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Mallz feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

Hey folks, been a while since I’ve posted. Well, I’ve been working on a few things and just all around swamped with other projects. Anyway, a friend of mine sent me a few tracks from North Carolina rapper Mallz. “North Carolina?” Okay, before y’all start making Petey Pablo jokes don’t forget about J. Cole, Phonte and 9th Wonder is a professor at NCCU and Duke.


Mallz is a North Carolina based rapper who’s shared stages with Lord Jamar, Nappy Roots and has gained praised from vet emcee Bumpy Knuckles. With roots in battle rap, he’s honed his sights on ripping bars instead of other emcees. He’s an intelligent take on the working class emcee and voice of frustration for other artists on their grind.

The Horns

“The Horns” is pretty much a narrative of an indie artist/Working man’s struggles and tribulations over a bongo and horn driven track. Kind of like modern beat poetry. The track vents the frustrations of every artist who’s looking to make a living off their craft.
Keep Calm and Dub Rockery
This is a good example of lyrical bravado that kind of reminds me of “Touch the Sky” production wise. Dub Rockery is the one that stuck out to me. It’s 1.50 of to the chase lyricism that captures your attention and sets the tone of his style. Kind of like how a wrestler cuts a promo before a big match.

That’s How it Is

Another example of lyrical bravado but plays more of a theme of proving a case that rap has more to offer than most mainstream rap fare and that substance still exists.

Overall this is definitely for the 9th Wonder kind of crowd. Whenever you get sick of the monotony of modern day rap…this is a good reminder that there’s still substance there.

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Kanye West-Black Skinhead review by John M. Ellison IV

Hey folks! Want hear the result of a Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails bender written by an egomaniac? Me too!
At first listen to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” I kept waiting to hear Dave Gahan go “REACH OUT AND TOUCH FAITH!” At first listen, “Black Skinhead” felt like a sideways remake of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” With I guess for lack of better word “Industrial-tinges?” The first thing I cringed about was the song’s title. I’m like “Black Skinhead? If anything it should’ve been called “Black Rivet Head.” Trust me, anybody that knows their proverbial shit about rap or industrial should know that this isn’t anything new at all. Off of the top of my head, I can think of previous industrial/hip-hop incarnations that include Marilyn Manson’s The Way I Am (Danny Lohner mix), Puff Daddy’s Victory (Nine Inch Nails mix) Saul Williams “The Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust”, Tackhead, Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and pretty much everything the Bomb Squad produced for Public Enemy.

Depeche Mode-Personal Jesus

Actually, the more I listen to “Personal Jesus” and “Black Skinhead” back to back…it became more apparent that it’s pretty much a lift concept-wise. The difference between the two is that Kanye includes references to interracial relationships and the movie based off the graphic novel “300″ to allude to sexual prowess. For that, the song goes into a self-centered direction in comparison to the Depeche Mode song “Personal Jesus” which was more or less about being somebody’s personal savior. This incarnation of Kanye is kind of like a smoothed out/materialstic version of Saul Williams…even though some would call Saul materialistic for licensing out his song “List of Demands” to Nike. I’m not really surprised that Kanye West would go in a heavier direction. This is the same dude that sample Daft Punk’s Harder, Better, Faster Stronger…which Daft Punk actually sampled “Cola Bottle Baby” by Edwin Birdsong.

In conclusion, it took a second to grow on me but I’m feeling Kanye West’s “Black Rivet–Uh Skinhead.”

Oh yeah, for anybody calling what Kanye West does “white boy music” Martin Gore of Depeche Mode is half black…so yeah.

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Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne…”Shit and Vomit” Have Never Tasted Better! by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

About a year ago, I said something to the effect of “Wow, Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne talk about mixing shit and vomit.” Y’know, in comparison to most of the stuff out that’s considered “rock” nowadays…I’d prefer the “shit and vomit” cocktail than some pretentious jerk that looks like Fred Armison but without the comedic timing. “Ready to Go” is the collabo between Lil Wayne and Limp Bizkit that had some people on edge of the potential suckage…or apathetic towards the collabo altogether. It’s a throwback to *gasp* down tuned, agro Nu-Metal that everybody loved to hate to feel smarter than they actually were. But, nu-metal was a fairly easy target to accost. Hating Nu-Metal was like the audio equivalent of hanging around your heavier friends so you feel slimmer. At first listen, what caught my attention of the track wasn’t the riff itself but the combination of the heavy riffage and drumming from Wes Borland and John Otto respectively. Wes Borland’s guitar work takes me back to being 16 again with my Ibanez Gio GRX-40 and Sam Rivers holds the groove down well with a tastefully distorted bassline. This also features decent production work from rap/r&b producer Polow da Don. I’m familiar with Polo’s work with Usher, Rich Boy, Ludacris, Jamie Foxx and others. With a list like this, I didn’t know he had it in him and I’m pleasantly surprised.

Fred Durst well sounds like “Fred Durst.” To be honest, Fred Durst didn’t exactly get “murked” by Lil Wayne’s verse but I’d say he got slapped in the back of the head in comparison to previous rap collabos. Bottom line is that Durst held his own.

Lil Wayne’s verse wasn’t bad either. It almost makes you forget about that Emmitt Till reference he made. Actually, this makes up for Rebirth.
In closing, this makes me want to break out my old ECW tapes…not DVDs actual VHS tapes, cuss like a sailor and become a teenager again.

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McNastee-Runaway Train of Thought review by John M Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

Hey folks, I know I’ve been kind of dodgy on posting on my site. I’ve been busy with my band Jenny Hates Techno and other projects. Anyway, I just got rapper McNastee’s new album “Runaway Train of Thought.” You probably remember McNastee working with Never So Deep records off of Donnie Darko “Loser Pt. 6.” Actually I remember when he was featured on Well, McNastee has a new release off of Never So Deep Records. With production from DJ Bless, you have six songs that focus on post-hardcore samples and hard rock sample. On “Runaway Train of Mind” McNastee lyrically focuses on more introspective themes to more universal themes such as isolation and loneliness.

Highlights include

Not Your Fault

This track kicks off the album with a post-hardcore sample laced track that supports McNastee’s lyrical lament about his climb back up from the bottom.

Xanax Dreams
Y’know, any song that kicks off with a Danzig reference automatically captures my attention.

Band of Brothers
This is a song about loyalty, betrayal and gaining trust.

In closing, if you’re into underground rap, post-hardcore then you would probably enjoy “Runaway Train of Thought.”

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Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne Walk into a Studio…No, I’m Serious by John M. Ellison IV

On Februrary 24th 2012, DeWayne Carter better known Lil Wayne signed rap rock group Limp Bizkit to Cash Money Records. A “collabo” track between Limp Bizkit and Lil Wayne titled “Ready to Go” is set to be released next week. Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was great…but so was America Online. I don’t hate Limp Bizkit, in fact I’m still fond of their albums “Chocolate Starfish and Hot Dog Flavored Water”, “Three Dollar Bill, Y’all” and “Significant Other” was cool too. In fact, I respect how Fred Durst supported file sharing program Napster when the music industry was against file sharing.

This all started earlier on 3/1/2012 where I tweeted out “Limp Bizkit with Lil Wayne…talk about mixing “shit” and “vomit.” The response was varied, from “Say what you mean” to people agreeing with me. To clarify, I also stated “Don’t get me wrong, Limp Bizkit was cool…until you discovered Bio-Hazard, Orange 9mm etc.”

Honestly, my inner 16 year old is hoping that this will be something great. But I can think of five good reasons why it shouldn’t be done.

Those reasons being…

“Red Light Green Light” feat. Snoop Dogg

Turn Me Loose feat. Eminem

Rollin (Urban Assault Vehicle remix) feat. Method Man, Redman, DMX and Swizz Beatz on production.

Getcha Groove On Feat. Xzibit

N 2 Gether Now feat. Method Man

Lil Wayne…where do I start with the only dude off of Cash Money that actually made something of himself? Okay, it’s a known fact that Wayne’sa Nirvana fan…well he likes that song Smells Like Teen Spirit…well he liked the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” That’s all well and good but Jason Aldean admitted to liking some Snoop Dogg growing up, that doesn’t exactly make him a hip-hopper.

With proclaiming his fondness for Nirvana for the sake of rocker credibility, notice that Lil Wayne has rapped over rock tinged or rock tracks in the past.

Knockout feat. Nicki Minaj.

Prom Queen

Best Rapper Alive

I’m Not a Human Being

In closing, maybe both acts can have enough chemistry to create something that I and others would find noteworthy…but it’s up for you to decide.

photo courtesy of Prefix magazine

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Sutter Kain, Naymez and Donnie Darko-Traitors feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

The Never So Deep crew of Sutter Kain, Donnie Darko and now New Jersey rapper Naymez comes to the listener full throttle with the song “Traitors.” Well, the song title is self-explanatory. It’s pretty much a warning track with the theme of calling out chicanery.

In this case, it’s more of a traditional hip-hop sound production wise.

New Jersey rapper Naymez opens the track with an impressive verse although there’s some word play, it’s very to the point.

Darko’s verse doesn’t disappoint lyrically. Interesting enough, I noticed the use of less metaphors in his verse. For him, it’s a change of pace.

Sutter Kain takes it home with an infuriated, raspy delivery. Kain’s usually passionate, but this is a side I haven’t heard from him in a minute.

Overall, I feel that it’s a solid effort from Sutter Kain, Naymez and Donnie Darko. If you enjoy Sutter Kain’s more hip-hop based production rather than his hardcore/metal productions. I recommend this for you.

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Darko-The Darko Effect video

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

review coming soon.

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Sutter Kain & Darko-UFO Transmissions video review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

On December 11th, 2011 BlankTV uploaded Sutter Kain and Darko’s video for “UFO Transmissions.”
Aside from music, one of Sutter Kain’s other avenues of interest include film. So, it’s not surprising that Kain directs his own videos. In this case, the video consists of black and white shots of a long winding road with Darko rapping and Sutter Kain on the chorus, the red splashes gives the video a more sinister feel.

Production wise, it‘s a fusion of emotionally charged rapping—well more like “emotional recitation” and Donnie Darko over chugging, down tuned guitars. In this case DJ Bless’s aggressive chanting compliments Darko’s venting. After repeated listens, I noticed that”U.F.O Transmissions” is kind of reminiscent of another rap song with an intergalactic theme…Kanye West’s waltz timed “Spaceship.” I mean, aside from concept of space travel, the similar theme of both songs is hoping for a better present than the one that they’re experiencing at the time being. In closing, I feel that DJ Bless use of djent (…metalcore maybe) band “I The Breather” compliments the delivery of Darko’s delivery.

In closing, for a no frills video that compliments the song and sets a mood, Check out “UFO Transmissions”

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The Memorials-We Go to War video feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

Hey folks I know I haven’t updated much as of late. I’m not going to divulge in details at the moment but I’ll explain more over time. Anyway, my bandmate Danielle got me into this band called “The Memorials.” I was familiar with them before but didn’t sit down and really listen though until the first initial band practice and she had some songs by them on her phone. What I heard was amazing and even said “I don’t consider them rock though…they’re too damn good to be considered rock!” I want to do a full fledged article on them when I get the chance and when things settle down on my end. Until then, check out “We Go to War” featuring a cameo by Kreyshawn.

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Sketch Malkus-The Jester

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

On November 19th, 2011, I released “The Jester” album that I’ve been promoting for half a year.  Honestly, this album was made after a long writer’s block and a few things that I was going through.  Around that same time, I drowned my sorrows in bands and artists such as Kyuss, Biohazard, Prong, Helmet, Fugazi, early Nirvana, Big Black, Bad Brains, Electric Wizard, The Meters, Flipper, Alice in Chains and Hank III.  I recorded the album on a Tascam 4-track for that lo-fi feel.

In this case, I feel like I grew from the “Urbandustrial” sound of the “Treacherous Cretins” album and wanted to delve into more melodic ideas but still have the songs be heavy.

The underlying theme of the album is some days you might feel like a joke…other days you get the last laugh.


Check out my music page

Sketch Malkus on Reverbnation
Sketch Malkus on Bandcamp
The Jester on Amazon

The Jester on Hulkshare
Check out my previous release Treacherous Cretins on Hulkshare

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