Baby E & Ouija Macc – “We Never Forgot” review

This is the brand new collaborative mixtape from West Coast rappers Baby E & Ouija Macc. One is a Lil Wayne protege signed to the icon’s Republic Records imprint Young Money Entertainment & the other is an Insane Clown Posse protege signed to their independently-owned Psychopathic Records. I don’t think the duo have ever worked together in the past, so I was very curious to hear how they would play off one another on We Never Forgot.

The tape kicks off with “Bands Won’t Stop”, where Baby E & Ouija talk about how the money will always come in over a trap beat with some teary piano melodies. The next song “Like Yuh” talks about keeping the drama away from them over a woozy instrumental while the track “(I Don’t Like Life) Anymore” talks about suicide over a crazed beat from Devereaux. The song “Different Mindset” gets romantic over a more voluptuous, poppy instrumental while the track “For Good” interprets the title in a few clever ways on top of an orchestral beat.

The song “1 for Me” talks about women who don’t know what they want from them over an acoustic guitar backed by some snares while the track “Overnight” talks about how Rome wasn’t build in a day over a rubbery beat. The song “It Be Like That Sometimes” talks about life being a carnival over a cloudy trap instrumental while the penultimate track “Mitosis” talks about killing everything in site over a monstrous Devereaux beat. The tape finishes off with “Got Somebody”, where Baby E & Ouija talk about being there when their homies are down over an acoustic-tinged trap instrumental.

Out of all the collaborative projects Ouija has put out in the past few years, this is easily my favorite of the bunch. It’s understandably a lot more melodic in comparison to his previous material & I commend him for stepping out of his comfort zone on that, but he & Baby E also do a good job of playing off each other. If these guys plan on working together more down the road, then I’m all for it.

Score: 3.5/5

Lil Wayne – “Funeral” review

This is the long-awaited 13th full-length album from New Orleans veteran Lil Wayne. Who signed to Cash Money Records at the age of 9; becoming 1/2 of The B.G.’z, 1/4 of the Hot Boy$ & 1/6 of the Cash Money Millionaires. His first 3 solo albums Tha Block is HotLights Out & 500 Degreez were average at best but we then found him improving in the mid 2000’s with Tha CarterTha Carter IIDedicationDedication 2Da Drought 3 & my personal favorite Tha Carter III. He then started his own label Young Money Entertainment & followed his magnum opus up with a God awful “rock” album Rebirth along with the mediocre I Am Not a Human Being. He was able to bounce back in 2011 with Tha Carter IV, but things looked rough once again with the horrendous I Am Not a Human Being II in 2013 & then being entangled in legal issues with Cash Money from 2014-2018. Wayne eventually broke free from Birdman & was able to release Tha Carter V in 2018 to celebrate his 36th birthday. But to end the first month of 2020, Weezy is coming back with Funeral.

The title track that kicks the album off is a proper introduction as Wayne makes numerous references to death over some strings, but then it transitions into a grimy trap beat. The next song “Mahogany” gets braggadocious over a soulful trap beat from Mannie Fresh while the track “Mama Mia” continues to flex over an abrasive beat. The song “I Do It” with Big Sean & Lil Baby sees the 3 describing their work ethics over a bland instrumental while the track “Dreams” talks about his fear of losing it all over an atmospheric instrumental.

The song “Stop Playin’ with Me” speaks for itself over a weary instrumental while the track “Clap for ‘Em” is an ass-shaking anthem with a Jahlil Beats instrumental that sounds vaguely similar to T.I.’s “Ball”, on which he was featured on. The song “Bing James” with Jay Rock sees the 2 showing off over an eerie instrumental as well as a 24-second tribute to the late Kobe Bryant at the start while the track “Not Me” talks about his haters over a somewhat-cloudy StreetRunner beat. The song “Trust Nobody” has a great message about backstabbers & the guitar instrumental is pretty, but Adam Levine’s hook is just ok.

The track “Know You Know” sees ColleGrove getting together to talk about this hoe over a keyboard-inflicted trap beat while the song “Wild Dogs” talks about how much of a savage he is over a luxurious instrumental. The track “Harden” talks about how he isn’t the perfect lover over a grand instrumental while the song “I Don’t Sleep” with Takeoff sees the 2 talks about their grind & I really like the woodwinds in the production.

The track “Sights & Silencers” is an awkward love ballad with The-Dream & a buttery Mike WiLL Made-It instrumental while the song “Ball Hard” with Lil Twist sees the 2 talking about their hustle over an ominous trap beat. The track “Bastard (Satan’s Kid)” reflects about his childhood over a cavernous beat while the song “Get Outta My Head” with the late XXXTENTACION sees the 2 talking about fighting their inner demons & the instrumental has this horror-esque feel that fits in pretty great. Although Wayne’s lyricism gets more annoyingly repetitive on “Piano Trap”, I do like how it lives up to the title as he’s delivering these bars over a trap beat that later switches into a piano instrumental.

The song “Line ‘Em Up” gets confrontational over a Murda Beatz instrumental with an organ & a sample that gets so played out once the joint ends whereas the track “Darkside” talks about going to war over a grim instrumental. The song “Never Mind” compares himself to that of a pimp over a mellow acoustic instrumental & while the penultimate track “T.O. (Terrell Owens)” talks about selling coke over this lifeless trap beat, the O.T. Genesis feature is the most awkward part about it easily. Then the album ends with “Wayne’s World”, where Weezy talks about partying hard over a rubbery instrumental.

I thought Lil Wayne redeemed himself with Dedication 6 & Tha Carter V, but this was SUPER disappointing. He still has his passionate & witty moments on here, but it’s overloaded with filler & the production choices are pretty weak as well. If this is the way he’s going out, then I’d say it’s a mediocre one.

Score: 2/5

Lil Wayne – “Tha Carter V” review

Lil Wayne is a LEGENDARY rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana who was signed to Cash Money Records at the very age of 9. He then got started as 1/2 of The B.G.’z, 1/4 of the Hot Boy$ & 1/6 of the Cash Money Millionaires. His first 3 solo albums Tha Block is Hot, Lights Out & 500 Degreez were average at best but we then found him improving in the mid 2000’s with Tha Carter, Tha Cater II, Dedication, Dedication 2, Da Drought 3 & my personal favorite Tha Carter III. He then started his own label Young Money Entertainment & followed his magnum opus up with a God awful “rock” album Rebirth along with the mediocre I Am Not a Human Being. He was able to bounce back in 2011 with Tha Carter IV, but things looked rough once again with the horrendous I Am Not a Human Being II in 2013 & the legal issues that’s been tangled in with Cash Money for the past 4 years. But now that he’s free from Birdman, he’s finally delivering his long-awaited 12th full-length album to celebrate being the sole owner of Young Money.

After the 2 minute spoken word intro, we go into the first song “Don’t Cry”. Here, Weezy talks about the afterlife over an atmospheric beat & the posthumous XXXTENTACION vocals on the hook don’t sound that bad at all. The track “Dedicate” is about his influence on today’s hip hop landscape over a trap beat with some plinky keys & the sampling of the 2 Chainz song with the same name as the hook was pretty cool. The song “Uproar” is filled with clever battle bars & while I kinda feel like Swizz Beatz’ heavily sampling of the classic G. Dep song “Special Delivery” was too much, it does do it’s job. The track “Let It Fly” with Travis Scott is a modern day club banger with a moody beat with both parties complimenting each other very well while the song “Can’t Be Broken” is a middle finger to his haters over a piano & a BEAUTIFUL vocal sample.

The track “Dark Side of the Moon” is a romance anthem over a moody beat that works pretty well & I actually find Nicki Minaj’s singing throughout the 2nd half to be pretty empowering. The song “Mona Lisa” is about unfaithful women over an atmospheric beat & the Kendrick Lamar verse really makes it hard to decide who outrapped who. Especially with lines like “They started French kissing so he didn’t see moi” as well as that one about waking up to The Great Gatsby & then dogging it like Lassie. The track “What About Me” is a dedication to his ride or die chick over a decent moody trap beat & even the Sosamann verse doesn’t really do much for me personally. The perfectly-titled “Open Letter” is Wayne venting to the listener over a spacey beat with punchy drums while the song “Famous” is a piano ballad reflecting on the Lil Wayne’s feelings of fame & the hook from his daughter Reginae Carter worked out much better than I had anticipated.

The song “Problems” talks about the issues he’s having with this woman over a bass-heavy Zaytoven instrumental while the song “Dope Niggaz” talks about growing up in the streets over a banger beat that constantly from that I to a killer sample of the classic Dr. Dre track “Xxplosive”. The Snoop Dogg hook is charismatic too, but I really wish he had verse. The track “Hittas” talks about having shooters over a chilling vocal sample & the song “Took His Time” picks up where the previous joint left off albeit in a more introspective fashion over a trap beat with some piano chords & harmonious background vocals.

The track “Open Safe” sees Weezy flexing & it’s not bad, but the DJ Mustard instrumental sounds like any other instrumental that you’d hear from the guy. The song “Start This Shit Off Right” sounds like a vintage Early 2000’s club banger down to the Mannie Fresh instrumental & the Ashanti hook while the track “Demon” vents about all the demons in his life over a soulful trap beat from Cool & Dre. The track “Mess” is pretty much A Day in the Life of Lil Wayne over an spacey acoustic trap instrumental that’s very pretty while the song “Dope New Gospel” sees talking to himself in a mirror over a celebratory trap beat & the hook from Wayne’s ex-fiancé Nivea is beautiful.

The track “Perfect Strangers” is about switching women over an a trap beat from Mannie Fresh with somber piano chords while the song “Used 2” talks about his evolution over a spacey beat from non other than Metro Boomin’. The album ends beautifully with “Let It All Work Out”, which has a prominent Sampha sample throughout. Also, the final verse where Wayne recalls a suicide attempt at age 12 is damn-near heart-wrenching.

It’s been a long time coming but at the end, this was a strong return to form for Lil Wayne. I was a bit worried given that we’ve had many disappointing 20+ track albums this year, but the production is his best in years & Wayne himself has A LOT to say throughout it’s 87 minute runtime. It’s very remarkable & refreshing to hear him at his strongest in years after he went through so much. Welcome back, Weezy!

Score: 4/5

Nicki Minaj – “Queen” review

In the light of Cardi B’s increasing popularity within the past year, New York rapper/singer & Young Money Entertainment’s First Lady Nicki Minaj is making a comeback with her 4th full-length album & her first since The Pinkprint at the tail end of 2014.

The album begins with “Ganja Burns”, where Nicki challenges her competition over an Afro-influenced beat that’s actually pretty cool. The track “Majesty” with Eminem sees the 2 getting playful over a prominently plinky piano & the song “Barbie Dreams” is Nicki’s rendition of the classic Biggie song “Just Saying (Dreams)”, but it doesn’t go over at all. The track “Rich Sex” is pretty much a mediocre sequel to a Future song on his 2015 magnum opus DS2 that actually shares the same name, except that Nicki brought in a pretty solid Lil Wayne verse to give the audience both gender’s takes of the titular topic. The song “Hard White” talks about how she worked hard to get half back over an eerie Boi-1da & !llmind instrumental while the track “Bed” gets seductive over a moody beat & the Ariana Grande hook is pretty as well.

The song “Thought I Knew You” is more of a Weeknd joint since Abel takes up a good chunk of it while the track “Run & Hide” sees Nicki singing about trust over an moody instrumental. The song “Chun Swae” with Swae Lee sees the 2 getting braggadocious over a bass-heavy Metro Boomin’ instrumental while The track “Chun-Li” is arguably her best single in a long time. It sees her going back to her hardcore hip hop roots from the gritty beat to her confrontational bars. The song “LLC” is a supposed diss towards Cardi B over a bouncy trap instrumental while the track “Good Form” is about how bad she is over a Mike WiLL-Made It instrumental with a pretty cool Too $hort sample.

The song “Nip Tuck” talks about giving this person everything over a spacey beat & the “2 Lit 2 Late” interlude is prettily produced, but the auto-tune does nothing & I wish it was a full song. The track “Come See About Me” addresses his ex-boyfriend Meek Mill over a piano-heavy instrumental while the song “Sir” with Future is another braggadocious tune with a gritty instrumental from Metro Boomin’ & Zaytoven. The track “Miami” talks about her prowess over a bouncy Murda Beatz instrumental while the final song “Coco Chanel” is a mediocre attempt at reviving the watered down dancehall that Drake provided on VIEWS & More Life. However, I do enjoy the Foxy Brown verse quite a bit. The “Inspirations Outro” is just Nicki shouting out her Caribbean influences for a minute & while it is interesting, it’s not the strongest of notes to end on.

Overall, this was a pretty average album. I truly believe some of Nicki’s best songs are on here & it does sound like she took quite a bit of time working on this, but it’s chocked with a lot of filler.

Score: 2.5/5

Drake – “Scorpion” review

In the midst of his beef with Pusha T late last month, Canadian superstar Drake is giving fans his long-awaited 5th full-length album. Interestingly too, it consists of 2 discs & 25 tracks in total: first disc is all hip hop songs & the other is all R&B songs.

The opener “Survival” is a reflection of his career over a killer Lil B sample from No I.D. & 40 while the next song “Nonstop” talks about his grind over some prominent bass. The track “Elevate” talks about becoming famous & making life better for him & his loved ones over some atmospheric background vocals while the song “Emotionless” is a response to Pusha T’s nasty “Story of Adidon” diss track from last month. He’s not dissing him, but he does confirm that he has a son named Adonis over this trap beat with a beautiful soul sample. However the one line where he says “I wasn’t hidin’ my kid from the world, I was hidin’ the world from my kid” made me chuckle a little bit. I mean it’s no question that the media would’ve been all over the baby if his birth was announced prior, but I kinda laughed because of the fact that the mother Sophie Brussaux went on Twitter last fall & dissed him. The track “God’s Plan” is just as fun as it was on his Scary Hours EP from earlier this year while “I’m Upset” boringly talks about alimony over a gloomy trap beat.

The track “8/10” talks about where he’s at now over an uplifting boom bap beat from Boi-1da while the song “Mob Ties” talks about cutting people off over a bouncy beat. The track “Can’t Take a Joke” is about hanging out with the titular people in Hidden Hills & Italy over a murky beat. The song “Sandra’s Rose” talks about how his life has changed since being in the music industry over a beautiful DJ Premier beat & the track “Take Up” sees him talking about childhood over a grimy DJ Paul beat with JAY-Z’s verse kinda reminds me of his mafioso days. I also love how he ends the song by saying “I got your president tweetin’, I won’t even meet with him. Y’all killed XXXTENTACION & let George Zimmerman live, streets is done”. The first disc then finishes off with fittingly with “Is There More?”, where Drake is asking questions about life over a moody beat.

The next disc starts off with “Peak”, where he sings to an unnamed love interest over a settle beat. The next track “Summer Games” talks about a breakup over a spacey instrumental that to me sounds like it would pop up on any KiD CuDi album while the song “Jaded” is a dedication to Jorja Smith over an atmospheric beat. The track “Nice for What” is an empowering women’s anthem over a Murda Beatz instrumental with a beautiful sample of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor”, but it feels like it should’ve been on the previous disc. The song “Finesse” is a message to his current significant other over another settle instrumental, but then “Ratchet Happy Birthday” might be the worst Drizzy track I’ve ever heard. I get that he wants this girl to have a good time on her birthday, but it’s just really corny. The instrumental is buttery as Hell, too.

The song “That’s How You Feel” talks about spending time with an unknown girl over another moody beat while the track “Blue Tint” is a response to all his haters but just like “Nice for What”, it sounds like it was made for the first disc. The song “In My Feelings” asks the City Girls if they love him, but it seems desperate & sappy. The track “Don’t Matter to Me” talks about his ex doing drugs & alcohol as a result of breaking up with him, but it actually works well thanks to the unreleased Michael Jackson vocals that’re evenly balanced.

The song “After Dark” with Ty$ sees the 2 talking about hooking up with women in the late night hours over a laidback instrumental from none other than Static Major & while the penultimate track “Final Fantasy” is probably the freakiest I’ve ever heard Aubrey get, but it’s the 3rd track on this R&B side feels like it should’ve been on the first disc. The album then finishes with “March 14”, which is a 4th misplaced rap song on the entire album. However it’s not bad, because I like how he goes more in-depth about Adonis over this moody boom bap beat

While this is definitely better than VIEWS & More Life, it’s still a mixed bag. He sounds a lot more passionate on here than he did on the last 2 projects I mentioned & I can definitely appreciate the A Side/B Side concept, but there are 4 tracks on the 2nd disc that really should’ve been on the first one & A LOT of filler. If you evenly took the best tracks from both discs & put them onto just 1, then it would’ve been pretty great.

Score: 2.5/5