DJ Sound- Volume 10: Hatred


 

For every Drake, there’s 20 rappers in Toronto that probably should have made it big before him, for every Three 6 Mafia, there are 20 other Memphis artists that deserve twice as much praise. DJ Sound is a Frayser area DJ, in house producer for the Frayser Click, and Memphis legend. His 11 volumes of mixtapes/albums are widely circulated around the internet on underground Memphis rap forums, yet DJ Sound is a virtually unknown name.

DJ Sound’s style is slow, dark and brutal. Most of his beats are similar to those of early Three 6 Mafia tapes, and some even include the same samples. The Frayser Click laces his beats with the darkest, most misogynistic, violent raps possible, which adds to the overall tone of the tape. Watch Out For Da Click introduces each member of the Frayser rap outfit over an almost spacey beat, which is a lot more upbeat than the rest of the tracks on this tape.

Hoish Ass Niggas and Kickin N Doors better portray the overall sound of the tape, slow, plodding beats with rapid hi hats, completed with vocal samples about various forms of robbery and murder. “Hatred” is not a nice album, nor will it make your day bright and full of joy. The tape is early 90’s Memphis rap at it’s hardest, and doesn’t let up for a second.

The one song that somewhat changed tempo is O.S.P. which speaks about violence among blacks and calls for an end to it, but this song is followed by All I Want Is Just Cheese which sees the lyrics fall back to the “rob, murder, repeat” formula, for better or worse.

If you always wanted to hear how Three 6 Mafia would sound if they never hit it rich, this tape is for you. If MOP isn’t hardcore enough for you, then this tape is for you. Good old fashioned Memphis gangster rap, no filler, no softness. A personal favorite of mine, and the greatest Memphis rap tape ever released in my personal opinion. NOW GO BUMP THIS JUNT MAYNE

 

98/100

 

 

Edit: Now that megaupload is dead, I realize it may be hard (see: impossible) to find this album. If you are interested in hearing it, leave a comment and I will provide a link.

Advertisements

Twista-Adrenaline Rush (1997)


 

The Chicago MC formerly known as Tung Twista is probably best know by his Kanye West assisted single Overnight Celebrity. Many assumed Twista was a new artist under Kanye’s wing when hearing it, not realizing that Twista has been dropping high speed rhymes since 1992’s Runnin Off at Da Mouth.

On his 3rd album, Twista secures production from Chicago staple The Legendary Traxster, as well as B-Hype and Toxic. Twista keeps everything in Chicago with Liffy Stokes, Johnny P and Psychodrama’s Buk & Psyde making appearances.

Most of the beats on the album are handled by the Traxster, and he fares very well. The combination of Twista’s quick rhymes and Traxster’s dark strings and soft keys makes a great formula for the album. Traxster can set a dark mood for the gangster brag tracks, and keep it light for the slower, more sensitive songs nicely.

The album’s namesake track is probably the most well known, and for good reason. Buk switches speeds on his verses, alternating slow, narrative raps with double time gangsta bravado. Twista also knows just when to speed it up and slow it down, avoiding the gimmicky feel his first album had, and displaying his fast skills more than his second.

Twista also mixes up the content of this album providing plenty of fast paced hood anthems, along with slow jams, something Twista has become known for over the years. Emotions has Twista speaking on sex, while Unsolved Mystery and Korrupt World are gritty tales of Chicago’s K-Town section.

The main problem with this album is the usage of interludes. Some songs end with a fictional news story about shootings in Chicago, while some set the mood for the slow jam tracks. Although they try to advance the concept of the album, it is kinda lost based on the fact that the record does different styles so well. There is really no point to these skits.

On his third album, Twista finally found the right mix between repping his hood, laying his mack down and gang banging. With this record Twista has crafted a Chicago classic, if not a genuine classic throughout rap.

 

96/100

OJ Da Juiceman-O.R.A.N.G.E. (2010)


OJ Da Juiceman is probably one of the most universally hated rappers of all time. From his childish lyrics to his constant ad libs, OJ has gained many haters over his short time in the rap game. Despite this, OJ still manages to get props from highly respected artists like Bun B, and release a steady stream of mixtapes. The Juiceman’s type of music is polarizing for many people, you will usually either love him or hate him. If you hate him, this review isn’t for you.

ORANGE starts off with the Juiceman addressing the criticism he receives, and stating that he deserves most of it. He speaks about his small vocabulary saying “vocabulary extends way farther than the brain can imagine” and states that if people feel the need to criticize him, he must be doing something “perfect”. As simple minded as the Juiceman’s music makes him look, he comes across somewhat intelligent on this intro. He realizes he makes music for a certain market, and doesn’t try to be anything else, which I find very respectable.

This isn’t to say that this is OJ’s intellectual mixtape. OJ may realize he is seen as a joke to many people, but he simply does not care. This tape is populated with raps about diamonds, cars and clubs like every other OJ project. Although the Juiceman didn’t change his style at all on this tape, it’s still comforting knowing he isn’t really as dense as he comes off.

Anyway, the beats on the mixtape are great for the most part. Not Tonite is a straight banger, Touchdown has an incredible bassline provided by Drumma Boy, and I Do That is a great crossover R&B track with Bobby Valentino. A few beats, including It’s A Go and the unfortunately named Penis, just don’t work though.

Lyrically, OJ is being OJ. He says things that don’t rhyme. He says things that don’t make sense. And he seems to think Mexicans have some sort of superhuman running ability, as evidenced on Touchdown when he says “60 yard pass and I’m running like a Mexican”. Another notable line is from Houses For Rent when OJ says “Houses for rent got me dancing like a Mexican”. Ahh, those Mexicans, always running and dancing, who doesn’t love them?

Oddly enough, rhymes like this stick in your head for the wrong reasons, but are later remembered fondly. OJ has the tenacity to say something like “whip the same color as an armpit” and forces it to stick in your head until you find yourself thinking “Hey, that was a pretty funny line.”

I can go on all day just quoting silly things OJ says, and believe me, I would love to, but OJ isn’t the only MC on this tape. Juiceman doesn’t enlist any of his big name cronies for this mixtape, choosing to go to his own stable of artists in his YBC camp. They all have a similar style to OJ and break up the monotony of his voice and lyrics. OJ did somehow get Bun B to drop a verse, as well as west coast artist Jay Rock on one of the best tracks on the tape, Gunshots.

Overall, this mixtape is more of the same from OJ. After a somewhat eye opening intro, he goes back to doing what he does best. Bragging about all the stuff he has over trunk rattling beats. This mixtape won’t change the world, nor will it make you a fan of OJ. But true fans of the JewMan will enjoy this fun tape for exactly what it is, IGNANT TRAP MUZIK! AYE OKAY!

86/100

Cam’ron-Purple Haze (2004)


Killa Cam, leader of the New York rap outfit The Diplomats, is probably best remembered for his hit “Oh Boy” or, by anyone under the age of 17 or so, as the “U MAD” guy. Cam has a unique yet conventional style, and on his fourth studio album, Cam displays what made him one of the most prominent rappers in New York in the early to mid 2000’s.

The beats on the album are standard Dipset fare. Production is mostly sped up soul, chopped up classic rock and some surprises, like the Hill Street Blues theme being flipped to Harlem Streets. Musically, the album is all over the place. This makes for a convoluted, yet diverse sound. Get Down is a typical Dipset banger, while Girls is a suspect Cyndi Lauper sample (pause) that falls flat. Out of all the beats on the album, only about 2 of them aren’t Cam worthy, in contrast to tracks like More Reasons, which fit perfectly with Cam’s hectic rhyme patterns.

Cam’ron is lyrically solid on this album, with some tracks bordering on amazing. The aforementioned More Reasons exhibits Cam’s penchant for internal and end rhymes, as nearly every bar is packed with multis and alliteration. The beat simmers, then builds to Cam’s verses, followed by Jaheim on the chorus. The song slows down again, and hits you with another verse.

“Connect for life is, the Tech kept us righteous
Cause yes, expect the crisis, when it’s connects and prices.
I had to hustle harder, move up my mustle marger
Seen New Jack City, cop me a couple Carters”

Another stand out track is Cam’ron’s take on the Chicago classic Adrenaline Rush. An updated version of Twista and Buk’s Chi anthem, Cam adds his own verse over the Legendary Traxster beat. Cam shouts out K-Town & Pulaski, which will bring joy to any Chicagoans heart, while hearing Cam spit double time to match Twista. Not better than the original by any means, but still a worthy addition to the album. Plus, how many times do you get to see a member of Psychodrama anymore?

The one disappointing part about the album is the skits. There is too many, and they just are not as funny as Cam seemed to think they were. They break up the album at bad times and don’t really add anything but more running time. Girls, as I mentioned before, along with Shake seem out of place on this album as well. Although the album isn’t Infamous quality grimy street shit, these crossover hits still feel out of place on an album with numerous references to coke and dumping bodies on back streets.

Besides the skits and these two songs, Cam is on point throughout the album and raps about nothing in particular, but does so in a compelling way. The constant alliteration, multis and internal rhymes are great to hear, and lead me to believe that the only reason Cam isn’t considered one of the greats is his content. But hey, Cam’s a Harlem dude. Is he supposed to rap about starving children in Indonesia? Just holla at your boy boy and ride out man. DIPSET!

92/100

Young Dro-Best Thang Smokin’ (2006)


The ATL is home to many types of artist. Some are concerned mainly with the finer things in life, such as cocaine, women and money. Some try to break the stereotype that all ATLiens are trap rapping, violence glorifying dropouts, by speaking on deeper subjects. Then there are artists that are pigeonholed into the former category based on radio singles and the company they keep.

Atlanta rapper Young Dro is a member/associate/??? of T.I.’s group, The Pimp $quad Click. Featured on a few T.I. songs, and securing a few T.I. features himself, Dro became well known for the hit Shoulder Lean, in which he talks about…. shoulder leaning? Either way, Dro was bunched in with the crop of rappers from ATL that are all about shaking that Laffy Taffy and his album came and went without much fanfare.

The thing that makes Mr. Dro worthy of a review at all, is the fact that I feel he was sadly glossed over, labeled and discarded. Casual hip hop fans saw him as a one hit wonder, while underground heads simply didn’t see him. Dro’s topics are standard southern rap cliches, but the way he delivers this content is what makes his album worth a listen or two.

Dro enlists Jazzy Pha, Lil C, Khao, Nitti and more to provide the music on the album, while features come from T.I., Xtaci and the Slim Thugga himself. The beats on the album add to Dro’s deep voice and southern drawl, and Dro flows well over most of the beats. Lyrically, Dro is great in small doses. Dro will drop lines like “Rock Cartier, I’m a Chief like an Indian. Freaks are Caribbean, my feet are amphibian.” that are clever and funny, but he will also throw out lines like “I’m a tough nigga, you a fuck nigga” and “Ask the niggas over there, if I’m the shit there”. Dro’s wordplay, if it had been put to better use, could have made this album great. He has the talent to craft funny lines with multisyllabic rhymes, but chooses not to for most of the album.

The beats on the album are mostly good, with a few that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Rubberband Banks has a staccato horn line with Dro spitting some of his best rhymes, while Shoulder Lean will rattle the trunk of any ‘Lac this album is being played in. Hear Me Cry has a nice use of sampling while Dro talks more seriously about death and losing friends, while We Lied is a medium paced track about dealing with relationships and cheating. High Five on the other hand is reminiscent of Dem Franchize Boyz with an annoying bounce feel. Jazzy Pha also delivers some lesser versions of the great beats we know he can make. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t Let’s Get Away quality either.

Dro was most likely pressured by his label to get something out after striking gold with Shoulder Lean, and was rushed to make a southern radio album, and was probably put on the back burner being T.I.’s lackey, when he should have been touted as a more lyrical version of the ATL carbon copies populating the charts at the time. All in all, Best Thang Smokin is good, not great. Hopefully someday, Dro can remove himself from T.I.’s shadow and take time to craft the album he knows he can make, instead of trying to make the radio hits the label required.

 

73/100

MF DOOM-Operation: Doomsday (1999)


 

MF DOOM is the alias of New York rapper Daniel Dumile, probably best know for donning a mask every time he makes an appearance on camera. MF DOOM wears a mask because his brother was tragically killed by a car. I’m sure there is more to that, but I’m reviewing the music, not the man.

Anyway, this is DOOM’s first solo album after working with his brother and another rapper on the KMD albums. On this album DOOM takes the supervillain persona and makes sort of a concept record. The samples in between songs narrate the story of Dr. Doom, and the lyrics contain multiple references to comic book heroes and villains.

The beats on this album are all self produced and based off looping. Not very creative and unimpressive from a producer’s stand point, but still entertaining nonetheless. The loops range from Steely Dan, to hectic Brazilian guitar riffs, to Sunday morning AM radio bumpers, creating a diverse, if not inconsistent sound.

MF DOOM’s flow gets a lot of criticism for not necessarily always being on beat, but on such a strange album, that works to his benefit. DOOM drops clever quick lines with pop culture references galore that nearly make you forget the fact that he is basically talking. DOOM has a thick New Yorker accent which adds to the enjoyment of hearing him drop lines about “spark(ing) the deaf, dumb and blind like Helen Keller”. The thing that helps DOOM succeed on this album is his content. He doesn’t try to cram 20 syllable words into a line, he uses his humor to show his intelligence instead.

None of the features on the album are particularly of note, besides MF Grimm on Tick, Tick. DOOM’s Monsta Island Czar counterparts seem to be too stuck on saying big words really fast to be concerned about flow and riding the beat. Grimm turns in a great performance on Tick, Tick though, riding the beat that changes tempo and spitting possibly his best verse.

Although this album may take some time to sink in, not because of it’s highly intellectual content, but the unconventional style of MF DOOM, it is definitely worth a try. Even though all the beats are loops, none seem to get monotonous, and DOOM’s humor is enough to make up for his flawed flow. A good prerequisite to other DOOM albums to see where the Villain got his start.

 

85/100