RiFF RaFF – Birth of an Icon – 5.6/10

RiFF RaFF - Birth of an IconThere are two different sides to RiFF RaFF aka. Jody Highroller.  On the one hand the former G’s to Gents contestant is that guy sporting MTV, BET and Bart Simpson tattoos, along with a jewelry selection that could make Ghostface shake his head in disbelief, whose look inspired James Franco’s character in the movie Spring Breakers and is part of a rap collective called Three Loco, along with comedians Andy Milonakis and Simon Rex.  On the flipside he’s well connected, able to count on producers Harry Fraud, Dame Grease and Diplo amongst his beat suppliers and having collaborated with respected rappers like Action Bronson, Meyhem Lauren, A$AP Rocky and Earl Sweatshirt.  Somewhere in his past there’s also an alleged affiliation with Swishahouse head honcho OG Ron C.

It’s tough to tell if he’s a new version of Ali G that the world hasn’t quite caught on to yet or if he really means it, maaan.

Either way, he does have an undeniable work ethic, having shot and released an insane amount of videos accompanying his prolific musical output.  Those videos are a big part of the hype RiFF RaFF has been able to generate.  They’re hilarious parodies (intentional or not) of southern rap subculture, memorable for their outlandishness and overall weirdness.


The problem is that once you disconnect the music from the visuals, a lot of entertainment value is lost in the process.  That’s a feeling you can’t quite shake when listening to the Birth of an Icon mixtape, which serves as the perfect introduction to the Jody Highroller universe.  At the same time the music does hold up better than you’d expect considering RiFF RaFF works better as a comedic character than as a mere recording artist.  Dude isn’t a lyrical marvel by any stretch of the imagination but when paired with the right talent behind the boards the results are satisfying enough to warrant a listen away from your computer screen.  The beats and hooks are catchy, in that deliberately candy coated sunshine kind of way, and you can always count on Highroller for some ridiculous one-liners to be delivered in earnestness.  There are plenty of them throughout the 25 tracks that make up this tape.  Some prime examples include: “ice on my fingers/looks like I slapboxed a penguin” (Deion Sandals) or “Shook dice with Larry Bird down in Barcelona!” (Larry Bird).  The undeniable odd couple vibe transmitting from the collabo with Chief Keef might actually be sufficient motivation to check out this record.


It’s tough to tell what the future will hold for RiFF RaFF, it could go both ways.  At his worst he’s a continuation of LMFAO’s brand of grating party-rap.  At his best he’s a guy with an ear for a cool beat that will get stuck in your head for days on end, never trying to overshadow his more skilled cohorts on a track.  The route taken will probably depend on whether or not he manages to keep working with respected producers and emcees who are grounded firmly in rap’s vibrant underground scene or if some major label decides to seriously cash in on his pop potential and pairs him with a supporting cast that completely disconnects him his hop-hop roots.  If that happens you’ll be glad to revisit his current output so you might as well enjoy it now.

Shyne – Gangland – 8.3/10

Shyne - Gangland MixtapeWhat landed Jamal Barrow in jail could easily have been another ‘when keeping if real goes wrong’ sketch on the Chappelle’s Show. Everybody knows the backstory. No need to dwell on it too much: young kid gets thrust into the limelight and has to run with the ball after the untimely passing of the late great Christopher Wallace. He’s the biggest star on arguably the biggest hip-hop label at the time, Bad Boy Records, with the best in-house production team in the industry. How could this possibly go wrong? One nightclub shooting later, the next big thing ends up doing a ten year bid. Take that, take that.

It seemed that his legacy would be confined to two solid and highly underrated albums, his self-titled debut and ‘Godfather buried alive’. And his life could be summed up with a Bill Duke line from Menace II Society: “you know you done fucked up, right?”

Against all odds, all the drama ends up seeming as a mere prelude to Shyne’s actual recording career. After the jail time, converting to Judaism while incarcerated and getting deported to Belize upon release, Shyne aka Moses Levi releases the Gangland mixtape. Truth be told my expectations weren’t high for this one since he’d been deprived of The Hitmen’s production genius and at first glance didn’t sound like the nimble 21 year old rapper that exploded on the scene more than a decade ago. Gangland is a monster of a record through, to the point you actually feel like you’re doing it a disservice calling it a mere mixtape. Shyne comes across as the last real rapper alive of the course of the album’s 18 tracks and as a refreshing alternative to rap’s current batch of manufactured drug Kingpins, personified by the omnipresent Rick Ross.

Shyne’s fluidity on the mic has been replaced by a slower, hoarse flow and he’s trying to come to terms with the fact that he’s lost nearly ten years of his life. As such Gangland might not be a demonstration of skill, dude’s lost a step over the course of the last decade from a mere technical standpoint, but it does make for an utterly compelling record as a more contemplative Shyne emerged after all the trials and tribulations. At times he sounds bitter, other moments remorseful but always brutally honest. There’s no glorification of crime or his past actions. There are no excuses being made, shit happens. Gangland is a headphone masterpiece, one of those instances where a rapper’s words carry so much weight that they transcend nearly all of his limitations as an artist. Don’t get it twisted, Shyne is still a gifted rapper and gets to ride some gritty and bleak soundscapes as he takes you with him through his personal purgatory. There’s none of the gloss of his debut album and only a few nods to current trends, with some Lex Luger style drum programming and synths thrown in the mix. For the most part it’s that vintage boom-bap, Nuevo York aesthetic that’ll keep your head bopping throughout.

He’ll probably never be a household name again but if this tape is any indication he’s going to end up being one of rap’s brightest stars, on his own terms. The King of New York is back.

Recommended: You’re welcome, Meyer Lansky, King Judah, King David


Chamillionaire – Mixtape Messiah 3

Chamillionaire - Mixtape Messiah 3In the wake of his sophomore album (“Ultimate Victory”), Chamillionaire has decided to release the third installment in his popular mixtape series for free.The mixtape boasts 22 tracks, featuring Chamillionaire rapping over a number of new instrumentals, while addressing haters and those doubting him.


1.) Get Ya Burners Out

This opening track is an undeniable banger in every aspect. Over a very dark instrumental, Chamillionaire croons the hook, and even has some choice words for 50 Cent (who has recently quoted in saying that Chamillionaire doesn’t sell records). Great track, featuring Cham aggressively rapping, while calmly performing the hook.

2.) Money Already Made

Speaking of 50 Cent, Chamillionaire cleverly takes his new single “I Get Money” and flips it to “Money Already Made”. While many rappers are finding themselves on remixes of this track (Cassidy, etc.), it’s clear that Chamillionaire pulls it off best. An impecable flow, complimented by Cham’s punchlines (“Earing as bright as the top of a yellow candle/Try to grab that, you get hit with the metal handle”). Great song.

3.) Get On My Level

Once again, Chamillionaire’s ability to take your favorite song, and make it that much better, is painfully obvious. Fabolous’s “Make Me Better” gets the treatment here, as Cham works the beat, telling haters to ‘get on his level.’ Slabs, candy paint, and money are the main theme here, making for another good track, with Cham showcasing his ability to shine.

4.) Living Good

A more uptempo track, Chamillionaire addresses the doubters with a series of punchlines (“Shouldn’t want to hate on me, you could trust you don’t want that/Cause I used to the punch clock, now I just punch cats”), making for another good track. Although the hook is simple, Cham’s delivery once again is as hard as ever.

5.) It’s Just Pain

After the previous track, Cham mellows out and reworks the “Renegade” beat, crafting a deep track; possibly fit for one of his albums. Although the track clocks in at just over two and a half minutes, Chamillionaire’s delivery is once again flawless, making for one of the album’s best songs.

6.) The Call

This “song” features Chamillionaire literally calling God, letting him know all the drama that comes with rap game. It ends with God hanging up on him, and Cham back on the grind.

7.) Nothin But Lies

Kanye West’s new single is the next instrumental to be destroyed by Chamillionaire. Punchlines and clever lines are once again present (“If I lost 10 million, I’d shrivel into a baller”), and the hook is once again written very well, with Cham remixing the song better than the original.

8.) Ima Playa Fasho

My personal favorite on the album (mixtape), this song features Chamillionaire spittin’ over UGK’s “International Players Anthem”. Cham starts off the track paying homage to Outkast’s ‘Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik”, complete with a very strong hook. His hookwriting skills haven’t faultered at all, with this track being the prime example. Definatley a great track, and proves why Chamillionaire should be mentioned in top 5 in the game (currently).

9.) Roy Woods Jr. (Skit)

Pointless skit (mixape filler) clocking in at a staggering 2 minutes. Skip it.

10.) Failures Not An Option

T.I.’s “Big Shit Poppin” gets the work here, with Chamillionaire cleverly reworking the hook. His flow is once again on point, as he discusses the hustle that got him to the top in the first place. Although the song is fairly short, it is a mixtape track, and should be looked at as just that. Good song.

11.) Got A Lot Of Options

Next up is Trick Daddy’s “Tuck Ya Ice”, and Chamillionaire once again provides another great remake. This track features Cham briefly abandoning his aggressive flow, to croon the beat with his Houston swag. While not the most noticable track on the album, this is a cut above anything released this year. The hook is also performed exceptionally well here.

12.) See It In My Eyes

This track is Houston all the way through. Over sluggish, southern production, Chamillionaire’s punchlines are in top form (“I drop a mixtape and they party like it’s they b-day/They disc jockin, so Ima call ’em DJ’s”). Great track for the southern heads, featuring another great hook, and old school sample blended perfectly with the beat.

13.) Don’t Hurt Em Hammer

A multilayered chorus is provided, as Cham expresses his problems with the rap game. Over a bouncing instrumental, Cham creatively describes his love for hip hop, but how most are trying to exploit and make a quick buck off it. Hip hop in it’s purest form.

14.) Roy Woods Jr. (Skit)

Another skit revolving around this guy wanting his “Hammer’s Greatest Hits” CD. Skip it.

15.) It’s On

Chances are if you’re up to date with hip hop, you’ll recognize this beat. “Wipe Me Down” gets the Chamillionaire treatment (here remade as “It’s On”) and doesn’t dissapoint in the least. If you originally hated this track because of Lil Boosie, you’ll love it now. Chamillionaire’s flow is impecable, and his punchlines are on point. Not dissapointing in the least, with Chamillionaire continuing to prove why he deserves to be mentioned with the best.

16.) You A Dummy

To give Lil Wayne a run for his money is one thing; but outrapping him on his own beat is another. Chamillionaire does just that, and with ease. Detailing how he went from rags to riches, Cham uses this track to shout out everybody he’s cool with, and his sudden rise to the top. Yet another great song, with Chamillionaire’s hook writing skills shining again.

17.) Chamillionaire Speaks

Continuing from the last song, Chamillionaire takes the time to shoutout all the haters that doubted him in the past. Nothing but an interlude, although it’s entertaining.

18.) Mo Scrilla

Young Jeezy’s “Go Getta” is the instrumental provided, and while Cham shines throughout the song; it’s one song that doesn’t stand out. The hook is great, but Lil Wayne’s remake is clearly better. Only listen if you can’t get enough of Chamillionaire’s crooning.

19.) The Crowd Goes Wild

Great track from start to finish. Polishing up David Banner’s “9mm”, Cham cleverly flips the whole concept of the original, and dedicates this one to his recent success, and how everybody wants to or should want to, get a feature from the best rapper in the game – Chamillionaire.

20.) Makes Me Stronger

This instrumental is a tough one. Kanye West’s “Stronger” features an odd choice for a sample, but works it perfectly. Chamillionaire, fortunatley for his audience, does too (if not better). Showing that no one beat is too ‘out there’ for him to use, Cham keeps the hook simple, and gives his listeners something to think about (“If hip hop is dead, then I say…/That I escaped Deathrow like I’m Dre”). Great track, and will suprise most.

21.) Chamillionaire Speaks

Picking up from the last album, Chamillionaire drops some more knowledge, re-assuring critics that Houston’s reign is nowhere close to being over. Good interlude.

22.) Rain feat. Famous

The only song featuring a guest rapper, this track is possibly the only dissapointment on the mixtape. Chamillionaire flawlessy provides the hook, but Famous is nothing special on the mic.

So, before Chamillionaire drops “Ultimate Victory”, he shows his dedication to his fans by dropping this summer gem to keep them content for the next two months. Unfortunately, also, for the state of hip hop, this release is (questionably) the best mixtape release of 2007. Keeping it simple, and staying true to your roots, have catapaulted Chamillionaire into the spotlight; and rightfully so. Hopefully “Ultimate Victory” will live up to the high expectations this mixtape has set.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Lloyd Banks – Mo Money In The Bank Pt. 5

Lloyd Banks - Mo Money In The Bank Pt. 5Mixtapes aren’t usually worth reviewing. However, when you’re arguably rap’s punchline king, and have recieved awards based on the fact mixtapes is part of what you do, compromises can be made. Lloyd Banks second LP (“Rotten Apple”) lacked the commercial success of his debut, but if there’s one thing Banks has proven, it’s that his gritty lyricism and punchlines have remained in tact. This is the last installment of his “Mo Money In The Bank” series, and features countless freestyles over popular instrumentals.

1.) Kill A NY Cop (Intro): Nothing more then an intro, this features the beginning of a New Line movie, followed by countless cops feeling the wrath of the streets.

2.) Almighty U.N.I.T.: Over a smooth bassline, Bank’s catchy hook, and smooth delivery make this track noteworthy. Punchlines still in tact (“Think of a sliced diamond/that’s kind of how I’m shinin”), this is a good opening track for the mixtape.

3.) Showtime (The Game’s Over): To say that exiled G-Unit member The Game has been attacking his former crew, is an understatement. This is Bank’s retaliation track. Clocking in at just over 3 minutes, Banks’ diss features memorable lines (“The hood made him cover up the butterfly/Now Ima make ya cover up the other eye/Cause you ain’t never merked nothin, that’s another lie/Nigga don’t make me hum you a lullaby”), the beat lacks the power of a great diss track. However, most fans will be pleased to see Banks go back at The Game. Good track.

4.) Time To Chill: This beat is very old school, and while Bank’s delivery is great, the hook and actual song is boring. Decent song at best; otherwise skip it.

5.) Eminem Speaks (Interlude): A radio conversation of Eminem biggin’ up Lloyd Banks, and hailing him as the “punchline king”.

6.) Reppin Time: Taking Dipset’s “Reppin Time” beat, Banks tries his flow over a Southern instrumental. Point being, that Banks is flawless on this song. However, the only drawback is that Banks doesn’t usually do southern beats, and his fans might not like the new sound.

7.) NY NY: A very different type of track, Lloyd Banks declares his love for the Rotten Apple over this very solumn and depressing beat. Great track with clever lines reminscent of his old days.

8.) Get Yo Guns: Over a bouncing Dre-inspired beat, Banks’ “Get Yo Guns” is only a minute and a half long, but bangs hard enough to be put on repeat with above average lines (“I grind hard, and shine like Ferrari lights”).

9.) On My Hip: Banks again switches up the flow and remakes Rich Boy’s breakthrough hit “Throw Some D’s”. Banks adapts once again, cleverly remaking the hook, and flowing smoothly over Polow Da Don’s smooth production. The only drawback is Bank’s lazy flow over a more upbeat track.

10.) Mary Jane: This song is only a minute and a half long, and is unfortunately boring, without any memorable punchlines, verses, or hooks. Nothing more then Bank’s half assed dedication to the chronic. Average at best.

11.) Body Erasers Skit: Typical mixtape filler skit…Skip it.

12.) Show Discipline feat. Tony Yayo: This is more of an album track. Great track in every aspect, with Bank’s reworking Cormega’s “American Beauty” bassline, with more uptempo drum kits. Classic lines like “I’m lightning on the tracks, like Tyson on the mat” make for a superb song. Even Yayo holds his own. Don’t skip.

13.) What Y’all Wanna Do: Lloyd Banks comes up short on this one. After the last track, this is a dissapointment. While the beat is on point, Bank’s subject matter (jewelry, TV’s, etc.) is a little played out. Listen only if you need to own everything Bank’s puts his name on.

14.) Ride Slow: A rework of Kanye West’s “Drive Slow”, Bank’s flow is at an all time high. While the theme and concept hasn’t changed (diamonds, fresh fits, and cars), Bank’s lyrics work perfectly (“I’m a trendsetter, sittin on Benz leather/You know the 10 letters – Lloyd Banks, nigga”). Great song.

15.) The Flow: “The Flow” is more of an upbeat track, with Bank’s attacking the beat like he should’ve on “Rotten Apple”. While not packing hte punch of any of the tracks on “Hunger For More”, this short (but inspired) track is hopefully a sign of things to come. Good song.

16.) Black Superman feat. Tony Yayo: This song features G-Unit’s original members explaining while they are no “Captain Save-a-hoe”. The beat is on some West Coast tip, and while Bank’s rides out, Yayo’s voice and energy doesn’t work well with this track. Skip Yayo’s part, and you’re good to go.

17.) Help: Featured on Bank’s “Rotten Apple”, this is the 2nd single (also a video), and was just thrown on the mixtape for promotion and good measure. Check out my review of “Rotten Apple” if you want to know more about this track.

18.) Clipz: These are the songs Bank’s works the best over. A remake of The Clipse’s “Mr. Me Too”, Bank’s smoothly croons the instrumental at just over a minute, with a smooth delivery and a swagger matched by none. Good mixtape track, and more of what I expected from Banks.

19.) Make A Move: Also featured on Bank’s “Rotten Apple”, this track is an upbeat instrumental featuring live drums. Great track, up and down. Check the “Rotten Apple” review for more on this song.

20.) Born & Raised: Lloyd Banks closes out the mixtape on another southern beat. This time it’s Trick Daddy’s “Born & Raised”, and Banks re-does the hook to his favor, because he’s certainly not from the county of Dade. He reworks the song perfectly however, and is a suprise to most listeners as Banks chooses to work southern instrumentals. This song would only work better if it were a little bit longer.

So in conclusion, Banks “Mo Money In The Bank Pt. 5” is a somewhere in between his other releases. While lacking the punch of “Money In The Bank”, but noticabley better then “Mo Money In The Bank Pt. 3”, this is an average release. I, personally, expected more out of hearing “Mo Money In The Bank Pt. 4” at the beginning of 2006. Unfortunatley this is the last chapter, and proves that before Banks drops his 3rd solo effort, that he needs to polish his beat selection and energy.

Overall Rating: 3/5

Tha Realest – Witness Tha Realest Mixtape

Tha Realest - Witness Tha Realest MixtapeTha Realest’s name is synonamous with ‘Pac biting. Ever since his debut in 1997 on the “Gang Related Soundtrack”, Tha Realest’s style, demeanor, and even tattoos and looks have been 2Pac related. Ironically signed to Deathrow Records for 5 years, Tha Realest made his name known nationally appearing on compilations like “The Chronic 2000” and “Too Gangsta 4 Radio”. However, after being shelved like everyone else on Tha Row, Tha Realest left after his contract expired in late 2001. Serving up the prequel to his national debut “Witness Tha Realest”, Tha Realest offers the mixtape (of the same title), which features renowned artists C-Bo, Kurupt, WC, Roscoe, Dru Down, and Devin The Dude.

1.) Street Lyfe feat. C-Bo, Jewell: A smooth piano loop is laced, as C-Bo serves up one his best verses in a while. Tha Realest follows (although a little off beat) with a good 16, while Jewell sings another beautiful hook. Good track.

2.) Tha Pressure’z Of Man feat. Crooked I: After garnering attention with their successful collaboration ‘Drunk Driving In My Glass House’, Crooked & Tha Realest return with this hard hitting track. Crooked I clearly steals the show, though, with his delivery, and equally impressive lyrics. Great collaboration.

3.) Everyday feat. 6’9: A laid back track, Tha Realest bounces over this smooth instrumental, with introspective lyrics, and deep message. Great track, and could’ve easily been used for his debut. Solid production, a smooth hook, and Tha Realest’s surprisingly deep topics make for a good track.

4.) The Life feat. WC, A-Bo, LBG: CLEARLY the best track on the album. This is the West Coast at it’s best. Featuring Westside legend – WC, Tha Realest serves up his best verse in a long time. After nearly 4 minutes of LBG, A-Bo, and WC tearing it up, Tha Realest comes with a noticable flow, very reminiscent of ‘Pac in his prime. Great track, and without a doubt, the best on the mixtape.

5.) That Don’t Make U My Gurl: East Coast production don’t suit Tha Realest; point blank. Southern beats and West Coast instrumental are what he needs to stick to, and this is a prime example. Over a soulful sample, Tha Realest tries his best to detail his struggle with women getting attached. Not a good look. Skip this one.

6.) R We Really Homiez feat. A-Bo: A-Bo guests again, and doesn’t dissapoint. Similar subject matter for Tha Realest, as they go back and forth over another smooth sample. Fake friends is the subject here, and while Tha Realest’s lyrics could use an upgrade, it still makes for a decent track.

7.) Nigga What: The first real southern-themed track, features Tha Realest in his purest form. While the hook is definatley as generic as it gets, Tha Realest rides the beat perfectly, making for a suprisingly great track. “Quicker then your average, a West Coast savage” is about as good as it gets.

8.) This Dream feat. A-Bo: Another deep track (to balance the mixtape out), features A-Bo once again. This, however, is obviously the deepest song on the entire mixtape. Over a dark instrumental complete with violin chords, Tha Realest pours his heart into this one. Good song.

9.) Ridin feat. LBG, Bonecrusher: This is yet another attempt at an East Coast crossover. While Bonecrusher rides the beat perfectly, and doesn’t dissapoint in the least, Tha Realest shows once again, while his style’s just not suited for NY flavored hip hop. Decent track, for Bonecrusher’s feature alone.

10.) Hoez’z Iz Trouble feat. A-Bo, Gonzoe, Finesse, Dirty Black, WC: A Regime rollcall (minus Yukmouth), features the Bay Area based group trading stories on troubling hoes. Smooth instrumental, plus good features from each artist make for a noteworthy track.

11.) Thug’n In Tha Summatyme: Great, great, West Coast summertime track. Featuring Nate Dogg-soundalike, Boskoe, Tha Realest rides this Westside banger smoothly. Zapp effects are used here, demonstrating Tha Realest can switch up the subject matter, and make a smooth, ride out song. Perfect for the BBQ’s.

12.) Why Iz Tha World So Bad: Despite the fact most of his song titles are a little too much like ‘Pac’s, Tha Realest serves up another above average track. As he questions why the world is so bad, the beat manages to save the song.

13.) ***** U If U Lonely feat. Tha Gotti Boyz: More of an R&B track catering to the ladies that are lonely. Tha Realest doesn’t care, cause he’s gonna ***** you either way. Good song, as I think most listener’s wouldn’t expect a more laid back cut like this.

14) Sumthin Like A Pimp feat. Devin The Dude, Dru Down: Although billed as the first single for “Witness Tha Realest” back in 2005, this song has been shelved for the mixtape, as a long 2 years has gone by. Never the less, this is cleary Dru Down’s song as his macadoshis flavor completes the track, and only features one verse from Tha Realest. Good song for Dru, only.

15.) 2 Live & Die 4 Tha Westside feat. Kurupt, Roscoe: Featuring D.P.G. brothers, Tha Realest ends the mixtape with another track similar to Tupac. In full blown war-mode, Tha Realest, Roscoe, and Kurupt correctly represent their coast to the fullest with this banger. Great way to end the album.

In conclusion, if you can’t get past the fact this guy sounds like Tupac, and you hate him for “biting” or “swagger jacking”, there is no point in even listening to him. But if you appreciate the music he actually makes as an artist (similar to ‘Pac or not), then peep this mixtape, as it is a very good apetizer to what his national debut could be. Hopefully all the years on the independent scene will pay off, and the world will finally be prepared to “Witness Tha Realest”.

Overall Rating: 3.8/5

O.F.T.B. – The Missing DR Files

O.F.T.B. - The Missing DR FilesWith the recent release of Deathrow’s catelogue, many fans have wondered what happened to former inmate’s albums that never saw the light of day (Danny Boy, Tha Realest, Top Dogg, J-Flexx, etc.). O.F.T.B. easily fits that category, as they were around when Tha Row was the reigning label in rap. 1996 saw the completion of their album (here titled “The Missing DR Files”), which featured the likes of Tupac, Kadafi, Kurupt, Snoop Dogg, and MC Hammer. Released in 2007, this is definatley regarded as a highly anticipated album.


1.) Intro: O.F.T.B. talking on the phone, excited over the recent addition of their lost Deathrow tracks.

2.) Better Dayz (96 Original) feat. 2Pac, Big Syke: Despite what people think, this is the original version of Tupac’s track “Better Dayz”. O.F.T.B. and Big Syke, both spit great verses. Syke’s verse is especially relaxing, featuring Tupac’s depth. Great song.

3.) That Was Then, This Is Now feat. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt: Very uptempo track, reminiscent of “Tha Doggfather.” A very funky sample is flipped for the O.F.T.B. and Tha Dogg Pound to get busy to. Vintage Deathrow track, perfectly capturing the 96 flava, they brought to the game.

4.) I Come Up Hard: Despite the title, this track is very relaxing. Featuring a ver melodic bassline, this is O.F.T.B. in another form. Detailing their come up, O.F.T.B. paints a portrait of the struggle of Watts in the late 80s/early 90s. Also featuring an unknown singer, this track is fairly above average.

5.) World Wide feat. 2Pac, Kadafi, Kurupt: Commonly referred to as “Time After Time”, this is the first time this track was released in CDQ. Everybody comes correct here, making for a perfect track. Tupac’s extremely menacing verse, works well with Kurupt’s hook, and Kadafi’s complimentary verse. O.F.T.B. do another great job.

6.) Check Ya Hood feat. Jewell: This song was actually released in ’96, complete with a video. Very, very mellow beat, suit Jewell’s melodic hook perfectly. O.F.T.B. details another come up in the ghetto. Great track overall, and really starts to let you see what O.F.T.B. could’ve been if marketed correct.

7.) I Trust Nobody feat. Street Damage: Decent track. “I Trust Nobody” has a very hardcore beat, but O.F.T.B. doesn’t do it quite the justice it deserves. Street Damage is dissapointing, and O.F.T.B. could’ve came a lot harder. The lackluster hook really drags the song down. Average at best.

8.) Still A Mystery To Me feat. Outlawz, Kurupt: Easily the best song on the album. This is a very heartfelt tribute, and possibly the most authentic song O.F.T.B. has every produced. Taking place between Tupac and Kadafi’s death, this beat has very smooth piano chords, featuring all the Outlawz and O.F.T.B. reminiscing about their lost soldiers. Best track on the album, and definatley recommended to any Deathrow fan, or hip hop fan in general.

10.) Project Kids feat. The Nickerson Garden Project Kids: A different kind of concept, featuring O.F.T.B.’s project homies. Vintage west coast beat, but a very hard song to really appreciate. Basic lyrics from 11 year olds, drag this song down, with a wack hook. Skip it.

11.) I’m On One: Another relaxing track. Listening to the first 20 seconds of the song, you’d think it was a Bone Thugs track. O.F.T.B.’s hook is exceptional here, as they deliver very hard lyrics. Great song, and definatley a stand out track on the album.

12.) Ladies Night feat. 6 Feet Deep: Another Deathrow group that never released an album, 6 Feet Deep lace a smooth hook over a great beat. This album, after listening to the majority of the tracks, has a very relaxing party vibe. This track is no exception, featuring O.F.T.B. putting a “gangsta twist” to another good track.

13.) Doin It At The Spot feat. Big Pimpin’: Wack song, overall. This track starts off with a porno skit, and is O.F.T.B.’s attempt at a ***** song. While the beat (like most of the album) is on point, and is very mellow, the song’s theme and concept is recycled (although it probably wasn’t when this was made), and ends up dragging the album’s credibility down.

14.) Lost Souls: An Eddie Kendricks sound-a-like is used on this track, about Lost Souls. Great track overall though. The bouncing funk of the beat, and O.F.T.B.’s flow is impecible. G-Funk at it’s finest, as this proves to be another reminder and reason of why Deathrow was on top of the game back in 96.

15.) Sooner Or Later: A deep, thought out song, about fate and how sooner or later, the good life will fall into their favor. While O.F.T.B.’s lyrics take a step back on this one, the beat is another testament to the superb production laced on this album. Good song none the less, but fails to stand out among other gems on the disc.

16.) So Long feat. MC Hammer: The perfect way to close out the album, and my personal favorite track. This song, is easily on par with “Still A Mystery To Me”, if not better. Featuring a surprise feature from MC Hammer (a Deathrow artist at the time), O.F.T.B. laces this beat with mournful lyrics dedicated to the lost homies dead from gang affiliation. The hook is the real gem on the song, and is a long, smooth way to close out this album, as you can’t help but to think about ‘Pac when listening of this track, and the atmosphere at Deathrow at the time.

Overall, this album is a very good effort. While O.F.T.B. may never have the lyrics of Kurupt, or the charisma of Tupac, they proved to be a very good group, while on Tha Row. Although released 10 years after its initial completion, this proves to be a West Coast classic. Hopefully more unreleased Deathrow material, from other artists, and O.F.T.B. will continued to be released in the future.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

One-2 – New Day, New Money Mixtape

One-2 - New Day, New Money Mixtape1. The Return(Intro)
The beat is nice & bouncy, with some decent accordion sounds thrown in. One-2 does a pretty good job, and sounds really polished. With many mixtapes, you hear people fumbling their lines, and rapping off beat. That doesn’t happen here. Also, it’s nice to actually hear someone not waste an intro. So many people tend to waste disc space by putting painfully unfunny skits, or just introducing themselves in a vague manner. Good track. Good.

2. New Day, New Money
The beat is cheap sounding, and lifeless. But, One-2 is talented enough to do something worthwhile with it. I mean, it’s nice to hear someone motivated enough to rap over a beat so bland. Average.

3. Shoot To Kill(Feat Crooked I)
One-2 decides to diss backpackers, and people who are too uninspired to bring the West back. Nicely done. Crooked I just sort of sleep walks through his verse, but does so in a manner that it’s actually better than some inspired material. That is talent, my friend. One-2 does a good job. This is pretty much a “Yea! The West rules! We are here to stay!” type track, and that’s not really a bad thing. Good.

4. Guess Who?
The violin laced beat is so sappy, that I’m expecting a lumberjack to come plowing through my wall, and telling me he’s “Nonplussed”. Oh well, atleast it’s short. Wack

5. Get It Jumpin
Ok, now this is a good beat. Nice, bouncy, and it fits the tone. One-2 should just stick to these type of tracks, because he has the energy to really perfect this kind of style. Leave the sappy stuff to emo rappers, who haven’t gotten their Paxil filled. Good stuff. Good

6. Message From The Middleclass
Reggae flavor is added to this track, and it’s not that bad. This is your standard “Fight for your right!” type track, and that’s not really a bad thing. Average.

7. Work Hard(Feat Quiz)
Quiz is pretty good, and this bouncy, piano type beat is pretty good. Simple chorus, but it fits, and doesn’t end up sounding awkward. One-2 does a pretty good job as well. Good.

8. Fly Away(Feat K-Young)
Nice slow paced type beat. This track is about getting away from the world for a moment. Good chorus. Good.

9. Grand That Pole
I’ll give you a hint to what this track is about. ….Anything yet? Anyway, this is your standard “We screw women, we watch strippers, and we are cool” type track. You know, this type of subject matter is a dime a dozen, and if you can’t make it sound interesting, then why even bother? Don’t waste the listeners time with this type of stuff. Wack.

10. 120 Bars Of Fire
Pretty decent southern crunk style beat. One-2 does a pretty good job rapping over it. See, this is good for a mixtape, unlike the last track. Good track. Good.

11. Casanova(Feat Romeo From DNR)
This is pretty much another “Hey, I like to screw all kinds of women. I’m also the man because of it. Yea, I’m pretty cool”. The chorus consists of bad singing. Yea, this isn’t that good. Wack.

12. Good Girl Pt 1
Ok, so now you want to find a good girl? Didn’t you just make a track about screwing every girl in town? This isn’t good, and just sort of a slap in the face to the listener. Wack.

13. Get Ya Guard Up(Feat Human)
Human may be the greatest rap name ever. Maybe not on par with “Mr. Dog”, but close enough. I want to name myself “MC Person”. Is that name taken yet? Oh, right, the track. It’s a crunk, party type, and it’s pretty average stuff. Average.

14. Hector The Hook
I was expecting a pirate type of track, but it didn’t come to pass. I am left feeling a little empty inside because of it. Nice fast(Mixed with some slow elements) paced Chi-Town beat. Really good track, and One-2 does a pretty good job storytelling here. Good stuff. Good.

15. What The Deal Is(Feat Das From I-15)
Bad mixture of West & South here. Other than that? Nothing much. You have a chorus consisting of lifeless singing, and even more lifeless rapping. I don’t like it when rappers act like rapping is a chore rather than something they’re interested in. These type of tracks just scream “Let’s get this over with”, and if that’s the case, then why should I even bother listening? Wack.

16. Good Girl Gone Wild Pt 2
Oh, this is the much anticipated sequel. One-2 raps in such a way, that the stench of machismo is noticeable, and about as subtle as a guy yelling “I’M HUNGRY!”. This was just not that good, and I don’t want to hear a part 3. Wack.

17. Meet Me At The Gates
This samples Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven”, and it’s actually somewhat refreshing to hear. I have to applaud him for rapping over it. Emotional track, and it’s actually pretty good. Good.

18. Jewel City(Feat Komplex & WordsWrath)
I’m losing patience with this mixtape. Standard track, that sounds like he found the beat in Scott Storch’s garbage. I mean, the rapping isn’t bad, but is there any hint of originality? Average.

19. My Life(Feat Charon & Aryn)
Pretty good track about One-2’s life. See, this was a well done track, and it was honest. Nice way to end the album. Good.

Ok, this mixtape was about 7 songs too long. This was long, tedious, and felt like a chore for not only the rapper, but for the producers and guests. I’m giving this an Average rating. One-2 has promise, but him trying to be like every other rapper is tiresome.

Sense Wondah – Year Of The Wondah Mixtape

Sense Wondah - Year Of The Wondah Mixtape1. Intro(Feat Artifakt, Stryke, & DJ Spyncere)

Intro, but it’s pretty funny.

2. Death Certificate

Wow, this is really good. Nice Premo-ish beat. SenseWondah is great, he sounds like he’d fit in with the East Coast elite. Real sharp sounding rapper here, complete with really good lyrics and good wordplay. Great track. Good

3. Year Of The Wondah(Feat Artifakt)

They use the El Presidente beat and I applaud them for that(I love that beat). Wondah & Artifakt trade verses and really work well together. Artifakt rips this track to pieces, but Wondah does his best to keep up. This is insane. DOPE!

4. Beginning

Slower paced track here, but it works. Wondah rips the track here and proves that he’s ready for the big time. Wondah raps about damn near everything on this track from growing up to snakes. He does this in 2 minutes. Wondah doesn’t like to waste time and for that I applaud him. Good

5. Circles

This is a nice conspiracy-heavy track. Like a Non Phixion track only with one guy instead of 3. Wondah does a good job here, he keeps my interest and spits some good stuff. Good

6. Sense, Baby!

Wow, this is what rap is all about. Great beat and a guy giving it his all. You can’t really ask for more in a track. This reminds me of those old Eastcoast tracks where rappers would buy a Premo beat and try their best at making a great lyrical track. Wondah has no problem spitting dope lyrics. Great track. DOPE!

7. Straight Jacket Rap Shit

Eerie beat here, really dope stuff(Yes I know it’s a mixtape and it’s likely a previously used beat). I was worried about this track, I thought it’d be some weak attempt at Horrorcore, but I *thankfully* was wrong. Nice well thought out lyrics, too short to be anything great but it was good. Good

8. Art Of Wondah

Premo beat here, great stuff. Wondah sounds like a star here. Nice mix of charisma and lyrics. Good

9. Pardon Me

Pretty much an ego driven track. Nothing wrong with that. I like how Wondah’s all “Yea I’m trying to earn a buck, who the ***** are you?”. Great stuff. Good

10. Elevation(Feat Artifakt)

They use the Drugs(LiL Kim) beat here. You know, I’ve always liked that track, Kim did a decent job on there and Biggie ruled the chorus. I’m getting off track here. Wondah starts things off with a vicious verse. Nice chorus, it’s not simple but it’s not really complicated. Artifakt is another star, the guy is really good. I am digging this. DOPE!

11. Feel It(Feat Stryke)

Slower paced beat here, but that doesn’t stop anyone here. Wondah starts it off with a good verse. Stryke rips the track here, he sounds like Prospect(From Terror Squad) and that’s not a bad thing. Great track. Good

12. Napolean Dynamite

BEST TRACK ON THE ALBUM! Man, I am digging the beat a lot and it was made for Wondah. Nice jazz-heavy beat here(Nice is an understatement). Wondah just kills it here, man this guy is READY! DOPE!

13. All In To It(Feat Artifakt)

We take a totally different turn here. Still great stuff from the All Business crew(Who are really impressing me). Wondah starts things off and is all “Yea I just did that great Napolean Dynamite track, and I’ll make this one a great as well”. Artifakt and him sort of do the “I’ll do a verse then you do one”. Great stuff as usual. Good

14. Monkey Wrenches

Nice bouncy beat here. Wondah raps about Hip Hop and how it’s not all just a cash game. Good stuff here. Good

15. Channel 300

Nice beat here. Wondah does a great job rapping over this beat. Good

16. My Life

Wondah raps over the “My Life(Styles & Monch)” beat. I love that beat and Monch ruled all on that chorus. Ok, back on track. Wondah raps about how music is his life and how he has made it through the pain and strife. Nice stuff. I like the chorus, it gives a good look into Wondah’s life. Wondah’s second verse is about his life and how he struggled. Great stuff. Good

17. Airwaves

Weird beat here, I like it though. Wondah does a good job rapping over this(It would seem hard to rap over something like this, but Wondah does a great job). Really good track. Good

18. He Hungry

Piano heavy beat here mixed with some song samples. Good stuff and Wondah rips it to pieces. This was about a minute so I can’t really give it much of a rating, but I will anyway. Good

19. Sign Of The Times(Acapella)

Wondah’s charisma can do this kind of thing. Some rappers really can’t pull off something like this. Good stuff. Good

20. The Wondah Years

Wow, was this recorded low. Good way to end the mixtape though. Good

All in all this gets a Good rating. Wondah is a star and is a natural. One of the best mixtapes I have ever heard(And no that’s not hyperbole). Great lyrics, great features, and great beat choices. Man Napolean Dynamite is one great track. Go to Allbusinessrecords.com and BUY THIS NOW!

DJ Green Lantern – Invasion Part 2: Conspiracy Theory

DJ Green Lantern - Invasion Part 2: Conspiracy TheoryIn the long running beef between the Shady and Murder Inc. camps, the Shady records artists responded on this mixtape released shortly after Ja Rule released the track “Loose Change”.


1. Intro 

Just an introduction of Green Lantern to the Shady Records staff. Many samples, Shady and old school shit mixed together nicely.

2. The Conspiracy Freestyle – Eminem

A freestyle by Em responding to Benzino. An unbelievable flow over the beat. Nice little JMJ tribute in there too. Straight heat with many devastating blows. He mocks the Source with sarcasm of how he is ruining rap. “We ain’t trying to ruin rap, we’re just trying to weed it out”

3. Ja Rule Freestyle

A skit radio interlude mocking Ja Rule and the Source. Gives a clip of Ja Rule’s diss to Eminem where he calls himself the “Rap Jimmy Hoffa” but if he calls 50 a snitch, why compare himself to one of the most famous snitches ever?

4. Bump Heads – Eminem, 50 Cent, Tony Yayo, Lloyd Banks 

the beat to this track is just *****ing amazing. 50 Cent lays down a tight chorus right off the start. Em spits first and delivers blows that should have destroyed Ja’s confidence. “That X got him thinking he was DMX, then he switched to Pac, now he’s trying to be him next”, “you don’t really want to step inside no mic booth, you know the whiteboy will bite you”. Banks comes in with the hook to the track which is off the chains. Yayo’s verse is lyrically ill as hell with more blows to Ja and Irv. Lloyd Banks delivers with unmatched skill. One of the tightest tracks to drop in a long time.

5. Ja Rule Freestyle 

Why they would put this on the release? Possibly to rob the money Ja could get by releasing it, or more to show how pathetic Loose Change was? Yelling out California, calling Em a nigga, spelling Murder wrong, recycling Tha Realest raps are why this is just bunk, he does flow nice but as a battle track it doesn’t cut it. It ends off with the infamous quote of Ja Rule saying he is 2Pac returned.

6. Hail Mary -Eminem, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes 

First off, why people can’t understand the concept of this track is beyond me but here it is: Ja Rule thinks he is 2Pac and idolizes him as shown by the quote leading into the track. By redoing Hail Mary, it hits Ja where it hurts. Once the concept is understood, it is a nice track, of course it’s nothing like the original. Em flips the lines nicely to hurt Ja, 50 uses “Against All Odds” which is a mistake, he should have flipped it more, but it’s eerie how closely he mimicks Pac’s flow. Busta delivers a pretty sad verse but you can forgive the guy, he’s never been a battle rapper.

7. Doe Ray Me – Eminem, D12, Obie Trice

Em gets Hailie in this as a response to Ja Rule cutting her. Em just gives the chorus to the track but it’s catchy as hell. The beats are off the chains. D12 shows how lyrically skilled they actually are and they gives verses that just rip on Murder Inc. Obie Trice gives a killer appearance about Ja acting like he’s 2Pac. This track is another bonified hit.

8. Tony Yayo Freestyle C73

Yayo gives a freestyle over the phone from Riker’s Island acapella style. He gives some good disses to the Murder Inc roster and shouts out Eminem and the staff from jail. A nice freestyle. Free Yayo.

9. We All Die One Day – Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Obie Trice 

The beat to this track is *****ing unbelievably hard. How they can let production like this slide onto mixtapes is unbelievable to think what they are keeping behind. This track is off the hook, the chorus is catchy as *****. Obie starts is off with a tight rap with a killer flow. Banks and Yayo deliver unbelievably, then Eminem steps in with some of his lyrically illest shit in a long time. Killer track.

10. 2 Gunz Up – Jadakiss, Sheek, Styles P, J Hood 

The Lox reunite on this to give. The chorus is pretty annoying but the verses and production is tight as *****. The track is hard but the army theme needs to go. Besides that the track is crazy tight.

11. Keep Talkin – Eminem, D12 

Em and D12 get back on a track together and deliver a tight track. The chorus by Em is nice, the production doesn’t fail one bit. D12 drop lyrically ill verses. Excellent track.

12. Synopsis – Obie Trice 

The feel of the tape slows down with this track but the production is ill and Obie flows over the beat flawlessly. Hopefully they touch the track up and put it on Cheers. The track is tight.

13. 8 Miles – Obie Trice

Again Obie flows with dominance over the production of this beat. His lyrics are pretty tight. Like the last track you hope that he delivers shit like this on his debut album this summer.

14. Conspiracy Theory – P Diddy, Fat Joe 

The production on this is undeniably tight. The verses are nice on this shit. A good track for sure, the flows go nicely over the beats. Lantern flips and scratches nicely on this shit. Pretty good.

15. Guntalk – Notorious BIG, Cam’ron

Big’s famous verse from the freestyle he and 2Pac did years back in New York. After some initial mixing by Lantern the track starts and doesn’t disappoint one bit. The verse by BIG is already a classic so you know it’s tight. The beat doesn’t mix too well with the verse but it isn’t horrible.

16. Party Over Here – Rah Digga, Lloyd Banks

Banks shows on this he isn’t confined to a gangster style of track, he can deliver party tracks too. His verse is tight and Digga comes tight over the beat as well, showing why she’s one of the illest female rappers in the game right now.

17. Magic Stick – Lil Kim ft. 50 Cent 

This track is already a hit but they flip it and put it over Dre’s “***** You” beat and it’s almost way better than the original. 50 shows why he’s perfect with Aftermath, because he flows crazy tight over Dre production. Good track, Kim’s part is over a 50 Cent beat and it works nicely too.

18. What Goes Around – 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks 

A funky start to the track with some old 70’s sampling before the beat flips up and Banks steps in and flows nice over the production of this. This track should also one day be released on a full length solo album because it’s off the chains.

19. P.I.M.P Remix – 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg 

This track is already well known too, it’s a tight remix of 50’s P.I.M.P featuring who else but Snoop on the pimp shit. This shit is tight and makes you wonder why they ever had to make a remix, they should have just got Snoop on it to start with.

20. Jay Z Freestyle 

Hova freestyles over 50’s “If I Can’t”, and once again it’s flawless. If they ever make a remix of the track they need to put this verse on it because Jigga has the perfect style of the track.

21. Wrong – Kon Artist, Kuniva

The freestyle is over Freeway’s “Free” and to be honest, I think the D12 artists kill the beat better than Freeway did himself. The verses are mad tight and they have the perfect flow over the production.

22. Suck My Dick – Kon Artist 

The beat is a little slower for the album and it’s almost too loud over the vocals. The freestyle itself isn’t bad and the track is still average or more. It has some good lines too. “I wish Benzino got AIDS instead of Eazy E”

23. HOM Freestyle

Now this shit is ill. The production is tight, I can’t pinpoint where it’s from but the vocals go nice over the beat without a doubt. Nice freestyle.

24. F.T. Freestyle 

Another good track. The lyrics are actually pretty deep for a freestyle. The production is nice. It’s a good track to sit back and chill to when you want to think, shit that usually doesn’t happen with a freestyle. Nice.

25. Patiently Waiting Live – 50 Cent, Eminem 

Just a live performance of 50’s “Patiently Waiting” performed at State Theatre in Detroit. The track is and always has been ill. They sound dope live, so if you ever want to see them live, you can tell they won’t disappoint. Also includes one of my favourite lines off 50’s album. “You shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house/ and if you got a glass jaw you should watch your mouth/ cause I’ll break your face/” – hahaha.

Although this is a mixtape, I’m not sure if it’s just a slow year in rap but it’s already the best album released this year. The freestyles are flawless. The beats are off the hook. The purpose of lyrically tearing apart Murder Inc was accomplished. They showcased Shady Records and why they are running the rap game right now. They did everything a perfect mixtape would.

Album Rating: 4/5

Mixtape Rating: 5/5