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

Insane Clown Posse – “Wicked Vic the Seed” review

The Insane Clown Posse are a Detroit horrorcore duo consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope. They originally started as a quartet alongside John Kickjazz & Kid Villain, but both of them left before their full-length debut Carnival of Carnage dropped 3 decades ago & Greez-E only stuck around their best EP in my personal opinion: Beverly Kills 50187. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. I was a bit worried about their latest album Yum Yum Bedlam given that the prelude EP Yum Yum’s Lure was panned by fans when it came out last Juggalo Day but when Halloween came around, they proved me wrong with what I believe to be my 3rd favorite card in the 2nd deck. Here we are 365 days later & they’re actually kicking off The Seeds of Yum Yum trilogy by letting Wicked Vic the Weed be the first in season.

After the repetitive “Wicked Vic” intro, the first actual song “Send in the Clowns” starts off the EP pretty well with J & Shaggs talking about “When makin’ sense makes no sense at all is when you hold the grease paint stick & draw that smile” on top of a playful trap beat whereas “Clown Bounce” is a boom bap-flavored dance tune reminiscent to “Clown Walk” off Forgotten Freshness 4 or even the cringey “Cha Cha Slide” cover “Chop Chop Slide off my 2nd favorite card of the 2nd deck: Bang! Pow! Boom!.

“Mutilator” has a bit of a rock feel to it with the wicked clowns letting listeners in on what it is to be such while the song “Hyde Park Pedaler” goes back to quasi-boom bap turf as Violent J tells the story of the titular serial killer. The actual closer is a cover of the Duran Duran track “Hungry Like the Wolf” except it’s inferior to the rendition that Twiztid happened to do for their 13th album Mad Season a couple years back as for Brian Kuma’s remix of “Ain’t No Time”, it’s alright.

To start off the trilogy, it’s pretty decent. In comparison to the more personal subject matter that the album had to offer, this EP finds J & Shaggs mixing that old school carnival sound with the new sounds they’ve been dabbling in & there’s even some wicked shit laced in as well. Let’s just see how Pug Ugly the Stink Bud & WOH the Weepin’ Weirdo play out.

Score: 3/5

Esham – “Psyops” review

Esham is a 48 year old MC/producer from Detroit, Michigan who is widely recognized as the godfather of horrorcore alongside his former Natas cohorts Mastamind & the late TNT. His run from 1989-2005 (particularly the albums KKKill the Fetus, Closed Casket & Doubelievengod?) would go on to lay out the groundwork for subsequent horrorcore acts such as the Insane Clown Posse & even Eminem. His output since then has incredibly inconsistent but after dropping an unbearable cover of “Rock ‘n’ Roll N****r” by the punk poet laureate Patti Smith herself over the spring, I was still morbidly curious going into The Unholy’s 22nd full-length offering given his impact on this reviewer’s hometown as well as the most underappreciated subgenre of hip hop culture.

“Off Duty” opens the album with some funky bass licks & a heavy guitar calling out the guy who filmed George Floyd’s murder rather than doing something whereas “Wildlife” keeps the rap rock vibes going detailing how it is in the jungles even though I don’t really like how muffled Esham’s voice is. “B.L.M. (Burn, Loot, Murder)” has a riff buried in the drums that sounds like it was taken from the 60’s calling to retaliate against Big Brother, but then “Ms. Information” weaves in a bare guitar riff to call out the uneducated with a garish hook.

Meanwhile on “Lone Wolf”, we have Esham on top of some punky drums advising to stay away from criminals just before “#NoGoZone” has a much more rawer aesthetic to it sonically talking about the hard times we’re in. “Scam Likely” weaves in a buzzing guitar lead tackling identity thief leading into “Silver Bullet”, which is an 83 second riot starter Down the heavier riff.

“Selling Dope” literally has nothing to do with such rather it’s yet another addition to the evergrowing list of boring Esham love songs whereas “SNAFU” gets back on the punk tip talking about partying 24/7 with some catchy whistling throughout. The distorted guitar on “A Love Song” is pretty badass even though the vocals & lyrics are just awful while the track “Unholies” has a more bluesy tone to it getting in hustler bag. The penultimate song “Reel Spill” seems like an off-the-cuff freestyle even though I do like the a bare guitar instrumental & the title track rounds it off with a badass revolutionary ballad.

I genuinely had no what idea to expect from Psyops, but it just so happens to be Esham’s best album since Dichotomy. Dude’s always been notorious for sampling rock music throughout his career, so it’s nice to hear him stick to that sound for the course of an entire project. Plus given that Reel Life Productions has been based in Minneapolis for quite some time now & the protests that took place over there a year & a half ago as a result of George Floyd’s murder, I like how he sticks to this political/conscious concept revolving around it. However, my only real complaint is that some of these songs could’ve been mixed better.

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

Insane Clown Posse – “Yum Yum Bedlam” review

This is the highly anticipated 16th full-length album from Detroit horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse. Consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope, but very few know that 3 other members came & went during the first 5 years of the group’s inception. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. They dropped a prelude EP earlier this year called Yum Yum’s Lure to widespread backlash amongst the juggalos, so J & Shaggs decided to redo the whole album from scratch & drop it in time for the 28th annual Hallowicked show.

After the intro, the first song “Here Comes the Carnival” kicks off the album celebrating the titular mythology that ICP is known for over a feel good rap rock instrumental from Brian Kuma whereas “Wretched” follows it up with a morbid trap banger produced by Devereaux about Violent J being fucked up in the head. The wicked clowns later go back & forth with each other for the rubbery “Clown Drippin’” basically putting their own spin on swag, but then “Gangsta Code” reuses the beat Mike P. made for “Movin’ On” off of Boondox’ 4th album Abaddon talking about living & dying by the streets.

Meanwhile on “Queens”, we have the clowns seemingly taking shots at their protégés-turned-foes Twiztid over a mystical trap beat from Mythic Mindz just before “Panic Attack!!!” works in a guitar for J to talk about going off the walls mentally for 7 minutes. “Fuck Regret” creepily declares remorse as the Devil’s work, but then “Insomnia” takes a more cloudier route detailing J’s struggles with such as announced at the Gathering a couple months back.

“Heart & Soul” is a wack cover of the T’Pau joint of the same name while “The Drunk & The Addict” goes back to the trap direction with the help of Shaggytheairhead telling the story of ICP themselves being dependent on booze & drugs. “Don’t Touch that Flower” sees Str8jaket bringing in an acoustic guitar advising to be cautioned by the Yum Yum Flower while “Slap Nuts” is a more heavier cut talking about cats falling for their jokes.

I love how J uses “Bitch I’m Fine” as a chilling way of responding to those worried about his heart failure diagnosis while the song “Carnival of Lights” is a warm look at the camaraderie of the juggalo family. The penultimate track “Ain’t No Time” vulnerably addresses an ex of his over a guitar & finally, “Something to See” ends the album on a sweeter note looking back on their careers up to this point.

Despite all the ups & downs we’ve experienced to get here, Yum Yum Bedlam has to be my 3rd favorite Joker’s Card in the 2nd Deck right behind Bang! Pow! Boom! & The Mighty Death Pop!. Sonically, it’s really cool to hear them fuse the rock elements from The Great Milenko & mixed them together with some of the more trap-flavored cuts from Fearless Fred Fury. Conceptually, the themes of loyalty are displayed with an incredibly unique & profound perception.

Score: 3.5/5

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

Eastside Ninjas – “Pact of the 4” review

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.

Score: 4/5

Twiztid – “Electric Lettuce” review

This is the 12th 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 5 albums, with my favorites being The Darkness at the top of 2015 & then Revelashen from this past Black Friday. But being big stoners for as long as they’ve been around, Jamie & Mono have decided to drop Electric Lettuce just 3 days after Alla Xul Elu’s new album Necronomichron 2: Dead by Bong.

After the “Safe Place” intro, the first song “We All Float” encourages the listeners to “come down here” with them & the trap instrumental Young Wicked cooks up is totally off the wall. After the “Get Matt Nipps” skit, the following song “Light It Up” goes into a more west coast direction I almost wanna say as they talk about “rollin’ rappers up”. After the “Get Blaze” skit, the song “No Smoke” is a MNE posse cut sans Lex the Hex Master & The R.O.C. threatening their opposition with a piano-instrumental from 7 that really helps kick up the grimy tone of it.

The track “High ‘Til I Die” goes back into that trap direction as they talk about always being lifted & Lee Carver just shows why he’s my favorite Alla Xul Elu member. Especially when he said “Breaking up weed on the case of The Green Book”. I’m kinda disappointed that “Right Here Ninja” makes no reference or homage to “Here I Am” off of Blaze’s classic debut 1 Less G n da Hood, but the futuristic sound is fresh. “Feeling Stuck” is a great way to finish the EP, as it’s a guitar-trap driven cut about how COVID has effected everyone.

Despite my expectations not being super high given that this is a holiday-themed EP, I actually like it more than that short Songs of Samhain compilation that MNE put out this past fall. It continues to stray away from the wicked shit in favor of a more traditional hip hop vibe much like Revelashen, except most of the songs are weed-related.

Score: 3.5/5

Anybody Killa – “Smoke That Up” review

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.

Score: 3.5/5

Insane Clown Posse – “Yum Yum’s Lure” review

The Insane Clown Posse are a Detroit horrorcore duo consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope. There have been a total of 6 members in the group since it’s inception in 1989, but has been boiled down to J & Shaggy since the release of their 1992 debut album Carnival of Carnage. Together, they would create an empire whether it be subsequent albums like Riddle Box & The Great Milenko or expanding the self-owned Psychopathic Records as a force to be reckoned with in the underground by signing artists from Twiztid to more recently Ouija Macc. Now I wasn’t the biggest fan of ICP’s previous full-length album Fearless Fred Fury back in 2019 because I felt like it was rushed, however I do respect how angry it was. But as they gear up for the next joker’s card Yum Yum Bedlam, the wicked clowns are preluding it by dropping Yum Yum’s Lure on Juggalo Day.

After the “Bewitching” intro, the next song “Loyalty” finds J & Shaggy detailing what it means to be faithful over an ominous piano instrumental whereas the track “Afraid of Life” might be one of the worst ICP songs I’ve ever heard, as they talk about preferring to be a zombie phantom over a rock-flavored beat from Alien Ant Farm of all people.

The song “Smell of Rain” talks about women consuming them over a happy go lucky instrumental from Shaggytheairhead while the track “Ding Ding Doll” tells the story of a boy who buys a cursed Ecuadorian pull string doll from the dark web & the doll comes to life to wreak terror over a pillowy beat over a pillowy beat.

The song “I’ve Had It Worse” talks about how life sucks for everyone over a skeletal trap instrumental from the homie Devereaux while the penultimate track “Candyman” is a solo Shaggy cut with some of his most cringey lyrics on top of a more playful beat. The EP ends with “Clownheads”, which is a bloated & redundant advertisement for their Clownhead Paintings.

Coming from a Detroiter who’s been down with the clown since I was in middle school, I think the House Party Peep Show EP is much better because this is just as bad as The Calm & Eye of the Storm. I think the production is decent, but the execution on a good portion of these songs are terrible in my personal opinion. Really hope these songs aren’t on Yum Yum Bedlam & hopefully that album isn’t as disappointing as the material we got on here.

Score: 1/5