Best Rap Album of 2011 – G-Side: The One…Cohesive

G-Side.

What.

You should know how I feel bout these dudes.  I have been a big supporter and purchase their releases the second they drop.  In my opinion, their last two albums “Starshipz & Rocketz” and “Huntsville International” were both the best rap albums of their respective years.

So now comes their 4th album and it drops first day of 2011, can it possibly go all year as the best rap album?  Let’s find out…

Now remember I am listening to this for my first time ever, and these are just my feelings as they pop into my head.  I might not “get” certain intricacies in lyrics or concepts, and I may focus on beats more, but it is easier to taqke in a great beat in a quick listen, than a great verse.  I do NOT think beats are more important than lyrics.


1. Shots Fired feat. Codie G – Your typical intro so far, Codie G spitting some knowledge.  A nice smooth beat drops, man, I dunno how to even explain it.  The production is always so lush with some much going on it is almost hard to explain.  If this makes sense – the beat sounds like the opening of an epic album.  ST also drops a nice verse.  The beat transitions into a symphony tuning…is that a sign of things to come?

2. Came Up feat. S.L.A.S.H – Wow some vicious violin strings on this.  If this violin is a sample can someone PLEASE tell me what it samples. ST kicks it off, and like usual is great.  Ya know how it is cool to like not care when you rap now?  Like with guys like Drake it is all about sounding effortless.  I don’t mind that sound but ST goes the other route, he sounds hungry, biting off the last words of each verse.  It is refreshing. This beat is nothing less than hypnotic. S.L.A.S.H sounds pretty good on this.  I am not usually a fan of female MCs but she does a great job here.  Will definitely check her out more in the future.

3. Y U Mad feat. P.H & Kristmas
– Now that the string section is done, we are hit with a pretty great Piano sample (I assume it is a sample, but again can’t catch it).  It is almost Elton John-ish.  As the beat kicks in the piano gets a bit more ethereal and there are some drums and synths added.  ST rips this track.  I am 2 minutes in and it is like the beat is getting better,  they are still adding elements halfway through the track.  Kristmas can spit, I like this dude.

4. I’m Sorry feat P.H
– I didn’t think this was gonna be on the album, I love this song and am glad they included it.  This album versions sounds slightly tweaked as well.  The male vocals at the start seem crisper.  Another great beat.  This album is thus far living up to the title. These beats are all very cohesive sounding.

5. Inner Circle feat. CP – A very epic start to the beat with the choir singing and vocal chants.  Wow, 5 songs in and 5 amazing beats that fit together perfectly.   ST starts it off by saying “So now the critics be comparing us to Outkast….”  Funny because I have mentioned that a couple times on this blog.  Five songs in and this is kind of reminding me of ATLiens in a way.  G-Side and Outkast – both are the headline duo of large collectives with in house production.  Both Southern.  Both melding a street and social conscious.  This particular album is just  so different than most Southern music.  Kind of like ATLiens when it dropped.

6. Jones feat. P.O.P.E – Once again the song starts and you feel like you are in an elevator inside some fucking incredibly kick ass UFO while smoking some space weed.  The drums drop turning the song a bit more upbeat.  As I type that some new sound is added to the beat,  ST again kills it.  The hook on this reminds me of some older rap tune but I can’t put my finger on it.  I don’t know a lot about P.O.P.E, but he sounds solid on here.  It’s amazing the amount of talent in Huntsville, Alabama.

7. Nat Geo
– This song leaked earlier and it is another great one.  The beat starts out with some simple drums and then is quickly layered with some typical Block Beattaqz new age chords.  I believe I read this is an Enya sample.  A real feel good song, Clove and ST both sound great on it. Chris Lee has taken some online flack, but I think he does a fine job on the hook.

8. I Am feat. DJ Cunta – What is the instrument used at the start of this song?  It sounds asian.  Of course it is layered with like 700 other sounds.  I can’t even explain these beats LOL  There is so many layers, so many different noises, samples etc…  DJ Cunta def has an interesting voice, I am fan of his though so glad to see him show up on the G-Side album.

9. Pictures feat. G-Mane – Uhhh wow.  This is incredible. Remember how I said sometimes I don’t notice the verses of a song right away.  The reason is because of beats like this.  This is absolutely amazing.  This would have definitely be in the running for song of the year last year.  The sample is so familiar, sounds like something from the 80’s . It is killing me I can’t think of what it is.

10. Never feat. Mic Strange – Man G-Side got out of the spaceship straight onto the block on this one.  A little welcome aggressions on this track.  Mic Strange kicks it off, and his voice alone sounds like a punch in the face.  I am not sure if I love his verse though.  The beat is significantly harder than most of the previous ones, but it still has a lush sound.  It still fits as part of the album.  It isn’t so jarring as to ruin the flow.  It also gives ST a chance to really get after it and showcase the flow.  Clova sounds great on this as well.

11. No Radio feat. Bentley – A distorted bassline starts the beat off.  Does any group do a better job in incorporating vocals into their beats? This is a funky beat.  Almost has a west coast feel to it. The production on this album has been fire through and through.  Another thing I realized is that Clova has sounded great on this album.  I talk about ST a lot, but Clova deserves some credit as well.  Bentley kills his verse, second G-Side album in a row that Bentley has snapped on.

12. How Far feat. Victoria Tate & Kaylan Parham – Some guitar strings to start out this song, they are subdued though, almost sound like they are underwater.   Reminds me of like Chris Issak guitar style.  This track again showcases that new age sound that G-Side have harnessed so well in the past.  I think I heard a Toronto shout out as well, always welcome.  This is almost more of an RnB song since the opening singing and hooks take up so much of the song.

13. Money In The Sky II feat Chris Lee
– I liked the first version of this a lot, so I am hoping for big things. K starts with a nice piano and synth coming in – but one problem.  I am not really feeling Chris Lee on this.  Voice is a bit nasally to me.  I liked him on the first version though.  The beat is still nice, and ST is killing it but a large majority of the song is Chris Lee.  I would love this track with more G-Side and less Chris Lee.

14. Imagine feat Jhi Ali – Whoa, great sample – I think that is from “A Beautiful Mind” soundtrack.  What a fantastic beat to end the album.  ST kind of snaps on this, really showcases the double time flow.  One of his strong points in my opinion.  Niiiiiice, Jhi Ali drops into his beat running!  I think this guy is way overlooked, even in the Slow Mo camp.  I will admit I thought he was a girl first time I heard him, but his mixtape from a couple years back was fire.  Jhi has a great flow on this, wow.

Conclusion:

G-Side has done it again.  I can’t predict the future (although at points when you get lost in the beats on this album you might think you can) but I would not be surprised if 12 months from now I am still claiming this is the best album of 2011.

I think this has potential to be the best G-Side album yet.  It might not have the ridiculous highs of their past two albums, but as a whole product it is much more…well, “cohesive”.  I think this is the type of album I won’t be skipping any tracks on for a long time.

In a way it is like G-Side has found their sound with this album.  On the past albums when there was a song or a stretch of songs that I didn’t enjoy, it was almost always a case of the song being generic.  Those songs don’t exist on this album.  I hate to compare them to Outkast because that isn’t fair to anyone, but Outkast found their sound on ATLiens IMO and this album feels a bit like that.

I strongly suggest people check this album out, and G-Side makes it easy:

http://hsvinternational.com/

You can stream the entire album there for free.  You can also purchase it for a measly $10.  I am not known for buying music, but I bought this album the minute I recovered from my New years hangover.  Before I recovered in fact, I remember groggily racing to the site and buying before I even streamed it.  I do not regret it at all.

Support great music!



  • Daryld

    the sample for "i am" is yutaka yokokura - evening star

  • Thanks a lot!

  • Tomhalsted

    Did you ever find out that sample for "Pictures"? The beat is from Clams Casino's mixtape, "Numb (unreleased)". Dying to know 2 things: (1) What is the song sampling? Imogen Heap?
    (2) Why called "unreleased" when G-Side have used it for "Pictures"?

  • günder

    good album but: bla blla bla bla bla

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