A review of Black Star’s ‘No Fear of Time’

This here moment…. This here moment… felt like a Detox moment. An album or an LP that would never exist. That is how this appeared to be. The original or the first instalment of Black Star was a gem and a masterpiece. So, the build-up to this one wasn’t all that and neither the choices of promoting or avenue to listen to it.

Talib Kweli and Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey are two seasoned veterans MCs. I have listen to their solo projects and enjoy their lyricism. Therefore, this here review is no disregard of their talent or their skills. That they have and only a fool would deny them that.

What made the first LP so special was the manner of which they played on each others bars. The way it was a blend of their characters and how they where a voice of reason. They showed their conscious and we wanted to hear more. Black Star was bright, witty and smart about their bars. In such a way that you didn’t mind anything.

Now over this Madlib production and with few guest verses. The duo should shine and be there. They are showing sincere approach and trying to send a message. Some of it feels forced and others are just “I am a veteran” so listen too me. For me… even some of the songs feels phoned in and not intentional at all.

It is maybe by default that the expectations versus delivery is lacking. That’s like the Dr. Dre album “Compton” which came out in 2015 and his latest project was released in 1999. So, people wanted greatness, but got contemporary sound. The same could be said Black Star this time around.

The joint with Black Thought was a refreshing song. However, the whole project as a whole isn’t as impactful or as brilliant as it could be. Just for reasons mentioned earlier. I am a fan of both artist and enjoy plenty of their body of work. That’s why a second instalment should be up my alley. But in the regard to this. I just rather put on the original where the chemistry and the tenacity is there.

Now, it feels forced and like a breezy. Only moments of excitement… and it’s really tragic man. The potential was enormous. These two are calibre MCs and are wordsmiths. So we know they can do it. It is just that product and the moment isn’t fitting. Neither is the perception or the total package. That’s why it’s not coming through as it should.

Talib Kweli has on his run dropped gems over the years. Mos Def or Yasiin Bey have been more or less retired. So, bringing him back was refreshing, but… it wasn’t no Ecstatic from him this time around.

This was “just to get by” and we the listeners ending up to “hunger for more”. Peace.

2021: The albums I have enjoyed this year

Last year I was able to make to lists and separate the ones who was Hip Hop and the ones who was Pop & Afrobeat. However, this year I will make a joint session. Since well, music haven’t been as prevalent for me. Neither has the music been as vital or been as close as before. The lockdowns and quarantine has stopped a lot of time listening time for me. Usually, I listen to the most music in transit or watch music videos at home. Therefore, I lost a lot of space and opportunities to it by default by being home during lockdowns this year.

That’s why I will have one simple list and all genres will be represented here. The albums I did appreciate and can see myself bumping in the future… and the ones that was lost on me… the famous dishonourable mentions, if you may.

Well… here we go.

Mr. P – “The Prodigal” was a fun afrobeat album from the P-Square alumni. He really showed swag and wished more people had talked about it. There is nice joints on here and it’s underwhelming how little that has been pushed about this album.

HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest & Rass Kass) – “Last Ride” was a dope hip-hop album made by old-school heroes. It was really fun and not with tracks fit for modern radio. This was the finesse and funny bars from a collective of wordsmiths. All of these gentlemen have proven their skills in the past and this was just a gem to listen too.

B-Real & Scott Storch – “Tell You Something” was a shocker of a release. Not that I have anticipated or awaited anything produced by Scott Storch in a decade or so. Storch fell off and seemed to be lost .B-Real has been on joint LPs with Xzibit and Derrick of late, which has been super awesome to listen too. So, his just following up on that and is having a great time on the beats of Storch. FYI: “Never Go Home” has a terrible beat and it should have been forgotten on whatever Nintendo Gameboy Game he sampled it from. That’s the only downer on this one and is an instant skip.

Rudeboy – “Rudykillus” is the other P-Square alumni album of the year. Where he starts of the album reminiscing and reminding everyone of his past hits. His swagger is cool and all. This is an album worth listening too and tracks like “Focus” shows his star-power and talent.

Talib Kweli and Diamond D – “Gotham” is another wordsmith and hip-hop album, which I felt has gone under the radar. Not shocking, as it been years since Talib was a main-stay and relevant for a broader audience. Still, he deserves credit and can produce nice of bodies of work to this day.

Joell Ortiz – “Autograph” is the A-Typical project of the Slaughterhouse MC at this point. He can tell stories and paint pictures with his words. The beats are refreshing and vibrant. It’s an absolute gem of a LP. These are the sorts that should be higher on rankings and get acknowledged, but the game is rigged. That’s why it’s not there…

Fashawn & Sir Veterano – ‘All Hail The King”. The F is finally returning and off Nas’s Mass Appeal. He shows why his a cool dude and an artist. Here his just brazen and direct, as there is steady and funky beats by Sir Veterano on the production. This is a real underground, but he should get credit. As he has continued to push out his craft and with this LP his showing that he is a force to be reckon with.

Dax – “Pain Paints Paintings” was an album which grow on me. Dax hasn’t changed or anything. Listen to him thanks to YouTube and the videos there in quarantine. He dropped a few EPs before and it was evident there was skills there. Now with a full project it was fun to listen too. Not it is revolutionary or has any sort of traditional hip-hop over it …. NO. But, it is a fun joint and easy-listening, as Dax never goes to deep.

Saigon – “Pain, Peace & Prosperity” is the album of a man I have followed since the Yardfather mixtape series in the early 2000s. It is nice seeing him shining on this one. It is clear that Just Blaze isn’t as involved or have production on here. Though, it is refreshing to see Saigon deliver a full project and get support from all across the board.

Remedy – “Remedy Meets Wu-Tang” is the most out of left-field album of the year for my part. It was just so amazing to see the Wu-Tang Collective shine on a album in 2021. This was like the golden age returning and nothing had changed. The beats, the bars and the whole setting was made for this. Remedy, which I haven’t heard of and maybe I lost the memo. Was showing his skills, but there was plenty of times where the Wu-Tang MCs out-shined him, but who cares? It’s an awesome project!

Lloyd Banks – “The Curse of the inevitable” with the return of the G-Unit wonderkid. Well, Banks isn’t a kid anymore and been a long time coming for his return. The G-Unit rapper dropped an album which fits into the Griselda era and could easily been dropped on that imprint. This wasn’t sounding like any of his previous LPs or even having the production of a G-Unit album. However, his word-play and bars was obvious on this one. That was what made this one unique. Not like he was pressured by Interscope or G-Unit to make a radio-friendly jam to be played on Hot 97.

Tiwa Savage – “Water and Garri EP” was a fun instalment, a very short one, but a worthwhile one. This is what you expect and as always, Tiwa does deliver. There is no skips and just a jolly atmosphere until the project is over. Nas even featured on the first track and he phoned it in sadly, but at least he wasn’t speaking of “crypto-currency” on this one. Tiwa had deserved a more fitting rapper on the track, but she maybe wanted someone who is celebrated and gets recognized world-wide.

This here is my list and it’s subjective. There was several of albums that I still enjoyed, but didn’t play like did this. Others that I have in my “tape-deck” but haven’t gotten into. Which would be another list. Albums I tried to listen too, but never caught on or had the rush to bump again. There is a few of those. However, I don’t feel the need to drop those… Peace.

UGK documentary – All-Star Tribute to them

A nice to watch documentary where the other rappers tell how they got to listen to UGK. UGK4Life! Peace

Mack the more – Grammy’s 2014 (mine kommentar til tragedien)

Ikke ofte gidder jeg å kommentere eller skrive om Grammys eller Oscar utdelinger. De er så betente og politiske at det halve kunne ha vært nok! Idag gjør jeg en liten helomvending. Ikke fordi det er overraskende hvem som vant i de fleste delene av Hip Hop sjangeren på Grammy’s 2014. Det var forventet når du så på de utvalgte låtene og album.

Best Performance – “That’s right, O Kay Kay!”

Jeg er langt fra fan av disse som vant 3 av 4 Grammyer. At Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vant for Beste Performance foran Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Swimming Pool’ er uforståelig. Ikke minst også låtene Eminem’s ‘Bezerk’ som viser råheten til Em, produksjon av Rick Rubin og gjennomtenkthet med inspirasjon fra Beastie Boys! Uforståelig, at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ‘Thrift Shop’ blir ansett som en bedre låt! Det er bare helt banalt. ‘Thrift Shop’ har sin greie og den slo sabla godt an, men alle vet at det var bedre ifjor? Til å med de som tildelte prisen vet dette innerst inne.

Beste Rap-låt: “Fuck You Pay Me”

At Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vant over disse sangene er også uforståelig. Coup d’etat er det blitt! Drake ble som også i forrige Beste Perfomance nominert med ‘Started from the Bottom’. Ikke at jeg er fan av Drake heller, selv denne låten synes jeg faktisk er god! Den viser talentet til Drake. En annen låt som laget til Asap Rocky – ‘Fucking Problems’ som også er med 2Chainz, Drake og Kendrick Lamar. Denne låten er også slagferdig og en god radiolåt. Den var også utslagsgivnde igjennom for Asap Rocky! Jay-Z ‘Holy Grail’ og Kanye West ‘ New Slaves’ var også nominert. Disse viser bare enda mer hvor feil det var å gi Grammyen til Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ‘Thrift Shop’.

Beste Rap-Album: “Lost Ones”

Her er den siste og mest tragiske som skjedde på Grammy’s 2014 at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – ‘The Heist’vant for beste Rap-Album! Noe så tragisk. Tragikomisk. Urovekkende og helt feil! Drake var også nominert her med albumet: ‘Nothing Was The Same’. Som var bedre album enn debuten. Så fortjent kunne dette ha vært og det mer enn Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Drake var bare ikke hvit nok, selv om han var tidligere en skuespiller fra Toronto. Jay-Z med ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ måtte også falle, dette er mer forståelig. Hadde ikke forventet dette albumet på listen. Derimot så forventet jeg at Kanye West og ‘Yeezus’ skulle være der! Ikke at jeg kjøpte albummet, men at det var spesielt for musikkåret 2013. Det var den definitivt. Det mest sjokkerende var at Kendrick Lamar og ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’ – GKMC er en klassiker. Er sikker på at sammenligne album om ti år vil Kendricks debut album på TDE/Aftermath/Interscope med Dr.Dre bak spakene. Det er helt utrolig at dette albumet ikke vant en Grammy!

Unnlatte album og låter: “Forgot about Dre”. 

At J.Cole både album ‘Born Sinner’ og låtene ‘Crooked Smile’ ft TLC og ‘Power Trip’ ft Miguel. Burde ha vært med på de tre listene. Pusha T en del av Clipse som gav ut sin første solo skulle lett ha overskygget flere av de nominerte album – dette med tanke på hvor bra albumet ‘My Name Is My Name’. Låtene ‘Sweet Serenade’ ft Chris Brown og ’30 Acres’ ft The Dream. Skulle let vært med på nominasjonslisten til Grammy! Bubba Sparxx kom ut med nytt album i året som var ‘Pain Management’. Der han gikk tilbake til røttene, men med independent realese istedenfor stort plateselskap ble utgivelsen forbi i stillhet. Selv om den selvskreven for min del. Også Cory Mo sitt album ‘Take it or Leave it’ burde ha vært med og låten ‘Hold up’. Chamillionaire med ‘Reignfall’ burde ha vært blant låtene som skulle ha vært nominert. Kanskje også sammen med DJ Khaled sin låt – ‘Never Surrender’. Talib Kweli’s album ‘Gravitas’ burde også heller gjemmes vekk. Man kan vel ikke forvente annet.

Takk for meg. Peace.

%d bloggers like this: