Showing posts with label lmno. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lmno. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

video review: 'mottherboard' by lmno

I'm amazed how well this album turned out. Again, I shouldn't be, but still, for a first time producer even with some help from DVINE1, LMNO nailed this. Definitely want to hear more, this was great.

Next up... oh, okay, I'll talk Kendrick after Billboard BREAKDOWN, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 7, 2016

album review: 'motherboard' by lmno

Those of you who follow this channel know that I'm a fan of LMNO - or at least you'd assume that, given how many times I've covered him in detail. This will be my fifth review of one of his projects, and while for many artists that might encompass their entire career, LMNO is the sort of guy who will continue to push out records at frankly an alarming rate. Hell, back in 2010 he released ten albums in one year with a variety of different producers - at some point, I'm amazed he hasn't run out of ideas or things to say, because he's not the kind of guy to make it easy on listeners either, thanks to off-beat lyricism, high-concept songs, and a vocal tone and delivery which some have described as a little monotonous but also has emotive subtleties I think are underappreciated.

But there's one thing LMNO has not done in his years of releasing underground records, and that is produce an album himself - and let's make this clear, taking that additional step is a big one. Sure, you'd think that a veteran MC would know the best beats he could flow over - and let's be honest, I'm fairly certain LMNO could flow over anything - but production is an acquired skill. Most people with the right tools can structure a beat, but speaking as someone who once tried to produce an album, pairing a beat with a good melody and then the production to feel cohesive and not sound like absolute ass is a goddamn art and is so much harder than it looks or sounds. As much as I've ragged on producers like DJ Mustard or Mike Will Made It or Jay Joyce, I'm not going to deny how difficult good production is.

So I had reason to be worried when I heard that LMNO was going to be producing his newest album himself, called Motherboard, but I was intrigued, especially because word was it was going to be more electronic and experimental, mostly influenced by fellow underground artist DVINE1, with minimal samples and more live instrumentation. So even if this was going to be a disaster, it sounded like the sort of experimental risk that I've been wanting LMNO to take for years now, so you can bet I was covering it - did it work?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

video review: '25/8' by lmno & mr. brady

And there's two. Slightly ahead of schedule too, nice to see.

Next up, B Dolan, and I'm expecting this one to be a doozy. Stay tuned!

album review: '25/8' by lmno & mr. brady

You know, LMNO, there is such a thing as flooding the market.

For those of you who follow this series, you're probably aware that this is the fourth time I've covered LMNO in two years, a rough-edged California MC with a reputation for a relentlessly monotone delivery and yet bars complex and thought-provoking enough to redeem it. What he's also known for is his insane release schedule: in one year he dropped ten albums of material with various producers and collaborators, to the point where it got exhausting just to keep up with him. And yet I still do - mostly because his collaboration album with Evidence After The Fact was excellent and I'm still convinced he can deliver something of that quality.

Now one of the better received albums from that crazy year was called Banger Management, which paired him with Mr. Brady, an MC whose lower tone and softer delivery actually made LMNO's conspiratorial rasp sound energetic and lively. The two have collaborated plenty of times since, and this year they sought to put together a new project, the instrumentation handled by New York producer Asthetic. And for the most part, I was interested in this - yeah, I know, four projects in two years on this channel, but LMNO can bring up interesting material in his bars, and Mr. Brady would offer good contrast. So, how does 25/8 turn out?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

video review: 'bronze age' by lmno & flavor caprice

Man, this record was a tough one to decipher. Happy I figured it out, but man, it was a tricky one, and I'm still not quite sure I've got it right.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN and A$AP Rocky, so stay tuned!

album review: 'bronze age' by lmno & flavor caprice

So I've talked a little in the past about artists who put out an incredible amount of material in a very short time. Sometimes it's because the artist is a creative genius who is going to go in so many different directions that his or her material can be maintained on so many projects and maintain quality. Sometimes it's a method for artists to get out of label obligations. Sometimes it's a case of artists who just have a knack for flooding the market with filler - and if that so happens to get popular, all the better.

But in the case of hip-hop artists, it can be a little different. For one, there's the mixtape scene, where some artists continuously feed entire full-length projects to a hungry audience. Or there's the case where they do special collaboration projects with specific producers - it might barely be a full-length project, but at the same time, it might end up turning into something special along the way.

And then there's LMNO, who I think even pushes the limit for that sort of thing. I've talked about him a couple times on this show, and it was less than a year ago when I reviewed his textured and well-written, and yet slightly dreary and meandering Preparanoia. LMNO has a reputation of pumping out a lot of material, and while he tends to be a very strong MC in terms of putting together potent, incredibly well-structured rhymes, his dry monotone and taste for dustier production means that some of his projects can start to run together.

And yet believe it or not, I was actually a little excited about this upcoming project with emergent producer Flavor Caprice. This had been a project three years in the making, which seemed to imply that this was something in which LMNO had put more care and time. And I figured I might as well get a dose of solidly dense lyrical hip-hop before checking out A$AP Rocky, so how did Bronze Age turn out?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

video review: 'preparanoia' by lmno

Wished it was a little better, but overall a good record from a rapper I really do respect. Check it out.

Okay, tomorrow we could have a pretty interesting surprise - either that or Interpol, so stay tuned!

album review: 'preparanoia' by lmno

So last year, I received a request to review a hip-hop album from a rapper I had never heard of before, and yet managed to turn out as one of my favourite albums of last year thanks to great, well-structured bars and phenomenal production from a guest producer who I've already covered twice this year. That producer was Evidence, and the album was called After The Fact, by the prolific, highly skilled, and impressively monotone MC LMNO. 

And over the past year, I've begun to see more and more why LMNO has managed to carve out his niche defiantly outside of mainstream rap: not only does he produce new material at an impressive rate - not counting 2010, where he released ten albums worth of material in one year - but his delivery was icy, crisp, multisyllabic, and near devoid of inflection or drama. He was the sort of rapper who could deliver bars until the end of time, although his flat brand of intensity could prove to be a little difficult to tolerate.

Yet even with that, I really did respect his wordplay and creativity, and while it was a little disheartening to see him part ways with Evidence for his newest album Preparanoia, I still took the time to check it out regardless. What did I get?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

video review: 'good to be home' by blu

Man, it took entirely too long to get this video out, but between social schedule, moving plans, and the Roots discography I'm powering through (plus, you know, a full-time job and shit), it's to be expected.

Next up will be whatever I can get to next before June kicks into gear. Stay tuned!

album review: 'good to be home' by blu

The more I think about it, the more grateful I am that The Alchemist and Evidence dropped the excellent album Lord Steppington very early in the year. See, I'll admit that it's been a learning process for me to discover more acts in the hip-hop underground, and considering they brought on so many names onto that record to collaborate, I got a sampler of a whole selection of artists I might not have heard before. And considering most of them delivered solid lyrics, it definitely got me interested in future projects.

The first one that jumped out at me was Styles P's last album, which was pretty solid, but he was coming from gangsta rap of which I was at least somewhat familiar. But Blu was a different act entirely - originally debuting the mid-2000s with the extremely solid Below The Heavens and inspired by both gangsta and conscious rap with a hint of a Christian angle, Blu's jagged career trajectory has been interesting, if a little concerning for his fanbase. Between the No!York release which came just after his very brief tenure with Warner Records and a selection of EPs and projects that really were a mixed bag, I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting with his newest album, especially because I didn't really like his verse on his track on Lord Steppington, 'Tomorrow'. Admittedly, part of the problem was the beat on that track, but Blu's verse wasn't all that stellar and I wasn't impressed with his flow.

That said, I wasn't about to ignore his new album Good To Be Home, half because the collaboration list looked pretty impressive. Not only was a double disk with collaborations with The Alchemist and Evidence and Fashawn, but LMNO was also reportedly on the album as well, whose album After The Fact was one of my favourite hip-hop releases of last year. And I figured, hey, with such a rich list of collaborators, it'd probably be pretty interesting, right?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

video review: 'after the fact' by lmno ft. evidence

Well, I'm not the biggest fan of this review, but that's mostly because I'm working to transition from a more heavily scripted review to something a little more free-form, and I'm not quite sure I've gotten there yet. Plus, it's a great album and thus I don't have a lot to really complain about.

So, the next wave of September albums is about to crest upon me, with MGMT, Justin Moore, Billy Currington, and Chris Young. Also, I need to do some serious catchup on my Dream Theater before that album drops... these next few weeks are going to be goddamn nuts...

album review: 'after the fact' by lmno ft. evidence

Some of you who have been following my reviews are probably wondering why, in comparison with most music critics, I don't tend to cover a huge amount of hip-hop or rap music, that outside of the major releases (and sometimes not even including those), I don't tend to hit up every single mixtape or underground album that gets dropped. 

And believe it or not, I do have a reason for this: I simply do not have time. I'm serious here - given than I want to cover other genres besides hip-hop or rap, I simply do not have time to cover everything that gets dropped. If I chose to dedicate myself to just covering hip-hop or rap I'd have a better chance of tackling most things, but I bet I'd still be utterly swamped.

But here's the other, unfortunate fact, and that is that I'm kind of getting tired of the direction that modern rap is taking. I've mentioned in previous videos that I don't think trap instrumentation is a good fit for modern rap music, how the dour, humourless, often creepy beats are a bad tonal fit for brag rapping, and much to my frustration, they don't really seem to be going away. And sure, while the retro direction Eminem appears to be going in looking intriguing and I'm cautiously optimistic, I'm also aware that The Marshall Mathers LP II will likely never live up to the high, high expectations Eminem is trying to create.

So perhaps it was the best possible time for me to go back to the underground and check out the newest album from LMNO, a very prolific white rapper from Long Beach signed to Up Above Records from the hip-hop crew the Visionaries. LMNO has been around since the mid-90s, and he has released a ton of material over the past several years, particularly in 2010 where he dropped ten albums. And while I highly doubt all ten of the albums were solid, it does point to a rapper who has a lot of experience and who has refined his flow into something truly potent. So, teaming up with producer Evidence (from Dilated Peoples), he released After The Fact this year after taking 2012 off, and on a recommendation, I decided to take a look. So what do I think?