I mentioned this mixtape when reviewing that Clue tape a few weeks ago, when Fabolous stole the show with a B-grade freestyle on the Bitches Ain’t Shit instrumental. I’m not going to pretend that there’s much to say about Friday Night Freestyles, because either you’re open to the idea of Fabolous talking shit over classic instrumentals, or you’ve probably already closed this browser window/tab. Me? I’m more than open to this kind of music.
Back when I reviewed New York City, Troy Ave was totally new to me, and that album floored me. Hearing somebody make good, moody New York gangster rap again was so exciting that, if I was giving scores back then, that album would have gotten at least a four out of five. But with Major Without a Deal, Troy is coming to exhibit something much less desirable: a myopic, self-centeredness that’s infecting and ruining his music.
I remember Clue tapes from back when mixtapes were the internet, before blogs and iTunes and Spotify. Big-name DJs were the gatekeepers to the industry for artists who needed more attention. DJ Clue was one of the biggest names during his time, he even had a deal and albums with Roc-A-Fella! Given that history, I grabbed DJ Clue’s Banned From CD Part 1* as soon as I saw it, so I could see what a Clue tape sounds like in 2015.
Turns out…not that great.
After the generally meh, sometimes spectacular Mastermind, the best thing that Rick Ross could have done was sit the fuck down. But we needed more proof that the title Mastermind has no relation to real life, so he decided to release a second album at the end of last year, Hood Billionaire. I’m just now getting to this second album because it slipped under my radar after Ross said it would feel a lot more street than Mastermind. Suffice to say that that sapped my enthusiasm, because the “I feel like Big Meech” version of Ross has never impressed me much. He picks bass-heavy but basic beats and his rhymes can’t possibly take than 5 minutes to write.
I forgot where and when, but Snoop Dogg has said that he would have been making funk music had he been born in another time. His love for funk and R&B has been demonstrated clearly since the beginning of his career, so detours like the songs Beautiful and Sexual Eruption, and now this album, BUSH, should be of no surprise to those who’ve paid attention to him.
YEARS ago, I heard Oddisee for the first time on a Little Brother song. The sleepy beat failed to inspire any of the rappers, so I wasn’t compelled to research the guy at all. But a few weeks ago, Peter Rosenberg recommended his new album, The Good Fight, and I figured I’d give it a try. I mean, dude’s from Washington D.C., minutes from my Baltimore home, so I might as well test it, right?