There isn’t much listening pleasure in underground music. The production is usually dingy, sounding as though it was recorded in a lavatory and seemingly targeted at only friends and family.

Certain Dillussions is not near, around or across the street from underground music. While ImproPoe might not have the popularity of an AKA, but makes the quality of music that wouldn’t be out of place on a radio station’s playlist.

This project is a follow up to last year’s Body Of Proof which was also a good Hip Hop album, but Certain Dillussions displays ImproPoe’s growth in music making and he is more poignant in telling his story.

“He is one of the finest eloquent rappers I’ve heard behind the mic- you never struggle to hear what he’s saying.”

If you’re familiar with his work you wouldn’t have been shocked by his striking metaphors, seamless change of flows and ear-luring rhyme schemes. His storytelling is simple, without being simplistic. The beat on Drifting Away complements his narration about the once perfect couple that lost its purpose due to relationship strains, which led to unfaithfulness and irreversible mistakes. It has the same texture to it as a Pete Rock & CL Smooth joint.

In the song Mollo, ImproPoe’s delivery is at its most abrasive. His discernment of where to merge his English bars with his vernacular bars is impressive to say the least, because predominately English spitting rappers sound pretentious rapping in their mother tongue, sounding as though they are trying too hard. He is one of the finest eloquent rappers I’ve heard behind the mic- you never struggle to hear what he’s saying.

The Hymphatic Tapz-like Special Delivery flow slows the movement of the album down after I had just listened to Mollo and Aweh. Perhaps due to this new trend of short songs, but I am still unsure if the album is too long for my liking because I enjoy most songs on it but I also have an unshakable feeling that it would’ve been more potent with just 10 tracks. If you’re not clued up on video games, anime and manga like myself, you’ll probably get lost in some of these bars because he uses them a lot as reference.

The album title track paints a picture of a dejected, confused, misunderstood and self-reclused ImproPoe. I felt like a parent who lost his child in bombings, but later, I felt like my team had just won the Euefa, not Europa the Champions League I’m panicking G..

The song highlights how young people today are vulnerable to mental illness.


If a Black Thought verse on a feature is us eavesdropping, then Streams Of Thought Volume 1 is a sit down alone with the man to hear him speak his truth, albeit brief.

The best thing about hearing the Philadelphia rapper outside of his crew The Root, is that he’s not tied to a particular theme or subject and always raps with the ferocity of a Rottweiler unleashed from a cage to a dog fight. This is what you get in this five track EP. He rides these 9th Wonder and The Soul Council beats perfectly staying in pocket, raping with so much authority.

I felt misled by the title when I first heard 9th Wonder vs. Thought. But after a careful listen, what became clear was the studio being a ring, 9th fighting from his MPC and Thought with the pen, with only one mission; to give us a good art fight. And it was.

Dostoyevsky with Rapsody is just the perfect Hip Hop song. Much like the rest of the album, the production is on par with the raps drenched in gritty, dirty drums and kicks. The sample chopping was neatly done leaving room for the melodies. In a verse on Dostoyevsky he raps…

Cash rules everything, I just wanted a taste of it
Fast food hurrying, saving time, not wasting it
Self-saboteur, speaking it to my paramour
Torch rappers like I’m igniting the aerosol
Maintaining the wherewithal that’ll embarrass y’all…

Rapsody is no passenger on this either. In her verse she spits…

I swam with crocs, fished with sharks
I never popped charts, but I know I’m popular
I was built to run the game, I came up playing guard
With young niggas between 5’5″ and 6 foot 4…

Slick as Styles P’s verse was on Making a Murderer, I think a Talib kweli or Pharoahe Monch would’ve complemented the beat and Thought on this track.

These albums are getting shorter than an episode of Atlanta and listening to this project I believe the trend is ideal for lyrical beasts as Black Thought. The raps are just enough, leaving you with desire for more- and rather that than having a kat trying to outrap himself throughout the album. But short as it is, there’s cohesion and much purposefulness to it.

Thank You is probably the closest thing to The Roots thanks to the Quesloveesque drums from D’Angelo’s It Ain’t Easy which was sampled here.


Kiernan Forbes is a little bitch. His side chick, who stole him from his baby momma, to become his main thing, was smashing other ninjas while they were in a relationship, and now he is surprised.  Now he is reading us a passage from his feelings-diary over a dope beat, throwing shade, shit and shame around like a PMS’ing teenage girl. Pathetic!

It has become clear that the oppressive patriarchal gender stereotypes of the twentieth century will not hold in the twenty first century. Generally, the natural and harmful reaction by a man to relatively drastic changes is anger and confusion. We do not know how to deal with women owning their sexuality by behaving in the same manner we have been behaving since time immemorial. Which is evident in AKA’s new single Beyoncé.

To all my black brothers out there, learn from Kiernan’s bitch assary.

He nostalgically takes a trip down memory lane, lyrically painting pictures of bliss between him and Bonang, globe-trotting and living the high life as a young black power couple. You can feel his confusion as he has an imaginary conversation with Bonang asking “how you think you gon be my fiancé…acting like Rihanna. Thinking you Beyoncé…holidays with the small planes…all I wanted was the small things”

Then all of a sudden he starts throwing shade and shit on the second verse. Claiming “all I can do is go get my bread up…I can’t just compete with all your DM’s and airbrush…I can tell you…super quick with the real…waited two years just to see you with your weave off…tell me what that say about your character…we was fucking while I was paying damages…baby momma stressed out” That is some bullshit, this man is acting as if he had  nothing to do with Zinhle’s pain when Bonang threw the brick, and this business about the weave and airbrush is just petty. This man is just mad that he could not tame one of South Africa’s original bad ass.

To all my black brothers out there, learn from Kiernan’s bitch assary. Do not go into a situation with a bad bitch hoping that you can tame her because the truth of the matter is you will lose either direction. If you succeed in locking her down there is a good chance that you will end up resenting her because her wildness was one of the major things that attracted you to her. If you fail you’ll end up resenting her anyway for turning you into her little bitch. Love should be free of social expectation and the limitations of time. If it isn’t, it becomes a source of pain, shame and hate, as Kiernan Forbes has undignifiedly showed us.

With that said, the joint is dope as fuck. The wobbling synth and his add lips are the stars of the record. What truly impresses me about AKA over the past seven years is his ear for beat selection. They are urban and modern, without being completely imitative of American popular trends. Which is what you get from a Nasty C or a Frank Casino, they are dope, no doubt about it but their sonic preferences come across as unbearably imitative to me, which is not the case with AKA. While people complain about AKA’s consistent use of automation on his vocals to cover up the fact that he can’t sing. I feel it is necessary considering the personal nature of his music. Nobody can deliver those bars with his interestingly unique swag and presence. It seems to me he got a hit with this Beyoncé joint.

AKA photo courtesy of


J Cole’s previous studio album is trash. This is the objective truth. Thus I was anxious when social media exploded with the news that Cole was releasing a project on April 20, thee high holiday for all them bummy ass stoners in the world.

His new project is better than good, but it isn’t good enough for an artist as successful and as talented as J Cole. His vexing insistence on not having any features in his projects and not using anybody outside the Dreamville record label limits the impact and the quality of his work. For example on the title track, KOD, the hook could have been better served by a happy trapper, like Young Thug or Lil Wayne.

“…When Cole tries to go pop, he simply can’t not pull it off by himself…”

Even though the production of the song is good, it would have been fire with a more experienced trap producer behind the decks. On the up side, Cole’s lyrics on the song are supreme, coming at you harder than Jacob Zuma on top of one of his friend’s daughters. That is the general vibe on this album when Cole tries to go pop, he simply can’t not pull it off by himself. It’s not within his nature to make music for these happy go lucky millennials. It’s evident on songs like ATM, Motiv8 and Kevin’s heart. Like any recovering addict will tell you, denial is the first step and people don’t change unless they want to change and I feel like Cole is in denial. No amount of amount of social media politicking is going to change his mind about the no features policy, we just have to trust he will come to the light himself.

On the flip side of things, the song Brackets is a beautiful sober meditation on tax and how the US government misuses his hard earned money to serve their own agendas. Ignoring the plight of the poor minority and in some instances fuelling it. J Cole is in the pocket when he is giving you his honest opinion about certain issues on top of a boom bap inspired beat. On the track 1985 Cole condescendingly addresses new age rappers, giving them advice about the music industry and life in general without sounding too preachy, it is a masterpiece of a joint. So is photograph ,The cut off and once an addict.

This project is an improvement by Cole relative to his last one. His exploration of emotional pain is not deep but it is profound and necessary. It is an anecdote aimed at contemporary youth culture and its obsession with narcotics. Showing the youth that one needs to find a healthier way to deal with their emotional baggage or face the consequences of carelessness. Sonically though there is a lot of room for improvement and I hope Cole realises that. But I am not hopeful considering how much commercial success the project has received already. He has a loyal fan base which sticks by him no matter what, enabling him to ignore his drawbacks and continue as if ‘he is the man of these streets…’ How’s that for healthy choices.

Image Source: DJ Booth


There is a high probability that there is no such thing as heaven, but if such a fairy-tale does exist, King Push ain’t going into that snooze fest. With Daytona (his third solo studio album) he has convinced thousands of impressionable minds to hit the corner and start slinging that crack. I have been fighting the very same urge for the past couple of days and I think I might give in if I keep listening to Pusha’s latest project but…it’s just so good…I can’t stop…I won’t stop…I don’t even know how to stop.

The traitor, that is Kanye West, produced this album and he killed it. If Floyd Mayweather was a fan of the legendary Wu-Tang clan and had twenty years of experience in producing music, these would be the beats that he makes. Nasty and luxurious.

King Push exploits the traitor’s return to form by delivering the most vicious and hard hitting bars of his entire career, while predictably dispensing advice on how to make it and survive in the crack game. “…Can’t escape the scale, if I tried, inter-state traffic is alive…Push…” he candidly admits on the song Come Back Baby, while bragging “bitch I been bad…we buy big boats…bitch I’m Sinbad…down right sinful…”  the man has no remorse. On the second track, The Games We Play, he opens up with the lines “drug dealer Benz’s with goldiggers in them…and elevator condors on everything I love…”  

Throughout the album Pusha drifts between material access and the complexities of criminality but on the last track in the album, Infrared, he is committing mass homicide. His victim being the YMCMB record label.  First claiming “…believe in myself…and the Coles and Kendricks…let the sock puppets play in their rows and the gimmicks…” because he is “…posed to juggle these flows and nose candies…” Then he goes after Wayne “…he sees what I see when Wayne on tour…flash without the fire…another multi-platinum rapper trapped and can’t retire…see the cracks, niggers exposed and I am the liar…” Pusha is merciless with his onslaught, asking Drizzy Drake Rogers “how could you ever write these wrongs…when you don’t even write your songs…” I’m seriously considering writing a thousand page theses on Pusha’s bars in this project.

This project is a masterpiece for all the hard-core, old school, rap heads in the world. With seven songs it does not overstay its welcome, which will become the new trend from now on considering how influential the traitor is.

My only gripe with this project is stated beautifully in the title of the intro track If you know, you know. If you have no idea about the lifestyle a drug dealer lives and the language he uses, you might not get the appeal of this project. In fact, chances are you have never listened to a Pusha T project, he never compromises with his content, pushing that weight baby… pushing that weight.

Image source: Entertainment Weekly & DJ Booth

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