Monday, April 18, 2011

15. Album Review: Big K.R.I.T.-"Return of 4eva"

This review was put on hold for at least two months.

     Listening to K.R.I.T Wuz Here, the 2010 release from Mississipi-bred emcee, Big K.R.I.T.(Justin Scott), was for me, a love affair. Every track, golden. One of the most consistently fantastic albums I've heard in a New York minute (pictured), K.R.I.T. Wuz Here had me captivated for weeks on end, completely blown away.

This one really flew under the radar. 

     So naturally, when I saw that Return of 4eva had dropped in late March, I instantly began my free download and eagerly waited for an opportunity to sit down with it. And waited. It took a few days, much to my chagrin, before I was able to properly digest this album, as my work, where I listen to the majority of my music, was being particularly hectic and unreasonable. 

*Raspberry* Safety, last. 

     Upon my first listen, Return of 4eva sounded...odd. Not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, just different. Whereas K.R.I.T. Wuz Here felt extremely polished and streamlined, 4eva sounds borderline gritty in its production. And when I say "gritty", it's not as in something from the likes of RZA or Havoc, grimy and hard-hitting beat-wise, but in terms of fidelity. Initially, I wondered if something was the matter with my headphones, or the EQ settings, but after several listen-throughs I came to the conclusion that Return of 4eva was made to be played on a serious sound system.

Warning: Contains Bass

     My headphones, which are a pretty decent set of Boses, can barely handle the rawness of 4eva's production, so mighty are beats within. This album was meant to leak from the subwoofers, to hiss percussively from every boom car in the South, and rattle the frames of all surrounding vehicles when stopped at a red light. In K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Scott established himself as a highly likable and relatable everyman, possessed with the gift of gab and a knack for perfectly utilizing Soul samples with greater effect than most anyone out there, with perhaps the exception of 'Ye and Exile. I was curious to see in what direction Scott would take this persona, and how he had grown musically within the past year or so. Which means little, as Scott strikes me as the kind of artist who has a sizable catalogue of jams, any of which can be dusted off and structured into a classic with minimal effort. But let's explore this album.

1. R4 Intro
     Ah, the "movement" concept. Well, this is new. My first thought is one tinged with concern, as past "movements" in Hip-Hop music haven't particularly stricken my fancy. I'm not referring to the Hip-Hop movement as a whole (man, that sounded cheesy), but artist-driven camps, such as the Taylor Gang, Young Money, or Kid Cudi's vague, ill-advised REVOFEV.
     Anyway, Scott welcomes us to this album by setting the scene in which he introduced the aforementioned movement. We hear him make his rounds amid the audience, undoubtedly slapping backs, exchanging daps and kissing babies all the while. I hear more greetings directed his way crammed within the first 10 seconds than in the entirety of the Woodrow The Basehead Skit

"Suzie, throw it out the window!"

     Once everyone settles down, Scott delivers the most timid, digressive description of a movement I've ever heard. But unexpectedly, he drops into a nimble little rap, ducking and weaving around inserted roars of applause and the cueing of a big band brass section. The beat builds, my chest swells, and I realize that I appreciate this introduction more and more every time I hear it. The population of this track's instrumental elements, which now includes a slick, running bass, someone crashing the shit out of a drumset, and at least...3 horns who mean serious business, is just about to reach critical mass and send me lapsing into cardiac arrest when the dam bursts and the orgy of horns dissolve into a juicy tizzy. Then the music cuts and an alarm begins to blare. Now dear reader, allow me to ease your passage from this abrasive turn of events into the next track. I myself was taken aback upon first exposure. What, an alarm?  Is this a sample? Was he really sleeping? My. Thoughts. Exactly. Long story short; he was, and it makes sense. He was dreaming! Only by applying his most lofty ambitions from a figurative "dreaming" state, to a literal, heavy REM situated one, could Scott properly convey just how deeply embedded in his mind these aspirations must be. Here's a quote about dreams, in case you don't know what I'm talking about. 
"You eat, in dreams, the custard of the day."
     I took it from Alexander Pope. He's satirical. Kind of like Aesop Rock. Or Das Racist. But with more fashion and less crazy.

Wha-? I don't even know where to begin. From left to right, I suppose. Alright. No, no and no. 

     After the alarm brays a few more times, Scott's roommate, brother, lover, or mother (blessed with an enviably masculine voice, not to mention quite the gutter mouth), raps on his door, prompting Scott to "wake up". Give the man a break, Jesus. 

Shush, Linklater. I'm trying to wake up, and this shit about the Book of Acts isn't helping.
Memorable lines:
None really, but I'll be damned if that instrumental isn't a hot one. Damned to Hell. Or Ghost Town in the Sky. 

Never again.

2. Rise and Shine 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

14. Album Review: Witness-"The Everafter LP"

Eyedea & Abilities. 
Brother Ali. 
     The Twin Cities area is a peculiar breeding ground for such talent. Usually artists travel to already established Hip-Hop Meccas, such as Atlanta, Los Angie-area, New York City or Detroit. 

Kid Rock and guns, brought to you by Detroit. 

     Minneapolis is notable for providing a certain quality, attitude and ambiance in its Hip-Hop, utilizing predominantly, from what I've heard, searingly conscious lyricism and unorthodox production. Witness, known by his mother as John Parr, having moved from Morrisville, Pennsylvania, (which is in the middle of Bumfuck, Nowhere with a population of under 10,000) to Minneapolis, is one of the most recent inductees in the Twin Cities' ever-growing legacy. After a string of EP's (Ever Since, Evermore and the incongruous .45 Sweetheart, all of whom's cover art feature the same crestfallen looking lady), in 2010 Witness loosed from his cerebral loins The Everafter LP and Lord have mercy, is it a beaut.
     On a side note, also reigning from Morrisville is Witness's fellow Caucasian emcee, Asher Roth.

Often, I also find myself brushing my teeth adorned in nothing but beads after a hard night's ruckus. Finally, a White rapper for my generation. 

     I just find that interesting, how two completely different styles and personas can stem from the same small community. Anyway, to the album. 
1. Twenty Three
     The first thing that needs to be addressed, is Parr's voice and delivery. I've heard it described as "smoky", "smooth" and "throaty", all of which are applicable adjectives, but fail to deliver the proper praise. Perhaps the most distinctive voice of any current up-and-coming emcee, Parr's silky flow has the odd ability of viscerally allowing the listener to picture his mouth in their mind's eye. I know that sounds odd, but once you hear his intonation, the brief dips into guttural rasping, the confessional, cypher-in-a-library-esque volume, mixed with the wry, hushed delivery; you'll know what I'm talking about. You can just see his mouth twisting and turning up at the sides, as if he's trying to avoid chuckling throughout the song. It's extremely listenable.
     Twenty Three is a solid album-starter, establishing the wistful, sardonic and self-deprecating approach Parr utilizes early on, also introducing the album's signature jazzy, chilled instrumentals. It feels appropriate for Parr to begin with a nostalgic jam, for in order to get a feel for his current mind state, some background is necessary, background that will be dispensed strategically throughout this LP. Emancipator milks it, as the horns are beautiful, especially when they come back in at 1:32, and the rolling snare is simultaneously hard-hitting and airy. The lyrics are tastefully tender, without being too heavy-handed or heartbreaking. My only quibble is the abrupt transition into the next track, the starting horns of which will knock the freckles off of your face.

Memorable lines:
"Before the days that never ended descended to a day job
The Enemy was Public, the Soul spoke De La
Broke like a clay vase, when charity left town
So we were on our own 'til our reality checks bounced"
2. Cheap Date (Dive Bar Blend)
     Disclaimer: ration your listening to this song, because the shit is dangerous. I've had to resist the temptation to play it ad infinitum, for fear it may become an ad nauseam listening experience instead. The beat is tremendous, perfectly grooving and layered with exponentially more catchy additions every 8 bars. It goes like this. At first, the verse works some choppy guitar riffs, accompanied by a playful electric piano. Then come the horns, whose glory is accentuated by a little "whooo" vocal effect. I begin to lose my shit at this point. Then a shrill trumpet breaks through, knocking any already tattered remains of my socks that may be left, completely off. Then the verse is done. And you get to listen to it twice more.
     The setting of the song, is that of a generic dive bar, in which Parr devotes each verse to a respective barfly. First, his attentions are directed towards your typical class-with-a-side-of-trash girlie, whom he picks apart with increasingly harsh judgements. Next, Parr shifts his gaze to an adulterous older man, criticizing the pretentious, innocuous manner with which he uses to hit on younger women. Stringing these verses together is the ironic, mumbled dismissal in which Parr states, "I'll take the time to get to know him/her sometime". In the last verse, Parr faces his own scrutiny, and spares not the rod. This song is the shit.
Memorable lines:
The whole thang, but especially:
"I'll take the time to get to know me
I was in the dive bar bathroom, listening to last call
I'm looking at a broken mirror like a glass ball
An' double vision was effecting the judgement 
But I wouldn't recognize that reflection if it wasn't"
"Stereotypcially skinny, disheveled White boy
Music Elitist, guaranteed to hate the DJ
He's trying to stress that he's so damn different
I bet he didn't even notice he's he cliches he hates"
3. Sunburn 
     In contrast to the first transition, the switch from Cheap Date to Sunburn is as smooth as can be. The piano is gorgeous and Parr's inflection is all over the place, dramatically dropping and raising along with the twinkling keys. The subject matter is pretty terrifically executed, as Parr bleakly describes a state of existential dissociation, but with an underlying sense of optimism. Also, one of the best variations on Nas's "sleep is the cousin of death" quotable I've yet to hear.
Memorable lines:
"They tell me sleep is the cousin of death
So I would guess that a dream is the daughter of sleep
Sometimes I wonder whether Witness even exists
Or if it's just a dream that was caught in the beat
They're like, 'kid, you got it going on'
Tell me that my flow is strong
Now I'm in the basement 'til the break of dawn, making songs
Seeking validation from the Hip-Hop heads
Like the praise and adulation is only thing I got left"
Fuck me sideways.
4. Watercolors
     You know George Benson's "The Changing World" sample from Common's "I Used to Love H.E.R.", right? Or Labi Siffre's "I Got The" from Eminem's "My Name Is"? How about "Hung Up On My Baby" from Isaac Hayes, which was used in Geto Boys' "Mind Playing Tricks On Me"? All great guitar-based samples, used to make great songs. Add Watercolors to that list. I'm not sure what is being sampled here, but I know that:
1. Witness takes from a lot of Jazz records, even those of South American origin.
2. It's awesome.
     The lick comes in, fades into a tantalizing silence and then drops with full force. On my first listen, I was already expecting something juicy, given the tease, but not an instrumental with such a high degree of stank. Catches you off guard. Like a knife attack.

Tall, dark and handsome. This looks like one of those "good" problems. 

     The lyricism is especially orotund and heavy on allegory. A heartfelt, but distant reflection on a strained romance.
Memorable lines:
"I was too ambitious and too damn timid
And too thrilled when the glass was half filled to wonder what was in it
But you're a cynic when the magic still exists
'Til you stifle all the winds that send the daffodils adrift"
5. Intermission 

Kindly disregard the subtle racist appropriation.

     11 minutes into an already short album, and we're dealt an intermission. Thank goodness. I was 'bout spent. At least it's pretty.
Memorable lines:
6. Home Tonight
     I'm not crazy about this instrumental, but the conveyance of Parr's "on the road" lifestyle is well done. Something rubs me the wrong way about the thought of this. I know he's going for a globe-trotting sense of community, but maybe I've just lived in the Bible Belt for too long to empathize.

Not to be confused with a chastity belt.

     It's the thought that counts. Parr throws some gravel on his flow and it sounds good, but feels a little over exaggerated at times.
Memorable lines:
"I used to be a skinny loser that could write a thesis
And I'm still a skinny lower, but I'll rip your mic to pieces
But that's a right I keep refusing to waive
I punch lines so hard that I'm bruising the page"
7. Two Step
     Parr completely eschews any traditional chorus in this track, opting instead to spit many much bars. If it wasn't already evident that Parr is heavily influenced by literature, Two Step will function as the gospel for any remaining heretics. Thick, sonorous bowings from what I suspect is a cello groan in the beginning, setting the tone for the song's gloomy meditation on the deterioration of a past relationship. And it reminds me of Dave Matthews.

Dave doing his best "Come To Daddy" impression.

Memorable lines:
"Always mourning after with resentment in a capsule
She's getting fragile, I see it in her nudity
Says she doesn't feel like she used to feel usually"
"It's days like that make women like her perfect
And women like her that make men like me nervous"
"And I stumble through a sentence, she reacts with a grin
When I dream, there ain't a soul to bring me back with a pinch
I could act like a pimp, I could be a soulmate
I could learn her geography and plot my escape" 
8. Sylvia Plath
     An ode to the potentially tenacious nature of woman. But whereas some artists try to get that "I'm on to you, ladies" attitude across, Parr just comes across as savvy and appropriately wary. No condescension here. The mournful hornfuls of soul and sharp beat work well. Sylvia Plath, the namesake of this track, was a prominent practitioner of confessional poetry in the 1950's and 60's, whose work, as I've deduced from the opinions of various aficionados, is quite good. I haven't as much time as I'd like to read poetry, because I listen to goddamn Hip-Hop all day, but the fact that Plath committed suicide in 1963 by way of "oven" has me interested enough to further investigate her. I'm always down to peruse the ruminations of a suicidal woman.

Just kidding. That's a sad, undignified way to go. Rest In Pieces, Sylvia Plath.

Memorable lines:
The whole jam is damn good lyrically, but this bit in particular gives me the shiveries.
"This sound is dedicated to devils in dresses
That collect the heads of sexist men to decorate their necklace
Adorn their breasts with broken hearts and medals of bitterness
Trading angel wings so they can share a pair with Icarus
In the midst of this, she sits alone, burning sandalwood 
No return on the girl in the mirror labeled damaged goods"
Oo, that's dirty! The Icarus metaphor really tops it off.
9. Holden Caulfield 
     The thematic equivalent of "Hard in Da Paint", but with, you know, a successful conveyance of the artist's thoughts and feelings. And actual "lyrics". In this track, Parr faces those deprecators of his ambitions, and suggests in high fashion, that without ever making an effort, an artist's, or anyone's for that matter, life is rendered effectively useless. The sole guest appearance on The Everafter LP, Unsung does his thing, comfortably maintaining the belligerently motivational air Parr established in the first verse. I don't much care for the instrumental, but that it's driving can be stated with some confidence.
Memorable lines:
"Too many tend to marinate in safe harbors
Their only contribution is another grave marker
The imminence of night only makes the day harder
Never wore the mask of a self-made martyr"
And, faulty mathematics aside, this line has 'tude.
"I'm giving ten to one odds that somebody resists
But the odds are now doubled 'cause nobody exists"
10. Lower Case
    The strings are a slice. An analysis of this track is difficult, because I can't pin down how this woman that Parr is depicting, truly feels about him. His repetitions of "Darling, don't forget that I'll be leaving in the morning, but baby, don't you worry, 'cause I'm coming back home" at the song's end give me the impression that he's trying hard to convince someone who has already begun the distancing process. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it. A forlorn closer to a pretty forlorn album.
Worth the time?
     The Everafter LP has that unique ability of being about to capture anyone's ear, even those not  acquainted with, or fond, of Hip-Hop. Even if you aren't attracted by slick instrumentals, brutally introspective and endearing lyricism and a voice so velvety that it makes Snoop Dogg sound like a prepubescent drag queen, you'll probably dig at least a couple tracks on here. I do wish that this album were lengthier (an episode of Friends, with commercials, is longer) and more varied in its production at moments, but on the whole, The Everafer LP has firmly established Witness as an emcee for me to regularly look up on Google, in order to stay abreast of his upcoming projects. Or maybe I'll just follow him on Twitter.


Left my laptop at LAX TSA Security is the new "left my wallet in el segundo". God dammit.

Talented and witty? Shee-it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

13. Album Review: Lil B-"Angels Exodus"

It should be "Angel's Exodus" or "Angels' Exodus", right? 

     I am in awe of Lil B. He is fascinating. Not as an artist, but as an personality. He first appeared on my radar when I began seeing memes referencing The BasedGod on the Internet.

Shit like this. 
     Naturally, I was intrigued and began investigating this BasedGod. It was grueling research.

     Turns out, The BasedGod is code for Lil B, which is code for Brandon McCartney. Brandon's in his early 20's, he's from the Bay Area, and seems dead set on proving how totally batshit he is. I began my introduction by viewing the most popular of Lil B's Youtube videos, such as "Wonton Soup", "I'm God" and "Pretty Bitch", all the while laughing very hard. I thought, "there's no way that this is real, right?" But as I grazed the forums and the "Lilbpack1" upload page, I realized that Brandon McCartney has a serious following. These videos are getting a lot of views. And the videos' comment sections are loaded with fervent praises directed towards the BasedGod from his fans, whose incessant offerings for Lil B to "fuck my bitch" are, to put it mildly, disconcerting. "What could be here that's drawing such a significant, extremist fan base? Maybe he's the antichrist.", I wondered.
     I can't stand to be ignorant of something that is potentially worthwhile, or is being celebrated as such by others, and so I perused many more of his music videos, which are one of the greatest things about Lil B. Often, they are nothing more than The BasedGod featured in various locales, poorly lip-syncing along to one of his hundreds of songs. They are extremely entertaining. So, after checking out fan-recommended classics, like "Ellen DeGeneres" or "Suck My Dick Ho", I came to the conclusion that Lil B and his fan base are a part of some elaborate hoax. This cannot be serious. It sounds like he's rapping his songs through a broken microphone in a room full of running fans. The beats range from decent to sloppy, and his lyrical content is wildly hit and miss. On one track, he'll be somewhat earnest, focusing on his position in rap and his "Based" ideology, and on the next, he'll sound like that kid in the neighboring dorm room who tries to freestyle over Lil Wayne instrumentals. Hopefully you can picture that. Hopefully you don't have a kid in the neighboring dorm room who can freestyle well over Lil Wayne instrumentals. Then that analogy would suck.
     Anyway, most of B's followers seem to be drawn to either of his prolific, cook-ready music, or his deep, "real" shit, which promotes the idea of being "Based". Or perhaps a combination of the two. But I've had a lot trouble finding any evidence to support this attraction, and as such, have been fixated on Lil B's body of work and his image for the past several weeks. Which is what I think he wants.
     Because despite any of his sonic shortcomings, Lil B seems like an agreeable, hard-working fellow. It's difficult to rag on a goofball who so strongly advocates being "Based", which is essentially being endlessly optimistic. He epitomizes the phrase "made a name for himself", and has catapulted his persona into the public eye by whatever means necessary, using any insane shock tactic or controversial gimmick available to him. That's a marketing strategy, and it's working very well. Maybe then, by the time he chooses to release a serious effort, he'll have a large enough audience. Well, look here. Angels Exodus, having been released in early 2011, is his most recent solo album. Let's check it out.
     So, going into this, I'm vacillating between the opinions that Lil B is either: the harbinger of a musical apocalypse, a brainchild brought about by the Annunaki, sent to distract humankind, a potentially serious contender with an unorthodox facade, or is perpetuating something on the level of an Andy Kaufman-style prank. If it's the latter, he's a comic genius. No questions asked. Bravo.

1. Exhibit 6
     Hm. Typically exhibits are titled after letters instead of numbers, so already my faith in this track is kind of shot. But what do I know? Here we go.
     Wow. This is actually...not bad at all. What's going on? Where did the Lil B I know disappear to? Who is this solemn rapper spitting over one of the best "dark" beats I've heard in a while? I mean, this isn't anything to write home about, but it's leagues beyond what was expected. Lil B takes his basic rhyme schemes and applies it to more thoughtful subject matter than what I've become accustomed to. My only complaint with this track is that Lil B contradicts himself early on by stating "this is my Exhibit C", and that his lyricism veers towards the nonsensical at moments. That instrumental is really hot, though.
Memorable lines:
"Product of the hood, I was tripping off the chains
Knowing it's the chains, that destroy these niggas' brains
America done lied, they serving false games
You gotta be real to even feel the same"
2. Life's Zombies 
     Using Resident Evil as a metaphor for combating his "inner and outside demons", Lil B continues to keep it real. The concept is laughable, which makes this song difficult to take seriously, a problem further exacerbated by the inane lyricism. Lil B experiments with this technique that consists of laying down partial, loosely related lines. Not quite hashtag, and not quite silence. Just scraps of ideas. The beat is forgettable.
Memorable lines:
The first line, which includes:
"Dead zombies"
3. All My Life (Remix) 
     Lil B sings. Similarly to how the Library of Congress selects works of art to preserve, for they are deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", the introductory chorus of All My Life (Remix) should likewise be locked away, never again to see the light of day.

Guarded over by the ever present eye of JCVD. 

     Really though, he must know how obnoxious that was. It's not like he recorded that multiple times and felt that it filled some mysterious void within the song and should therefore remain. 

"Alright, that's a wrap. Let's go get some tattoos."

     Thankfully, the rest of the song is solid. The puttering piano and uplifting strings create a pleasant beat, and the lyrics are passable. But Lil B doesn't give up on singing and repeatedly comes back to fuck your auditory cortex into oblivion. Also, I think he mispronounces "psyche" here. I can't really tell, because he speaks in what could be politely called a marble-mouthed manner. I however, am of the opinion that he talks like he has a mouth full of shit. 
Memorable lines: 
"Rooted hatred transferred through the music
To some, it's amusement to listen to it" 
4. Bay Area Music 
     Lil B starts this track off by promoting his West Coast sounds, which he claims can only be found in the Bay Area, and in Based Music. Personally, I think if this sound is exclusive to the West, that's a not indicative of the Bay being artistically fertile, but rather a sign of some government-issued quarantine.

"Hm, Lil B slipped out. Nah, let him go, he won't do any harm. "

     But in all seriousness, this song is nice. Lil B keeps it fresh with his lines, directing his hyperactive gaze towards some pensive subject matter. Unfortunately, it's still pretty vague and lacks thematic cohesion. The beat is simplistic, but mood-building. 
Memorable lines: 
"Ask me if I give a fuck about a life sentence
Most rappers use that quote as their life sentence 
Now the judge give them time, plus the five digits" 
5. Motivation      
     Oh shit! This instrumental is happening. The drums come hard and heavy, with the addition of some vocal sample working like a charm. BasedGod speaks on his haters, a topic on which he lacks credibility, but does it well. I mean, he can't expect to mindlessly pump out massive amounts of shit like he has and not get some negative feedback.
Memorable lines:
"So no talking, plead the 5th often
Finna stay Based, til I'm in the coffin
While I'm on Earth, I'ma spread the knowledge
Niggas learn from the box, they ain't seein' college"
6. Cold War, Pt. 2
    This samples "Cold War" from Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid, an album that's worth your time, money and minor forms of sacrifice.

Good enough. 

     And that's about all this track has going for it. It's unsettling to hear such a recently released song sampled on this album. What if he gets ahold of "Pretty Girl Rock"? Heaven forbid. On the upside, this is under 2 minutes, and the few lines that are here aren't terrible. 
Memorable lines: 
This is a stretch, but...
"Two shots to the body, don't know why he shot 'im
No upbringing, no faith in God 
No place in life, he feel that he option-less
Opportunity, positive, create this shit" 
7. Vampires
     I enjoy this beat quite a bit. It sounds a little mild for even the wimpiest of Hip-Hop songs, but it's nice and spacey nonetheless. Lil B describes his existence as a vampire, and the problems that obviously come with that. The tail end of the song is extremely difficult to follow. I can follow Aesop Rock more confidently than this. I don't know what he's talking about. It's like trying to make sense of Sahara

I've watched this multiple times, and I still have no idea what it's about. If you know, feel free to enlighten me. 
     And I'm sure others have complained about it as well, but the..."singing" the outro is enough to make a deaf person slit their wrists vertically. The fact that this is recorded and stored in cyberspace, where I can't find its source and bring the pain, is going to make me lose sleep. I know he's being silly, but fuck him, that was painful.
Memorable lines:
He says "Shaka Zulu". 
Also, he says "fangs is coming out my teeth". 
One more. "Money see, monkey do, you look like me, I look like you". 
8. More Silence More Coffins 
     A serious take on "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems". Not really, it's some bullshit. Lil B samples "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence, which just made me wish I was listening to Evanescence instead, until I remembered that Evanescence isn't very good either. Lil B sticks close to the beat and rides it well. He actually rhymes most of the time. What about, I couldn't tell you. I think it's the concept of "fake people". This is getting exhausting. At least it feels short.
Memorable lines:
As I couldn't find any lyrics online, I sat through this song several times and transcribed it in hopes of finding something worth mentioning. After 10 minutes, I looked at my completed Textedit document, and realized that nothing of value laid before me. Just words. 
9. Connect The Dots 
     The loop and beat are awesome and again, Lil B stays on the beat to a respectable degree. However, this time around, he's spitting something with some substance. Namely, his determination to stay in the rap game and how regularly he keeps it real, which seems to be quite often. I can work with this. This is also a sample from The Carpenter's "I Won't Last A Day Without You", which is a testament to The BasedGod's ability to pay homage to similar artists.

Memorable lines:
"Love me for who I am, who I'm not, who I'm going to be, 
Who is in past, making history" 
"It's our duty as people to be collaborators" 
10. 1 Time 
     Easily, easily, the best verses I've yet to hear B put down. A shout-out to lost loved ones, he doesn't stray from the song's concept and the sample of Washed Out's "You And I" is sick. This feels sentimental and genuine. I wish he hadn't fucked around so much for the most of the album, because this is getting better as it progresses. Unfortunately, the chorus has B sounding like a 21st century Wyclef with his "one time" chants. It worked on "Killing Me Softly". Not so much here.
Memorable lines:
"Feel gifted for the breath that I'm breathing
Living on borrowed time if you need a reason
Niggas say heaven and hell, but I don't believe it
Just believe it spirits, just believe in breathing" 
DAMN. That's pretty dope, relatively speaking.
11. The Growth 
     Lil B welcomed me to Angels Exodus at the beginning of this track. This is a bonus track, at the end of the album. Then again, he's been welcoming me on a regular basis throughout this thing, either formally, or just by blurting out "angels exodus". Maybe he's just really hospitable. Maybe that's why he's always cooking.

He puts the "spit" in hospitable! You know, like how rappers spit? Yeah, you know. 

     Continuing this trend of sudden adequacy, Lil B utilizes a HOT sample from The O'Jay's "What Am I Waiting For" and drops some solid lines. Well, nothing offensively bad at least. Kind of a "through one ear and out the other" thing. That's really the most you can hope for with the majority of this album. The shout-outs to his emcee idols have the unsettling effect of reminding you that Lil B is actually operating on our plane of existence and is aware of other rappers. 
Memorable lines:
(I'm fairly sure this is what he says.) 
"I did a good job for the hand I was dealt
Had a crazy mom, she took her hand to the belt
And her father used to beat her, so the violence passed down
Niggas say the greed is what's making the cash cow" 
12. Frankie Silver 
     Sample from "I'm Your Puppet" by James & Bobby Purify. It's bumpin'. I can't really say anything new about this type of song. On this album, a track is either absurd, with braggadocio to spare, or is somewhat serious, exemplifying the "I'm coming up" Hip-Hop standard. This is somewhere in the middle. Decent closing track. At least his flow is smooth. Get me out of here. 
Memorable lines:
"No glasses 'cause my eyes is red, I wanna show 'em the hell
Back again, put some money in my pocket and smell
All the fresh dollar bills, where the models at?" 
For some reason, that sounds like some cold shit. 
Worth the time?
     Yikes. Here's the thing. My recent revelation that Lil B may not be all bad, rests on rocky ground. Because it's not like he led me on for weeks based on his enigmatic ways, hinting at something better all the while as if he pulled the wool over my eyes, only to suddenly reveal himself as a great emcee. No. He's a mediocre emcee, at best. Lately, we've been in the business of celebrating sub-standard, or unintentionally inept entertainment, and at first I was mistaking B for another entry on the shit list, along with the likes of "Friday", Jersey Shore and The Room. But he's obviously more than meets the eye. That's a nice surprise. Maybe one day he'll reach artistic fruition, but Angels Exodus certainly isn't the herald of that day.
     The best I can analogize my experience of listening to this album is given in the following:
You know how it is whenever your water pump is acting up, and you'll go to pop the faucet, expecting to receive cleansing streams of nature's gift, but instead are treated to some alarmingly violent spurts of brackish brown piss? Okay, that's the initial impression of Lil B. But, say you have shit all over your hands, are fresh out of GOJO, and really need to splash them in some water. So you're rubbing your mucky hands around in slightly less disgusting muck, wincing as you scrub, and are occasionally surprised upon seeing your water pump kick back in and deliver some clear, clean H2O. Those are the solid tracks, like Connect the Dots, 1 Time, The Growth, Exhibit 6, and Motivation. They are a breathe of fresh air. The oases in a desert. Then the water pump will sputter and go back to pouring piss on your hands again. I hope that carries some universal understanding.
     The good tracks are decent, by all relative standards. The bad tracks are wack and uninteresting, even by inflated, handicapped standards. Those tracks listed above are worth checking out if you need an introduction to Lil B's more serious side, but I can recommend downloading the other tracks only if to get some perverted pleasure from sending them straight to the trash bin, promptly deleting their cankerous presence from your computer. 
     On a side note, I watched this video of Lupe Fiasco at a Hip-Hop forum, in which he was questioned about the rumors of an impending collaboration between himself and Lil B. There's a lot of good stuff there, but one thing Lupe said about B that stuck with me, was in reference to his autograph signing process. Apparently, after a show B will sit at the head of a long line of fans, and in order to walk away with his signature you must talk to him for 30 minutes. Not like an interrogation. Just chat with him. Logic would dictate that if you enjoy an artist, you'd very much like a chance to sit down with them. But surprisingly, most of the people in the line are just there for the novelty, and will defect after a short while, leaving only the true fans behind. I think that's really interesting, and indicative of a genuine personality. Which Lil B appears to possess, by all means. The only problem, is that his expression of what he's feeling and thinking needs a lot of lyrical practice and a serious filter to weed out all of the shit.