The Eastside Ninjas are a supergroup from Detroit, Michigan consisting of duos Twiztid & Drive-By. Now this is far from the first time Jamie Madrox & Monoxide have worked with Blaze Ya Dead Homie & Anybody Killa, especially since all 4 of them have known each other since childhood as well as being members of Dark Lotus & the Psychopathic Rydas back when they were all signed to Psychopathic Records as protégés of the Insane Clown Posse. So really, it was only a matter of time before they united as a quartet & put out a full-length debut before Twiztid drops their rock album Unlikely Prescription on September 10.
After the “Assemble” intro, the first song “ESN” opens the album up by getting in their shit-talking bag assisted by a saxophone-heavy instrumental from Young Wicked but then the next track “Outshine” goes into a more triumphant direction as they proclaim that their time has come. The quartet go on to address their haters on the bouncy, electronic-tinged “Like 2 Talk a Bit” whereas the appropriately titled “Highest in the Game” incorporates an alluring vocal sample as they talk about weed.
Meanwhile on “Get the W”, we get a rubbery instrumental as the Eastside Ninjas strive for success & then “All 4-1 1-4 All” brings in some west coast vibes in the production with lyrics about loyalty. The track “Relax Ya Mind” is a synth-laced banger about being relieved of stress while the final song “Reintroduce” is a boom bap/rock infused cut reminding listeners who the fuck they are.
To me, this is what the Triple Threat album should’ve been. I love the diverse range of sounds Young Wicked went for on the production end as well as the way all 4 members continue to bounce off each other just like they did when they all came up together.
This is the 10th EP from Detroit veteran Anybody Killa. Coming up as a member of the Krazy Klan with his childhood friend Lavel, it wouldn’t be until 2000 when the Native Funk dropped his official solo debut Rain from the Sun. 2 years later, he made his big break in the underground when the Insane Clown Posse signed him to Psychopathic Records & released his sophomore album Hatchet Warrior to universal acclaim amongst the juggalos. This was followed up in 2004 with Dirty History & the debut EP Road Fools a year after, but ABK decided to form his own label Native World Inc. in 2006 & he even left Psychopathic temporarily so he could focus on building his own brand. His 2008 comeback Mudface ended up being a total mess on all fronts, but he would eventually team up with Brian Kuma in 2010 to make up for it with Medicine Bag. Then after a 9-year hiatus, ABK left Psychopathic to focus on Native World once again & put out a party-themed comeback album Tampon Juice to mixed responses. But as he’s currently prepping for A.B.K. (Always Bringing Knowledge) & supposedly Shapeshifter, Killa is celebrating 4/20 by putting out Smoke That Up produced entirely by DJ Hazey.
“Pre-Session” is a short, bass-heavy introduction warming up the listener for what’s to come where’s the next song “Smoking In Common” goes into a more g-funk direction sound-wise as ABK dedicates this to all the like-minded tokers out there. The title track is a synth-laced banger encouraging listeners to light one up & then “We Smoking” is a more groovy, melodic cut about wanting them to leave him be as he gets high.
I know this is just a 4/20-themed EP, but I actually like it more than Tampon Juice & has me looking forward to A.B.K. (Always Bringing Knowledge) whenever that album comes out. DJ Hazey’s production is some of the best I’ve ever heard from him & the playful vibes that ABK delivers in his performances have improved.
Tha Hav Knots are a hip hop duo from Detroit, Michigan consisting of Anybody Killa & Big Hoodoo. Since 2014, the two dropped a couple singles together & they even let Bonez Dubb of the Axe Murder Boyz temporarily join the group for a couple years before going AWOL at the start or 2017. But now with the 20th annual Gathering of the Juggalos officially wrapped up, they’re officially back with their debut EP.
The project kicks off with “Intro / Cruel Intentions”, where Hoodoo & Killa talk about ushering in a brand new era of wicked shit over a perfectly nocturnal beat. The next song “We Gonna Rock” of course brags about their skills over a vicious beat while the EP’s only single thus far “Watch the Evil” gets reckless over a somewhat druggy & ominous instrumental.
The track “Trigga Finga” not only gets murderous over an abrasive trap beat with a cool 2Pac sample for the hook, but Hoodoo’s flow at the beginning could very well be the best on the entire project. The penultimate track “Hard Headed” pretty much speaks for itself over an eerie beat & then the EP finishes with “Take Us Alive”, where Hoodoo & Killa get triumphant over a symphonic trap beat.
For the 5 year wait, it was well worth it & it definitely makes me hope they have a full-length debut album on the way. The production is grimy & Tha Hav Knots compliment each other very well, with Anybody Killa sounding a lot harder than he was on his latest comeback album Tampon Juice as well as Big Hoodoo continuing to step up both his pen game & his flows.
Anybody Killa is a 43 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who started out as a member of the Krazy Klan with his childhood friend Lavel. He eventually went solo in 2000 with Rain from the Sun, but it wouldn’t be until 2002 that he would make his big break in the underground when the Insane Clown Posse signed him to Psychopathic Records & released his sophomore album Hatchet Warrior. This was followed up in 2004 with Dirty History & the Road Fools EP a year after, but ABK decided to form his own label Native World Inc. in 2006 & he even left Psychopathic temporarily so he could focus on building his own brand. His 2008 comeback Mudface ended up being a total mess on all fronts, but he would eventually team up with Brian Kuma in 2010 to make up for it with Medicine Bag. Almost a decade later, he’s back on the scene with his long-awaited 6th full-length album.
After the “You Got the Juice” intro, we go into the first song “Good Times”. Essentially a celebratory anthem with a funky beat. The next track “Cobra Moves” is filled with battle bars with an Middle Eastern trap beat while the track “Ima Let It Go” spits that gun talk over a sporadic instrumental. The song “What Should I Get Into?” has a great concept, but ABK’s vocals are mixed so low. The track “Where da Hype At?” gets victorious over a triumphant trap beat while the song “My Significant Other” is a tribute to ABK’s special lady with a settle instrumental.
The track “Finally” gets into fight mode with a menacing beat while the song “Deadly Addictions” talks about internal conflict over a spacious beat. The track “So Far Gone” talks about being insane over a generic trap beat while the song “I Tell the Truth” talks about going into beast mode over a rowdy beat. The penultimate track “Upside Ya Head” gets into fight mode once again this time over a decent rap rock instrumental & then the album ends with “Flying High”, where ABK talks about his success over an uplifting beat.
For the 9 year wait, this was a decent comeback. The production could’ve been better at points & it could’ve used a couple features to break up the monotony, but the Hatchet Warrior shows that he’s still got it because he sounds very refreshed on here.