Evidence “Beats” Out Everyone In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop Albums List

Courtesy: Rhymesayers Entertainment

The old year is almost over, and the new year is nearly here, but before the clock turns midnight, turning 219 to 2019, there’s still some work for Phil’s Picks to do.  That work is some more year-ender list.  The year’s top EPs have been noted already.  Now, today it is on to the year’s top new Rap and Hip-Hop albums.

This has been an interesting year for the worlds of rap and hip-hop, with strong new offerings from the likes of Ice Cube, Evidence, Atmosphere and others.  There have also been some positive surprises from the likes of Mourning (A) BLKstar, Black Eyed Peas (yes, Black Eyed Peas — the group, now a trio again thank goodness, returned to its old school roots on its new album) and Dr. Octagon.

From one to the next, the albums that have been offered rap and hip-hop fans this year has largely been strong.  Keeping that in mind, forming this list was just as difficult as any before or after.

Topping this year’s list is Dilated Peoples emcee Evidence and his new album Weather or Not.  The album, from start to finish is everything that hip-hop and rap purists will appreciate, but musically and lyrically.  It is an old school presentation that is confident in both elements’ presentation.

Next up is fellow veteran emcee Eminem and his new album Kamikaze.  This record is, in this critic’s view, some of his best work to date, hands down.  The fire from his past albums is there, along with a certain maturity, too.  that balance makes for a solid work from start to finish.

Third place belongs, on this list, to Black Eyed Peas’ new album Masters of the Sun: Vol. 1.  As noted previously, this record takes the group, now a trio again, back to the sound that made it a hit during its underground days.  At the same time, the pop sensibility that made the group a hit in the mainstream is there, too.  Lyrically, the songs are their own stylistic rebirth for the group, too.

With 1st – 3rd noted, the rest of the list is fleshed out below.  As always, 15 titles are listed, with the Top 10 being the best while the next five are honorable mentions.  That is not to say that there is anything wrong with those albums.  They are just worth noting.  Now enough rambling.  without any further ado, here is Phil’s PIcks 2018 Top 10 New Rap & Hip-Hop albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW RAP & HIP-HOP ALBUMS

  1. Evidence — Weather or Not
  2. Eminem — Kamikaze
  3. Black Eyed Peas: Masters of the SunVol. 1
  4. Ice Cube — Everythang’s Corrupt
  5. Atmosphere — Mi Vida Local
  6. Mourning [A] BLKstar — The Garner Poems
  7. Dr. Octagon — Moosebumps
  8. Denzel Curry– TA1300
  9. Del & Amp Live — Gate 13
  10. Camp Hope — Micheal
  11. Everlast — Whitey Ford’s House of Pain
  12. dem Atlas — Bad Actress
  13. Four Fists — 6666
  14. Brownout — Fear of a Brown Planet
  15. Cypress Hill — Elephants on Acid

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‘Prophets Of Rage’ Is A Solid Effort For RATM 2.0

Courtesy: Fantasy Records

Rage Against The Machine is back again…sort of.  Tom Morello, Tim Cummerford and Brad Wilk joined forces with longtime friends B-Real (Cypress Hill) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) some time ago following the dissolution of Audioslave to form the super group Prophets of Rage, which is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0.  The only real difference between this “new” group and RATM—as is clear in listening to the group’s brand new self-titled debut album, is the fact that Morello, Wilk and Cummerford are joined this time out by the aforementioned superstar hip-hop front men.  Musically and lyrically speaking, the fruits of the group’s efforts make this 12-song album everything that Rage Against The Machine fans have come to expect from that band.  Even with that in mind, that return to musical and lyrical form makes this record a welcome effort from the second coming of Rage Against The Machine.

Prophets of Rage’s brand new self-titled debut album is a welcome effort from what is for all intents and purposes the second coming of Rage Against The Machine.  That is due in part to the musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 12-song, 39-minute run time.  From start to finish, listeners get here 12 arrangements that are a full return to form for Morello and his RATM band mates—Brad Wilk (drums) and Brad Cummerford (bass).  Morello’s heavy riffs and guitar-based special sound effects lift from all three of RATM’s full-length studio efforts and even from the trio’s work under the Audioslave moniker.  That balance of sounds throughout this record makes it enjoyable enough even despite the arrangements not exactly being anything groundbreaking.  Keeping this in mind, the album’s collective arrangements are collectively just one of the album’s elements to examine.  Its lyrical content is just as important to note here as those arrangements.

The lyrical content presented throughout Prophets of Rage is important to note here because it is just as familiar to RATM fans as the album’s musical arrangements.  What is important to note here is that while being as socially conscious as the lyrics in RATM’s previous albums, the topics tackled here are timely.  They do not just rehash the topics taken on in those records.  Case in point is the album’s opener ‘Radical Eyes.’  This song clearly takes on the misconception that just because someone might read one religious book or another that said person has become radicalized.  It is a response, basically, to the close mindedness that so many people have primarily against the Muslim community in this nation.  Its follow-up, ‘Unf*** the World’ stays on a similar mindset as it takes on the issue of racism that is still so alive in America.  The group also takes on the issue of poverty in America and the struggle to fight the issue due to politicians who seemingly don’t care to fight that battle in ‘Living on the 110.’  The group even takes on the issue of personal privacy invasion of sorts in ‘Take Me Higher,’ which addresses law enforcement’s use (and possible misuse) of drones in their daily duties.  The group even goes so far as to address the tensions between police and the people that have risen in recent years over allegations of police brutality in ‘Hands Up.’  This is all just a glance at the way in which Prophets of Rage manages lyrically to impress listeners with its timely lyrical content.  The other songs not noted here all present lyrical content that is just as timely as the material noted here.  Keeping all of this in mind, the lyrical content presented throughout this record proves to be POR’s cornerstone.  It is just one more of the album’s most important elements, too.  The album’s sequencing puts the final touch to its overall presentation.

Plenty of time and thought was obviously put into Prophets of Rage’s sequencing.  From start to finish, the album never lets its fire burn out.  Even as the group gets a bit funky in ‘Take Me Higher,’ it still doesn’t let up in its energy.  The up-tempo arrangement is instantly infectious thanks to all involved, ensuring listeners’ engagement just as much as the album’s much heavier arrangements.  Much the same can be said of ‘Counteroffensive,’ the 38-second interlude which lifts more from Public Enemy and Cypress Hill than RATM.  Even as short as it is and stylistically separate from its counterparts, its arrangement still is entertaining.  Its placement almost halfway through the record is just as smart, as it gives listeners a short break and some variance to the record in whole.  Considering this, the energies exhibited in each song and the fact that no one song directly repeats the other (in regards to their arrangements), it becomes even clearer why the album’s sequencing is so important to the album’s whole.  The energies never vary even as the familiar arrangements do vary.  When this is considered along with the arrangements themselves and the album’s timely lyrical content, the end result is an album that proves to be a solid first effort from Prophets of Rage and an equally solid new effort from what is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0.  More information on Prophets of Rage is available now along with Prophets of Rage’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://prophetsofrage.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/prophetsofrageofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/prophetsofrage

 

 

 

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Nonpoint Signs New Deal With Metal Blade Records

Courtesy:  Metal Blade Records

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Officials with Metal Blade Records announced today the addition of Florida-based hard rock band Nonpoint to its artist roster. The deal between Nonpoint and Metal Blade will see Metal Blade release Nonpoint’s upcoming eighth full-length album internationally. Front man Elias Soriano spoke with reporters on the announcement, expressing his happiness over the new deal. “This is a dream situation for us,” he said. “We’ve always needed a team behind us outside of the U.S. It’s a great feeling knowing you now have the best team possible.”

 
Drummer Robb Rivera echoed Soriano’s sentiments in his comments. “We are excited to get not only THE worldwide label of labels to release our album outside of the US, but to be part of a family now that has pretty much set the bar for metal releases for 30 plus years,” he said. “Needless to say , extremely excited to be able to get our music to the fans outside of the US through the team that helped launch Metallica.”

 
Nonpoint’s next album is currently slated to drop this Fall. Metal Blade Records rep Brian Slagel hinted at what fans can expect from the new album, stating, “The bit of new material I heard sounds great!” He was just as pleased with the announcement of the new deal between Nonpoint and Metal Blade Records. He said of the announcement, “All of us at Metal Blade are happy to welcome Nonpoint to the Metal Blade family. We are excited to work with them.”

 
Nonpoint will perform live at the Central Florida Fairgrounds at the WJRR Earthday Birthday festival. Also slated for the festival are: Alter Bridge, Everclear, All That Remains, Cypress Hill, Alien Ant Farm, Pepper, Fuel, Filter, Saving Abel, Saigon Kick, Lacuna Coil, Tantric, and many other bands. Nonpoint is also scheduled to perform at Rock The Yard in Kernersville, North Carolina on June 22nd alongside Another Lost Year. More information on the band’s current tour schedule, its upcoming eighth full-length studio release and more is available online now at http://www.nonpoint.com, http://www.facebook.com/nonpointworld, and http://twitter.com/nonpoint. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Performance times announced for Rock on The Range

Rock on The Range, one of the year’s biggest music festivals, has announced performance times for bands on the bill this year.  The festival runs May 18th  – 20th.  It all kicks off Friday, May 18th with a performance of Hells Bells on the f.y.e. second stage.  The band will perform at 7:00p.m.  Black Tide, Foxy Shazam and Hairball will follow at 7:45pm, 8:30pm and 9:30pm, respectively.

The big show starts Satuday morning with a performance by Emphatic at 11:30am on the f.y.e. Second Stage.  Adelitas Way will open the Monster Main stage at noon.  Also playing this year’s main stage are:  Halestorm, Theory of a Deadman, Chevelle, Slash, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, and Incubus.  Lots of other big names will be playing other stages at this year’s show including:  P.O.D., Cypress Hill, Cavo, and Bobaflex.

Sunday, May 20th will open with shows by Ghosts of August and Aranda at 11:30am on the Jagermeister Stage and f.y.e. Second Stage respectively.  They’ll be joined Sunday by:  Trivium, Attack Attack!, Down, Anthrax, SOil, James Durbin, 12 Stones, and Lacuna Coil.  Rob Zombie closes out the festival Sunday night on the Monster Main Stage.  He takes the stage at 9:45pm.

A small number of weekend and single day tickets are still available.  Rock on The Range is also offering a “4-pack Special” for $199 plus fees.  This pack includes a lower service charge than standard tickets.  For more information on this year’s festival, go online to http://www.RockonTheRange.com, http://www.facebook.com/rockonthernage, or http://twitter.com/rockontherange.