Gangsta Gibbs has been doing it for a while. I been rockin with his music since ‘Midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik‘ and with the recent release of TDE’s Schoolboy Q’s moss like album (that ish keeps growing on me) I felt it was right that one of the true OGs (Gibbs) got some shine. If you like that gangsta sound then check out the Gary, IN natives macabre sounds.
Covering hits such as “Say You’re Real” by Kanye West, “Crush On You” by B.I.G., “Elevators” by OutKast, “Till Infinity” by Souls of Mischief, “Say You’re Real” by Drake, is not an easy feat; but Travis “Trav(vy)” McRee is up to the challenge. Hailing from Ann Arbor, MI this an emcee who focuses on delivering introspective verses rather than radio friendly hooks. His beat selection is nice and flows well. Given time his rapping skills will improve, but he’s already ahead of the game when it comes to delivery and subject matter; his delivery is smooth enough to seem effortless.
While most new emcees are rapping about the money/trappings of riches they have yet to attain or their “hustle” to gain riches, Trav focuses on his life, relationships, regrets, flaws, etc. It’s refreshing and captivating to hear someone speak on topics that we all deal with on a daily basis and be so real about it. ‘Nice Going’ is Trav’s only mixtape available on his Sound Cloud but I hope that it won’t be his last.
The Groggy Pack has not disappointed with this one! From the spacious intro track, “Doppel Hobble” to the pan flute accented end track, “Sun Shine”, ‘Hark’ fills the ears with well crafted sounds! Since their first album, ‘Lone Sharks’ which I still knock in the whip, The Doppelgang caught my ear. They’re few people who I really envy in this world and the dastardly duo are two of the top few. Their mission seems to be to make music with no compromise, and this album is no exception.
There are still no guest features, not because the duo have contempt for their contemporaries but because other artists have yet to see the greatness that lies within these two. ‘Hark’ is sprinkled with instrumentals which are opportunities for EP to lead you into scripted daydreams with his jazzy production. EP has a talent for creating beats which are simultaneously spacious, claustrophobic, rough, gritty, and smooth. A skill that few other emerging producers have honed too the same razor-sharp edge. Matter of fact, Matter Ov Fact is a very slept on emcee! Spittin lines like,
I guess they’re once bitten, twice shy/In the beginning, they were smitten by the nice guy/Until he got’em for the sliced rye/Now they want him jailed with the bail price high/Thats why he needs an old stale witch/Who is instantly gonna be sold by his sales pitch/Sugar mommas, thin as a rail, pale chicks/Bound to pass soon and leave a nigga all her trail mix
– “Hark Back”
When he’s not engaged in fem dom with his friend’s mom/He’s trying to get this nigga E to drop « N » bombs/Factoid had to take a day to pen psalms/That’s the only time he’s in state of zen, calm/Otherwise he’s told he’s kind of antsy/No matter where I go, a centerfold is trying to pants me/He sent her to the store for rubbers on some thugger shit/Magnum XL? Nah, lifestyle snugger fits..
– “Skin Yarmulke”
Self deprecating humor is no problem for these two, and the blatant disregard for taboo subjects is the root of many of the album’s most entertaining moments. EP holds his mothaf*ckin’ own when he blesses the mic! The white boi stays successively exceeding the hype; even though there isn’t much as of yet.
All in all I would sit on the stand in a courtroom of my peers while facing 300 hours of community service and say that this album is 100%, grade A Hip-Hop! Don’t sleep on The Dop, especially if you’s a peach..SMANG LIFE!
This project by MAZ was a bit underwhelming. The “Introduction Essay” track is MAZ at his most focused and seems to set the stage for an above average project. Listening to the dude speak in the interludes gives me the impression that he is a humble, thoughtful, and driven individual. On “The Ride Inn” MAZ spits,
No doubts and no nonsense/ Can’t be somewhere alone left ponderin’/ What it was, what could have been/ or slow down for my so-called friends/ Who rather me fail, so I can be here with them/ But I know better I got grammies to win..
There are brilliant moments on the tape where MAZ showcases his talents, but there are also cuts that run true to the project title i.e. being driven by outside forces/influence. “Deeper ft. Britney Stoney & CrackKillz” has introspective lyrics that are unsupported by HiFly’s production. The droning beat makes the content sound boring and obligatory. Using less synthesized sounds, a few more natural tones (violins, bass, etc) and redoing the drums to better match the mood of the song would greatly improve the track. Reprise please? “Moving On”…too much electronic ish going on again, and the tempo/mood don’t match the content/delivery. Next!
“Band-Aid” breaks up the monotony of the last two tracks with more energy, musical shifts (fades, filters, etc) and relentlessness verses packed with metaphors and similes. The hook leaves much to be desired though. A nod goes out to Helios Hussain for lacin’ the beat. “Paradise ft. Breanna Barnes” has crisp production and good performance by Breanna overall it’s a decent track, could have been a little more subtle with the innuendo though. Nolan the mof*ckin’ Ninja goes hard on the first verse for “Word is Bond”. This is the type of music I would like to hear from an artist like MAZ. The beat is retro butter! Reminds me of a mid 90’s cypher. More tracks of this quality would be great! The next track “Liu Kang” is an attempt to do a more grimy (Wu-Tang-esque) song. However, I’m left wondering wtf just happened? The beat is cool though. Stefon Lyon DEELIVERS! The dude sounds goofy at first, but then goes Beast Mode during his Acapella on “Detroit Lyon”. I will be looking into ‘ol dudes catalogue.
“Futile Devices” is a nice change from the other material on the tape. MAZ does a good job of riding the acoustic beat and explaining his goals, inspirations, etc. It’s a well executed performance, and a welcome stretch of scenic road on a project full of familiar surface streets. “Good Morning Love ft. Breanna Barnes” makes you wish you would have crept out the spot the night before! “The Ride Out” would be better without the stabbing synths, but overall it’s a decent track. MAZ spits some dope on “#TheMotorClub”! This is another beat that suffer from too-much-synth-syndrome. These producers need to chill out with that high-pitched buzzing ish! MAZ gets it when he raps,
Inside of my crib is almost all white like an Oreo/ I wild out like the Maury show when he be like you not the dad..
That line is guaranteed to get the audience turnt-up! The guest verses are “eh” you’re not missing anything so don’t listen to hard. Overall ‘Cruise Control’ is okay. There are some tracks that could have been replaced/touched up, and the production is subpar on some key songs, but I think that MAZ has a shot to make a name for himself if he follows the no nonsense route that he has set.
Not much has been said about Chavis Chandler, hell up until March 1, 2013 I hadn’t even heard of the dude! To set the scene a little bit I was in Detroit to see Ab-Soul perform and was starting to doubt my choice in coming to the show (Soul took three hours to show up) the first few intro acts were aight, and the performer right before Chavis got booed off the stage! The concert goers were beginning to get rowdy as this was over two hours of standing and waiting for Soul Brother #2, but Chandler walked onto the stage, after the previous performer got booed off, and proceeded to woo his hometown crowd with his confidence as well as his sensitivity. Ol’ dude said, and I’m paraphrasing,
..be cool cause I’m still an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.
It’s not often you see a rapper show vulnerability, and it was especially unexpected from one coming from the east-side of 7 mile in Detroit. However, seeing the previous man booed off the stage will humble most performers, let alone unknown ones trying to establish themselves. After his moment of honesty it was back to business, Chavis proceeded to drop bomb after megaton BOMB through his lyrical content and varied delivery. His beat selection had people bouncin’ like someone was playing popcorn with’em on the parachute in elementary phys ed! I mean, ya boi’s stage presence was so turnt-up that he took a hostile crowd and got them wildin’ like he was the show headliner! But I really have to thank Ab-Soul’s management for keeping the fans waiting for three f*cking hours! Without their bullshit I may have never had the chance to witness Chavis burn up the stage. So for that I thank you..assholes.
‘Bridge Card Raps’ is Chandler’s latest project (listen below) and it’s a great entry point for anyone who has been sleepin’ on the kid. The joint starts of f with “Yesterday” a laid-back soundscape featuring a sample hip-hop heads will recognize immediately. Chavis and the Verbal Vomit Enterprise crew do their thing on the track; intermixing braggadocio and hater dismissing stanzas while reminiscing about a time when rappers actually had meaningful substance to their lyrics. At the risk of sounding cliche, I tend to agree with the young emcee, rap was more thoughtful back in the day.
Track two, “Chavis”, find the young dude talking about his come-up and discussing the reasons he is driven to succeed in the hip-hop game. While he is no Mario Winan, the sincerity and imperfection of his voice allows his singing of the song’s hook to be enjoyable.
Track three is a flipped of the sample used in “Letter to my Unborn Child” – 2Pac, but with a completely different message proclaiming Chandler’s superiority among his “peers”. Chavis would do well not to have to much hubris (the cause of most Greek tragedies) but then again this ain’t Greece, this is the Murder Mitten, and a lack of confidence here is just a dangerous as too much. The track clocks in around 2.5 minutes with only one-verse, leading me to think that the kid has just enough humility.
Track four “Higher” is my favorite on the project! An uplifting vocal accompaniment coupled with sparse piano chords, dry snares and a shallow bass drum make this song the most minimalist on the tape. However this is where the emcee shines, dropping lines with such ferocity that one can imagine the spittle flying and the veins popping out of his neck.
The government they give us dope but they don’t want us to slang/Old folks complain about us but used to be the same/So practice what you preach/ I roll green in brown sheets to get..HIGH, HIGH, HIGH-EEEERR!
A bouncin drum beat featuring electronic phasers dominate “Ignorance”, which features Chavis displaying that exact trait and spittin’ an ignant, shit-talking flow that would make Kevin Garnett grab a pair of earmuffs. The track definitely goes hard! I recommend high volumes with the bass up!
Inserted after “Ignorance” is a toke of musical kush in the form of “Never Changed” which brings the head-knock factor back down to a reasonable level. This cut is occupied by Chavis talking about his rise from the hardship that is life in the D. Climbing the ranks without major cosigns and staying focused while deflecting the hate. The kid is who he is, come fame, fortune or adversity.
From track six the album takes a bit of a downturn. Track seven has a terrible odd tempo synthesized beat! Skip that ish or you may want to hit stop. The next song, “The Devil is a Liar”, helps to restore some of that greatness that was diminished by the preceding joint. The beat uses a similar sample as “Roc Boys” – Jay-Z, but manages to put a more soulful spin on it.
“Duck Down” is a bad mof*cka of a track! It’s probably what the apocalypse will sound like, if so I’ll be there with my headphones bangin’! With this song pumping through your ear-canals you’ll be surprised at the atrocities you’ll be able to survive without batting an eye. Although that could be a walk in the park compared to life on the east-side of Detroit..
“Lous Coney Island” equals banger! The following explains it all.
I’m clean-cut but still represent the streets/Young blaack mufucka/ With the flow that got you askin’ who is dat mufucka/Turn your favorite emcee into dat wack mufucka!
“The Way You Are” is for the ladies…deaf ladies maybe..In all seriousness though, this ish wasn’t for me. NEXT!
“Why You Mad?” Goes hard! Chavis switches flows up multiple times and the beat provides a nearly perfect backdrop to verbally snuff competitors in the faaaaace!
“OFTLOA II” would be the second best showing on the project if it wasn’t for the super low fidelity moaning. SERIOUSLY?! Remake this joint without all that shit!! A track about loss should not have all that bullshit ruining it at the end.
“Stay True” is a decent track. As an outro Chandler should have chosen something more upbeat. However I will say that it conveys a sense of finality that isn’t contained in any of the other tracks and showcases the war going on inside his head. If Chavis does indeed stay true then us supporters have nothing to worry about. The kid has great natural talent, his delivery skills are almost on par with Kendrick or Nickle Nine. The only advice I would give him would be to develop a more cohesive project and keep infusing his lyrics with meaningful substance. Chavis can do ignorant with the best of them, but the great ones make people think about the meaning behind every line. ‘Bridge Card Raps’ is a very good pencil sketch now Chandler needs to erase the unnecessary lines and fill the blank space with vivid brushwork.