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Thread: EWO's Hip-Hop Capsule Reviews Thread

  1. #26
    Ain't that just the way EyesWideOpen's Avatar
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    Nas - "Illmatic"

    Nas released his debut album in April 1994. It features production by Nas, DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip and L.E.S.
    The only real guest appearance is AZ on "Life's a Bitch" although Q-Tip does the hook for "One Love".



    I can't believe this album is twenty years old. It sounds as fresh today as it did back when it came out. I remember seeing the video for "The World is Yours" on MTV back when I was 15 and liking it so much I went down and bought it. This is probably the most fully formed debut album in the history of hip-hop and still considered one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.

    Highlights: "The World Is Yours", "N.Y. State of Mind", "Life's a Bitch", "One Love"

    Review: A+
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    Catastrophe: Season 1 (2015) A
    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

  2. #27
    Absent Minded quido8_5's Avatar
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    Nice

    Quote Quoting EyesWideOpen (view post)


    Nas - "Illmatic"

    Nas released his debut album in April 1994. It features production by Nas, DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip and L.E.S.
    The only real guest appearance is AZ on "Life's a Bitch" although Q-Tip does the hook for "One Love".



    I can't believe this album is twenty years old. It sounds as fresh today as it did back when it came out. I remember seeing the video for "The World is Yours" on MTV back when I was 15 and liking it so much I went down and bought it. This is probably the most fully formed debut album in the history of hip-hop and still considered one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.

    Highlights: "The World Is Yours", "N.Y. State of Mind", "Life's a Bitch", "One Love"

    Review: A+
    Truly a classic. It's lean, visceral and reassuringly bleak. I used to listen to it a lot when I was teaching and felt it really hard not to play "Life's a Bitch" in front of my freshman. They totally needed it. I did, however, celebrate the 20th anniversary with my students. Sad how many kids don't know the seminal hip hop records of 1994.

    Love this thread, by the way. Have you ever listened to "The World Is Yours" by Scarface? It's unlike anything I've ever heard and truly goes hard as a motherfucker.
    The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.
    - Camus

    Films
    Tess (Polanski, 1979): ***.5
    Love and Death (Allen, 1975): **.5
    Lord of the Flies (Brook, 1963): ***.5

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    Brooklyn Nine Nine (Season 1): ***
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  3. #28
    Ain't that just the way EyesWideOpen's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting quido8_5 (view post)
    Truly a classic. It's lean, visceral and reassuringly bleak. I used to listen to it a lot when I was teaching and felt it really hard not to play "Life's a Bitch" in front of my freshman. They totally needed it. I did, however, celebrate the 20th anniversary with my students. Sad how many kids don't know the seminal hip hop records of 1994.

    Love this thread, by the way. Have you ever listened to "The World Is Yours" by Scarface? It's unlike anything I've ever heard and truly goes hard as a motherfucker.
    I have not. I have listened to very little Scarface in my life. I owned "The Diary" back in the mid-90's and liked it but never searched out more. I'll check out "The World is Yours".
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    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

  4. #29
    Ain't that just the way EyesWideOpen's Avatar
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    Nas - "It Was Written"

    Nas released his second album in July of 1996. It featured guest appearances by Foxy Brown, Dr. Dre, The Firm, Havoc, JoJo, Mobb Deep and Lauryn Hill. It featured production by Trackmasters, DJ Premier, Live Squad, Dr. Dre, Havoc and L.E.S.



    This album has the reputation as Nas selling out but I don't really see that. It's a common complaint about hip-hop followup albums and I think it's more that usually the first album is made for a low budget and it's songs you've been working on for a long time. The followup you finally have money so you can afford pricier producers and guest stars but at the same time the writing usually isn't as good because these songs aren't the one's you wrote when you were struggling to make it. The main knock is that Trackmasters handled most of the production and they were known for a more mainstream sound but they produced four of my favorite songs on the album. The only track that I think doesn't work is the Dr. Dre track "Nas is Coming". The hook and production are goofy and the opening discussion between Dre and Nas is cheesy as hell. "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)" with Lauryn Hill was the jam when I was in high school and still is a fantastic song. DJ Premier kills it as usual on "I Gave You Power" which has Nas rapping from the perspective of a gun and on "Affirmative Action" we see Nas's Firm crew for the first time (Foxy Brown, AZ, Cormega and Nas) with probably their best song (their only group album (where Cormega was replaced by Nature) was not well received). Shortly after this is when Foxy Brown got huge and it's disappointing she kind of fell off the way side she could go hard with the best of them but unfortunately her subject material never matured and she disappeared.

    Highlights: "The Message", "I Gave You Power", "Affirmative Action", "Shootouts", "If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)"

    Lowlights: "Nas is Coming"

    Review: B+
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    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

  5. #30
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    Nas - "I Am..."

    Nas released his third album in April 1999. It featured guest appearances by Puff Daddy, Scarface, DMX and Aaliyah. Production is provided my a ton of people most notably DJ Premier, Timbaland, Poke & Tone and L.E.S.



    Mediocre. That's the word to sum up this album. Gone is the Nas from Illmatic (except on the DJ Premier cuts "N.Y. State of Mind II & "Nas is Like", why can't we get a Premier produced Nas album?) and instead we get generic gangster raps and production, laughable (and deplorable) sex advice, and bad hooks. In "Big Things" Nas attempts (very very poorly) a sped up Twista style of rap and the last three tracks besides being lame on their own also have the worst hooks on the album. At the end of "K-I-S-S-I-N-G" where Nas spells Fucking for the tenth time in a row I started to wonder what the hell Nas was thinking and how did no one in the studio say "Stop. We get it." "Hate Me Now" is probably the most famous song on this album and it's a great track and one of the few standouts.

    Highlights: "N.Y. State of Mind II", "Hate Me Now", "Nas is Like"

    Lowlights: "Dr. Knockboot", "Big Things", "K-I-S-S-I-N-G"

    Review: C-
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    Catastrophe: Season 1 (2015) A
    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

  6. #31
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    Rawkus Records - "Soundbombing 1"

    This is a Rawkus Records compilation album released in October 1997. It features tracks by Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Company Flow, R.A. the Rugged Man, Shabaam Shadeeq, Kool Keith and others. Production is handled by a bunch of Rawkus producers most notably Hi-Tek and El-P.



    This was actually the first time I've listened to this album (I picked it up at Amoeba Records in LA this week). I was a fan of Rawkus Records in the late 90's/early 00's but the Lyricist Lounge albums and Soundbombing II are where I started. I love Soundbombing II so when I finally listened to this one I guess I was overhyped for it because it's kind of a letdown. It's not a bad album but the production overall is pretty boring and you get Evil Dee yelling throughout the album at the beginning of tracks and sometimes during them which is annoying. But onto the positives you can tell even early on that Mos Def and Kweli were destined for greatness as they are involved in the best songs on here. "Fortified Live" and "Universal Magnetic" really do a great job of showing you what makes these two artists great. The production on both songs keeps them from being tracks that I would consider top tier Kweli/Mos Def stuff but for a early album they are worth a listen.

    Highlights: "Fortified Live", "Universal Magnetic", "What If", "2000 Seasons"

    Review: C
    TV Recently Finished:
    Catastrophe: Season 1 (2015) A
    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

  7. #32
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    Busta Rhymes - "Genesis" (terrible album cover)

    Busta Rhymes released his fifth solo album in November 2001. It features guest appearances by Rah Digga, Flipmode Squad, P. Diddy, Jaheim, Mary J Blige, Kelis, and Pharell. Notable production by Jay Dee, Dr. Dre, The Neptunes, Just Blaze, Pete Rock, and Diamond D.



    Another decent Busta album with some good tracks and alot of just ok ones. The Dr. Dre production (he does three of the songs) along with Pete Rock and The Neptunes (who do two tracks) are all great although in the case of the two Neptunes tracks are hampered by mediocre hooks or for "What It Is" by a terrible Kelis performance. There is also a bunch of bad skits stuck at the end of songs with just really awkward sexual dialogue. "Shut 'Em Down 2002" is a great old school Busta sounding track produced by Pete Rock and I would love to have Busta put more of this type of stuff on his albums. The guest appearances disappoint also with the only note-worthy one being Rah Digga on "Betta Stay Up In Your House".

    Highlights: "Shut 'Em Down 2002", "Betta Stay Up In Your House", "Break Ya Neck", "Holla"

    Lowlights: "Wife in Law", the skits

    Score: C+
    TV Recently Finished:
    Catastrophe: Season 1 (2015) A
    Rectify: Season 3 (2015) A-
    Bojack Horseman: Season 2 (2015) A
    True Detective: Season 2 (2015) A-
    Wayward Pines: Season 1 (2015) B

    Currently Playing: Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise (replay) (XB1) / Contradiction (PC)
    Recently Finished: Everybody's Gone to the Rapture (PS4) A+ / Life is Strange: Ep 4 (PS4) A / Bastion (replay) (PS4) B+

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