Sunday, August 9, 2009

Werner's New Music Seminar 2009!

Werner presents his second annual New Music Seminar, where I round up some of my top recommended albums that I've been rocking this lately. I think I'm gonna make this a regular summer tradition - and if you missed last summer's, it's right here.

Blaq Poet - Tha Blaqprint
This is so obvious, I figured I oughta lead with it, just to get it out of the way. I've read the criticisms of this album, and don't really disagree: Premiere is feeling more and more like recycled formula lately; and Poet isn't exactly a mind expanding lyricist. But, still, two dope hip-hoppers came together to make a really good, consistent hip-hop album and they succeeded. Some tracks are high-energy Premo, and others are slower and darker, so it doesn't feel repetitive.

Neila - Better Late Than Never
"Late" is right! At least we had The Convenience Store to tide us over; because it has been far to long since we've had a Neila album. So now, this is not the EP with Vrse Murphy that was talked about some time ago (I guess that's scrapped? I just heard from Vrse; and it's still on! He's been away for a while; but he's back, working on it now); instead this album is produced in its entirety by a new guy named Avatar (except one song, which is co-produced by LifeRexall). But it's as dope as you'd expect from Neila... the album definitely isn't front-loaded with the best material; it gets better as you go on. And Avatar's beats sound more appropriate for when Neila sings (the occasional hook) rather than when raps (when it can get a little flat). But once it gets going, it takes off.

Pace Won - Presents Team Won
Last year Pace was in my NMS and he's back again this year. Every fresh MC should be this prolific. So, yeah, like the title suggests, this is kinda his "weed carriers" album; but fortunately Pace rocks the mic on every single song save one. His crew ain't bad either, the beats are a little more rugged than on his last album (not sure if that means they're better or not - you'll have to call that one yourselves), and there're guest appearances by El da Sensai and fellow former Outsida, DU. Not his masterpiece; but fans won't be disappointed.

Bike for Three - More Heart Than Brains
I have to admit I wasn't too keen on this album before I heard it. This was definitely a low priority pick-up - Buck 65, who I'm a definite fan but who has a poor track record when it comes to collaborating with other producers (Situation, anyone?), links up with some lady from Belgium who calls herself Greetings From Tuskan? Oh, and their lead "single" (in quotes 'cause it was just put an advance mp3; there's no actual single for it) was a remake of MC Shan's "MC Space" that - guess what? - was not good as the original and offered nothing new. I was prepared to go in with the lowest expectations and still have them crushed and come out annoyed. But no! This is one of those instances where it's better not to listen to reason! It turns out this is a seriously good, surprisingly consistent (except for "MC Space;" but at least it's tolerable album filler) album. Really.

Busdriver - Jhelli Beam
Man, BusDriver really kills it on this one. He can rap (both in terms of delivery and content) like almost no one can; and he's got the production (mostly by his usual cohorts, including himself) to back it up on this album. Every once in a while, a beat will pop up that's a little too "experimental;" but most of the time it's a killer combination. Maybe at times it feels like he's trying a little too hard to be clever? But, really; I'm reaching to find a criticism; because it's just hot.

Chubb Rock & Wordsmith - Bridging the Gap
Finally, I was hoping to end with this album; but it didn't come out. I had this pre-ordered from ughh, and they eventually canceled it saying they don't know if or when it's coming. If you've been following me on Twitter, though; you'll know I looked into this and finally got some answers. According to Wordsmith, the distributors screwed up the date and he's now expecting this to drop on September 1st. Well, we'll see. I hope so.


  1. I don't think that project with vrse is scrapped. He was just out in the bay like two weeks ago on a drunken lark. I sent him a link to this post, let's see what he says.

  2. theres a webrib around, possibly the cd got cancelled altogher

  3. Avatar been around for quite some time now. So call him a new guy is not really fair.