Thursday, June 24, 2010

128 Oz. of Haterade: The Rundown

While we work to bring you more interviews with up-and-coming musical talent, let's continue with the blog's mission of mo' music, mo' music. Here's a little bit of what's been blasting through the speakers lately:

The Strangerz, 2nd to None - The Long Island trio of Hus, Smoovth and Marvelous Mag put together a great, laidback album that captures some of the best elements of '90s underground hip-hop while keeping a modern, polished edge. It's almost reminiscent of neighborhood legends De La Soul, as the group gives streetwise takes on love, relationships and everyday living.

Akon, Stadium - Despite making a fantastic decision in signing Kardinal Offishall to Konvict Records, I have very little love for Akon. When he isn't busy Auto-Tuning himself into submission, he's partnering up with the techno flavor of the month, David Guetta, for some Night-at-the-Roxbury bulls&#^. There's literally one song on Stadium that I halfway enjoy, and it's mainly a guilty-pleasure thing, since it reminds of the slightly-corny R&B songs that were popular in the '90s.

Alborosie, Escape from Babylon - I'm not quite as up on modern Jamaican reggae as I would like, but I do know that there are precious few singers out there putting out classic rocksteady reggae. Alborosie, originally born in Sicily, Italy, is a very notable exception. I came across his Soul Pirate a couple years ago, and I've been a huge fan ever since, thanks to tracks like "Moonshine," "Police" and "Bad Mind." Escape is another heavy dose of roots-rock, politics (where he takes on not just American foreign policy, but also Italian President Silvio Berlusconi), and the ubiquitous ode to herbs.

The Roots, How I Got Over - My occasional difficulty with the Roots is that, in my opinion, Things Fall Apart was their best album, and I tend to compare a new Roots joint based on that. How I Got Over is very different, in tempo and tone, from some of Things' raw sounds, but it's also a laidback head-nodder. There are a few more guests than usual, but Black Thought still holds it down as one of hip-hop's premier lyricists.

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