wider audience. The label’s first showcase comp Year of the Sword is easily the best one they’ve put out so far given the strength of the roster at the time, but that’s not to say Songs of Samhain wasn’t a respectable Halloween-themed EP. They just dropped an exclusive label comp at this year’s Attack of the Ninjas couple months ago & now with Halloween approaching this weekend, the crew is back together for a sequel to Songs of Samhain.

After the “I Shall Arrive” intro, the first song “Needle on the Record” by Twiztid is a demented boom bap opener about the haunted record player possessing their souls when they turn it on whereas “Go Out” by Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox, Gibby Stites & Jamie Madrox takes a turn into rap rock territory spitting that hardcore shit. “Haunted Thoughts” by the House of Krazees heinously spills out the fucked up shit in their minds just before Blaze, Boondox & Jamie reunite for the slow yet victorious ballad “Sing It”.

Meanwhile on “Heavier Every Time”, we have the Venomous 5 reforming over an unsettling trap beat about how the world will never understand them leading right into the “Nursery Rhyme from a Different Time” interlude. The song “Paint the Town Red” sees HOK keeping it in trap turf getting murderous while the penultimate track “Halloween Treat” by Twiztid & Oh! The Horror is a rap rock cut displaying some goth romance poetry. The album ends with “Quarantine”, where V5 plead to be saved from the disease of living over some pianos & dusty drums.

Compared to the first Songs of Samhain & even the Attack of the Ninjas album, Songs of Samhain 2: Haunted Record Player to me is the best label comp MNE has put out since Year of the Sword. It sounds darker & I really admire that it’s a bit more conceptual than the predecessor did.

Score: 3.5/5

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

Twiztid – “Unlikely Prescription” review

Twiztid is a hip hop duo from Detroit, Michigan consisting of Jamie Madrox & Monoxide, both of whom originally started out as part of the House of Krazees alongside childhood friend The R.O.C. in 1992 before their initial disbandment 5 years later. Almost immediately after, the Insane Clown Posse took Jamie & Mono under their wings by signing them to Psychopathic Records as the demented duo they’re known as today. They would become the label’s 2nd biggest act being their mentors off projects like Mostasteless, Freek Show, Mirror Mirror, The Green Book, W.I.C.K.E.D. (Wish I Could Kill Every Day) & Abominationz. Shortly after the latter was released, Twiztid left Psychopathic to form Majik Ninja Entertainment in 2014. Since then they’ve released 5 albums & 4 EPs on their own label, my favorite of which being Revelashen. But for their 15th full-length right here, Jamie & Mono are making a complete stylistic departure from the horrorcore sound they became known for.

“Corkscrew” is an electronic rock opener produced by A Danger Within talking about breaking down & asking for God to forgive them whereas “Twist & Shatter” gets on some emo shit talking about pulling apart again. “Broken Heart” goes into industrial rock territory with the help of drummer Drayven Davidson addressing an ex, but then “Confused” has a bit of an airy backdrop during the verses as the guitars dominate the majority of it. Lyrically, they’re talking about going from being hated to being famous.

Meanwhile on “Neon Vamp”, we have Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth joining Twiztid for a blatantly pure industrial hip hop banger encouraging the listener to go crazy leading into the hard rock banger “Comes with an Apology” talking about dealing with life until they’re gone. “Rose Petal” fuses together industrial music & rap metal going at the throats of judgmental people, but then “Dead Instead” has some killer guitar work despite the verses being mixed low & I appreciate the message of metaphorical walls closing in their minds.

“Parasite” has these infectiously catchy riffs as Jamie & Mono say they’ll never conform whereas the ScatteredBrains-produced “Perfect Problem” has to be my favorite on the album, being a straight up rap rock riot starter declaring themselves as such. “If I Get Things Right” asks to stop with the pretending on top of some killer drums & the hook one of the catchiest on the album, but “More Than a Memory” somberly tells the listener to remember their names in the end.

The song “Envy” is basically a mediocre attempt at a radio rock hit even though I can commend the message about how jealously can be the end of someone while the 7-produced penultimate track “No Change” with Matt Brandyberry sounds like a cheesy entrance theme you’d hear on WWE nowadays. “World of Pretend” ends the album on a victorious note, with Twiztid talking about what it feels like when you’re reeled into such.

These guys have ALWAYS had elements of rock in their music but now that they took on that sound for the length of an entire album, I’m on the fence with it. Half of these joints actually sound really good & the other doesn’t do all that much for me personally. That being said: I am looking forward to the album produced by Zeuss because he did a great job on the mastering, so I have a feeling he’s gonna help refine the style of rock Jamie & Mono wanna go into. Hopefully they give us more shit like “Empty”, “Wrong with Me”, “Alone”, “Darkness” & “Familiar”.

Score: 2.5/5

Young Wicked – “Activated” review

Young Wicked is a 34 year old MC, singer, songwriter, producer, engineer & fashion designer from Denver, Colorado who came up as 1/2 of the Axe Murder Boyz with his older brother Bonez Dubb in 1999. The duo put out 4 albums on their own before signing to Psychopathic Records in 2005, making their debut on the label that following spring by dropping Blood In Blood Out to moderate reception. However, their next full-length outing God’s Hand is considered to by many (including myself) to be their best given how much both of them elevated their lyricism & Otis’ production. This resulted in him becoming Violent J’s protege many years later, dropping his solo debut Slaughter: It’s the Best Medicine in the fall of 2015. Fast forward a couple years later, he jumped ship to Majik Ninja Entertainment after a falling out with his mentor to put out an equally fantastic sophomore effort The Return of the Prodigal Son. But after 4 years of focusing on producing & engineering for others, Young Wicked is rebranding himself for his 3rd album.

After the titular intro, the first song “James” almost had a bit of an electronic feel to it bragging about always killing mics whereas “Game Time” is a hyphy banger saying he puts in work every day. “Fuck That Shit” has some eerie piano chords brushing off his haters just before “M.T.L.B.S. (More Tattoos Less Bullshit)” takes things into trap territory saying that’s exactly what he needs.

Meanwhile on “Ice”, we have Young Wicked jumping on top of a cloudy instrumental to brag about how cold he is leading into the braggadocious “Flex” co-produced by DJ Stigmata. He goes in depth about being under the influence on “Felt So High” with a somewhat wonky beat, but then “Satellite” melodically opens up about being unable to escape his shadows.

The song “Tik Tok” is literally a trap cut about how you can make it by dancing on the titular app while the penultimate track “Racing” works in some guitar passages talking about getting live outside. “Feel Alright” then ends the album with a passionate rock cut about saying he’s doing good despite the world burning.

Now despite the artwork being a piss poor ripoff of my 2nd favorite Metallica album Ride the Lightning, it’s clear as day that Young Wicked is a man of many talents & Activated reminds us of that. He sounds completely rejuvenated & I love how diversity it sounds. Clearly the rebrand is an attempt at trying to reach an audience wider than the juggalo realm, but it’s very respectable.

Score: 4/5

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

Majik Ninja Entertainment – “Attack of the Ninjas: The Album” review

This is a brand new showcase compilation from Detroit underground label Majik Ninja Entertainment. Founded in 2014 by Twiztid & their manager George Vlahakis only 2 years following the demented duo’s departure from Psychopathic Records, they quickly built an empire or their own from bringing a few other PSY alumni along for the ride to help introduce G-Mo Skee & Alla Xul Elu to a much wider audience. The label’s first showcase comp Year of the Sword is easily the best one they’ve put out so far given the strength of the roster at the time, but that’s not to say Songs of Samhain wasn’t a respectable Halloween-themed EP. But to celebrate the 5th annual Attack of the Ninjas, everyone on MNE right now & the 2 acts on their Welcome to the Underground sub-label are uniting as one alongside a couple outside collaborators for an exclusive compilation given away at the event.

The opener “Are You Scared?” by Oh! The Horror & Twiztid is a pop punk/rap crossover telling their haters to say their prayers whereas “Each & Every” by Bukshot, Jamie Madrox & Lex the Hex Master finds the trio jumping on top of a west coast instrumental from Fritz the Cat saying they’re broken & don’t feel fine. Buk & Jamie stick around as they enlist Boondox & Mr. Grey to spit the wicked shit on “Horror” down to the Godsynth & Stir Crazy production, but then Gibby Stites & Blaze Ya Dead Homie come in for the atmospheric “Come Up” saying ain’t nobody doing what they’re doing.

“Let ‘Em Burn” by Anybody Killa, the Axe Murder Boyz, Bukshot, Crucifix & Monoxide come together on top of a trap instrumental from 7 to get in their arsonist bag just before the futuristic “Space Between Us” sees Zodiac MPrint reuniting to talk about a toxic relationship. “Kill” by Insane E, Jamie Madrox, Oh! The Horror & Redd goes into a rubbery direction with the help of Grady Finch saying no one’s on their level while “Chin Check” by Bukshot, Gibby Stites, Joey Black, Lee Carver & The R.O.C. encourages the listener to mosh despite the out-of-place forlorn production.

The track “We Are the Underground” by Boondox, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Gibby Stites & Oh! The Horror needs no further explanation lyrically diving into a trap/metal fusion whereas the final song “Boohoo” by Gibby Stites, Lex the Hex Master & The R.O.C. ends the comp with a boom bap-tinged shot at their detractors even though the hook is a bit tedious. The actual closer though is just a remix to “Maelstrom” off of Cabal’s most recent debut album The Watchers featuring the Super Famous Fun Time Guys & the Venomous 5.

I don’t expect all that much whenever a label puts out a project showcasing their artists & although I enjoyed the last 2 that MNE has put out, I’m a bit torn on this one. Some of the collabs on here come off to me as natural, but then there are others that seem hamfisted & in no way shape or form am I trying to be disrespectful to anyone because I’ve given a good share of positive feedback on the label’s output throughout the years like with Revelashen & Krimson Crow.

Score: 3/5

Oh! The Horror – “1692” review

This is the sophomore album from California trio Oh! The Horror. Emerging a couple years ago off their debut EP The Devil Made Me Do It, they gained even more exposure just last summer by becoming the very 1st act under Majik Ninja Entertainment’s new sub-label Welcome to the Underground & put out their full-length debut Halloween 365. And after a hot streak of singles throughout the first half of 2021, it was only right for Oh! The Horror to return with 1692.

“Strange” is a trap metal opener about how they’ll never change whereas “Let Me Be” is a vicious response to those who ever doubted them. “All’s Fair” goes into a punkier direction as they takes shots a deceitful woman before going emo on all fronts for “Dead Inside”.

Meanwhile on “Alive”, we get a fiery ballad about how thrilling murder is just before the explosive yet suicidal “Bodybag”. We go into an almost alternative direction on the possessive “If I Can’t Have You” leading into the trap metal/industrial fusion that is “Istilldontcare”, which is about giving no fucks.

“Groceries” takes things back into punk territory with them saying they’re always eating their girls’ asses while shifting gears into post-hardcore on “Eating Me Alive”. The song “Never Found” is a chugging ballad about a witch they knows & that leads into the penultimate track “Witch Bitch”, which is a freaky trap metal-flavored follow up. The album then ends with “Tears of Gold” which is a great cover of the Faouzia joint of the same name.

If you go back to my Halloween 365 review, I had stated that Oh! The Horror would start to grow more down the line. And that’s exactly what they just did on 1692. I feel like their sound is more refined, it’s more adventurous, the songwriting has improved & they feel more comfortable in their performances.

Score: 4/5