KMD-Mr. Hood (1991)

My Rating: 64% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 64% (C)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Mr. Hood at Piocalles Jewelry/Crackpot
  2. Who Me? (with An Answer From Dr. Bert)
  3. Boogie Man!
  4. Mr. Hood Meets Onyx
  5. Subroc’s Mission
  6. Humrush
  7. Figure of Speech
  8. Bananapeel Blues
  9. Nitty Gritty (Featuring Brand Nubian)
  10. Trial ‘N Error
  11. Hard Wit No Hoe
  12. Mr. Hood Gets a Haircut
  13. 808 Man
  14. Boy Who Cried Wolf
  15. Peachfuzz
  16. Preacher Porkchop
  17. Soulflexin’
  18. Gasface Refill

Label:

Elektra

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for an interesting undiscovered hip hop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

There’s a lot going on, but I kinda like it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Have you ever heard of Zev Love X? Yeah me neither, until I started looking into KMD a three man hip hop group. Mr. Hood is an origin story album, this is one of the albums before MF Doom was MF Doom, yes Zev Love X is Doom, this is when he was young and optimistic, then life hit and we were introduced to the Villain. KMD’s Mr. Hood sounds really familiar, because it’s pretty much like every other hip hop album of the time. There wasn’t a whole lot that was innovative about this record, just kind of a stick to the formula type album. KMD is pretty much a group for super Doom fans like myself, I love seeing Doom before he became the notorious emcee that he is, Mr. Hood shows a weird insight to the masked rapper.

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Grieves-Together/Apart (2011)

My Rating: 94% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 52%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Light Speed
  2. Bloody Poetry
  3. Falling From You
  4. On The Rocks
  5. Sunny Side of Hell
  6. Tragic
  7. Boogie Man
  8. Pressure Cracks
  9. No Matter What
  10. Vice Grip
  11. Heartbreak Hotel
  12. Speak Easy
  13. Prize Fighter
  14. Wild Thing
  15. Growing Pains
  16. Against the Bottom

Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You:

Just went through a bad breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love love love this album cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly yes.

Final Thoughts:

Grieves’ Together/Apart was the first album he released with Rhymesayers and it’s near perfect. Fans of Slug from Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Blueprint should feel at home with this painfully vulnerable album. Grieves holds nothing back, ex-girlfriends, addictions, mental illness among other topics are on full display here. We’ve gotten to a place where mainstream rap (Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Drake etc.) can all talk mental illness, addiction, and insecurity on their albums and not lose credibility, Grieves is an excellent example of how far hip hop has progressed, and how much further we’re actually open to take it.

Del Tha Funkyhomosapien!-I Wish My Brother George Was Here (1991)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 93% (A+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. What Is A Booty?
  2. Mistadobalina
  3. The Wacky World of Rapid Transit
  4. Pissin’ On Your Steps
  5. Dark Skin Girls
  6. Money For Sex
  7. Ahonetwo, Ahonetwo
  8. Prelude
  9. Dr. Bombay
  10. Sunny Meadowz
  11. Sleepin’ On My Couch
  12. Hoodz Come In Dozens
  13. Same Ol’ Thing
  14. Ya Lil’ Crumbsnatchers

Label:

Elektra

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sick of gangster rap and want to have some fun hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s iconic.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly, yes!

Final Thoughts:

If you asked me to create a list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time I would include I Wish My Brother George Was Here. Without Del, we wouldn’t have guys like Tyler, The Creator or Watsky, they are so clearly influenced by his geeky/honest style. Del is Ice Cube’s cousin and he’s really marketing that on this album, smartly because this album may have fallen into obscurity without Ice Cube pushing it. Like Ice or not, he has done the underground a true favor by getting behind this album. This is Del’s Illmatic, I don’t think it gets much better than this.

Aesop Rock-Skelethon (2012)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 82%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Leisureforce
  2. ZZZ Top
  3. Cycles to Gehenna
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Fryerstarter
  6. Ruby ’81
  7. Crows 1
  8. Crows 2
  9. Racing Stripes
  10. 1,000 O’Clock
  11. Homemade Mummy
  12. Grace
  13. Saturn Missiles
  14. Tetra
  15. Gopher Guts
  16. Dokken Rules (feat. Rob Sonic)
  17. BMX (feat. Blueprint & Rob Sonic)

Favourite Song on Album:

Record Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Having an existential crises.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s rad, most of Aesop’s covers are awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Already do, I spin it all the time.

Final Thoughts:

2012’s Skelethon caught me off guard, more than even The Impossible Kid which I think is the better of the two and should be considered a masterpiece (I hope it will get that title over time). What Skelethon did for me is gave me the ability to understand Aesop, I mean as much as one can understand Aesop. This was the album that turned me from casual listener to geeky fan, honestly anyone who knows me knows I love this guys work. Skelethon showcases Aesop’s diversity all while mixing in a couple songs with Kimya Dawson (giving them the idea to form The Uncluded). The best part of Skelethon is how accessibly it is, maybe not as much as The Impossible Kid, but still very easy for casual listeners to get into. Skelethon was the calm before the storm, an amazing album that led to his best, it’s the album that I thought he couldn’t surpass, but then did 4 years later.

Wu-Tang Clan-The Saga Continues (2017)

My Rating: 44% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: 45%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 52% (D)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Wu-Tang The Saga Continues Intro (feat. RZA)
  2. Lesson Learn’d (feat. Inspectah Deck and Redman)
  3. Fast and Furious (feat. Hue Hef and Raekwon)
  4. Famous Fighters (Skit)
  5. If Time Is Money (Fly Navigation) [feat. Method Man]
  6. Frozen (feat. Method Man, Killa Priest and Chris Rivers)
  7. Berto and the Fiend (Skit) [feat. Ghostface Killa]
  8. Pearl Harbor (feat. Ghostface Killah, Method Man, RZA and Sean Price)
  9. People Say (feat. Redman)
  10. Family (Skit)
  11. Why Why Why (feat. RZA and Swnkah)
  12. G’d up (feat. Method Man, R-Mean and Mzee Jones)
  13. If What You Say Is True (feat. Streetlife)
  14. Saga (Skit) [feat. RZA]
  15. Hood Go Bang! (feat. Redman and Method Man)
  16. My Only One (feat. Ghostface Killah, RZA, Cappadonna, and Steven Latorre)
  17. Message
  18. The Saga Continues Outro (feat. RZA)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Just needing some Wu-Tang in your life.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s the best part of the album, so friggin’ rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

The Saga Continues is proof that not everything Wu-Tang Clan produces is absolute gold, so what went wrong here? Well the whole project just feels lazy, as if the emcees weren’t really into the project, but just making it for the fans. Wu-Tang is still an amazing group of rappers, but The Saga Continues is really boring, I’m not even kidding, it feels like they were half asleep while putting this sloppy mess together. When you’re as big as the Wu-Tang is, fans have big expectations for your collective albums, The Saga Continues couldn’t have been what fans/critics/or the emcees themselves really wanted. Can we all just pretend it didn’t happen? Please?

Sean Anonymous & Dimitry Killstorm-Better Days (2015)

My Rating: 58% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 58% (D+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Better Days
  2. 54 Bison
  3. They Be Like (Featuring Metasota)
  4. Big Bang (Featuring P.O.S & Lizzo)
  5. Invisible Ink
  6. What Is Your Name (Featuring Haphduzn & Del The Funky Homosapien)
  7. Pack Your Bags
  8. Begin, Begun
  9. Ring The Bell (Featuring Haphduzn, Phillip Morris, Aceyalone & Wordsworth)
  10. Like I Do
  11. Chapters
  12. Je T’aime
  13. Timeless

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Diggin’ for some underground hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Love the album cover, really unique.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

I’m realizing with age how much confidence makes a difference in a lot of aspects of your life, and that’s the main problem with Better Days, the artists don’t seem completely confident yet. Not to say they’re bad, but they need some time to feel more comfortable behind the mic. No matter the featuring artist (Del, P.O.S., Aceyalone) the whole thing just is a little off. I can see Sean Anonymous gaining traction with a little more authority in his voice behind the mic, but this feels a little rough yet.

P.O.S.-Chill, Dummy (2017)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 83%

Average Rating: 82%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Born A Snake
  2. Bully
  3. Faded
  4. Get Ate
  5. Gravedigger
  6. Infinite Scroll
  7. Lanes
  8. Pieces-Ruins
  9. Roddy Piper
  10. Sleepdrone-Superposition
  11. Thieves-Kings
  12. Wearing A Bear

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling like a funky bad ass.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s incredible I love it!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!!!

Final Thoughts:

P.O.S. continues to impress me, every album of his I dig into I’m reminded of how original and underrated he truly is. Chill, Dummy is an album that made me proud to have been with this guy for awhile, he’s growing as an artist and it’s awesome to see his growth with this album. He mixes in a little bit of his hard-core side on this album, where even the opener Born A Snake makes you wonder if you invested in an early Rage Against The Machine release. P.O.S. is an artist who will be respected in time, with all of the music coming out it’s easy to miss this release, but I think given a few years this will be as well respected as Aesop Rock’s The Impossible Kid.

Z-Trip-Z-Trip (2004)

My Rating: 34% (F)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 34% (F)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Listen To The DJ Feat. Soup
  3. Furious
  4. The Get Down Feat. Lyrics Born
  5. Bury Me Standing Feat. Luke Sick
  6. About Face
  7. Breakfast Club Feat. Murs And Supernatural
  8. Take Two Copies Feat. Busdriver
  9. 3rd Gear Feat. Ikey Owens
  10. Everything Changes Feat. Aceyalone And Mystic
  11. For My People Feat. Supernatural
  12. All About The Music Feat. Whipper Whip
  13. Walking Dead Feat. Chester Bennington
  14. Shock And Awe Feat. Chuck D
  15. STR (Revolution)
  16. The Grandmaster Feat. Grandmaster Caz

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

When you’re diggin’ for samples.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Stupid. It’s boring.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not at all.

Final Thoughts:

First off, I don’t think Z-Trip is a bad DJ, in fact I usually think of him as a very good one, but oh my my, this self titled album is a mish-mash of bad ideas. How an album can have Soup, Murs, Busdriver, Aceyalone, and Chuck D. and still score this low is boggling. Here’s the problem, instead of this self-titled album being a celebration of underground hip hop, the thing just makes you wonder why it’s not better. Seriously, listen to the song Breakfast Club and you’ll understand my beef, it’s okay, but it’s never very good. I like a couple tracks on here, but they are available on other albums (Everything Changes is on an Aceyalone release) so I just don’t see much need for this album to even exist. I hope Z is desperately trying to bury this release, because it’s not a good representation of his skills or any of the emcees skills either.

Evidence-The Layover E.P. (2008)

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 85% (B++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Layover
  2. For Whom The Bell Tolls feat. Phonte, Blu & will.i.am
  3. So Fresh (Step Brothers)
  4. Solitary Confinement ft. Krondon
  5. Don’t Hate ft. Defari
  6. My Favorite Part of Traveling (Interlude)
  7. Far Left ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn
  8. Rain or Shine
  9. To Be Determned ft. Elzhi and Aloe Blacc
  10. The Cold Weather

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Walking downtown at night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty neutral, fits the tone.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

I love that a ten track album is called an E.P., if I had it my way, ten tracks would be the limit to the amount of songs you could have on an album, why? Because it distills the artist down in a more cohesive way. That’s what Evidence offers on The Layover E.P. a good sense of his flow, beats, and impressive production all around. Ev is actually most impressive as a producer, I loved his choices when putting together this album and how tightly each song flows into the next, he definitely has a love for the album and that shows in the very fact that he called it an E.P. instead of just releasing it as a “full album”. Whenever I hear Ev is involved in a project my mind is eased, I know he does his due diligence and that anything he attaches his name to will be creative and well thought out.

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