Pin It

CD Reviews 

by Andrew Matson and Luke Baumgarten & r &


Hip Hop Is Dead

4 Stars

It's old news that Nas changed hip-hop in 1992 with Illmatic, a classic of epic proportions. Every album since has been hailed as one of two things: woefully lacking compared to Illmatic, or a mini-triumph signaling a possible return to Illmatic. These criticisms would be reasonable if not for the glaring fact that Nas will never make another Illmatic. He just can't. The story now is not what he might accomplish, but what he already has.

Already ruffling feathers (rappers like Young Jeezy think he's talking to them, people wonder if he's talking about the Southern rap stranglehold, New Yorkers think he's decrying their recent rap irrelevance), Hip Hop is Dead is his strongest album since 2001's Stillmatic. The Game, Kanye, Jay-Z, Snoop all guest with impressive vigor and L.E.S. handles the production bulk to mostly magnificent effect. Like Tupac and Biggie, Nas is a mainstream star with underground clout. Hip Hop is Dead proves he has every right to be revered in both circles.


DOWNLOAD: "Hip Hop is Dead"

Lady Sovereign

Public Warning

3 Stars

Lady Sov is kinda like Britain's 5-foot, female, jankily corn-rowed Bubba Sparxxx, a rapper underrated, overlooked and often maligned outright in her own country because, well, she's complete trailer trash. But books and covers kids, because she's also quick, clever, self-effacing, self-referential and brilliant.

Because most of this album leaked, like, a year ago, though, I almost didn't review it. The mixture of now-familiar leaked barn burners and unfamiliar mediocrity left me nonplussed, annoyed and disappointed. Hardly a mindset for offering an opinion, but there's a lesson here, so I'm reviewing it anyway.

Though there's something refreshing and post-naturalistic about rhymes wondering whether your debit card's been stolen or just left somewhere, songs like "Gatheration" (unleaked) still have the bleep-blip production and her trademark squeak, so they sound familiar. The stuff I had heard -- all summer, nonstop, gleefully of my own accord -- now seems played out, obviously. If you're a label trying to convince people to buy whole albums when they could just buy a single song, you have to protect the sovereignty (pun intentional... or was it?) of your product. This is still filthy, just not shocking.


DOWNLOAD: "Gatheration"
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Crapo Flip-Flops
  • Crapo Flip-Flops

    Trail Mix: Idaho senator tied in knots, and Trump's wordplay
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • We Shall Overcome
  • We Shall Overcome

    In retrospect, this election could mean short-term pain for long-term gain
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Now It's Our Turn
  • Now It's Our Turn

    A newly minted voter reflects on joining the process of American democracy
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Most Commented On

  • Defending North Idaho

    Why Heather Scott must go
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • A Culture of Support
  • A Culture of Support

    The season is ripe for compassionate change
    • May 13, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation