Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Opinions on.... "Insane Clown Posse"

Insane Clown Posse is an oddity in hip hop music. They are pretty hated, but they also have a huge fanbase.

Despite the fact that most critics hate them... I honestly don't. Looking at them as just a "rap group", they are definitely mediocre, members Violent J and Shaggy 2 dope are typically simple, lyrically. Often using A-B
rhyme schemes, I don't think they are incompetent about it or anything, I'm pretty sure the simplicity is a choice, because I've actually heard Violent J rap some decent bars.(With some really questionable lyrics, however) ICP do not take themselves seriously. You can almost call them a pastiche on hip hop.
Example being, while most rappers would brag about owning cars, having sex with attractive women, and
other typical exploits, ICP will boast about stuff that no sane person would ever brag about,(IE having sex with women who are described as repulsively unattractive) or have it be cartoonishly over the top.
Shock value stuff. ICP decidedly isn't about being real. Instead they usually tell horror stories, and often they "play" the part of the killers in these songs. While I do like this idea, it's hard to make these kind of songs for as long as they have been, and honestly, there hasn't been an ICP album that I really enjoyed since 1997's The Great Milenko. They still make decent tracks every now and then, but for the most part, I think that they are kind of beating a dead horse at this point. But most of their fanbase still enjoy the new albums, so all power to them, I suppose.

Mike E Clark(pictured below)  is the main producer for ICP, and a big reason why I enjoy them. You know, if I were discussing favorite producers with "typical" hip hop fans, and I said that one of my favorite producers was the guy who produces for ICP, they would probably laugh at me and say that my opinion does not matter.
But, honestly, he provides very eclectic and unique instrumentals. Ranging from relaxing, chill beats, (see Ninja, Out) to more intense beats (Chicken Huntin', How Many Times).


So in conclusion. I don't think that ICP is terrible, although they have had some pretty bad songs, but when they are on, they are on. Personally, I think that Violent J can deliver emotions that most rappers, who are decidedly better lyricists, just can't get right.Shaggy is just kind of there for me, and more often than not, is kind of obnoxious. They have lowbrow humor, some lyrics are kind of questionable at times, but, they have a certain charm to them, and I'll still listen to Ringmaster, Riddle Box, or Great Milenko every now and again.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)

As I write this, this album is still fairly recent.

I can't say that I had high expectations for this album, considering that his past 3 albums fell pretty flat with me. But I was surprised. I honestly don't see a lot of relation to  The Marshall Mathers LP. In it, he was young, much more aggressive, angry, and the whole album retained that feeling. This album does have tense moments (Bad Guy, So Much Better) but it also has a share of lighter songs (Love Game, So Far)
Most songs are relatively memorable in some way or another, although there are definitely some songs that just feel like songs that should have been on Recovery (Monster, Evil Twin, Stronger Than I Was)
The last one probably being my least favorite track on the album (it's an incredibly boring ballad track, and most of it features Em singing rather than rapping. I don't know. It just doesn't work with Eminem.
The sister song is arguably Headlights, which is Eminem's apology to his mother, it's kind of corny, but, you know, I enjoy it for what it is.

This album has a few tracks that use 60s/70s rock song samples as a foundation, most notably, Berzerk, which was one of the bigger singles of the album, the track definitely has a "Beastie Boys in the License to Ill era" kind of feel. It even samples the artists. And I don't really know, I like this track, but for some reason it just doesn't work with Eminem, in my opinion, so I don't really know what to make of it other than "it kind of feels unfinished in a way". So Far, another song with a rock sample, is probably one of my favorites. It just has a fun, laid back kind of feeling to it. Other songs that use these samples include Rhyme or Reason and Love Game. Both of which I enjoy, although, in the latter, Kendrick Lamar is kind of annoying to me.

The singles include the aforementioned Berzerk, Survival, Monster and Rap God
Also, Legacy just sounds like it should have been a single, but it isn't. I do enjoy that song, despite the chorus, the singer actually sounds like she is going to throw up. I don't know it's weird. Anyways.
Survival was made to promote Call of Duty Ghosts, and if you know me, you know exactly how I feel about the series, however, this song is pretty good, it has some of the best lyricism on the album, and it has a pretty solid, powerful beat. Oh, I also have to mention, Eminem doesn't even play(modern) video games. lolmoney.

Monster is just a bit too poppy for me, (it features Rihanna) and this song is definitely one that I would skip

The final single is Rap God. I don't like this one, The entire thing just feels like a "Hey, look at me, I can rap" kind of song. And while his flow is pretty impressive in this one, it's a forgettable song to me.

Before I finish up the review, I should talk about Bad Guy, which is a sequel to Stan, from Marshall Mathers LP, from the perspective of Stan's brother Matthew. It's a good concept, but I can't say that I enjoy it too much, and it kind of goes on for too long.

I know I kind of rambled a bit, but I enjoyed this album. I don't think that it compares to any of his first 4 albums, but it's a great effort since we haven't had a single good album from him since 2002's Eminem Show.It definitely has low points, but overall, it was a pretty solid comeback.

Overall rating: 6.5/10
Favorite track:Legacy/So Far. 2 totally different songs, but I enjoy them a lot.
Least favorite track: Stronger Than I Was

Friday, 24 January 2014

Recovery (2010)

The first thing that I am going to say about Recovery, is that it is very much made to appeal to the mainstream radio audience. Eminem has always been mainstream and on the radio, since Slim Shady LP, but this album features a few guest singers such as Pink and Rihanna. Really, Em? To quote a tweet by rapper D-Sisive (Who is super cool and overlooked, but, that's not the point) "Old Eminem would make fun of new Eminem".

I don't know, at this point, he was almost 40, and he has definitely mellowed down. So I really can't expect him to rap about subjects that he was rapping about in earlier albums.  This album is just boring. The beats are really lame, and made by producers who have never worked with Eminem before this. Most of the beats sound like something a wannabe producer would make on FL studio.

But anyways, most of the tracks are forgettable, and aside from the singles, if you were to play a song from the middle without giving me the name, I couldn't tell you what was playing. That's how boring everything is.

Speaking of the singles, they were pretty huge. Not Afraid was kind of something of an anthem about getting better and being confident. It's honestly okay, and it has a wonderful message, but I don't know, the overly poppy feel of the song just bugs me. It's not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the idea of the song. And that's about it.  The other popular single from the album is Love The Way You Lie. Which is just my least favorite Eminem single, it's success was probably fueled on the star power of Rihanna. I really can't say too much about it, it's about being in an abusive relationship, and it's pretty much radio pop to the core.

I have pretty much the same opinion on Space Bound.

The final single is No Love, which features Lil Wayne. Now the odd thing is, despite how much I hate Lil Wayne for what he stands for, he delivers a surprisingly alright verse. Em's part is also just alright. This song is the one track that I kind of like, I don't know what it is, it has kind of a swaying beat that samples "What is Love" by Haddaway. It's a dumb sample, but, yeah, the song is probably the best on the album, and yet, it's not all that good.

Overall, while this album is a lot more focused than the last 2 albums, it's radio pop, for the most part, and that's just something that I can't stand. I can appreciate the emotion and work that went into this album. But it's still my least favorite Eminem album to date...

Favorite track-No Love
Least favorite track-Cinderella Man

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Relapse (2009)

First off, I know that it's been forever. Like about 2 and a half months. I kind of just forgot about this thing.

But speaking of long hiatuses, today I will talk about Eminem's album "Relapse." He had a pretty bad drug problem around and before the release, and he really didn't do anything from 2005-09 aside from a few singles, and guest verses. But then he came back. This album is very much focused on his drug problem, depression, personal issues, etc etc. Oddly enough though despite the serious nature of the topics he still decides to make 13 year old jokes in like every other track. It's obnoxious.That's the main problem with the album. Jesus, you'll be listening to a track and he'll just say something unnecessary about child molestation or something. It's not edgy, Em, it's just stupid and lame and you are trying to hard. Just listen to the track Insane.   The album spawned a few singles, such as Crack a Bottle, We Made You, 3 AM and Beautiful. The first one that I mentioned is the only one that I really like, the others are pretty meh, aside from 3 AM, which has Em rapping in some obnoxious accent again. To the most repetitive beat, the track is about a serial killer, it's kind of like going back to his horrorcore roots, but it's severely watered down and I just want to start listening to a song of Slim Shady LP instead. Nice try, I guess.

Listening to this album, I really only liked 3 songs, the aforementioned Crack a Bottle, Stay Wide Awake and my favorite track, Old Time's Sake. It's a song that sounds as if it came straight out of The Eminem Show. And it's mostly just about smoking weed, but damn, this song is pretty cool

overall, it's mediocre. Even if he was off of drugs, I don't think he was entirely "well" yet
Most of the the tracks aren't even that offending or bad, they are just so boring and forgettable, and I'd say that this is Eminem's most "meh" release to date.

Favorite track:Old Time's Sake
Least favorite Track:Insane

Overall Rating: 4.5/10. Just a bit better than Encore.