Dec 13, 2018

Watch: Big Baaa - @MarcusAriah

It's throwback thursday right? That's my excuse for being late but y'all don't have to be. I'm just going to say this: I'm trying to have a cameo in the next Marcus Ariah video because this one is too tough.

Marcus brought out all the bells and whistles for his new single Big Baaa. This is the first offering from the Newark native since his last project Making a Man.Once upon a time I said songwriting comes easy for Ariah. This holds true after listening to this song. Leer Jets, palm trees, and warmer weather lace the setting in this video. A bad jawn sold separately. Check out the Big Baaa video after the break.

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Dec 11, 2018

Ransom Report V: Championships - @MeekMill The Good, the Bad, & the Peanut Butter & Jelly Bulls**t

Warning: This article includes vulgarity or graphic content.

Ransom Report Volume V: Meek Mill’s Championships 

The Good, the Bad, & the Peanut Butter & Jelly Bulls**t

Hello again haters and congratulators. I’m right back like I left the stove on. This is a BIG one, Meek Mill’s Championships. I’m unveiling a new format for this one. I’ll be telling you what I like, didn’t like and thought was BS about every album I review. I’ll do track by track reviews occasionally. This was mostly for all you remedial English class motherf*****s out there. All those that looked shook like you were gonna get picked for the hunger games when the teacher was picking people to read aloud in class. Yeah all you out there, I shortened the format for y’all. No need to thank me, I know you’re all thankful. That being said here we go, the Dr. is IN.

Full disclosure: I didn’t start out a Meek fan:quite the opposite. I thought his first album was basura. I had to be persuaded over the years by my man @carretta24 among others, until finally after hearing Dream Chasers 4 and then Wins & Losses. I actually gave the latter, Album of the Year on the A-side B-side Podcast Pilot episode and music wrap up for last year. Now, onto Championships.

The Good: 
 

Coming off the 2017 album of the year (Wins and Losses), the bar was higher than it ever has been for Meek. Especially since he spent some hard time in the bing, I was really looking forward to seeing how that would change him. The answer: it made him appreciate and celebrate. It taught him to be more thoughtful and introspective. These are all new facets of his song-making ability. Any-motherf*****g-way, there’s a lot good on Championships; his songwriting improved from his time in the can (that’s what they call jail on the sopranos, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing again so pardon me paisans). He didn’t come out super vengeful like 'Pac did after he did his time.

Here, we find Meek taking stock of his life and state of his career. He's very clever with a flip of Biggie's timeless What’s Beef on What’s Free featuring an OUTSTANDING verse by Joe Camel himself Jay Hova, and an equally garbage juice verse by Ro$$ aka Officer Ricky (how the mighty have fallen. He used to be my favorite artist at one point). The title track or the soul-baring Cold Hearted 2 (make sure you stay for the end of that song)” and the standout “Oodles O Noodles Babies (prolly one of his deepest songs ever period). Meek really grew on this album, in every category. From the beats standpoint, you could make the case Meek has the best ear for beats in the game today. The samples are FLAWLESSLY done. I respect him flipping Lonnie Smith's Garden of Peace made famous by Dead Presidents (C'mon son, s**t was brilliant). I could go on, but you get the picture. Ross used to have the golden ear for beats, now Meek has it. Feature wise I wasn’t mad: Ross and Jay on what’s free and Ella Mai on 24/7 which flipped my favorite BeyoncĂ© song, Me myself and I were both fire. Bardi showed up flexing fluently on “On Me” and even Aubrey the lovable Houston/Jamaican/Memphis/Dominican/Oakland Thug showed up on the not-trash-but-not-great “going bad”. All in all the tracklist was star studded and each guy/girl showed up and showed out.


The Bad:


To be honest there’s not much bad here. Some of the features weren’t great (Future, Young Thug with Meek on a track should’ve been a sure thing, but instead Splash Warning is probably one of the two pure duds on the album. That's sad because I really f**ks with both Future and Thug, but the track was extra regular to me. Also, the song Almost Slipped was kinda wack too. If it’s one thing Meek isn’t great at, its making girl songs. What’s worse is he usually puts more than a couple of em on each album. Unfortunately he had that 24/7 song with Ella Mae on there, or maybe it was just me loving the sample (who the f**k knows). Dangerous, which he as the lead single, is on here too. I didn’t hate it but the broads were quoting it on their IG’s all summer so I guess it was a hit. Also a couple of songs toward the end were filler to me, but I didn’t all the way hate them.

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Bulls**t: 

 
Again, not much here other than Ross giving 0 effort on the What’s Free. Like seriously big homie? You knew Jay was gonna be on the track, and you didn’t make a better verse than that?! What in the actual f**k Ross. Your verse on there didn’t even fit the song and it was trash on top of that. You should’ve hired the same n***a that writes for Aubrey next time man. Get you some better material. Also like I said that Future song was wack too. It makes me nervous because it’s been awhile since we’ve gotten some fire from him. You better be making DS3, and it better be hot because you’ve been dropping the ball all over the place recently my man. Also, let’s be honest this album was great but that cover??! Cmon Meek, it looks like someone in your team made that back in like 06 and you found it and use it. That album cover was ALL BAD. Plus the only n***as that can ice out their album covers are the Cash Money n***as. All of those covers were FUEGO back in the day, and if don’t think so you’re a lame.

There you have it, Meek comes off of the worse stretch of his life, when the chips were all the way down, and the pressure couldn’t be greater and turns in his best work yet. Congrats Meek, you walked thought the fire with gasoline timbs on and came out the other side. Philly stand up, Eagles fans sit all the way the F**K DOWN. Modern day classic rap album in my opinion. I never thought I’d see the day I’d say that about a Meek album.

Album grade: 8.5/10 Philly Cheesesteaks from Geno’s

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Dec 10, 2018

Watch: Drunk - @Cadillacrah

One on One Records own, Cadillac Rah is back and better than ever with a brand new single, DRUNK.

The United Masters distributed track takes us on a day in the life of Rah. After the master the sound is interesting. Hi-pass filters and pitch correction sounds dope on this song. I'm sure this song will ring in the strip clubs and lounges for the Brooklyn Native. Cadillac Rah has a lot in the tuck but for now check out the video after the break.

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Nov 30, 2018

Ransom Report IV: Diplomatic Ties (words by Charles Ransom Polk)

Put your 3D glasses on player haters, because another Ransom Review is coming straight at you. This is a VERY special one for me. For the select few who truly know me know that I have roots going back to Harlem over 20 years. I remember copping the first dipset mixtapes from the African gentleman out front of Mony (All my real fashionable people and real New Yorkers/Harlemites will know about this) on 125th street in the early 00's. I've always been a Harlem half n*gga at heart. It's just something about the music, fashion, swagger, and food of that area that I always identified with. With that being said, you can't love Harlem and not love Dipset. Matter fact, you can't be a respectable music fan and not like Dipset. Matter fact, if you don't like dipsett stop reading this, this aint for yall. And while you’re at it do seven shots of bleach and take a long walk off a short bridge. You won’t be missed, believe that. The last time we got a Dips album was '05 (Sheesh). Since then they’ve gone through more drama than the Kardashians and all the Love & Hip-Hop b*tches combined. We’ve had a few reunion false starts, so when they said new music was coming on Thanksgiving, I didn’t hold my breath. But sho nuff it arrived like a miracle. A Diplomats EP after 14 years?? Much has changed since their incredible run (they’re the second greatest group in rap all time after the Wu, and that’s a scientific fact) but no one stays on top forever. Father Time is undefeated. Do the Dips still got it? Lets begin, the Doctor is in. Time to take your medicine haters.

(PS I love the Dipset but I gotta be real that album cover was questionable as all hell-and the broad that’s walking around with that on her chest is shot all the way the f**k out.)

Intro: Stay Down (feat Trav): Off the bat you knew the Heatmakerz was gonna be all over this s**t. They go together like Trump and bulls**t. Inseparable. As soon as the sample kicked on I was like 'ahhh s**t this is what we’ve been waiting on.' All three of them get busy on the track, Juelz killed it though. Makes me think of what could’ve been had he put out more albums. One of the biggest musical what-ifs of all time. I LOVED Cam's verse. He b*tch slapped Kanye (aka the white man in black skin aka the dumbest smart person you’ll ever hear aka he only sounds smart to dumb motherf*ckers). FACTS. I love how he tried to backslide recently saying he’s not trying to talk politics anymore. Na man, you crossed the line, now stay the f*ck over there p*ssy. If you still support Kanye and you’re black I'm ashamed of you and you should be ashamed of yourself. Anyf*ckin' way the intro was PURE fuego, beats and verses.

Dipset Forever: Gahdamn the Heatmakerz MURKED this beat too. First time I heard this beat I made the same face you make when you smell those collard greens from thanksgiving a week later. This beat MEAN. All three guys sounded real good, I really liked Cam' s verse, he shouted out Charly Rambo the wave God himself. Can’t wait till Max B comes home. This song was fire as well, so far there’s no cobwebs or rust. This song is on repeat, and I loved Freaky Zeeky on the outro he’s always comedy. How many people remember him in the Hey Ma video? Classic

On God (feat Belly): When I saw that Murda Beatz made this s**t I was anxious to hear it. It’s one thing for the Dips to murk Heatmakerz tracks, but it’s another thing entirely to rap over modern day production. Thankfully this song didn’t disappoint. I like Jimmy on this beat the most even though Juelz and Cam both had bars on here. I think it’s because Jim has been the most active member of the Diplomats in the last 10 years, and it shows. He’s the most at home on modern day production. My mans Belly was a real nice touch on the hook. This song bumps play this on good speakers.


Sauce Boyz: More Heatmakerz, never ever a bad thing. When I heard this song about a week before the album dropped, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. My man Juelz killed this song though, yo Juelz fix your teeth man! If you haven’t seen my man's grill do your googles, I don't know wtf is going on there. Cam was killing this verse as well. I think this was his best verse so far except for the first song; however so far this was the weakest of the heatmakerz' productions on the album. It's a solid song, but not great.

Dipset/Lox (feat The LOX): I know y’all hear Cam talking his s**t on the intro, Cam is the greatest trash talker of all time in rap after Diddy (matter fact it might be a tie). I loved this song, and I think the sequencing was key here. Cam/Jada (the main guys), Juelz/Styles P (the lyrical beasts), Jim/Sheik (the tough guys) it was perfect and the beat was fire (I did my homework, Cool and Dre did the beat). I played the hell out of this song.

Uptown: Now here comes the first chink in the armor. This song is ehhhh. I really wasn’t feeling it, and the hook was annoying as f**k. The beat was meh and the verses were kinda lazy. They were on a serious roll for the first 5 songs and then they hit a major speed bump here. Don’t get my wrong it’s not a terrible song, but it’s not nearly as good as the other songs. I’ll still replay this s**t though it’s starting to grow on me.

No Sleep (feat Tory Lanez): Bro, Tory Lanez used to be one of my fav artists but he’s gotten ESPECIALLY WHACK as time as gone on. Did any of y’all listen to his last album? Unless you’re a complete bozo you thought the album was mucho basura. His last album was ABSOLUTELY NOT worth a Ransom Review. He’s completely garbage now, which is sad because he had a lot of promise, and I bought into him once I heard that song Real Addresses. Anyway that being said besides him this song isn’t terrible it’s got a bop and for a party/strip club song it’s got potential. I could see broads twerking to this, and I’m not mad at it.

By Any Means: This song grew on me. I really liked this beat and all three of the dips did their thing. There’s really not much for me to say here. It was a decent song not a great song, but it was decent which I’ll take as a W for the Dips in 2018

Outro Un Casa: Ok now when I first read the tracklist I immediately saw this and I gave the people’s eyebrow like the Rock. Now y’all may or may not remember Un Casa. He was on the unforgettable intro to Diplomatic Immunity (Kanye produced the track-Little known fact) and he had a top 10 hottest dipset song of all time: Purple City Byrd Gang. Still to this day that beat is FUEGO and Jimmy dancing in the rain with a purple umbrella and casa rapping next to a purple piano in the midst of the projects is CLASSIC. But that was all over a decade ago. I didn’t want nor NEED Un Casa in 2018. Like my brother in law said to me, they threw him a MAJOR bone on this one. Because no one but his moms is looking for Un Casa in 2018. He probably took weeks to write his bars and they were still trash and super tired. I would’ve loved to hear JR Writer or even Hell Rell on there. I can understand they tired to recreate what they did on their first album but they failed miserably. And plus you guys only gave us 9 songs after all this time and one of the songs was wasted on UN KASA? Cmon son, that song left me with a bad taste in my mouth (no homo, word to Cam’ron). It was a major misstep to end the EP.

So after 14 years we got 9 (really 8) original songs with Cam Jim and Juelz, with freaky talking s**t here and there. I’ll keep it short and sweet, and I'M NOT talking like an “Old Head”, I already told you haters what you can do with those “old head” remarks. To be honest, I was feeling the album. It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad at all. I was expecting a lot more rust than I heard and a lot less chemistry than I heard. I’m glad they made an EP and not a full album. The brevity definitely helped. I don't know what would’ve happened if they made a full length album. OF COURSE it’s not hotter than Diplmatic Immunity 1&2, but it wasn’t ever going to be. The real bottom line is this: After all these years I expected a little more, but after all these years what I did I REALLY expect? On Thanksgiving I was thankful for what I got from the Harlem Trio. Dipset now and forever.

Album grade: 6.8/10 Pink Range Rovers

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Nov 26, 2018

@HERMusicx's I Used to Know Her Tour: Brooklyn Steel (a recap by @RamseySaidWHAT)

An eventful Thanksgiving weekend might have cost my car a smooth 300 miles but it was totally worth it.

Where most of you got to spend time in the living room in the living room eating soul food with your families, I got to do that AND MORE. After catching Ja Rule in Atlantic City and Creed II (soundtrack and score is fire by the way) in theaters. I got to make up a birthday present for Shorty last year. I secured H.E.R. tickets for her Brooklyn stop of the I Used to Know Her Tour. I'll put you in the room as best as possible.

I'll start with a story. The reason this is a make up present is because a year before we arrived late and missed half of H.E.R's set on Bryson Tiller's Tour at Radio City. H.E.R was the reason we were going in the first place and I dropped the ball. You know I was punctual this time around. We arrived in time for sets from DJ Aktive, Jersey's own Tone Stith, and Philly native, Bri Steves. All of them are crazy talented with beautiful voices. Tone can dial up a fallsetto on cue whenever he feels like it with ridiculous control. Bri Steves is a fun performer and has a versatile voice gritty enough for rap and sultry enough for the blues. The mix of her crossover skill and her personality makes her pleasantly sexy. She's funny and treats the crowd like she's having a one on one conversation, but with music.

The lights go down and DJ Scratch asks a question that everyone in the crowd answered in a lie.

"ARE YOU READY FOR HHHHHHEEEEERRRRRR?!???!?!?!?!"

There is no way in heaven or hell we could have prepared for the experience that preceded us. Before the lighting man crescendos strobes down to the stage and crowd, guitar arpeggios brightly round to the tune of Carried Away. Her very animated backup singers greet the crowd and the band grows louder. The lights go down again and in enters a spotlight follows the big hair figure we have all memorized in our heads. H.E.R enters stage right and begins serenading the sold out Brooklyn Steel. Before the song ends she makes her way through a bunch of instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, and then a pair of drum sticks. She doesn't stop playing at the end of songs. She plays the percussion to the next song while the melody rings from the last. When the Carried Away ends the drum set player carries on the boom bap that HER began. She chucks deuces into the air and the band begins playing 2. It all sounds like one long song and I think it's wonderful. One of the best that does it next to George Clinton.

Finally the song ends and she introduces herself before the next track. She goes through Vol. 2 and her prelude EPs before taking us back to Vol. 1's classics. I should have been prepared to go to my second service of the day because it was church in that ballroom. Best Part may be a song of this generation one day. Live is just as good as the studio version. I think everyone held their breath thinking Daniel Caesar would come on stage but they played the first few words of his verse before her male backup showed out for the ladies in the crowd. If you never experienced love before listen to this song and catch it live if you can because WOW. Her crowd participation is dope, and you should have seen what it looked like when everyone held their phone up during her performance of Lights On.

I swear no one in this crowd missed a lyric throughout this whole show. Like her music, we went on a roller coaster journey of love, longing, vulnerability and more during this set. I think one of the biggest moments came during her performance of Could've Been. It starts the way her live one does on her Up Next Session with Apple Music. DJ Scratch mixes that perfectly with verse two on the EP. Before you can think about it the crowd goes wild and Bryson Tiller joins her on stage. The two croon to each other with mere feet between them. I won't be cliche and say they are dating but one begs to question. Tiller then performs Exchange and exits but not before praising his former tour-mate. The icing on the cake was her performing Make it Rain with her acoustic. I told you earlier it was church and when she ended a few Hallelujahs blared out and someone even fainted not far from us. Turns out it was a dude. Humbly she threw her water bottle into the crowd to help the man in need. She jokes about how she felt like Michael Jackson because that never happened to her before.

I must say that I'm glad I got to smell the flowers early. I may have been one of the first on the HER wagon when Vol. 1 first dropped. It's not about who heard it first because music is meant to be shared. I'm not sure anyone saw H.E.R. topping the resurgence of R&B and becoming as big as she is. Brooklyn Steel may be as intimate of a show as you'll see H.E.R. from now on. I enjoy my R&B on a small scale. Coffee House Jazz feel. Where she doesn't have a large catalogue of music yet, she very well become a megastar. Small stages and standing room only ballrooms are going to become theaters, festivals, and stadiums. They already are as I type. The now Brooklyn native, is huge and I'm thankful that I got to see it from the beginning. I fear (but in a good way, I think) that I'll never get to experience her any more personal than I had November 25th. There's no other way to say it but it was beautiful. Her voice is so raw. Her backup is just as talented. She's such a musician and her riffs and runs give you goosebumps. You can literally feel the hair standing up your spine. You need to see her as soon as you can before you gotta break the bank. That day is coming, soon. This is probably one of the best live shows I've ever seen since covering music and that's real.

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