REVIEW: Finally Famous: The Album (Big Sean)

Release Date: June 28, 2011

Big Sean is finally famous! After listening to the motown rapper’s debut album, you can feel his new found fame has gotten to his head, and now ours. After being given a once in a lifetime opportunity from Kanye West a few years ago, Sean Anderson has found a way to capture this moment for life. With influences from the obvious Mr. West to Fabolous and Drake, what we get is a smooth summer album that’s sure to impress his quick growing fanbase.

After a short-to the point-intro and his first 2 hit singles, we are off to a good start. “Wait For Me” with Lupe Fiasco is about the trials of balancing a relationship and being a rapper on the road, with a hook that works perfect with the soulful sample. “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay” comes next with the Kanye feature we have all been waiting for with Roscoe Dash providing a catchy ass chorus as usual. The party song “Dance (A$$)” is a love or hate track that will most likely become a stripper anthem. More highlights follow on the Pharrell produced and featured “Get It” which brings back a sound missed since Jay-Z’s Black Album. Wiz Khalifa comes through for the smoked out “High” which is already a favorite. Sticking to the topic of fame throughout, cuts like “Memories”, “Living This Life” and “Celebrity” show that Big Sean has a vision that he wants to share with the world. The final track “100 Keys” is an ode to the hood with Pusha T coming through with a classic verse to bless it.

In the end, the features and production on here are stellar. Some people may not get into his style as it may be too laid back or soft, and there is room for improvement lyrically. Besides those few cons, this debut is solid and will be appreciated after repeat listens. Also, releasing it at the beginning of summer will give the album chance to find its legs on the charts with the strength of the many possible singles to follow. Get it!

4 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Wait For Me, 100 Keys, High, I Do It, Celebrity, Get It

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REVIEW: Self Made Vol. 1 (Maybach Music Group)

Release Date: May 24, 2011

In the past two years, Rick Ross began signing various artists around the country to his new Maybach Music Group label with a vision of a dynasty. Wale, may be the only artist in the group you’ve heard of, but after listening to ‘Self Made Vol. 1’ you’ll probably want to go back and get Meek Mill, Pill and Teedra Moses’ previous releases. Ross has turned his vision into reality with an album that delivers more than anyone could have expected.

The album begins with the title track ‘Self Made’, which takes a classic sample and turns it into summer magic. The album seems to be divided in two parts. The first six tracks sound a lot more down south, with the latter half being more soulful and laid back. “Tupac Back” shows Meek Mill bringing his Philly swag to the table. Him, Wale and the ATL bred Pill prove throughout the album they can hold their own next to the Boss. New Orleans native and first lady of MMG, Teedra Moses shows up on one of the albums gems “Rise” featuring the always cool CurrenSy and Cyhi Da Prince of Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music. Other joints you won’t forget include “That Way” featuring Jeremih and “Pandemonium”.  But don’t think those are the only single worthy cuts. “Play Your Part” will grow on you. After 14 solid tracks, “Running Rebels” closes out the album with more of Teedra’s beautiful voice. She is a secret weapon that will most likely bless Rick Ross’ ‘God Forgives. I Don’t’ LP.

‘Self Made’ is one of the best rap label/group albums released in a while. Everyone in the group seems to be on board with the movement to the fullest (even if they don’t have their Maybachs yet).  Let’s just hope MMG serves us with a mixtape in the near future, but this right here is definitely the main course. BAWSE!

4 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Self Made, By Any Means, Rise, Pandemonium, Running Rebels, That Way

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REVIEW: Gunz N’ Butta (Cam’Ron & Vado)

Release Date: April 19, 2011

Cam’Ron and Vado have been on the radar in the last year releasing a ton of music on mixtapes and street albums which has introduced the U.N. to the rap world. The successful ‘Boss Of All Bosses’ mixtapes have shown that these two emcees can hold down almost any track with ease. Unfortunately, if you were expecting this album to pack more heat than a hot tub like I was, don’t get your hopes up.  ‘Gunz N’ Butta’ is a spoiled attempt at what could have been a classic album.

One of the problems with GNB is that it sounds like a mixtape effort, with songs thrown together after a lukewarm intro. The first few tracks don’t have much replay value. I even found myself eager to press the skip button a few times. Songs that were released last year like “Stop It 5” and “Fuck A Freestyle” make me wonder why other tracks like “Sour Life” and “Girls Cry” didn’t make the album. With a lot of filler, the highlights are minimal for 16 tracks. A feature or two could have made a big difference. “Monster Muzik” and “I-Luv U” are some of the stand-out cuts. “Be With Me” and “They Don’t Like You” may grow over time.

Not much else can be said about this albums quality. The production is not the best. There are too many annoying horror movie screams all over the place and very little subject matter for such great rappers. If you’re a hard core Cam’Ron and Vado fan, you’ll probably pick this release up, but for the old school Dip Set fans, beware.

3 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Stop It 5, Monster Muzik, Put A Bird Up, I-Luv U, Be With Me

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REVIEW: Capo (Jim Jones)

Release Date: April 5, 2011

Jim Jones is back with his fifth studio album ‘Capo’ (not counting his classic group LP Member’s Of Birdgang). After a near death car accident, and reunion with his Dip Set member Cam’Ron, Jim seems ready to take over the rap game again with a new alliance of artists to help out.

With a feature on all 14 tracks, you already know what you’re in for. First, Game and Jimmy ride out on the beautiful dark “Carton Of Milk”. Certified banger “The Paper” feels like a down south version of “We Fly High”, with Jones entering new territory switching his style. Also, the Raekwon and Mel Matrix featured “Drops Is Out”, may get the repeat almost instantly.  Cam’Ron shows up on the summer single ready “Getting To The Money” where he proclaims “Khaled, they the best.. We the worst”. Other highlights come on “Take A Bow” with Lloyd Banks and fresh home Prodigy delivering more New York flavour and realness. The album closes out with a few positive songs like “Perfect Day” and “God Bless The Child”.

‘Capo’ is a great instalment to Jim Jones’ list of albums, and a great look for Harlem and NY. If you are a fan of gangster rap and need an album to ride around to this summer, make sure you go cop this one quick fast. Dip-Set!

4 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Drops Is Out, Carton Of Milk, The Paper, Deep Blue, Getting To The Money, Take A Bow

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REVIEW: Vigilante Season (Max B)

Release Date: March 1, 2011 (Digital Copies Only)

Let me start off by saying… Free Max B! It’s hard to listen to his debut album when he is now behind bars for basically the rest of his life. In the time he was here though, his music formed a cult type following in the rap community. With that said, ‘Vigilante Season’ is a collection of most of Max B’s best work.

The best part about this album is that Max B knows what his fans want. “Where Do I Go” shows the boss don flexing his muscles in a Tupac style tribute to summer in Harlem. “Live Comfortable” and “You Won’t Go Far” with Al Pac keep the album flowing perfect. Also, classic songs like “White Lines” and “Porno Muzik” are sure to stay in rotation. On “Fukk You”,  Max takes aim at his former “boss” Jim Jones and goes H.A.M.. “I Need Money” and “South Wave” help close out the 16 track album. French Montana is surprisingly absent from VS, but not at any cost. Max is able to hold down his debut with limited guest spots.

With the internet already calling it a classic, this album is exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Rumors of 2 follow up albums are already circulating, but this release will keep the wave going for the near future until French Montana’s “Excuse My French” drops later this year.

4.5 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Baby I Need You More, Where Do I Go (BBQ Music), Porno Muzik, I Need Money, Green Gain

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REVIEW: Rolling Papers (Wiz Khalifa)

Release Date: March 29, 2011

Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang can finally exhale! ‘Rolling Papers’ – Khalifa’s Atlantic Records debut – leaked online Monday with a storm of criticism flooding forums and blogs. Many have been quick to put down the album claiming it’s ‘pop’ appeal to be a stray away from his mixtape raps. Although, if you have been following Wiz from his 2008 debut ‘Show And Prove’, this album should not come off as a surprise.

The album is actually an improvement from his first two efforts. Tracks like “Hopes And Dreams”, “The Race” and “Rooftops” scream classic Taylor Gang. Khalifa also takes time out to speak on other issues besides weed-smoking. On songs like “Get Your Shit”, Wiz tells us his story of dealing with a break up. On “Star Of The Show”, he brushes off the haters with his partner Chevy Woods. Also, the third single “No Sleep” is sure to keep the party going. Minus a couple skip worthy tracks like “Top Floor” or “Fly Solo”, the album is worth the purchase. After giving fans a hard core boiled ‘Cabin Fever’ for free just weeks ago, there isn’t much need for more than 14 tracks. Previously leaked song “Cameras” closes the album on a good note, showing growth and reason for some of the commercial tracks fans have questioned, such as the obvious girl friendly “Roll Up”.

For an album that seems to have been rushed by the label since the success of the smash hit “Black & Yellow”, Wiz delivers. Haters can say what they want about the Taylor Gang movement, but I’m predicting a Nicki Minaj type following and a million records sold by summer. Believe the hype.

3.5 out of 5 Blunts

Best Tracks

Black & Yellow, Hopes And Dreams, Rooftops, The Race, No Sleep, On My Level

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