Yancey Boys-ILLA J


The untimely death of J-dilla stunned and forever changed the hip-hop community.  J-dilla was known as one of the best producers of his genre, creating widely acclaimed hip-hop beats favored by many.  Mourning his loss, I've often wondered could anyone fill that void and bring somewhat of the same flavor, feel, and vibe to music in the manner in which he did.  The younger sibling of J-dilla, John Yancy, (Illa J) has emerged from the shadows to pay tribute to his brother by dedicating his life to making music.  With an arsenal of his brother's unreleased beats Illa J has been studio bound.  His projects flowed quickly as he entered the proverbial "can't miss zone."  The name of the studio rightly became the title of the finished album, Yancey Boys. Yancey Boys opens with "Timeless", a heartfelt rumination on Illa J's mindset as he plunged into the making of this immersive album: "It's time to turn that nothing into something." Twelve tracks later, the album closes with "Air Signs", Illa J's own meditation on his family's artistic traditions. Between these bold bookends is an album that will be considered one of hip-hop's great debut achievements. Yancey Boys, due out this November, will be preceded by the August release of Illa J's We Here" b/w "R U Listenin'?* (ILLA/Myspace).


Pro Tools-GZA

Guess who’s back after three years-the man himself, the Gza. The Gza returns with his new album titled Pro Tools.  I was so excited to get a copy of this album. I wanted to see if he could top or even come close to the last album The Grandmaster, which is a must have in your collection, a Wu-classic. After listening to Pro Tools, it makes me wonder how artists come up with the most ridiculous songs, like Chicken Noodle Soup, and get so much air play compared to legendary Wu member like The Gza. The world is backwards I tell you.

The Gza continues to master his craft, by delivering razor sharp lyrics and production, which is all so relevant in Pro Tools. With production done by Mathematic, True Master, Black Milk, Rza and affiliated Wu producers’; Pro Tools is laced with street hitting beats that can be heard miles away. Mentionable tracks are Pencil, Paper Plates (dis to g-unit), 7 Pound, Life as a movie and Columbian ties.  Anyone who has ever listened to Liquid Swords and Grandmaster, knows just how tight those albums were and will appreciate Pro Tools with near equality.



The Renaiassence-QTIP

Wow, being the hip hop junkie that I am, I cannot believe it took me 6 months after its release date, to finally sit down and listen to the most recent q-tip album titled "The Renaissance.” Stacked in a tower of unheard Cds, that resemble the leaning Tower of Pisa was the q-tip album, “The Renaissance,” just waiting to exhale.  From the start of the first track "Johnny's dead”, my head was nodding to the strum of guitar strings, piano melodies and abstract sounds that were so vibrant, they had my 5 watt computer speakers bumping like it was a PA system.   Nine years after his first solo album “Amplified”, “The Renaissance”  is a rebirth of classic mellow and love fixation joints. The album features a range of neo-soul artist, such as Raphael Saadiq, Norah Jones, and  De Angelo. Each artist compliments q-tip very well, by capturing and highlighting the essences of soulquarin’s vibe that made q-tip and Tribe Called Quest so prominent in hip hop.

With that being said, the album is definitely worth checking out. Actually, “The Renaissance” is totally worth buying, for those people who do not already have it. The album is twelve tracks long and I have not skipped over one yet.  However, I do have some favorites, like “Dancing on the glass", which q-tip spits acappella for about 30 seconds before the beat drops, and it drops hard. Another favorite , "Getting up", is a hot track from the lyrics, to the chords, down to the composing of the beat itself. It is a very inspirational song that will make anyone feel motivated to dance or just give a few head nods.

So for all you q-tips fans and those who are not fans yet, this album is worth having in the collection and has the stamp of approval to be Crate Worthy as well.


Dirty District Vol 3

Welcome to the “D”, the Dirty District that is, your Detroit favorites are back doing again for a third time. Volume 3, latest release from the dirty series, is filled with hot tracks from start to finish. The album features an array of artists from Black Milk, Dwele, Phat Kat, Frank N Dank, and collabs from Bishop Lamont to Planet Asia. Produce by Young RJ, the album is has it own distinctive feel, not only giving you those rugged  beats that Detroit is known for but also that Detroit soulfulness which has been a trademark for Motown since the days of Berry Gordy.  The RnB tracks are nice compliment to the album, showcases the wide range of raw talent that comes from the" D". So fellows, and ladies, if you all are looking for an album that’s going to make your head nod but also set  it off  with that special someone, then this is the album to get. It’s not called dirty district for nothing.


Popular Demand-Black Milk

When I heard the name Black Milk; I instantly thought, “who would drink black milk”, but came to realize they were referring to an artist. When I listened to Sounds from Detroit, I was like “Yo, those beats and lyrics are banging". I became an instant fan of his work and wanted to know about this guy called Black Milk. Come to find out he is a native of Detroit, and has been on the scene for several years now. He has worked with the late J-Dilla, has done production with Young RJ, produced beats for Slum Village, Frank n Drank, Phat Kat, and has worked with numerous artists in the industry. His choice of records and sampling reminds me of J-Dilla and how Dilla's music captivated the industry and streets with Detroit soulfulness. With the release of his second solo project, Popular Demand, the listener is treated to some hard hitting beats and charismatic lyrics from Black Milk. The album is definitely worth checking out with blazing hot joints like Sound the alarm; Say something, and Three+sum. After listening to this album, you will know the sounds and scenes of Detroit’s underground hip-hop is here and is in full effect.


The Time is Now-Jae Millz

When Jay-Z said,” the streets where calling”,  Jae Millz must have heard him. His mixtape, The Time is Now, is banging from start to finish. Representing the streets of Harlem, Jae comes with some heat that will keep your head nodding. This cd does not seem like a mixtape. I can only imagine what his official debut album might be when it drops. Beats and lyrics are on point.