Motion Man-Clearing the Field (2002)

My Rating: 63% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 63% (C)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Action Figure Intro
  2. Straight Flowin’ on Em
  3. Clearing the Field
  4. Funky Ass White Boy
  5. Loose Cannon
  6. Hold Up (feat. Biz Markie)
  7. Winner Takes All
  8. Play Dough
  9. Reason 2 Panic (feat. E-40)
  10. One of My Favorite Emcees (skit)
  11. C’mon on Ya’ll
  12. Call da National Guard 2
  13. Trounce
  14. Don’t Get Motion Started
  15. Having a Moment
  16. Face 2 Face (feat. Planet Asia)
  17. Make It and Sell It
  18. Side ta Side
  19. I Need a Vacation (feat. Noggin Nodders)
  20. We Work Styles (feat. Kool Keith & LC)
  21. Juan’s Sister (skit)
  22. Beotches
  23. Gotta Move On (outro)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to dig for a few hip-hop gems.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I used to love it as a teenager, but I don’t know I fell out of love with it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Clearing The Field showcases more of that underground original deliverance from Motion Man that has gone unnoticed by most hip hop heads for far too long, while not being at all well put together. The album, like a lot of hip hop, just has way too many interludes that break the vibe that you’re trying to pick up. Motion Man is undoubtedly a very talented underappreciated emcee, but Clearing The Field is not the album to prove my point on that. True, there are definitely some worthwhile tracks on here, and some awesome guest emcees, but it’s altogether too disjointed and feels much more like a mixtape than an actual album.

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Common-Electric Circus (2002)

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 65%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 69%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Ferris Wheel (Feat. Vinia Mojica & Marie Daulne)
  2. Soul Power
  3. Aquarius (Feat. Bilal & Erykah Badu)
  4. Electric Wire Hustler Flower (Feat. Sonny Sandoval)
  5. The Hustle (Feat. Omar & Dart Chillz)
  6. Come Close (Feat. Mary J. Blige)
  7. New Wave (Feat. Laetitia Sadier)
  8. Star 69 (P.S. With Love) (Feat. Bilal & Prince)
  9. I Got A Right Ta (Feat. Pharrell)
  10. Between Me, You And Liberation
  11. I Am Music (Feat. Jill Scott)
  12. Jimi Was A Rock Star (Feat. Erykah Badu)
  13. Heaven Somewhere (Feat. Omar, Cee-Lo Green, Bilal, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu & Pops)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Just taking it easy on a rainy lazy day.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s kind of ugly.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

Common makes great tunes, but not always great albums, which is exactly the case with Electric Circus, a fairly uneven record with some catchy tracks dispersed throughout. Hip-Hop is a hard genre to make a completely even album, what with the tendency to over-use interludes and the constant guest appearances, but that doesn’t excuse the case here. Sometimes I wonder if emcees are actually putting together a planned album, or if they are just putting a seemingly random set of tracks that they had stored for a rainy day, regardless Electric Circus is certainly not a bad album, it’s just uneven and a little sloppy at times.

Roots Manuva-Dub Come Save Me (2002)

My Rating: 50% (D)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 50%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Man Fi Cool
  2. Highest Grade Dub
  3. Revolution 5
  4. Styles Dub
  5. Tears
  6. Dreamy Days SFA Dub
  7. The Lynch
  8. Brand New Dub
  9. UK Warriors
  10. Witness Dub

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Addicted to Roots Manuva and ready to dig for the good stuff.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a really sweet album cover, it’s a play on the Run Come Save Me cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

It’s essentially a remixed Run Come Save Me, sort of. The album has a lot of instrumentals and not a whole lot of that Jamaican styled flow that I want to hear. As usual, Roots is at his best when he’s with Chali2na, seriously if these guys made an album together it would make my brain melt. It’s an album I’m glad that I dug into, but I will probably not sit through again. It had a few jammers, but for most it would be a major miss. Don’t start here with Roots, start with Run Come Save Me, you’ll be happy you did.

People Under The Stairs-O.S.T. (2002)

My Rating: 95% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 77%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 86%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro
  2. Jappy Jap
  3. The Suite For Beaver Part 1
  4. The Suite For Beaver Part 2
  5. O.S.T. (Original Soundtrack) (Feat. Odell)
  6. Empty Bottles Of Water
  7. Jim Sr.
  8. The Outrage
  9. The Hang Loose
  10. The Double K Show
  11. Tales Of Kidd Drunkadelic
  12. Keepin It Live
  13. The Dig
  14. The Heat
  15. Montego Slay
  16. The L.A. Song
  17. 8 Is Enuff
  18. Acid Raindrops (Feat. Camel MC)
  19. The Joyride
  20. The Breakdown (Feat. Headnodic on Electric Bass)

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for old school hip hop with awesome rapping and beats.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s super cool, I love it, reminds me of a photo you’d see in the insert of the album artwork, the laidbackness of it fits the album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah but I’ll probably have to pay through the teeth for it.

Final Thoughts:

People Under The Stairs are a lot of fun, they really know who their audience is: hip-hop heads. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, they’re just two beat-makers who are at ease behind the mic. Nothing here is going to be very thought provoking or controversial, they’re just here for your chill party vibes. They’re like the natural evolution of the Beastie Boys, except much more laid back, but still can deliver on the hilarious one liners. Most of the lyrics focus on BBQing, drinking beer, and hitting on fly honies. Put this album on to impress your hip-hop fans, convert your jazz friends, and while you’re drinking a cold one in the backyard. Awesome stuff!

Broken Social Scene-You Forgot It In People (2002)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 62% (C-)

Pitchfork Rating: 92%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 86%

Average Rating: 80%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Capture The Flag
  2. KC Accidental
  3. Stars And Sons
  4. Almost Crimes
  5. Looks Just Like The Sun
  6. Pacific Theme
  7. Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl
  8. Cause = Time
  9. Late Night Bedroom Rock For The Missionaries
  10. Shampoo Suicide
  11. Lover’s Spit
  12. I’m Still Your Fag
  13. Pitter Patter Goes My Heart

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Tired and kinda sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, doesn’t do a whole lot of anything for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Broken Social Scene is one of those bands that has a huge following, and they consist of dedicated fans who would take a face full of Lovers Spit in defense of them. The problem is they should be better. I mean you have Stars, Metric, and Feist in one band, of course my expectations are going to be high, but it doesn’t quite sound experimental enough, nor does it truly find its voice. The album was altogether a let down for me, there a few really solid tracks, but it doesn’t make up for the pure amount of filler or the fact that it just seems totally misguided. I’m not saying I dislike this band, I’m saying I expected more.

Beck-Sea Change (2002)

Record Review Recommended By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 69%

Rolling Stone Rating: 100%

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 87%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Golden Age
  2. Paper Tiger
  3. Guess I’m Doing Fine
  4. Lonesome Tears
  5. Lost Cause
  6. End Of The Day
  7. It’s All In Your Mind
  8. Round The Bend
  9. Already Dead
  10. Sunday Sun
  11. Little One
  12. Side Of The Road

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Going through a breakup.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a beautiful cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Richard does and it sounds great, but I want my own.

Final Thoughts:

I’m really selective when it comes to Beck, I’ve had stuff like Loser, E-Pro, and Where It’s At in my library for years now, but that’s about it. When Richard challenged me to sit down and listen to a whole album of his, I was skeptical, seeing as I only had a select few songs by him I thought he’d have lots of dead space on his albums, not the case with Sea Change. The most pleasing part of the experience was hearing Lost Cause and recognizing the tune without knowing where I heard it, turns out Ellen Page sings it on the game Between Two Souls (what a time we live in). The album flows well from track to track while keeping it engaging, sad, and diverse. I can’t see another one of his albums topping this but I’m excited to challenge that. Also WTF is up with the critics disagreement on this album?

Blackalicious-Blazing Arrow (2002)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro: Bow & Fire
  2. Blazing Arrow
  3. Sky Is Falling
  4. First In Flight
  5. Green Light: Now Begin
  6. 4000 Miles
  7. Nowhere Fast
  8. Paragraph President
  9. It’s Going Down
  10. Make You Feel That Way
  11. Brain Washers Feat. Ben Harper
  12. Chemical Calisthenics
  13. Aural Pleasure
  14. Passion
  15. Purest Love
  16. Release Part 1, 2, and 3
  17. Day One

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for a fun, funky, summery hip-hop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s actually embarrassingly the reason I first gave Blackalicious a chance, it’s a really original cover with awesome colours.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah I’d absolutely love this one on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

I bought this album on a whim back in my high school day and it was such a gateway album for me. It got me into other Quannum guys like Lateef, Lyrics Born, and Honeycut, as well as other rap groups like Jurassic 5 and Dilated Peoples. It’s a really big album when it comes to forming my music taste, it really got me into some of my all time favourite artists. I owe a lot to this album and the damn thing still holds up. It’s really fresh sounding, really cool beats, really fast/fun lyrics. From tracks like Paragraph President, to the follow up to Alphabet Aerobics: Chemical Calisthenics. It’s an amazing album that nobody should miss. NOBODY.

The Roots-Phrenology (2002)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 69% (C+)

Pitchfork Rating: 81%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 87%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Phrentrow
  2. Rock You
  3. Thirsty
  4. !!!!!!!
  5. Sacrifice
  6. Rolling With Heat
  7. WAOK (AY) Rollcall
  8. Though @ Work
  9. The Seed 2.0
  10. Break You Off
  11. Water
  12. Quills
  13. Complexity
  14. Something in the Way of Things (In Town)
  15. Rhymes And Ammo
  16. Thirsty

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a mix of old school hip-hop and incredible jazz beats.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a really solid cover, big fan of it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

The Roots have always been a band I’ve really respected more than have listened to. The Seed 2.0 is the song of theirs I listen to the most, but past that I’m just not too familiar with their work. Sitting through this album was a little tedious, amazing flows and beats were to be found, but somewhat buried in a mix of ambient tunes. The album as a whole is just incredibly uneven, I couldn’t sink my teeth into it and let it wash, it was more frustrating wishing that they would rap more and screw around a little less.

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