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Average User Score: 7.6Dec 18, 2018KOD, although supported by a superior J. Cole signature of appropriate flow and lyricism that boasts the luxuries of an artist and the pain ofKOD, although supported by a superior J. Cole signature of appropriate flow and lyricism that boasts the luxuries of an artist and the pain of fame, is masked by an awkward transition into trap, abandoning his usually high/low-temp takes on rap with what seems like average tracks. The underlying theme of overcoming addition and inner demons is a lot less emphasized, and is often monotone in singles like KOD and ATM. While there are some bright spots, like the intimate Kevin's Heart, and the narrative in Photograph. Not the best project in J. Cole's discography, nor the best album of the year, but it's a solid listen for those affiliated heavily with the hip hop culture.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Dec 17, 2018One of the biggest surprises of the year. J.I.D's album was full of hilarity, intimacy, and liveliness. A vivid project complemented withOne of the biggest surprises of the year. J.I.D's album was full of hilarity, intimacy, and liveliness. A vivid project complemented with great production, and some nice verses done by the Atlanta native. There is a lot to take in, with tracks like Workin' Out, Skrawberries, and Slick Talk defining his career. Jazzy and industrial sounds in Atlanta clearly do not match, yet it is surprisingly well executed by J.I.D. There are some disappointments in here too though. Off Deez with a strangely out of shape J.Cole was meant to be the key track in this album, but the repetition and the overdone lyricism just didn't work. 6lack, Method Man, and A$AP Ferg features delivered in some way, but it just wasn't as favorable as when J.I.D stood alone. Even with that, this album is very solid in sound and performance.
Probably the best that he has to offer yet. An unexpected run at top rap album.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Dec 17, 2018Hate me later.
Championships by Meek Mill is the supposed "revelation" of Meek's career, after an eventful struggle in jail andHate me later.
Championships by Meek Mill is the supposed "revelation" of Meek's career, after an eventful struggle in jail and rehabilitation with the many artists he has gone back and forth with. An empowering story that set the bar for this album incredibly high.
Sadly, it just doesn't work as well as everyone thought it would be.
It can all be defined in the first track. The Intro is powerful in the instrumental and performance, yet ridiculous in lyrical content. From Rick Ross inspired verses of overpowering your enemies and coming out on top as the big boss/king. The project meant to focus on Meek's return is already coated in his own cliches, and they're not pleasing the fourtieth time around.
But when he does reminisce on the past, it's blown out of proportion. Trauma is filler that is summarized by Meek Mill's claim that a black citizen in America is taking away his freedom, and how he has escaped the shackles as a king overcoming a racist justice system. For Meek's standards, that's expected, and it's not a good faucet of his songs. Not only are these messages full of excess effort in conveying a racial agenda, but they only romanticize him in a way that is displeasing to hear.
And that's how he defined his controversial year.
Of course, there are a few great tracks on this one, like What's Free, which includes great features such as Ross and Hov, even if the latter's verse is overrated. There is the somber 100 Summers and Oodles O' Noodles Babies, which capture Meek's childhood well through a lyrical standpoint. They are truly driven artistically.
With the exceptions of the given verses above, along with Ella Mai, PnB Rock, and Jeremiah, there are the rather disappointing appearances. A lineup of 2018's Drake, Wale, Future, and Young Thug would have been enjoyable had they appeared in their prime state. However, it is clear that the trap wave is awkwardly implemented in a Meek Mill album, and it honestly couldn't be any worse. Their content just do not intertwine well.
Decent at best, and disappointing for Meek's standards. With rumors that he will release another project by the end of the year, one can only hope for a more intimate album.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.0Dec 17, 2018XXXTentacion releases his first posthumous album after the polarizing releases of 17 and ?.
On the surface, it's a continuation of a muchXXXTentacion releases his first posthumous album after the polarizing releases of 17 and ?.
On the surface, it's a continuation of a much more mature and self-conscious X, contemplating his life and the decisions he has made as an artist along the way, repeated in a cycle for most of his songs. There are highlights that perfectly capture hos aesthetic, such as Train Food and what are you so afraid of, empowering and raw in emotion. At best, however, it is a mixed project that appears either incomplete, or just minimalist. Skins is easily listenable, and can be praised for it's range of genres and sounds in this album. However, it is not as special as many suspect it to be.
A mixed, but respectable project for the short-lived XXXTentacion, whose music will be celebrated by those looking forward to lo-fi and emo rap.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.9Nov 19, 2018Oxnard is the third studio album by Anderson .Paak that has big shoes to fill after the release of Malibu, and despite relative aesthetics,Oxnard is the third studio album by Anderson .Paak that has big shoes to fill after the release of Malibu, and despite relative aesthetics, both of these projects are well distinguished and refined in quality.
In short, Oxnard delivered much like its predecessor.
The production in Oxnard was enriched in variety and captured every emotion beautifully. Slow-tempo tracks like Anywhere and Headlow managed to function as both funky and relaxing. It is a distinguished characteristic that Anderson .Paak has specialized in from time to time.
He excels in versatility. Most of his features knock it out of the park, with the exception of Dr. Dre, who is strangely awkward in his flow and lyricism for Mansa Musa, an exceptional track that had little effect on me, personally. It felt sub-par in many aspects, but that’s where the cons stop.
Brother’s Keeper and Trippy caught some eyes for the exceptional features. Though far apart in sound, both Pusha T and J. Cole enters each track properly and delivers on their end. The first mentioned track is a surprising banger that is inconceivable for an Anderson .Paak album, yet it is pleasantly welcomed. As for the latter, Jermaine sets up an unorthodox take on love, but his appearance and verse complements the track pretty welll, beautifully crafted by producer Chris Dave.
This album overall is meant to be a fun joyride, filled with comedic events like .Paak receiving head on the second track and crashing in the process, while pointing fun at the President in an original take on politics in 6 Summers. Many of these tracks are split into halves, and each half is satisfactory for many tempos.
When Anderson .Paak wants to capture a mood, he does it on his command, and he excels in a way that many artists haven’t been able to do this year.
Overall, the problem I have with this project is that while it is musically pleasing, many of these tracks seems to focus on more mid-tempo rather than distinguish itself with further ends of a musical spectrum that .Paak can easily manipulate. He is very versatile, but strangely there is an anti-climatic format of tracks. The last songs on this album, including the bonus tracks, are anti-climatic, with .Paak being held at gunpoint in one skit and then transitioning to a different scenario with no explanation given. The themes of luxury, crazy love, and fame stay true to the geographic culture in California, but gets tiring when the preceding Malibu has proven to do these better. It is not a straight duplicate, but it is fairly inferior in this subject.
But that shouldn’t knock it down a peg too much. This album was fun, exciting, chill, and existential in many aspects. While the demands of a different album in .Paak’s discography may not have been answered in a satisfactory extent, it is a pleasing continuation that distinguished itself from other music this year. Another home run for Anderson .Paak, and a great addition to the closing year.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.3Nov 7, 2018Eh.
It’s always been anticipation when a solo Migos member comes out with something. Personally, the Migos have not innovated the game inEh.
It’s always been anticipation when a solo Migos member comes out with something. Personally, the Migos have not innovated the game in any way, nor are they cherished by any hip hop fan, other than the mainstream.
The entirety of the album is monotone at best. Even with a pleasing set of intercom samples that tries to illustrate a journey here, every track feels like an on-foot trip to pure boredom. The production, compared to other projects in the Migos discography, appears to be far weaker and less exciting than its precedents. Most of Migos demographic rely on loud instruments and excitement, but that is hardly presented here. There is hardly a clear target that Takeoff is going after, meaning the album is purely trying to be redundant and quick. For a twelve track album, this lowered standards.
I don't understand the hype, nor do I understand why others feel it was above average when it has little purpose and cannot deliver pleasant musical sound. To rate this album high because it's "a fresh start" for Takeoff is redundant.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.6Oct 24, 2018Perfect.
I could write some pretext here, but it's all explained in this project. From beginning to end, there is no track worthPerfect.
I could write some pretext here, but it's all explained in this project.
From beginning to end, there is no track worth skipping here. Every track ranges from smooth and pleasant vibes to charismatic rocky fun. The opening track, The Bird, is a pleasant little overview of .Paak's life before the come up and how his family played a role in his transition as an artist. From there, it instantly takes us to the groovy aesthetic of Heart Don't Stand a Chance, in which it projects images of enjoyment with the woman that you are pursuing. The first half is a bit repetitive, but the closing is a highlight that presents .Paak's way of experimenting. Next is The Waters, in which another track of stellar production discusses his current situation and his struggles with recognition. From there comes probably the most superior track of this masterpice: The Season/Cardy Me, a catchy tune that'll never escape your mind as long as you hear the whistles rhythmically play. His past is another subject in this track that casually lists all the seriously messed up predicaments he had to face during childhood.
Put Me Thru and Am I Wrong both function as a romantic work that releases a wide range of emotions, whether its frustration, angst, or admiration to this mystery woman.
Without You is probably going to be the most "hip-hop" that Malibu can get, and it is executed quite nice with two perspectives of a hilariously dysfunctional relationship that forms in hopes of Anderson .Paak blowing "like a Nintendo cartridge". This fun little break then heads over to Parking Lot, probably the best produced track that includes a variety of instruments and appropriate synths in the background. It manages to be both emotional and exuberant as .Paak continues with his hook.
Lite Weight and Room in Here are represented in the same way. A vibe is established in the air as these two tracks get gushy-gushy towards a love interest, an optimistic approach that is consistent throughout this whole album.
Not much can be said about Water Fall, except that it is a relaxing form of exhaust from all the energy in this album. Though sexually suggestive, it is still a pretty great melody to repeaf, even if that track is an "Interluuube" Your Prime is a repetition of hook and drums with some uplifting synths in the back. Even when uneventful, it is still a pleasure to listen to.
Come Down is a highlight single of Malibu. In many ways, it shows the best and the worst of Anderson .Paak. His radiating energy and way to fire up is contrasted by his aggression and his arrogance, something that combines together to make a easygoing track on the surface with complex usage. It is the outlier of the album, and it is not a bad concept to work with.
Silicon Valley is a jam that can be relaxing and erotic. Most prefer to be relaxed, so the purpose of this track may not be something that'll be put on repeat. However, there is still admiration towards the instrumentals. Same goes for Celebrate, a minimalist yet flexible track. It ends with a six minute closer that efficiently ends with an upbeat mix of inspiration and rebellion, complemented with a sample from a source that commonly appears throughout the project.
Why I didn't put pretext is because no matter the circumstance, Malibu stands alone as a perfect musical piece. If the background was vacant, it would still work because it excels in delivery and purpose. Was it a homage to the 60/70s wave of surfer music in California? Duh. All the instrumentals are subjectively flawless, and the charisma of Anderson .Paak is what fulfills these tracks like a puzzle. Their chemistry altogether and devotion to theme makes this project so different. There is no music piece like it. A "parody" of an older art form making critical use of its own aesthetic is so odd to see in music today, especially hip hop, but it works here very well!
Like I said: "Perfect".… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Oct 24, 2018Logic has had himself a couple of changes. After the commercial success of The Incredible True Story, he officially split from the undergroundLogic has had himself a couple of changes. After the commercial success of The Incredible True Story, he officially split from the underground and came out with a far more commercialized project in Everybody, something that ended up as merely decent when compared to his overwhelming discography. His exposure has lead to universal recognition and admiration, and even though the lead single was an awkward public service announcement on suicide...
(Who can relate? Whoo!!!)
...he still had plenty of gain. Now comes YSIV, the final installment of a nostalgic Young Sinatra series and the continuation of a new period. First of all, the production in this album in general is outstanding. It started as a tribute to boom-bap, and it ended up implementing an enjoyable hybrid of superb 90's beats with relevant messages. Thank You is the victory lap for Logic, and Everybody Dies is the fast-paced homage to his older works, where he raps about his comeuppance in an onimous and shadow-lurking sound. Wu-Tang Forever was a very enjoyable track involving the reunion of the Wu-Tang Clan, but it was a little awkward hearing each member try to enter a modern Logic beat. Legacy is in my opinion a perfectly crafted rap song courtesy of Logic, where he ponders a frightening and a pessimistic future over a set of guitar strums and the distant female vocals that beautifully mix together to create an emotional roller-coaster ride of a track. It closes out strong with the title track integrating many samples including Nas' Life's a B****, closing out with a shoutout to the late Mac Miller.
It delivered on plenty on aspects, so much so that it is impossible to call him out on how "corny" he is. Aside from plenty of filler verses and some awkward moments in the album, it well exceeded my standards. Give the entire album a try, because it doesn't hurt to take something away from Logic's brilliance.… Expand
Average User Score: 3.8Oct 24, 2018This is a prime example of why numbers don't make you a top artist. Sucesss does not equate to quality, and it is Drake who disregards such anThis is a prime example of why numbers don't make you a top artist. Sucesss does not equate to quality, and it is Drake who disregards such an important principle.
Aside from the singles, which were enjoyable but tiring after so long, there is little that stands out in this project. The intro track, Survival, sounds like a ripped off sample of Drake's own "9" from his previous studio album, Views. While 9 was a whimsical trip and a highlight of that mediocre project, Survival has no substance to work with whatsoever. Nonstop is probably one of the weakest Drake singles out there. Instead of passion, his tone is a bore, despite the attempt to establish hype through some arrogant bars. A missed opportunity over this beat. Elevate itself cannot be saved from a French Montana feature. Emotionless and 8 Out of 10, however, are the most exceptional tracks due to the effort by Drake and his refined flow that has been a treasure in rap. God's Plan, though overplayed since it came out early 2018, is still a relevant track to jam to. I'm Upset, much like Nonstop, has no substance.
Drake's constant exclamation on his distrust is already tiring, which is why the second half is an unlistenable portion that attempts to establish a vibe with generic and formulated production. The only exceptions to this is the two singles included in Side B along with After Dark, which in my opinion was above average in delivery, even if it was another track illustrating his desire.
The problem with Drake is that he does not fit two extremes in a spectrum of hip hop demographics. Those looking for a lyrical conscious album will turn away from it. Those in the urban population looking to bump up a track or two will hardly find anything but singles. His progression as a rapper at this point is vague because he's always maintaining his success and struggle with trust and relationships as the focal point for his albums. It is the lack of perspective that separates the second half of his discography from classics like Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. Expect formulated rap to ravage the music industry. As long as the incentive of stream numbers are up there, Drake will cut every corner he can to preserve his "reign" as the "king".… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Oct 24, 2018This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Tha Carter V has been released as one of the most highly-anticipated albums in the hip-hop genre, along with long-time holdouts like Dr. Dre's Detox or RZA's The Cure. Since it's announcement, the aesthetic of rap in general has faced plenty of progression in sound and especially flows. Though arguably outdated and surpassed as we feel the welcoming breaths of Late 2018, Carter V remains an exceptional music piece.
The features keep it at a relevant state, with XXXTentacion's haunting hooks in Don't Cry and Let it Fly including Travis Scott's bouncy trap vibes, who has had an eventful year for the better. The production in many of these tracks are well decorated with the names of Swizz Beatz, DJ Mustard, Metro Boomin', and Ben Billions living up to their roles. Lil Wayne's perspective on all the eventful things that have happened to him throughout the past years is an intriguing subject that keeps listeners alert on the man after a hiatus. A well-done story that can transition from the bittersweet Don't Cry to the bodacious and in-your-face track Uproar to serious business Mona Lisa, a masterpiece of a rap that included the talents of Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar.
It is, however, disappointing to hear Lil Wayne himself attempt to lead the charge. He is well known for his signature figurative language and craftiness in lyrical content. In this album, I subjectively felt there was not much that truly opened my ears for closer inspection. While he is a renowed artist in the game who came this far with his admirable ability to apply adversity, he does not do much to distinguish this project from the rest. He ends up coming off decent than exceptional, and that is infuriating when the standard for excellence in today's rap should have been far exceeded by Wayne.
This album had no chance of living up to the hype, but that didn't necessarily mean it was not a good album. For Lil Wayne, this is an essential win for him in a period of downs.… Expand