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  • Artist Album Reviews

    D 12 :: Devils Night ::

    The Album review is now here ... complete with the Track Listing...

    1.Another Public Service Announcement
    2.Shit Can Happen
    3.Pistol Pistol
    5.Nasty Mind
    6.Ain't Nuttin But Music
    7.American Psycho
    8.Thats How (Intro)
    9.Thats How
    10.Purple Pills
    11.Fight Music
    13.Pimp Like Me
    14.Blow My Buzz
    15.Obie Trice
    16.Devils Night
    17.Steve Berman

    D12 :: Devil's Night :: Shady Records

    Yes Eminem's back, this time with his Detroits Dirty Dozen Crew. This is D12's debut album and is going to be a great success. It went straight into number 8 in the UK charts.

    This is the album parents want to ban! It contains everything explicit from Sex through Drugs to Violence. Most of the songs have got more swear words then how many time Eminem has ticked of Britney Spears. If your wondering if Eminem's up to his usual dissing, then your wondering right. This time he gets jealous of Britney Spears in a certain song, you'll have to find out. Also new to his dissing list is Everlast from The House Pain. Its not just Eminem who's straight up cussing, the rest of D12 have got the diss decease. Everyone from Bobby Brown to Michael Jackson.

    Enough of the dissing side more of the album, Bizarre claims to be the dirtyest pimp you'll never know, catching the pimp gene from his Dad and Grandad. D12 also worked with Dr. Dre, pronbably the most creative rap artist ever. According to Eminem, Dr. Dre uses a clever technique called 'Reverse Reverb'. We couldnt get the accurate information for this because its supposed to be top secret information, but from what I've seen, its just reversing the sounds of the song in little snippets.

    As most of you have heard the first single to be taken from their album, Purple Pills, they were forced by the law to change the lyrics of this song to something clean because of the explicit drug language. They then made a new song called Purple Hills, but people are still concerned as this still has references to drugs and sex. But hey, D12 still gotta keep their street cred.

    This album is a must buy. If you can try and get the speical edition CD, cuz this contains the first episode of 'Dirty TV' a 15 minute interview of D12. Dirty TV will soon be a series of programs. Also on the bonus CD theres a few D12 E-Cards and even a D12 game. Also theres the 'Shit On You' video and some great images.

    Eminem does tend to hog most of the songs on the album which made it loose a mark, and plus you'll never guess who Eminem's dissing in the very last song. Its probably the last person you would think Eminem would diss since they used to be good buddies.

    Rating :: 9/10

    [Warriorz] M.O.P. :: Warriorz
    Label: Loud Records

    How about some HARDCORE? That's what the Brownsville Bombers have in store for your punk ass. Far from spouting the cliche hard shit, M.O.P. damn near INVENTED the motherfucker with a whole slew of defiantly angry anthems and albums that are as loud as HELL. Lyricists or terrorists? Both. M.O.P. use their ultra-amped vocals and deadly rhymes to scare off any punk rappers who wan' test.

    In part, M.O.P. has built their legendary underground acclaim by their TIGHT affiliation with DJ Premier. True to tradition, Works of Mart is in the house for 5 of the 18 cuts throughout and Primo also mixes on another 4. M.O.P.'s selection of other producers is just as hot though, and they even blaze their own cuts. The self-produced "G-Building" is one of the best examples. Fame and Danze tag team on the hyperactive bassline but Billy seems to blaze even brighter on this song:

    "Listen; is it me or the industry
    don't understand, I'm a whole different breed of man
    Bill' Danze, Brownsville Bronx
    Into servin double or single shots on the rocks
    Nigga, what? Who gon' tame me
    I'm a bad block nigga and can't, nobody change me"

    If you haven't already heard the lead single "Ante Up" produced by DR Period, turn on BET's Rap City or your local East coast radio mix show any day this week. Hopefully the South and West coast are giving them shine too, but the more likely of the two would be the Dirty Dirty - they like to 'Tear Da Club Up' and this song is perfect for getting rowdy. Ignoring Funkmaster Flex's useless intro, go straight into the track at 0:36 and get yourself blazed on some coming up shit where M.O.P. rob and steal for their next meal. "Get up off them god damn diamonds!" Shit ain't sweet.

    Don't get the impression M.O.P. is just about talking smack or on some simplistic vibes lyrically. Danze and Fame can use the title of their album to describe their attitude OR their lyrical acuity. Just take Lil' Fame's rhymes on the Primo produced "Follow Instructions" as an example of the vernacular and the killer attack of their flows:

    "All games aside, all lames aside
    I'm a rebel, with all K's combined
    All things in line; I ain't heard of y'all
    I'm from Murder March
    One of the illest spitters with a verbal bark
    Yo where your burners at?
    Fizzy Wo' will raise the heat like a thermostat"

    The thing that always raises the bar for M.O.P. above their competition is how they can make even the smoothest shit come off with a rugged hip-hop appeal. They turn the radio friendly Product G&B into some "thug life" shit on "Everyday," spit poison over some smooth R&B produced by Lil' Fame on "Calm Down," and even rip "Foundation," where the duo flow about the peers and parental figures who shaped their life on a chill Curt Cazal cut. Perhaps the illest twist of all is how they rock Foreigner's top 40 hit "Cold as Ice" into the funkiest East coast anthem this year since Craig Mack's "Wooden Horse."

    This album does not engineer societal change, does not hold out promise of a brighter tomorrow, and does not advocate viewpoints that influential minds should be exposed to. M.O.P. is ruthless and bloody in the same way that a Dirty Harry or Pam Grier flick is; and equally as entertaining. M.O.P. display pure ferocity on each and every song - never giving up, never surrendering. M.O.P. is also ruthlessly loyal - the self proclaimed "First Fam" has family values which say, "Don't ever fuck with me and my man." They may be dirtier, filthier, and louder, but M.O.P. are in many ways a year two-thousand version of Run-D.M.C. - voices which compliment each other and rhymes all about fighting for survival in the cold worlds of music and racism. They are true WARRIORZ.

    Nelly :: Country Grammar :: Reel/Universal

    He's from St. Louis and he's proud - so proud he put down hometown comedy hero Cedric the Entertainer to do the album's intro. If you had been sleeping on the city of the big Arch (no motherfucker, not McDonald's), here's your wake-up call!

    Besides his Midwestern pride, Nelly also features a flow which helps to distinguish him from his other rap brethern - a musical flow which falls somewhere between TQ and Domino without ever straying so far away from it's rap roots it gets mistaken for R&B. Combined with the smooth musical tracks of Jason "Jay E" Epperson, this tends to create trunk bumping smoothness such as the opening "St. Louie" or the current chart-topping "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)."

    Don't confuse Nelly for a hip-hop activist with a lot of deep thoughts on his mind. The free-flowing top-down anthem "Ride Wit Me" is all about the killer B's of rap: blunts, brew, bitches, and billions. "Why do I live this way?" raps Nelly, to which his crew shouts back "HEY, must be the money!" Fo' sho' playa, that's where it's at. Keep it on that level of Notorious B.I.G. style "Party and Bullshit" and you're going to appreciate the album the way it was intended - anthems for club heads and party-goers. Songs like "E.I." and the Lil' Wayne guest-spotted "For My (Niggaz)" will definitely get the party people KRUNK and that's what it's all about.

    What works so well about this album is the fact that Nelly and Jay E present their musical vision almost entirely uninterrupted. Even though Nelly's boys the St. Lunatics show up on a couple tracks such as "Batter Up" and collaborator City Spud turns in a VERY-smooth riders anthem on "Luven Me", the album represents one rapper and one producer in a way that's not seen much outside DJ Premier and the Guru. This won't be mistaken for a compilation album as some of Heavy D's albums are (no offense Heavster, we still got +Nuttin' But Love+ for ya) - it's pure uncut St. Louis funk.

    Nelly's debut on the hip-hop scene works so well because he presents the more laid back feel of Midwestern fun and good times. That's not to mistake him for a herb; cause Nelly is still cocking "street sweepers" and smoking his "shimmy shimmy cocoa puff" - that's just to say Nelly approaches his rap like a true P-I-M-P. He talks game, he keeps it smooth, and you find yourself being entranced without even realizing it. Step into his world.

    Xzibit :: Restless :: Loud Records

    Back in '89, when hip hop legend Big Daddy Kane dropped the words "Rough, rugged and real" to kick of the song "Young, Gifted, and Black", he unknowingly used the best three adjectives available to describe Xzibit. The connection between these two rappers, however, is deeper than this. Both have been criminally slept on; neither has received the props they deserve (despite the fact that Kane has two gold albums to his name). Both kick rhymes heavy with metaphors and similes, often in the form of punchlines. Finally, both essentially define what an MC should be: able to rock a concert or club, be thuggish or thoughtful, lyrically rip someone apart, or send a message, whichever the situation calls for.

    Both, pending verification of Kane's rumored signing with Roc-A-Fella records, are now primed to blow up and get the recognition (and dough) they deserve. Many underground heads are shuddering at the thought of losing one of their best kept secrets to mainstream culture -- afraid that Xzibit will "sell out" for the all-mighty dollar. Will Xzibit be able to pull of the difficult task of being a superstar and keep the underground happy as well?

    Kicking it off is the Rockwilder track "Front 2 Back", which these days seems obligatory for any big rap album. Da Rockwilder has some of his trademark synth sounds and whistles, but shows that (as he did on Tash's album) he is much more versatile than many see him as, creating a track that has a definite west coast vibe, and the potential to bump any system or rock any club. Xzibit attacks the track with fire, and supplies a hook that's both catchy and somewhat thoughtful, a rarity these days:

    "It ain't safe where I'm from
    Niggas start beef, never knowing the outcome
    Rather be caught with it than caught without one
    Leave it alone, because the life you save might be your own"

    "U Know," co-produced by Dr. Dre and Dominick Lamb, features Xzibit on some grimy shit. The beat is banging, and X does not waste it, dropping lines like "So, yo, it's me against the world and ain't go shit to lose / My heavy artillery built to make the masses move / I carry tools that'll pick you up and out your shoes / Xzibit bringing new meaning to alcohol abuse."

    More than likely, by now you've heard the new single "X", with it's vintage Dre beat, provided by the good Doctor himself along with the help of his star-producer-in-the-making disciples Mel-Man and Scott Storch. The lyrics in this song may seem a little watered down, and they are, as obviously this song was created to make Xzibit a star. That being said, watered down lyrics from Xzibit are still better than the best shit from 90% of the rappers out there today, and the beat is hot enough to distract even the most critical listener from this fact.

    The legendary Erick Sermon drops by to lace the next track "Alkaholik" with beats and a verse. Tha Liks (minus E-Swift) appear as well. The trademark Sermon funk beat provides further evidence that E-Dub is back on the right track, and that he still has the uncanny ability to produce that is seemingly simple have exceptional head nodding factor. While no one drops a weak verse, Tash and Xzibit steal the show with the trademark Alkaholik wit and punchlines. Tash shines, dropping lines like "If I'm too drunk to walk, I'll rock a party on crutches."

    KRS-One pops up for "Kenny Parker Show 2001", a remake of the BDP original. The old school flow and vibe are definite plusses. The lyrics are clearly more modern, creating an interesting song overall. The only downside is that KRS never busts a verse, he just has a few small spoken word segments.

    Roc-A-Fella mainstay Rick Rock shows up to provide a slick track for X and Snoop to rap over on "D.N.A. (Drugs-N-Alkahol)." Snoop sounds smooth as ever here, but it seriously sounds like he freestyles every song these days, and it's not any different here. Snoop sums this song up best when he says "This shit funky right here."

    Erick Onasis pops up again for the next song, "Double Up". The beat sounds like something out of a 70's blaxploitation movie, and X comes correct; although the lyrics are not excellent, X's flow and the production makes the song enjoyable.

    Eminem makes an appearance on "Don't Approach Me" both rapping and producing. Both MCs kick dope verses, but the beat sounds too Eminem for Xzibit's album; it sounds like something that got left off the Marshall Mathers LP.

    "Rimz and Tirez" would be expected to be some true West Coast gangsta shit, as it features Defari, Goldie Loc, and Kokane and production by Soopafly. But rather than thick, P-funk beats, a more minimalistic beat is featured. Xzibit comes with more hot rugged shit:

    "I ain't never seen Kevlar flesh
    Y'all bitch niggas is flirting and fucking with death
    I was taught to stick with the right and work with the left
    Never loved nothing, never turned snitch and confessed...
    It ain't hard to look hard, snatch up a catalog
    Mad dog the niggas that walk up your boulevard
    But one day you gonna feel it; I'm a firm believer
    in the theory - if it bleeds, I can kill it"

    SoopaFly comes back again on "Fuckin' You Right", an uptempo, funny sex song in the tradition of Snoop's classic "It Ain't No Fun." This song has the potential to be the next "Back That Azz Up," at least in the clubs; it take an awful lot of editing to get make this into a single for TV or video. With lines like "Samantha, Lorraine, Monica, Veronica / She treated my dick like a harmonica," the song is lighthearted enough that it doesn't really border on misogynistic, which means it'll be a hit with the fellas and ladies.

    Dre comes back one more again with the orchestraic, hard hitting "Best Of Things". This is Xzibit at his finest, enthusiastically spitting hot shit over some vintage West Coast beats.

    However, you have to wait until track 14 to reach the song of the album, "Get Your Walk On." Mel-Man and Battle Cat team up behind the boards to create one of the hottest beats of the year. Xzibit is on fire from the get go: "I can drink a whole Hennessey fifth / Some call that a problem but I call it a gift / Xzibit make the whole continent shift / Invade your territory, get a blaze of glory / A soldier's story / Living off nothing but instinct / Bitch niggas continue to floss and lip sync / And I'ma just continue to flow, but rocking the boat." Potential single of the year, this song could send the album's sales through the roof.

    Xzibit comes on the more emotional tip, dedicating "Sorry I'm Away So Much" to his son and other family members who he apologizes to for not always fulfilling his duties to them. Suga Free and DJ Quik (who also produced the song) come through with heart felt verses as well.

    Battle Cat receives production rights for the final track, "Loud & Clear," which comes with a strong West Coast vibe and features Butch Cassidy, Defari, and the seemingly M.I.A. King T. The only weak part of the track is the hook, but it's a small flaw. While the song doesn't exactly end the album with a bang, it is pretty strong.

    Anyone who comes out and says Xzibit fell off or sold out with this album deserves to be labeled a hater. While it may not be quite as raw or underground as far as the beats, Xzibit is still the ill ass MC that comes through on every tip. Yeah, there are some songs that are clearly aimed at the mainstream; so what? They're still dope, and they X to the Z never compromises himself on the entire album. Besides, Xzibit has always had the potential to appeal to the masses, the only thing that truly kept him from blowing up before was lack of marketing. The production is some of the best that any album has had this year. X is still rough, rugged, and real, and he sure as hell ain't half steppin.

    Copyright 2000 Hectic Designs! by N-A-i-L (Rish).