Copywrite & Planet Asia – Unfinished & Untitled (Review)

Copywrite, Planet Asia, Reviews

Legendary battle-ready Ohio MC Copywrite and legendary Fresno rapper Planet Asia join forces for this surprise release ‘Unfinished & Untitled’. The tight-knit eleven track LP is a brilliant example of the quality hip-hop on offer if you take a minute to look below the surface level tripe that is pushed on commercial radio, and these two artists have been grinding independently for years, each gaining their respective dedicated followings. Their dexterity and penmanship means that this collaboration was a match made in heaven, and the project is a blatant testament to that fact.

Following a witty intro (using an interview of how Copy and Asia first met; apparently it was while collecting food stamps), the project gets underway with ‘Big Business’. The simplistic instrumental backs the two authoritative voices as they lace the beat with intricate verses, and the complexity of the two underground stalwart’s writing is instantly evident. ‘Our Everyday’ follows, and the hard-hitting, abrasive synthesizers and guaranteed head-banging kicks snap consistently as the dynamic duo recruit Los Angeles lyricist TriState, who delivers a characteristically tough sixteen. The raw and undisputably banging ‘Up All Night’ is a surefire standout; Asia’s blend of cockiness and substantial content makes him one of the most impressive and criminally under-rated MC’s of all time, and Copywrite’s ability to write battle-ready punchlines with a sharp flow is the stuff of hip-hop legend.

The textured, glitchy ‘Ode To Chuck Berry’ is an angsty, in-your-face cut that showcases the dexterity and eclecticism of the lyricists on display here, and as the ‘Unfinished & Untitled’ project progresses, every track brings another angle and sonic direction. This is more than your cliched, traditional hip-hop; just because the wordsmiths are skilful and talented, the music and attitude is fresh and engaging. Wu-Tang veteran U-God accompanies on the anthemic, soulful cut ‘Crocodile Smile’; the classy horns and intricate percussion makes for a rousing tune with charismatic deliveries and solid, sophisticated flows from the three experienced spitters.

The high caliber of guests continues with the dusty, old-school vibes of ‘The Cypher Of Agartha’, which features renowned South Bronx virtuoso Canibus, who has set the precedent for complexity and layered writing. The diverse selection of vocalists on here makes for a truly exhilerating listen. Underground LA MC and frequent Copywrite collaborator Ill Burns Green appears on the rousing and creatively titled ‘Volume Dial Goes To 11’ before the LP closes out on the energetic ‘End From Scratch/Maggot Brain’.

There’s not much more that needs to be said. If you’re a self-respecting hip-hop fan and you’re unfamiliar with these guys, go and slap yourself in the face and do some research; it’s far more important than most seem to realise these days. If these two insanely talented lyricists are already on your radar, as they should be, then you already know what to expect. ‘Unfinished & Untitled’ delivers on all fronts. The production is relentless and varied, and the bars are top quality throughout the concisely executed album. Stop wasting your time and get this thing downloaded.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@Copywrite614

@PlanetAsia

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.copywrite.bandcamp.com/album/unfinished-untitled

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Oh No & TriState – 3 Dimensional Prescriptions (Review)

Oh No, Reviews, TriState

You may be aware of TriState through his work as a part of Durag Dynasty alongside Killer Ben and Planet Asia. The Los Angeles lyricist partners with exceptional beatsmith Oh No, hailing from Oxnard, for a superb full length release entitled ‘3 Dimensional Prescriptions’. TriState is a rhymer who prides himself on complexity accompanied with a pounding, consistently energetic delivery, and Oh No’s versatile style makes this a brilliant collaboration.

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The tough opener ‘Showroom Floor’ is a shining example of the authoritative, professional diction of Los Angeles underground stalwart TriState and the jazzy, off-kilter production work of the legendary California beatmaker Oh No. It’s clear from the first track that this is a street-smart LP with an emphasis on hard-hitting instrumentals and ferocious lyricism. The leaders of the new wave of atmospheric, slow-paced and swagged out hip-hop appear on the fantastic ‘Custom’; Oh No and TriState are joined by prolific spitters Hus Kingpin and Westside Gunn, as well as upcoming LA MC Lyric Jones.

The wonderfully chopped ‘Networth’ is a dope soulful cut with intricate verses and precise flows from front to back. Oh No’s tight drums are characteristically banging, and he expertly exploits vocal samples to create a truly remarkable backdrop for TriState to deliver unfaltering raw bars. The gravelly ‘6 Sun Raise Son’ is a heavy cypher cut which features Casual, Brotha J and Bro AA Rashid; ‘3 Dimensional Prescriptions’ utilises Oh No and TriState’s connections in the underground scene. The wealth of talent on display shows that authentic, gritty hip-hop hasn’t gone anywhere, despite what you might read from uninformed whingers on internet forums.

As if you need further proof, West Coast legend Planet Asia appears on ‘Wind Chime Wizardly’, and the sparkling melodies are offset by crunchy percussion and dexterous lyricism from both King Medallions and TriState; the consistency in quality of both beats and rhymes is impeccable, and the album is so entertaining as a result. It’s such a diverse project too; the anthemic, relaxed joint ‘Imhotep’ is one of the highlights. Vivid lyricism and passionate instrumentation make this soulful tune a true success. Straight up gangster attitude shines on the encapsulating ‘Move Script’; Tri spits with believable attitude, and the dusty, cinematic vibe is completed by a stylish showcase from Los Angeles MC Rogue Venom on the hook.

Revered lyricist and beatmaker The Alchemist, Oh No’s partner in crime as a part of fantastic duo Gangrene, appears on the super-chilled ‘Write Wrongs’. The chemistry is so easy to hear, and the restrained execution makes it a late standout. Sharp, flashy bars are delivered with sophistication and experience on the terrific ‘Latest Drug’; the smooth strings, complex rhyme schemes and detailed description make for an outstanding penultimate track. The LP closes out on the slick ‘Exit Thru The Gift Shop’; TriState is accompanied on the microphone by veteran lyricist Evidence, and the raw production is perfect for the two charismatic spitters to vibe to whilst displaying their prowess.

 This is a great project; the verses are concisely delivered, and the cohesive sound of the LP is a true testament to the successful partnership that TriState and Oh No bring to the table. The feature list is extensive and impressive; both respected names and relevant newcomers are fully represented on, and nobody sounds even the slightest bit out of place. ‘3 Dimensional Prescriptions’ is guaranteed to stay in rotation for any true hip-hop head; this one is a masterclass in how to match beats and rhymes with effortless skill and classy results, and we may just have an early album of the year contender.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@IAmTriState

@OhNoTheDisrupt

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.hieroglyphics.com/

DJ Brans – Endless (Review)

DJ Brans, Reviews

Parisian beatmaker DJ Brans starts his year off with the release of his sophomore album ‘Endless’. It follows his 2012 effort ‘The Branstorm’, and the new LP boasts appearances from M.O.P., Guilty Simpson and Dirt Platoon amongst a host of other respected underground stalwarts.

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Opening with Thundervolts, Brans recruits west coast veteran Planet Asia to kick a verse over a dark, gloomy boom bap beat with crunchy drums and tense string parts. It’s the perfect introduction to Brans’ hardcore production style, and Asia’s pen-game has always been faultless. Longstanding San Francisco MC Rasco accompanies production from Brans and cuts from DJ Djaz on the hard hitting brass sample flip on ‘Adrenaline Rush’; the mood of the early tracks excellently sets the scene for the remainder of the twelve track LP.

New Jersey MC Fel Sweetenberg is one of the most exciting members of the raw, independent hip-hop scene, with a discography filled with excellent nineties inspired cuts. His appearance on the blistering ‘Make My Mark’ is characteristically impressive, and the soulful, crisp production is perfect for his gritty delivery. ‘Craziest Motherfucker’ features Queensbridge MC Blaq Poet, who has long held a stellar reputation, consistently killing his guest appearances; the simplistic, menacing production smacks you in the face, and the rhymes are expertly handled.

Prolific New York wordsmith Nutso joins on the chilled, passionate ‘Let’s Make A Toast’, and the tasteful piano-laced beat is a testament to Brans’ versatile style; he draws from a range of influences and creates vibes that range from unadulterated hardcore hip-hop bangers to more restrained cuts such as the aforementioned track. Underground MC Starvin B impresses on ‘War At Your Door’, with gritty, simplistic production and smoothly delivered lyricism from the Queens rapper. ‘Powerful’ closes ‘Endless’, with appearances from Fel Sweetenberg and Dirt Platoon (a duo comprised of Raf Almighty and Snook Da Crook), and it’s clear that this is raw, street music at it’s best.

If you like your rap music hard hitting and lyrical, and if you like your production banging and drums pounding, DJ Brans has curated a twelve track ride of near perfection. He’s not reinvented the wheel, but every beat is dope, and every MC on the project comes through with their a-game. ‘Endless’ is an impressive collection of tracks, and it’s a must have for any self-respecting underground head.

By Sam Bennett

@TheRealPP

@LYTEWORK

@DJBrans

http://www.facebook.com/LYTEWORK

http://www.effiscienz.bandcamp.com