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Baby Steps' Review Cubby - Hip-Hop

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Your Bi-Weekly Hip Hop Review  With Special Guest: The Ketchup Samurai

The Beast can not confirm nor deny the existence of the Ketchup Samurai, but does allow him to speak his mind from beyond the tomato patch and into your psyche.  The Beast does, however, recognize the average Buffalonianís serious consideration when purchasing music, in a poor economy such as WNY's.  In that everlasting pursuit for the hip hop jewel, the Ketchup has decided to take it upon himself to lend his hip hop ear to the public.   You may say the Samurai is a little biased towards more traditional hip hop, but in reality he simply knows what he wants to hear when deciding what Indian foods he'll put ketchup on next.  The ratings given to these hip hop albums are the opinion of the Ketchup Samurai and him alone. 

Read these reviews carefully and I hope you come to see a clear view of what your ears are begging for. The Samurai has spoken.

Artist: Jaylib (Jay-Dee & Madlib)

Album: Champion Sound

What do you get when you combine the L.A.-jazzy-twang sounds of Madlib with the boom-bap of Detroit-native Jay Dee? That's easy. You get a masterpiece that the blessed few crate-hunters of our day will touch the needle down upon over and over again.  Champion Sound is just that. Do you know how hard it is to say no to those who come to me like "Yo Ketchup, can I be down?!  When you gonna let me peep the Jaylib?"

Ya see, I run the risk of some other cat burning my shit and since I didn't get it for free, they won't either. That is unless they download it. Shame on them. The album is 17 tracks plus 2 hidden tracks that are borderline amazing. Tracks like McNasty Filth, Champion Sound, The Red, and Strip Club, are sure to be worn out with play.  My favorite tracks on this jewel are Raw Shit f/ Talib Kweli, and React f/ Quasimoto.  Don't believe me?... then get it.  If you you claim to be a fan of hip hop music, and havenít purchased this Jay Dee/Madlib project, then you're about as sharp as a bowling ball.  And for all the hip hop dabblers and beginners out there, after listening to this album you're sure to say "Damn, I love hip hop!"  I give Champion Sound 4 out of 5 tomatoes.

Artist: Hieroglyphics

Album: Full Circle

When you think of West Coast hip hop, usually what comes to mind is Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Tupac, or hell even Suge Knight. While that may be, there are plenty of hip hop artists on the left coast that are dope. Letís talk  Hieroglyphics. Now there's a name only the true hip hop heads recognize and for good reason. Hieroglyphics is one of those "been around a minute and still dope" groups that don't exactly fit the mold of what today's hip hop groups or artists sound like. There is a God! Hieroglyphics latest project, Full Circle, should be in any hip hop lovers disk player.

With tracks named Fantasy Island, Heatish, Maggie May, and Jingle Jangle, itís difficult to go wrong.  This albumís 16 tracks of head-nodding jump off with the smooth sound that Hieroglyphics has been hitting us with since the days of 93 'Til Infinity. My favorite track on this sleeper album is Powers That Be, a smooth but hard hitting track that makes you go "ooh yeah, dats that ish."  Hey, anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't steer them wrong in a hip hop purchase. I mean that's like the Ying-Yang Twins trying to convince Simon from American Idol that the song Saltshaker is really a jingle for Olive Garden's new salty pasta bowl samba. As for me, I give Full Circle a nice 3.5 out of 5 tomatoes.

Artist: Ying Yang Twins

Title: Me and My Brother

Just when you think it couldn't get any worse on the hip hop scene along comes the Ying Yang Twins. It's sort of like being at a good movie and having some idiot behind you talking the whole time.  Your first response is a "shhh" then the ever so popular "Yo, shut the fuck up", but either way it's a bad thing.  The album Me and My Brother is just as stupid as the title.  Even a guest appearance by Bone Crusher and Killer Mike on the track What the Fuck! couldn't save this album.  It's bad enough Salt Shaker with Lil Jon and the East Side Boys poisons the airwaves every 20 minutes, but an entire album of that shit?!  Of course there are some people out there who like the Ying Yang Twins album, but why?  Two non-talented brothers who found a loop hole in the album release clause is not my idea of a hip hop group paying dues.  Popular in clubs where the cover charge is 2 bullets and a drunk white girl yells "that's my shit," I think I'll just stay home where I control the radio and can be sure that I wonít get Ying-Yanged.  There are 14 tracks to back up my claim that this album is horrible. Purchase if you must but you're better off waiting 'til it's in the dollar bin at the local record shop, and even then it's questionable. 1 Tomato.


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