audio review : Wu-Tang Forever ( album ) … Wu-Tang Clan

audio review : Wu-Tang Forever ( album ) ... Wu-Tang Clan

This album presents Wu-Tang Clan as not just a rap group but a cultural and spiritual movement, though Islam is the religion of choice and mere men are referred to as “god”. It’s a “double CD” of what Rza describes as hip-hop “in the purest form”. That’s a boastful claim, but it’s one that’s hard to argue against when it comes to the beats; raw lo-fidelity New York City slum music.

The verses; there are no nonaffiliate guest rappers; are consistently on-point, especially in the case of Rza. He’s my favorite rapper in the group, despite his mumble-mouth speech impediment. It’s the hooks, not so much the silly Kung Fu samples or sloppy mixing and mastering, that flaw the set. Reunited is a grand opener though and Bells Of War is one of their best songs.

my rating : 3 of 5

1997

video review : The Lost World [ Jurassic Park ]

video review : The Lost World [ Jurassic Park ]

The dinosaurs don’t disappoint in this official Jurassic Park sequel. It’s the people; Ian Malcolm, who takes the lead and loses most of his charm in the process, now has a black kid slash convenient plot device to annoy us with; and the trite trails they tread that make the trip less fun this time around.

It’s not until about halfway in that any real sense of suspense begins. The plot is predictable at times; dinosaurs eat expendable characters immediately and give the main ones time to escape; but at least it starts to feel like Jurassic Park. The best part is when a T-Rex finds its way to suburban San Diego.

my rating : 3 of 5

1997

audio review : Perdida ( album ) … Stone Temple Pilots

audio review : Perdida ( album ) ... Stone Temple Pilots

This is essentially acoustic folk music, which might come as an unpleasant surprise to hardcore STP fans. I’m not and can appreciate its desolate ambience; my musical tastes are about as diverse as it gets; wherever it may be. “Perdida” is, after all, a Spanish word meaning lost.

Some of the songs themselves are also nice. Others just humdrum along. The best include the title ballad, which, appropriately enough, begins with what sounds like a flamenco guitar. “I’m lost in circles most the time,” Jeff Guts confesses, “Behind the smile, I’m slowly dying.”

Is he being overdramatic? Perhaps, but that’s sort of what the band’s going for here. The album begins with a sad “love” song entitled Fare Thee Well and, with the exception of She’s My Queen, there isn’t a glimmer of hope until the end when a Sunburst is at last revealed.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Lessons ( album ) … MC Eiht

audio review : Lessons ( album ) ... MC Eiht

I like B-Real, but starting an MC Eiht album with a verse by anyone other than MC Eiht is unfitting to say the least. He and Chill go on to pay heavy-handed homage to the Cypress Hill frontman by mimicking their old vocals. Once you get past the blunders of that first song, this is a decent “2020” rap album.

As usual, the best parts are the beats; Bluue Wave, the extra “u” of which is a mystery to me, is a potential classic ruined by a lame hook; but there are subliminal Lessons to be learned in the lyrics, especially if you happen to live in a hood that’s taken you under. For MC Eiht, it’s the gangland streets of Compton.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

video review : Swallow

video review : Swallow

You’d think a flick about a cute girl who likes to swallow would be a thrill. Hunter, a New York housewife with a compulsive disorder that makes her eat inedible objects like marbles and needles, brings about a few moments of suspense near the end, but most everything before it is a case study in oddball storytelling.

It’s not just crazy Hunter. Other people also say and do weird things, which give their world a Tim Burton kind of feel. An angry outburst from her otherwise amiable husband, for example, seems totally out of character. The movie is ultimately okay enough, but if there’s a point or underlining message, it’s lost on me.

my rating : 3 of 5

2019

audio review : Keep It Jungle ( album ) … Jungle Brothers

audio review : Keep It Jungle ( album ) ... Jungle Brothers

As far as beats and rap styles go, this could’ve been the third Jungle Brothers album. That is to say it sounds like it was made in 1993, which is actually a good thing. As welcomed as new J Beez songs are after all these years, it would’ve been disappointing hearing them trying to follow trends. There’s a song here entitled Smart Phones that suggests how much of a disaster that probably would’ve been. Not that Keep It Jungle isn’t a little disappointing as is.

The problem, really the only problem, with the album is what goes on during the breaks. The Brothers have never been known for amazing hooks, but the ones offered here, which consist of old school chants that sound borderline obnoxious; “your songs ain’t catchy,” Mike G has the gall to tell a rapper at one point; leave much to be desired. The one exception, Broken Records, on which a woman sings a dainty little refrain, is easily the album’s best song.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

Shutdafukup ( mixtape ) … Juicy J

Shutdafuckup ( mixtape ) ... Juicy J

The title may as well be directed at Juicy J. His vocals provide the scenery; imagine a Rover full of weed-smoking gun-toting Niggaz pulling up to a Memphis nightclub full of big butt hoes; but what we really want to hear is the music.

That comes in the form of an assortment of go-hard (bass-heavy) trap beats produced mostly by Suicideboys. Those thumpers are the best part of the set; a thoroughly decent DatPiff mixtape that could easily fit the criteria of an actual album.

my rating : 3 of 5

2018

video review : The Lodge

video review : The Lodge

The subgenre here is Christian horror, but those scenes, which revolve around a potential stepmother and ex-cultist named Grace, are the worst parts. The Lodge, the lazy title of which comes from the story’s main setting, is best during its build-up; a man coaxes his kids into spending Christmas with his “psychopath” fiancée months after the suicide of their mom; before the scary music and cliché dream sequences come into play.

my rating : 3 of 5

2019

Ivanka Trump’s physical appearance

Ivanka Trump's physical appearance Ivanka Trump's physical appearance Ivanka Trump's physical appearance Ivanka Trump's physical appearance Ivanka Trump's physical appearance Ivanka Trump's physical appearance

Ivanka Trump is a businesswoman who’s rarely seen in public without being dressed up in fancy clothes and makeup, so it’s hard to get an idea of how she really looks. Her image is sexy, seductive even, but her face; the most important part; is only almost pretty.

Her nose, which seems to point downward, is a bit of a distraction, but it’s perhaps her only notable flaw. Her height is more forgivable. I prefer short women, but, at 5 feet and 11 inches, she has some nice long fashion model alumna legs. She also has excellent teeth.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

video review : Cuties

video review : Cuties

Cuties are a dance group comprised of eleven-year-old girls. The movie focuses on a member named Amy as she deals with the juxtaposition of her school and home life. Her mother raises her and her little brother to conform to the traditions of their African religion. Her mischievous schoolmates, the other four Cuties, are her escape.

The plot revolves (gyrates) around a dance contest the girls want to compete in, but there’s little suspense in the buildup. The main character is mostly used as a sexual case study. Watch as she goes on her first period and shares her first pussy pic; interesting tidbits in a coming-of-age story that’s barely adequate as a whole.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

Still Blowin ( mixtape ) … Too Short

Still Blowin ( mixtape ) ... Too Short

This is only a mixtape because Too Short says so. Sloppy production and spotty mastering aside, it sounds more like an official album to me. Either way it’s better than his previous, Get Off The Stage, which isn’t saying much.

He’s Still Blowin and still pimping, so he’s best when checking his Hoes. Listen and laugh at him telling a “bitch” to rub his back, suck his dick and cook his breakfast. Other highlights include All For Love and International Player.

my rating : 3 of 5

2010

audio review : Spell My Name ( album ) … Toni Braxton

audio review : Spell My Name ( album ) ... Toni Braxton

It seems ever since her Divorce; ex Babyface actually provides a bonus song for this album; Toni Braxton has been a horny cougar. Her last album was called Sex And Cigarettes. The title song on this one has her asking a “young’un” if he “Wanna play”. It’s a fuck game called Spell My Name. The pedophilic undertones would be okay with me in any case; music is art; but the amount of eyebrows that would raise if Braxton was a male is an embodiment of sexist double standards.

The most obvious blunder here is that there are two versions of Do It. The original, released a few months ago, is a soothing breakup ballad. It’s also one of her best songs. The new one, which should’ve been replaced with the Babyface (Nothin) bonus, is an inferior remix of sorts featuring the annoying vocals of Missy Elliott. Fallin, about falling in love; every song on the album is enveloped in romance; is groovy though. OVERr, another breakup ballad, is another standout.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020