From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘The Process of Addiction Has Its Costs’ by Phillip Morris

Phillip Morris :: The Process of Addiction Has Its Costs :: Second Hand Music
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

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An aptly named album from a curiously named artist.

The corporate-bashing, ironically-named, nerdcore Chicago producer/MC, Phillip Morris, is not beyond comparison, but the comparisons will not be helpful to those lacking an unhealthy obsession with hip-hop. He’s a black Tim Fite, a good-natured Quasimoto, Vordul Mega with a sense of humor, Paul Barman with flow, etc., etc. These points of reference are not useful. They only became meaningful to me since I started prizing rap hipsterdom over social interaction, but, hey, if masturbating while listening to Digable Planets b-sides is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Say what you will, it hasn’t been that long since I got laid. The point is, Phillip Morris’s latest release, “The Process of Addiction has Its Costs,” is fucking brilliant. Continue reading “From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘The Process of Addiction Has Its Costs’ by Phillip Morris”

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From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP’–the 2005 release by Aesop Rock

Aesop Rock :: Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP :: Defnitive Jux Records 
** RapReviews “Back to the Lab” series **
reviewed by Eric Sirota

album-fast-cars-danger-fire-and-knives
When it comes to hip-hop, Sirota digs the weird stuff.

 

It’s a funny thing. With a few notable exceptions, I pretty much listen to hip-hop/rap. Still, even though I love hip-hop, or at least its potential, I can’t really say that I “like” hip-hop music. I follow it extremely closely. I try to listen to the new releases as soon as they come out. I write for RapReviews.com, for goodness sakes. But I’m really not sure I like hip-hop. If I liked hip-hop, why would so much of it piss me off? Continue reading “From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives EP’–the 2005 release by Aesop Rock”

From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Jerusalaam Come’–the new album by Juice Aleem

Juice Aleem :: Jerusalaam Come :: Big Dada Recordings
reviewed by Eric Sirota

Juice Aleem spits mythic hot fire on "Jerusalaam Come"
Juice Aleem spits mythic hot fire on "Jerusalaam Come"

 

I took a lot of stupid classes in college. One of them was called “Red Flags/Black Flags: The History of Marxist and Anarchist Thought.” Why I felt the need to spend a whole semester reading about the rivalry between two modes of thought which both ultimately lost out, I’m not sure. But we did read this one really interesting book. I don’t remember the author’s name, but I think he was French. Sorel. Something like that. Anyway, Sorel wrote that, in order to bring about change, oppressed groups construct “social myths” that inspire revolutionary action. Jaque “Or-Whatever-His-Name-Actually-Was” Sorel was writing about 19th Century French labor unions, but if he was around today, I think he would write about hip-hop. Continue reading “From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Jerusalaam Come’–the new album by Juice Aleem”

Revenge of the Grown Ups: PART III

On the John presents…

Revenge of the Grown Ups: Zany Breaking and Entrances and Entertaining Chaos at the Bizarro Disneyland

Originally completed June 18, 2007

The lure of late night Mickey D's...made all the stronger by lights!
The lure of late night Mickey D's...made all the stronger by lights!

PART III (click here for PART II)

When I awoke, I checked my phone:

4 NEW MESSAGES

7 MISSED CALLS

They were all from my brother. The first call was marked 3:51 AM, the last one 3:59. Curious. I looked to my left. There was Mike, passed out on top of the blanket in his clothes. I scratched my beard and listened to my messages. Message one, from 3:51 AM: Continue reading “Revenge of the Grown Ups: PART III”

From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘So Much to Say’–the new album by Rob Murat

Rob Murat :: So Much to Say :: Quench Entertainment
as reviewed by Eric Sirota

Rob Murat has a lot to say.
Rob Murat has a lot to say.

So I don’t know the guy, but here’s the only way I can explain Rob Murat’s debut “So Much to Say:” for the first half of the year, the man was having some real problems with his lady friend. He somehow found a way to sublimate his pain, not into whiney, played-out love songs, but rather into a genre-bending, hip-hop- meets-Tom-Jones outpouring of creativity. This refreshing synthesis led to the compelling first half of “So Much to Say.” Fortunately for Rob, but unfortunately for the listener, he and his better half reconciled things, and this reconciliation inspired the second half of the album, which is nothing short of terrible, terrible schmaltz. Continue reading “From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘So Much to Say’–the new album by Rob Murat”

From March 19, 2007: A night at the Clipse concert

On the John presents…

A night at the Clipse concert

Originally completed March 19, 2007

They got it for cheap.
They got it for cheap.

My first clue that the Clipse concert at the Metro in early March would not feature the same levels of universal camaraderie as per a sporting event came while standing outside the show, lined up along a brick wall for 28 minutes in 24-degree weather. An older, self-assured black man with determined eyes began walking up and down the block telling the guys to step to the right and the ladies to the left, thus forming two separate lines. At first I agreed with this order, thinking it was only for purposes of moving through security, but soon after it became clear that the ratio of guys to girls was about 8 to 1, and so the girls were all pretty much going right in. Continue reading “From March 19, 2007: A night at the Clipse concert”

From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Our World’–the new album by T.O.K.

T.O.K. :: Our World :: VP Records
reviewed by Eric Sirota

'Our World' by T.O.K.
'Our World' by T.O.K.

 

Hailed by The New York Times as “the world’s greatest dancehall-reggae boy band,” T.O.K. (originally standing for Touch of Klass), comprised of Alex, Lexx, Bay-C, and Craigy-T., has established quite a legacy. Hailing from Kingston and churning out dancehall hits in Jamaica since the mid-Nineties and in the U.S. since 2001, the group has shown nearly unprecedented longevity for a “boy band.” T.O.K. thus has a lot to live up to. Their latest release, “Our World,” however, while consistently catchy, does not live up to this Kingston quartet’s legacy. Though the production is dynamic enough to get even two-left-footed wallflowers like myself to the dance floor, the often outmoded lyrical content prevents “Our World” from being little more than a collection of half-decent club anthems. Continue reading “From rapreviews.com, critic Eric Sirota breaks down ‘Our World’–the new album by T.O.K.”

From November 2, 2005: Yakity Yak (Dress Like Shaq)

On the John

The Big Nicknamer seen here lookin' right.
The Big Nicknamer seen here lookin' right.

Yakity Yak (Dress Like Shaq)

Originally published in NUVO Newsweekly on November 2, 2005

On the day Boston Celtics’ guard Tony Allen rejoined the team after spending two nights in prison for aggravated battery as well as involvement in a fight in which one man was shot, the hottest topic of discussion around the NBA was—gulp—commissioner David Stern’s new dress code, and it really made me wonder: would players who have been charged with crimes rather wear an orange (jump) suit or a black (Armani) one? Continue reading “From November 2, 2005: Yakity Yak (Dress Like Shaq)”

Interview excerpts with J. Gatz, Louchiano, Young General

Author’s note: The following are excerpts from longer interviews. The full versions can be found here (J. Gatz), here (Louchiano), and here (Young General). Along with E-Train, these three artists will be playing at Subterranean in Chicago’s Bucktown on March 4th.

I want to take you into the future, all right? It’s March 4th, Wednesday night, Subterranean, you’ve just finished your set. You’re walking off stage…what has the crowd experienced?

J. GATZtoenail-of-a-giant1

(laughs) Pretty much, they experienced something they probably didn’t expect. Something new, something different, something funny…I think the audience will feel entertained. Not just rapped at. Entertained. Like they just experienced a show, a well thought out performance, as well as experienced a true MC.

LOUCHIANOthe-promise

Connection. You want to feel as if for twenty minutes, or however long I’m up there, the twenty minutes went by like that. (snaps fingers) I want it to feel as if you got lost in music. You got lost in wordplay, you got lost in words. It just felt, for just twenty minutes, that nothing else in the world mattered, and you was just zoning. Not to say you was high, but kinda like, man, you just got caught, got stuck in the moment. It’s like watching rain fall. Like snow.

Outside of that, I just want you to be blown away. Not just entertained, but educated as well.

YOUNG GENERALyoung-general

They’ve experienced the best thing they never knew about. Something that is valid. When you see something where you’re like, “That was real. There was no way that could have been artificial.” And I think it’s something you know to your core—it’s something that I’m dedicated to and really talented at but work really hard at. You’re happy with what you get. It’s like when you leave a restaurant and you’re like “I feel like I got my money’s worth.”

STAY TUNED for full interviews, only at readjack.com and the readjack.com blog.