Posts Tagged ‘eminem’

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February 2021 Music Ratings

March 7, 2021

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Tash Sultana – Terra Firma


Rating Scale

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent/Cool
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

Top 20 Albums in February (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021. I’ll include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  The more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. I won’t leave a rating for anything I don’t have a good feel for yet.

*indicates February 2021 release

  1. *Tash Sultana – Terra Firma – 7+
  2. Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – Side B [15]
  3. SZA – Ctrl (2017) – 9
  4. Courtney Bell – Poverty Stricken – 7+
  5. MC Eiht – LESSONS [1]
  6. *Marlon Craft – How We Intended
  7. Pharoahe Monch & th1rt3en – A Magnificent Day For an Exorcism – 6+
  8. *Devin the Dude – Soulful Distance – 6+
  9. *Lucky Daye – Table For Two
  10. Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter – review coming soon
  11. *Madison Beer – Life Support
  12. Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth (2007) – 9
  13. *Dorian Whyte – Truth Be Told
  14. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon III: The Chosen [5] – 6
  15. Breeze Brewin – Hindsight
  16. Che Noir – After 12 – review coming soon
  17. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom (2017) – 8+
  18. Mac Ayres – Magic 8ball
  19. Nyck Caution – Anywhere But Here [14]
  20. Toby Ganger – Free Machine – 8+
  21. *VanJess – Homegrown
  22. Your Old Droog – It Wasn’t Even Close

The 20 Artists I’ve Listened To The Most In 2021

Notes: I spread my listening out a lot more this past month and spent very little time focusing on brand new releases since there were very few I was interested in. I created a playlist of artists and albums I feel I’ve overlooked and want to get more familiar with and listened to that. I was actually inspired to do this when I heard MF DOOM had passed away and realized how little of his catalog I had listened to. I also split time between my Brand New, All-Time Favorites, and Best of 2020 playlists.

  1. MC Eiht
  2. Eminem
  3. MF DOOM
  4. Kid Cudi
  5. Boldy James
  6. Courtney Bell
  7. Dua Lipa
  8. Chris Stapleton
  9. SZA
  10. Joji
  11. Nyck Caution
  12. Roc Marciano
  13. Tash Sultana
  14. Mac Miller
  15. Playboi Carti
  16. Sa-Roc
  17. Tyrone’s Jacket
  18. Jessie Ware
  19. Pharoahe Monch
  20. Rina Sawayama

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

Courtney Bell (feat. Dcmbr), “Hold You Down (Super Woman)”
Courtney Bell, “25 Hours”
Freddie Gibbs (feat. ScHoolboy Q), “Gang Signs”
Gukie, “Make It a Double”
Nipsey Hussle & JAY-Z, “What It Feels Like”
Tash Sultana, “Pretty Lady”
WESTSIDE BOOGIE & Joey Bada$$, “Outside”



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February 2021: Every Review I Wrote

March 1, 2021

Movies – I went crazy again in February and watched a movie almost every day. I will probably do something similar in March, but by the start of April, I will be fully vaxxed and cleared for takeoff (back to my day job of playing poker) and my days of watching 25 movies a month will be coming to an end. Still, I have the expectation that I can watch every feature film, documentary, and international film that gets an Oscar nomination before the Oscars air in late April and that’s something I’ve never done before.

Movies I watched, but didn’t review:

  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution (2020) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)
  • Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (2011) – did not rate cause I had a hard time following it
  • In the Mood for Love (2000) – 8/10 (Great/Must See)
  • Re-Animator (1985) – 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through February
2020 Best Documentaries/Docu-Series: My top documentary style films of the year
2020/2021 Oscar Watch: My list of favorites for the major Oscar categories
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30 movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks
March 2021 – New to Streaming Ranking of new and old movies I want to see coming to streaming this month

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!

T.V. Shows

  • Succession – Season 2 (2019) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Succession – Season 1 (2018) – HBO Max – 5/5
  • Pen15 – Season 2 (2020) – Hulu – 3/5
  • Schitt’s Creek – Season 1 (2015) – Netflix – 4/5

Music

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Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – Side B (2020)

February 19, 2021

Genre: Rap

Release Date: December 18th, 2020

Song Rating Scale

  1. Alfred (Intro) – N/A
  2. Black Magic (feat. Skylar Grey) – 3
  3. Alfred’s Theme – 3.75
  4. Tone Deaf – 3.5
  5. Book of Rhymes (feat. DJ Premier) – 3.25
  6. Favorite Bitch (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) – 3
  7. Guns Blazing (feat. Dr. Dre & Sly Pyper) – 3
  8. Gnat – 3.75
  9. Higher – 3.75
  10. These Demons (feat. MAJ) – 3.5
  11. Key (Skit) – N/A
  12. She Loves Me – 3.5
  13. Killer – 3.75
  14. Zeus (feat. White Gold) – 4
  15. Thus Far (Interlude) – N/A
  16. Discombobulated – 3.75

Spin Rate: 7+
Average Song Rating: 3.5/5
3.5+ Percentage: 69%
Skip Factor: 11.5%
Bangers: 1

Thoughts: Eminem has kind of become a master at making incomplete songs. At least for me. This album is a clinic in making music that is mostly pretty decent but almost every song has an aspect to it that I don’t like. In “Book of Rhymes” the beat is horrendous. How are you going to have a song that says it features DJ Premier and he’s not even producing it? I was really looking forward to this collaboration and it’s not even a thing. “Favorite Bitch” features Ty Dolla $ign, one of the top hook makers in the hip-hop world right now, and his hook is TERRIBLE. “Guns Blazing” has a Dr. Dre verse and a hook that I just can’t get into. Even the songs that I like a lot tend to feature a beat or flow switch that doesn’t really work for me. The rapping on this album is pretty good, but that’s not much of a surprise – Eminem can still rap his ass off. He can also drop some ultra corny bars, but I’d say that his cleverness and rhyming ability still far outweigh these eyeroll-inducing lines.

I like Side A substantially more than Side B, but if you look at both of my reviews you’ll notice Side B has a higher average song rating. That’s because the highs on Side A are much higher than they are here, but the lows are also much lower (it’s also because this is the first album I started using .25 and .75 when I can’t decide between two ratings). Side B doesn’t have any pure skips, but it also only has one true banger. “Zeus” is a really good song, but I think it’s the only track where Eminem really puts it all together on this album. I’ll take whatever I can get from Eminem (well, not Revival), but I also feel like he’s just going to keep stringing together technically proficient verses while not making all that great of music.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

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January 2021 Music Ratings

February 2, 2021

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

MC Eiht – LESSONS

Notes: January was a super slow month for new music. I only added a handful of new albums and only two 2021 releases cracked the top 20 albums I listened to the most over the past month. Because of this, I cheated and gave Album of the Month to something that came out over four months ago… and why not? I listened to MC Eiht’s <i>LESSONS</i> more than any other album last month. It’s incredible. I have a review coming for it soon, so I won’t say much else now, but if you’ve been sleeping, it’s time to wake up. I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  The more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. I won’t leave a rating for anything I don’t have a good feel for yet.

Rating Scale

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent/Cool
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

Top 20 Albums in January (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month. Previous ranking in brackets. Year of release in parentheses if it’s not 2020 or 2021.

*indicates January 2021 release

  1. MC Eiht – LESSONS – 8+
  2. MF DOOM & Madlib – Madvillainy (2004) – 7+
  3. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over – 7+
  4. Joji – Nectar – 7
  5. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon III: The Chosen [4] – 6
  6. Playboi Carti – Whole Lotta Red [12] – 3
  7. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? [8] – 9
  8. Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA – 6+
  9. Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa (2017) – 7+
  10. Boldy James & Sterling Toles – Manger on McNichols – 6+
  11. Roc Marciano – Reasonable Drought – 7+
  12. Taylor Swift – evermore [16] – 7+
  13. KRS-One – Between Da Protests – 6+
  14. *Nyck Caution – Anywhere But Here – 6+
  15. Eminem – Murder To Be Murdered By – Side B [2] – 6
  16. Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket [3] – 8+
  17. Flee Lord – In The Name Of Prodigy
  18. Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
  19. Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia Demo (2014) – 8+
  20. *KOTA The Friend – Lyrics to GO, Vol. 2 – 6+

The 20 Artists I Listened To The Most In January

Notes: I spread my listening out a lot more this past month and spent very little time focusing on brand new releases since there were very few I was interested in. I created a playlist of artists and albums I feel I’ve overlooked and want to get more familiar with and listened to that. I was actually inspired to do this when I heard MF DOOM had passed away and realized how little of his catalog I had listened to. I also split time between my Brand New, All-Time Favorites, and Best of 2020 playlists.

  1. MF DOOM
  2. MC Eiht
  3. Boldy James
  4. Kid Cudi
  5. Chris Stapleton
  6. Eminem
  7. Joji
  8. Playboi Carti
  9. Jessie Ware
  10. Mac Miller
  11. Dua Lipa
  12. Rina Sawayama
  13. Roc Marciano
  14. Taylor Swift
  15. KRS-One
  16. Nyck Caution
  17. Nipsey Hussle
  18. Sam Cooke
  19. Tyrone’s Jacket
  20. A Tribe Called Quest

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist

38 Spesh (feat. Ransom & Klass Murda), “Toll Booth”
38 Spesh, “Road Back”
Che Noir (feat. The Musalini), “Cruise Control”
Chris Stapleton, “Joy of My Life”
Flip Huston (feat. Jim Jones), “Outta My Mind”
Flip Huston (feat. Dame D.O.L.L.A.), “Momma I Made It”
Flip Huston, “You Know The Vibes”
Jessie Ware, “Spotlight”
Jessie Ware, “What’s Your Pleasure?”
Jessie Ware, “Ooh La La”
Jessie Ware, “In Your Eyes”
Jessie Ware, “The Kill”
Joji, “Your Man”
Kid Cudi (feat. Phoebe Bridgers), “Lovin’ Me”
Kid Cudi, “The Void”
MC Eiht (feat. Young Noble & Tha Chill), “Magic”
Nyck Caution, “Dirt On Your Name”


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December 2020 Music Ratings (2020 Wrap-Up Edition)

January 1, 2021

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston?

Notes: Yep. I’m giving my boy the Album of the Month. I was working on a review for this, but I never got around to publishing it – I will be doing that early January, but I can assure this is a good project. If a good friend of mine released something I didn’t like, I’d just tell them it was wack. If someone I know (but wasn’t close with) released something I didn’t like, I’d probably tell them “it’s cool” and it certainly wouldn’t be featured on my monthly blog post. I’m featuring this project because I truly believe in it. Make sure you go check this out. It’s streaming on all platforms. Another friend of mine, Toby Ganger, sent me a copy of his album that is due out sometime in 2021 and it is truly excellent… like album of the year type level good. I’m not sure when the rest of the world will get to hear it, but I’m very curious to see if everyone loves it as much as I do. I’ll go ahead and include a rough rating for each album to make my feelings on each project clearer.  Note: the more I’ve listened to an album, the more accurate my rating is. Any rating that has a + symbol means that I’ve found my floor, but I could rate it higher. I won’t leave a rating for anything I don’t have a good feel for yet.

Rating Scale

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Amazing
8 – Great
7 – Highly Enjoyable
6 – Recommended/Good
5 – Decent/Cool
4 – Lackluster
3 – Bad
2 – Horrible
1 – Torture Material

* indicates December 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in December (all ratings are out of 10)

Note: These albums are NOT ranked in order of preference; they are ranked in order of number of songs listened to (scrobbles) over the past month.

1. Toby Ganger – Free Machine – 8+ (unreleased)
2. *Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By – B Side – 6
3. Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket – 7+
4. *Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon III: The Chosen – 6
5. *Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? – 7+
6. Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom (2017)
7. *Jack Harlow – Thats What They All Say – 6+
8. Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? – 7+
9. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings 3 – 7
10. Goodie Mob – Survival Kit – 7
11.*Che Noir – After 12 – 7
12. *Playboi Carti – Whole Lotta Red – 3+
13. Statik Selektah – The Balancing Act
14. Recognize Ali – Guerilla Dynasty
15. *Boldy James – Real Bad Boldy
16. *Taylor Swift – evermore
17. Juicy J – The Hustle Continues
18. Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof – 9
19. Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts – 6+
20. *Tobe Nwigwe – CINCORIGINALS – 6+

The 50 Artists I Listened To The Most In 2020

Notes: I started using the Last.FM app about halfway through the year, so this is really just six months worth of scrobbles.

  1. Eminem
  2. Benny the Butcher
  3. Lil Wayne
  4. Conway the Machine
  5. Black Thought/The Roots
  6. MC Eiht
  7. Che Noir
  8. Spillage Village/Earthgang
  9. Amine
  10. Nas
  11. Berner
  12. Ty Dolla $ign
  13. Busta Rhymes
  14. 38 Spesh
  15. Recognize Ali/Dueling Experts
  16. Toby Ganger
  17. The Weeknd
  18. R.A. the Rugged Man
  19. Flip Huston
  20. Big Sean
  21. Logic
  22. Blu & Exile
  23. 21 Savage & Metro Boomin
  24. Sa-Roc
  25. Felt
  26. Westside Gunn
  27. T.I.
  28. Pop Smoke
  29. Boldy James
  30. Dua Lipa
  31. Ransom
  32. Phoebe Bridgers
  33. Reason
  34. Goodie Mob
  35. Ariana Grande
  36. CunninLynguists
  37. The Lox
  38. Jaden Smith
  39. Dinner Party
  40. Future
  41. Kaash Paige
  42. Brother Ali
  43. Deante Hitchcock
  44. Tyrone’s Jacket
  45. Rich Brian
  46. Kid Cudi
  47. Dave East
  48. Mac Miller
  49. Elzhi
  50. Ice Cube

As you can see, new music dominates my listening experience. Out of my top 50 artists, only CunninLynguists, Brother Ali, and Ice Cube didn’t release projects in 2020. A lot of my all-time favorite rappers (Biggie, Jay, Pac, Kanye, Outkast, etc.) and current favorite rappers (Kendrick, J. Cole, Joey Badass) are nowhere to be found. I definitely enjoy staying up-to-date, finding hidden gems, and keeping an open mind to everything new, but I can’t help but feel like it dominates my listening experience and I don’t listen to the music I truly love enough. That makes music feel more like homework than pleasure sometimes. I plan to stay very current, but I want to find more balance with this in 2021.

Top 10 Albums of the Year (in alphabetical order)

Apollo Brown & Che Noir – As God Intended (Rap)
Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof (Rap)
Conway the Machine – From King To A God (Rap)
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia (Pop)
Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist – Alfredo (Rap)
Mac Miller – Circles (Rap? Pop?)
MC Eiht – Lessons (Rap)
Run the Jewels – RTJ4 (Rap)
Sa-Roc – The Sharecropper’s Daughter (Rap)
The Weeknd – After Hours (R&B/Soul/Pop)

I feel pretty confident in that list, but there could be an album or two I’d slip in or out and maybe some of the more recent releases will grow enough on me to make the jump. If I had to pick an absolute favorite for the year, I think I’d have to go with the Apollo Brown & Che Noir album.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

Amine – Limbo (Rap)
Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World (R&B/Soul)
Che Noir – After 12 (Rap)
Deante Hitchcock – BETTER (Rap)
eLZhi – Seven Times Down Eight Times Up (Rap)
Felt – Felt 4 U (Rap)
Flip Huston – Who Is Flip Huston? (Rap)
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure? (Pop)
Logic – No Pressure (Rap)
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain (Rap)
R.A. the Rugged Man – All My Heroes Are Dead (Rap)
Reason – New Beginnings (Rap)
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory (Rap)
Tyrone’s Jacket – Tyrone’s Jacket (Rap)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Ariana Grande, “positions”
Benny the Butcher, “3:30 In Houston”
Boldy James, “Street Shit”
Che Noir ft. RJ Payne & Sa-Roc, “Moment in the Sun”
Chris Stapleton, “Devil Always Made Me Think Twice”
Conway the Machine, “Ameenah’s Van”
Conway the Machine, “Serena vs Venus”
Don Toliver ft. Travis Scott & Kaash Paige, “Euphoria”
eLZhi, “Hot Winter Cold Summer”
Eminem ft. White Gold, “Zeus”
Goodie Mob, “4 My Ppl”
Gorillaz ft. Moonchild Sanelly, “With Love To An Ex”
Jamo Gang, “Runyon Canyon”
Jessie Ware, “Read My Lips”
Lil Wayne ft. Drake, “BB King Freestyle”
Lil Wayne, “Lamar”
Miley Cyrus ft. Stevie Nicks, “Edge of Midnight (Midnight Sky Remix)”
Reason ft. Mereba, “Westside”
Recognize Ali, “Wreck-Ignition”
Russ ft. Benny the Butcher & Black Thought, “Momentum”
T.I. ft. Eric Bellinger & Killer Mike, “How I Feel”
Tyrone’s Jacket, “Backpack Song”
Tyrone’s Jacket, “Streets”
Westside Gunn, “Shawn vs. Flair”

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September 2020 Music Playlist

October 1, 2020

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Conway the MachineFrom King To A GOD

Notes: So this is mostly how I listen to music these days. Every Thursday night at 9 PM (Pacific Time), I look at all the new releases and add anything I’m interested in to my library and throw it in my Brand New and Current Rotation playlists. I used to have one playlist for newer albums, but I started leaving stuff in there for too long and it got really bloated and I wasn’t giving the newest music the attention I wanted to. Now I use the Brand New playlist for the latest music and have a strict policy of removing it after exactly one month, unless I’m really not into an album and decide to remove it earlier. My Current Rotation playlist consists of music from the last 4-6 months, with my favorite albums lingering around even longer, plus I’ve decided to start throwing older stuff on there, like artists I feel I’ve overlooked or albums I want to revisit. I probably listen to my Brand New playlist the most, but I give my Current Rotation multiple spins throughout the week and I also have a Goats Doing Goat Shit playlist of all my favorite rappers and albums and a Rappers from the Old School playlist of rappers that mostly came out in the 80s that I listen to semi-regularly. You can follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add any or all of my playlists.

This has created a somewhat interesting dynamic in my lists below. Half the albums on my top 20 list for September… I have never listened to all the way through. Somehow one of those albums (Jaden Smith) cracked my top 3. I have never actually listened to that album other than when a song comes up on shuffle. Numbers in parentheses are how many songs I listened to on each album or from each artist over the past month and/or the year the album was released if it didn’t come out in 2020. I spent basically all month surprised that Big Sean wasn’t getting more spins and I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that I never put his album in my Brand New playlist. Whoops. He will be in there all through October now. Also, note how high Eminem is on my top artists list despite not having any album in my top 20. I’ve started the long process of doing a profile on Eminem, in the same vein as my DMX and Notorious B.I.G. profiles. Eminem’s discography is much deeper than either of those guys, so don’t expect me to publish something anytime soon, but do expect Eminem to be near the top of my artists list until I do. As of now, I’m still on The Marshall Mathers LP. I will publish my Em album reviews as I write them though.

* indicates September 2020 release

Top 20 Albums in September

1. *Conway the Machine – From King To A GOD (75)
2. *Big Sean – Detroit 2 (57)
3. Jaden Smith – CTV3: Cool Tape Vol. 3 (50)
4. Nas – King’s Disease (45)
5. The Lox – Living Off Xperience (44)
6. *Spillage Village – Spilligion (39)
7. Amine – Limbo (37)
8. Black Pumas – Black Pumas [Deluxe] (37)
8. Dua Lipa – Club Future Nostalgia [DJ Mix] (37)
10. Ransom – Directors Cut** (36)
11. Rich Brian – 1999 (33)
12. Dave East – Karma 3 (31)
13. The Streets – None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive (31)
14. The God Fahim – After Every Dark Day Comes Sunshine (30)
15. Spillage Village – Bears Like This Too Much (2016, 28)
16. BUCKWILD – Music is My Religion (27)
17. Apollo Brown & Locksmith – No Question (2018, 25)
18. CunninLynguists – Southernunderground (2003, 25)
19. The Weeknd – After Hours (25)
20. Lil Wayne – No Ceilings (2009, 24)

**Ransom actually released three Directors Cut albums this year. They weren’t on my radar until last month and I decided to make them all one album, but if you wind up searching for it, you’ll see that it is actually three shorter albums.

Top 20 Artists in August

1. Spillage Village (86)
2. Conway the Machine (77)
3. Eminem (68)
4. Nas (66)
5. Big Sean (59)
6. Lil Wayne (53)
7. Jaden Smith (50)
8. CunninLynguists (48)
9. The Lox (44)
10. Dua Lipa (38)
11. Amine (37)
12. Black Pumas (37)
13. Ransom (36)
14. Rich Brian (33)
15. Dave East (31)
16. The Streets (31)
17. The God Fahim (30)
18. Buckwild (27)
19. The Weeknd (27)
20. Apollo Brown & Locksmith (25)

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Amine, “My Reality”
Amine ft. slowthai & Vince Staples, “Pressure In My Palms”
Amine, “Burden”
Big Sean ft. Nipsey Hussle, “Deep Reverence”
Black Thought ft. Pusha T & Killer Mike, “Good Morning”
Conway the Machine ft. Method Man, “Lemon”
Conway the Machine ft. Freddie Gibbs, “Seen Everything But Jesus”
Conway the Machine ft. Benny the Butcher & Westside Gunn, “Spurs 3”
Conway the Machine, “Front Lines”
Conway the Machine ft. Armani Caesar, “Anza”
Deante Hitchcock, “I Remember”
Felt, “Alexander F’real”
IDK & JID ft. Kenny Mason, “Cereal”
Jacob Latimore, “Love Drug”
Kaash Paige ft. Isaiah Rashad, “Problems”
Nas ft. Anderson .Paak, “All Bad”
Nyck Caution, “Demons Don’t Take Off From Work”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. M.O.P., Vinnie Paz, Chris Rivers, Onyx, Chino XL, Brand Nubian & Ice-T, “The Slayers Club”
R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Sarah Smith & Kelly Waters, “The After Life”
Ransom, “I Am Legend”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Lost”
R-MEAN & Berner, “Would You”
Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius, “Pain In My Life, Pt. 2 (On God)”
The Lox, “Gave It To ‘EM”
The Lox, “Loyalty And Love”
The Weeknd, “Too Late”
The Weeknd, “Snowchild”
The Weeknd, “Escape From LA”
The Weeknd, “Blinding Lights”
The Weeknd, “Missed You”

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Eminem – Infinite (1996)

September 15, 2020

Note: I have finally decided to continue my series of Rapper Profiles. You can read my in-depth profiles for The Notorious B.I.G. and DMX by click on their names. My next profile will be about Eminem and since I’ve developed this new review system, I might as well post my thoughts on his discography as I go through it all again. I will include links to all these reviews when I post up the full profile whenever that may be.

Eminem – Infinite (1996, Rap)

Release Date: November 12th, 1996

Song Rating Scale

1. Infinite – 4
2. WEGO – N/A
3. It’s OK – 3.5
4. 313 – 3
5. Tonite – 3.5
6. Maxine – 2.5
7. Open Mic – 3
8. Never Too Far – 3.5
9. Searchin – 3.5
10. Backstabber – 3
11. Jealousy Woes II – 2

Spin Rate: 8
Average Song Rating: 3.15/5
Good Song Percentage: 50%
Clear Cuts: 2
Bangers: 1

Thoughts: Eminem released this album before Dr. Dre had ever heard of him, back when he was still completely unknown outside of Detroit – and maybe not even all that well known there – and before he had ever thought of the name Slim Shady. Infinite is more of a novelty item than an actual album I’d want to listen to with any regularity. It sounds like a demo and I can’t say it holds up all that well 25 years later. Eminem didn’t know who he was an emcee yet and while he has cited plenty of influences over the course of his storied career, the biggest influences I hear on Infinite are Nas and AZ. I do think there are good tracks on here and Em was already an extremely gifted lyricist in 1996, as this tape is littered with multisyllabic rhyme schemes and solid one-liners like, “come to battle me and you’ll get smacked as hard as you act” and “and leave this crazy world/ with at least a half a million for my baby girl/ it may be early to be planning this stuff/ cause I’m still struggling hard to be the man and it’s tough.” I think you did okay by your daughter, Marshall. The title track is easily the best song on here… one of the only ones I wouldn’t mind hearing on a regular basis. “Searchin” is also a favorite as it might be the only time we’ve ever heard Eminem write a heartfelt song about Kim with no lingering bitterness seeping through the message. Overall, this album is pretty cool and you can see glimpses of future greatness, but the sound quality is not great and Eminem’s mic presence and identity was a work in progress that was still in its infancy. Still, you should definitely check it out if you’re a fan of Em and have never listened to it.

Verdict: 6/10 (Light Recommendation)

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January 2020 Album Reviews

April 23, 2020

First off, let me say… if nobody reads this, I’m going to be pissed. Yeah, this is a bit late. I’ve been working on this post for at least two months now. But I’ve been struggling with how I want to post my music opinions without feeling like I need to waste a ton of time thinking about what I want to write. I think I finally found a system that works for me. I’m going to rate every song on each album on what is essentially a 10-point scale and then I will average those ratings out to give an overall score. This isn’t necessarily my official rating for an album… but it’s a decent starting point. You will see some examples below where I think an album with a lower average rating is better than higher ones. Eminem’s album is the most obvious one. I gave seven of his songs a rating of 4 or higher – the most of any January 2020 release – but he also has, by far, the most songs I’d cut from an album, dragging his overall score down. So while his overall score is lower than some albums, I like it substantially more than, say, the Mick Jenkins project.

A good rule of thumb in order for me to rate an album is that I probably need to listen to it at least twice (hence no Pop Smoke listed below). Possibly the only exception to this rule is when I deem an album unlistenable and can barely (or can’t) even make it through the whole album the first time. Listening to and evaluating music is a pretty fluid process though, so all ratings are subject to change in the future as albums grow on me or I realize I initially overrated them. I’ve been sitting on most of these albums for about three months now, so I feel pretty good about these reviews. I will bold any song I added to my Bangers Playlist – usually at least a 4 on my rating scale.

5 – Perfection
4.5 – Great
4 – Very Good
3.5 – Good
3 – Cool
2.5 – Meh
2 – Bad
1 – Trash

BENNY THE BUTCHERThe Plugs I Met (June 2019, Rap)
1. (Intro) – N/A
2. “Crowns for Kings” ft. Black Thought – 5
3. “Sunday School” ft. 38 Spesh & Jadakiss – 4

4. “Dirty Harry” ft. Rj Payne & Conway the Machine – 3.5
5. “Took the Money to the Plug’s House” – 4
6. “18 Wheeler” ft. Pusha T – 4.5
7. “5 to 50” ft. India – 4

Average Song Rating: 4.17/5
Save Percentage: 100% (6/6)
Bangers: 5

Thoughts: A bonus addition to this month’s list because it’s just that good. This is a great example of less is more. Basically every song on here is really good. Black Thought and Benny absolutely murder the beat on “Crown for Kings” and I think that might be my favorite song of 2019. Benny is easily my favorite rapper that I wasn’t listening to a year ago. This is an elite project and one of the best albums of last year.

Verdict: 9/10 (Amazing)

Mick JenkinsThe Circus (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Same Ol” – 3
2. “Carefree” – 3
3. “The Light” ft. EARTHGANG – 4
4. “Flaunt” – 3
5. “The Fit” – 3.5
6. “I’m Convinced” – 3.5
7. “Different Scales” – 3.5

Average Rating: 3.36/5
Save Percentage: 100% (7/7)
Bangers: 1

Thoughts: A solid, but unspectacular little project that’s a bit more accessible than Mick’s past work which I have admittedly mostly overlooked. I do like every song on here though with “The Light” being my favorite by a large margin and that’s mostly because EARTHGANG just knows how to make great music.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3 [Deluxe] (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Big Black Truck” ft. JID – 4
2. “Still Up” ft. EARTHGANG & REASON – 3.5
3. “Outta Pocket” ft. Bas, Cozz, and Girl Talk – 3
4. “Late Night” ft. Cozz, Omen, Buddy & Landstrip Chip – 3
5. “Spin Move” ft. Bas, Saba, Smino & The Hics – 3
6. “BUSSIT” ft. Ari Lennox – 3
7. “Passcode” ft. Ari Lennox, Buddy, Smino, Mez & Guapdad 4000 – 3
8. “Up Up Away” ft. JID, EARTHGANG & Vince Staples – 3.5
9. “No Chorus” ft. Bas, Dreezy, Buddy & Guapdad 4000 – 3
10. “Disgusted” ft. Cozz & Childish Major – 3
11. “Revenge” ft. Lute, Omen, Ari Lennox, EARTHGANG, Childish Major & REASON – 3
12. “Still Dreamin” ft. JID, Lute & 6LACK – 4

Average Rating: 3.25/5
Save Percentage: 100%
Bangers: 2

Thoughts: It’s important to understand what this is: a collection of songs that weren’t good enough to be on the official Revenge of the Dreamers III album. So these are all leftovers. Personally, I’d rather hear this stuff than not hear it, but when I listen to a project like this, I’m judging it on its own merit and not as a collective with the original release. It looks like every J.Cole feature made the official release because we don’t get any new Cole music here. Most of the songs on here are 3s, so while I like every track it’s a lot of stuff I’m pretty lukewarm about. I do think this Deluxe version is bookended by a couple of true bangers though.

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

EminemMusic To Be Murdered By (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Premonition” – 4
2. “Unaccomodating” ft. Young MA – 3
3. “You Gon’ Learn” ft. Royce da 5’9″ & White Gold – 4.5
4. (Interlude) – N/A
5. “Those Kinda Nights” ft. Ed Sheeran – 1.5
6. “In Too Deep” – 2
7. “Godzilla” ft. Juice WRLD – 3.5
8. “Darkness” – 4
9. “Leaving Heaven” ft. Skylar Grey – 2.5
10. “Yah Yah” ft. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun – 4
11. (Interlude) – N/A
12. “Stepdad” – 2.5
13. “Marsh” – 3
14. “Never Love Again” – 3.5
15. “Little Engine” – 2.5
16. “Lock It Up” ft. Anderson .Paak – 4
17. “Farewell” – 3
18. “No Regrets” ft. Don Toliver – 4
19. “I Will” ft. KXNG Crooked, Royce da 5’9″ & Joell Ortiz – 4

20. (Outro) – N/A

Average rating: 3.29/5
Save Percentage: 70.5% (12/17)
Bangers: 7

Thoughts: And here’s an example of more is less. Do I want to hear every song Eminem has ever recorded? Sure. But when you fill out an album’s tracklist with a bunch of weak songs, I’m going to hold those songs against the album as a whole. As you can see by my save percentage, I’d cut about 30% of this album. You take away those five songs and my average rating would jump up to a 3.7 out of 5 and I think that’s pretty close to elite status. His stuff with Ed Sheeran is embarrassing and I can’t stand Skylar Grey; she ruins what is an otherwise enjoyable song with an unbearable hook. I think the production on this album is actually pretty good and beat selection is usually a weakness on any Eminem album. Still, it could be better and you’d think this man would have access to the best producers on the planet. Alchemist was his touring DJ forever and they’ve made almost no actual music together. It’s a damn shame. Eminem is still elite when it comes to spitting and lyricism. Sure, he can spit some corny lines here and there, but he still astonishes me on a regular basis. I love every track Royce is on and it’s bad ass seeing them collab so much (Bad Meets Evil 2 anyone?). Seven bangers is a lot, so there’s plenty of gold on this album. This is probably Em’s best album since Recovery.

Verdict: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Mac MillerCircles (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Circles” – 4
2. “Complicated” – 4

3. “Blue World” – 3.5
4. “Good News” – 4.5
5. “I Can See” – 3.5
6. “Everybody” – 4
7. “Woods” – 4.5
8. “Hand Me Downs” – 5

9. “That’s On Me” – 3.5
10. “Hands” – 3
11. “Surf” – 3.5
12. “Once a Day” – 3.5

Average rating: 3.88/5
Save Percentage: 100% (12/12)
Bangers: 6

Thoughts: Mac Miller was really transcending as an artist. This is not a rappity rap album by any means… it’s just beautiful music… with some rapping. I like every song on this album and there are some real gems here. “Hand Me Downs” is just a perfect song. We lost one of the best hip-hop artists in the business when Mac died in 2018 and it’s kind of absurd that the average hip-hop consumer (that I know at least) doesn’t even listen to him. I’ve been thinking about doing a Top 25 Hip-Hop Artists Since 2015 blog post and in my preliminary rankings, I have Mac Miller ranked #6 on that list. That’s how highly I think of him. This posthumous release only strengthens his resume and Circles is an early Album of the Year contender.

Verdict: 8/10 (Must Listen)

Halsey – Manic (January 2020, Pop)
1. “Ashley” – 3.5
2. “Clementine” – 3
3. “Graveyard” – 4
4. “You should be sad” – 3.5
5. “Forever (is a long time)” – 2.5
6. “Dominic’s Interlude” ft. Dominic Fike – 3
7. “I HATE EVERYBODY” – 3
8. “3am” – 3.5
9. “Without Me” – 3.5
10. “Finally // beautiful stranger” – 3
11. “Alanis’ Interlude” ft. Alanis Morissette – 3.5
12. “killing boys” – 3
13. “SUGA’s Interlude” ft. SUGA & BTS – 3
14. “More” – 3.5
15. “Still Learning” – 3
16. “929” – 4

Average rating: 3.28/5
Save Percentage: 94% (15/16)
Bangers: 2

Thoughts: I really like Halsey’s voice, but I’m not much of a pop critic, so it’s not like I really know what I’m talking about here. I like almost every song on this album, but it doesn’t reach a lot of really high points. “Graveyard” and “929” are my only true standout songs, but I do think the multiple shots she takes at G-Eazy are pretty fun. I give this a recommendation but there are definitely better recent pop albums (Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa).

Verdict: 6/10 (Recommended)

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi (January 2020, ??)
1. “Don’t Break The Silence” – 3
2. “Come Around” – 3
3. “Morrow” – 3.5
4. “The Pines” – 3.5
5. “Guilty Conscience” – 3.5
6. “Divorce” – 3
7. “It’s Forever” ft. The Ebonys – N/A
8. “Rocketship” – 3.5
9. “Microdosing” – 3
10. “Nice to Have” – 3.5
11. “Under the Moon” – 3.5
12. “Daydreamin” – 3
13. “Terminal B” – 3
14. “Flight319” – 3

Average rating: 3.23/5
Save Percentage: 100% (13/13)
Bangers: 0

Thoughts: I have no clue what kind of music this is. Apple has it listed as alternative and other places has it listed as hip-hop. It was released on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music record label, so there’s that. Hip-Hop Twitter seems to like this album a lot, but honestly, I don’t really get it. There are definitely some good tracks on here, but I count zero true bangers, and at least half an album of lukewarm music.

Verdict: 5/10 (Decent)

Lil Wayne – Funeral (January 2020, Rap)
1. “Funeral” – 3.5
2. “Mahogany” – 4
3. “Mama Mia” – 4

4. “I Do It” ft. Big Sean & Lil Baby – 3.5
5. “Dreams” – 3.5
6. “Stop Playin With Me” 3
7. “Clap For Em” – 3.5
8. “Bing James” ft. Jay Rock – 3.5
9. “Not Me” – 3.5
10. “Trust Nobody” ft. Adam Levine – 3.5
11. “Know You Know” ft. 2 Chainz – 2.5
12. “Wild Dogs” – 3
13. “Harden” – 3.5
14. “I Don’t Sleep” ft. Takeoff – 3.5
15. “Sights and Silencers” ft. The Dream – 4
16. “Ball Hard” ft. Lil Twist – 4
17. “Bastard (Satan’s Kid)” – 4

18. “Get Outta My Head” ft. XXXTENTACION – 1.5
19. “Piano Trap” – 4
20. “Line Em Up” – 3.5
21. “Darkside” – 3
22. “Never Mind” – 3
23. “T.O.” ft. O.T. Genasis – 3
24. “Wayne’s World” – 2.5

Average rating: 3.35/5
Save Percentage: 87.55 (21/24)
Bangers: 6

Thoughts: Lil Wayne is an all-time great and, like it or not, one of the most influential rappers ever. Who do you think inspired all these mumble rappers? I don’t group Wayne in with this new generation though and when I think about my ten favorite hip-hop artists ever, I often think about Lil Wayne for that #10 spot. That’s not set in stone for me yet, but he’s in contention. So the man is a legend… and some 22 years after I first heard him rap he’s still making music I want to listen to. Considering there are 24 songs on Funeral and I would only cut 2 or 3 of them, this is a really solid release. I prefer shorter albums and I can imagine a much stronger showing if he cut about 6-7 songs from this. I don’t think Funeral is better than any album in Tha Carter series, so this is middle of his catalog stuff. Wayne is still an elite rapper though and anything he touches is something you should be checking out.

Verdict: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Note: Now that I have this dialed in, it shouldn’t take me three months to write about the February 2020 releases. Expect that before the middle of May. *fingers crossed*

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March 2020 New Music

April 7, 2020

Notes: You’d think that being quarantined at home would mean listening to more music than ever, but it’s been quite the opposite. I do almost all my listening when I’m at the gym or at the casino and both of those places are closed down for the foreseeable future. I am playing some online poker, but I don’t find myself listening to music most of the time I’m doing that. The big releases for May were new albums from Jay Electronic & Jay-Z, The Weeknd, Lil Uzi Vert, and Childish Gambino.

* indicates second month on PRIORITY playlist

HEAVY ROTATION (heard whole album many times)

Brent Faiyaz – F**k the World
Eminem – Music To Be Murdered By
Griselda – WWCD
*Jay Electronica (and Jay-Z!) – A Written Testimony
Lana Del Ray – Norman F*****g Rockwell
Lil Wayne – Funeral
Mac Miller – Circles
Roddy Ricch – Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial
Royce da 5’9″ – The Allegory

STRONG ROTATION (listened to most of album 3-4 times)

Dreamville – Revenge of the Dreamers [Deluxe]
*Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake
Mick Jenkins – The Circus
*The Weeknd – After Hours

SOLID ROTATION (heard whole album at least twice)

A Boogie wit da Hoodie – Artist 2.0
Andrew Kelly – Annex
D Smoke – Black Habits
Halsey – Manic
Kota the Friend – Lyrics to Go, Vol. 1
YGTUT – I.O.U.

COURTESY ROTATION (heard whole album)

070 Shake – Modus Vivendi
Boldy James – The Price of Tea in China
*Childish Gambino – 3.15.20
Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED
*Grafh – Oracle 3
*G Herbo – PTSD
Green Day – Father of All…
*Jadakiss – Ignatius
*Jhene Aiko – Chilombo
K. Michelle – All Monsters Are Human
Kamaiyah – Got It Made
Lil Baby – My Turn
*Lil Uzi Vert – Eternal Atake [Deluxe]
Planet Asia & 38 Spesh – Trust the Chain
Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

SKIM ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

*DJ Kay Slay – Living Legend
*Don Toliver – Heaven Or Hell
Guapdad 4000 – Dior Deposits
*Megan Thee Stallion – Suga
Onyx – Lost Treasures
Pop Smoke – Meet the Woo 2
Tink – Hopeless Romantic
Twista – Lifetime EP

TOO NEW/NO LOVE (zero listens)

*Jessie Reyez – BEFORE LOVE CAME TO KILL US
*Joyner Lucas – ADHD
*PARTYNEXTDOOR – PARTYMOBILE
Young Nudy – Anyways

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

Jay Electronica (& Jay-Z)A Written Testimony – review in next post

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists

Grafh, “Guilty”
Jay Electronica ft. Jay-Z, “Shiny Suit Theory”
Jay Electronica ft. Jay-Z, “Ghost of Soulja Slim”
Lil Wayne, “Mahogany”
Lil Uzi Vert, “Prices”
Pop Smoke ft. Gunna, “Dior [Remix]”
The Weeknd, “Hardest To Love”

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Weekly Music Update – 11/29/2017

November 30, 2017

Since I celebrated Thanksgiving three different times last week, I never got around to posting my Weekly Music Update, so this post includes releases from the last two Fridays.

Also, aside from the one album I’ve been listening to heavily that I’ll mention below, most of my music listening lately has been in preparation for my next Rapper Profile (you can read past profiles for Biggie and DMX by clicking their names).

So who is my next profile going to be?

This guy:

That’s Eminem – in honor of his new album Revival which has been officially announced as coming out on December 15th.

New Releases

CyHi The PrynceNo Dope On Sundays (hip-hop/rap) – This album is fire. I made a preliminary Top 5 of 2017 list last night and this is a strong contender. Great lyrics, great beats… just great rap music.

Fabolous & JadakissFriday On Elm Street (hip-hop/rap) – Both these guys are rappers I’ve always thought of as overrated. I really like Jada’s verse on the opening track when he raps from the perspective of Jason Vorhees (I guess Fab missed the memo – his verse has almost nothing to do with Freddy Krueger), plus the beat is horror movie awesome. The rest of the album is the slightly above average material I’ve grown accustomed to from these guys.

Kodak BlackProject Baby 2: All Grown Up (hip-hop/rap) – Kodak had a release last year or earlier this year that I was expecting to hate, but actually kind of liked. I have given this zero listens so far though.

NasIn My Ghetto – EP (hip-hop/rap) – I’m not sure what this is supposed to be or who released it but more than half of these songs were on Lost Tapes, which was released 15 years ago. Nas fans would be better off adding that album to their collection, especially since the mixing on this is really subpar at times. This has already been deleted from my playlist.

Bob SegerI Knew You When (rock) – Another attempt at branching out with an artist I’ve never listened to. So far I’ve listened to zero songs. LOL.

Jaden SmithSYRE (hip-hop/rap) – I was going to skip this, but someone recommended it to me. I listened to the first several tracks and while the rapping is solid and the music is fine, I can’t say it really grabbed me. I have not revisited it again.

Talib KweliRadio Silence (hip-hop/rap) – There was a time in the early 2000s when I considered Talib a top 20 emcee. His star has faded quite a bit since then. I haven’t listened to this album yet and I was shocked when Talib spent the first weekend of its release arguing nonstop with poker players on Twitter. POKER PLAYERS. Not really sure how or why that happened, but I don’t get how someone that just released a new album could waste so much time and energy arguing and telling people to take showers on a social media app.

Other Notable Releases

BjorkUtopiar (electronic)

Lil Uzi VertLuv Is Rage 2 (hip-hop/rap) – Nope.

T-PainOblivion (hip-hop/rap)

Ratings

KamaiyahBefore I Wake (hip-hop/rap) – RECOMMENDED

Wu-TangThe Saga Continues (hip-hop/rap) – TOP NOTCH

Sam SmithThe Thrill of it All (pop) – RECOMMNENDED

JidennaBoomerang – EP (hip-hop/rap) – RECOMMENDED

LE$The Catalina Wine Mixer (hip-hop/rap) – RECOMMENDED

Brent FaiyazSonder Son (r&b/soul) – VERY GOOD

Dame D.O.L.L.A.CONFIRMED (hip-hop/rap) – RECOMMENDED

Other Recent Releases

Cam’ronThe Program (hip-hop/rap) – Haven’t listened yet… but I did hear Ma$e destroy Cam’ron last week.

KalelaTake Me Apart (R&B/soul) – Haven’t really listened to yet.

ELHAEAURA II (R&B/soul) – Haven’t listened at all.

dvsnMorning After (r&b/soul) – Pretty close to having a rating for this.

Big K.R.I.T.4eva Is a Mighty Long Time (hip-hop/rap) – Can’t really get into this.

YelawolfTrial By Fire (hip-hop/rap) – Close to having a rating for this also.

Best of 2017 Playlist Additions

“No Dope On Sundays” featuring Pusha T – CyHi The Prynce, No Dope On Sundays

“Murda” featuring Estelle – CyHi The Prynce, No Dope On Sundays

“Closer” – CyHi The Prynce, No Dope On Sundays