I wrote several writeups for Passion of the Weiss’ 50 best albums and 50 best hip-hop songs. For the albums list, I contributed writeups of Oh No’s Dr. No’s Ethiopium, Playboy Tre’s Liquor Store Mascot, Bibio’s Ambivalence Avenue, the Flaming Lips’ Embryonic and Javelin’s Jamz & Jemz. On the best hip hop songs list, I did Big Boi’s “Shine Blockas” and Blu’s “GNG BNG”.
Click my writeup of Oh No’s Dr. No’s Ethiopium to read the albums list:
The second installment of Oh No’s series of world music beat tapes, Ethiopium really should’ve been called Further Exodus Into Unknown Rhythms. Here the still-breathing Michael Jackson creates 38 minutes of cervical-snapping beats sampling exclusively from the Ethiopian Golden Age of the 1960s and 70s. Pulling out odd snippets of horns, otherworldly vocals, strings and guitars and pasting them to classic breaks and gritty drums, the tracks range from straight loops to sophisticated chops. Despite the inherently limited theme, there’s a lot of sonic variety, with beats running the gamut from dark bangers like “Concentrate” and Scary,” to Highlands headnodders like “Melody Mix” and album highlight “The Pain.” While big brother Madlib receives most of the accolades, Oh No has quietly continued to perfect his craft. The breaks never outstay their welcome and in just under 40 minutes, Ethiopium takes you on a breathless and blunted ride through the Horn of Africa.
And click the excerpt of my “Shine Blockas” review to read the best songs list!
Somehow, Big Boi, one half of the most popular rap group of all-time, has leaked fantastic album material for over a year-plus and still Sir Luscious Lead Foot can’t get a release date. The latest gem from Daddy Fat Sacks’s solo album, “Shine Blockas” combines Gucci’s infectious energy and Big Boi’s unmatched flow over a superbly soulful beat with a distinctly Southern trunk thump. Gucci and Big make a natural pair, given the two’s mutual love for goofy similes and metaphors. Big awkwardly sprays like a skunk, while Gucci strives for Tyler Perry sales. Producer Cutmaster Swiff spit-shines Harold Melvin’s vocals until they glisten like a fresh coat of candy paint on a Caddie. Where Kanye used the same sample on Jay-Z’s “This Can’t Be Life” to convey sadness and lamentation, Big Boi turns it into a playful, triumphant kiss-off to the haters. Of course they can’t close the safe–there’s too much money in it.
Man, I can’t believe it’s 2010. Shana Tovah, y’all!