iTunes inadvertently screwed up the release of Kendrick Lamar’s new LP which drove some of its producers to take to Twitter about this mistake – but make no mistake about it, there were no mistakes that were made in To Pimp a Butterfly. The album is a cocktail of jazz, blues, electronic, funk, rock, and good-to-honest hip-hop mixed and all in sync with the spitfire lyricism of K.Dot that we’ve come to know. In short, it’s orchestrated chaos and the end product is a masterpiece. I haven’t been as impressed with a hip-hop record as when Nas released Life is Good in 2012, or with J.Cole’s Forest Hills Drive last year. I was excited when he announced his new record, but had my share of doubts as well: “what if he doesn’t top himself or equal good kid, m.A.A.d city?” However, after hearing the first song in the album, “Wesley’s Theory”, all doubts were erased. By the time I reached the fifth track “These Walls”, I was already sold on the whole album as a classic, and it’s been getting the critical acclaim that it deserves. I’m sorry that I had my doubts, King Kendrick. [JS] | 5/5
If we’re disappointed with the acts coming to the Philippines, then why don’t we make our own music festival? It doesn’t have to really happen – it can all be in our heads. And thus, the earthings! Fantasy Festival was born. Today, Jayvee Sacramento stacks his stage with hip-hop royalty… well, except for a couple of names you would expect on such a list.
Eminem follows up on his previous efforts with a new album for 2013: the much-anticipated second installment of The Marshall Mathers LP. Eminem brings out the guns in MMLP2 with catchy beats and his usual impressive lyricism. This is consistent throughout the album. What makes this album great for me is after listening to it for a fifth time, I haven’t found a dull moment in it. Maybe the 1:00 skit after the first track? I find little reason to find any fault in the album. Why would I when I listened through the entire deluxe edition and did not have any cringe moment? Eminem brings the rap goods in “Rap God” – there is a section in the track where he raps 100 words in 16 seconds – and he doesn’t mince his words in any part of the album. MMLP2‘s mood is generally the angry Eminem, but he channels the anger with a concoction of beats and lyrics that makes the album an instant must-listen to fans of hip-hop. 2013’s hip-hop album of the year? It’s one of the strongest contenders. [JS] | 5/5
Good Times with Mo, as a show, was always teetering on the brink of suspensions, sanctions and lawsuits. They were successful and were raking in ratings with funny and oftentimes offensive segments like Forbidden Questions, Yabang Mo, Chick Republic and Showbiz Bro so everything was good.
“We need to write the new rules.” This is one of Jay-Z’s boldest statements in his promotion video for his twelfth studio album, Magna Carta… Holy Grail. True enough, Jay-Z wrote the new rules in a marketing stroke of genius, selling a million albums before any physical or digital copy of his new record was made, through a partnership with Samsung. Okay, enough of the intro. Let’s get into the album itself. “Holy Grail” is a perfect opening to a Jay-Z album. Make no mistake, this is typical Jay-Z. The beats are fresh, strong and innovative, thanks to top-notch producers like Swizz Beats and Timbaland; the combination of instruments is superb; and his skills add value to the beats. There are a lot of strong tracks like “BBC”, “Part II” and “Heaven”. The album is good. Very good. However, I won’t put it above Nas’ Life is Good or J. Cole’s Born Sinner – not yet. Some of the songs are acquired tastes and need a few more listens. I never second-guessed Life is Good; my immediate reaction was “holy shit, what an album”. Ditto with Born Sinner. I’m not saying it’s bad, because holy shit, I’ve really waited for HOVA’s next album and this is what I was looking for. It was worth all the hype and marketing. He gave life to his bold statement. However, there are other hip-hop albums that are higher in my Hip-Hop Albums Pantheon. [JS] | 4/5