Friday, February 21, 2014

"Mostasteless", Twiztid album review

     Mostasteless! A review for one of my favorite albums of all time.
     Original release for this beauty was 1997, both of the presses I believe. It was too wicked for stores shelve, however, so it got pulled and re-issued in 1999, with some new tracks added and a couple from the OG press cut. The removed tracks would live on to be captured in some of the Cryptic Collections, so you can still find 'em around. There was also another version of the album, not meant for national release, and it had a fetus on the cover. I don't know what the hell the deal is with that one, if the track listing is different or anything like that. If any ninja wants to hit me up with some deets, I would be more than happy to have a brother fill me the fuck in.
     The main differences between the two (Or three, rather); and of course, there's different art for them both. To clarify, I have the re-issued version. If I ever run into a copy of the original, I might try an' grab it, but for now, here I am with the re-issued one. The third, however...I think that one's mad rare, and holds an aristocratic price tag. I hit it big one day - maybe I'll consider it. Likelihood, no; it ain't happening, and if it does - not anytime soon.

(Note that on the three different versions of the album, the art is different)
     On the real, these graphics are pretty fucking dope. You got these two clowns in their old-school paint, on the cover, beheadin' demons and generally looking badass. Then you open it up, you got their faces on the CD, and they're rocking out under the CD rest. Fold out the booklet, got some sweet-ass comic-book styled action going on on the back. It's not particularly coherent, but shit's messy, with lots of demons, lots of violence, bullets, and blood. It's nice.
     On the inside of the booklet you got some shout-outs from Jamie and Mono, credits for the production of the album, a painting of Jamie and Paul in paint, and some ads. The ads, oh boy. You've got an ad for Big Money Hustlas (Hot damn!) and...shit, a motherfucking ad for Tales from the Lotus Pod! This must be an old-ass print, because the only members listed are Twiz and ICP. Not even credits for Marz or Blaze Ya Dead Homie. Anyways, that's about it for the art. There's some sick heaven-and-hell shit going on on the back of the CD cover, that shit's always fresh. The graphics for this album, the version I have anyway, lemme tell ya. Fucking. Stellar.

     The track listing for the re-issue is different. It contains Spin the Bottle, Blink, and Bury Me Alive, all of which the original did not have. It lacks Smoke Break, Anotha Smoke Break, Meat Cleaver, Somebody Dissin' U, Murder, Murder, Murder, and She Ain't Afraid. Ninjas, you can find the cut tracks on Cryptic Collection CDs, so don't fret if you're trippin' on the price tag for the original. Lastly, some of the lyrics and content has been altered or censored.
On "Whatthefuck?!?!", Monoxide's verse "And I'mma be the first to tell; I gotcha family all hostage and they burnin' in hell!" has been censored. There are other minor edits on the CD, too.
     Mostasteless was very well-produced and as I understand it, is mostly produced by the two killas themselves. The beats are shuffling and wicked, heavy in a strange and morbid way. The noise almost seems to tell a tale all by itself, and there is some use of sampling throughout the CD which I appreciate very much. For being Twiztid's first CD both as a group and a Psychopathic artist, they did very well in stepping outside the box and bringing something different - but still wicked, to the table. Keep in mind that I'm speaking on the re-press and not the OG copy.
     I've said this before, and I will again. I'm not sure what way these guys were in, but they have an air of depression and anger that is filtered through this album. It's like I can feel their madness seeping off their lyrics as they spit about having nervous breakdowns, being forlorn, hating everybody and just wanting to murder them's touching. It's amazing, how well they filtered their emotions into their music. That, right there, that fact, it's what keeps me coming back to the album time and time again. There is so much good to this album. Ninjas, I'm serious, this album is a must-have for all the Twiztid ninjas. It's heavy, so get your ass on it and grab a copy if you don't already have one! It'll split your wig wide-open. Whoop whoop!

Final Grade: "Mostasteless" by Twiztid recieves a: 5/5!!!
This album is mad dope ninjas, like I said, it's one of my favorite albums of all time. Check it the fuck out!

Strong points:
- Great production that can tell a story on its own
- Great lyricism
- Dope-ass art
- An ad for Tales From?!?! What is this?!?!
- Great track listing
- A unique entry for the hatchet
- This is that real wicked shit; that real madness

Ninjas, there it is! Second album to ever get a perfect score...Whoop whoop!

This is the re-release, and the one I have. Mad dope!

This is the original, "too wicked for store shelves" version.

The weird, rare version

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Duk Da Fuk Down!" album review

     Hello hello hello ninjas! A LOT of exciting shit is going down right now! Blaze is hosting a mixtape, Twiztid's dropping 4 The Fam EP Volume 2, and there are speculations, even, that the Lotus is now officially in bloom! That's fuckin' sick, ninjas! On top of that, it's motherfucking Juggalo Day!! 25% off on Hatchetgear, so go and support the wicked shit! Great fucking day to you all.
     Slappin' y'all with another one: Duk Da Fuk Down!
This album was originally released in 2007, so it's a bit old. Lil' Shank, Bullet, Full Clip, Cell Block, Yung Dirt, and Foe Foe are the Rydas featured on this CD (Jamie Madrox, Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox, and Monoxide Child, respectively). I'mma jump right to it.

     Belligerent thugs stare at you from the cover of the CD. Open up past their pointed barrels, and you see 'em on the other side. "Duk Da Fuk Down!" is written in big letter on both sides, and they're posing on the back of the two-sided paper. Not a foldout or anything. The CD has a nice bandana-print on it, with Duk Da Fuk Down! written again in big letters.

     Duk Da Fuk Down! is not hard to digest; the name implies the nature of the CD. When purchasing this, you should already know what the content is going to consist of: OG gangsta shit. Drugs. Money. Murder. Women. That sort of thing. But even though you can consistently expect the same kind of music from the Psychopathic Rydas, every CD is different. Duk Da Fuk Down! is an older CD and selects some heavier, more shuffling instrumentals, but expect a nice variety of sound on this CD. It has a nice and crisp sound to it, and the variety of lyrical themes and beat selection from track-to-track makes it a very solid tracklist.
     Duk Da Fuk Down! is also the lead single for this album, and the only official video ever shot for the Psychopathic Rydas (Featured on the Psychopathic Videos DVD). It's also one of their more popular releases overall, despite being an older CD. And while the general message of the CD is understood, expect to be occasionally surprised. One of my favorite songs on the CD, "Lil Rydas", is a rap about little tykes running around thugging it up, with a part of the chorus being "And when they grow they gon' ride like us!". Duk Da Fuk Down! brings the thug shit in a fresh and original way that only Psychopathic could truly do, which is why it's so much fun to listen to. I definitely recommend this to any Juggalo, but it should also have appeal to a broader audience as well. If you like that OG gangsta shit, definitely check it out. You'll dig it for sure.

Final Grade: JRH gives "Duk Da Fuk Down by the Psychopathic Rydas a: 4/5!
(Muffled cheering and clapping)

Strong Points:
- Smash, once again
- Variety of lyrical themes and beat selections add a fresh and original take to a genre that is so often victim to monotony
- Great track listing, really
- Ryda lyricism is great

Weak Points:
- No foldout :(
- There are definitely one or two tracks don't add much to the album and feel a bit like filler

Look at them! Don't they just look happy to see you?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Tales from the Lotus Pod", Dark Lotus album review

This album is from back in the day. Originally released in 2001, it was re-released in 2002 because of a dispute that Psychopathic Records was having with Marz, who is featured on the album. On the 2002 re-release, they replaced Marz verses with verses from Anybody Killa, who was then new to the label. The re-released version of this album is more recent than the OG print and is probably in better circulation, but they're both OoP (Out-of-print) so finding either one on physical will be a bit of legwork.
     There was a bunch of shit going on during the production of the album, and to sum it up this entire album is a trial-run for the Dark Lotus. The fact of that is pretty clear when you listen to it. Half of the album was produced by Mike E. Clark, and I don't truthfully know what they did to make the rest of the album work. But that bit doesn't stand out as much. It isn't terrible or underproduced, but it exudes a vibe that makes you feel like it was rushed out of production or something like that. It's off-putting...

     The graphics are pretty nice. The CD is just a pyramid design with some words on it - the album title, I think. The front has the cross-design pictured below and the packet that displays the album cover is a fold-out. When fully extended it displays some hieroglyphics and on the other side are some pyramids in different states of condition. There's some instructions for raising the dead written underneath the CD rest, which is nice. The cool thing I want to note is that there's no CD track listing anywhere to be found within the case or on the CD. Just nothing. Juggalos created a tracklist, which seems to differ a bit depending on the print you're looking at. Depending on your disposition, you could say that it adds to the fact that the CD feels like it was rushed out of production. But to me, it adds more of a cryptic nature to the CD and adds a bit of a haze over the CD that makes you entertain existential thoughts on the nature of a CD. I approve. Graphics are great.

     But let me delve. Tales from the Lotus Pod is mediocre. And while it does have a few gems on it that catch the eye, beyond those few gems there is nothing but uncomfortable and awkward music. You could get a list of the good tracks on this album, you could go find and listen to them, and you wouldn't really need to listen to the rest of the album. That's because the rest of the album is filler, just reiterations of the same messages. "I Hurt Myself", "Gimme Dat Blood", "Swarm". Okay: you don't like other people or yourself, but I'd rather not hear six songs about it. On top of that, the songs themselves aren't especially executed well at all.
     The production is uncomfortably dark, with shuffling beats and lyricism that is very archetypal of the Lotus: Fucking dead bitches, being possessed by demons, wanting to die, etcetera. While some of the music is well-executed, it really brings you down. It doesn't bestow anything positive on you, doesn't make you think about or question your own morals. TftLP is morbid for the sake of being morbid and nothing more. Whether it's Violent J slamming a fragment of skull into his brain or Jamie Madrox vomiting due to excess meds, you can't help but shiver at some of the verses. While it's possible to appreciate the pure shock value of the CD, it mostly just makes you uncomfortable.
     Yes, this is a part of the Dark Lotus's history. It won't be forgotten. I like this album because now I know more about the Lotus's history, and I own a piece of it. I also have access to those few gems that rise above the rest of the funk on this album.
     You don't really need this. Unless you're like me and you want to own that piece of history, this album really isn't amazing and you can find a lot of the good tracks elsewhere. Look into the other works by Lotus, because they have better CDs out there. The whole deal with the two versions of the album - it doesn't even matter. Just get whatever you can get.
     Even Violent J has said that he doesn't like the album, so that right there should make you balk just a bit. If you wanna cop this, look into it, but don't just throw your money at it.

Final Grade: "Tales from the Lotus Pod" by Dark Lotus receives a: 2.5/5

Weak Points:
- TftLP feels like it was rushed out of production; it could have used more time
- The fact that there are two versions of the album. It adds to the feeling of it being rushed out of production, like they released the album without having a definite vision of what they wanted it to be.
- Lots of stuff that feels like filler.

Strong Points:
- There are some gems on this CD
- Bad or not, this album is still a piece of the Lotus's history that should be remembered.
- There is some really good production on some of the tracks. Not all, but some.

Album cover for the re-release. Pretty and simple, huh? I like it. Usually I'd post both the original and re-issue, but in this case the two albums aren't really that different so I'm not even going to bother. You could find it easily if you were interested.