CD Reviews

The Idea of Beautiful, Welcome to: Our House, Year of the Dragon

[ Estrogen-Charged Hip-Hop ]

RapsodyThe Idea of Beautiful (Jamla)

Although many female rappers offer sex-appeal over substance, a few can rip a microphone with the best of them. Under the tutelage of producer 9th Wonder, Rapsody has the right blend of beats and rhymes to separate her from the pack. Her debut, The Idea of Beautiful, reminds you of an early Lauryn Hill. She flexes lyrical muscle on “Believe Me” and gives both Mac Miller and the Cool Kids a run for their money on the awesome “Roundtable Discussion.” Aside from a few grating hooks courtesy of her R&B guests, The Idea of Beautiful is proof positive that females rappers can be recognized for their lyricism. ★★★☆☆

What We’re Buying

1. Animal Collective, Centipede HZ
2. Cat Power, Sun
3. 2 Chainz, Based on a T.R.U. Story
4. Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance
5. Two Door Cinema Club, Beacon
6. Slaughter House, Welcome to: Our House
7. Imagine Dragons, Night Visions
8. Two Gallants, The Bloom and the Blight
9. Bob Mould, Silver Age
10. Propagandhi, Failed States

According to sales at Zia Record Exchange on 4225 S. Eastern Ave., Sept. 3-10.

[ Super Duper Rap ]

Slaughterhouse Welcome to: Our House (Interscope/Shady Records)

It’s no secret that Joe Budden, Crooked I, Royce da 5’9” and Joell Ortiz can rap. But on their major-label debut, Welcome to: Our House, the rap collective known as Slaughterhouse must face the challenge of varying their content beyond wicked punch lines. As expected, when they are in their element, Slaughterhouse is a well-oiled machine. They crush the Eminem-assisted “Asylum” with witty humor and they get introspective on “Our House.” However, when they attempt radio-friendly songs—such as the Swizz Beatz-assisted “Throw It Away” or the sputtering “Frat House”—they stumble over their own feet. Thankfully, the pros outweigh the cons, and fans should be pleased. ★★★☆☆

[ New York Rap ]

Busta Rhymes Year of the Dragon (Young Money)

Lately, Busta Rhymes has been reduced to gimmicky rapid-fire guest spots on other artists’ songs. Considering that it’s been three years since the last album, Bussa Buss decided to give away his next project as a reminder that he is much more than a fast-rap hero. Too bad it doesn’t work out that way. Year of The Dragon is an exercise in the underwhelming. Many of the tracks feel like throwaways, such as the lame club song “Grind Real Slow” and the Tears for Fears-sampled “I’m Talking to You.” Aside from the Lil Wayne-assisted adrenaline rush, “Pressure,” Year of the Dragon is subpar when compared to his catalog. Let’s just act like this album didn’t happen. ★☆☆☆☆

Upcoming Releases

What albums are on Andreas’ radar…

SEPT. 25: Lupe Fiasco delivers brain food in musical form as he drops Food & Liquor 2, while Left Coasters Murs and Fashawn form the unlikely tag team for This Generation. OCT. 9: Remember Xzibit? Yeah, it’s certainly been a long time since his Pimp My Ride days. The gruff-voiced Cali rapper returns with his first album in six years, Napalm. After performing songs off of the album at Rock the Bells in August, it’s safe to say that he’s out to prove that he hasn’t lost a step. OCT. 30: Rick Ross protégé Meek Mill’s Maybach Music Group debut album Dreams & Nightmares will see the light of day after being pushed back in August.