Tuesday, November 07, 2006


From Musikland on Moi Ave to a Sam Goody in Omaha his prowess is unmatched. I'm proud to welcome again my sticky fingered compadre with a bad music habit, Shop Liftah, here to give us the deal on a few new cds he umm...acquired... recently.

It's almost time for a Styles P record. Consistently spitting that hardcoreness, Lox and D-Block frontman Styles P embodies the grittyness and bleakness of the New York concrete jungle. PCutta and DNA compile together newer and older tracks in the run up to the release of Styles' second lp Time is Money. Close to the Concrete, Aint Buying What U Sellin' and 914 are stellar examples of that bangout music Styles P is beloved for. Fewer people get consistent attention on mixtapes. Every other week some DJ has a best of Styles compilation or something similar out. This joint could've been better but until he brings his new album or an all new music mixtape to the table, I guess we have to deal with the scraps.

Undoubtedly one of New York's finest, of all time, delivers his 6th piece independently and that means the greater masses of ears in need of something more quality get to miss out. I Am the Truth, is just that as Az makes his case. Sit Em Back with fellow Brooklynites MOP is a raucous stomp-em-out heater and Little Brother show up for a marvellous collaboration on Rise and Fall. If the Nas-Az project never sees the light of day then may we take this opportunity to lobby for a DJ Premier-Az opus, as the duo reunite with good results on the title track. Az doesn't play out of pocket. It's mainly introspective hood philosophy and street storytelling told with that flawless flow over soul themed beats. Get High and Doing That should have been replaced, although they are minor shortcomings. This album may go over the Snap and Hyphy set but Allah be praised that The Aziatic is back.

It must be a New Jersey thing. Like Jahiem, the one time Teddy Riley understudy and Jersey City native Shareefa delivers sung performances with a real tight street appeal on her debut album Point of No Return. Since her appearance on the second DTP compilation last year it was apparent that she was not afraid to write about something other than love, which R&B's worst ailment currently, and sing with a realness that is hard to ignore. The Intro starts with a rock bottom moment, as she's sent to prision. And then Rodney Jerkins helps her get closure from a bad relationship on Cry No More. Another key ingredient to this piece is gogo maestro turned R&B wunderkid, Rich Harrison, who matches her street sensibility with soundscapes that recall the boom-bap driven soul of the mid 90's. No One Said lifts a sample popularized by Biggie Smalls on his first album, How Good Love Feels sounds like something Mary J. Blige would have done for her second album. Phony touches upon a betrayal by a girlfriend, not over a man, but some undisclosed situation that actually saw Shareefa behind bars for a stint. The tail end of the album slows down. DTP compatriot Bobby Valentino drops in for a bump-n-grind session on Hey Babe, Eye Wonder is a cheating-with-him episode, while Fever explores a crush. She may have only moved 30k on her first week but this is easily one of the finer all-around R&B performances of 2006.

Round Two is always a watershed phase, and for the New Millenium Nate Dogg his second album is probably his best chance to solidify his Konvict Music movement. From the jump Shakedown is that gangsta crooning that Akon is making his own. Styles P returns for Blown Away, another street bandit two step anthem. Never Took the Time, Dont Matter and I Can't Wait offer a different look as Akon does the love song thing. Akon still shines with the street conscious music, on Gringo, he's a drug dealer making a pitch, and on Tired of Running he's a street hustler done with ducking the Law. Then there's Mama Africa, a reggae joint in tribute to his roots. Overall, Konvicted stays true to what Akon does well, with a few radio songs (Smack That and I Wanna Love You) thrown in to cement the traffic to the music store.

Another year another album. Jim Jones is definitely a prime example of how the constant grind of keeping your name out in the street whether it's albums back to back, umpteen mixtapes, being on the red carpet at the VMA's and still doing club appearances in the roughest locales in the East Coast can do to boost your profile. Stylistically, what do you expect. More thuglife, hustler tales, and floss bossman rants from Jones and Dipset Byrdgang expressed over slicked out synths and drums. Emotionless, Pin the Tail and Weatherman are notables although they all have guests on them. More people have Jim Jones' name in their heads this year than last and there is a feeling in the northeast that there is a need for their own new star instead of all the mainstays or out of town boys and Jones is well placed to feed off that. Judging by his current buzz off the runaway hit We Fly High, this will be one of the hood soundtracks of choice for many this winter.



Ciiku said...

Harpo, Who dis people???



Are you serious? Please tell me you are joking?

Honestly, I'm done!

>d® said...

Wsup 'Liftah!'

Jim Jones' 'We Fly High' recently grew on me, particularly the remix with TI & 'em. That beat is crank!

Shareefa is off the chizz-ain. End of story.

Msanii_XL said...


lol..one eyed willy is ass

az Not picked that up yet..too much music man..I'm struggling to finish that 11 minute long jump off with game..lol

akiey said...

Wzup Dj! Good reviews you got here man!
My $0.02's gonna be comments doing 90 on the freeway bcoz duty calls, multimedia stuff to ship out etc but here's my randomness...

Been waiting for Antonio Cruz to drop some knowledge for the longest & glad he's come through.

Styles is my fav Loxman, ofcourse seconded by J'Kiss himself. A Gangsta & A Gentleman has been on constant rotation at my place, about time I rested it before it burns out,lol!

Reefa? Yep, Got Reefa & she's the best chick out this year. More power to her. DTP all day. Dayyum, I miss that T.Riley creativity man!

The Capo's "...Balling" track is taking off & I see it being adopted unofficially by the NBA.
This is by far the best album cover this last quarter of the year, no contest.
Will sample more tracks & see if I could salute the DipSet movement...

I'm out..

akiey said...

How could I forget Akon? Big up to him for the strides he's making.

Am fully behind an artist that writes, produces, markets & believes his own ish & Akon is walking testimony of great talent pissing on the mediocre rapping/singing bullcrap we have out here.

Can't wait to hit tower city & get me a copy of this.

Wanjiku said...

Good reviews dude.
Akon is still my African hero even if Americans think he's one of their own. Akon wewe ni wetu!

makanga said...

@ Buffie Buff: Shareefa isn't that bad. Def Jam's messed up with the single selection otherwise she should've gone the Keyshia Cole route to the top.

@ >d: Baalliin! The drunk bastard catch phrase of the year.

@ msanii: Dipset B*tch! Have you heard the improved 'Walk it Out Remix' with Big Boi?

One eye Willy isn't finesse. Nuff said. And Game needs to stop with these long ass freestyles and songs. This nutcase has a 'One Blood remix' with over 10 rappers on it. I already know I'll never hear the whole thing. I gave up on that Nas collab after the third minute.

Too much music for real....you should see my inbox.

@ Akiey: Me too! Gangster & A Gentleman has been in regular rotation for years. I thought I was the last one left, lol.

@ Wanjiku M: Thanks for popping in. Akon is doing it big and he's still repping the Mamaland, all the way down to being an official polygamist.

maitha said...

picked up AZ as well but will probably forget it by the end of the year , agreed these long rap outings need to stop ,At this rate I can only wonder how many will be present is the upcoming Nas release seeing that he is the most guilty party appearing on Kanye and The DA . Speaking of which how come its not here . Ama you are waiting for the official release ?

Msanii_XL said...

@Makanga...lol thats the eleven minute shit i'm talking about, I heard andre on one..big boi is on another?

G-ni's was vicious in that grass of the savannah

makanga said...

@msanii: G-ni tore that down!! Yeah Big Boi jumped on at the end and shut it down

@ maitha: I really don't have anything good to say about Doctor's Advocate so I decided to be easy. That album is a downgrade for him

ciiku said...

I think you need to email me the CD then.. maybe I will change my mind.

That song she has out has a numbing effect on my ears [not in a good way]


Thanks much!

makanga said...

@ Buffie Buff: not a thing.

Stwap said...

Jeez!Great reviews! Akon is my star! I hope this 2nd one catches up faster!!

Sue said...

Akon is good, but why collabos like all of the time....Kange you're into deep hip hop eigh?? Cant see non but hip hop here...Keep up, am backin you