Album: Keys to the Kuffs
Artist: JJ DOOM
Sounds Like: DOOM doing this thing over some of the most eclectic production in his career; spaced out UK experience meets US Hip-Hop steeze (4 out of 5, worth copping the full album at full price or a decent amount of mp3s)
Reviewer: DJ Fusion
In the latest of collabo albums with folks, long-time producer/MC Daniel Dumile (known way back in the day as Zeb Love X of KMD and now known as DOOM on a ton of successful indie Hip-Hop projects) combines with producer/MC Jneiro Jarel for the JJ DOOM project “Keys to the Kuffs”.
You don’t really get a traditional boom bap rap album from JJ DOOM’s tightly paced 14 tracks – and it’s all for the better for listeners.
Jneiro Jarel’s beats are all over the place but are easy to get your head nod on to with “Keys to the Kuffs”, having the influence of Southern Bounce grooves, jazzy soundscapes, loopy Drum & Bass, crunchy psychedelic rock, spaced out orchestra sonics, grimy Electro and more. Whether folks are a fan of DOOM’s stream of consciousness rhyme style or no, I don’t think anyone will really be able to hate on the awesome production in play with this release.
DOOM displays kind of a rare playfulness as of late with some of the tracks on the album (particularly “Guv’nor” – and how couldn’t someone by that way on a joint that samples Cartoon Network’s “Regular Show”, “Wash Your Hands” and “Bite The Thong”) along with getting more serious on tunes like the amazing chemical & social breakdown of “GMO”, the love song in more ways than 1 “Winter Blues” and kinda real life panicked “I’m stranded in London” song “Banished”. His Bugged Out B-Boy flow plus witty rhymes and punchlines are still in full effect almost 25 (!) years later.
All of “Keys to the Kuffs” guest artists do their thing very nicely on their respective tracks (Khujo Goodie, Beth Gibbons, Damon Albarn & Boston Felder) but don’t overpower the JJ DOOM creative combo.
Fans of DOOM &/or Jneiro Jarel will be happy to have “Keys to the Kuffs” in their collection as well as anyone who is bored with mainstream Hip-Hop’s cut-and-paste steeze. Adventurous but not off-putting or pretentious, “Keys to the Kuffs” is an album that is a part of unlocking some of the cool audio that still exists in Hip-Hop music.
Personal Favorite Tracks: Guv’nor, Winter Blues, GMO
Music Video: JJ DOOM – Guv’nor
Music Video: JJ DOOM – GMO
Music Video: JJ DOOM – Winter Blues (Live at BBC Radio 4)
Music Video: JJ DOOM – Banished
Album: Greater than One
Sounds Like: All other Dwele CDs
I’m just not that big of a fan of Dwele. His music just all sounds the same. And this CD is no different.
I really don’t have much else to say about this CD.
Nothing is really standing out to me. I’m listening to it as I type this review and I’m on track 8 and it just sounds like I’m listening to the same song over and over again.
I’m sorry this is a bad review and I’m sure there will be many that think this CD is great. I’m just not one of them.
Album: Beautiful Surprise
Sounds Like: A boring CD
Tamia has a nice voice but it’s not a memorable voice if that makes sense. And that might be why I always find her music to be boring as all get out.
This CD is another boring R&B CD from Tamia. There is no real substance in this CD its just mediocre track after mediocre track. I can’t even remember any of the songs I just listened to.
I’m not sure Tamia will ever not be boring to me. I don’t know if even different/better production will help her.
If you need a boring CD to put you to sleep then run out and get this one. If you are looking for some good music I’d skip this CD.
Album: Havoc and Bright Lights
Artist: Alanis Morrisette
Genre: Alt Rock/Pop
Sounds like: What happens after the Pussy Riot
Whenever I hear the name Alanis Morrisette, I instantly think of two things. The first is this:
The other thing that immediately jumps to mind about Alanis though is the strange history surrounding her breakout hit “You Outta Know.” The song’s lyrics present a jilted woman’s phone call to a former lover at dinnertime to let him know that she sardonically hopes the woman he left her for is will even be half as freaky as she was sexually.
In true Morrissette fashion, the song is loaded with oversharing – but it also featured an emotional delivery that suggested a much deeper story than just what was being said. Pair that with an inspired musical track from then-Red Hot Chili Peppers members Flea and Dave Navarro – and what you come away with is an anthem that still holds up to this day.
But what makes the story even more interesting is that the details in the lyrics are so specific, people began to wonder just who it was she was singing about when she was saying “Did she go down on you in a theater?”
Morrissette has never admitted publically who the subject of the song was, but most conventional wisdom believes that it was one of these two guys:
The girl from You Can’t Do That on Television got famous because somebody from Full House used her like a Kleenex. Also, one of the Olsen twins killed the Joker. Pretty much family programming on ABC is evil, and here is the proof.
Alanis followed this hit up with a string of others from her album Jagged Little Pill that made her an international sensation – but the other hits quickly established her as a much different artist. While the style of rock guitars paired with powerfully sung personal poetry remained, most of what made Morissette a star was far different than “You Outta Know.” Her most popular songs like “Head over Feet,” and “Hand in my Pocket” were more in line with the sound that artists like Avril Lavinge, Pink, and Shania Twain were offering at the time.
She was still a poetic lyricist, but much like the others – her songs felt more catchy than life-changing (her biggest hit “Ironic” seems more famous now for not understanding what Irony actually is rather than being a great track). In other words, we discovered Alanis as a fresh honest voice. But when we dug a little deeper all we found was just another singer.
That might sound mean, and it might make you think that I’m not a fan – which is partially true.
The fact is that much like Pink – who came onto the scene as this crazy rock rebel only to morph into a non-threatening pop star who sings about breakups, there was a potential in Alanis Morrisette’s music that was really cool. This idea of a female rocker with the attitude of a Riot Grrrrl but the poetic sense of a Lilith Fair participant was very exciting. In a lot of ways, I thought Alanis Morrisette was gonna be the other side of the coin from MeShell Ndegeocello. Angry, honest, and musically fearless.
But it didn’t happen.
Alanis (much like MeShell) got tired of the spotlight and focused on becoming a mom. Pink settled down, Sarah McLaughlin now only exists to make me feel bad about puppies, and Avril Lavigne is engaged to marry the lead singer of Nickleback.
Morrisette has never stopped recording and releasing music, but her star has largely faded. And while you get the sense that she prefers it this way, the void left by the decline of stars like her opened the door for others – and it’s hard to believe that the girl rock of the day with all its “Call Me Maybes” isn’t a step in a lesser direction.
This thought seems especially true when you listen to the 12 tracks on Alanis Morissette’s latest release Havoc and Bright Lights. Infused with rock guitars and singable choruses – there are hints of that polished rock sound that drew so many people to her in the first place. Songs like “Woman Down,” “Lens,” and the Evanescence-all-grown-up drive of “Numb” are strong reminders of just how well Alanis’ powerful voice works to get your head bobbing to the rhythm.
But it’s lyrically where the album seems to lose focus. While it’s nice to hear that her life is happy and she loves her child and husband, it makes her more angry moments about the state of celebrity in the world today or the way politicians and society make easy targets of women seem more like statements delivered over a latte at Starbucks than any sort of personal mantra.
The music sounds great and I’ve always loved her voice – but in the end her messages seem too general, too much The View for me to connect with.
See what you think, here’s “Guardian”