Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review: "Universal Mind Control" - Common

First and foremost, I gotta give it up to Common for making his album available for 99 cents. Shows that he really just wants his music to be heard. Still, I stay non-biased and I'ma still review it like I would anything.

Conscious, calm, collected, thoughtful, lyrically provokin'. These are the vocabulary spills that come out when you hear the name Common Sense. Like many artists this year, changin' it up is what it's all about, whether is be T.I. goin' back to his pen & paper roots, Kanye goin' full out vocal, or even go as far as to say Luda wit Premo on Theater of the Mind. Everyone seems to be changin' their style, and for their artistic and personal abilities. Kanye with his ex and death of his mother (r.i.p) inspires him, and for Common, the roots back to fun hip-hop and lyrics witha summer vibe drench this album.

First off, the intro combined into UMC, starts off with a French woman that goes straight into the bangin' Universal Mind Control (Music Video), a late tribute to Grandfather Afrika Bambaataa. This Pharrell produced joint was also the first single (along wit Announcement), and one of the highlights to the album. The chorus does a good job of showin' how really different this album is.

"[Chorus: Pharrell]
This is that new shit, keep 'em standing in line
That universal, mind control now move yo' behind
Uh, you know you like it; it's calling yo' name
Nigga, this is that new shit, and it don't feel the same
It's got that dang da-da-dang d-dang-a-dang dang..."

Nah, it really doesn't. Cause the next track, Punch Drunk Love is definitely not like Common. This features Kanye West, who just provides a lackluster hook with the same auto-tune shit, which I personally am not a fan. But even without, the track was a bad follow to UMC, with it's strange vibe and awkward lyrics for the male hip-hop fan. Definitely aimed at the ladies. The next track, Make My Day, features Cee-Lo, and was my favorite track on the work. It really had that summer vibe, and had gives you that image of that chick you wanna be with durin' the summer. Lyrics are real elementary though, but not bad. Paints the image and gives it straight up.

Now is when shit gets bumpy. The album goes into the track where most of the criticism comes from, Sex 4 Suga. This track was, man, just straight bad. The chorus was not creative and creepy as fuck really if you a straight dude. Not feelin' this though, even if Common's intention was just really about sex. We have enough shit about sex out in the music realm. Takin' a change in direction, the album takes a straight turn and this is where the album gets a lil' better. Gladiator is a hard-hittin' track wit a simple and soft chorus, but Common goes hard wit the lyrics and spits real well. No commercial shit here, just a great joint.

Changes is next, and this is more of the same ol' as far as the production. Summer vibe wit a almost drowsy feel, but it mostly addresses Barack Obama's recent campaign and Common's certainty of Obama's victory. Somewhat back to his roots of consciousness, but keepin' with his new feel as well. Just an ok track, almost put me to sleep though. Sends a good message as well, yet Common seems a lil' cocky, especially with the little girl at the end saying change is Obama and...himself as well. You can catch a video review of his album by Common himself at the end of the review, and you can really tell that he might be overconfident in his work.

What A World busts up next, with an obvious Neptune's production. This song is too N.E.R.D.-like as far as the music vibe goes. The start feels like it's goin' into "You Know What", and the beat and hook is just like "Anti-Matter". Common feels like he loses the edge he had at the start of the album, and the lyrics are somewhere else. Not anywhere good or terrible. Really, these last few tracks feel like fillers. The beat doesn't fit Common's flow too well, and the lyrics don't wow.

"The hunger of a homeless
Played the game - it got a bonus
Man is the plan
The master like Tiger
So much is the drive
I am the definition of a rider
Daughter's name means survivor
From a tribe-a
Just one word can't describe her
A scribe of the streets
And a good life that we all wanna reach
I'm hotter than a beach
Flow is so deep
Even underwater
I can inhale to bring the world in order"

Everywhere, the last track on the official album, is a simple track, and more so showcases Martina Topley Bird, who sounds like she don't know where the hell she is. But really, Common provides one short, un-highlight verse. A not-so-11/10 track Mr. Sense.

Common has always been a favorite of mine, but there are plenty of times where he can come across as boring. Universal Mind Control shows some wack, and nice sides of him. Here is Common's bold review on his own album.

Do Words Bond (Lyrical): 5.5 out of 10
Is the Mic Loud & The Production Tight (Musical Feel): 7 out of 10

Overall: 6.5 out of 10

- Kage
Comments: My first album review, and man did I write a shit load. Much love to anyone who reads through the thing haha.

Video: Peter Rosenberg Interviews DJ Premier On the Making of "Nas Is Like"

Wow, amazing how classics are just created. Speechless.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Charles Hamilton - The Pink Lavalamp (Album)

It's Here. The Final Step in the Hamiltonization Process.
His first album, with Interscope Records, and done before he was signed. Great shit, if you missed out on his mixtapes, do ya self a fava and download them.

1. Music (Intro)
2. Loser
3. She’s So High
4. Voices
5. Boy Who Cried Wolf
6. Let Me Live (feat. Bagdad)
7. Brighter Days
8. The Cookout
9. Sat(t)elite
10. Live Life To The Fullest (feat. Yung Nate)
11. Come Back To You
12. Latte
13. Shinin’
14. I’ll Be Around (Outro)
15. Writing In The Sky (Bonus)

Download: Charles Hamilton - The Pink Lavalamp (Album)

All tracks explained in his blog post.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Update: Jay-Z, Soundtracks, Politics, and more

I haven't posted in a MONTH so far, and feel pretty shitty about it. Anyways, I always update the Daily Hip-Hop Video, so keep a look out for that, cuz Scarface's "My Block" is an amazing ass video. For the most part I haven't been keeping up because of that damn old jail cell establishment we call high school, but the coldest winter break is commin' up soon. Yea that was a pretty cheesy ass reference to 808's, bu big ups to the boys over at 2h2s on their review of it. Personally, I wasn't feelin' the album at all, but that's just me. 2h2s has a pretty well-written review of it. I will probably review Theater of the Mind as well, because I've been listening to it a lot lately and it's damn good so far.

Some other news as well, the cover for the Notorious soundtrack has been released, and is based off one of the three movie poster choices.

One of the tracks off the album has been released, and holy shit does jigga kill that (and hot damn look at beyonce haha). Download at the bottom.

Brooklyn (Go Hard) - Jay-Z (feat. Santogold) [Produced by Kanye West]

Santogold is a great singer too, I really dig DJ Mike Relm's mix at the Youtube Live performance, look it up.

Much love to the legendary NahRight blog.