Review: Process Displays Both Beauty and Chaos in Sampha’s Pain

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

If you were to talk to me about Sampha a year ago, my response most likely would have been, “Who?” I’m not intimately familiar with the Young Turks roster, so although Sampha has worked with some high-profile artists in the past–including guys like Kanye West and Drake–he wasn’t an artist I was aware of. But earlier this year, Sampha broke with his debut record Process, and it seemed as if he was making the rounds everywhere. I couldn’t go more than a few scrolls down my timeline without seeing mention of his name, so naturally, I was compelled to listen to the album. Continue reading

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Review: J. Cole Realizes His True Potential on 4 Your Eyez Only

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Before I get into this, let me clear the air about something: I have never liked J. Cole. He’s had a few decent singles here and there, but overall, the massive image of him being Hip Hop’s “savior,” which was thrust upon him by his fanbase, never really fit the bill, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Cole has a lot of strong pro-Black beliefs that stem from his upbringing, I think he’s a smart individual, and I think he plays an important role among his contemporaries. However, his musical efforts have always felt a little shallow to me, a little half-baked… Until now. Continue reading

Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming Is An Effortless Success

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Spider-Man made his first appearance on the big screen, even harder to believe it’s been almost a decade since Jon Favreau kicked off the MCU with 2008’s Iron Man, and yet here we are. Since Tobey Maguire first donned the suit in 2002, the ol’ Web-Head has had a rocky relationship with audiences. If you ask 100 people their opinion on the original trilogy, you’d get 100 different answers, and the same can be said for Marc Webb’s duology. So as Spider-Man: Homecoming was teased, announced, and promoted, a common response was, “Again?” No, not “again”: finally. Continue reading

Review: Joanne Shows Ambition, But Gaga’s Efforts Fall Short

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

Oh, the infamous Lady Gaga. I’ll admit, I’m a little surprised myself. If you would have told me six years ago that I would eventually find myself writing a review for a Lady Gaga record, I would have laughed in your face, and yet here we are. Why the change of heart? Well, that would probably come from the changes both Gaga and I have made over the years. I’ve become more willing to try new things and she’s, apparently, gained a willingness to abandon the triumphant Pop sound that originally put her on the road towards fame and popularity. Continue reading

A Stroke of Brilliance Turns Five

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Five years ago today, Brill of Load B released his debut solo album, A Stroke of Brilliance. Since its release, him and his partner Milc have dropped three projects as a duo, but neither emcee has chosen to venture back into the solo lane, which is a shame, especially considering how strong Brill’s debut truly is. When the album first came out, I hadn’t heard of Load B, and I wouldn’t be aware of their existence until the group released their Debauchery tape a year later. Since then, I familiarized myself with the crew’s various releases, and I came to the realization that 2012 was the year Load B started to come into their own. Continue reading

Eminem’s Recovery: A Retrospective

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Following a five-year hiatus, Eminem returned back on the scene in 2009 with his fifth studio album, Relapse. I didn’t know it at the time, but this record would arguably become his most polarizing, dividing his fans even more than its predecessor, Encore. It seems like everyone has different expectations for Marhsall as an artist, something he seemed incredibly aware of around this time, which led to the release of yet another album 13 months later. This is when Eminem’s fanbase really began to fracture and Marshall set foot on the artistic path he continues to walk today. Continue reading

Review: Illmac is Still Standing… From What?

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Note: My music reviews will always be “late.” It is my belief that albums should be listened to in different moods, settings, and after extended breaks, all while conditioning yourself to accept what you were given as opposed to what you wanted. Only then can you give a legitimate and honest critique of the material.

In 2015, Illmaculate and OnlyOne finally buckled down and gave the fans what they wanted: another collaborative effort from Sandpeople’s headiest alumni. Only & Ill was a dense effort filled with great bars, some amazing production, and its fair share of missteps. The same could also be said about 2014’s Clay Pigeons, but Only & Ill suffered a little more because some of its offerings felt more ambitious, which meant its faults had a greater impact. Whether or not the change was intentional, Illmaculate seemed intent on avoiding this issue on his next project; trimming not only his name, but the tracklist, as well. Continue reading