Bun B is one-half of one the most popular duos in hip-hop history – UGK (Underground Kings). With his partner, Pimp C, on an extended vacation, Bun B now tackles the music scene alone. On his debut solo effort, Bun B gives one a dose of UGK flavor and more. The gritty, detailed rhymes told over southern fried funk and slumping bass is characteristic of the duo, but the new swagger and vocal sharpness add to Bun's own legacy. While not technical with word play, Bun is still quite the lyricist. Give "What I Represent (UGK)," "I'm Fresh" and "Pushin" featuring Scarface and Young Jeezy a listen.
You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having
Never completely happy-sounding or serious, Atmosphere attacks microphones with sarcasm and slight sedatedness. On this, his latest full-length release, one gets more of Atmosphere's wordy, flippity-flip rhyme style and creative verse. On songs like "Watch Out," "Smart Went Crazy" and "Hockey Hair" Atmosphere makes one scratch their head in confusion, scratch their head in amazement, or just laugh out loud. He does get a little repetitive at times, dragging verses to the point of pressing the skip button. The production is pure hip-hop – erie samples, crisp snare drums and head rocking break beats.
Presents the MC Proper'ganda
On this, Jin's latest solo release, he ditches the commercial dirt of the Ruff Ryders and gets back to his soiled battle roots. His use of word-play is like using the martial arts of his heritage, kicking rhymes and punching in patterns. His ability to weave detailed lyrics at break-neck speeds makes him a verbal ninja. His verses sometimes lack any serious content, relying mostly on bragging and skill displays. But Jin is entertaining in majority. Give "Properganda" and "No Concept" a listen.
The Hip-Hop Violinist
The track "Chillin' In The Key Of E" on this, Miri Ben-Ari's debut album, showcases what a "Hip-Hop Violinist" is all about. The classy sounds of the strings played closely with a ride-ready bass line, pop-lock drum snaps and eerie melodies. The number is sophisticated and street at the same time. Another good song is "Sunshine To The Rain" featuring Scarface and Anthony Hamilton. The problem with the rest of the album is that unlike the aforementioned songs, the numbers here lean on mostly unworthy guest appearances and directionless raps. Miri is a musician of a different breed, and she doesn't need Styles P ("We Gonna Win"), Akon ("Miss Melody") or the Cash Money Millionaires ("4 Flat Tires") to legitimize her place in hip-hop music. What she does with the violin is enough, so any collaboration should be art, not amp.
Mail press and album review material to - Joe Walker, PO Box 1375, East Lansing, MI, 48826-1375 (517) 914-6976.