Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"Let 'Em Bleed: The Mixxtape volume 2", DJ Clay mixtape review

     This tape was released in 2008, the same year as the first entry. It is the second tape in the current set of four mixtapes released for Hatchet House. It is similar to the other mixtapes in terms of content - a couple of remixes and lots of original content for the fam to enjoy.

     You'll see the cover art below, which I personally adore.
     On the back you have *dramatic drumroll*...chronologically correct and organized track listing! Hooray! While Clay and Psychopathic fucked up royally the first time, at least they learned from their mistake and got it right the second time around. There's the licensing shit on the back, of course. Something else worth mentioning is that while the past tape had more of a focus on light gray, this mixtape features a focus on a saturated brown color.
     On the inside of the flap you have Clay wearing old-timey mobster attire, keeping in line with the theme of the tape's art. Right next to Clay you have your chronologically correct track listing, and then the CD on the right. It's modeled to look like a vinyl record again, except with a brown center ring instead of a grey one. Again, there are shoutouts in the CD rest. Nothing really unique here, but it's a nice touch anyway.

     Now, the main difference between this tape and the first tape is that this tape is actually well-produced. Everything from the intro to the last track is held down with better content than the last entry. That's not to say there aren't any holes in the mixtape, and I hate to point fingers, but "Juggalo" is hands-down one of the worst songs I've ever heard on a Psychopathic release. Point is, there are some tracks I'm not a huge fan of, but it is still much better than the first entry.
     The producers aren't that different or anything, but everything from the content of the CD to the arrangement is a massive improvement. Therefore, it's naturally a lot better than the shoddy, disorganized mess the first tape was. The production is varied with multiple producers featured on the mixtape, and a large selection of artists from the label as well as features from outside the label. This mixtape does cater to Juggaos while also offering content that is open to a broader audience, which is a nice touch. It's definitely an underground release.
     I would recommend this tape if you want something new and fresh to listen to for a little bit, but not if you're looking for something to flip your wig backwards. Let 'Em Bleed: The Mixxtape volume 2 is fresh and unique but not groundbreaking, and is a fairly solid release for the Hatchet. If you aren't a Juggalo, you don't have much reason to be fucking with this.

JRH gives "Let 'Em Bleed: The Mixxtape volume 2", by DJ Clay a: 2.8/5
(Pretty fresh)

Strong points:
- Lots of lyrical and musical variety

- Solid production
- Nice art
- Well-arranged

Weak points:
- DJ Clay has a nasty habit of reminding me that I'm listening to his mixtape in the middle of a track, and that shit gets annoying real quick

We've reached the halfway point, ninjas! Two out of four tapes have been reviewed! Make sure to drop by the page and show us some love! JRH OUT!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

"Let 'Em Bleed: The Mixxtape volume 1", DJ Clay mixtape review

This mixtape was released in 2008 originally, and was DJ Clay's first actual contribution to Hatchet House/Psychopathic Records. Note that while the mixtape itself came out in 2008, the DJ Clay box set came out in 2010, so the publishing date might be different for you depending on which version you have.

     The art for the first mixtape is strikingly plain. So plain that I can describe it with only a few lines of text, even as meticulous as I am. You'll see the front of the mixtape below. The back is pretty much blank; got some licensing bullshit and a lil' Hatchetman, that's it. If you open the flap of the mixtape you have Clay looking at you, and production credits cover the rest of the panel. The CD is designed like a vinyl record, and there some shout-outs in the CD rest. The CDs have s as far as graphics go, but I'll get around to that more if I ever end up reviewing the boxset as a whole. That's it for graphics.

     My expectations for this mixtape were not high to begin with. It was the first mixtape in the boxset, and so I figured it was the best place to start. It was my hope to be pleasantly surprised, and that the music on this mixtape would set the mood for what was to come. Unfortunately, Let 'Em Bleed Volume 1 is not innovative, creative, or even produced well, and seems like the kind of mixtape you would market to a suburban white teenager who doesn't know shit about music.
     One of the biggest flaws on this mixtape is that it doesn't cater to Juggalos very much. Artists on the label have done this before and managed to do so successfully, but a mixtape that is carried not by DJ Clay, but by Psychopathic artists and producers, should have some shit for the Juggalos to dig on. There are a couple tracks that cater to us, but too much of the mixtape feels out of place for a Psychopathic release. But that could be overlooked perhaps, if the actual content of the mixtape was good. Strike two, again this mixtape fails to deliver. The content of this CD is trite and not innovative at all. While there are a couple sweet cuts from this mixtape, most of the content is poorly produced filler. The Psychopathic Family does what it can to bring some light to this release, but nothing could save this tape from mediocrity.
     Another criticism is that the track listing is really fucky. There are some songs on the disc that aren't accounted for on the track listing, which throws you off when you're listening to the CD. You have to figure out yourself why the album is out-of-order, but Juggalos shouldn't have to deal with that bullshit. It displays massive lack of mastery and professionalism that an artist should always show - even for a mixtape.
     If you buy the Let 'Em Bleed Box Set, you will own this mixtape and that isn't a terrible thing. But please, do yourself a favor and don't intentionally buy this mixtape on its own.

JRH gives "Let 'Em Bleed: The Mixxtaple volume 1" by DJ Clay a: 1.7/5
('s like that)

Strong points:
- One or two tracks worth listening to

Weak points:
- Fucky, unprofessional track listing
- Not creative, not innovative, stale
- Doesn't cater to Juggalos much
- Plain art
- Indecisive. This mixtape cannot figure out whether it wants to be thug or wicked.

Well, that's it ninjas. For now, keep moving, keep it locked, because I might be dropping some more reviews as the week goes on. Maybe I'll take a look at the second tape in the set; who knows?
Thank you to any Juggalos who take the time to read these. You're what keeps the blog going!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"In the Absence of Sanity", Madd Maxxx digital album review (Free)

Madd Maxxx is terribly slept-on, but my impression from this album is far from sour. Maxx hasn't received much recognition for his works, but he put it down on this release for us to hear. In the Absence of Sanity is Madd Maxxx's first album, released in 2005 with a lot of help from underground artist Lo Key.

On this album, Madd Maxxx can be angry, and other times sad, but never particularly happy. In the Absence of Sanity is an interesting release from an interesting time, and while it is unique as a release, it echoes a lot of themes found in the underground and horrorcore scenes. Expect the content to be fairly typical in those regards. It's also worthy to note that Madd Maxxx was nineteen at the release of this album.
     In the Absence of Sanity is an experience that will often leave you thinking about something. Even the violence present on this release is often thought-provoking. Like "Classtime Horror", a song about a kid who goes into his school and shoots it up, because he's tired of being treated like trash. It gets pretty heavy, and at some point, it's even disgusting. But songs like this give you the opportunity of wondering "why?", and being able to do that is a gift that not all artists have.
     As far as I know, the production of this release was handled almost entirely by Lo Key for Madd Maxxx. Each track has stellar production that fits the mood of the track appropriately, changing from song to song. From this perspective, the album was handled very well and sounds crisp and professional.
     In the Absence of Sanity is unfortunately a forgotten gem. You have to dig to find this release, because it isn't commercially available in any way. While the release itself is more than stellar, it's unfortunate that it didn't receive the attention or promotion it deserved. Considering that this album was released (as far as I know) for free, there is no reason why you shouldn't check this out if you're a fan of horrrorcore and underground music.

JRH gives "In the Abscence of Sanity", by Madd Maxxx a: 3.5

Strong points:
- Strong production
- Good lyricism
- Nice arrangement
- Fresh art

Weak points:
- Could benefit from a few more tracks
- Poor availability/promotion
- In the Absence of Sanity can easily put you in a bad mood

Important note: I don't know if this album ever enjoyed a physical printing of any sort, and it may have just been released digitally
Download link for this album, should work fine, contact me if there are any issues.

I found this a while ago, forget where exactly. But it looks like either fanart or alternate art for the cover of this album. In either case, it's really cool, so I'm sharing it with my ninjas.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"1 Less G N Da Hood (Original 2001 version)", Blaze Ya Dead Homie album review

*Annotation to consider: I won't be speaking on the reissue here since I don't have it. But if and when I do ever get the reissue, I'll write a whole new review for it because it is considerably different from the 2001 release, enough for me to think it warrants a whole other review.
     As you can see in the title, I'm reviewing the original 2001 edition. If you follow Blaze or browse Hatchetgear, you've probably seen the "1 Less G N Da Hood - Deluxe G edition" floating around. At first I just thought it was a better version of 1 Less G N Da Hood, maybe the same CD except with bonus tracks or some other freshness. That's not the case. Deluxe G edition is a whole other CD with a remastered tracklist and graphics separate from the OG press. The reissue was released in 2006. Down below I'm going to list the tracklist of Deluxe G edition for comparison:

Removed tracks: "The Eulogy", "Str8 Outta Detroit", "Here I Am", and "Hatchet Execution".

Reissued tracks: "Intro 2 the Hood" (Note that this is not fresh material; it is the intro to Blaze's first release on Psychopathic, his self-titled EP from back when), "Real G Shit", " "In Case U Forgot", "I Go to Work", "Put it Down", "Look Out", "Mamma I Ain't Changed", and finally, "Garbage".
     With all the added tracks, along with the alternate graphics, all of the new content certainly validates the album as being both true to the original but also containing lots of new freshness for us Juggalos to gawk at. Now, I'll be diving into graphics.

     The cover for this CD isn't too elaborate, but it's nice nonetheless. It features Blaze Ya Homie's mug covered in blood (and paint) lookin' all ferocious, with dirty teeth gritted in anger. It's got his name on the front too. On the back you got your track listing, and the title of the album: "1 Less G N Da Hood".
     Open it up: On the CD you got Blaze throwing up the east, wearing his clock chain, with blood splatter on it. On the left you have the track listing again, with a down-to-top view of Blaze, who appears to be looking at his bloodied, grimy hands.
     The cover doubles as a fold-out. On the inward-facing side, there's production credits for the album and all that, accompanied by a picture of Blaze posing again. The rest of the panels are pretty fuckin' sweet. There's a lot of art of Anybody Killa and Blaze Ya Dead Homie together taking up most of the panels on this side. On the right...oh hells yeah, here it comes...OLD SCHOOL ADS IN THIS PIECE!!! You got Mostasteless and Freek Show ads, Bizzar Bizaar ads, Big Money Hu$tlas ads, and something that looks like an old school documentary called "Born Twiztid". Then there's an ad for the "Almighty sixth Joker's card", which has since obviously been reveled as The Wraith. Even an advertisement for the long OoP Tales From The Lotus Pod, and, oddly enough, an ad for 1 Less G N Da Hood. On the backside, there's some pictures of Blaze Ya Dead Homie and Anybody Killa, with some phrases and poetic wording. The photography is definitely spot-on. That's about it for graphics.

     1 Less G N Da Hood is an experience, and a very interesting one at that. Blaze Ya Dead Homie's character is an OG hood thug who's died and is now back from the dead. While you don't get much of a backstory on his character, the existence of his persona is easily felt on this CD. The sound of this CD is a combination of several different musical styles, with elements of gangsta rap, horrorcore, and rock elements. There are also some Hatchet features on the disc, like Twiztid and Anybody Killa who are present on a handful of tracks, and one Violent J feature.
     1 Less G is a solid walkway into Blaze Ya Dead Homie's career on the Hatchet, and is something creative that hadn't been done before. Musically speaking, the album is pretty stellar but not absolutely phenomenal. While there are many tracks here that are nice and thumping, a lot of content on the CD is rather unremarkable and bland; filler. It is a shame that the CD didn't get the same level of production as other Psychopathic releases from around this time, because while 1 Less G has the potential to be so much better than it is, it just doesn't quite make the cut.
     There is a lot of musical variety on the CD, but is not scattered or disorganized, and the arrangement of the CD is very deliberate. The different musical and lyrical styles on this CD don't clash at all, they meld to create something more unique and that is part of what makes this CD fresh despite the fact that is isn't the strongest musically. There are definitely some things to look forward to if you're going to buy this CD, but don't expect to have your wig flipped.
     One last thing of note is that the last track on the disc is twenty-two minutes long and houses a long-ass prank phone call to one of the producers of the album. I don't really feel like going over the whole shit, I will say that while the skit is entertaining as fuck, it seems like a way to throw in a bunch of filler and make the album have a little more run time as opposed to filling it with more content. Almost lazy, and out of place. The Deluxe G edition lacks the skit and instead has more actual content, so consider that if you're having trouble deciding which one to buy.
     If you like Blaze Ya Dead Homie, I recommend getting another CD like Clockwork Gray, something that got more attention during its production,. It isn't spectacular at all, but there are a couple gems on the disc to be sure. To the average listener, you don't need this, but to the collectors, I'd recommend the OG disc.

JRH gives "1 Less G N Da Hood" by Blaze Ya Dead Homie a: 3/5!

Strong points:
- Good features
- Interesting persona
- Musical variety
- Couple gems on here
- Unique vocals

Weak points:
- Obscenely long phone call skit at the end, obviously added as filler
- Lots of filler and unremarkable songs

The cover for the original 2001 OoP edition

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Fraggle Swag", Lo Key digital EP review

*THIS JUST IN 5/17/14* FRAGGLE SWAG CDS DO EXIST!! Apparently they were in the store for a while, so I don't know exactly how rare they are. But I know I will probably never own one. I've seen a picture of one, prior to which I was unaware of their existence. But they do indeed exist, that is to be sure. That's all there is on that.
     Fraggle Swag. This EP came out two years ago in 2012. Want to know why you never heard of it? It was released on April 1st of 2012, as a satirical take on mainstream hip-hop and its many perpetuating artists. Apparently it started going viral, but Lo Key had to take it down the same day. That's why the fucker is so hard to find. But I got my grimy hands on it anyway, because fuck all that. When I finally listened to it - it all started to come together and makes sense. Why Lo Key removed it, why it was hard to find...all of it, it came to me.
     Fraggle Swag is the best EP to ever be released, and Lo Key had to take it down to stop the world from discovering his true abilities as a musical prestidigitator. Will the swag consume you? Or will you take it as your own?
     The real reason it was removed was allegedly because of copyright issues or something like that. I'm not sure what the specifics are, but it might have something to do with the fact that some of the beats sounds eerily familiar to some other mainstream hits. "Fragglin'", I'm lookin' at you buddy. Regardless of why the hell it was taken down, it was only up for less than a day so you've gotta do a bit of legwork to find a full version of the EP. If any ninjas want a copy, see below, after the final grade.

     This album gives a new definition to rap. It has ascended beyond any petty labels, like "underground" or "hardcore". It's motherfucking Fraggle Rap. It's so amazing, it's spawned its own plane of existence. A fuckin' plane. Not only that - but it's inspired a new way of life. Fragglin' is slowly but surely creepin' up, and before you know it everyone is gonna be packing a Fraggle in their bag.
     This album packs a bunch of stereotypical mainstream beats, and they help reinforce the humor that Lo Key was trying to create when he unleashed this beautiful piece of art into the world. The tracks are mostly Lo Key, but it has a few features as well. Or maybe they're actually all Lo Key, and honestly I couldn't tell you for sure. There's two possibilities. One is that you hardly notice the features because the tracks pretty much sound the same throughout anyway. It's either that, or the listed features actually don't exist. Like, is Alan Overflow an actual person? Maybe it's just to add to the smartass nature of this EP, and he's just some made-up guy. But he's listed as a feature either way, so what the hell. There's always something in a track that'll get you cracking up, whether it's a single verse or a stupid skit.
     The EP is fucking stellar (and cheesy), and it sucks that it had to be taken down over some stupid copyright noise. If you can get your hands on this, I recommend it. It's good for some great laughs, and it shows that Lo Key has a great sense of humor a lot of artists fail to exhibit.

Final Grade: JRH gives "Fraggle Swag" by Lo Key a: Fraggle/10
(In other words, it's off the fucking charts)

Strong points:
- Fraggleicious
- Damn dog, it's getting a little hard to hold all this Fraggleswag
- So much damn Fraggleswag I'mma need to a bookbag to carry it
- Lo Key stomps any mainstream groupy with his Fraggletastic flow
- This album will change your life
- If you missed it at all; his name is fuckin' Lo Key
- Motherfuckas don't know about that Fraggleswag
- It goes mad hard tho
Arguably the best Fraggle Rap I've ever heard
- Technically free-of-charge
- Lo Key's got them hashtags
- And them tweets
- Damn this EP goes so damn hard damn Lo Key you done did it this time goddamn Loke

Weak points:
- Fuck outta here with that
- Ain't no room for negativity in the Fraggle game

I will be including a link to this at some point in the future!
Keep it locked ninjas. I hope to have a review for "1 Less G N Da Hood" (the original) up sometime relatively soon.

Damn dog. That's some good shit right there I'll tell ya.