Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Common - Nobody's Smiling TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW

I knew you thought I was done with this shit, but nahhh b, I still gonna be droppin reviews like once every “whenever the fuck I feel like”… or thereabout. Anyways let’s do this COMMON – NOBODY’S SMILING TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW.

1.       The Neighbourhood (ft. Lil Herb & Cocaine 80’s)
This track was a perfect intro track to the album. Lil Herb and Com were spitting vivid lyrics detailing “tales” of just the general scenes of the average Chicago neighbourhood and how they saw it from their eyes. Really smooth beat too by super producer No ID. No ID Produced the ENITIRE album FYI so when I mention beats, just bare that in mind. He flipped a sample of a Curtis Mayfield track called “the Other Side Of Town” so subtly, way really great shit from No ID. Lil Herb blew me away with is aggressive delivery and lyrics, and his story telling was on point. Great album opener!
PS. He does this interlude at the end of a Chicago news reporter giving minor reports on the raio, sort of highlighting the theme of giving you a journey through Chicago which is essentially what the album is about. This was repeated on a number of tracks throughout the record, interesting concept.

2.       No Fear
Continuing with the story-telling theme, Common details the mind set of someone (presumably his younger-self in Chicago), speaking about how he has no fear about anything he faces and talks about how he really approaches some of the ills of his past and current life, and advises that you should to. There is a sample flip here on the beat too, but I wasn’t able to track the credits… so fuck that, it was a great beat that’s all you really need to know anyways.

3.       Diamonds (ft. Big Sean)
This is the second single from the album… but ubnfortunately, sighhhh. BIG FUCKIN SEAN, why Lord why? Sean is crooning on the chorus like a frog my g. It’s terrible. Common flow and lyrics are stellar as usual though. On the bridge between Com’s first verse and second Sean absolutely FUCKS the track all the way UP with a horrid Migos flow and lyrics like a pre-schooler, yo this track apart from Com’s flow is real ASS my nigga, I don’t fuck wit it!

4.       Blak Magik (ft. Jhene Aiko)
At first I thought this was trash, to be honest. But bruh after the third listen, this shit blew me away. Common’s lyrics and flow are wayyy to on point to ignored yo. The beat is what turned me off initially, but it grew on me. Whatever lyrics are looping that is driving the beat is kina annoying at first, but once you get accustomed to it, you gonna love this track. Jhene Aiko was perfect as fuckin usual, her voice is so soothing and infectious, it kina gets my dick hard  :/ but anyway…

5.       Speak My Piece
THIS THAT CLASSIC CHI TOWN GOD LEVEL COMMON!!! This track is perfect hip-hop, the Biggie sample from Hypnotize… yooo, No ID cooked up some cocaine here. Common came so correct with his lyrics too, phenomenal track. It has no real theme just one of them raptiy rap tracks, showcasing flow and lyrical ability, so fucking raw. I FUCK WITH THIS HARD.

6.       Hustle Harder (ft. Snoh Alegra & Dreezy)
Yo this track’s theme was actually refreshing. Common put together a not really explored concept by a male rapper, detailing a female that hustles harder than most males. He really went in lyrically with the concept depicting her lifestyle so vividly. Fellow Chicago rapper, Dreezy came SUPERRRR HARDDD WAT THE FUCK. I have no idea who she is but I back tracked her entire catalogue after this verse of flames! This track was that classic, male female hip hop duo, Great stuff.

7.       Nobody’s Smiling (ft. Malik Yusef)
This is easily my favortie song and in my opinion the best song on the album. Off the bat, the beat is so fucking dark and hard… JEEZUUS. No ID made this in some kina underground MMA training facility with no ventilation or light, barely had oxygen down there or sumn yo, fuck. Common’s lyrics were 10/10 again and flow so slick too. He raps about basically that nobody is smiling in Chicago, and shit is real out there. Really embodies what the album is about essentially, clearly it’s the title track of the record. MALIK YUSEF my worddd, closes the track with a fantastic Haiku, some dense metaphors about Chicago street life, absolutely perfect… He been doing that tho. He signed to good music and he’s just a poet, so his is THAT GOOD, check him out he did a similar haiku on the track Sin City on the Cruel Summer compilation.

8.       Real (ft. Elijah Blake)
This track is clearly for the ladies, and man Common really executes it so smoothly. Basically detailing what a “real” nigga is and the he essentially is a real nigga. Elijah Blake’s voice definitely gonna get dem female panties all moist n what not. But back to the raps, I really love Common’s flown he rides the beat so perfectly, and comes with raw lyrics that makes this fee like a throwback from the “Like Water For Chocolate” era of Com sense. This track should be a single, with accompanying visuals, really top notch stuff.

9.       Kingdom (ft. Vince Staples)
LET ME GET TO THIS BEAT THO!!! Kingdom contains a sample from "O Yes My Lord" by Voices Of Conquest & "Is There Any Love" by Trevor Dandy, and it absolutely take the track to a heights I never imagined. Can somebody give No ID a fucking Grammy? This really just a story detailing a man  struggle on the streets of Chicago trying to make to, and make a better Chicago hopefully getting to what he deems the “kingdom”. He simultaneously compares this kingdom to getting into heaven and contrasting street life to what it takes to get there. Really deep stuff. Vince Staples is lowkey one of my favourite rappers right now, and yo he SHINES ALL OVER THIS TRACK. His flow was fucking GODLIKE, better than Common’s and that is saying a lot. The lyrics fit the theme perfectly, I’ll go as far as saying he outshone Com here yo. But the beat and uplifting feel of this track couple with Com’s raspy voice was something straight from a movie, fucking theatrical shit, 11/10!!!

10.   Rewind That
This track was Common detailing his come up as a rapper. Common’s lyrics are so vivid and powerful, it’s almost unfair. The first time I heard this I saw a movie in my head of exactly what I was hearing. The first verse was an ode to No ID(his cousin and first producer as a rapper) and twilight tone his manager. The second verse details Common’s days working with the late great J. Dilla, as a rapper and producer duo. He even compared them to rap super duo Gangstar. Essentially this track is Common rewinding time and reliving everything that helped him make it as a rapper in the early days, really emotionally powerful stuff. The track ends with a sample of an interview of Common talking about J. Dilla and J. Dilla talking about what Common’s music is to him. It was a perfect album closer.

11.   Out on Bond (ft. Vince Staples)
Superb beat and flow by both rappers. Again Vince outshined Common, fantastic track prolly top 6 on the record on a whole.

12.   7 Deadly Sins
This track should have been on the original!!!! The lyrics on this track are so fucking relatable it’s almost as if Common wrote this for us al. He details and applies the seven deadly sins from the bible to real life, in this case street life. It was done so well yo, really one of the best lyrical Common tracks in years.

13.   Young hearts Run Free(ft. Cocaine 80’s)
Really smooth track, good as a bonus cut really, no need for this to be on the dark, raw overall.  Feel on the original tracklist. Cocaine 80’s really adds this vintage blues feel to records that I super appreciate, really nice stuff.

Finally thoughts:
Clocking in at 41 minutes, this album is short and oh so sweet. This album is the new stamp for Chicago, a new feel to Common’s music. Common is a very clear, exciting lyricist. Exciting in that he sounds so fucking raw, and good over a beat… and he paints these perfect pictures to get the emotional intangible aspect of the track to the listener perfectly. This album was really refreshing, one of my favorites of the entire year so far, second prolly to Ab-Soul’s these Days maybe. I thoroughly enjoyed this album, bar that Big Sean track which sucked global dick.

I recommend this to ANYONE, this is WILD FIRE!

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Stay tuned for more reviews and anything HipHop!

Peace bruh!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014



After much absence... Hiphop-made reviews is back in FULL EFFECT! Tell your mother and her friends!
Look out for Classics Weeks in 2 weeks and more reviews on a regular basis.
Formalities out of the way, let’s dissect this Schoolboy Q  #OXYMORON. Preferred not to do a track by track for this one, you’ll understand why at the end.

The album starts off with a classic intro for the hiphop books as Schoolboy’s daughter goes, “Fuck rap, my daddy a gangster!” I mean, come on... we need not discuss how hard that first track “Gangster” is. The beat on this track starts of on a hype that lasts for the first four tracks and sets the mood for Q’s story. Los Awesome, featuring Jay Rock has a really infectious beat produced Pharell Williams, the imperial Skateboard P! Aka King of Music(right now). This track just goes into some of the general day to day activities of Schoolboy and his friends, and is very different from what we’re accustomed to from him. “What They Want” was another BANGER. The track features 2Chainz and has a stellar trap beat to accompany the braggadocious lyrics from Q and 2. “Hoover Street” is one of those tracks that really details Q’s past and what was happening during his pre-rap days. Along with “Groveline Street Pt. 2”, “Break The Bank” and “His and Her Friend”, this backdrop to Q’s mentality and why he is who is today is well painted. The singles from the album are all well crafted songs and have such a unique “schoolboy” feel to them. “Hell of a Night”, “Collard Greens”, “Break The Bank” and “Man Of the Year” serve to highlight the new schoolboy Q, the one who utilized this “Oxymoron” to make it and provide for his daughter. The oxymoron basically is Q’s doing bad to do good, in a nutshell. From selling drugs before rapping, to doing drugs while rapping all culminating in making money to support his daughter. His most introspective moment on this album come at track seven (7), though not one of my favourites “Prescription/Oxymoron” is the pandora’s box(if you will) of what this album stands for. The voals from his daughter on the track serve to invoke an emotion that really makes you understand schoolboy’s story. Following that track with “the Purge” ft. Tyler The Creator and Kurupt was damn near perfect. It also introduced you to the portion of the album that transitions from old schoolboy to new schoolboy. Though some key tracks didn’t make the record, analyzing it really makes you grasp what schoolboy wanted listeners to feel and understand. The track “Blind Threats” was in my opinion the best track on the album. Aside from the fact that rap legend Raekwon is featured on it, the lyrics are so real it’s almost scary. The track battles with religion and that fact that though schoolboy believes in God, sometimes he doesn’t get the answers that he wants from God and in turn, turns to his “gun” which is like a symbol for the gangster life to help him in life. He puts his faith in his tech and the drugs etc.. He highlights the “blind threats” that religion gives us to keep us from sinning but acknowledges that he has to commits these sins in order to make it in life. The closer to the album was perfect. Much like Kendrick’s  “Compton” track on GKMC, Fuck La is schoolboy’s ode to his city, but more in a braggadious way stating that all that he is, is what LA is, basically that the streets made him, and he is the streets.

#OXYMORON was the perfect title for this album. Schoolboy Q put his life on wax and painted a picture for us, though majority of us won’t be able to directly relate to it, especially not as much as Habits and Contradictions. We probably didn’t live the same life as Q, but his story and struggles are so real that what we can take from it are invaluable life lessons. The songwriting skills and productions on this record was top notch. Q was never known for lyrics, but he indeed turned it up a notch on this record. Fantastic debut album indeed!

My rating 8.75-9/10


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Stay tuned for more reviews and anything HipHop!
Peace bruv!

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Hey wassup followers of my blog. I been away for a while but truthfully those who know me just know i been too busy to really put time behind some of these reviews, but I still always been listenin to the music tho... so my tweets like mini reviews themselves. But again I apologise, hopefully 2014 is way more productive HipHopmade wise. Much love still though, the blog lives one.

THAT BEING SAID, I couldn’t close 2014 without givin yall my end of year lists. Yea PLURAL, “LISTS”

  • Impact
  • Potential Longevity
  • Song Writing Skills
  • Overall Song Quality

  • Impact
  • Concept
  • Potential Longevity
  • Production
  • Skippable Tracks (skipability)
  • Overall Album Quality

So, without further adieu...


15. Tom Ford – Jay Z
14. Started From The Bottom – Drake
13. Fuckin Problems – A$AP Rocky ft. Drake and Kendrick Lamar
12. Rap God – Eminem
11. Numbers On The Board – Pusha T
10. Bad – Wale ft. Tiara Thomas
9.  Picasso Baby – Jay Z
8. New Slaves – Kanye West
7. Work(remix) – A$AP Ferg ft. French Montana, Schoolboy Q, Trinidad Jame$ and A$AP Rocky
6. Bound 2 – Kanye West ft Charlie Wilson
5. Bands A Make Her Dance – Juicy J
4. Shabba Ranks – A$AP Ferg ft. A$AP Rocky
3. U.O.E.N.O. – Rocko ft. Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa and Future
2. Nosetalgia – Pusha T ft. Kendrick Lamar
1. Power Trip – J. Cole ft. Miguel


15. Born Sinner – J. Cole
14. Nothing Was The Same – Drake
13. Wolf – Tyler The Creator
12. Innanetaape – Vic Mensa
11. Gifted – Wale
10. Peep: The a PROcalypse – Pro Era
9. Doris – Earl Sweatshirt
8. Long.Live.A$AP – A$AP Rocky
7. Magna Carta Holy Grail – Jay Z
6. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 – Eminem
5. Run The Jewels  EP – Run The Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P)
4. Acid Rap – Chance The Rapper
3. My Name Is My Name – Pusha T
2. Because The Internet – Childish Gambino
1. Yeezus – Kanye West

10. Beautiful – Mariah Carey ft. Miguel
9. Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Bahdu
8. Life Round Here – James Blake ft. Chance The Rapper
7. Bed Peace – Jhene Aiko ft. Childish Gambino
6. Lose Yourself To Dance – Pharell Williams ft. Daft Punk
5. Get Lucky – Pharell Willams ft. Daft Punk
4. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke ft. Pharell Williams
3. Happy – Pharell Williams
2. Royal – Lorde
1. All Of Me – John Legend


5. Beyonce – Beyonce
4. Overgrown – James Blake
3. Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
2.  Sail Out EP – Jhene Aiko
1. Love In The Future – John Legend


10. Jhene Aiko
9. Pusha T
8. Justin Timberlake
7. Robin Thicke
6. Kendrick Lamar
5. Eminem
4. Drake
3. Jay Z
2. Kanye West
1. Pharell Williams




Sunday, September 29, 2013

Drake - Nothing Was The Same Track-by-Track ALBUM REVIEW

Living up to hype is second in difficulty only to surviving in the shadow of your hype. Aubrey "Drake" Graham is the master of creating a brilliant spotlight in the shadows of his hype. It is no question that Drake's best work came prior to his extremely over-the-top wave of fame, on efforts that a mixtape classic So Far Gone and Comeback Season. Drake lyrics were sharper, topics were on point delivery was less corny, his character was solid and captivated listeners with a taste of something different to come... he was like Le Bron in high school. Drake's first solo effort,  Thank Me Later showed that Drake could find the balance between creative identity and commercialism. The album was very "safe" boasting a catalog of radio hits, which did wonderss for his fame and success, but little for his status as a great emcee/rapper. Take Care saw drake bellow into his emotions, which is fine for any artist, but again it must be done properly, which in my  opinion it wasn't. Drake uses his fame to say things in a way that an average male would never, and get away with it. As a result though, his fans label his music as soft (rightfully so) but don't care, and still stand by Drake as being a phenomenal artist. On this, his third major label effort, Nothing Was The Same, Drake takes us on a journey. Was it a good memorable one? that remains to be explored in this track by track review. So Leggo!

1. Tuscan Leather
Typical, but good start to a Drake album. I respect Drake for being able to clearly vent emotions in the simplest was while still sounding fresh. The vybe of this intro though is no different from Over My Dead Body or Fireworks, so Drake didn't step out of the box, good track, my only beef was it was too long.

2. Furthest Thing
This track seems to be a fan favourite(not sure why). Drake really stepped up his hook game with this one though. Probably the best hook on the album apart from Started From The Bottom. The beat is nothing we haven't heard before, but it's still cool. Decent track, with some cool lyrics, again introspective for the most part.

3. Started From The Bottom
Even though it was the lead single for the album, it still is one of the strongest tracks on the album, in my opinion. I think there is nothing better than when music continuously sounds better the longer it is out, and this song benefits from that blessing A LOT. It really is a breath of fresh air in the grand scheme of this album. The beat has vybze, and the "semi" raw delivery from Drake is cool, as he didn't come across fake or corny. Solid trackkk.

4. Wu Tang Forever
EASILY THE BEST SONG ON THE ALBUM, in my opinion. Drake takes the same sample from the Wu Tang track, "it's yours" (which actually was a sampled track itself) and uses that reason I believe to name the song Wu Tang Forever.... not really sure why but you know.... word. I really love his flow and emotional delivery, reminded me of something from So far Gone. Super Solid track from Drake, a much needed reminder for me, of what i use to like about Aubrey. (pause)

5. Own It
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... Drake went all the way left on this track. The lyrics on this song is all types of mushy/homo. Sounds like something Elton John would tell Tyler Perry at a picnic. SMH I'm sorry I cannot get behind this song in the least. Think about this, if i made a great "sounding" song rapping or singing about raping babies and worshiping demons, would you like it? FUCK NO! Same reason I don't fuck with this lame track in the least.

6. Worst Behavior
Again a breath of fresh air from the soft Aubrey we have grown to know. If Drake had not repeated the same line 200 times this song would be VERY good, for now it's just cool. The beat is really fresh, produced but some random guy names DJ Dahi. Quality stuff. It has potential to be a hit, but that repeated line... it really was a little too much. Good stuff though Aubs.

7. From Time (ft. Jhene Aiko)
One of the reasons why albums or music stand out to people is because while listening to it, a lot of the songs resonate with you, and invoke certain emotions that make you remember them. this song lacks that intangible aspect a lot. I honestly, in general conversation cannot remember what it was about or how it song entirely. It just drifts from my memory, it was one of the more boring tracks on the album. However, Drakes flow was really good and Jhene Aiko's vocals were fantastic as well. My other gripe is the fact that Drake is kind of repeating topics a bit. It's nothing new from Drake, not that the topic is bad, it is just yet another introspective track, but it could have been done from a different perspective unno. But Drake sounds good rapping like this, and that is what drives the song to not being a bad track. This is Drake's niche. Some okay story telling abilities shown here as well.

8. Hold On We're Going Home
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ... Here we go again. I do not think Drake can sing. i'm sorry. Neither do i think his song writing ability for RnB is all that great as well. The beat for this track is fresh though. An ode to that late 80's MJ era. This is like a slowed down Thriller throwaway beat. I could here Prince doing something on a beat like this. The sample or the person at the end was the best part for me. I like how that sounded a lot, i even just skip to that part sometimes LOL. Drake struggles to bring the song to life in my opinion. He however succeeded at this on Take Care(the song with Rihanna on his last album) so it is not like he is incapable of doing it, but it's just that it is not natural hearing him try to. That is strange considering how soft he is but... word, unno... Cool radio song i guess, but I didn't think it was good.

9. Connect
A boring RnB attempt in my opinion and again on a recycled topic. The rap at the end was mediocre. Not a good look for Drake right here... but hey, i wasn't suprised. The Beat sounded like a throwaway The Weekend beat.

10. The Language
The hook for this song was cool. The flow on the verses was terrible tho. Mirror image flow of Versace and that track was terrible so... not much of an upgrade. The beat had a good baseline but that was all, it feels empty and lackluster. Track was mediocre at best.

11. 305 To My City
Suprisingly, I fuck with this track a lot!!! It starts of soo hard woth the recurring sample going "drop down... drop drop down.." It was mad freshhh. The beat is a bangerrrr, when the baseline comes in better crank up that volume and feel it blow out your ear drums b. Fuckin phenomenal. The are nothing special but still a great song. Topic wise he basically is tlakin to/about a girl who is a stripper and in his eyes is winning. Nuthin new from "save them hoes" Drizzy. BUT, i dig it.

12. Too Much
Aubrey opens up with some emotional and personal verses about his family life, which apparently invoked negative responses from his mother and aunt n shit. That's some real shit, so i respect it. It reminds me a lott of the track Look What You've Done off Take Care. Drake flow is tight here and lyrics are on point, really good song, a standout track.

13. Pound Cake (ft. Jay Z)/Paris Morton Music 2
Pounds Cake was supposed to be on MCHG so basically that shit is a Hov track, hence the stellar beat and great flow/delivery. This is easily the best beat on the album. I cannot rate this in a Drake light as he only had one verse, which was average at best. Hov ran away with the spotlight on this one. Great song but not in the scheme of Drake's work, im sorry. Paris Morton Music 1 was awayyy better, Drake didn't seem to but the same effort into his lyrics as the first part, but it was kina aite still. Not a good way to end the album though, but say what. The double offerring on track 13 was cool. Thank You Hov.

14. Come Thru
I didn't really dig this track, typical soft radio Drizzy. I honestly don't know why so many people love it. It was just average to me. I didn't like how it "sounded" so... that really didn't aid. It whatever to me... really forgettable.

15. All Me (ft. 2 Chainz and Big Sean)
BIG SEAN KILLLEDDDD ITTTT!!! Easily my favourite song on the album. Chainz it killin tracks these days too, so don't sleep on his verse. This track is maddd vybze. Beat is great, great hook from verse and a decent verse too. Nuthin bad i can say about this. Props Aubrey!!!

IN A NUTSHELL.... I think this album lacks staying power. This is Drake's least memorable album of the three. For the most part is feels kina empty/boring. To many of the tracks have the same vibe. It reminds me a lot of a Weekend album. Some bright spots here and there i must admit. I revisit particular songs ever so often. I think Drake is capable of delivering a GREAT album. He is yet to do that, in my opinion. But according to him he makes all his music exactly how he wants it to sound, so this is just what we are going to get from Drake. When Drake is ready he can SPITTT, but he sacrifices that a lot on his recent work for some other work, sooo... i ain't really feeling new Drizzy. My twitter followers know how i feel bout that moist, light-skinned, hoe saving, wanna be singer. But it's all love still.

My Rating

follow me on twitter @jellzman