Blizzard – “Duel with Death” review

Blizzard is a 29 year old artist from Detroit, Michigan notable for co-founding the Yung Fam Mafia back in 2007 & more recently becoming an in-house producer for Middle Finger Music a little while after it’s inception. But to celebrate his born day, he’s treating fans to a full-length debut showcasing his production skills & bringing along a promising lineup of local MCs.

After the “Tao of Death” intro, the title track by Aztec the Barfly & Kid Vishis starts the album off with some angry battle bars on top of dusty drums & a haunting soul sample whereas “Flying Guillotine” by J-Classic & Ty Farris eerily proclaims themselves as the last of a dying breed. “Barrage of Tigers” by the Twin Towers vaingloriously stomps at their opposition’s necks leading into an operatic instrumental being worked in on “8 Gates” for Big Herk, Hatch & P.L. to talk their shit.

Meanwhile on “Lotus Leaf”, we have Blizzard taking things into a jazzier direction as A-Minus & Finale to talk about letting the hate in their hearts go just before the piano-tinged “Drunken Boxing” by Bang Belushi & Vstylez speaks on holding it down for their city. “Konichi Death Squad” by Crimson Alchemist & Miz Korona brings in some horns to quench for blood, but then “Pray 4 Death” by Spoda uncannily gets on his ignorant shit.

The song “Praying Mantis” by 2 Door Coupé has a bit of a chipmunk soul flare reminding everyone that Middle Finger Music is taking over the game while the penultimate track “Slummz” by Guilty Simpson briefly but powerfully details what it’s like in his hood. “Like Water” by Isaac Castor & even Blizzard himself then finishes the album off on some spacey boom bap shit saying this ain’t for amateurs.

Of all the producer album that I’ve heard this year, I think Duel with Death could very well be the best one of them all. I love that Blizzard demonstrates his versatility behind the boards & how he brought in everyone from the OGs to the newcomers to let them do what they do best on the mic.

Score: 4/5

Bang Belushi – “Belushi on Ghawd” review

Bang Belushi is a 43 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan emerging as as 1/4 of the world famous Fat Killahz. However, it wouldn’t be until 2011 when the veteran branched out solo by releasing his debut EP The Bridgecard. This was followed up with help yourself. in 2017, but then he signed to Middle Finger Music & put out his Foul Mouth-produced debut album The Adventures of Bang Belushi at the tail-end of the following year. The pair reunited for Rudy back in March & now Bango is enlisting Wavy da Ghawd for his 3rd full-length outing right here.

The intro kicks things off with grimy instrumental & with him saying you’ll go crazy hearing this whereas “Barz” works in a fresh reggae sample to flex his lyrical prowess. “Radio Flow” has some great horn loops to get on his fly shit just before J-Classic & Marv Won come into the picture on the flute heavy “New Pac” saying they feelin’ like the iconic MC of the same name.

Meanwhile with “Run Shit”, we go into more orchestral territory for Bango proclaiming he’s taking over the rap game leading into “$1” working in an organ-heavy instrumental. “Knuckle Up” with Ketch P & Rim is of course a gully moshpit starter whereas “Here We Go” enlists Kain Cole to ominously get on the battle tip.

The song “Shoe Game Crazy” is a slick ode to Bang’s documented love for sneakers while the penultimate track “Hardcore” with Pro Dillinger finds the 2 calling out those puttin’ on a front over a funky beat. “Lights, Camera Action” then serves as a touching closer with it’s string samples & the reflective lyrics.

Didn’t expect Bango to put out a follow-up this quickly, but I’m glad he did because I enjoyed this almost as much as his first 2 albums. He sounds focused, the songwriting is as witty as ever & Wavy’s production is a good fit given the fact that a good portion of Middle Finger Music’s output goes for that New York boom bap sound.

Score: 3.5/5

Fatt Father – “Soccer Dad” review

This is the 5th full-length outing from Detroit emcee Fatt Father. Coming up as 1/4 of the world famous Fat Killahz, he eventually went solo in 2006 off his debut mixtape Tales of the Childless Father. Going on to release 3 more tapes along with 4 albums, it’s only right for Fatts to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of his previous effort King Father by dropping the long-awaited

The “Raging Angel” intro kicks off with a gospel sample as Fatt Father celebrates being reinstated whereas “The Commute” details being pulled over by a cop taking his son to a soccer game over a boom bap beat with a heavy guitar. The title track is a grimy follow-up that let’s the listener know who they be fucking with while the soul sample-laced “Stick to the Script” comes through with that grown man spiritual street corner material”.

The song “Head Shot” in pirates some organs as the Twin Towers & Tone Plummer go at those running they mouths while “Papa Free” is simply just Fatts getting a lot of shit off his chest for 3-minutes backed by a relaying vocal sample. “The Price of Freedom” of course gets on the conscious side of things with a fitting rock loop whereas “Smoke” is an up-tempo banger about how you ain’t want beef with him.

Meanwhile on “Underground Ballin’”, we get a charismatic anthem about how underground MCs can ball as much as the mainstream cats can whereas “Party of 1” talks about taking off heads over a deadly instrumental. The song “Do Better” is a cinematic cut tackling daily self-improvement while “#1” goes into a more trap direction with lyrics about failure not being an option. The song “In All Fairness” brings in some hi-hats & catchy vocal harmonies to say he ain’t do nobody wrong, but then “Truth” serves as a well-written response to those people with a dusty boom bap beat incorporating icy keyboard melodies.

I’ve been waiting on this album for almost 2 years now & I’m glad the day has finally come because this could very well be the best thing Fatt Father has ever done. A lot of the same reasons I enjoyed Bang Belushi’s latest album Rudy make it’s way onto here, especially the personal lyricism & the eclectic sounds Foul Mouth uses throughout.

Score: 9/10

Bang Belushi – “Rudy” review

This is the sophomore album from Detroit emcee Bang Belushi. Coming up as 1/4 of the world famous Fat Killahz, it wouldn’t be until 2011 when the veteran branched out solo by releasing his debut EP The Bridgecard as well as the help yourself. EP in 2017. But it wouldn’t be until the following year when Bango signed to Middle Finger Music & dropped his full-length debut The Adventures of Bang Belushi, which in my opinion was a near-flawless showcasing of his lyrical abilities over some of the grimiest production Foul Mouth has ever cooked up. However, the pair is reuniting for Belushi’s long-awaited sophomore album.

“The Opening” that starts the album off gives listeners the blueprint to being great over an entrancing loop whereas the title track talks about how amazing he is over an unhinged boom bap beat. The song right after “It’s Going Down” talks about how they get it poppin’ over an instrumental kin to the late J Dilla while the track “Bar 4 Bar” with 2 Door Coupé finds the 3 talking about Middle Finger Music taking over the game over some horns & a bass-line.

The song “Dumb” talks about how disrespectful he is over a noisy instrumental while the track “N****z Like You” with Bub Rock sees the duo talking about those who’ll do anything for respect over some drums & piano arpeggios. The song “Red Bottlez” talks about being drunk as fuck over some keys & snares while the track “Murder” with J-Classic & Xtra Overdoze finds the 3 getting on the horrorcore side of things over a trap beat.

The song “Smoking Section” with Boom2G, Bub Rock, Pahlavi & Roc Danielz sees the quintet talking about getting money & staying low over a dingy loop while the track “Mark, Set, Go” with Isaac Castor finds the 2 talking about their skills over a wistful boom bap beat. The song “B is for Bang” breaks down the meaning of the moniker Bang over a flute sample while the track “Feeling Like Biggie” is a rugged sequel to “Feeling Like ODB” off The Adventures of Bang Belushi on all fronts.

The song “Such & Such” talks about a bitch he used to know over an amiable instrumental while the track “Nobody” talks about how there isn’t anyone else like him over a boom bap beat with a glossy piano loop. The song “Watermelon Red Bull” talks about how he refers to his AK as “Big Daddy Kane” over some prominent organs while the outro talks about feeling like they won’t recognize his skills until he’s gone over a beat kin to College Dropout-era Kanye West.

The Adventures of Bang Belushi is one of my favorite albums that Middle Finger Music has ever put out & this is almost as great of a follow-up. The lyrics on here are much more personal than they were last time & the sounds that Foul Mouth bring to the table are bit more diverse.

Score: 4/5

Jypsy – “Born wit It” review

Jypsy is a 38 year old MC from Inkster, Michigan who came up as a member of the trio Street Justice. He eventually branched out solo in 2017 off the single “Gotta Go” & signed to Middle Finger Music a couple years later. But as the first month of 2021 draws to a close, Jypsy is finally coming through with his debut album.

“The Intro(vert)” that kicks the album off is him venting about a number of things over a jazzy beat from Foul Mouth whereas the next song “The Greatest” talks about wanting to better than just average over a Peace of Mind instrumental that almost has a Bollywood feel to it. The track “Son of a Preacher Son” talks about being a monster over a diabolical boom bap beat while the song “Cigar Lounge” with Isaac Castor finds the 2 talking about weed over a drumless yet tranquil instrumental.

“The Crown” by 2 Door Coupé sees the duo talking about gossipers over a lo-fi beat from Nolan the Ninja while the song “Gelato #41” with Bub Rock finds the 2 getting sexual over a Jimbo Slice instrumental that samples “You Can’t Turn Me Away” by Sylvia Striplin. The track “Never Hesitant” talks about being a king over a nefarious beat while “The Sleeper” sees 2 Door Coupé teaming up with Bang Belushi & Kain to spit battle bars over a sole whistling loop.

The song “Warriors” with Fatt Father & Kid Vishis finds the trio continuing to shit-talk over a demonic beat while the penultimate track “Heavy D” talks about keeping his circle small over a spacious trap instrumental. The album ends with “Restless”, where Jypsy talks about taking his own way to get where he’s going over an uneasy boom bap beat.

I’ve been wanting to hear how Jyp would sound on an album of his own given his features throughout the past year or so & now that we finally got it, I’m impressed. He’s at his best lyrically & I really dig how the sound ranges from jazz samples to trap.

Score: 4/5

Ketch P – “Untitled” review

Ketch P is a 40 year old MC from Inkster, Michigan who started off as part of the quartet Street Justice. He eventually went solo & put out 3 mixtapes in the late 2000s, but Ketch took a hiatus in 2013 & returned last fall by dropping the fantastic comeback tape Gift Certificate under Middle Finger Music. This was followed up a couple months ago with the full-length Out of Nowhere but almost 3 months later, he’s surprise-dropping an untitled EP that he recorded with Black Milk about a decade ago.

Things start off with “Barricade ’08”, where Ketch spits about being the livest over soulful beat. “The Virus” with Guilty Simpson sees the 2 comparing their music to that of a sickness over a grimy instrumental while the song “Grind Mode” talks about hustling over a suspenseful boom bap beat. The penultimate track “Shut the Phuck Up!!” sends a message to all the haters out there over an instrumental with some beautiful background vocals talks about & then the closer “My Detroit” with eLZhi & Trick-Trick finds the trio paying tribute to their hometown over a churchy beat.

Man even though the material on here is 10 years old, it sounds like they made it earlier this year because these joints in 2020 still sound really good. Black Milk kills it on the boards as he usually does & Ketch P’s lyricism is just as raw as he is today. Looking forward to the albums he has with Bad News Brown & 2 Door Coupé.

Score: 4/5

Isaac Castor – “The Rabbit Hole” review

Isaac Castor is a 24 year old rapper from Ann Arbor, Michigan who I first caught wind of through his association with Middle Finger Music a few years ago. He eventually landed a contract with the label & now he’s hooking up with it’s co-founder Foul Mouth for his full-length debut.

The album kicks off with “Homesick”, where Isaac talks about how he’s ready to take over the game & I love the meditative boom bap production as well. The next song “Retrospect” with Bub Rock sees the 2 reflecting about their past & how they’re doing better now over a beautiful soul sample while “The Sickness” charismatically shows off his skills over an organ-inflicted boom bap beat. The song “Regal” talks about how raw his music is over an instrumental that sounds like something RZA would’ve made in the 90’s while the track “Fire Drill” talks about being built for this over a jazzy boom bap beat.

The song “Headless Horsemen” with Fatt Father & J-Classic sees the 3 challenging their competition over a boom bap beat with a psychedelic guitar lead while the title track talks about partying over a woozy beat. The song “Name 5 Songs” talks about groupies over a fast-tempo trap beat while the track “Guess What?” talks about this girl he was seeing running off with another guy over a funky beat. The song “That Ain’t Love” pays tribute to those who’ve been heartbroken over a boom bap beat with some somber piano chords while the track “Paramount” with A-Minus sees the 2 talking about earning their stripes over an upbeat instrumental.

The song “Green Pill” with Aztek the Barfly sees the 2 talking about how no one’s on their level over a suspenseful instrumental while the penultimate track “Can’t Decide” talks about his demons over some strings. The album finishes off with “Challenged”, where Isaac talks about being blessed in the moment over an energetic beat.

What a fantastic debut. Foul Mouth reminds us why he’s my favorite producer out in Detroit with his versatile sound whereas Isaac really shines on here as his pen-game sounds smarter than ever & you really get a good look at who he is as a whole. Really looking forward to watch him grow in the future & to see what else Middle Finger Music has in store for the new decade.

Score: 4/5

Ketch P – “Gift Certificate” review

Ketch P is a veteran from Inkster, Michigan known for being a member of the quartet Street Justice. He’s released a few solo mixtapes in the past like What Happened? & Motown is Back but with the help of Middle Finger Music, he’s returning from a 6 year hiatus with Gift Certificate.

The tape starts off with “Welcome/Whatupdoe”, where Ketch reintroduces himself over a classy soul sample. The next song “313” is filled with witty battle bars over an beat from Chanes while the track “Doap Pusher” compares himself to a drug dealer over a vintage beat from Peace of Mind. The song “Kareem & Shaq” finds Ketch liking him & his Bad News Brown cohort Foul Mouth to the legendary Lakers players of the same name over an alluring boom bap beat while the track “Ode to the Roots” pays tribute to those that came before him over an instrumental from Jimbo Slice with these Godly background vocals.

The song “Back Outside” with Finale & Vstylez sees the 3 talking about shutting shit down over an uplifting instrumental from Blizzard while the song “Middle Finger Trophies” with Bubba Rock & Rim finds the 3 getting bellicose over a soulful boom bap beat. The song “Boom Bap Shit” pays homage to the titular subgenre over a soulful instrumental while the track “Get the Money” with Isaac Castor talks about making dough over some claps & a fitting vocal sample. The song “Street Justice Nigga” with Jypsy sees the 2 reminding their competition who they’re dealing with over a boom bap beat with some strings & horns while the track “Death Soup” with Guilty Simpson & Paradime finds the 3 talking about Detroit being untouchable over another soulful boom bap beat.

The song “Top 10s & Buffs” talks about Middle Finger Music being in the house over a Foul Mouth beat with some eerie vocals looped throughout while the track “Poured Up” of course talks about alcohol over a wavy boom bap beat. The song “Like This” sees the 2 getting romantic over a delicate beat then the closer “Fish Grease” takes the opportunity to showcase Ketch’s lyricism 1 last time & not only do I like how the instrumental switches from being organ-inflicted to something funky, but I love how he speeds up his flow during the last 30 seconds.

I’ve been waiting for this all year & at the end of the day, it’s easily Ketch’s best work to date. Middle Finger Music has been reminding me for the past year now that they’re one of the best labels in the underground right now & this is no exception, as Ketch P’s lyricism has gotten sharper with time & the production continues to be grimier with each release the label puts out.

Score: 4/5

Bang Belushi – “The Adventures of Bang Belushi” review

Bang Belushi is an MC from Detroit, Michigan who came up as 1/4 of the world famous Fat Killahz. Since the group’s hiatus beginning in 2011, he’s released a few EPs with 2 of them being under his own name & the other one being a collaborative effort with fellow Fat Killah King Gordy. But now with just a few days left in 2018, the newly founded Middle Finger Music is helping him in giving fans his long-awaited full-length debut with the label’s co-founder Foul Mouth producing it in it’s entirety.

After the intro, we go into the first song “Gotta Go”. Here, Bang gets boastful over a smooth boom bap beat. The track “That Loud” is a weed anthem with a prominent flute while the song “I Love Fast Food” pretty much speaks for itself over a grimy beat. The track “Do the Bang” is a charismatic party anthem while the song “DrinkSmokeWeedFuck” vividly describes his Saturday nights over a boom bap beat with some vibraphones. The track “Simple” with Nolan the Ninja sees the 2 getting on some fly shit over some funky guitar licking while the song “I Think I’m ODB” with A-Minus talks about how wreckless they are over a boom bap beat with some horns.

The track “For Years” talks about his place in the rap game over a soulful beat while the song “Rhyder Daddy” is a heartfelt tribute to Bang’s daughter complete with a settle beat. The track “Shooter” with King Gordy & Guilty Simpson sees the 3 getting vividly murderous over an organ-inflicted boom bap beat while “The Zone Out” with Isaac Castor sees the 2 talking about relaxation over a spacey yet jazzy beat. The song “Blowed Everyday” speaks for itself over a laidback beat while the track “Bloodsport” feels like a perfectly haunting sequel to “Bang & the Barfly” off of Aztek the Barfly’s latest magnum opus Line King. The album then finishes with “Middle Finger Rap”, where Bang fantastically sets the vibe complete with some eerie choir vocals.

It’s been a long time coming & at the end, Bang’s magnum opus is over here is a fantastic example of why I think Middle Finger Music is starting to become one of the most consistent labels in hip hop. There are a couple features that I personally didn’t care for but other than that, Foul Mouth continues to prove himself as one of the best producers in the game today & it suits the raw unfiltered lyricism that is displayed from beginning to end.

Score: 4.5/5