CD Reviews: Dom Kennedy, Black Milk and Nipsey Hussle

’90s-Era West Coast Rap

Dom Kennedy Get Home Safely (The Other People’s Money Company)

dom-kennedy-get-home-safely-600x600After putting the industry on notice with the Yellow Album mixtape, Leimert Park’s Dom Kennedy decided not to align himself with a major label. Instead he released the independent follow-up, Get Home Safely. Going for style and simplicity over substance, Get Home Safely calls upon ’90s-era West Coast rap for his album. Sometimes it works (the hater-dismissing “Dominic”) and sometimes it falls flat (the cliché rap about women on “All Girl Crazy”). It’s not his brightest moment, but it shines just enough to keep him visible in a room crowded with rappers. ★★✩✩✩

Detroit Boom Bap

Black Milk No Poison No Paradise (Def Jam/G.O.O.D. Music)

blackmilkDetroit has been known as a breeding ground for talented hip-hop artists. Coming from the school of the late J Dilla, Black Milk is a producer/MC whose work behind the boards is brilliant. His latest effort, No Poison No Paradise, further drives home the point as he documents his upbringing with the semi-fictional character “Sonny.” Each production packs a soulful wallop into his childhood tales, which range from the churchy vibes of “Monday’s Worst” to the foggy synths on the Black Thought-assisted “Codes & Cab Fare.” He may be underrated, but Black Milk is certainly not one to be slept on. ★★★✩✩

Gangsta Rap

Nipsey Hussle Crenshaw (All Money In)

Nipsey_Hussle_Crenshaw-front-largeNipsey Hussle can be considered a late bloomer; he hasn’t quite exploded since landing on XXL magazine’s Annual Freshman Top 10 cover back in 2010. But it appears that he’s now seizing his moment with his Crenshaw project, which feels yanked out of the gangsta rap era and given a 2013 gloss. If nothing else, Nipsey’s confidence and conviction are reasons enough to support the Crenshaw, California rapper’s latest project. Nipsey doesn’t mince words on “Face the World” as he ponders success over a 9th Wonder production. The slinky “4 in the Mornin’” finds him kicking game to the opposite sex without the usual rapper cliché. At the end of the day Crenshaw is a project from the streets, for the streets, but I’m sure the mainstream will love it too. ★★★✩✩

Disc Scan

Upcoming on Andreas’ Radar …

NOV. 25: No matter how much T.I. has become a Bill Cosby-like figure on TV, you can be sure that his upcoming album I Am King won’t be as soft as a Jello pudding pop. DEC. 17: Rick Ross is looking to close a strong year in hip-hop as he releases the album titled Mastermind. With a song titled “The Devil Is a Lie” featuring Jay Z, rest assured that he’ll be heard loud and clear before 2013 ends.