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.
Big Hoodoo is a 42 year old MC from Detroit, Michigan who originally came up as Doe Dubbla. Under that original moniker, he put out a double-disc full-length debut in 2008 called Stack’n & later followed it up with Hiatus in 2012. However it wouldn’t be until 2013 when Dubbla signed Psychopathic Records, put out his 3rd album Crystal Skull that summer & became the black magic practitioner that he is today. Now the last time we heard from Hoodoo solo-wise was in 2016 when he released asylum, which was pretty much a more refined version of Crystal Skull. But just a little over year after founding his own label Ear Drug Musik as well as teaming up with Anybody Killa to drop Tha Hav Knots’ debut EP, the man is now delivering his highly anticipated 5th album.
The opener “Juice” with Bam Beda sees the 2 talking about being grateful for making out the hood & getting lit when the pressure’s on over some keyboards, but then transitions into a Sada Baby type beat that isn’t too bad. The next song “HooDooinit” triumphantly celebrates his return over an anarchic trap instrumental while the track “Bitch I’m Gone” finds Hoodoo boasting over a sinister beat from Str8jaket. The song “Hatchetman” is a full-blown Psychopathic anthem backed by a trap instrumental with some eerie keyboards while the track “7+3” hooks back up with Bam Beda to talk about murdering those who want beef with them over a solemn beat.
The song “Take Over” with Blac finds the 2 talking about running shit over a bass-heavy instrumental while the track “Ride High” talks about going at those praying on his downfall over a ghostly beat with a killer guitar riff. The song “Juggalo Love (Murder Medley)” with Ouija Macc sees the 2 talking about how juggalos don’t play over an instrumental with a creepy atmosphere to it while the track “RIP” talks those who tried to stop him & this is probably the most evil-sounding beat on the whole entire album. The song “Against the Grain” recruits Hoodoo’s mentors the Insane Clown Posse to thank those who helped all 3 of their dreams come to fruition over a tranquil instrumental & then “Time of My Life” is an emotional finale as Hoodoo’s spitting some real life shit & the background singer throughout was a remarkable touch as well.
After a 4-year wait, this was very much well worth it because I think The Hoodini Chronicles: The Redbook is neck & neck with asylum for Big Hoodoo’s best work. His evolution throughout the past 7 years is quite evident as his lyricism has only gotten better with time & the production on here is just as raw. Great comeback effort.
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.
A little over 3 years after the release of his debut album Crystal Skull, Psychopathic Records signee Big Hoodoo is finally delivering his long-awaited sophomore effort. After a 2 minute intro, we finally get into the first song with the title track. Here, Hoodoo gets confrontational over a haunting instrumental. The next song “Runnin’ from My Magic” telling the listener to witness his illumination over some creepy keys & a super funky bass-line. Also, the Mystikal nod at the beginning of the first verse was really cool. The next 2 songs “I Bring Death” & “The Yard” get murderous over eerie beats, but I think the first one does a better job at it minus the nasal hook from Young Wicked. Then on “Out My Mind”, he talks about insanity over a semi-druggy instrumental. Also, the line about a hoe telling him his jizz was delicious at the beginning of the final verse was pretty hilarious to me. The track “Boom Boom Piggy” disses crooked cops over a menacing instrumental & the song “Go Get ‘Em” sees Tha Hav Knots angrily attacking at their enemies with an instrumental & hook that will get you in the mood to fight. The track “Calm Down” may have uplifting instrumental, but everything else about it is just alright outside of that. The next track “Monster Squad” with Anybody Killa, the Axe Murder Boyz, DJ Paul & the Insane Clown Posse is a gritty Psychopathic posse cut with a haunting instrumental while “Psycho Love” is a predictable Bonnie & Clyde-esque love song, it’s not that bad. The song “Shadows” talks about the end coming over an eerie instrumental & then the penultimate track “I’ve Seen Pain” vents about the world of sin over an sinister instrumental. The album then closes with “The Passage, where Hoodoo & Blac gets ambitious over some keys. However, Blac didn’t really captivate me & it didn’t need to be 9 minutes long. Honestly, this was an improvement over Big Hoodoo’s debut. It sounds a lot more darker & Hoodoo really improves himself as an MC