Monday, January 30, 2012

Drive-By Album Review: Nu MAGIK - The Vintage LP

This album is my introduction to Nu MAGIK. According to Nu MAGIK's label, HiPNOTT Records, "Nu MAGIK, comprised of Chicago-based emcee Draz and Los Angeles-based producer Duece Maxwell, have joined HiPNOTT Records to re-release their 2009 debut album, The Vintage LP. The free re-release will serve as a precursor to the duo’s upcoming HiPNOTT debut, V2 to be released early 2012. This special edition re-release of The Vintage LP IS available on compact disc for the first time ever and features two bonus remixes produced by UK producers, Jazz Spastiks. Features on the album include Raphael Saadiq, JusBrea of Deep Rooted, Blu Smith, Phoebe Mac & Khan, Royale Krown, Pucali Raw and Smoke E. Digglera."

So here's my candid thoughts on the album:

Intro track hot.  One thing I require of any dope hip hop album is a bangin' scratch break.  And this album leads off with a pretty sweet one.  Unfortunately, the album that backs up the dope intro is nothing like the intro.  "Yeah", the album's 4th track was the first non-intro track that I liked.  I found myself thinking about some '90s AZ.  I was definitely digging on the bass guitar in the background.  All three verses were nice.  The song has an uplifting, soulful message.  It's not "Juicy" in terms of uplifting (really, what is) but its nice and along that line.  "Summer Magik" is totally meh (see video below)

"Much too late", I struggled to make it to the first hook.  Nexxxt.  Hey, "Just Another Rapper" had a scratch break!  But the song's title kinda describes Nu MAGIK in my opinion...just another rapper.  Aside from the sparse scratch breaks, the production did not move me.

"Home Sweet Home" features Raphael Saadiq on the hook.  You know he's nice.  But alas, the verses are average at best.  

The album also includes a tribute song to Nu MAGIK's grandma called, "A Song for You".  I think it is a very nice idea, but to me, nothing about my grandma says, "hip hop tribute".

"Yeah (Jazz Spastiks Remix)" is, like the original version, nice.  The Jazz Spastiks beat is good and jazzy.

There is nothing I'm hearing in this album that makes it stand out.  The album is not terrible, but in all honesty, I'm glad I had the opportunity to cop this album for free.  I'm not sure I would've paid for it.  Lord knows there's already a queue of dope albums I need to plunk down on.  I will definitely make sure I give their next album a preview before committing to the purchase.    Again, this is a re-release of their 2009 debut.  It's now 2012, and perhaps things done changed.

Album in a nutshell in my opinion - Lacks sufficient scratch breaks, but the ones that were there were nice.  R&B hooks. Clean (as in not vulgar) lyrics.  Lyrically average.  Word play, which I kinda like, is absent for the most part.  Slow flow.  Were there not so many amazing acts popping up over the last few years, I'd probably have dug this more.

2 out of 5 Juiceboxes.

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