Birdman & Rick Ross – The ‘H,’ The Lost Album Vol. 1 mixtape review

The H Mixtape is the product of some some studio collaboration between Birdman and Rick Ross a couple years back.

The mixtape starts off with a string orchestratration intro, and Birdman giving a spoken preview to the music contained within, talking about the mentality of a couple of the flashiest excess-fueled rappers this side of Miami beach. H apparently stands for hustle, although it’s hard for me to envision either of these portly rappers breaking into anything faster than a brisk walk. The first rapped verse of the album goes to Rick Ross, and Birdman brings one of his signature hooks to “Flashy cars” amid the typical DJ intros and shout-outs.

“Betty Stout” touts a seventies-esque soul sample beat, shifted into a squeaky-high pitch. Ross starts things off again and lays down another bloated verse about excess and luxury, while Birdman raps another hook on the same tiresome topics. Next up, “Pop That Pussy” is a pretty standard club banger joint, with Birdman and Rozay tag teaming a couple of verses with an explicitly instructive hook that gives the track it’s ever-thoughtful title. Banking on the same formula that gave life to the “Betty Soul” beat, “Why” features both rappers on the topic of luxury, and flashy lifestyles.

“Sun Come Up” is a pretty typical yacht-rock infused Miami rap track. The rappers and a pitch-corrected R&B singer remind listeners that they do their big money lifestyle not just Sunday, not just Monday, not just Tuesday, not just Wednesday, not just Thursday, not just Friday, but also Saturdaaayyy. That’s seven days! Out of seven!

Next came a song so glossy and lacking substance it didn’t even register in my mind as an actual track. And that’s about the time I fully checked out, without a single regret, because right on cue, the remaining songs offered little more than B-roll trap beats, inane lyrics and meaningless phoned-in features. In case you just have to know, those tracks are called “Addicted,” “Money to Make,” and “Justice”

This mixtape was recorded back in 2008, and apparently Birdman and Rick Ross felt so compelled to remind the world of their absurd lifestyles between albums, that they decided it was necessary to put out some stale material full of faux-swagger and braggadocio. Mercifully, it was a short mixtape, and if it weren’t a free download, there’s no way I could personally recommend this compilation. It’s not the worst mixtape I’ve ever heard, mainly because it’s all authorized material with a fairly slick production aesthetic. However, with no substance to speak of, the polished exterior doesn’t keep this luxe-rap compilation from tripping over its pendulous belly.

Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t album review

Rick Ross, MMG CEO and rap superstar recently dropped his fourth solo release, God Forgives, I Don’t. This album features MMG members Wale and Omarion, alongside Drake, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Andre 3000. The production is polished and fantastic; GFID is worth a listen.

“Sixteen” is arguably the best track of the album with Andre 3000 dropping one of the most notable verses of his career. Other highlights include “Presidential,” “Diced Pineapples,” “3 Kings,” and “Amsterdam”.

It is important to note, as strictly an emcee and lyricist, Rick Ross has made little progress with this release, and rather, has moved to strictly what should be understood as an entertainer. Stories of drugs, guns, women, and riches have grown tiresome and implausible to a certain extent – Rick Ross was a former corrections officer. The production on the other hand is fantastic, featuring Jake One, Pharrell Williams, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Cool & Dre, and others; the issue is that as a multi-millionaire, Ross can create an album with fantastic instrumentation, which in this case, covers for the simplicity/dullness of Rick Ross as an emcee.

Designate what you are seeking when playing this album: for me, it is difficult to argue a good rap album when lyrical content is next to null. There is far better ‘trap music’ with content out there. That is not to say this is a poor album, and it should be listened to in its entirety—but it is to say that without the features and production, this album would most definitely be a weed plate.

The feature guests are incredible, the production is great and there are a handful of very good songs on the album. Rick Ross is a consistent entertainer, and again receives commercial success worldwide with this release. However, I repeat, it is hard to appreciate an album when the artist himself is the afterthought. If you are able to put aside these (minute), details, this album may be very enjoyable to you. My very subjective critique will speak to some, and be disregarded by others. Final words: listen to this album for the features and instrumentation and you will undoubtedly be pleased; Rick Ross fans will have no problem playing this front to back.

Top 5: Paper Gangsters

Can’t say they’re gangsta with a straight face.

DJ Khaled

I watched about six minutes of this DJ Khaled on MTV Cribs before I decided on the topic for this article. Listening to this man talk was just straight up bad. From yelling “We da bessssst,” upon entry into his home (and repeating it countless times after that), to basically overdoing every physical and verbal aspect of the stereotypical gangster rapper, there’s maybe an extremely small chance that DJ Khaled is as gangster as he makes himself out to be. Since he completely blew that image out of proportion on Cribs, though, that’s highly unlikely. Mr. Khaled Khaled is by far the most annoying rapper I have ever had the misfortune of noticing.

Kevin Federline

Why oh why didn’t you just stick to dancing, K-Fed? Oh right, you wouldn’t have gotten half of Britney Spears’ fortune if you did. Kevin Federline started out as a backup dancer, then went into modeling, rapping, and being Britney’s baby daddy. His rap “career” was just a huge embarrassment to hip-hop, with his debut album being dissed by everyone in every direction; you can’t really rap about how you’re “gangster” and a “star” while every song on your album is about how you’re going to throw away your (insanely wealthy) wife’s money on weed and parties. It doesn’t work, Fed-Ex.

Akon

Like 50 Cent, Akon has built his entire image on the “hardened gangster.” Unlike 50 Cent though, Akon’s street cred is completely hollow. For a guy who brags in every other interview about being an ex-ringleader of a huge car theft ring, writes songs about being “Locked Up,” and has a record label called “Konvict Muzik,” Akon has never been convicted of anything substantial. Ever. Actually, he did do three years probation for gun possession, but really? Gun possession? Aren’t guns more common than fast food in the States?

Rick Ross

No, this ain’t Ricky Ross the LA drug trafficker; this is William Leonard Roberts II. The big thing with this big man is this: he’s no drug dealer; he used to be a corrections officer. Yeah, he had a gun alright. Thing is, he wore the badge too. Rick Ross also claimed to have gang ties to Miami’s Carol City Cartel when he was busted for marijuana in ’08. Unfortunately, he couldn’t prove it, his lawyer prove it, and the officer in charge had to take his case off the gang task force. Paper gangster much?

50 Cent

Okay, okay. I get that Fiddy has the roughest childhood out of all five rappers/singers on this list. No father, mother was murdered when he was eight, grew up in Queens, sold crack, and even got caught at his high school with drugs and guns – G-Unit isn’t an empty name. However, as of right now, I think it’s safe to say that 50 Cent doesn’t have much time for anything other than straight business. He has a young son who’s a pretty important part of his life, from what he’s said in interviews, and it’s hard to imagine him going back to the street life, especially now that he’s made his gold. Curtis Jackson III is in business with Reebok, Vitamin Water, movies, video-games, and TV – in addition to music, of course. You’re more likely to find him in a suit than swinging a rag, although if he is swinging one, it’s probably Louis Vuitton. He’s come a long way, and I have to say that out of the five artists on this list, he’s the most deserving of mine, so props to you, 50.

True to the Game Album Sampler featuring Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Ludacris, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Yung Joc, Mario and more

You’ve already seen the stellar tracklist! Now get a chance to hear the tracks from Stadium Entertainment’s first release, True to the Game, in stores and online March 24th!

Preorder on Amazon!

True to the Game, Volume 1
Tracklist

1. Knock It Out Da’ Park – Yung Joc
2. Flyaway – Raiyn and Talib Kweli
3. Beam Me Up – Tay Dizm, T-Pain and Rick Ross
4. Still Hurts – Macy Gray and Marsha Ambrosius
5. The Big Screen – G.L.C. (Gangsta L. Crisis) and Kanye West
6. These Past Days – Sam Chris and Big Boi of OutKast
7. Pretty Girl – Jarvis and Ludacris
8. Make Your Way To The Dance Floor – Ziggy Nina and Chingy
9. Sweetest Taboo – Mikkey Halsted and Klass
10. If I Told U – Porta Prince and Ray J
11. The Bigg League – The Hustle Boyz and Snoop Dogg
12. Ghetto Love – Mario
13. Don’t Know How 2 Act – DJ Pharris, Shawna, Paul Wall and Lil Scrappy
14. I Don’t Wanna – Brandon Hines

About Stadium
Stadium is unique from other emerging independent record and consumer entertainment companies, with the majority of Stadium’s releases providing a revenue stream that will raise funds for a select list of grassroots and philanthropic organizations. With this mission and its focus on philanthropy, Stadium will generate projects featuring award-winning, gold and platinum recording artists, many of whom are on the forefront of today’s musical landscape.

The first release, TRUE TO THE GAME, Volume 1, will benefit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM).

Official Album Cover

A Collection of Track Masters
TRUE TO THE GAME – March 24
Stadium Entertainment

ATL beat maker Drumma Boy nominated for “Producer of the Year” at Ozone Awards 2008 alongside nominees Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I, Plies, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jeezy, Soulja Boy & Andre 3000 as the classically trained musical prodigy holds chart topping singles “Put On” for Jeezy & Kanye West, “What’s Up” for T.I., “Tomorrow” for Rocko and upcoming tracks for Ludacris, Akon, Monica, Nelly, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Raheem Devaughn, Goapele, Dionne Farris, Keri Hilson and more

ATL beat maker Drumma Boy nominated for “Producer of the Year” at Ozone Awards 2008 alongside nominees Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I, Plies, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Jeezy, Soulja Boy & Andre 3000 as the classically trained musical prodigy holds chart topping singles “Put On” for Jeezy & Kanye West, “What’s Up” for T.I., “Tomorrow” for Rocko and upcoming tracks for Ludacris, Akon, Monica, Nelly, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Raheem Devaughn, Goapele, Dionne Farris, Keri Hilson and more

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Atlanta based producer Drumma Boy merges his unique musical influences ranging from German composer Beethoven to Academy Award winning Three 6 Mafia, combining classical chords with urban street sounds to create an ingenuity worthy enough of receiving a nomination for “Producer of the Year” at the upcoming Ozone Awards 2008. The ceremony will take place on August 11th at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston Texas and will be hosted by comedian DeRay Davis best known from MTV’s Wild n’ Out. Other nominees include an array of the South Eastern region’s hottest talent Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I., Young Jeezy, Andre 3000, Soulja Boy, UGK, Bun B., T-Pain, DJ Khaled, Usher, Scarface, Plies, Gorilla Zoe, Trick Daddy, David Banner, Three 6 Mafia and Jermaine Dupri as well as multi-platinum artists Kanye West, Ne-Yo, Keyshia Cole, Chris Brown, Lupe Fiasco, Akon, Snoop Dogg and The Game.

The Memphis born Christopher Gholson who goes by the pseudonym Drumma Boy has been the beat maker and production catalyst behind tracks for many of the upcoming Ozone nominees including T.I., Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, Yo Gotti, Plies, Gorilla Zoe, Kanye West, David Banner, DJ Drama, Gucci Mane and Trey Songz. In the September 2007 issue of Ozone Magazine editors stated, “You can call 2007 a breakout year for producer Drumma Boy. Now that he tastes the sweet victory of mainstream success, this hit-maker from Memphis finds himself one of the game’s most sought after producers.”

The 24-year old rhythm architect and founder of Drum Squad Productions had a destiny solidified as a young child with a mother who was a well known opera singer and a father who was a professional clarinetist and music professor at the University of Memphis, the first African-American man to hold the 1st chair position in the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. “My dad taught me everything I know about traditional music and had me playing the clarinet at age 5 but it was my mom that introduced me to Curtis Mayfield and 70’s oldie, so my style now is a reflection of all of that, classical, soul and street music.”

Given his moniker by a close friend for his unique drum patterns he followed in the footsteps of Memphis native Jazze Pha (Ciara, Nelly, Ludacris) and relocated to Atlanta in 2004. Now the highly sought after producer skillfully adds crispy, hard-hitting 808 bass lines with gentle touches of rhythmic change and chord progression to each beat he crafts and gives them to some of today’s hottest artists. He composes thick and textured sounds that take some producers years to perfect. It takes a special kind of artist to rock with him, which explains his impressive roster of hip hop acts that include Young Jeezy, T.I., Kanye West, Nelly, Ludacris, Scarface, Yo Gotti, Eightball & MJG, Young Joc, Slim Thug, Rick Ross, E-40, Rocko, Paul Wall and Lil’ Jon. Drumma Boy is fresh, as in innovative and expressive but more importantly, he’s admirably great at pushing boundaries; taking the art form into new realms of abstraction.

Currently labeled as one of the “hottest new producers” in the August 2008 issue of Vibe Magazine, Drumma Boy is enjoying credit for new singles including Jeezy’s “Put On” f/ Kanye West which has proven to be one of the summer’s hottest anthems while other recent tracks include “Juice Box” from Gorilla Zoe (Atlantic Records), “Tomorrow” from Rocko (So So Def/Island Records) and “Here I Am” from Rick Ross f/ Nelly (Def Jam Records). This Fall 2008 Drumma will be known as the man responsible for several songs off T.I.’s highly anticipated Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic) including the single “What’s Up What’s Happening” as well as three additional tracks from Def Jam and multi-platinum recording artist Jeezy’s The Recession. With a gift to manufacture inimitable sounds the young virtuoso has been recruited into the studio this month with a wide range of artists including Monica, Brandy, Keyshia Cole, Mary J. Blige, Akon, Raheem Devaughn, Goapele, Slim Thug, Rick Ross, Rich Boy, Keri Hilson, Plies, Goapele, Dionne Farris and Jagged Edge.

His musicianship is incredible, having the ability to pour passion and conviction into whatever he does. His combination of multi-talent is one of many factors that separate him from the mainstream. His soul is soaked in the eccentricity of vintage Rhythm and Blues and P-Funk. He plays with this dichotomy of yesteryear classics and current trends to concoct sophisticated arrangements that fuse the arrogance of hip-hop with the slickness of R&B. The talented musician has not only fostered relationships with top notch artists such as Outkast, Trick Daddy, Cash Money, Pastor Troy and Killer Mike, but he also understands the importance of connecting with equally gifted writers, instrumentalists and producers like Johnta Austin and Jazze Pha.

Drumma Boy is famous for making diverse beats that range from rap, rock, classical and pop to soulful R&B ballads and gospel-inspired jams. He is as authentic as a creative artist can be, reading music with an educated ear while possessing the ability to instantly recognize the correct key. In addition to a learned knowledge, there is that burning desire he inherently possesses to win and maintain respect.

“Drumma Boy has a signature sound that can make an average artist sound great…truly he has grown into a “real producer” while some just “make beats” he has taken his sounds from the Hood 2 the Executive Suites and that’s the Bizniss” Jazze Pha

“Drumma Boy is up next!” T.I.

“Drumma Boy is the correct spelling for producer” Young Joc

“Because producers like Drumma Boy are making some serious noise. The album’s first single, “Put On,” Featuring Kanye West produced by Drumma Boy – a throbbing, chest-pounding anthem – does what Jeezy’s best songs always do; It furthers his legend with it’s might.” Vibe Magazine

“It’s clear Drumma has risen quickly to distinguish himself among the upper echelon of hip hop producers. His distinction lays with his classically trained ear along with his signature drum rolls and staggering 808’s.” The Source Magazine

“Despite the instrument reference in his name, Drumma Boy actually played the clarinet coming up. Classically trained by his father, the Memphis native upgraded from a woodwind to a Roland XP-50 at the age of 14. Drumma is making even more noise and looking forward to adding his Midas touch to upcoming projects from Jeezy and T.I. Watch him do his thang.” XXL Magazine

“When you hear one of Drumma Boy’s beats, you don’t just listen. You feel the 808 street bass, symphonic influences, horns and stirring string section. Hard knocking tracks like Young Jeezy’s “I Am the Realist” and “Standing Ovation” and Gangsta Boo’s stammering “Stacks on Deck’ and “Queen of the South” are prime examples of Drumma Boy’s limitless musical originality. Drumma’s present and future are as bright as the sun.” Grip Magazine

“With a penchant for chest-beating percussion and attitude-drenched synths, Drumma and his Drum Squad production unit have built a hefty catalog, including Scarface’s “Recognize,” Boyz N Da Hood’s “Trap Niggaz,” Paul Wall’s “Gimmie Dat,” and most recently, Plies & T-Pain’s “Shawty.” But it was really his work on Jeezy’s first album, “Thug Motivation 101”, that got the industry’s attention.” Scratch Magazine

“Atlanta producer Drumma Boy got his start as a producer and beat writer in his early teens. His mother and father both worked in music and gave him a solid grounding in the fundamentals. A few years go he made the move from Memphis to Atlanta where he began to network with the likes of Outkast and Trick Daddy.” Music Connection Magazine

“”Put On” is the first single from the forthcoming Jeezy album, and it’s a Jeezy track through and through up until the end with epically gothic Drumma Boy synth-twinkles.” Village Voice

“Drumma Boy is an exceptional young talent. Rarely is one able to identify producers who are not only able to create a unique sound with Hip Hop, but R&B as well. Drumma represents the grind. He represents the now. He represents…the future!” Johnta Austin

“Drumma Boy has his ear to the street because his sound is just that!! A very versatile producer and business man, he is hip hop’s “go to” man for a gritty visualistic sound. A producer can only dream of a resume like his.” DJ Drama

“Drumma Boy is one of the most driven producers out of Atlanta, with uniquely different beats.” LeToya Luckett