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Clyde Smith on Hip Hop Culture & Politics
now at: www.hiphoplogic.com

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   Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Hip Hop Album Releases for Sept. 20

This week's list seems a bit short as was last week's. However, while working on this week, I ended up adding a number of new titles to last week's releases. I'm not sure what's up with that, but be sure to check out Hip Hop Albums if you're interested.

The following new releases are available from Amazon:

Bang 'Em & Domination - God Giveth God Taketh Away
David Banner - Certified
Fastlife - Instrumental Icons: Street's Favorites
Kansascali - Hello World
Lawless Element - Soundvision: In Stereo
Lay Low - Deep Waters
Master P - Greatest Hits Re-Mixed [Original Remastered]
Miri Ben-Ari - The Hip-Hop Violinist
P$C - 25 to Life
Tupac Shakur - The Rose, Vol. 2

For more current releases, see Hip Hop Albums.

   Sunday, September 18, 2005
Album Review: Jim Jones Harlem: Diary of a Summer

jim jones - harlem diary cd

Review by Guest Writer Rahiem Shabazz

The head Capo for the Dipset Army's ascension up the ranks has not been easy. Being a Harlem street soldier, he first caught a buzz under tutelage of Cam'ron. Thus began the shining moment for the Harlem native. It wasn't long before Jones' appearance on 03s standout single "Oh Boy" that super-stardom status found him. But, it wasn't until the release of "On My Way To Church" that his street-cred was solidified and crowning title of Capo status was bestowed upon the Dipset member.

On his stellar album, the CEO of Dipset brings his unusual flow and style that made him a mixtape veteran and internet favorite. Proving to hold his own and not over-populate an album filled with guest appearances, only a few rap luminaries end up on the final cut. On "What You Drankin'" Jim takes a journey through the backwoods of the 85/75 South teaming up with The People's Champ Paul Wall, Diddy and the first lady of Dipset Jha Jha. The track is a perfect combination of Uptown heroin mixed with some Texas syrup. The tempo picks up with a bouncy beat over an Isley Brother remake hook, sung by new-crooner Trey Songz on "Summer With Miami". This summertime classical single can easily find its place among top 10 radio and is sure to receive heavy rotation among urban video outlets. Fans of the Dipset would be amiss without some gangsta music to ride to, so team member Juelz Santana is recruited to assist on "Ride With Me".

Jones proves to be an astute businessman by providing visuals to several videos i.e. Jim Jones Baby Girl/Gs Up video feat. Max B, Summer Wit Miami video feat. Trey Songz, Crunk Muzik video feat. Juelz Santana & Cam'ron, Get Down/The Best Out video feat. Juelz Santana, Cam'ron, Hell Rell, JR Writer, 40.Cal, Bezel which he directed with an 11 minute documentary as an added bonus.

One Eye Willie AKA Smack Your Kufi proves Harlem: Diary Of A Summer is a musically solid combination for the radio, clubs and streets while keeping to the formula that made Diplomats a success.

   Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Hip Hop Album Releases for Sept. 13

The following new releases are available from Amazon:

DJ Squeeky & Nino Presents - Hood Hustlin': The Mix Tape, Vol. 2
DJ Quik - Trauma
E-40 - The Bay Bridges Compilation
Jonny U & The Thick Skin Family - Jonny U and The Thick Skin Family
Little Brother - The Minstrel Show
Nicolay - City Lights, Vol. 1.5
Paul Wall - The People's Champ [Bonus CD, Limited Edition]
Princess Superstar - My Machine
Turk - Still a Hot Boy

For more current releases, see Hip Hop Albums.

   Sunday, September 11, 2005
Album Review: Cesar Comanche's Squirrel and the Aces

I've been updating links pages at NC Hip Hop Online and because Little Brother's got an album coming out and most of the rest of the Justus League crew has been putting stuff out I focused on the following:

Little Brother - Phonte, Big Pooh and 9th Wonder
The Justus League - Including Khrysis, Cesar Comanche and L.E.G.A.C.Y.
Supastition - He's loosely affiliated with The Justus League though not really a member, as I understand it.

So getting a copy of Cesar Comanche's Squirrel and the Aces, which comes out in a couple of weeks seemed opportune for a review. Listening to it reminded me of why I stopped reviewing. I just don't really know what to say and I never really did. Maybe I take it too seriously, so here's some thoughts I had while listening to it.

I like Cesar Comanche's voice and flow. In fact, I like most of the emcees on this record and there are quite a few. It's almost more a Justus League album than a Cesar Comanche album though he still seems to be the focal point of the whole thing. I will say I was glad to hear Supastition on a track and I was intrigued with Eternia who I'd never heard of before.

I have mixed feelings about the production. In particular, 9th Wonder and Khrysis are on here a lot and it tends to get a little monotous for me. But that's a personal taste kind of thing and a lot of people really dig their production. Nicolay's also on here and I have to say that they seem to be working similar veins judging from this album. Which is cool because that makes them a school of thought or however you want to put it and if you dig it then checking them all out is worthwhile.

The track Big Game Hunters is kind of wack. Macho statements about hunting women just seem pretty played at this point.

Wrong One surprised me. At first it just seemed to be a gold digger diss but then it got a little more complex in terms of what men are looking for. That may not do it for some people but it took it out of the realm of Big Game Hunters and into something more interesting for me.

L in Japanese showed up for a turn at production and I still need to go back and see if there was something wrong with the cd or if the stuttered production moments were intended. He's an interesting character and I wouldn't put it past him to take a style and then disrupt it.

I'm not sure I get the Squirrel references but, as long as Cesar Comanche doesn't flip it in a squirrel suit (a la Lil' Flip's leprechaun mistake), it doesn't really detract. It just seems like one of those in-jokes that might not travel too well.

I do have to admit that I listen to this stuff on a toy system and I really need to hear the production in a different setting that does justice to it. Yeah, justice for The Justus League. And for the rest of us too.

Here's an early review by a blogger at herohill.

Available from Amazon:
Dropping September 20th: Cesar Comanche - Squirrel and the Aces.

Update: I went back and looked at some press material and found Cesar Comanche's touchingly cool explanation for the title:
"The album title comes from my father's band he had in the early seventies; my mother was also a singer in that group. This album is dedicated to my parents' group and also is a celebration of the musician/entertainer."

   Monday, September 05, 2005
Little Brother Links Updated

I have a page of Little Brother links over at NC Hip Hop Online that I've just updated. I'm expecting a lot more media coverage when The Minstrel Show drops on the 13th, so I'll be adding more.

I'm also going to be updating NC Hip Hop Online across the board because it's been extremely neglected.

Hip Hop Album Releases for Sept. 6

This is the slowest week in a while with many albums rescheduled for later in the year. I haven't heard anything official so I don't want to say Katrina's necessarily involved, especially since many releases were changing release dates over the last couple of months. But I'm sure we'll be hearing about delays and lost material due to Katrina as things unfold.

The following new releases are available from Amazon:

50 Cent - The Massacre [Special Edition]
A.K. - The Teflon Don
AZ - A.W.O.L.
Daz Dillinger - Samplin' to the Beat of the Drum
Heatmakerz - Crack, Vol. 1
Husalah/Marvaless/Jacka - 3 da Hard Way
Jayda and AP.9 - The Streets, Poetry and Pain
Little Bruce - Base Rock 2 Pimp Socks
Qualo - Believe.

For more current releases, see Hip Hop Albums.