SUMMER KNIGHTS: A REVIEW

 

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Another mixtape from one of the 2013 XXL freshmen. He has being labelled as the next king of the East Coast.

Alowha

Used to be mad premature now I’m mad premium

From lookin’ up to niggas, to lookin’ up niggas  meetin’ ’em

The project kicks off with an announcement introducing the champion from Flatbush, NY.  Once the introduction fades out, we witness shattering cymbals and a slightly darker and more sadistic beat, the kinda stuff he probably grew up listening to. This is a strong start to the album and it’s reminiscent of his previous work.

Hilary $wank

Fulfill your needs with similes non similar

Spit that unfamiliar, put that on familia

If ya love Hip Hop, ladies rub your papillas

Fellas beat they chest like they Silverback Gorillas

We don’t say swag no more, we say swank (Who still says Swag?) [swag].  On this one, Joey squeezes long bars over a looped jazz beat perfectly. Finding a particular couplet to quote on this one is pretty hard cos there’s a gem in almost every line. Strong stuff. [This track is one of the reflections of his true talent]

My Yout ft Collie Budz

One hand on the mac, one hand on my sac

I’m thinking to myself what if I handed it back

But I gotta hand it to myself I’m handling rap

This is another good track with the beat paying homage to Joey’s Jamaican roots. There isn’t a lot that I can say about this track cos it’s just good but it’s not exceptionally good. Nothing spectacular about it. [it was nice listening to him go in on a reggae beat I must say]

Death of YOLO ft Smoke Dza

International, my bread is well earned

L’s burn, smash hoes in Melboure

Light skinned jawn, look like Chanel I’mon

One night, got her hooked, like I’m heroin

-Smoke Dza

And now it’s new beginnins, catch me sinnin’ in Sin  City

Sittin’ and spinnin’ and spittin’ in ya city

Swimmin’ in ya bitty, put kin in her kitty

-Joey Bada$$

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It’s Possible that this song is a reference to an up and coming East Coast rapper who tweeted YOLO before dying in a car crash. (Ironic stuff). According to the chorus, this is the song he wrote for when he dies and for a song that is supposed to be a tribute, this song isn’t all that. Smoke Dza arguably renegades Joey on this one even. Another exceptionally good track.

Right on time ft T’nah Apex

They say one mans trash is another mans treasure

No! one man’s clever, one knows no better

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This track centers around Joey’s idea of love. It’s another really good track with a slow tempo RnB beat and an okay chorus from T’nah. [The vocals could have been a whole lot better on the chorus]

Sweet Dreams

Where I live it’s either you know talents well and sell records

Or no talent. Well, we still sell for the record

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I’d go to the nineties

Joey explores the theme of people like him who are “stuck in the nineties.”(The “golden” age of rap). I wish we could all go back to the age of reputations based on lyrical content and not based on gimmicks or fake butts.[true, but  if people still carry that vibe from the 90’s like Joey here, then I feel it’s still all good]. Even the beat on this one has a 90’s feel to it. [It’s simply Joey’s view on the hip-hop game]

47 goons ft Dirty Sanchez and Nyck Caution

Yo, Badass don’t act or pretend, back at it again

Hit it from the back, she a addict within

-Joey Bada$$

Hotbox the whip and let smoke fill the room

Even through my lenses, my sense is on the moon

-Dirty Sanchez

This ain’t Quidditch but you know the snitch get  caught

-Nyck Caution

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First of all, who knows what a Dirty Sanchez is? No one? Ok, moving on.

This sounds like a throwback to some Wu-Tang stuff. The verses are strong on a shaolin-like beat [more like some basement/underground beat actually]. If you don’t have the full album, I recommend that you at least download this song.

Word is Bond

She said she fell in one of them Ls, but lust don’t  count

These chickens don’t love me, they love the account

I believe we’re all familiar with this since it was one of the singles off this free album/mixtape so I won’t bother re-reviewing this [when did we review this?]. This borrows a couple of bars from Tupac. This is another strong track. [he was really in his element on this, I guess that’s why it just had to make the cut]

Sit n Prey ft Dessy Hinds and T’nah Apex

Steez taught me how to store it in my ball shorts

So when we stop by the D we never get caught

-Joey Bada$$

A soft nigga caught between these rocks and a hardplace,

Because the Mafia is on the look out for the Scarface.

-Dessy Hinds

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This song has Joey bending his words just to fit in with his rhyme scheme. This isn’t a really good track. It’s not terrible but it just feels like a filler track compared to the rest. The highlight of this song for me is this Dessy Hinds dude cos he sounds and flows like a young Hov. Seriously.

Trap Door

Third eye sight, she rodent the car with three blind  mice

They chase cheese and don’t think twice

Aaaaaaaand we have another good track. This song places less emphasis on the beat [an Alchemist produced beat so yea it’s dope] and a greater emphasis on the actual lyrics. Another good one. (Notice how I keep saying “good”? It’s cos most of these tracks are good but not exceptional).

Satelite ft Chuck Strangers, Dessy  Hinds & Kirk Knight

Let me show you how I feel these Jays

The cheese stays high like Dr. J

My flow is like land the boats, dock the planes

Hand the dope but cop the chains

-Joey Bada$$

I keep niggas on their toes

So you got creases in your Forces

-Chuck Strangers

Two dubs I got 40 on my hit list

Just smoking drinks both the broken in-glass like old English

-Kirk Knight

Come and hear the blunt-smoking philosopher

Smoking with a joint to get you open like a chakra

-Dessy Hinds

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This is another Posse cut but unlike 47 goonz, this one bears little semblance to the WuTang style. This is another really good track with a hard hitting but slow beat. The lyrical quality on this one is also remarkable.

95 Til’ infinity

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Cause they will never stop for a young black male

Black mailed in braille that means what he felt

And the very reveal could appeal

Put you on the Alcatraz trail or railroad to hell

On this track, we see Joey as he tries to explain himself and his life struggles, from rising from the ghetto to “taking care of business.” The name, 95 Til’ Infinity, refers to his belief that his legacy and music will live forever. He drops some gems on this one in every other line with a DMX-like gruffy flow. This is my favorite track so far.

Amethyst Rockstar ft Kirk Knight

I’m not Pinocchio, I never lied I poke her nose

With the dopest dope, brand new Pablo, brand new God flow

-Joey Bada$$

Can’t knock the hustle though, I may just bust a  jigga

And lookin’ through my eyes you can kinda get the  picture

Mo money mo problems as ya get notorious, inglorious, until you’re a big victorious, no show,

-Kirk Knight

The title is a reference to the great Saul Williams album: Amethyst Rockstar and the beat itself is a MF DOOM beat which has already been used before. That aside, this track is not that good. It’s pretty average. The spoken word intro already had me waiting for another crazy track but the resulting track just disappointed me. Crazy verse from Kirk Knight tho.

Reign

Tryna balance it at once but keep hitting these blunts

Demons of lust, keep hinting they stunts when I’m drunk

The Reign is on now. When 1999 came out, Joey was a 16 year old. He’s even still in High School. This is sort of similar to The Lebron James story. This song alludes to all that and the idea of being made king waaaaay before your time. [one really nice thing about this one is the way he put his thoughts down, pretty impressive]

Sorry Bonita ft Pro Era 

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It’s all illusions, fixed gear cruising

Fixed reality shrouded from governmental pollution

-Dyemond Lewis

‘Cause I’m a socialite in the night,bitch get right enable

I’m boxin yo dorm, Put my Nikes on the coffee table

My tongue’s below her navel, she makes it where her skills enable

-Chuck Strangers

Smoker’s club, Michael Jordan how I’m killin 4  quarters

You stashin’ the trash, hoarder

-Dirty Sanchez

I shine further, you sons get in the bogard

You gotta pick yo road, give it a go, keep the point  gawd

-A la $ole

Chillin at my backdoor, back off, mine tweakin on bath salts

-Kirk Knight

Respectin the Era where the Era’s been ascendin up

Got all types of fans that’s always sendin us love

-Dessy Hinds

Lookin for who’s in charge, don’t be shocked, I’m  the plug

Get inside like the socket, the surgeon, the sergeant

Energy – I put all in

-Cj Fly

Everything ain’t what it be seemin’

Don’t blame me girl, blame my semen

-Joey Bada$$

Another Posse cut/ Cypher-like track. Even with the names on the feature list, this is a comparatively short track (when compared to other cyphers)[still the longest track on here just saying]. The song title is in reference to A TRIBE CALLED QUEST’s song: Bonita Applebum. Outstanding Verses: Dyemond Lewis, Chuck Strangers, A la $ole, Dessy Hinds. [it really has a nice vibe to it, it’s something you’ll enjoy listening to]

#LongLiveSteelo

The sky’s the limit

That’s what they told the fuckin’ fool

I disguised the limit

Now I’m aiming for the Sun and Moon

A tribute to former Pro Era member Capital STEEZ, who died in 2012, supposedly a suicide. ( To get a little glimpse at just how good Capital Steez was, just jam “Survival Tactics”). This song has Joey doing something he rarely does: laying out his emotions. And he does this without sounding like a wuss [ouch, that hurt, nigga lost a bro here, respect that]

The beat has these soft, angelic echoes are heavenly and hollow plus it makes use of a dry, cracking snare which is sort of a bit harsh on the ears compared to the lightly reverberated drums.  #LongLiveSteelo

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Unorthodox

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 Cause money ain’t a thing if I got it I won’t spend

All I got is my Pros, I don’t need no friends

Feel like this glory road is coming to an end

The only soul that won’t sin

No he won’t give in

This is the other single off the album and it has Dj Premier providing the beat (Dj Premier is one half of Gangstarr and the dude who usually provides the beats for BET cyphers). Another strong track with the break beats and gritty bars that sort of defy the beat. [yeah yeah but it’s just a bonus track]

Conclusion

It’s sort of plain to see that there’s now this tired or just plain bunt out feel to Bada$$’s voice: His rise was meteoric, he constantly sounds like someone who has been made to grow up too fast. Since the release of 1999, everyone has been hailing him as Brooklyn’s new chosen one and that sort of pressure is the reason why there are no tracks like Survival Tactics on this or the playful and childlike bragging seen on World Domination. The industry is a harsh and cold world, and expectations never cease in the Internet age where every new above average rapper is thought to be the holiest shit to have dropped from heaven.

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Joey experiments with his voice and flow on this album to great effect. He alternates his flows, switching from a rugged growl to a slippery flow, with the beats ranging from old school radio stuff to beats that sound like the after thoughts of a Fruity Loops experiment. When it’s good, it’s great but when it’s bad, it’s pretty average. Unfortunately, this free album/ mixtape is a few songs too long. In the age of 10 track albums, this is just too long and it’s really hard to jam the whole mixtape at once.

Seeing as The rating system of albums is different from that of mixtapes, I’m going to give this album 4 out of 5 stars.

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2 thoughts on “SUMMER KNIGHTS: A REVIEW

  1. You have somewhat “good” insight on hip hop. But that’s the thing your a critic, and F A rap critic. You talk about it while I live it.

  2. Pingback: JOEY BADASS –  B4.DA.$$ : A REVIEW | Tha Report Card

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