Mac Miller - Watching Movies With The Sound Off | Album Review

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Ask any artist their creative process and they will convey a special story. Whether it's stuffing the studio with yes-men, relocating to Hawaii or making sure they’re high on acid; every practitioner has a unique way of creating art. Mac Miller's story involves plenty of muted throwback '80s films and wildlife documentaries. Quite an interesting process, right? Let me explain.

In the past four years a lot has changed for Mac. Between his own MTV reality show, moving from Pittsburgh to LA and acquiring a bunch of new rap friends, he managed to produce the first independent number one album in 15 years. But if we're on the subject of change I suppose we better talk about the biggest change of all; Mac Miller's sophomore record Watching Movies With The Sound Off. Read more


The-Dream - IV Play | Album Review

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3/5

A complex character of sorts, The-Dream is an incredibly talented individual who once in a while makes a questionable creative decision. With that said, when he’s on his game he’s really on his game. Returning with his fourth studio album [if you disregard the free-turned-salable Terius Nash: 1977], the aptly titled IV Play is commercially the most anticipated of his long plays; thanks to his high-profile Beyonce collaborations, Watch The Throne input and Grammy win for "No Church In The Wild." Read more


Soulection - Time In Between | Compilation Review

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It’s remarkable to think about what LA based label Soulection has achieved since starting up at the beginning of 2011. Having released over 25 projects from artists across the world, the label also boasts a weekly radio show that has seen a number of guests including the likes of DāM-FunK, Melo-X and Freddie Joachim.

Founded by radio host Joe Kay, visual director and artist Guillaume Bonte (aka 96) and motion designer/videographer Andre Power, the label’s first release came in the form of Soulection Compilation, a 25-track project showcasing just expansive and talented the Soulection family is. 26 releases and two years later, the label has just dropped Time In Between, the second compilation, which shows off the exponential growth the label has seen in such time, all the while keeping the project more cohesive than its predecessor. Read more


Ghostface Killah - Twelve Reasons To Die | Album Review

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Dark poetry is probably the best way to describe Ghostface Killah’s latest offering. If you’re a fan of Quentin Tarantino movies you’ll love it. Like a lyrical horr-opera, Ghostdini does what he does best by attacking every beat with his razor sharp tongue not letting up for even a second. While many are going to forever say that Ironman is the Wu-Tang [Clan] rhymer’s finest work – which it might well be – Twelve Reasons To Die is definitely of the same standard.

With solid narrative from start to finish, the return of a completely cohesive project is a beautiful thing to see and hear. Ghost’s lyrically descriptive music paints an insane picture of retaliation, revenge and get back; and putting pieces of the puzzle together becomes a satisfying game of did he/didn’t he [which once again gives your rewind button purpose]. Read more


Tyga - Hotel California | Album Review


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The arrogance associated with calling yourself the last King is enough to attract the haters, - Tyga’s second album was titled Careless World: Rise Of The Last King - and donning a fur coat and hat whilst commanding an actual life-sized pet tiger in the courtyard of an expensive seaside mansion on his latest album cover is sure to send the hating in to overdrive. But if you strip away the flashiness and the Young Money facade, what are you left with? Read more


Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience | Album Review

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4/5

It’s been seven long years since Justin Timberlake last wowed us with his futuristic sounds, awe inspiring visuals and captivating storytelling. Returning to the musical spotlight after his movie star hiatus, now the golden boy of popular culture claims quite simply that he's ready. Ready for what you might ask? If you don’t find your answer upon listening to his latest offering The 20/20 Experience, there’s a distinct possibility that your ears might be something to just hang your sunglasses on. Read more


TQ - Legendary | Album Review

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TQ was once the vocal talk of the town, with his smash hit ‘Westside’ blowing up spots across the world back in 1998. Since then the Compton, California singer’s had a few lesser known hits, enjoyed a stint at Cash Money Records and released numerous independent projects. Still riding the indie artist route TQ unleashes his seventh studio LP, Legendary. Read more


Jared Evan x Statik Selektah - Boom Bap & Blues | Album Review

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Every artist, at some point in their career, has to step from out of the shadows to announce themselves to the world. There are those who have a talent so obvious that one line on one song can say it all. With that said, the reintroduction of Jared Evan couldn’t have come soon enough. Releasing his first official album in the form of Boom Bap & Blues, the New York singer, songwriter, producer and rapper is without question the truth. Read more


Joe Budden - No Love Lost | Album Review

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Throughout his career Joe Budden has been considered many things - an outcast, a drunk, very much up himself, and more recently a sucker for love. While he may admit to being, or having been, one or some of these things, something has been missed. How about survivor? Judging from his recent verse on "Want You Back" with Fabolous and Cassie, as well as a few older joints, and his Slaughterhouse entries of course, Joey has physically, mentally, and emotionally been through the wars.

Bringing to the table his first official solo project since the conception of hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse, of which he is a part alongside Crooked I, Royce Da 5'9", and Joell Ortiz, Budden might have finally silenced his critics. Read more


Jon B - B-Sides Collection | Album Review

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From the early '90s and throughout, Jon B, as well as a few others, had the R&B game on lock, mesmerising with his passionate ballads, doting love songs, uptempo club numbers and seductively smooth ride out jams. Continuing into the new millennium, many argue that while R&B as a genre was on the decline Jon’s finest offering came in 2004 when he offloaded the dark, deep and honest Stronger Everyday. While to date he’s released six official albums, including the more recent Helpless Romantic and Comfortable Swagg, his newest project focuses more on what the genre used to sound like as opposed to what it has become. Read more


A$AP Rocky - Long.Live.A$AP | Album Review

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Sporting both the traditional, flossy nature of Harlem stars of past and the sleepy, screwed up drawl of the Midwest, A$AP Rocky stands as the one of the figureheads for the new makeup of rapper. With hood machismo and hipster swagger to appease both markets, the guerrilla warfare-like hustle of Rocky and his A$AP Mob caused a storm in 2011, leading to a publicised record deal, impressionable mixtapes and high profile collaborations from both the world of rap and pop - with the streets and suburban pop culture both clamouring for the 24 year old's debut LP, Long.Live.A$AP. Read more


Game - Jesus Piece | Album Review

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Consistency is key, and as far as the rap game goes there are a handful of individuals who deliver time after time after time. While an unlikely source of such consistency, mainly due to his endless array of sidetracking lyrical and street beefs - there have been a few embarrassing secrets dug up too - Jayceon Taylor, aka Game, seems to be a rhymer that the hustlers ride with, the girls scream for, and his peers unquestionably admire. Much of his music has proved timeless, if slightly repetitive occasionally, and his level of sales has maintained a respectable level during a declining climate that sees the Compton representative’s total sales sit close to the ten million mark.

With new album Jesus Piece marking his fifth major label release, Game has put together a conceptually stellar project that features near perfect production and cinematic tales of a road less travelled, unless of course you perceive yourself as a gangster. After switching album titles at least three times [two of them being Soundtrack To Chaos and F.I.V.E. (Fear Is Victory’s Evolution)] the decision to run with Jesus Piece was more to do with the conceptual split screen that glorifies street life whilst worshipping faith in a higher being than anything else. Read more


Wiz Khalifa - O.N.I.F.C. | Album Review


2012 saw life totally transform for Cameron Thomaz, aka Wiz Khalifa. A native of Pittsburg, his grapple hold on the underground rap scene not only cemented him a spot in the limelight on a national scale but globally as well. A cult hip-hop hero on the indie scene, Khalifa’s many mixtapes earned him all types of noteriety on the come up.

However his debut album Rolling Papers didn’t appear to live up to the hype, despite the multi-platinum selling single "Black & Yellow." After taking some time out, recruiting a new crew in the form of the Taylor Gang, prepping to become a father, and filming a movie with Snoop Dogg, the trees and tattoos enthusiast returns with O.N.I.F.C.. Read more


Karl Nova - 'Delayed But Not Denied' | Album Stream

After a string of barriers to overcome, rapper, singer, teacher, broadcaster and enigmatic free thinker Karl Nova releases his new album, Delayed But Not Denied, offering a rich flow of empowering material to champion the underdog. Read more


Lazy Habits - Lazy Habits | Album Review


The emphasis on mastering the live performance is now becoming mandatory for all acts, regardless of how programmed their recorded music may be, with promoters seeking performers who are able to connect with vibrant crowds and create atmosphere with live instruments and exceptional vocalists. Eight piece Hip Hop collective Lazy Habits are very much adept at all of the above; made up of percussionists, saxophonists, vocalists and a lead in MC Lazy, the UK band have supported the likes of Mos Def and Bonobo in addition to performing at Glastonbury and Bestival. Now transferring their multi layered sounds to an album, Lazy Habits will put to the test the mini orchestra's ability to capture the essence of their output on wax. Read more


Alicia Keys - Girl On Fire | Album Review


Returning to the frontline and ready to offer up some of her signature sound, Alicia Keys puts out her RCA Records debut Girl On Fire. Her fifth studio album overall, it’s the first time she’s released any new material since 2009’s Element of Freedom. With her marriage to producer Swizz Beatz and the birth of their first son, Egypt, part reason for the delay, there’s also been a shift in record labels, some sneaker designing, and a bit of charity work thrown in to the mix for good measure. Refocusing her energies on the music, her most recent ongoing promotional campaign has seen her very much stroll back in to the limelight, and to a good reception. Read more