Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Riddlebox", Insane Clown Posse album review

     "I certainly hope you're enjoying yourselves here at our three ring exhibit, but to be honest, I really don't see what's so fucking funny about it - these fucking people are real!"
     Hello ninjas! What the fuck is up? I'll tell you what's up; shitty, motherfucking, incessant snow. That's what up. What else is up? "Riddlebox", by Insane Clown Posse, that's also what's up. There's a bit of a correlation between them two; snow causing me to stay inside and listen to "Riddlebox". Enough about that, however, let's jump right into it, shall we?
     Riddlebox is one of Insane Clown Posse's earlier albums, and is the third Joker's Card in the original deck of six. Riddlebox itself was released in 1995 nearly two decades ago, after the Ringmaster, and before The Great Milenko. It was re-released in 2008 in vinyl double LP format (don't ask me what that means) and has seen a few different pressings since its 1995 debut. It's even said to spawned Insane Clown Posse's fandom, the Juggalos. There's quite a bit of history behind this CD, but that isn't really the point of this review, so I'll leave you to your devices if you want to read more about that. As a final note, I'm pretty positive I have the 2008 press, so that's the one I'll be speaking on. There are some minor differences to be noted among the other presses, but I won't be speaking on them.

     The front of this cover features the Riddlebox, which you can see in more detail below. On the back of the cover you got track listing (Which doesn't include the intro; helpful to know that when you're scanning the CD and the track list comes out fucky) and a picture of old-school Shags and J. The CD's got the Riddlebox character fit to it, and looks nice and glossy. The cover doubles as booklet, and has another old school Shags and J picture on it. Inside the booklet there's a shit-ton of shout-outs to mad people, and on the right side there's credits for the production on the album. Instructions on how to join the "ICP fan-club" and a candid illustrative allusion to the next three Joker's cards. There's also a picture of the Riddlebox character on the back of the unfolded booklet that details what it is exactly that the Riddlebox is, and what it will do upon opening.

     Riddlebox remains to be one of the favorites among Juggalos, and that's for a reason. ICP nails down their goofy, yet still relatable lyrics down with consistent production and entertaining skits. For being only their fourth album, Riddlebox was able to define what the wicked clowns are all about: the fun, the murder, and the reality of the world filtered through a fine lens of insanity. It outlined what made them unique, and that, combined with consistent production from Mike E. Clark, is what made this CD so special that it is still revered today.
     My bet is that if you're a Juggalo, you've already listened to this CD, or at least heard of it. If you're not sure about copping it, just listen to Headless Boogie or Dead Body Man. You'll hear that crazy, goofy and excitable carny vibe that makes Insane Clown Posse unique. This album hits hard, to the point where I'd definitely list it as one of their best CDs.
     This album is absolutely exemplary, maybe even quintessential. In other words, it's really fucking good. Mike E. Clark did an incredible job producing this album, and combined with the talent of ICP, this disc is far from stale. Even if it isn't your cup of tea, you should be able to find something to appreciate amid the silly carny theme and impressive production.
 If you're a Juggalo, you will love this CD. You can find it pretty cheap too, especially online.

Final Grade: JRH gives "Riddlebox" by Insane Clown Posse a...5/5!!!!
*Thunderous clapping*
*I wrestled with this for a while...Even with my marginal complaints, it was just so hard to give this album anything but a perfect score. It seemed wrong to give such an amazing album anything but an absolutely perfect score...First album on JRH to get a perfect score! Congrats to "Riddlebox"!

Weak Points:
- The album is a little slow to pick up at first
- The intro track isn't listed on the track listing of the case, which can get confusing when scanning them onto a PC

Strong Points:
- Excellent producing by Mike E. Clark
- Entertaining skits add to the grim humor of the CD
- ICP's zany and goofy style remains relatable is many ways
- Fresh-ass graphics
- Mike does a great job creating the slapstick carny theme on the CD, adding on to the craziness present in the lyricism

*Don't forget to drop by the page!

Dope-ass album cover!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Cryptic Collection 1", Twiztid album review

     Here it is, ninjas! The long anticipated second album review, right here, right now! This time we'll be reviewing "Cryptic Collection 1" by Twiztid.
The original release date of this CD is in late 2000. It's been re-issued as well, for whatever reason. The only difference between the original and the re-issue as far as I know is that they have different album covers (I will post both below so that you can see the difference, personally I like the original better). I have the reissued version, so that is the one I will be speaking on.
     This album is a part of the Cryptic Collection, a series of albums Twiztid has been putting out that are re-released and re-engineered or remixed "rare" tracks that are usually from past entries or projects throughout their career. If the idea of buying anything that has already been released makes you turn your nose up in the air, don't fret, because there's also the addition of unreleased tracks to add something new to the disc. It's kind of like the Forgotten Freshness series by ICP, but you know, for Twiztid.

     Paul and Jamie on the cover, throwing signs. A strange cave bat on the back with the group name and album title. CD cover doubles as a booklet; it's got Jamie and Paul on the back, with Paul smoking. The booklet mostly contains information about the history of each track, which is dope because a lot of the information is genuinely interesting. Halfway through you get Madrox and Mono staring at you, with what looks like Mostasteless-era makeup sheening on their beautiful faces. At the back is an ad for the other CCs, which probably only exists because this is the later pressing that came out way after the original one. On the CD art you got Paul and Jamie again, same as the cover but fit to a disc. Nothing in the CD rest.

     If you like Twiztid, you will most certainly like this CD. It might not be as big a project like a full-length album, but still contains a level of sweet freshness and added novelty, because of the rare and unreleased material. If you're just getting into Twiztid and haven't listened to older work from the HoK era, then this CD should be especially fresh. Some of the older fans will recognize a fair amount of content, but not all of it, because of the previously unreleased material on the CD. Cryptic Collection is an opportunity to listen to their old work without having to pay out the ass for it, in a cleaner format, and with the addition of music you will not find anywhere else. Between the old and fresh content, it's all Twiztid and it's all good.
     The music itself is pretty good, but not amazing. When buying a CD like this, I don't usually set my standards too high, because they aren't meant to be groundbreaking projects. But regardless of that, Cryptic Collection is pretty good musically. Some of these tracks are not impressive or memorable at all for sure, but remember that some of the songs are here just to be here. To satisfy the collectors who want the rare audio, and to let the regular fans get into some new shit. Regardless of what you think about vault CDs, if you're a fan of Twiztid, you will find something to appreciate about this disc. In terms of production, it's got the familiar underground sound, and the older tracks have been scrubbed up so that they sound a lot better than the OG presses. It's not off the beaten path, and in this case, that's probably a good thing.
     Cryptic Collection is not a must-have. It isn't a Mostasteless or W.I.C.K.E.D., it's much simpler and humble, and I like that. If you're a fan of Twiztid, then consider this CD. If you're a collector, scoop it for sure, and if you're the average listener, you'll probably dig it too. It's good and fun to listen to, but nothing compared to their full-length albums.

Final Grade: JRH gives "Cryptic Collection 1" by Twiztid a: 3.6/5

Weak points:
- Not impressive or memorable, especially
- A few stale tracks here and there

Strong points:
- Older tracks allow you to listen to their past work without the hassle of trying to get the OG presses
- Previously unreleased tracks create a sense of novelty, especially for the older fans familiar with their past work
- The extra effort of having tracks re-engineered and remixed makes the album have a clean and professional sound

There it is, ninjas, JRH's second review! Peep it, spread it, keep it locked and while it you're at it, visit the page and drop a like! (
I greatly appreciate any support you show, whether you drop a comment, like the page, or just fucking stare at the blog page. I love it all! Thank you fam and anyone who is reading this right now, you're what keep the reviews coming. JRH out.

Re-Issued Album cover; contemporary version
Not sure what year it was re-issued
Ye Olde Album cover, from the 2000 release

Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Backdoor Rydas", Psychopathic Rydas EP review

     What's up ninjas? Today I'll be doing my first review: "Backdoor Rydas", by the Psychopathic Rydas. This album was released in 2011 alongside EatShitNDie at the Gathering that year, but unlike EatShitNDie, Backdoor Rydas is an EP and not a full album. Standing six tracks tall, this is one of the few EPs that the Rydas have done throughout their career. Since this album is shorter than most of the other CDs I will be reviewing, I'm going to endeavor to go into a bit of detail on every track instead of reviewing the album as a whole.
      Musically, all Ryda CDs are composed of stolen beats from popular contemporary rap artists and songs. In the case of Backdoor Rydas, this gives the album a much more modern and popular sound because the beats are also very modern and popular. The wandering listener will definitely be able to recognize some of the beats featured on this EP because of their popularity. Like all the Ryda CDs, this album houses the familiar lyrical themes of Money, Murder, and the Muff. The Psychopathic Rydas take these beats and put a wicked Rydas twist on it, and it works very well.
     Backdoor Rydas is an excellent CD and a nice tangent from the usual murderous and underground music the label normally puts out. Not only would I recommend this to most any Juggalo, I'd also recommend it to anyone into rap, especially that hardcore gangsta shit.

     The album art is rather lewd. Ass, everywhere. Ass on the cover, ass on the back of the cover-paper, and when you take the cover and fold it out, guess what? Rydas posing, but with some ass-cheeks on either side of them. Ass on the CD too, and then on the back of the CD case there's more ass, except this time there's an arm too, tatted with a Hatchetman and holding a glock. The tracklist consists of more booty, and that's about it for graphics.

From here I will break it down into what my thoughts are on the tracks themselves:

Track #1, "Backdoor Rydas"
     Okay ninjas, I can't lie. When I first heard this song, I thought, "Oh, nevermind that shit. Skip!" I judged it harshly because of the content of the song, which is as it sounds. The Rydas rapping about getting skin and messing around with the ladies. I'm not sure why, but after a while this track kind of grew onto me, and now I can't help but get into it whenever I bump this track.

Track #2, "You Scared"
     This song starts off with some Ryda banter about how to properly dump on a busta, before coalescing into a song about how they're in the place, and you're scared. Like you should be, because they're the Rydas. I love the beat from this song; I remember it from back when, but I forget the original track it's from. This song is a great set-up for the mood the rest of the album exudes.

Track #3, "Here They Come"
     If I had a system of any sort, it would be thumping hard when this started playing. This track is exemplary of the Ryda message, "Fuck you, I'm a Ryda, and I play to win." Every single verse on this track is dope, and it might just split your wig if you let it. Definitely one of my favorite tracks off the entire EP, hands-down.

Track #4, "Chalk Lines & Caution Tape"
     Again, another track that kicks and smashes the entire time it plays. It starts off with a drumroll that leads into the opening verse by Lil' Shank, and it continues with freshness dropped by the rest of the crew. I bumped this track a whole lot back when I first heard this album. As you may infer, the track is about the Rydas doing their thing and lining 'em out in chalk for all to see, and there really isn't much more to it then that. A really good track with great beat selection.

Track #5, "Car Jack"
     One of the songs that made me want the EP. This track is absolutely incredible, with skillful verses from every single Ryda, and a simple lyrical message. If you need a track to sample before you cop this album, this is the track you want to listen to. Amazing beat, amazing verses, and an great way to end an awesome EP.

Final Grade: JRH gives "Backdoor Rydas" by the Psychopathic Rydas a: 4.3/5Weak points:
- Concludes almost without warning, very abrupt

Strong points:
- Smash as fuck
- Relatively inexpensive
- Nice beat selection
- Short and sweet

     That's it ninjas! There is is, my first full review. Keep it locked for further reviews, and please feel more than welcome to drop a comment with any thoughts you have on my review.
     You can also feel free to subscribe to the blog if you want to be e-mailed when JRH updates, there's a little gadget on the right-hand side if you feel so inclined. Thanks for reading, and for giving me your time. JRH out.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Hello! Ninjas, friends, passerbys, whoever you may be, hello. As you can see, I plan to make this page a home for album reviews. Not entirely or specifically music by Juggalo artists; but being a ninja myself I will likely tend to post reviews of releases by Juggalo artists. Keep it posted, keep your eye on it, I plan to be doing plenty with this page very soon. Stay tuned, ninjas!
*Note: I am taking recommendations! Any rap artist or album is fine, as long as I can find it in a store, I can take it as a recommendation!