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Report Card: Isaiah Rashad Makes a Brief Return, Blu & Elzhi Are a Backpacker's Dream

And Knxwledge tweaks Ciara's hit.
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There is simply too much music and not enough hours.

Attempting to cover every notable and great album is difficult enough, but reviewing every notable and great song is simply impossible.

Instead of a futile attempt at covering everything, then, we’ve come up with the DJBooth Report Card: a simple, daily review of five recently-released records, using an A (incredible) to F (make it stop) letter grade system.

Along with a grade, each song will be accompanied by a brief sentence or two. Report Card isn't meant to be a deep dive nor profound analysis, but a daily appetizer for music scavengers seeking great recommendations and the newest, most notable songs to either bump or avoid.

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L’Orange — "The Difference" ft. Blu & Elzhi

Sample chops, a jazzy piano loop, scratches by DJ Noumenon, and Blu and Elzhi both swinging flaming pens? "The Difference" is a backpack rap fan's dream. The kind of lyrical rap that will make you shit an elf. Elzhi’s verse is truly a display of clever, high-level wordplay and slick lyricism ("Since I got the juice and your pulp's fiction we living in a different movie"). I need Flex bombs. If this was 2008, the hip-hop blogosphere would be burning down. (B+) 

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Isaiah Rashad — "The Race Freestyle"

Dirty bass and dirty lyricism, Isaiah adds Chattanooga swagger to Tay-K’s Texas banger. Zay's fluid flow is a strength, able to overload listeners with a plethora of thoughts and imagery that will make a song short of two minutes worth rewinding. Short but done in style. (B)

Knxwledge — "Promise_" 

106 & Park was still airing music videos the last time I heard Ciara’s “Promise.” It’s been far too long to remember, but I’m pleasantly surprised by Knxwledge’s remix. It’s slow and seductive, the instrumental is soft and ethereal; R&B that exists where time and space don't, but love does. Knx tweaked Ciara’s hit to create a vibe that will make you feel like Lil Wayne did in 2007(B)

Blu & Fa†e — "UFO II" ft. Khary & Choker 

An unreleased version of “UFO” from Blu & Fa†e’s Open Your Optics To Optimism, released to celebrate the one-year anniversary. Blu’s penmanship is excellent, the kind of imagery that would make him an award-winning emcee if rap had Olympics. Khary and Choker don’t have the acclaim that Blu does but both arrive with their sharpest pens. It’s a well-put-together record where every artist adds a level of value that this alternate version is good enough to stand alongside the original. (B)

Talib Kweli — "Heads Up Eyes Open" ft. Rick Ross & Yummy Bingham

Incredible. Never expected Talib and Ross to come together over an instrumental full of jazzy arrangements and a choir to add an uplifting amount of soul. Feel-good music. Rapsody isn’t the only emcee feeling inspired by Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly. (B)

By Yoh, aka Yohzhi, aka @Yoh31



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