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Stunnaman Legendary The Pack member Stunnaman has now released a solo project with a lot of quality songs. The Pack’s “Vans” days were nearly four years ago, and you can hear Stunnaman’s growth as an artist on several songs including “The Rain,” “Superman” and “Never Find Love.” His music isn’t legendary or ground-breaking, but at the same time, this street album shouldn’t be overlooked. - Randy Roper Juice, DJ Ill Will & DJ Rockstar American Me With 15 tracks boasting a solid flow and original production, Juice drops a lot of heat on American Me. “Crush My Cool” with Bun B, the nothing-to-something tale on “True Story,” and his letter to Biggie, “Time To Get Paid,” are undeniable bangers. There’s only one throwaway track (“Focused”). American Me won’t lead listeners to believe Juice is the “new face of America,” but this mixtape is good enough to cosign him as one of the better new faces out of the West. - Randy Roper Ya Boy The Fix 2 On this mixtape, Konvict’s newest artist Ya Boy teams with 5 DJs—Digital Product, Woogie, Rockstar & Folk—to present the follow-up to his 2007 release The Fix. But unlike this mixtape’s predecessor, nothing really blows you away on The Fix 2. Aside from “So High,” which features E-40 and Beeda Weeda, and “Real One” with Yukmouth, this mixtape features freestyles and verses over beats listeners have heard 1,000 times by now (Snoop’s “I Wanna Rock,” Luda’s “How Long”). Ya Boy does get in good verses here and there, but overall, TF2 does little to justify Akon signing YB to Konvict. - Randy Roper

Swag & DJ Reese The Recession Is Over The first mistake Seattle rapper Swag makes on this mixtape is making it 31 tracks long. Some of his music isn’t bad (emphasis on some), but listening to 31 songs of Swag sounding like a poor man’s Jim Jones, which isn’t a compliment to his rhymes skills, is far from enjoyable. Quite simply, so-so rapping, plus so-so beats, equals one so-so mixtape. It’s good to know the recession is over for Swag, but from the sound of this, it’s hard to believe he’s getting any rap money. - Randy Roper Davinci The Day the Turf Stood Still With everybody waiting for Los Angeles to come back and represent the “New West,” listeners are missing out on the fresh voices the Bay Area (post-Hyphy) has to offer. One of these is San Fran representer DaVinci. The epitome of what it means to be a “street” rapper, DaVinci offers stark and realistic commentary on his surroundings and the people in it. Tracks like “What You Gonna Do” and the money-themed “Ben” show that he has he has verbal illustration skills on par with the artist he named himself after. While his attempts at making club bangers fall flat, DaVinci is definitely on his way to carving a new niche for Bay Area rap. - Maurice G. Garland Kurupt Streetlights Kurupt’s sixth solo album is exactly the kind of quality release you’d expect from a veteran West Coast rap pioneer. Tracks like the Terrace Martin-produced “I’m Burnt,” “Yessir” produced by Pete Rock, “All I Want” featuring Snoop Dogg, and the introspective title track “Streetlights” are standouts that show his lyrical wit and ability to make feel-good music. Kurupt is an insightful MC with something to say. With the exception of a few uninspired tracks—“I’m Drunk,” “Scrape,” “Riot In The Club”—Streetlights is a well-rounded album. It displays both vintage DPG music while still allowing Kurupt a chance to reflect, in the manner you’d expect from an artist with nearly 20 years of experience. – Randy Roper

Ozone West #84 - Oct 2010  

Ozone West #84 - Oct 2010

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