CROOKED I & JOELL ORTIZ – HARBOR CITY SEASON ONE

Crooked I and Joell Ortiz team up for a brand new album that is free from all of the Slaughterhouse drama. This is a pretty robust album clocking in at 24 tracks total. A lot of them are skits which one can argue if they are necessary or not. They do take up a lot of the time, but one could also argue that they push the narrative forward on the album. It is basically a story of a rookie cop recruit that goes on an adventure in a fictional town and has a pretty huge climaxing scene at the end. On the mic, Crooked and Joell are as magical as they ever have been. They are spitting complex bars of fury and pushing the story ahead as they go along. There aren’t a whole lot of features on here but, you do get a verse from the legendary AZ. The production on here is pretty decent overall. I’d classify the beats somewhere in between average and above average. The highlight of the project is a track called “Community Center” which is a perfectly written dialogue about the effect that community centers had in the lives of the MCs and how important they are. You can almost picture yourself there with them as they tell their stories. This was a bit of different move for the duo that still raps from Slaughterhouse. This might not be their most memorable album ever, but we will take anything they are willing to give us.


OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks


#joellortiz #yaowa #crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #shadyrecords #shady #harborcityseasonone #harborcityseason1


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CROOKED I & JOELL ORTIZ – RISE & FALL OF SLAUGHTERHOUSE

One half of the amazing and legendary crew Slaughterhouse release a new project to tell their side of the story. There’s a lot of talk on both sides of this story. I tried to take in as much as I could. I heard Joe and Royce both talk and what they were saying made sense. I heard Joell and Crooked talk and what they said made sense. This whole thing just seems like one of those unfortunate incidents that will never be resolved. Both sides have valid feelings about the breakup, what happened, and what shouldn’t happen. Even with all this drama, there is one thing that is absolutely, unequivocally true: the group’s fans will suffer without them and their music. They were a magical group and we loved them all. We miss hearing them all together. They were great. We still relish in getting solo projects from any one of them. So with this team effort, even though it was all we got, we still love it. Because we enjoy watching these men at work. They are great at what they do. The bars are amazing on here. They tell a fantastic story. This is their side of the story and they are entitled to tell it if they choose to. The beats are fantastic as well. They really selected some great beats. Highlights on this project definitely include “Vacancy,” “Backstage,” and “Sorry.” All 3 of these beats are classics. This is a fantastic record and we as rap fans probably deserve the whole group. But if this is what we can get, we will gladly take it. I pray that they can overcome all obstacles and get back to doing what they do so well.


OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks


#joellortiz #yaowa #crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #shadyrecords #shady #riseandfallofslaughterhouse #rise&fallofslaughterhouse #rafos


JOELL ORTIZ – AUTOGRAPH

Joell Ortiz comes back with an incredibly mature album that makes a statement. Joell Ortiz is an OG, is better than most other rappers, and he’s here to stay. His bars on this new album are incredibly good. He definitely hasn’t lost a step when it comes to his pen game. He gets some great features from Crooked I, Sheek Louch, and Cyhi Da Prynce on this project. There is some fantastic production from The Heatmakerz, Apollo Brown, and Salaam Remi. They each give this album the grown-up and respectable feel that it deserves. The tone is definitely set from the jump-off with the first track “In My Feelings” where Joell gives us almost a recap of his life up to this point. On songs like “OG,” Joell proves to us that you can be older in this game and still be a top tier lyricist. There really isn’t too much that can be said against this album. This is a solid effort and cements Joell Ortiz’s name in the game.


OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks


#joellortiz #shadyrecords #yaowa #slaughterhouse #autograph


CROOKED I – FLAG

Crooked I aka Kxng Crooked releases a brand new project. This one is decent overall. I wouldn’t say it is his best work, but it’s always good to hear from Crooked I especially in times like the present. On the mic, Crooked is unmatched. He is a true lyrical veteran of the highest caliber and you can’t coach greatness. The beats on here are pretty decent. While they may not be classic or even have that signature West Coast sound, they are strong nonetheless. Some of these songs on this project are more thoughtful than anything else. On “You Was Supposed To,” he raps about kids that were supposed to accomplish great things, but never got the chance to do so. On “Teenaged Killer (1 John 1-9),” Crooked’s voice is sped up to sound younger and he raps in the perspective of a youth of today. Most of the other songs showcase his fast and adaptable flow. All in all, this was a decent project, but Crook could have stepped up the beats just a tad.


OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks


#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #shadyrecords #shady #flag


JOELL ORTIZ & CROOKED I – H.A.R.D.

Half of the legendary group Slaughterhouse team up to bring us an incredible EP. Joell Ortiz and Crooked I are 2 of the best rappers out there period. There is no coaching perfection. Their bars throughout this EP are strong as neither of them have lost a step at all. The production on here is also top notch as they selected beats from Heatmakerz, Illmind, Erick Sermon, and Apollo Brown. Even though there aren’t too many tracks on here, it is just banger after banger, all littered with dope lyrics. They really did a great job with this project. I know all fans are dying for another Slaughterhouse album, but who knows if we will ever get to see that? All in all, this was a great effort that really paid off well. Just wish it would have been a full studio album instead of an EP.

 

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#joellortiz #shadyrecords #yaowa #crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #shadyrecords #shady #hard #h.a.r.d. #hardep

 

Joell Ortiz & Crooked I - H.A.R.D.

CROOKED I – THE SIXTEEN CHAPEL

Crooked I hits us with a quick 5 track EP that has an absolutely brilliant title, The Sixteen Chapel. This is genius level naming right there especially with how good Crooked I is at rhyming. He goes extra hard on the bars on this project as the name would have us guess. He seems to be at the top of his game when he is rhyming relentlessly. The beats on here are pretty decent. I’d say they are slightly above average. They provide an interesting backdrop for Crooked to paint his lyrical artwork. This is a great listen, I just wish it would have been longer. We’re all still bumping that Gravitas album though.

 

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #shadyrecords #shady #thesixteenchapel #the16chapel

 

Crooked I - The Sixteen Chapel

ROYCE DA 5’9″ – THE ALLEGORY

Royce Da 5’9″ delivers a highly anticipated, yet underwhelming album with this latest installment. One thing is absolutely, unequivocally true, and that is the fact that he is a lyrical mastermind. That is definitely evident on this new album. His rhymes are smarter than everyone else’s. You can just tell that he really sat and prepared these rhymes. These aren’t just bars that were chicken scratch just to fill up a notebook. The part where this album really suffers is the production. A ton of the beats are way too laid back. There are songs where you almost think that you could fall asleep like “Dope Man.” There are some gems on here. The singles “I Don’t Age” and “Overcomer” with Westside Gunn are truly some jewels that need celebrated. Another highly notable part of this album are the Grace skits. A lot of knowledge is passed from parents to children in these skits and they are pretty remarkable. Overall, this album was very underwhelming. I understand what Royce was trying to do and I think to some degree he accomplished it. It’s just that this project was not very audibly pleasing.

 

OVERALL RATING: 2.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#royceda59 #royce59 #royce #nickelnine #raponsteroids #rap_on_steroids #badmeetsevil #shadyrecords #slaughterhouse #prhyme #detroit #badhalfentertainment #theallegory

 

Royce Da 5'9'' - The Allegory

JOELL ORTIZ – MONDAY

Joell Ortiz comes back in a big way with a really dope new album entitled everyone’s favorite day of the week, Monday. He really has a lot of deep and introspective rhymes and great concepts throughout this project. It’s no secret that Joell Ortiz is one of the best MCs out there. He doesn’t really ever spit whack verses. It’s just not something he does. He has a lot of great beats that he selected on here as well. Definitely a lot of head nodders that true hip-hop heads will appreciate. On “Anxiety” he raps about what this feeling is like and I’m sure most who suffer from it will agree what he is saying. Even the beat itself is a little frantic and off-center which makes it that much more fitting. On “Learn You”he tells about how he wishes he had a closer relationship with his son. On “Screens” he raps about the dangers of allowing your kids to be raised by electronics and how we all lose touch with each other by doing that. There are a ton of great songs on here. This is a great album; the only thing missing is just that magic element that makes it a classic album. It’s not something that can be taught or calculated or manufactured. It’s just that thing that you get lucky enough to have on an album. Sometimes it strikes and sometimes it doesn’t. Other than that elusive, magical trait, this is a really, really dope album.

 

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#joellortiz #shadyrecords #yaowa #slaughterhouse #monday

 

Joell Ortiz - Monday

CROOKED I – MENACE II SOBRIETY EP

Instead of dropping week 30 for his Hip Hop Weekly series, Crooked I decided to drop a 4-track EP instead. Without a shadow of a doubt, Crooked I is absolutely one of the best lyricists EVER. That’s right, EVER. When an artist performs on that high of a level, it can be difficult to top themselves sometimes. As a fan, you almost get used to the high level of talent that they project, and you almost lose sight of how good they really are. Then sometimes they surprise everyone and even top themselves or their last project. This is what Crooked I did on this one. The rhymes are phenomenal throughout. He is absolutely flawless on the mic. He flips 4 classic beats, probably most notably Nas’s “I Gave You Power” on “Life Of A Bandana.” On this track, he tells a story from beginning to end from the perspective of a bandana and what it sees happen in it’s lifetime. The beats on this album are of course great as well as they are classic songs that are chopped up. This is just a great project all around and really the only downfall is that I wish it was longer. Thank you Crook for blessing the mic and the game.

 

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #slaughterhouse #mrweeklys #menaceiisobriety #menaceiisobrietyep #menace2sobriety #menace2sobrietyep

 

Crooked I - Menace II Sobriety

JOELL ORTIZ & SALAAM REMI – BOX TALK EP

This was a super quick EP at only 5 songs from Joell and Salaam. It goes without saying that Joell Ortiz can rap circles around most MCs and that is no different on this project. He definitely smashes the mic and almost even sounds a little reinvigorated on here. He reps NY correctly every time he grabs the mic. The beats were pretty decent on here as well. One thing that seemed evident on here was that it seems like the project wasn’t mixed or mastered well. It just didn’t sound very well from a technical perspective. I don’t know if this was the angle they were going for, but it was a bit distracting to the listener. I almost hate to think that Joell Ortiz has gone from putting out supreme mixtapes and albums both solo and with Slaughterhouse to now putting out short EPs that aren’t even mastered right. I don’t want to be in a world where that is true. Hopefully this is just a quick project to keep the streets fed until we get a full length project.

 

OVERALL RATING: 3 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#joellortiz #shadyrecords #yaowa #slaughterhouse #salaamremi #boxtalk #boxtalkep

 

Joell Ortiz & Salaam Remi - Box Talk

FAMILY BVSINESS – LLC EP

EPs are always harder to rate since they tend to be shorter so not a whole lot to say on this new 4 track EP from Family Bvisness. You have Crooked I and The Horse Shoe Gang spitting on here which is always gonna be dope. I think Crooked I stands out the most on here lyrically. They have some good content and some good themes. On “Fresh Out The Mud,” they rap about the struggle of getting on in the game and how far they have come so far in life and in the music industry. “Addiction” is another dope song that is about exactly what you would think it would be – being addicted to certain substances. The beats on this project are okay. I was expecting a little bit more on the production side, but they are decent. It would be better to give these EPs a rest and release a full length project to fully showcase the depth of Family Bvisness. I think that would be the best way to showcase their talent. Let’s hope we see something soon. So far so good as far as they are concerned.

 

OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

 

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng #horseshoegang #hsg #shoegang #foreverCOB #COBboyz #lbc #slaughterhouse #kngcrook #crookedirobot #familybvisness #llcep #llc

 

Family Bvisness - LLC

APOLLO BROWN & JOELL ORTIZ – MONA LISA

The former Slaughterhouse wordsmith Joell Ortiz teams up with Detroit super producer Apollo Brown and brings us a very introspective project called Mona Lisa. Now the first thing that really stands out about this project is how somber and sad it seems. You definitely get that vibe the whole way through the album. Joell does a fantastic job lyrically. There really aren’t too many MCs out there that are messing with Joell on the mic. But, you can hear the sadness and the intense thinking that is going on when he spits his bars. Apollo Brown is usually real rough and gritty with his old time samples and hard beats, but you can hear how somber his beats are to match Joell Ortiz on this one as well. On “Reflection” he tells us about where he is right now as an artist, how it is hard to navigate the music industry right now, and thoughts about where he actually stands. “That Place” is a fantastic and REAL track about how he hates going to the hospital because it is usually associated with death (sometimes life, but a lot of death and problems also). I think anyone out there can relate to this track which is what makes Joell so good. The highlight of the project is the collaboration with Royce Da 5’9″ on “Timberlan’d Up.” The beat is fantastic and both MCs do their thing on the mic. This is a dope project, but it will definitely make you sit back and think a bit.

OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#apollobrown #mellowmusicgroup #detroit #joellortiz #shadyrecords #yaowa #slaughterhouse #monalisa

Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz - Mona Lisa

ROYCE DA 5’9″ – BOOK OF RYAN

The Detroit legend is back with one of his best albums to date. This is by far his most personal albums ever. The amount of work he put into this project definitely shows through as you listen from front to back. Lyrically, there is no question that Royce is on point. He is able to give you perplexingly complex rhymes, but also give you a piece of himself as he unravels some layers and shows you where he came from. There are so many instances on this album where Royce perfectly explains some great stories from his childhood. The beats on here are pretty decent as well. While you won’t really find any neck-snappers on here, it really isn’t the place for them. It’s basically an introspective background for him to shed his soul. The highlights on this album include “Boblo Boat” featuring J. Cole, “Cocaine,” and the absolutely fantastic centerpiece “Caterpillar” featuring Eminem. This song is basically perfect while Royce and Eminem trade fantastic lyrics back and forth. This is a must listen for any hip hop fan out there.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#royceda59 #royce59 #royce #nickelnine #bookofryan #bor #raponsteroids #rap_on_steroids #badmeetsevil #shadyrecords #slaughterhouse #prhyme #detroit #badhalfentertainment

Royce Da 5'9'' - Book Of Ryan

PRHYME – PRHYME 2

Royce and Preemo are back with their second installment of their Prhyme and it is pretty dope. I think their first installment is better, but not by a whole lot. Royce has always been able to bring an onslaught of hard bars and this project is absolutely no different. He almost channels a whole different energy when he spits his flows. Premier definitely backs him up properly with the beats. DJ Premier is arguably one of the best producers in the game and he is always on point. The only very minute criticism I could offer would be that Royce sometimes just rhymes for rhyming’s sake instead of having a central theme on some songs. That is being super nitpicky and it is a small critique. The highlights of this project are the absolutely banging song “Flirt” with 2Chainz and “W.O.W.” with Yelawolf. Both beats are amazing boom-bap style hip hop and the MCs complement the songs well. This is a must have for rap heads so go out and get that pronto.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#royceda59 #royce59 #royce #nickelnine #badmeetsevil #shadyrecords #slaughterhouse #prhyme #prhyme_official #pr2 #detroit #badhalfentertainment #djpremier #realdjpremier #premierwuzhere #gangstarr

PRhyme 2

CROOKED I – GOOD VS. EVIL II (THE RED EMPIRE)

King Crooked was back with the second installment of his Good Vs. Evil series. I definitely have mixed emotions on this project. Lyrically, no one is touching Crooked I. He is one of the nicest MCs ever and there are only a handful that could even give him a run for his money. He definitely does his thing on this project. Lyrically he is spitting fire about social issues and justice. While his bars are clever, I sometimes get bored with hearing it over and over again. I understand that they are important social issues, but sometimes I just want to hear rappers rap. Give me some gangster, West Coast bars like you have done all along. The beats on this project could have been a little better as well. I think those classic West Coast style beats would suit Crooked I a lot better. He has told his story and his views on these two projects and we all appreciate it, but I think it is time to let this one go and go back to doing what he does best.

OVERALL RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #thenotoriouscrdouble #goodvsevil2 #gve2 #theredempire #redempire #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng

Crooked I - Good Vs. Evil II

ROYCE DA 5’9″ – THE BAR EXAM 4

Royce hit us with a surprise release that we have all been waiting for ferociously- the fourth installment of his Bar Exam series. This one is fantastic. One quarter of the Slaughterhouse group has blessed us with a very robust project of relentless bars. At 28 tracks, your ears have their work cut out for them. Lyrically, Royce is all but unmatched. He releases an unending barrage of lyrics. It’s almost too much to handle, but if you are true fan, you will be truly thankful. The lyrics are of the highest caliber out there. I don’t think there are many people that could do better than the bars you will hear on this project. The beats are fantastic. You have a great mix of older beats, brand new beats, pop stuff, underground beats, basically anything you could think of. One track that stands out to me is probably “Wake Up” in which Royce rhymes over the “Control” beat. He sounds amazing over it. Really the only negative I could say about this project is the length. It takes a while to get through the whole thing. But secretly, I’m not even mad at that since I love Royce’s bars. Thank you for this project Royce.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#royceda59 #royce59 #royce #nickelnine #barexam4 #barexam #raponsteroids #rap_on_steroids #badmeetsevil #shadyrecords #slaughterhouse #prhyme #detroit #badhalfentertainment

Royce_Da_59_The_Bar_Exam_4

CROOKED I – GOOD VS. EVIL

This album was a bit of a let down for me. I was hoping for more from the West Coast veteran. The best way to describe this project is more of a concept album. It is packed full of political and social commentary that is needed but maybe just not delivered in the best way. As far as the lyrics go, Crooked I is one of the best lyricists to ever pick up the mic and it shows with his complex rhyme schemes. He is a master wordsmith and in all honesty, every rapper out there needs to look up to this man. The beats and hooks on this album is where it lets us down a bit. There aren’t really too many songs that tend to stay with you after you listen to it. I truly think that Crooked I is the perfect person to be able to make an all around complete album but he just didn’t get it with this one. “Dear Officer” is probably one of the better songs on this album. I thought with an Eminem feature on the album that that song would be good but sadly, it just didn’t make the cut. I know Crooked I will get one eventually but he certainly didn’t get it with this one.

OVERALL RATING: 3 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #goodvsevil #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng

kxng_crooked_good_vs_evil_cover

CROOKED I – VALLEY OF THE KXNGS EP

This EP is only 6 tracks but every single one is fire. Crooked I is one of the best rappers ever. Yes, I mean EVER. He is pretty much unmatched lyrically and he proves it on this project. The beats are pretty decent. The song concepts are great. Crooked just has an uncanny way of making a project. He is a born artist. He can do it all. The bars that he spits on the last track are just mind-bending. If this EP is any indication of what the Good vs. Evil album will be like, we are in store for a masterpiece. This is a must have for any fans of Crooked I, Slaughterhouse, or just straight up bars. I could listen to this one over and over again.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#crookedi #kxngcrooked #crookedintriago #valleyofthekings #valleyofthekxngs #cob #ssuttx2 #kxng

Crooked I - Valley-of-the-Kings.jpg

JOE BUDDEN – RAGE & THE MACHINE

Budden finally did it! This project is damn near classic. Joey left behind all the crying, boo-hoo, relationship raps and got back to business of spitting some deep and complex rhymes. This album is just packed full of great songs. His rhymes are impeccable. He sounds stronger than ever. You can hear the force behind the rhymes. Not many are messing with Joe on the lyrical tip. The beats are supremely all produced by AraabMuzik and he is at the top of his game with most if not all. The highlights on this project include “Uncle Joe,” “I Gotta Ask,” and “I Wanna Know.” This is a fantastic release and might be the best that Budden has ever put out. This is a must have for all those bar fans out there.

OVERALL RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Cheesesteaks
#joebudden #rageandthemachine #rage&themachine #araabmuzik #slaughterhouse #shadyrecords #shady #mouse #newjersey #jersey
joe-budden-rage-and-the-machine

ROYCE DA 5’9″ – LAYERS

The highly anticipated album has finally arrived. Royce offers a very good project with this album. I’ve always viewed Royce as sort of like in the Ivy League of rappers. He is so intelligent and such a good lyricist. He’s also so cocky but in a laid-back way. He’ll let you sound stupid and then complete berate you with an onslaught of bars to show you how dumb you are. Layers is a very introspective look at Royce’s life currently. He raps about divorce from his wife, raising children, and dealing with alcoholism. Some of the tracks that were on the Trust The Shooter project show up on this project but I am not even mad at that. The album is very consistent and cohesive. It definitely deserves a few listens. You can’t soak it all in on one listen. While I definitely don’t think this is a classic, it’s a strong effort from an artist that deserves your respect.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#royceda59 #royce59 #royce #layers #trusttheshooter #raponsteroids #rap_on_steroids #badmeetsevil #shadyrecords #slaughterhouse #prhyme #detroit #badhalfentertainment

royce-da-5-9-layers

JOELL ORTIZ – THAT’S HIP HOP

Joell Ortiz has always been a beast on the mic. Whenever I hear Joell, I think of 24 inch biceps just punching the hell out of a track. His thirst to be the best is never quenched. This project is a prime example of Joell delivering relentless bars of power. It is chock full of bars and some very good beats as well. The standout track to me is “Say What I Want” featuring Chris Rivers. A head-nodding barrage of lyrics is provided by both lyricists. I think overall, there is a classic hip hop feel that he was shooting for with this album. If you are a Joell Ortiz fan, you will definitely enjoy this album.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#joellortiz #shadyrecords #thatshiphop #yaowa #slaughterhouse #domingo

joellortiz

ROYCE DA 5’9″ – TABERNACLE:TRUST THE SHOOTER EP

This is a breath of fresh air which is absolutely needed in rap music today. Royce always delivers as a lyricist and I for one am always looking forward to what he is bringing to the table. A good way to sum up this project is in the following sentence. One bar from Royce is better than anything you have ever done in your life. He is a confident MC that backs up his talk with relentlessly clever lyrics. You would be hard pressed to find a better MC in the game today. This project is meant to tide us over until the Layers album is dropped in April. Meanwhile, this EP could easily be an album. Royce takes a stranglehold of the mic and showcases different flows on different songs. “Savages” is by far his best offering on this project. He directly shows you why he is one of the best. “Which Is Cool” is another standout song with a great beat. His most introspective is “Tabernacle” which tells a story about his grandmother dying, his son being born, and meeting Eminem for the first time all in the same night. This is an absolute slamming project for Royce and/or Slaughterhouse fans.

OVERALL RATING: 4 out of 5 Cheesesteaks

#royceda59 #royce59 #trusttheshooter #trusttheshooterep #nickelnine #tabernacle #djpain1 #badhalfentertainment #mrporter #djpremier #prhyme

Royce