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D|REVIEWS: Damo The Great – Order Out Of Chaos

One more chance to be great…..& from the opening realm of “Order Out Of Chaos” the man who has been a mainstay in Detroit hip hop for a decade plus arrives in polished form ready to present that greatness. From the days of Abstrakt Intellekt to those of The Prime Eights the emcee slash producer Damo The Great steers away from group form providing a solo effort packed with immense production & developed lyrical trips.

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One more chance to be great…..& from the opening realm of “Order Out Of Chaos” the man who has been a mainstay in Detroit hip hop for a decade plus arrives in polished form ready to present that greatness. From the days of Abstrakt Intellekt to those of The Prime Eights the emcee slash producer Damo The Great steers away from group form providing a solo effort packed with immense production & developed lyrical trips.

The opening “Means, Motive, & Opportunity”  opens with the spoken words “I see humans everywhere but no humanity” going on to the touch on a possible explanation behind that before John Stone goes on about that “one more chance“. I reviewed his beat project “Now You Know” a while back and the live instrumentation vibes that one brought feel almost amplified here from the very beginning. One things apparent, he knows how to find beats that fit his particular sound very well.

With “Like I Do” at first the rhyme schemes felt simplistic to my ears but as the verse grew and the trumpets blew, the chorus swept in & had me replay this one a few times before the next number. The song builds lyrically & gets stronger as it goes on. The vintage samples mashed live sound feeling mixed with Damo’s unique voice puzzle pieces together & has a certain catchiness to it.  *

The first accomplice in rap on “Order Out Of Chaos” brings the first amongst multiple Detroit legends lending a hand on the album with Esham. “Icon” brings a more signature hard hitting hip hop sound with Esham opening, and Damo The Great ending as the two trade verses. A solid showing from both here, I enjoyed this track.

First Hits Free” was reminiscent of an Apathy sorta flow .Damo goes “perfect verses, leave the mic infected with turbulent ancient curses” and these were my favorite verses from him four tracks in. A lot of multi syllable spilling, & the production continues to shine. *

Rass Kass! Bekay! Marv Won! The heavy hitters are along on this one, & of coarse its fire. Real hip hop point black, wordplay galore & Bekay damn it’s been a minute since I heard him but he murders his verse on some old school Em style punchline shit. It’s like the four horsemen colliding verbally. “In My Sleep” is not the one to sleep on. *

The Intermission” moves forward with the sound bites with this monster tale. Give’s a storytelling angle and doesn’t feel unnecessary as some intermissions can. It’s a dope minute breather leading into the next chapter.

Halfway through what is showcasing that underground hip hop sound I grew up on. “Severed Limbs and Shark Teeth” brings lyrical lacerations in a triple threat laced via Damo The Great, Aztek The Barfly, & Cancer. My only complaint on this one was the hook/chorus – just seemed a little lackluster compared to the previous examples but each emcee carries their own verse wise with shouts to “Shadow Creek” embedded.

The old school vibes are strong with this one…Copywrite packs energy from the start with slicing syllables before some DJ cuts bridge into John Stone’s words. “Two of the midwest best oh god on Shadow Creek.” Repping the label as John Stone & Copy are “Apollo & Rocky” in this hip hop boxing match. *

Do You Believe In Monsters” had me thinking of that intermission a few records back…I’ve never personally heard of the two features here. Sankofa & Rocknezz Monsta that is. Nine tracks in I’ve been pretty much into everything I’ve heard but something about this one fell a little flat for me. It’s not bad but it’s my least favorite track so far.

Rebound city. The last track was my least favorite well “Everybody Dies” contends for one of my personal favorites of the thirteen track offering “Order Out Of Chaos“. This beat. THIS BEAT. Can I get on a remix on this one or something please haha…. Honestly though just played it back again. “Ah, I’m a beast of burden, you can die for certain, pull the curtains, now your face to face with Tyler Durden.” opens atop that piano & bassline that got my mind blasting creative thoughts. It’s a dark chorus but fitting. Standout track.*

Three to go and “Legion Of Doom” opens up with another monster line. Another hard hitting hip hop record vibe going on here. Hibernation and Kovax are along for this one – I’ve heard of them but haven’t heard them – for a first impression it fairs better than the last duo I was unfamiliar with. The third verse from one of the aforementioned stood out to me & finished this dope track off well.

DETROIT! “The Evil That Pens Do” suspense-fully drives in crashing bars into your eardrums. A classic sounding underground anthem with a Russian roulette of emcee’s releasing evil pen speech. Aztek, Fatt Father, Foul Mouth, Cancer, Marv Won – it’s a Detroit super squad. This one is gold & yet another standout proving there is a little order out of chaos. A lyrical dagger fight sort of order.*

Aztek is back again, AT, and another legend Kool G Rap. Damo The Great kicks things off in the track closer…a livelier joint “Hustlers and Pimps” has the smoothest chorus on the album & throughout this track there is a somewhat different sound from previous. Kool G Rap flexes a perfected verse & on a lighter note comes some order in the chaos with this departure.

Order Out Of Chaos” in closing is a well-oiled record with only a couple misses for me. I’ve put a * next my favorite/standout tracks as I listened through after that particular tracks description. If you notice theres a decent amount of those. I’ve been listening to the album across different avenues – headphones, Macbook speakers, & car speakers – it’s apparent the attention in detail to quality mixing/mastering & it really captured the essence of a cohesive & well put together underground record. The majority of the features fit nicely & those individuals often shine when their time comes. Damo The Great brandishes a polished sound & a knack for self production that often perfectly matches the sound I feel he is going for. – COMMi$$ION

RATING ~ 8/10

PHYSICAL RELEASE/PICK UP YOUR COPY OF “ORDER OUT OF CHAOS” HERE: www.shadowcreekentertainment.com

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Lazarus – “You Already Know” ft. Rick Ross & Gucci Mane

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Lazarus - “You Already Know” ft. Rick Ross & Gucci Mane

After last years “Decapitation Chamber” feat. Ghostface Killah & “Leatherface” with Bizarre, Hopsin, & King Gordy comes an unexpected collaboration of mass proportions from Detroit’s own Lazarus. Tackling a trap beat Lazarus hits us with a welcomed curveball in “You Already Know” feat. Rick Ross & Gucci Mane. The star studded collaboration offers us a twist in the forever growing story of Lazarus as he brilliantly demonstrates his versatile abilities atop  production by Tez that #LazArmy fans aren’t accustomed to hearing the Doctor/Rapper attack. “Don’t gotta lie, my rhymes tell you what you already know..” is a fitting close and simple explanation of this mega record. Rick Ross & Gucci Mane respectively come with strong verses that perfectly reflect their styles and blend well. Best of all Lazarus’s ability to remain his top notch lyrical self well aiding the hook in a catchy and ear-invasive way packs a punch ready for your car’s sound system to consume.

DETROIT! Catch Lazarus performing at El Club alongside the legendary GZA on 01.28.2020 in Detroit, MI. More info here.

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ALBUM

REVIEW: COMMiSSiON- GROWiNG UP

The editor finally tells his own story.

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Modern independent musicians wear many hats, from guiding the production of the music they love, directing merch and marketing, and working the mechanics necessary to get their music heard. Likewise, content creators have to stay on their toes to contribute consistently; staying in touch with the game and building relationships with everyone in and out of the machine is essential.

Joe Commisso, aka COMMiSSiON, also serves as the editor and webmaster of DetroitRap.com, creating content that supports and reviews Detroit music. He also supports Detroit acts directly at shows and events, and has been actively performing and preparing his own contribution to the discussion about Detroit hip-hop.

As the new decade opened, Commission released “GROWiNG UP” across platforms and chose to weave a narrative about his past as his first full project.With appearances from VStylez, Kid Vishis, Jonnie Morris, Sin Crawford, and Redman, there is an edge to GROWiNG UP that reflects the struggles that COMMiSSiON encountered growing up on Carlisle Street in Detroit. JRGotTheHits, who helmed the majority of the production on the album, provided him with a synth-heavy soundscape that is sparse enough to allow Joe to do his thing while incorporating a good live feel that should translate well in Joe’s performances.

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Standout tracks include “Tell Em,” “Too Much,” and “Flagrant,” where Pontiac’s Sin Crawford drops a notable verse. COMMiSSiON does a great job of maintaining a subtext of growth throughout the tape, and the album climaxes with “Rapper Dad,” where Joe balances music with maintaining his connection with his family.

Overall, GROWiNG UP is a solid project. Making a thematic album for a debut is challenging, as streaming playlists don’t always allow today’s listeners an opportunity to hear records in context. Nevertheless, the songs can stand on their own, and it will be interesting to see how COMMiSSiON and JRGotTheHits continue to build chemistry. As we look forward to future projects (and content) by COMMiSSiON, we can bet that his music will stay true to what those of us who are music multitaskers already know — having balance is the most important thing.

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BayBro – Escape/2AM

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BayBro - Escape/2AM

Enter the cinematic adventure immediately ahead with this intriguing clash of two pieces together as one perfectly portrayed. Broken Blanket Media visualize “Escape/2AM” in a way that pulls you into a story well letting the verses poke through from Baybro directly. Baybro has been on a heavy streak of releasing quality records and this mashup is a perfect sonic entree for those who are just tuning in to the emcee for the first time. It’s always fun to see the creativity of a talented artist get a visual that both grabs your attention and allows the song to breathe. The All The Way Free Records artist Baybro is out to be a force to be reckoned with & undoubtedly upon this offering there shall be more to come.

 

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