video review : Cassidy versus Hitman Holla at Max Out

video review : Cassidy versus Hitman Holla at Max Out

It’s a nice surprise what Hitman Holla does at the end of his third and final verse, but Cassidy wins this battle handily. Neither rapper has the skills to justify their inflated egos, but Cass is consistently better.

The “half to death” bit from his second verse would be a classic if he had the gumption to delivery it right. No such quotables from Hitman Holla, the rambunctious little brother of whom needs to be put in time-out.

my rating : 3 of 5

2021

audio review : Basket Case [ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ]

audio review : Basket Case [ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack ]

The only music that matters here is that of the End Credits and all of its interpolative preludes. That is the Basket Case theme song and it’s epic; much better than the movie itself actually; which makes this official Soundtrack, composed by Gus Russo and released about 35 years late, the opposite of anticlimactic.

my rating : 3 of 5

2017

This Is An EP Release ( EP ) … Digital Underground

This Is An EP Release ( EP ) ... Digital Underground

The first song, Same Song, is a good song. They, rather Underground frontman Shock G, should’ve saved it for the next album. It seems a little out of place here as one of only three new cuts; the other two are merely decent; on an oddball EP that should’ve never been Released.

Parts of it are from the soundtrack to the movie Nothing But Trouble. Others serve as a Remix companion to Sex Packets. There’s a tamer version of The Way We Swing and a dub version of Rhymin On The Funk in which Shock G and alter ego Humpty Hump Argue about said music.

The best song though, not just of the Remixes but the whole set, is a new and improved version of Packet Man. The original basic beat is replaced with the kind of horny piano ensemble Vanessa; uh-uh, not the X-rated video queen; might sing to and it sounds quite gratifying.

my rating : 3 of 5

1991

video review : Contact

video review : Contact

Like observing deep space via satellite, waiting for some sign of intelligent life, this movie is boring for a long time. About a third of its two-and-a-half hours goes by before the catch of the plot finally beams in and things start to get interesting.

Based on a Carl Sagan sci-fi novel, Contact propels itself with a wonderous concept, brilliant visual effects and mind-bending philosophical undertones, but the story, bogged down by extraneous love themes, doesn’t reach good fast enough.

my rating : 3 of 5

1997

audio review : 2000 ( album ) … Grand Puba

audio review : 2000 ( album ) ... Grand Puba

I don’t know why Grand Puba’s so obsessed with the year 2000; that concept would’ve made a lot more sense if this were released that year or just prior; but he seems to be stuck in the future. The beats; raw boom-bap produced by the likes of Mark Spark and Minnesota; are anything but. They’re also the one good thing about the album.

Puba’s often trying to amuse; cracking jokes and pausing his raps to interpolate old soul songs; but his sense of humor is usually more corny than funny and his skills aren’t Special enough to make up for it. Still the set is a thoroughly decent listen if only for the aforementioned beats, the best of which include I Like It and Change Gonna Come.

my rating : 3 of 5

1995

video review : Jan Błachowicz versus Israel Adesanya at UFC 259

video review : Jan Błachowicz versus Israel Adesanya at UFC 259

Even if this were a three-round fight, I’d give Jan Błachowicz a close decision victory. Israel Adesanya seems a little off (slow/hesitant) here, probably because he’s fighting in a higher weight division than normal. The final two rounds, in which Błachowicz takes him down and holds him there till the ends, just reinforces it.

I thought Adesanya would win this, but I also thought it was a bad idea to risk his undefeated streak for the Polish powerhouse. Doing it and potentially becoming double champ for Jon Jones would’ve made a lot more sense. Now that epic showdown, one of the most anticipated in UFC history, seems a lot less competitive.

my rating : 3 of 5

2021

audio review : Hold It Down ( album ) … Das Efx

audio review : Hold It Down ( album ) ... Das Efx

One of the best songs here is Microphone Master on which Das Efx brag about their “super rhyme” skills, but they’re bombastic claims. Despite the album title, in the two years since committing Straight Up Sewaside, they basically let It go.

They still go Diggedy, but Seriously lacking is the showcase of wordplay they introduced themselves to the world with. There are clever bars here and there, but it’s been a steady album-to-album degression. This is the one with the best beats though.

my rating : 3 of 5

1995

audio review : Straight Up Sewaside ( album ) … Das Efx

audio review : Straight Up Sewaside ( album ) ... Das Efx

If you’re wondering why they altered their style, listen to the Interview. They were tired of rappers imitating, which is almost never a good reason to abandon the one trait that made you so influential in the first place. While the new style isn’t as innovative or amusing, you’ll still have a hard time finding two better MCs on ground level.

These beats are hard and grimy, sometimes to the point of dullness, but the obvious highlights on a Das Efx album are the verses, which they deliver with more funny pop culture references and clever wordplay. Dre, whose Krazy flow suddenly emerges as the more impressive of the two, goes especially bonkers on track 4, so Check It Out.

my rating : 3 of 5

1993

audio review : Dead Serious ( album ) … Das Efx

audio review : Dead Serious ( album ) ... Das Efx

The one Serious flaw on this album is that the original (inferior) version of its first single; They Want Efx; is included instead of the Remix, which should’ve officially replaced it. The only real difference is the beat, but the latter sounds a lot better.

As is, Dead Serious, which represents the debut of a Brooklyn rap duo skilled with what may be the most clever and unique wordplay ever, starts off with a bang. Mic Checka is fun. The rest of the set is only interesting during the verses.

my rating : 3 of 5

1992

audio review : Enough ( song ) … Q-Tip ( featuring Jarobi White )

This song would be better if the music didn’t change during the chorus, which makes for a frustrating listen when you’re trying to vibe to the main beat. It’s like going limp during sex with the girl you rhetorically asked to make “nut”.

Q-Tip’s charismatic verse is the best part, though I would’ve put it before an extended sixteen-bar version of Jarobi White’s to balance things out. I also like the Michael Jackson ad-lib someone (Q-Tip?) does forty-five seconds in.

my rating : 3 of 5

2016

audio review : We Got It From Here [ Thank You 4 Your Service ] ( album ) ... A Tribe Called Quest

video review : Rust Creek

video review : Rust Creek

Rust Creek may not be as scary as Wolf Creek for a girl stranded away from home, thanks in part to a friendly meth cook she meets along the way, but it’s still bad. College senior Sawyer has two; make that three; killers after her; one of which is sworn to protect.

The movie is good at the beginning, but once the suspense lets up; I was hoping she’d be alone in the woods for most of it; it loses its way. It returns near the end; muddy footprints are the cue; but by then, the believability of the plot has been compromised.

my rating : 3 of 5

2019

audio review : The Element Of Surprise ( album ) … E-40

audio review : The Element Of Surprise ( album ) ... E-40

E-40 is one of the most entertaining rappers in the game. 2Pac was kind of boring in comparison, but The Element Of Surprise doesn’t match the quality of his double-length magnum opus. 40’s flamboyant wit is better than ever, but the set eventually falters.

Lieutenant Roast-A-Botch; a funny duet with Sylk-E Fyne; Jump My Bone and One More Gen are definite highlights, but most of the other songs on the second half should’ve been cut. That would’ve made this a standard album and probably E-40’s best one yet.

my rating : 3 of 5

1998