The Hip Hop Mortuary

"I wax lyrics so poetic even the most narcoleptic skeptic feels awake and perceptive"

10:38 AM

Del Tha Funkee Homosapien- No Need For Alarm

Posted by Guy Fawkes

Lately I've been bumpin Deltron 3030 like none other. Believe me when I tell you this: Only Soul On Ice Ras Kass can compare to Tha Funkee Homosapien on a lyrical level. After wearing out the speakers in the car listening to Things You Can Do, I finally moved onto Del's short-lived solo discography. I have to say this guy gets slept on like narcolepsy. One of my favorite things about Del is his ability to wreck any beat with his chameleonic flow. Another is the wide variety of incredibly ill instrumentals he spits over. At this point in time in Del's career he was just beginning to craft his uniquely patented style of trite braggadocio hip-hop mixed with insane wordplay that gives you authentic goosebumps. Enough talk though...

1. You're In Shambles
The soft jazz in the back-end of the instrumental has always put me in a different mindstate. Something so ethereal about this instrumental. And Del's other-worldly flow and lyricism leave this song in shambles.

2. Catch A Bad One
If anyone can make meandering violin sound like a traditional hip hop instrument it's definitely Del. This song is dope, but not comparable to You're In Shambles.

3. Wack M.C.'s
Ahh, the ever-popular early 90's ode to the wack MC or wack crew. I've got a theory that you can find a song like this on almost every hip hop album made in the late 80's and 90's. Del puts his personal spin on it, but it's still really predictable, especially the hook.

4. No Need For Alarm
It took me a little while to warm up to this track, but I'm really feelin' it as I type. The flow still makes my jaw drop. Whose fucking with Del?

5. Boo Boo Heads
The hook is funny in a 90's sort of way. Like when kids my age watch Friday and understand the jokes in a "I feel it even though I didn't live it" sense. The flow and insane battle raps are killing me at this point.

6. Treats For The Kiddies
Title says it all. My only complaint for now is that the last six songs sound like the same thing with a minor beat change. Minor meaning a slight change in the bassline or adding a scratched vocal here and there...

7. Worldwide
I guess I planned that above statement perfectly as Del lines up some top quality lyricism over this East-Coast instrumental. The guest verse sounds ominously just like Del; the flow, the rhyme scheme... sounds like it might have been *gasp* ghostwritten? Or Del knows how to throw his voice... either way this song is dope.

8. No More Worries
Let's get this straight. This is the best instrumental on the whole album. Maybe the best instrumental of it's respective year. But Del's guest features sound somewhat awkward over this instrumental. Still an amazing song...

9. Wrong Place
I can't place my hand on the sample and it's bugging me! Also amazing, is the direction that Del took over this instrumental. Just flipped it completely on it's ass... much props given Mr. Homosapien.

10. In And Out
Compared to all the previous songs, this one is a snoozer. The instrumental is not engaging at all, so it neglects whatever Del is spitting.

11. Don't Forget
Another fairly weak beat, but Del rides this one much better. Still a sub-par song when compared to the rest of the album.

12. Miles To Go
If you look through Del's entire discography you will notice that he does a few songs like this per album. This doesn't sound like it belongs on this album, but it still kicks something crazy...

13. Check It Ooout
Del slows his flow down, and kills this track. Best song off this classic album, hands down! You'll have to Check It Ooout...

14. Thank Youse
Very weak ending, but it is an outro, so if you take it into perspective, this song serves it's purpose.

Very solid album. Del comes with his own style and keeps it consistent throughout the whole album. Heavy funk and Del's flow just work together, and this album is a joy to listen to.

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great songs

I give this album an 86.

You can find a link here.

12:51 PM

Jaylib/Champion Sound

Posted by The Invisible Man

Jaylib - Champion Sound

J Dilla. Madlib. Seperately these two super producers have an extensive resume of proof that they know music. On the one hand, the late great Dilla over the years gained respect of a countless amount of musicians, mainstream and underground alike, a feat that is rarely accomplished these days. On the other, Madlib has been working practicly in seclusion under various alias' and seems to never stop releasing music under his own terms. Considering the staggering talent following close behind each of these artists; the expectations for this album are higher than Madlib's Quasimoto voice (another album worth reviewing at some point).

One thing to point out before starting the track by track rundown, this may be a collaboration, but with the exception of the first track and the two bonus tracks, Dilla and Madlib produce the beats by themselves. This wasn't sitting around and co-producing each song, but rather the two were sending beats and vocals back and forth between LA and Detroit.

1. LA to Detroit
This is just an intro, but it shows right off the bat that Dilla's thumping drums go well with Madlib's synthy bass and weird sounds.

2. McNasty Filth (ft. Frank-n-Dank)
The CD really starts here, and it starts with a Madlib banger. Frank-n-Dank aren't too lyrical but they get the job done and bring the energy needed to match the song.

3. Nowadayz
Another crazy beat, this time by Dilla. Already it seems that if you're not paying attention you could forget that these are two different producers. I think that's part of what makes this CD work. Even though they didn't work closely together, it still all flows really well. Madlib spits on this one, and it works in a sense of sounding alright and matching the beat, but he's definitely not a lyricist. The way I would describe Madlib as an MC is he keeps it interesting enough that you can listen and not be bored, but he doesn't take the attention away from the music. Not necessarily a bad thing.

4. Champion Sound
The title track is produced by Madlib and really keeps the momentum going. Like Madlib, Dilla isn't that great lyrically, but the way this album moves and keeps giving you crazy beats it almost doesn't give you time to think about the vocals other than asking whether they match the beat. Dilla can flow even if he's not saying much.

5. The Red
Despite the piercing guitar(?) loop presented by Dilla, this is one of the instances where the lyrics hinder the overall song. Luckily its only the first half of the song that has lyrics so if you want to just enjoy the beat you can.

6. Heavy
The title says it all, a heavy repetitive drum loop with Dilla's vocals mimicking the feeling.

7. Raw Shit (ft. Talib Kweli)
Probably one of the weaker beats on the CD, but Kweli helps this track out a lot. Madlib has the first verse and it's one of his more mediocre so you have to wait through that to get to Kweli, but it's worth it as the song jumps up a few notches once he gets on the mic.

8. The Official
Great beat. I don't think Dilla's voice matches over it so that kind of brings it down.

9. The Heist
This is a rare occasion when the beat is actually as average as the lyrics. Madlib tells a story but it really isn't interesting enough to listen closely to.

10. The Mission
This brings the album back to greatness with what worked before: top notch creative beats and minimal lyrics that just compliment the music. This track kind of feels like an interlude linking the first and second half of the album.

11. React ("ft." Quasimoto)
This is a real cool/trippy beat, fitting for Madlib's high pitched alter ego Quasimoto to show up. The vocal samples sound really good mixed in here too.

12. Strapped (ft. Guilty Simpson)
Another unique beat, and Guilty Simpson fits perfectly on this. This especially brings out one of the recurring feels of the album: a mix of grimy sounds and precise instruments. Detroit and Los Angeles. Two great things that shouldn't sound good together, but work anyway.

13. Strip Club ("ft." Quasimoto)
This is where Madlib works best, light hearted and funny descriptions of things like going to a strip club over an equally lighthearted beat. Nothing groundbreaking here, just fun.

14. The Exclusive (ft. Percee P)
The beat is really simple, so it puts the spotlight on the lyrics. Unfortunately, Percee P doesn't really deliver a good enough verse and instead this is just a throwaway track.

15. Survival Test
Madlib brings out a really vibrant sample, and Dilla does a good job only saying as much as he needs to on this.

16. Starz
Dilla follows up with his own gem of a sample, and Madlib's vocals aren't half bad either.

17. No Games
The proper final track of the album. Madlib brings in a really soulful sample and they end it with a track that keeps the quick pace but does it in a more low key fashion.

Raw Addict/Pillz
The two bonus tracks. Both of these are good Madlib tracks, bringing more of his humor and creativity. These are both great tracks but don't really fit anywhere in the album so they're perfect for bonus tracks.

There it is. Chances are, this will feel like a short CD as the music is easy to zone out to. As expected from an album made by two producers, the lyrics weren't great, but considering they only had a few guests they managed to turn in vocals that contributed a little to the incredible beats.
So did this meet the lofty expectations? I'd say that it's not necessarily what you would expect from hearing "Madlib and J Dilla collaboration", but it does keep the level of quality that the two have been working on for years. Sure, they could've brought a lyricist to do the tracks, but then it wouldn't have been a Madlib/Dilla collab but instead a Madlib/Dilla/____ CD. They also could've done an instrumental, but I think they use their voices almost as instruments more than lyrics.
I'm just giving a score to the main album, but a while back Stones Throw re-released the album as a 2 disc set with instrumentals and remixes, and that I highly recommend as even if you don't like the lyrics you can switch them out whenever.

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great song

I give this album an 85.

10:37 AM

Slum Village- Fantastic Vol. 2

Posted by Guy Fawkes
How do you introduce Slum Village? That question has been bugging me for the last hour or so. They are a group like no other, that harbors influences from countless places. The group was spearheaded by arguably the greatest producer of all time. There aren't enough words to describe what J Dilla bought to Slum Village. Very rarely does a producer overshadow the other members of the group (Primo and Pete Rock are examples). Needless to say, Jay Dee is held in very high regard (partly because of his untimely passing, but also because of the amazing work he's done). Alongside Jay were Baatin and T3, less-known but still cornerstones of the group.
*Ten useless biographical sentences later*
And that's the story of Slum Village. Now it's time for Fantastic Vol.2, hit it!

1. Introduction
For once I can actually applaud the intro. Although it's kind of ignorant for me to assume that Slum Village would make an average rap album intro. I love the last 7 seconds of this track too.

2. Conant Gardens
An ode to where the crew grew up. The title is anyway, the lyrics are more reminiscent of braggadocio hip-hop where they effortlessly ride the instrumental while kicking some dope rhymes.

3. I Don't Know
I don't know why I wasted my time with this track. Baatin and T3 took a capable instrumental and turned it into a snoozer. Next!

4. Jealousy
Sounds like Jurassic 5 with the choppy flow and the subject matter. This song isn't going to change anyone's life, in fact I can't even imagine anyone remembering this song after hearing it. So, it was a delete for me.

5. Climax (Girl Shit)
A very soft-spoken track, emitting the warmth only an average R&B tinged J Dilla track can bring. This track bears a very striking likeness to The Tribe Best Known As Quest. Although retaining the qualities that make Slum Village such a well-respected group.

6. Hold Tight
Another chill, mellow, laid-back track. Although it's somewhat of an aberration as all of Slum's tracks can be described as chill and mellow. This is one of the better Dilla instrumentals off the whole album, as such I would have preferred less features. Q-Tip's verse is nice, but it starts to trail off from there (said in a diminishing voice).

7. Tell Me
I could do without the weak hook and the strange interlude-esque conversations at the end of the tracks. Once again this song starts off well, it even holds up well till about the halfway mark when the lyrics crash like a house of cards. This Dilla beat is something else though I tell you... Baatin and T3 should still be counting their blessings.

8. What It's All About

I wish I had something good to say about Busta's verse, or even as an artist in general (Arab Money? That's what your career has come to?). Alas, I'll leave that topic relatively untouched. Another dope beat, interesting sample for the hook, I was feeling this track all in all.

9. Forth And Back
Nah, wasn't really feeling this one at all. Even the instrumental was pretty weak here. Next.

10. Untitled/Fantastic
And we're back on track. This song has always mystified me, something so ethereal about this instrumental, and for once I can one up the MC's. They did their thing on this here beat. Possibly the best song on the album, so you already know how I feel about it.

11. Fall In Love
I honestly prefer the last minute and a half to the beginning of the track. The musical backdrop is something amazing, and the hook is haunting. I don't know what the last 30 or so seconds were about, I'm sure they tied into this recurring plot at the end of every song, but it really detached from the track's overall value.

12. Get Dis Money
Personally, I don't think anyone should ever spit over this instrumental. And when they do spit over this memento, it should be something more than: "Hey, hey/ What you say/ Get dis money"... Comparable to letting Lil' Wayne freestyle over I Used To Love H.E.R. It's not a bad track at all though. Just that you'd expect Slum Village to dig deep and find lyrics and a hook worthy of this instrumental.

13. Raise It Up
Not really feeling any of it. Some hypocritical titles here!

14. Once Upon A Time
Pete Rock and Dilla together produce this beast of an instrumental. And the good folks over at Slum Village grace this track with some poignant lyricism. Thank you. And for once, the last part of the song isn't completely worthwhile-less.

15. Players
T3 actually did an interview with Fader, where he talked about this song. One of the things he mentioned is that the sample actually says Claire and not Players. But they say Players so much in the song, that's what you believe the sample is really saying. The song itself is amazing. A classic Slum Village cut. Also here's an quote about the motivation for the track:

People don’t know that was a battle song, only niggas in the D know that. We was actually talking ’bout some real niggas. We’re cool today, but it was actually (deceased rapper) Proof's group (5 Elementz). These niggas had just dropped they CD that Dilla did most of the beats for and they was just acting arrogant, walking around real tough and we got kind of offended by it. Once we started talking about it, Waajeed (from Platinum Pied Pipers) was like a hype man, like, “Man, they just put their shit out, where’s yours?” We went over to Dilla’s house and it was one a them nights where everything was clickin'. Two weeks later we came with Vol.1. They kind of inspired us by being so arrogant, so we made “Players” about them. They found out, I don’t know how…somebody told.

16. Eyes Up
After the song that preceded it, you're just expecting so much more than this insignificant babble. It's not a bad song, but Baatin and T3 are capable of so much more. Not bad, but definitely lackluster.

17. 2U4U
Slum Village's two lesser members ruin another good instrumental. They ain't sayin' nothing!

18. CB4
No Chris Rock references to be found here. The hook has me scratching my head quite a bit. Are they chanting or what? One of the strangest things I've ever heard on wax. Blow-job interference? Cock-blockers? Very clever.As for the song itself, it's not really anything worth hearing.

19. Go Ladies
There's no rapping to be found here. Some incoherent babbling in the first verse, and it never really gets much better. Another lacking effort over a very capable instrumental.

20. Thelonius
Ironically, Slum Village treats listeners to a top-quality send off. Superior to most of the album and definitely a song you should check out.

It's hard to really pass judgement on this album. Although the lyrical content was terrible (sorry John), the instrumentals were top-notch. This album reminded me of Group Home's Livin Proof'. Then again Slum Village was never known as amazing lyricists and Jay Dee, in fact most hip hop fans would be hard-pressed to name Baatin and T3 as the other members. So I can't say much about this album on a lyrical level, but an instrumental version of this album would be very well worth your time.

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great song

I give this album a 75.

You can find a link and a worthwhile review here.