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Heavy D & the Boyz-Don’t Curse review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

Off of the Peaceful Journey album released in 1991, “Don’t Curse” by Heavy D & the Boyz is an all star cipher track that features influential rappers such as Kool G. Rap, Grand Puba, C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock and Q-Tip in a clever concept that plays with using foul language but in actuality doesn’t.

In the early 90’s, the climate for rap was a fairly tense one because of over sensitive parent groups, vote grubbing politicians looking for red herrings and an ignorant to hip-hop culture public who weren’t familiar with rap as a whole felt that the genre was trash and foul because of the content of certain artists. With that being said a song such as “Don’t Curse” proves that foul language wasn’t a necessity to get your point across lyrically.

Produced by Pete Rock, this is a track with a 12-bar song structure and contains sample of “Hip Hug-Her” by Booker T & the M.G.’s. Interesting enough, the 12 bar song structure is often found in blues and considered an anomaly in rap. To those who are more accustomed to the common structure of 16 bar verse and 8 bar chorus this might be strange to you. With 12 bars each from Heavy D, Kool G Rap, Grand Puba, C.L. Smooth, Big Daddy Kane, Pete Rock and Q-Tip, they say more than most rappers who have 16 bars out now.

Most of the current rappers who are worth their salt can easily trace back their lineage to any of the MC’s on this track. To compare and hint who had the best verse on here would be futile and aside from the point. The track has proven itself and this should be a mandatory for young rappers to study and improve upon the blueprint.

In closing, young rappers don’t take the trails blazed for granted and keep the legacy of all the fallen rappers that came before you alive in your music.

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Sutter Kain-Where I Belong review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

When it comes down to it, every super villain is a bitter superhero. Whether it’s Dr. Doom’s animosity stemming from being scarred after a chemical miscalculation, Magneto seeing the bigotry and hatred of humans against mutants or…well, nobody knows what happened to the Joker. In this case, you have the super villain of ghetto metal, Sutter Kain. From the violent ranting of “Black Nazi”, “Cannibal Ferox” and “Slaughterhouse”, you can say that Kain’s powers include intense production and strong lyrics. In this case, “Where I Belong” highlights the more wounded side of Sutter Kain and making for an interesting story arc.

As with the previous song L.O.V.E. (Life’s Obsessive Violent Emotions) and “Loser 1-9″, “Where I Belong” has Sutter Kain explaining how he copes by immersing himself into his career to numb the pain and to avoid lamenting. Donnie Darko’s verse plays on a similar theme as Kain’s verse but in Darko’s case he uses gangsta analogies to cover up the rejection he’s experienced.

Although at first listen, the verses are a contrast to each other. But after repeated listens, both share a common thread of inner turmoil. The gruffer vocals of Sutter Kain are a counterbalance to the agitated tone of Donnie Darko. Kind of like a distant cousin of the screaming/clean vocal of post-hardcore. That shouldn’t be a surprise because “ghetto metal” is rooted in post-hardcore and metalcore. Production wise, DJ Bless’s use of “Untitled” by “Eyes Set to Kill” sets the mood for “Where I Belong.” DJ Bless’s heavy drums and signature shuffle coupled with the dulcet acoustic guitar and female vocal complement each other.

In closing, “Where I Belong” is a development that documents Sutter Kain’s evolution from super villain to lovelorn anti-hero.

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Daniel Jordan-The Stranger review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  2 Comments

Whenever you get something from Daniel Jordan, as cliché as this might sound always expect the unexpected. Esham protégé Daniel Jordan’s new album “The Stranger” is a concept album that paints a portrait of the struggles of dealing with past unresolved issues, suicidal thoughts, depression. Even though a very personal album, a lot people can relate to the emotion behind it. Sound-wise, the album has elements of punk, jazz, blues. It also contains movie samples and G.G. Allin vocal samples. Seriously, how many rappers do you know that sample or at least even heard of G.G. Allin? Except for Cee-Lo, he posted a reference to Allin on his Twitter page.

Although a very good album, I’m going to focus on the tracks that really stood out to me. I wouldn’t mind doing a detailed interview about this album with Daniel Jordan.

The Illuminati Wants me Dead

At first glance at the song title you would expect that it’s a paranoid rant about hip-hop’s new obsession…secret societies! Where it’s not really about the secret society per se, it’s more about breaking through delusions and facing reality. It also features production by Esham.

I Hate Drug Dealers

This track features Jordan’s punk side. You have Daniel Jordan rapping over a punk rock influenced track about the perils of prescription drugs.

The Stranger

An electro bass, Middle Eastern tinged track that’s accompanied by a collage of film samples that imitates racing thoughts. The lyrics paint the picture of him as an assassin killing his family.

No Friends

The theme of Isolation plays throughout the song, even though it’s more related to the music industry mantra “its called show business not show friends.” It’s also kind of a warning to artists to not get caught up in music industry politics.

Pride is Stronger than Love

A song that’s subject matter is about dealing with a crazy girlfriend and the struggles that come along with it…complimented with a sample of a sermon from Bishop T.D. Jakes. Seriously, where else can you find an album with vocal samples from Bishop T.D. Jakes and G.G. Allin?

In closing, if you’re into albums that play more like a movie then “The Stranger” would be considered an indie classic. Keep an eye out November 1st 2011 for “The Stranger”

Check it out on

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Hank Williams III-Ghost to a Ghost/Guttertown album review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  1 Comment

On January 1st 2011 Hank Williams III was released Curb Records. His time on Curb was a frustrating one and closer to a prison sentence than a record deal. After his release, he started his own label called “Hank3 Records.” On September 6th, 2011 Hank Williams III released four albums. One being a traditional double country album with a zydeco/Cajun disc, one in a genre he calls cattlecore and a doom metal album. In this case, I’m going to focus on his two disc country album Ghost of a Ghost/Guttertown.

Riding the Wave

This is a banjo, fiddle, guitar and accordion driven song with lyrics that paint a picture of a crew of rowdy outcasts.

Don’t Ya Wanna

There’s not really a way to sugar coat it, it’s pretty much a song about trying to get laid. The language of “Don’t Ya Wanna” might be offensive to more traditional country fans who abhor swearing but it shouldn’t offend anyone that has a copy of the “18 X-Rated Hits” album by David Allan Coe.

The Devil’s Movin’ In

It isn’t a country album without at least one heartfelt, melancholy tune about a lost love.

Cunt of a Bitch

This is a hard driving outlaw tale that involves stolen cocaine that would probably offend more prudish listeners. If Hank III was a rapper, he’d be considered gangsta.

Ghost to a Ghost

With an all star cast of Tom Waits, Les Claypool, Alan King, Dave Sherman and Troy Medlin. “Ghost to a Ghost” is a song that shifts from traditional tango to a double kick hard driving tango from Hell. Aside from what I could call “demonic tango”, the dual gravel vocals from Dave Sherman of metal bands such as Wretched and Earthride to Tom Waits really caught my interest. If you ever wondered what Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead would sound like if he did Tango…this could be the closest example.

Guttertown disc

This is the second disc that’s rooted more in zydeco. Hank Williams III is singing in a Cajun patois as homage to the people of Louisiana and Cajun music.

Fadin’ Moon

A Cajun duet with Hank Williams III and Tom Waits that will make you pine for New Orleans…even if you’ve never been.

With the Ship

A sparse almost a capella number with Hank Williams III and Les Claypool that kind of sounds like a barbarian war song.

In closing, if you’re a fan of pop driven southern minivan music style of modern country, you would enjoy hate this. But, if you’re looking to get more into outlaw and more traditional country, this should be of interest to you.

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Creature-Chester Himes EP review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

I got this album by rapper Creature a few weeks ago. The album is named after crime novelist “Chester Himes.” Since I haven’t read anything by Himes, I’m not exactly sure of the correlation.
Not to label Creature’s style, but I would describe it as abstract rap. If you’re confused by the term or concept of abstract rap, think Kool Keith, MF Doom or now Shabazz Palaces. Could you imagine all of them on tour together? That would be awesome.

Here are the tracks that really caught my attention.

Embrace the Day

This is more or less freeform rhyming around the concept of taking chances and well…embracing the day.

Frying in the Sun

The concept to me is kind of vague, but from what I picked up it’s a freeform rhymes relaying around the theme of contradiction. The beginning is reminiscent of Devo’s cover of the Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” with an electronic 8-bit-ish production.

Afraid to Fly

This features Creature’s ability to speed rap over an electronic beat that sounds like an acid trip with old school Atari blips and beeps during the hallucination.

In closing, “Chester Himes” is an EP that’s ahead of its time and if you’re interested in something outside of the traditional rap mainstays, this could be of interest to you.

download here

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Sutter Kain-L.O.V.E. review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

From the rapper who brought you “Slaughterhouse”, “Cannibal Ferox” and “Kain Made Me Do It” I bring to you “Sutter Kain L.O.V.E. (Life Obsessive Violent Emotions).” Instead of the expected blood splattered nightmares of previous titles, Sutter Kain shows an emotional yet still infuriated side over being heartbroken. Instead of the usual sampling of the endless array of “suffix-core” subgenres he samples “I Remember” by singer/songwriter Damien Rice.

Kain’s usage of Rice’s “I Remember” sets the tone for a heart-felt break up letter over what some would consider an unlikely sample. But, judging from his past productions an unorthodox sample should be expected. “L.O.V.E. (Life’s Obsessive Violent Emotions) compliments the meaning of the Damien Rice. What I’m fascinated by is how he pasted a song that has a 3/4 waltz beat over a 4/4 beat.

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Bernhoft-Cmon Talk feature by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

On 10/9/2011, I got a link from fellow writer/wrestling fan Darryl Jackson that was a video of a guy with an acoustic guitar and a loop machine. Since Darryl and I have similar if not identical taste in music, I trusted his judgment. I’m glad that I did too. When I first saw the name Berhoft and he was from Norway, I thought “Bernhoft? Did Darryl send me a video of some dude about to sing acoustic black metal or something?” Well, instead of doing music about the blackest part of your soul, he just has “soul.” Jarle Bernhoft is a Norwegian singer/songwriter whose use of acoustic guitar and smooth vocal is a surprise to say the least.

To others that know music, it probably shouldn’t be that big of a surprise. Europe actually has a history of appreciation and love of R&B, blues and soul music. Don’t believe me? Look up the Northern Soul sound of the U.K.

Honestly, Bernhoft’s setup isn’t exactly innovative to me, I remember seeing comedian Kyle Dunnigan use a loop machine but in Dunnigan’s case, it was more in the vein of a novelty though. Also, to say that K.T. Tunstall’s use of a loop machine on “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” was notable would be an understatement. But, it’s not always the tools; it’s the ability of the artist. In this case, Bernhoft definitely has that.

Photo courtesy

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Zainichi Funk-Scratch review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

Konichiwa folks! As I was checking out my timeline on Twitter I got a link from wrestler/friend to the site, MVP to a funk band out of Japan! Yes, I said Japan. Honestly, I’m not surprised that Japan would have a funk scene though. I remember finding a YouTube video of this group called “the Low Lows” covering Stax duo Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man” and another deep funk band called “Timos” back in ‘07.

Is there anything the Japanese can’t do? I mean whether it’s animation, wrestling or …*ahem* other forms of entertainment…they seem to surpass us! I’m not mad though. I’m excited.

Kenta Hamano (Vo & Leader),
Keita Murakami (Ba),
Akira Ohgi eon (Gr),
Makoto Nagata, T. (Ds),
Yoshihiro rear seat (Sax),
Forest Kubota (Tb),
based on Murakami (Tp)

“Scratch” is a deep bass grooved, brass heavy, scratchy guitar throwback to the 60’s Stax sound but at a faster pace that although has contemporary edge it doesn’t stray too far from its American predecessors. After repeated listens, I noticed that they kind of reminded me of No Wave band James Chance and the Contortions.

In closing, if you’re a fan of bands like The Heavy, James Chance and the Contortions and Fitz and the Tantrums, you would probably enjoy Zainichi Funk.

Official label site
photo courtesy of Last.Fm

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Muthawit “Wasted (Fill my House with Salt)” video review by John M. Ellison IV

By GPR84  //  Music, Videos  //  No Comments

You ever see a video really late at night that has a song so out of your realm of possibility that you thought you dreamt it? Well, this is one of those moments. Let me explain, I can’t remember how old I was exactly but I woke up out of a deep slumber and somehow I stumbled onto MTV2. The video for “Epic” by Faith No More was on. After watching it, I fell asleep without realizing it. For two weeks, I thought I dreamt the surreal mix of rap, pseudo-neo classical guitar and Bjork’s goldfish. After watching the video for Muthawit’s “Wasted (Fill my House with Salt)” I got the exact same feeling I did then.

The video is kind reminiscent of Jamiroquai’s Virtual Insanity video…well minus the part where the whole room being moved. I admit that I’m a sucker for videos that add concert footage. Bighead Scientists directed the video, I’m not exactly sure who “Bighead Scientists” are but they did a good job.

Musically, how can I describe “Wasted (Fill My House with Salt)?” A maniacal mix of saxophone, horn hits, distorted bass, swinging drums, subtle string, flanged out guitar and this shift from jazz to blues vocals or in other words UrbAlt.

In closing, if you’re a sucker for videos that have a direct to the point concept and interweaved with live footage, you’ll enjoy the video for “Wasted (Fill My House with Salt).”

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Black Angel Down-Wind video

By GPR84  //  Music  //  No Comments

review coming soon…

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