Archive for Jean-Woo Deaux

MGF Reviews Jah Cure - The Universal Cure

Sure, the "jail" theme is a little overdone, but on tracks like "Reflections", Cure's raw accounts are honest, haunting and a damn fine deterrent. Things are brighter by the second half of the album. Indeed, there's an oddly effective Latin-infusion on many of the cuts that might be a bit sonically jarring for Cure's core audience, but I found myself digging it. »»

MGF Reviews Stack$ - Crazee and Confuzed

Needless to say, the highlights here are whenever Stack$ isn't spitting. He's not what you'd call "bad"... just bland. His flow comes right off the assembly line and remains unchanged... »»

MGF Reviews Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It

It's insane to think that Tony! Toni! Toné! might be a lasting legacy, but since that group disbanded, Saadiq's done some great production work, garnered a few Grammy nods and you still can't name five songs he's been on. ... Go ahead and try... I'll even spot you that one with Naked D'Angelo off of the Voodoo album. »»

MGF Reviews The One - Superpsychosexy

There are two things that make Superpsychosexy especially frustrating. The first is the production ... the beats are dense, complex and entertaining. But The One wastes most of them with this sleep-inducing style. Second, the insufferable ego of The One overshadows every other aspect of this album—good and bad. This album plays like the most self-serving of vanity projects. ... »»

MGF Reviews Earth, Wind & Fire - Live in Japan [CD/DVD]

The concert was put together to promote the group's Heritage album, as we're off to a way-dated start as images of the Berlin Wall-collapse and Nelson Mandela appear on the video screen. This is followed by two male dancers (complete with knockoffs of Bobby Brown's Every Little Step double-breasted-suit-jacket-with-no-shirt look)... »»

MGF Reviews Calvin Richardson - When Love Comes

After an extended bout of label drama, including one shelved release and another inexplicably entitled Country Boy, Richardson is going independent in an attempt to cash in on the kiddie R&B sound made popular by acts like Chris Brown. ... He definitely has a future—perhaps a long one—but, the hope here is that his music evolves with him and targets an audience that can really appreciate his all-around talent. ... »»

MGF Reviews The Funk Brothers - Live in Orlando CD/DVD

If you've never heard of The Funk Brothers, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you're not alone. For over decade, Eddie Willis, Bob Babbitt and Uriel Jones performed much of the production work that was masterminded by legendary producer Berry Gordy, forming the foundation of that ubiquitous Motown sound, back in its heyday. ... »»

MGF Reviews The Grouch - Show You the World

The Grouch – Show You the World Legendary Music / ADA (4/8/08) Hip-hop / Rap It's been about 15 years since the West Coast consistently dominated the hip-hop scene. Despite the continued presence of tired acts like Snoop Dogg and his Dogg Pound (actual combined age in human years: infinity), the truth is that California's peak lasted about two years, ending when names like "Newt Gingrich" were being introduced to the American public. The independent scene out in Cali has been trying to find its footing amid the state's rap stereotype (gangsta lyrics, dated g-funk beats), and if anyone's going to lead the left coast into the light, it might as well be The Grouch. »»

MGF Reviews Keith Sweat - Just Me

I'm old enough to remember where I was when Keith Sweat's 1987 debut album – the triple-platinum Make It Last Forever – was released. Back then, you could drop an album that was just eight tracks long, but then again, back then we all thought the New Jack Swing era would last forever. Just Me is perfectly listenable, but is actually one of those rare albums from an established artist that might be a stronger lure to newer fans than those of us who could say we knew him when. »»

MGF Reviews Rocko - Self-Made

Rap is a young man's game. That's not something that's up for debate, but come on. When you've been raised listening to wonderful lyricists spit, it really puts the meandering storytelling of tracks like "Snakes" and the insincere hunger and drive on "Meal" in their proper perspective. With apologies to the late ODB, Rocko for the kids. ... »»

MGF Reviews Rick Ross - Trilla

When it comes to Miami-based drug n' thug rapper Rick Ross, it's all too easy to dismiss him. He's from the South, so that's strike one. His stage name is yet another tired tribute to an infamous real-life ne'er-do-well for strike two. And, he's assembled a shockingly awesome cast of guest artists and producers for his sophomore effort. What the hell? ... »»

MGF Reviews Living Legends - The Gathering

The Gathering is strong enough for the first half to be at least worth downloading the best three tracks. I'd love to hear all eight over an entire album. It'd certainly be a challenge—and, as the last half of this LP shows, the group might not be able to weave a cohesive sound from beginning to end—but, "risk" is one thing lacking in rap today. ... »»

MGF Reviews Jay-Z - Classic Albums: Reasonable Doubt [DVD]

It goes without saying that even casual Jay-Z fans will want to cop this. This is a look back at a time, place and sound that Jigga won't be revisiting any time soon. It's through and honest (although, I really would've liked to hear a few words on the volatile Hip Hop climate at the time and whether that influenced any of the material). Still, this "Classic Albums" series is a wonderful concept from our friends at Eagle. Here's hoping many more are on the way. »»

MGF Reviews Black Spade - To Serve With Love

Black Spade's debut album (fittingly dropped on eclectic independent Bay Area label, OM Records) is a densely produced and lyrically driven attempt to bring substance back to the game. As you might expect when words like "eclectic" are dropped so early in a review, this one won't be for everyone. Hell, I'm not sure the target audience will appreciate everything here, but say this much for Black Spade – he's not afraid to take a sonic risk or two. »»

MGF Reviews Bassnectar - Underground Communication

Quick intro for those new to the show: Bassnectar plays big shows and back alleys at a clip of about 150-200 shows per year. You've probably heard one of the many generic derivatives of Bassnectar's sound if you've been to any nightclub in the world: bass-heavy, electronic notes over the club-supplied smoke machine and $12 cocktails. On Underground Communication it's easy to hear the difference between Bassnectar and all of the imitators. With apologies to Gertrude Stein, there is a there, there. »»

MGF Reviews Naturally 7 - Live at Montreux 2007 [DVD]

Our friends at Kayos Productions passed along an advance copy of Naturally 7's Live at Montreux DVD release to Machine Gun Funk. And, even though I write for a music site, I can't say I'd heard too much about the septet comprised of Marcus Davis, Warren Thomas, Dwight Stewart, Roderick Eldridge, Roger Thomas, Garfield Buckley and Jamal Reed. Now, after three complete viewings of the DVD, I can't wait to hear more. It's easy to get caught up in press releases that praise an act with words like "astounding" and "mystifying", but, hyperbole be damned…these are accurate adjectives. »»

MGF Reviews Raheem DeVaughn - Love Behind the Melody

Raheem DeVaughn – Love Behind the Melody Jive Records (01/15/08) R&B / Neo-Soul It's really hard to get a handle on the Grammy-nominated talents of the self-professed "R&B hippie neo-soul rockstar", Raheem DeVaughn. Love Behind the Melody is actually his second release, coming about 2½ years after his debut effort, The Love Experience. DeVaughn has worked with some of the most respected talents in the industry and, despite moving a respectable 250,000 units of his first album, this is something of a re-introduction to the masses. "Woman" is the first single and it's a positive, radio-friendly ode to all the broads out there. The problem with it—and many of the songs here—is that it's a little simplistic, lyrically. Think of it as a decidedly 2008 take on the rudimentary wordplay from two or three soul generations ago. »»

MGF Reviews Witchdoctor - The Diary of an American Witchdoctor

Witchdoctor – The Diary of an American Witchdoctor Williams Street Records (10/23/07) Hip-hop / Rap Erin "Witchdoctor" Johnson has never had a chance to shine on the world (or commercial) stage. Despite recording with OutKast and Goodie Mob ov »»

MGF Reviews Barry White - An Evening With Barry White

Barry White – An Evening With Barry White Eagle Records (10/30/07) Soul If it's possible to be considered a world-renowned talent, yet still underrated, the late Barry White would fit the description. Did you know that he released or contribut »»

MGF Reviews Wyclef Jean - Carnival, Volume II: Memoirs of an Immigrant

Wyclef Jean – Carnival, Volume II: Memoirs of an Immigrant Columbia (12/4/07) Hip-hop / Rap Wyclef Jean is undeniably talented. With a solo career spanning more than 10 years (to say nothing of his work with seminal hip-hop act, the Fugees) and »»

MGF Reviews Fiend - The Best of Fiend: Mr. Whomp Whomp

Fiend – The Best of Fiend: Mr. Whomp Whomp Priority (12/4/07) Rap / Hip-hop There's this used record store not far from where I live. For the last 10 years, they've been my inexpensive source for hard-to-find releases, replacement CDs for ones I »»

MGF Reviews Westside Connection - The Best of Westside Connection: The Gangsta, The Killa & The Dope Dealer

Westside Connection – The Best of Westside Connection: The Gangsta, The Killa & The Dope Dealer Priority (12/4/07) Rap / Hip-hop Let's see if I've got this right: The Westside Connection—comprising Ice Cube, WC and Mack 10 —released just two »»

MGF Reviews N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton: 20th Anniversary Edition

N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton: 20th Anniversary Edition Priority (12/4/07) Hip-hop Has it really been 20 years since N.W.A. released Straight Outta Compton? We're often told about the album's impact, but, really… what was it? Gangsta rap, a »»

MGF Reviews Eazy-E - Featuring… Eazy-E

Eazy-E – Featuring… Eazy-E Priority (12/4/07) Rap / Hip-hop In the summer of 1995, at the apex of the West Coast gangsta rap era, Eric "Eazy-E" Wright succumbed to complications from AIDS at the age of 31. Wright has been lyrically deified by »»

MGF Reviews Too $hort - Get Off the Stage

Too $hort – Get Off the Stage Jive Records (12/4/07) Hip-hop Rappers don't age well. This is simply not up for debate. Legends from the '80s, such as Chuck D, KRS-One and Rakim, have turned into a liberal apologist in ill-fitting jeans, Nelly's »»

MGF Reviews Mack 10 - The Best of Mack 10: Foe Life

Mack 10 – The Best of Mack 10: Foe Life Capitol/Priority (12/4/07) Hip-hop / Rap Dedrick "Mack 10" Rolison has crafted quite the career just beneath the gangsta rap radar. While never achieving the A-list fame (or mug shot infamy) of peers like »»

MGF Reviews Jah Cure - True Reflections…A New Beginning

Jah Cure – True Reflections…A New Beginning VP Records (8/7/07) Reggae Let's say this much for Siccature "Jah Cure" Alcock: his back-story is more interesting than his music. Prosecuted on charges of gun possession, rape and robbery »»

MGF Reviews Hurricane Chris - 51/50 Ratchet

Hurricane Chris – 51/50 Ratchet RCA/Polo Grounds Music (10/23/07) Rap Well, it's finally here. After hitting it big with the summertime ring-tone anthem "A Bay Bay" and an execrable mixtape, Hurricane Chris drops his debut album, 51/50 Ratc »»

MGF Reviews Big B - More to Hate

Big B – More to Hate Suburban Noize Records (8/28/07) Rap / Hip-hop The self-proclaimed "White Trash Renegade" is slowly, but surely building quite the following. Already an underground sensation in his hometown of Las Vegas, Big B's tracks »»

MGF Reviews The 3 Tenors of Soul - All the Way from Philadelphia

The 3 Tenors of Soul – All the Way from Philadelphia Shanachie (9/25/07) R&B / Soul The 3 Tenors of Soul are Russell Thompkins Jr., William "Poogie" Hart and Ted "Wizard" Mills. Crafted from the Philadelphia soul sound of the 1970s, each ma »»

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