Operation Doom Discography/Song of The Year-Phantoms featuring Kendra Morris & Open Mike Eagle produced by 7L
I couldn’t have been luckier than to wrap up the Doom discography run with Czarface Meets Metal Face. The Czarface supergroup that started in 2013 was directly built upon the legacy of MF Doom. The skits the covers the framework was Doom and it united 7L, Esoteric & Inspectah Deck. Pulling Doom in isn’t as awkward as I worried it might be. I don’t expect the album to get a lot of critical love because it is dense and a first (even second listen) can leave you pretty bewildered. The production is also boom bap which most critics are sure is old school not an actual continuing genre within the greater hip hop sphere.
Czarface Meets Metal Face has some great Doom moments, the most Doom punchline in years is “Don’t deal with the Devil on a deep level/they see metal and sound off like a tea kettle” from Captain Crunch. Phantoms is hands down the best posse cut of 2018 thus far. It is a staggering display of lyricism by a room full of hall of famers. MF sets the table with a chilling story about the price you pay cheating and betraying the people who love you. The phantom in his case is the angel and devil on each shoulder pulling him in opposite directions. While most MC’s use their pen to valorize themselves Doom lays it down awkward ” Wife wonder how you diss fam and disgrace your children/Dudes is wired like that, it’s still an all-case buildin’ ” I didn’t fully fathom how impressive his verse is until I read it.
The brilliance of 7L is flipping the beat for every new verse which can certainly be seen as a nod to Gangstarr’s I’m The Man but it feels very practical in this case. Open Mike Eagle & Inspectah Deck need different sonic backgrounds (Deck gets the best beat). All verses are blinding on this one: Mike Eagle sounds like the voice of a generation funny witty and razor sharp. Deck is a monster with odd references that make you rewind (Haley Joel Osment) and Esoteric might have my favorite performance of the song with his alliterative F sound verse that never comes off as forced.
Reviewers are forced to create a narrative around albums. So Czarface Meets Metal Face can be called out as old school but Doom and Deck were putting out new music back when boom bap was king, would you prefer they grab Sonny Digital and adjust their flow to the high hat? Ew. It can be called a victory lap from a bunch of really important artists past their peak but…what is so wrong with that? Isn’t it kind of cool to hear a bunch of great successful rappers get together and push themselves for the love of the actual art on an album that wasn’t made for charting? When listening tune your ears to the right connotation.
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Tagged 7L, Boom Bap, Czarface, Esoteric, Inspectah Deck, MF Doom, old school hip hop, Open Mike Eagle, Operation Doom Discography, Operation Doomsday, song of the year
Song Review-Bamboo by Skyzoo produced by MarcNfinit
Skyzoo is so gifted that at times he’s too much for himself. At points in his discography his high IQ on jazz meets his high IQ pen and he puts out projects no one can understand. His new eight song project Peddler Themes is Skyzoo in my favorite place.
Bamboo is the most precise example: the beat takes boom bap nostalgia to real trunk rattling levels, the chorus is totally unique, intelligent and catchy while his verse is not just intelligent (everything Sky does is intelligent) the images are vivid not just telling the story but showing it to you. Examine the first verse and how the song opens “And he said, the strap black like fab 5 apparel/Sweet 16 running laps outta the barrel/Said it sing lullabies that’ll wrap you like a carol/Ducking that is like juggling laps with a Camaro” good writing grounds you in the scene with detail and Peddler Themes is full of emotionally rich detail. Skyzoo didn’t set out to make a drug rap album or a drug dealer movie but a painting built from hundreds of careful brush strokes.
That being said Peddler Themes color is still very fun. Just listen to Skyzoo (produced by his old friend Illmind) flex effortlessly on Finesse Everything. I think a lot of rappers at the higher end of lyrical density have a tough time getting out of their own way but when a razor sharp expert stays loose, has faith in the design, and pushes forward the result is usually something exciting and Peddler Themes is absolutely that.
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Tagged Bamboo, Boom Bap, Finesse Everything, Illmind, intelligence, jazz influenced hip hop, MarcNfinit, New York Hip Hop, NY Hip Hop, Peddler Themes, Skyzoo, song reviews
Song of the Year-Blue Yankee Fitted by Skyzoo & Torae produced by Illmind
Even though it’s become unhip to admit it; you love NY hip hop. If you are not from NY and you encounter someone from there and speak to them long enough they will make you yearn for it. Tell you things like “You don’t know anything about Italian Icees!” As singular as the boom bap sound became (and to some extent boring) when it’s done well it feels so right. When Skyzoo says New Yiddy you can feel Big Daddy Kane gold rope chain power equipping the song with something extra.
The album this comes off of, The Barrel Brothers, is absolutely excellent. Skyzoo is a clever writer of dense imagery and metaphor while Torae is less trickster more muscle. Together they add up to more than their sum and make every song feel infinitely listenable with lines you may have to catch on the third listen. I go back and forth from song to song with “Sky killed him on this one!” and “Torae…damn!” That’s what was supposed to happen this was an event album the internet forced together but this time….it worked out.
P.S. On an album with a lot of big names the one I was happiest to see repeated in the production credits was Illmind who makes this kind of elegant car stereo destruction as well as anyone in the business. I’m not saying Illmind is the best of this or that. I just love seeing his name.
Song of the Year-Screw Ya’ll by Styles P and Scram Jones
Styles P is someone you always have to listen for. He goes through periods where his beat selection doesn’t quite mesh with his style but he always seems to come back to the best version of himself. Over the course of over fifteen years that’s more than an admirable quality, in rap that’s legendary. Its fitting he calls himself the Ghost, he seems to fade in and out of the spotlight delivering show stealing guest verses and unexpectedly good projects. He dropped a full length album (called Float) with Scram Jones behind the boards and it feels like something from ’04 kept in Pinero’s glove compartment until the right time for release. Yes, Scram Jones does have a verse on this song but it’s not a detriment at all. Scram has been rapping for years and he’s really good (on the producer/rapper scale). Styles makes fluid motion switches from car descriptions to struggling to killing people even when he’s serious “Dance with the devil I bet you pay the price, Couple N’s will die couple will get life, couple N’s change when they get to see the light, couple get a second chance and do the same sh#t twice,” its all conversational hardcore. The track boom-baps while remaining smooth and slick with a chorus that will stick in your brain. If Styles and Scram just kept making songs like this…nobody would complain.