Baka Not Nice – “no long talk.” review


Baka Not Nice is a 40 year old rapper from Montreal, Quebec who started out as a security team member of  Toronto superstar Drake. He eventually signed to Aubrey’s Warner Bros. Records imprint OVO Sound in 2013 & now just a few months after releasing his debut EP 4Milli this past fall, he’s returning with a follow-up EP that’s only 3 tracks.

The opener “My Town” gets confrontational over a nocturnal beat provided by 40 that fits in solidly & then there’s the song “30”, where Baka monotonously brags & the instrumental on here is super skeletal. The closer “Caddy’s” kinda bounces back as it’s a strip club anthem that actually goes over better than I had expected & the Juicy J verse is just flawless.

This is definitely better than 4Milli, but not by much. It goes a bit harder, but I think Baka & company could’ve worked in 2 or 3 more cuts so that it would become a more fleshed out product. Regardless, this has me a bit more curious to hear something bigger that he may have coming down the pipe soon.

Score: 3/5

Mac Miller – “Swimming” review

In the 2 years since his disappointingly average Divine Feminine, Pittsburgh MC/producer Mac Miller has been laying low since then. However, he’s finally back with his 5th full-length album.

The opener “Come Back to Earth” vents about his mental struggles over a luscious synthesizer & the next song “Hurt Feelings” vents about how things in his life are different over a mellow yet bass-heavy instrumental. The track “What’s the Use?” vents about his addiction over a beautiful synth-funk instrumental while the song “Perfecto” talks about depression over a laidback instrumental. The track “Self Care” addresses his breakup with Ariana Grande over a cloudy instrumental while the song “Wings” gets introspective over a settle instrumental. The track “Ladders” is about how he & this unnamed woman are all they have & the synth-funk instrumental on here is absolutely flawless.

The song “Small Worlds” talks about his imperfections over a slow-twangy guitar & the 4-start count at the beginning made me think this was a Neptunes beat at first. The track “Conversation” is an open message to Ariana over a druggy Cardo beat while the song “Dunno” reflects on the good times in his previous relationship over some finger snapping & some Neptunes-like synthesizers while the song “Jet Fuel” is about staying high & existing forever over some groovy guitar work. The penultimate track “2009” is about finding peace over an Eric G instrumental with snapping fingers & keyboards while the closer “So It Goes” ends things perfectly as he gets motivational over some prominent drums & faint synths.

I was hoping for Mac to make a triumphant comeback & at the end of the day, that’s exactly what I got. Sure the execution on a few tracks could’ve been better, but the production is absolutely beautiful & the personal themes are very compelling.

Score: 3.5/5

Gorillaz – “The Now Now” review


Just a little over a year after their painfully bloated comeback Humanz, legendary British virtual band Gorillaz is now giving us their 5th full-length album.

Things start off with “Humility”, where Damon Albarn sings about isolation over an smooth tropical instrumental. The next track “Tranz” is pretty much Damon talking to his lover an electronic instrumental while the song “Hollywood” by Jamie Principle & Snoop Dogg sees the 2 talking about the famous life over an electro-funk instrumental. The track “Kansas” vents about finding another dream over a funky beat with some rubbery bass while the song “Sorcererz” advises everyone to hold onto their inner-visions over a synth-heavy instrumental.

The track “Idaho” recalls a time where he stayed at Bruce Willis’ ski lodge over an atmospheric instrumental that gets more layered as it progresses while the song “Lake Zurich” is mostly a fun synth-funk instrumental. The track “Magic City” refers to being higher over a synthpop instrumental while the song “Fireflies” talks to an ex over a gloomy instrumental that suits the vibe fantastically. The last 2 tracks “1%” & “Souk Eyes” get romantic, but the latter is actually fully written.

I never expected this coming around the corner given the gap between the last album & the album prior The Fall, but it is a solid album. Of course it’s well produced, but I also really love the fact that the lyrics are written in Damon’s perspective as opposed to 2D’s. Also, there’s A LOT less filler on here than there was on Humanz.

Score: 3.5/5

Mike Shinoda – “Post Traumatic” review


Mike Shinoda is a rapper from Agoura Hills, California best known for his work with LINKIN PARK. He put out a solo album called The Rising Tied under the name Fort Minor back in Late 2005, but the first project of his to be officially credited to his birth name comes in the form of a 3-track EP. The EP starts off with “Place to Start”, where he vents about being tired of fear & hopelessness over a settle instrumental. The next song “Over Again” sees Mike on the verge of tears paying tribute to his longtime LINKIN PARK co-vocalist Chester Bennington, who committed suicide in Late July of last year, over an electronic-esque instrumental. The closer “Watching As I Fall” talks about how distraught he is of Chester’s suicide over a dubstep-ish instrumental with some guitars thrown in. Going into this, I got EXACTLY what I was expecting. The production’s a lot darker than LINKIN PARK’s latest album 1 More Light (which I still consider to be the band’s worst album by the way) & it fits perfectly with Mike’s passionate delivered eulogy to Chester

Score: 4/5

Waka Flocka Flame – “Triple F Life: Fans, Friends & Family” review

Just a year & a half after the release of his breakout debut Flockaveli & earning his own imprint Brick Squad Monopoly just the year before, Atlantan trap rapper/Gucci Mane protégé Waka Flocka Flame is now delivering his sophomore full-length album. The album opens up with Waka talking about his friends & his haters over some beautiful keyboards & heavy bass from 808 Mafia co-founder Southside, who produces 9 of the album’s 19 tracks. The next song “Let Dem Guns Blam” with Meek Mill sees the 2 talking about fucking haters up over an eerie instrumental & while the track “Round of Applause” with Drake is the only one on the entire album to be produced by fellow 808 Mafia co-founder Lex Luger (who produced over half of the last album), it’s still a very fun stripper anthem. The song “I Don’t Really Care” with Trey Songz sees the 2 boasting about their wealth over a chaotic instrumental & the track “Rooster in My Rari” talks about groupies over an infectious DJ Spinz instrumental. The song “Get Low” with Nicki Minaj & Tyga is another stripper anthem with a decent EDM-influenced beat & the Flo Rida hook is just meh to me. The track “Fist Pump” with B.o.B is a drinking anthem & just like the previous track, we’re getting another decent EDM-influenced instrumental & this time from Southside, surprisingly. The song “Candy Paint & Gold Teeth” with Bun B & Ludacris sees the 3 talking about life in the south over a triumphant instrumental from Honorable C.N.O.T.E. while the track “Cash” with Wooh da Kid is basically the 2 brothers talking about selling drugs over a chaotic beat from Southside. The song “Lurkin’” is another angry anti-hater anthem with fitting beat from both Southside & TM88, but I wasn’t all that crazy for the Plies verse to be quite honest. The track “Clap” is another boastful wealth anthem while U Ain’t ‘Bout Dat Life with Slim Thug & Alley Boy Take shots at the studio gangsters over murky Southside beats. The motivational “Power of My Pen” is a nice change of pace for the album, kinda like how “For My Dawgs” was on Flockaveli. The song “Flex” with Travis Porter, the late Slim Dunkin’ & D-Bo gets self-explanatory over some rattling hi-hats while the outro then pays tribute to Slim over a somewhat mellow instrumental. While I wasn’t expecting this to be any better than the debut, this wasn’t a bad album at all. The production is on point for the most part as is Waka Flocka Flame’s energy, but we’re still getting an excessive amount of features despite them being better than last time

Score: 3/5

Waka Flocka Flame – “Flockaveli” review

Waka Flocka Flame is an Atlantan trap rapper/Gucci Mane protégé & he is delivering out his full-length debut with the help of 808 Mafia co-founder Lex Luger, who produced 11 of the album’s 19 tracks. The opener “Bustin’ at ‘Em” sees Waka getting murderous over a chaotic trap rock instrumental from Lex & fellow 808 Mafia co-founder Southside. The next song “Hard in da Paint” has a braggadocious tone to it lyrically & Lex’s production is so sinister, yet super hard hitting. The track “No Hands” with Roscoe Dash & Wale is an infectious strip club anthem with a somewhat triumphant sounding instrumental from Drumma Boy & the song “Bricksquad” with Gudda Gudda sees the 2 paying homage to their respective labels: 1017 Brick Squad Records & Young Money Entertainment over a sinister instrumental from Lex Luger. The Southside produced “Fuck the Club Up” with Pastor Troy & Slim Dunkin’ alongside the Lex Luger produced “Grove St. Party with Kebo Gotti are both very fun club anthems, but I’d say the latter sets the mood a lot more by being more abrasive. The song “For My Dawgs” is a nice change of pace as it’s a self-explanatory ode to all of those close to Waka over a settle instrumental from Yayo. The standard edition closer “Fuck This Industry” was a great way to finish the album off, as it disses the music industry over a haunting instrumental from Lex Luger. The first of 2 bonus tracks “Rumors” addresses all of Waka’s haters over a decent rap rock beat from Joey French while the other one “Gun Sounds” talks about fucking up the streets over an ominous instrumental from Southside. While some may absolutely hate this album understandably, I really enjoyed this. Sure Waka isn’t a lyricist & there are more features than I’d like there to be, but his energy is off the wall insane & the production is super hard hitting

Score: 3.5/5

Lil Pump – Self-titled review

Lil Pump is a 17 year old rapper from Miami, Florida & this is his full-length debut. The opener “What U Sayin?’” sees & Smokepurrp are rapping about “flexin’ everyday” over a piano-trap beat, but it’s just really dumb. The next track “Gucci Gang” is basically about him now flying a private jet while you’re still living on rent over a dreary trap instrumental & the hook is even more tedious. The song “Smoke My Dope with Smokepurrp has an abrasive beat & while it wasn’t bad to hear the 2 rappers changing bars back & forth, the content about getting high while simultaneously getting head doesn’t do it much justice at all. The track “Crazy” is about going wild at the club & the instrumental definitely gives off that vibe, but Lil Pump’s delivery is absolutely obnoxious from start to finish.

The song “Back” redundantly gets braggadocious about wealth but to be quite honest, the delivery of Lil Yachty’s guest verse was actually ok. Can’t say the same for his lyrics, though. The track “D Rose” is pretty much about having expensive watches on his wrist over a lumbering bass heavy trap beat, but it sounds underwritten. The song “At the Door” raps about serving you drugs & doing gangsta shit like having sex with a woman & shootin’ her dad afterwards over an Atari-ish trap instrumental. However just like the last track, it sounds underwritten. The track “Youngest Flexer” speaks for itself, but the only highlights of it is the explosive instrumental & the Gucci Mane verse. The song “Foreign” has a bass-heavy instrumental that isn’t to bad, but the content about having both cars & girls from other countries sounds so derivative. The track “Whitney” is about (you guessed it) cocaine & while the Chief Keef verse was surprisingly ok to me, Lil Pump’s pretty much repeating himself throughout the whole thing.

The song “Molly” is about (you guessed it again) ecstasy over a bland instrumental & while the beat on the track after that “Iced Out” gets kinda annoying after a while, the 2 Chainz verse was ok. The song “Boss” generically talks about being just that, but the beat here is actually pretty hard. The penultimate track “Flex Like Oou” is basically Pump repeating himself once again with lyrics about moving bricks & going all out in the club, but it seems unfinished. The nightmare finally ends with “Pinky Ring”, where Pump & Smokepurrp get with Rick Ross to talk some boss shit over a chaotic instrumental, but Ross is really the only one out of the 3 who sounds alive.

I know Lil Pump is just a 17 year old kid, but I’m not gonna lie when I say that this was VERY hard to sit through. The features were decent as were some of the beats, but it’s really Lil Pump who makes this album fall flat on it’s face. The song structures are just copied & pasted to the point of annoyance, the lyrics are derivative & his delivery/flow doesn’t get me excited whatsoever. And before any “real hip hop” head calls me a hypocrite because I didn’t like this yet I find Travi$ Scott’s debut Rodeo to be a modern classic along with me reviewing both Gucci‘s latest mixtape Droptopwop & 2 Chainz’ latest album Pretty Girls 👍 TRΛP MUSIC very positively over the summer, at least those projects have charisma & some versatility that made them very listenable. This is just straight up mindless

Score: 0.5/5

LINKIN PARK – “1 More Light” review

Given that LINKIN PARK’s last album The Hunting Party was a return to form for them, at first I was pretty excited going into their 7th full-length album over here. However with each & every single that was released for it, I started to worry about it. Despite this, I still gave it a shot with an open mind. The opening track “Nobody Can Save Me” sees Chester Bennington singing about fighting your inner demons, but the dubstep instrumental sounds absolutely God awful. The next track “Good Goodbye” is the only song on the entire album to feature a rap verse from Mike Shinoda & while his verse along with the guest verses from Pusha T & Stormzy about a failed relationship are just ok, the instrumental on here is pretty generic. The song “Talking to Myself” is told from the perspective of Chester’s wife Talinda, but the only good thing about the production is the guitars during the beginning & the hook. The song “Battle Symphony” talks about picking yourself up when you’re down, but it just comes off as really sappy. The song “Invisible” is the one of the only 2 songs on the entire album where Mike is on lead vocals & while he may be sending a heartfelt message to his children, the production just ruins it. The Chester/Kiiara duet “Heavy” addresses holding onto one’s sanity & the instrumental enhances it’s status as THE worst song on the album. Especially how it starts off with a quiet tone, but then we get a crescendo during the hook to make it sound dramatic. The song “Sorry for Now” sees Mike apologizing to his kids for being gone over a wavy instrumental, but I would much rather listen to “Where’d You Go?” from his Fort Minor side-project. The song “Halfway Right” talks about Chester’s drug addiction & the cliché snares throughout most of the track made me genuinely angry. The penultimate track is the title track, where Chester is singing about death over a settle instrumental that lacks any form of progression. Then we have the final song “Sharp Edges”, where Chester is reminiscing about his youth over an acoustic guitar & it’s actually ok. I can honestly say that this is EASILY the worst album that LINKIN PARK has ever done & it’s not simply because of the fact that they ditched their metal/rock sound to go pop on here: it’s because the production is sickeningly sweet & it makes almost every track sound corny. I have no problem with artists experimenting with sounds & the band did come through with a couple ok songs, but they just failed miserably at this outside of that. I’m sorry but as much as I really respect these guys, I don’t see myself coming back to this garbage ever again

Score: 0.5/5