CHROME BOSS – Spaceship Status

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Dallas, Texas native Chrome Boss is from out of this universe, literally. While he reps D-Town to the fullest, his sound and style are totally from a planet somewhere far from this universe. The youngster finds a common spirit in DJ White Chocolate. Together they combine to present Spaceship Status. The 16 track mixtape highlights Chrome’s intricate, spaced out flow, over similarly out of this world production.

The tapes intro Can You Feel Me gives you everything that you need to know about the Texas newcomer. While his peers rhyme about money, hoes and clothes, he takes us through the mind of a young man who’s preoccupied with a little bit more than that. Riding a bouncy southern type track produced by Snizzy, he drops lines like, “Maybe I should rap about cars, girls and money/ Cause if I rap about Jesus you might look at me funny/ So here I go/ This is my soul” giving you a glimpse of that extraterrestrial mind.

Similarly Spaceship Status takes us back into space with bars like, “Rims shining so hard that they’ll hurt your eyes/ Ray Charles status now he feeling blind/ I press on the gas and my car flies by/ Spaceship status, I’m on the moon high.” The track sounds like it was delivered straight from Mars, replete with a bouncy drum pattern and sound effects to match.

Chrome switches up subject matter for Fly Away where you find him opening up about his earth bound love. He describes their love as, “We in different state of minds/ We both up there/ Two hippie lovers you should breathe our air…hippy love you can say we’re both groovy.”

After the first 6 tracks you get the theme of the mixtape. Chrome Boss is in another zone from other emcees and reminds people that while he make look like them, his mind and style are from another time zone.

Time Machine is a testament to that. On this track we find Chrome Boss taking a look at his life from 30,000 feet in the air. He talks about his mother raising him without a man in the house with lines like, “Now, I’m higher than Aladdin and the carpet that he had/ Thinking bout how my mom raised a son without a dad/ Hold up, I’m getting carried away/ They don’t want to hear the real so they stick with the fake.” Produced by Ryan Hunt, he gives Chrome a different sound from the bulk of the rest of the album that’s produced by Snizzy.

His freestyle to the Kanye West Power showcases his lyrical ability. “I’m telling down worry I’ll help you find the way. I tell them don’t worry ‘cause I’ll help them find the way/ Somewhere out of space heading to another universe/ These niggas watching me like they got U-verse/ They don’t want us to have all that power/ But keep stacking money/ Counting seconds minutes even hours/ But we’re gonna keep fighting ‘cause we say the worlds ours.” Spitting about gangs fighting over territory, and natural disasters, Chrome spits like he’s looking at our world from a perspective 100 years into the future.

Overall, the D-Town youngster makes a great attempt at standing out in the game. His futuristic speech and persona doesn’t go over anyone’s head and his lyrics won’t blow you away, but you can hear potential in his style. Maybe a few more years down here on earth will ground him enough to make his music really out of this world.

Standout Tracks: “Spaceship Status”, “Time Machine”, “Power”, “Can You Feel Me”, “Trippy”

Tracklisting:

1. Can You Feel Me (Prod. By Snizzy)
2. Drops For Spaceship Status Mixtape
3. Spaceship Status
4. Fly Away (Prod. By Snizzy)
5. Alien Eyes Feat: K.I.A (Bouns Track)
6. Voices (Prod. By Snizzy)
7. Alien Predator (Prod. By Lil Dino) Bonus Track
8. I Go
9. Time Machine (Prod. By Ryan Hunt)
10. Crazy (Prod. By Snizzy)
11. Cant Come Down (Prod. By Arjae Knox)
12. Already Gone (Prod. By Snizzy)
13. Trippy (Kid Cudi/ ChromeO’Zone Version)
14. Power ( ChromeO’Zone Version)
15. Cry No More (Prod. By Demo)
16. Cant Stay feat: Abstrakt (Prod. By Johnny Juliano)

PASTOR TROY – Still Troy

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One of the hardest working rappers is back with his new album. That’s right people! Pastor Troy is here and releasing Still Troy, which packs a powerful punch of crunked up beats and cool hooks wrapped in his southern-istic flow. This album definitely delivers non-stop hard pounding beats with a chill vibe that represents for the South. In this album, Pastor Troy reminds us that he is a force to be reckoned with and takes on a ride and shows us why.

Starting off strong with From The Top, it is only but an introduction into what’s next. Can You See Me cements his arrivals and lets all his haters know that he’s here to stay. He then goes into a catchy track, Get Out, that will have you dancing and repping your hood. He keeps it real as the beats slow down with I’m Just Chillin and Cab I Holla, featuring Ralph. He goes back into gangsta mode with that southern drawl on Ain’t Gangsta No More and Represent Dat.

With the help from Ralph on the hook, Pastor Troy borrows a beat from fellow Atlanta native Usher on I’m A Gangsta as he and Mesha Right drops their feelings on that gangsta love. He further represents his city with Dirty Atlanta with the hook taking reference from Michael Jackson’s Dirty Diana.

On A Yacht, featuring Yung LA, which doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album is up next. The beat is too gritty for this smooth sounding album. The album ends with the reflective hood anthem, Keep Ya Head Up, featuring Eklips Da Hustla, and gives inspiration for all that are down and out.

Overall this was a decent album from Pastor Troy as he represented for the ATL. It’s a mellow and chill album with hard-hitting beat tracks tucked in where it needs to be and proves why he still has his longevity and appeal to pull you into his songs. This is a type of album that can be thrown on at all types of occasions, at the club or just riding around the way. Pastor Troy has been around for a long time and I can see him being around even longer.

Standout Tracks: “I’m Just Chillin”, “I’m A Gangsta”, “Represent Dat”

Tracklisting:

1. From The Top
2. Can You See Me
3. Get Out
4. I’m Just Chillin
5. Hundred Thousand (ft. Mistah Mud & Lil Pete)
6. Can I Holla (ft. Ralph)
7. Ain’t Gangsta No Moe
8. I’m A Gangsta (ft. Ralph & Mesha Right)
9. Represent Dat
10. Dirty Atlanta (ft. Ralph)
11. On A Yacht (ft. Yung LA & Lace Leno)
12. Keep Ya Head Up (ft. Eklips Da Hustla)
13. To The Bottom

CHRIS BROWN – F.A.M.E.

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To say that Chris Brown has been given a rough ride recently would be the understatement of the century. The incident with Rihanna more than two years ago is still on the tips of everybody’s tongues. Many “fans” deserted him as he seemed to apparently be spiraling out of control. As if he didn’t have enough on his plate, somebody has leaked nude photos of Chris on the Internet. At times, it’s hard to stay focused on the music; his life seems to play out like a cringy soap opera but lets remember, Chris Brown started off fresh faced, 16 year old whose debut album Chris went double platinum, selling over 2 million copies in the United States alone. The talent of Breezy cannot be disputed!

Now this month, Chris is set to release his latest album, the greatly anticipated F.A.M.E.

The first track off the album is Deuces, featuring Tyga from the Young Money camp. We all know it, it has become something of an anthem…the ultimate break up tune. Still getting heavy rotation on the radio both stateside and in Europe.

But the rest of F.A.M.E. is not all as ice cold as Deuces. Chris shows a more sensitive side on tracks such as the slow jams No Bullshit and Up 2 You. Up 2 You gives us a glimpse of the romantic side of Chris Brown as he is the perfect gentleman whilst he croons, “It’s so unusual for me to be waiting/ But I don’t wanna blow it girl” — just what every girl wants to hear.

Wet The Bed, featuring Ludacris, is a sexual, sensual piece. Brown owns this track and does not get overpowered by Luda. Delicate water drops, drip their way through this delectable ditty. I will be adding this one to my slow jam playlist at home.

Look At Me Now was confusing to me. Chris doesn’t sing on this — he raps. I’m all for trying something new but after listening to this several times I still have come to the conclusion that Chris should definitely stick to singing. He does himself no favors. The beat is pretty hot though. A punchy, mid-tempo beat with a heavy bassline and something skipping over it sounding a lot like a cool, futuristic, mechanical bird. Busta Rhymes comes in after Chris and to put it bluntly — shuts Chris down. Busta’s flow hits hard and fast like a machine gun and by the time Lil Wayne came in I was like, “Lil who?” Not the worst track I’ve ever heard, but probably the weakest on this album.

She Ain’t You, one of the other more warm, mellow tracks. SWV’s Right Here has been sampled with just a few added tweaks. It was definitely complimentary to the sugar sweet vocals of Chris Brown and put me in a reminiscent mood as I was gently taken back to the 90’s. Loved it! Everything about She Ain’t You worked.

Tracks such as Say It With Me, Yeah 3x, Oh My Love and Beautiful People are all more fast-tempo, dance tracks. I’m not too much a fan of dance music but I loved the feel good vibe and positive messages in Beautiful People.

All Back and Should’ve Kissed You are more reflective than the rest. All Back was more of a ballad. The cliche ‘Don’t know what you’ve got ‘til its gone’ track. It was fairly average, but one couldn’t help wondering who he was missing. Could it be Rihanna?

I should probably say something about the recently leaked Next 2 You, featuring Justin Bieber. I didn’t like it, it was cheesy, unoriginal and sounded as if they were singing to each other rather than singing with each other. Big thumbs down.

After listening to this album a few times, I realized that there is a little something for everybody. From slow jams to tight rap verses all the way to dance music. F.A.M.E. was an easy listen. Nothing out of the ordinary or super original but not dull either.

F.A.M.E. is a good attempt by Chris Brown to re-establish himself as the Prince Of R&B, which unfortunately, I don’t think this has achieved. Overall, not a bad album!

Standout Tracks: “She Ain’t You”, “Wet The Bed”, “Beautiful People”

Tracklisting:

1. Deuces ft. Tyga & Kevin McCall
2. Up 2 You
3. No Bullshit
4. Look At Me Now ft. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes
5. She Ain’t You
6. Say It With Me
7. Yeah 3x
8. Next 2 You ft. Justin Bieber
9. All Back
10. Wet The Bed ft. Ludacris
11. Oh My Love
12. Should’ve Kissed You
13. Beautiful People ft. Benny Benassi

LUPE FIASCO – Lasers

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Lupe Fiasco is polished. You wouldn’t know it or care perhaps. That’s Lupe. His music so sweet and enticing, yet he’s the forgotten one. We don’t think about him. And in today’s Hip-Hop world, if your last album came out in 2007, it makes perfect sense that you’ve been replaced by something less appealing, but current.

Lasers. An album completed almost entirely in 2008-9ish. Atlantic let it sit. And sit. A few teases, then it sat again. Then fans protested. Then it begrudgingly came out. With so much reluctance, hesitation, and variants thereof, we might assume that all this trouble means this album isn’t worth it. But what we are given is so tightly defined as “enjoyable”. A sinister yet rewarding blend of alternative, techno, pop, and rap that it has a shocking conclusion; we’ve been listening to a lot of garbage in 2011, and this may be the real first taste of something. Unfortunately, it often sounds more from the recording booth, then from the heart. In previous albums, Lupe is commonplace with his personal life. He alludes to the dark moments, high times, and an endearing lifestyle as a rebellious youngster. By the time, he puts the foundation down in I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now, it’s apparent that he’s just dictated the theme.

There’s a flagrant display of detachment in Lasers. Nothing seems to get too personal, everything seems light, and the skateboarding MC who dazzled in Food and Liquor is slightly scatterbrained here. He’s never used gimmicks or nuances to explain his maturation. He’s not blatantly trying to pull away from The Cool or Food and Liquor. He just seems absent and loose. At least, it’s not forced. He’s freshly on count. LF won’t waste your time. His syllables bounce into otherworldly bridges. When he feels it, he’s untouchable. There’s an urgency in Lasers that’s positive. Not that he’s rushing or phoning it in, rather, he’s being direct and practical. This is…by a longshot, his shortest album to date. No cluttering of numerous tracks, no moments where the tracks dip in enthusiasm and become boring. It ends just as quickly as it starts. LF’s tempo is smooth. It’s upbeat, relaxed, and confident. And by the time he throws the chorus to someone who can sing, it honestly sounds flawless. That’s why we like it. That recording trick makes all the songs sound complete, like Lupe was carrying this album from beginning to end. But since he began this quest so long ago, he’s certainly a different artist and person now. That makes us wonder how much Lasers means to him today.

But it’s really not his. It’s the album for music execs. It’s fluffy content pieced together with soulful hooks by John Legend, Trey Songz, and MDMA. Sure, it sounds great, but we wonder how he really feels. After all the struggle with this, is LF really happy with the final product? Is this what he wanted?

Once his next two albums come out, we’ll know the answer. But don’t discredit him. I don’t question his character nor his heart. If there wasn’t all this BTS drama, it truly sounds like he’s having a lot of fun. It’s fun (purely for amusement) to listen to. But when Atlantic has been so callous with its holding over this “product,” it’s hard to know if Lupe ever really owned this album. If he did, the studio cut those parts out. There’s just too many moments where the context is so soft, the lines so typical and trite. Sure, LF’s flow is fantastic, so it sounds good anyway. But where is all his depth? His poise? His intensity? It’s hidden behind fruity loops, rock/rap infusions, and auto-tuned choruses. It’s chain restaurant hip hop. If LF wasn’t so talented, it would sound much more ordinary. His talent saves it, and makes it intruging. But at times, it sounds like a posthumous release; so pieced and clipped. And sure, Fiasco finished his performance, but it’s still lacking. Considering LF has a damaged relationship with Atlantic now, then it is technically a posthumous album.

There’s so much potential here. At the hands of a higher power, Lasers sounds congruent. If this is what Lupe Fiasco wanted, then it would be a gem. But since he’s admitted his love and hate for this process, you wonder if it’s the final cut he wanted. As he works on two more albums as of now, is he trying to move forward from this? That’s sad. There just isn’t enough substance here. It’s a fly-by album. It won’t win awards or turn heads. It won’t change Hip-Hop. But it will be great for the short term and very welcomed into our ears. It’s just a shame he had to go through the pain. He doesn’t have anything to be embarrassed about.

Standout Tracks: “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now”, “Out Of My Head”, “Coming Up”

Tracklisting:

1. Letting Go ft. Sarah Green
2. Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey
3. Till I Get There
4. I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now ft. MDMA
5. Out of My Head ft. Trey Songz
6. The Show Goes On
7. Beautiful Lasers (Two Ways) ft. MDMA
8. Coming Up ft. MDMA
9. State Run Radio ft. Matt Mahaffey
10. Break the Chain ft. Eric Turner & Sway
11. All Black Everything
12. Never Forget You ft. John Legend

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