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---------------------Record Reviews


Talib Kweli

The Beautiful Mix

Talib Kweli hits us with a an album that is close to the titles name. “The Beautiful Mix” is a pretty good combination of good tracks and questionable choices to do a song with. The album is 13 tracks long and includes a Rick James intro that has half of America already yelling “I’m Rick James Bitch” when talking about the Chappelle DVD. Tracks like “Move Back”, “Wack Niggas” (featuring Common, Kanye West, & Consequence), “Phoenix” (featuring Jean Grae), and “B.D.K.” (featuring Game & Black Thought), were a nice touch to this project. My only gripe is that Talib Kweli actually did a song with Fabolous called “Get Em.” I never expected someone like Talib to do a song with such a wack ass rapper like Fabolous. Just let the man fade away. To somewhat quote Simon of American Idol, “Talib and Fabolous go together like chocolate ice-cream and an onion.” Other guest appearances include Busta Rhymes, Styles P, Res, Strong Arm Steady Gang, Shawn Penn, and LaToiya Williams. I’m not really sure what to make of this album. It is on a slight mix tape steez and the beats are decent to good. But it’s safe to say Talib lost points even knowing Fabolous. Sorry but some things you just can’t let go. Not a bad album overall so it gets 3 tomatoes.


Pete Rock

Soul Survivor II

A super producer who has declared war on commercial rap, Pete Rock comes back with authority on the highly anticipated sequel to “Soul Survivor.” It is a breath of fresh air to listen to an album like this one, which will be receiving lots of airplay in whatever your sound component of choice is. Now I’ll be the first to admit that “Soul Survivor 1” was a decent album which needed more than nice beats to make it a complete jewel. But “Soul Survivor II” is an incredible upgrade to the first volume of the series. You wanna talk about dope beats and lyrics to match?… this is for you. Pete Rock shows mad love to the hip hop heads on this one and the guest appearances are a great touch. Pete Rock features Pharoahe Monch, CL Smooth, Little Brother, RZA, GZA, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Jay Dee, Slum Village, and more. Talk about an all-star line up. I don’t think even the NY Yankees have a better team then the super emcees on this roster. It’s hard to choose the best track on this album, but one of my favorites is “Just Do It” (featuring Pharoahe Monch), and “Fly Till I Die” (featuring Talib Kweli & CL Smooth). But don’t think I’ve looked past “Warzone,” which Dead Prez killed on all fronts. Every emcee on this project rocked with Pete Rock beats that are the true essence of what this brilliant beat-maker is recognized for. I’m sure some may disagree when I say Pete Rock is a better producer than Premier, but then again, some people like the fact that Premo uses the same drum tracks and just adds a bell here and there. No doubt local rappers will be bugging dee-jays at every local emcee showcase and battle for instrumentals off this album to rock to. Yo Sick & Lo Pro, you better get ready for an onslaught of requests not only to hear these joints, but from emcees who wanna rock over these buttery instrumentals. I can’t think of a better album that gives you a better excuse to shut off the radio where stations claim their music is “where hip hop lives”, but the housing is owned by slum lords. For me, this album is a must have and earns 4 tomatoes. Thank you Pete Rock.


Keep Right

When you say dope emcee, you would know that it best describes the music of the precise lyricist who goes by the name of KRS-One. On KRS’s 13th album entitled “Keep Right,” he continues acting in the role of the spiritual teacher/preacher for the hip hop nation. Who knows if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but almost every song on this album is raw and to the point (so I guess it’s good, right?). The album starts off with KRS mentioning the clubs that he rocks throughout the nation over a funky beat for the intro “Club ShoutOuts.” If he didn’t charge so damn much for shows, Baby Steps would’ve been given props on this joint as well. After that KRS asks all his followers “Are You Ready For This?” At this point I was ready, and the track “IllegalBusiness” drops with much force. “The Prayer of Afrika Bambaata” is definitely a nice addition to the playlist, which gives a perspective on hip hop’s origins, which many youngsters today have not been exposed to. After that KRS-One asks if “You Gon Go?” In this track he directs the listener to the right path by putting them up on the knowledge they need to go far with him. And I don’t mean on some bondage sex fantasy. I saved that thought for Eliza Dushku form the show “Tru Calling.” Speaking of which, there’s a track entitled “Fucked,” which I liked ever since hearing the single, then as the album proceeds, the track “A Call To Order” continues to ask questions and lay the foundation for the hip hop nation. Then over a hype beat, KRS-One and L the HeadToucher rock it on “Everybody Rise.” There’s an interesting track called “Stop Skeemin,” in which KRS talks about a friend of his wanting to kill his girlfriend. Hey, who hasn’t been there, and why don’t we throw in the ever so intrusive girlfriend of the girlfriend while we’re at it. I haven’t had those thoughts... lately. Other tracks include “And Then Again,” “My Mind Is Racing,” “Here We Go,” “Me Man,” “I Been There,” “Freestyle Ministry (Server Verbals),” and “Let ‘Em Have It” to name a few. I must say that KRS-One’s 13 album is a pretty nice album, and not a bad pick up for us KRS-One fans. Shit, even my man Meech will be happy, and he’s a tougher critic than Simon of American Idol. Then again he did text in half a million votes for the recently rejected John Stevens from Buffalo. 3 tomatoes.

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