The New Classics

May 2, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: Lloyd Banks, 4-30-09 Happy Birthday


Lloyd Banks-4-3-09
Trying to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing, extremely fickle rap world, G-Unit’s best lyricist Lloyd Banks drops his second mixtape of 09, this one being a double cd. A few of the problems from January’s The Cold Corner have been fixed this go-round, and it’s Banks close to his best.

Back in his mixtape groove similar to 2002 when the Unit was all over the circuit, Lloyd Banks needs to stay aggressive to keep up with today’s artists. He hasn’t had an official album release since 2006, and Rotten Apple wasn’t anything to brag about. On ‘4-30-09’, he’s free from the watchful eye of 50 Cent and reminding us why he’s no Tony Yayo.
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April 18, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: Rhymefest, The Manual


The Manual

There’s rules to this shit. I wrote me a manual.” – Notorious B.I.G., as quoted in the sample from ‘Ten Crack Commandments’ at the beginning of the first track (after the intro) ‘Coolness’. This “manual” is obviously the underlying theme throughout this project; Rhymefest is looking to give younger fans, but mostly younger rappers, instructions on the genre of music they are involved in. And it all starts with knowing their history.

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January 17, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: Blu, (So)ul Amazing Part 2


If you were going to take Lil Wayne’s work ethic, mix it with Mos Def’s lyrical abilities, and jazzy modernized A Tribe Called Quest-like beats, you’d be creating Blu. He puts out material almost constantly, if we were looking at his 2008 discography: Below the Heavens as part of Blu & Exile, The Piece Talks as part of C.R.A.C. with T’Raach, Johnson&Jonson with Mainframe, and part one of his mixtape series (So)ul Amazing. It’s hard enough for rappers to put out one good album, but to put out 4 quality releases in the span of one year is a testament to how talented this kid is. So here we are in 2009 and (unofficially), Blu is putting out some new and unreleased material for consumption, and it is every bit as exceptional as anything else that bears his name. Continue Reading

January 15, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: CurT@!n$, The Great Adventures of Dope Boy C: WHSL- Rebel Radio (Mixtape)


I’ve never been a big fan of rappers borrowing other people’s beats, either for mixtapes or albums. I always find it better when the artist has his own voice, and isn’t doing what has already been done. Five of the 13 songs on The Great Adventures are instantly recognizable rehashes of past popular songs (‘Get Busy by The Roots, ‘Breathe’ by The Prodigy, ‘I Get Money’ by 50 Cent, ‘Deep Cover’ by Dr. Dre, and ‘Where I’m From’ by Jay-Z). I understand that this is a free mixtape, and maybe these happen to be beats that CurT@!n$ has always wanted to rhyme over. But from a listener’s perspective, these are just bumps on the road to hearing fresh material. As an artist, why would you want to even try to attempt recreating a classic when you are not going to even come close to being as good as the original?

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January 2, 2009

Mixtape Review / Download: Lloyd Banks, The Cold Corner


The 2009 G-Unit isn’t the same as the G-Unit from 2004. I’m not just talking about the rotating members of the group, I am talking popularity terms. 50 Cent, Tony Yayo & Lloyd Banks aren’t at the top of people’s playlists anymore, and you can feel 50’s desperation. He’s coming out with bad movies and awful reality tv shows, holding onto old rivalries to try to sell records, and turning on his own crew. 50 Cent might be the star of the fading group, but Lloyd Banks has always been the superior emcee.

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Mixtape Review / Download: Strong Arm Steady, Gang Mentality


Any artist who gets the co-sign from Talib Kweli deserves some attention. Strong Arm Steady comes from Kweli’s own Blacksmith Records with this mixtape to prepare us for their upcoming album, Arms & Hammers.

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Mixtape Review / Download: Termanology, If Heaven Was a Mile Away (A Tribute to J Dilla)


I was skeptical at first of the intentions of this mixtape. I am quite sure that Termanology & late producer J Dilla (who passed in 2006) have never previously collaborated. Neither of them share any song credits to my knowledge, and at first I was afraid that the relatively-new MC was somehow capitalizing on the trend of saluting Dilla, who has become more known in death than he was in life. In 2007, Busta Rhymes also released a free mixtape called Dilla-gence, providing new vocals over unreleased Dilla beats, but they had been frequent collaborators throughout their careers. How can someone give a tribute to another person who they’ve never even known? If heaven was a mile away, would J Dilla even know who Termanology was? Then I remembered how good an album Termanology’s Politics as Usual was this past year. And I remembered how Term is one of the nicest upcoming artists in the hip hop world, and how his raw, energetic style is remeniscent of early New York rap that we’ve been badly missing for years now. So I started looking at this mixtape in a different light. Term is simply just a fan.

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