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REVIEW: Enter The Realm Of Nerdcore In Mark Cooper’s “I Am Player 1”.

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Enter The Realm Of Nerdcore In Mark Cooper’s “I Am Player 1”.

Entering unfamiliar territory I set out to embark on the musical game experience that is “I Am Player 1” with my track by track review of Mark Cooper’s nerd core styled album.

01. Nerdcore –  A silky sounding introduction that stages Mark Cooper in front of a virtual reality video game called “Nerdcore” moments before pressing start. It quick & fitting and sparks an interesting set up to “I Am Player 1”.

02. Tutorials – “Hmm… So this is Nerdcore” here we go, we’re the past the intro & the album is painting the video game landscape in perfect metaphorical form. Of coarse after pressing start logically some tutorials about to get thrown at you next, correct? Mark Cooper ends his verse with the words “mind blown” an encore to his hard hitting opening verse of the project before claiming he still has “the hang of it”. The rest of tutorials brings Pokemon & Zelda references ending in theatric style as you choose to be “Player 1”.

03. Player One – The strings sorta synth sounding opening before the power chorus grabs your ears. If this is virtual reality in lyrical form Cooper has finessed it with bars layered on top a punchy production that had me reminiscent of some late 90’s Dr. Dre slash Warren G type records. This song hits heavy & continues the travels within Nerdcore. Oh, and an Animaniac’s reference. Bringing back the childhood memories as I listen on.

04. Transformers ft. Finale & Mic Jack – Our first collaborative effort brings the likes of Finale & Mic Jack joining along in a triple threat of real rap. As stated you might need to “kick back, rewind this verse”….I have a feeling four tracks in that most listeners & hip hop fans in general would find themselves rewinding this willingly. Another banger.

05. Sabrina the A.I. – Welcome to your artificial intelligence assistance in this skit backed by some ominous piano that creates a sonic build up of intensity all well mixing bits of humor inside the conversation between Mark Cooper & Sabrina the A.I. The production value plays out like a movie and sets the stage for the path towards the all spark required to win.

06. Nick tunes ft. L.Y. – Not familiar with L.Y. before this particular record but definitely intrigued from it & from the opening Mark Cooper tag the producer & rapper showcases what I assume is his own production. The two provide quite the combo & the 90’s kid cartoon references don’t stop with a bar for bar Nickelodeon marathon of lyrical delivery at its finest. He’s not Doug Funny. He’s Mark Cooper!!!

07. Boomerang ft. Crimson Alchemist – To me this came off as the most video game centric sound so far yet tied into some classic boom bap drums. Crimson Alchemist!!! This verse had me rewinding like previously mentioned – & the classic yet simple hook that ties the two rappers verses together just fits. Hard to pick a favorite record amongst the consistency this project has provided but this is one of the shining moments for me.

08. Star Power ft. Monsoon – I related to this one here…Cooper states “but I’m a nerd I’m not compatible with a whole bunch of people..”. Growing up a bit of a recluse myself I played my share of video games when I wasn’t writing for days. This record is less hard hitting as the in your face type sound of previous & brings a more mellow vibe following what have been more intense records. About midway through it adds a welcomed element & continues our trip through the virtual reality realm.

09. Gamer 4 Life – Metroid & Blastoise! Yoshi! Elder Scrolls! Megaman! Halo!….I could go on but Gamer 4 Life speaks as an anthem for all gamers in this lyrical listing of some of the finest video games of all time. “Negative’s in your hard drive, take em out your archive” – one my fave lines on the album – this song made me proud to say I play video games! LOL For real though my best description if this is it’s the perfect gamers anthem.

10. Mortal Combat High ft. Starbomb – Catchy, catchy, right of the bat is what grabbed my attention span in whom I assume is Starbomb lending vocals for the chorus that’ll have the words “Mortal Combat High” stuck in my head. Another standout record for me – the chorus grabs you and as has been evident verse after verse Mark Cooper knows who he is as an emcee & establishes certainly to be an expert in #Nerdcore.

11. Marvelous – HEAVY ROTATION. Eleven tracks into “I Am Player 1” & “Marvelous” honestly feels like a pretty fitting term for what I’ve heard. It’s not often I have to search for my least favorite record. It’s especially hard when their isn’t one. The descriptive writing abilities of Mark Cooper and his knack for creating bars that tell a story is continually evident.

12. Rainbow Road – Speaking of stories is one of the most creative songs I’ve heard in a hot minute, not to mention this album itself. In an ode to what the song title would lead me to believe is Mario Kart plays out as what feels like the most personal and deep record on “I Am Player 1”.  I sensed as if I was listening to some sorta battle between playing video games & pursuing the passions of life? I may be totally wrong though, the song sounds like a relationship under the examination of a microscope…Regardless this song packs replay value & as the closer before the outro helps close down one extremely solid listening session worth of hip hop.

13. Major Upset – Game over? well…..I can’t tell you that much! You’re gonna have to listen to “I Am Player One” to uncover that answer……

In closing “I Am Player 1” is cohesive, sonically sound, & packed with heavy hitting verses. Guest appearances that fit, add value, & come together to form fantastic collaborations. I’ll be honest my only complaint about this project is that I didn’t hear it in full earlier. Outside of mc chris I’m not personally very familiar with the sub genre of hip hop #Nerdcore. However one thing certainly is sure to me after listening to this album. That thing is that this may not be for everybody but regardless of your nerdy traits or not this is some true to form hip hop that I believe any true fan of lyricism can appreciate. A movie like buildup of skits & Mark Cooper’s bar frenzy of verses all come together in what has amounted to one of my favorite listens of the year.

COMMi$$ION’S RATING: 9/10

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Detroit emcee Semi Six – Assorted Fries (album)

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Semi returns with Assorted Fries, a 7 track EP over Tuamie instrumentals. Semi has been a fan of the Atlanta producer since 2012 when he first saw Godsconnect. The Detroit emcee features his peers to fry up the game this summer with tracks like Respect, Heaterz and Patent Leather 11s

 

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Trick Trick drops a classic. “ELEMELEM” New Album

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The Big Homie Trick Trick. We tend to listen to and enjoy what we can relate to. The respect alone that Trick Trick has earned over his long career should motivate any fan of Detroit music young or old to give this new project a listen. If your under the age of 30 i encourage you to soak up all the game you can. “Cut It Out” brings truths to things we’ve thought but never questioned. If you grew up on the streets of Detroit you can’t help but see yourself in the lyrical display over the orchestrated musical bed that you could imagine the great Isaac Hayes lending a verse.

On ZiGGaTTa finds Trick Trick reflects back on where life was at a young age “Found Love in the art of hip hop cause it was Def, Run D and J gave me sumn to focus on”  When i tell you Scarface himself could not have touched Trick Trick on this track it’s no CAP. This is a must listen.

“What Part of the Game” features Bumpy Knuckles on one of the hottest tracks on the project. I immediately went to see who cooked this beat up. Maybe we will find out in a interview.  “There are Rules, We survive by following our Rules” The streets are out of control, pure chaos because we have gotten away from the CODE. Trick and Bumpy lace this track effortlessly.

Now what would a Trick Trick album be without the smoke records??? Aint shit changed as the OG comes with it featuring the Funk Doc himself “REDMAN” and West Coast Stone on “Who Got it” The smoove 2 step record “Im in love with Mary Jane” feat Ari Wryter” and what might be my personal favorite  “We Blow Dat Gas” feat Berner and Parlae.  Production will always catch my attention and when this track came on i was like “WHAT THE FUCK” I had to run it back before the verse even started cause i was hooked already. Then to see Trick Produced the Joint was a fist pump moment for a brother.

I’ve often heard people say “Trick aint got bars” well, he may not be your lyrical miracle emcee but Trick has never been slacking when it comes to the mic. And although what may be front and center when it comes to rap out of Detroit right now which is the sound of the streets  don’t think we cant rhyme circles around you, and have fun doing it at the same time. Trick has always embraced those who may be considered on the Hip Hop side of things from Jump.

Tracks Like Frontline feat artist like OMG FLu, Hydro, and Courtney Bell bring complex flow yet every word is understood, subject matter from grinding in the streets to finding Yah and inner peace.  “Champion” brings us the feel good Today was a good day vibe and all is well as you GET THESE LUXRY BARS from Marv Won, Ron Dance and Ro Spit aka 101.   Ant Beats bring us another one of our favorite beats on the album on the “My City D’ Shytt” feat Payroll, Street Lord Juan and Oba Rowland.  Trick always got that one thats full of energy and ready to bring a concert to its feet. (If you haven’t seen Trick Trick live your missing out) Fuccitup. The bars a hard and if you come from the Detroit dance era there is something in this track that will surely get you amp, Good Money and P-Dot bring it home on the joint.

Two more joints we got to mention not because they were our least favorite but we felt it was only right to end it with that WEST COAST VIBE (which really came from Detroit but that’s a discussion for another day) With joints feat WC on “Let me In” also feat D12’s Swifty Mcvay and Kuniva  and what i think can be a single around the country “Dis Bitch Movin” feat E-40   This joint goes HARD!!!!

Pay Homage to the OG Detroit’s own   TRICK TRICK

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Nametag “The Limit” Ep Produced By Black Bethoven

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Detroit MC/Podcaster, Nametag Alexander returns for second quarter of 2021 with his latest release, “The Limit EP”. This time around, he collaborates with his older Brother, and consistent go-to Producer, Black Bethoven. The title, “The Limit” is defined by being able to play to one’s strengths, and putting in the maximum effort without burning out.

Twitter: @nametagalxndr x @blackbethoven
Instagram: @nametagalexander x @blackbethoven
Facebook: Nametag Alexander x Black Bethoven

 

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