UNDERGROUND UNLEASHED VOL. 2
An album by Various Artists
Review presented by Warren Peace
Listen to “Underground Unleashed Vol. 2” by Various Artists
The Underground Unleashed series has been intriguing to watch unfold. The Write Reviews featured a breakdown of Underground Unleashed Vol. 1 last December, giving the album four out of five stars and eventually receiving “Best Album Instrumentals” while claiming four of the “Best 24 Featured Tracks” at The Write Awards the following April. A month later, “Murda Unleashed” (which was actually released before UU Vol. 1) was analyzed on the site. Executive Producer Aaron Candelora has brought a third album to us to see if it can live up to its predecessor and perhaps surpass it. We will find out as I dive into Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 track by track.
This is an advertisement
Place YOUR ad here! Visit this website to find out how!
Get your copy of [myooz] by U4US here.
1- Monsters Ball feat. Playboy the Beast, Big Shot, Samson Samson, and Dubbs
The opening track for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 has a line up of heavy hitters from hip hop’s underground and features an instrumental that ties a creepy vibe in with a sound of intensity. It’s definitely music worthy of kicking off a talented-packed album. Murder Musick’s Commander-In-Chief and take-no-prisoner’s rhyme spitter Playboy the Beast has certain expectations to fulfill as the first emcee to be heard. Playboy the Beast gladly faces the challenge and comes out of gate delivering well-enunciated lyrics in rapid fire fashion. There’s no question that Playboy the Beast is emerging as a top tier chopper. Big Shot takes the second verse and follows Playboy the Beast’s lead, except he’d not able to enunciate his words as clearly and has me believing that he’s going to trip up over his own lyrics at any second. By the way, Dubbs is delivering the hook. Needless to say, Dubbs executes the chorus. He usually does. Honestly, Dubbs is becoming one of my favorite artists, especially when it comes to his hook game. There have been only a few who nail every hook they deliver; Dubbs does this with ease and he’s somehow able to enhance the experience provided by the instrumental every time. Samson Samson has the final verse on “Monster’s Ball”. He doesn’t pshoot for a quick succession of bars until the end of his verse, deciding to enter onto the track at a more comfortable pace. I think his choice was a good one. “Monster’s Ball” opens Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 with a BANG!
2- Can’t Go Back feat. F.E.T.U.S. and Suffer (KD the Stranger and Sir Tac)
I’m feeling the instrumental for “Can’t Go Back” with its intensity that pushes a get-hype vibe. The hook opens the track with the feel of a horrorcore anthem. F.E.T.U.S. has the first verse, bringing a confident delivery while switching up the speed of his flow to keep the audience entertained. K.D. the Stranger is the man on the second verse, distinctly blending English and Russian while dropping his lines with the same feeling created by the beat. His delivery matches very well to the music. Sir Tac, the second half of Suffer with K.D. the Stranger, grabs the mic for the last verse. Spitting his lyrics with a quickness, Sir Tac drops some clever lines and keeps things interesting. “Can’t Go Back” gives Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 it’s second Featured Track in a row to open the album.
3- Roll feat. Legion, Sleep Lyrical, and F.E.T.U.S.
The beat for “Roll” continues the get-hype feel, but with more of a laid back approach. Legion makes his first and only appearance on the album with the first round of bars on “Roll”, and he does not disappoint. His flow is on point with the beat and ties in some wicked similes. The hook follows the lead of “Can’t Go Back” in the sense of creating an anthem feel when coupled with the music. Sleep Lyrical makes his first appearance on “Roll” as well, dropping metaphors and punchlines while representing the Murder Musick crew proudly. F.E.T.U.S. has the final verse with his second appearance of the album. He follows the lead of Legion and Sleep Lyrical, giving listeners another entertaining delivery while sticking with the theme of the track and content delivered by the first two emcees on the track. “Roll” easily gives Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 it’s third Featured Track.
4- I Don’t Really Care feat. Samson Samson, Murda D, and Crossworm
The hook, which has a way of replaying in listeners’ minds after the song is over, starts off the track. Samson Samson takes off with the lead off verse, spitting lyrics in quick succession. A few metaphors and lines laced with imagery later, the audience is left with the impression that Samson Samson doesn’t really care. Murda D enters the track next, slamming line after line on time with the music and following Samson Samson’s lead lyrically. Throwing some wordplay in the mix, Murda D is able to raise the bar a bit with his content. Crossworm makes his presence felt with the last verse, bringing a shock rap style as he spits rhyme schemes that flow like water. One more round of the hook brings the song to a conclusion, and finds “I Don’t Really Care” as the fourth Featured Track of the album.
5- Murderous Habits feat. Samson Samson, K-Smoke, Mr. Morbid, Lyrizone, Rhapture, and Dubbs
Six artist come thru the speakers for the fifth track of Underground Unleashed Vol. 2. Samson Samson appears for the third time on the album to open the track, painting the picture of a serial killer ‘s mind frame with imagery and details to give listeners an idea of what it feels like to have that type of mindset. Rapture and Dubbs come together in magnificence on the hook, both taking the lead at time but staying in harmony and on time with one another. K-Smoke is next on the microphone and takes the audience down a path similar to the one laid out by Samson Samson, but with different details and a different motive behind his moves, obviously because K-Smoke is a different character altogether. The transitions between the emcees is very smooth. Mr. Morbid has the third verse, following Samson Samson and K-Smoke with a well written round of bars that flows fluently behind Mr. Morbid ‘s delivery. Lyrizone completes the track with more of a deliberate and methodical flow to his lyrics than the previous emcees. Lyrizone’s verse definitely stands out because of how different his style of delivery and how his sound differs from Samson Samson, K-Smoke, and Mr. Morbid. Lyrizone’s doesn’t give the audience as vivid of a description, but his verse is solid nonetheless. “Murderous Habits” succeeds at being the fifth song to hit the Featured Tracks list.
6- Darkness feat. Tha WikiD One, F.E.T.U.S., and Sleep Lyrical
The instrumental for “Darkness” has a touch of intensity and a vibe that could be compared with the music selected for the opening sequence of a horror film. The hook plays on the repetition of the word ‘darkness’ to give it a lasting effect with listeners. That WikiD One has the first verse, mixing some horrorcore imagery into a short story round of bars that ends when his verse concludes. F.E.T.U.S. drops in on his third track of the album, spitting the second set of 16’s. F.E.T.U.S. blends some punchlines with descriptive lines that could be a story as well if there was a beginning, end, or some kind of direction. Regardless, F.E.T.U.S. has a solid verse. Sleep Lyrical brings an extended vocabulary with solid multiple syllable rhyme schemes on the final verse of the track. Sleep Lyrical also has a semi-storytelling scenario going on in his round of bars. “Darkness” is a solid addition to the album.
7- Better For Souls feat. Bloke C
The first track of several consecutive tracks to only have one featured artist on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 is “Better For Souls” by Bloke C. The instrumental has a nice drum pattern and could be easily made into a hype track or an anthem. Bloke C provides a pretty catchy hook to open the song. Each verse is built around Bloke C’s struggle to succeed and his desire to break free from being broke, but the only way out seems to be signing his soul over to Satan. The concept has been brought up in many songs across all genres of music. Bloke C’s track has a fresh sound to the situation, but “Better For Souls” doesn’t really stand out from those type of songs in the fashion that, say, “Devil Went Down To Georgia” does. Still, “Better For Souls” is fitting for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 and will be enjoyed by listeners.
8- Homie Hoppas feat. Frozolid
To be perfectly honest, “Homie Hoppas” is easily my least favorite track of the album so far. The beat doesn’t seem to fit the topic of the track. Frozolid’s flow isn’t brought to the audience in a smooth manner. His delivery switches speeds, and when he spits double time his enunciation isn’t always very clear. Frozolid sticks with the subject matter throughout the song and the hook is actually pretty catchy, but that pretty much wraps up the strengths of the track.
9- Learn To Love Me feat. F.E.T.U.S.
F.E.T.U.S.’ fourth appearance on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 is also his first solo track of the album. He takes a pretty well-known figure of speech and builds a solid song lyrically over a quick paced, hype style instrumental. He starts with a hook that is likely to stick with many listeners. During his verses, F.E.T.U.S. addresses females, hip hop fans, rappers, random people, and pretty much everyone in between. “Learn To Love Me” pushes the bar back up for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2.
10- Get Away feat. Izzy Draztik
The beat for “Get Away” slows things down quite a bit. A female sings the hook beautifully, which kicks off the track. Izzy Draztik is the emcee on the track, and I find it a little difficult to follow what is going on with the story he tells due to the odd way he words several of the phrases during the course of the track. I’ve always felt a storytelling track should come out of an emcee the same way it would if someone was telling the story to another person in everyday conversation. Otherwise I feel it disconnects the audience from the song, which is exactly how I felt when listening to “Get Away”.
11- Blocka Blocka feat. Phatal and PHD
Within a few moments of hearing the instrumental for “Blocka Blocka”, the infamous Mobb Deep came to mind. Seconds later, Phatal is shouting Mobb Deep out on the track. PHD has the first verse on “Blocka Blocka”, spitting bars that have a 90’s feel while delivering punchlines and giving listeners a fluid flow of multiple syllable rhymes. The hook is likely to have some people jumping up and down when they sing along with the lyrics. Phatal doesn’t slack on his verse, bringing down to Earth lyrics blended with similes and a couple of punchlines as well. The energy is continued all the way to the end of the song, which finds itself among the Featured Tracks of the album.
12- Smiling feat. Bloke C
I like the intro to the track, a nice switch up from what we’ve heard on the album so far. The hook hits the audience with a repetitive catchiness. Bloke C has his second solo track of the album. His timing and flow are contagious, but I feel the verses aren’t as lyrically rich or relatable as Bloke C would like them to be. There are some nice touches in the last minute or so of the song.
13- Blissful Ignorance feat. E the Rapper, Lyrizone, and Sleep Lyrical
“Blissful Ignorance” opens with a snippet intro before E the Rapper makes his only appearance on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 known with a commanding presence behind the microphone for the first verse. He spits down to Earth lyrics that people will relate with while keeping a fluid flow of multiple syllable rhyme schemes. He delivers a hard, catchy hook for the track as well. Lyrizone’s picks up where E the Rapper left off and drops a verse of equal caliber, maintaining the bar that E the Rapper raised on the first verse. Sleep Lyrical concludes the track with more of a wider perspective as opposed to the personal approach chosen by E the Rapper and Lyrizone. Sleep Lyrical’s verse doesn’t slack at all though, rounding out “Blissful Ignorance” by adding another song to the Featured Tracks list of the album.
14- Behind Enemy Lines feat. Trial
I’m really feeling the drum line in the instrumental for “Behind Enemy Lines”. Trial paints one of the most vivid pictures found in Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 with his verses for “Behind Enemy Lines”. The hook is well written and will be appreciated by the audience because of how well it puts everything in perspective and the fact it doesn’t rely on repetition to be catchy. Trial does an excellent job incorporating metaphors, a touch of wordplay, and some graphic imagery as the song progresses. “Behind Enemy Lines” adds to the Featured Tracks list for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2.
15- Dreams feat. Dubbs
Beginning the track is a sample that’s tied into the hook for “Dreams”, Dubbs’ first solo effort of the album and his third appearance overall. Until now, the audience has only been able to experience Dubbs’ talent on the hooks of “Monster’s Ball” and “Murderous Habits”. Listeners are sure to appreciate his talents when it comes to his lyrical ability and eye-catching delivery on the verses of “Dreams”. He knows how to words his lines in a way that will connect with listeners, and his flow rolls smoothly with the rhythm of the music. You do not have to be a fan of hip hop to enjoy “Dreams”, which locks in another Featured Track for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2.
16- Critical feat. Masetti, Dubbs, and The Jokerr
“Critical” brings together three artists who are pretty familiar with one another and have worked together several times in the past. The subject matter makes “Critical” the ideal follow up song for “Dreams”. Masetti is the first artist on the track, which has a wonderful instrumental containing several layers within its confines. Masetti creates the mood and atmosphere while showcasing a timely flow and relatable lyrics before allowing the audience to enjoy his vocal capabilities when he sings the second half of the first. The hook puts the track in perspective perfectly, is performed at a high level, maintains its entertainment value no matter how many times it’s been heard, and is engineered masterfully. Listeners are able to hear Dubbs’ lyrical talents again with his fourth, and final, appearance on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2. Dubbs may not sing during his solo section of the song, but he doesn’t fail to follow Masetti with lyrics listeners will easily connect with, give the audience an enjoyable delivery, and provide depth in his verse. The Joker comes through the speakers with a delivery that is completely new to me, meaning I’ve never heard him drop a verse that is strictly singing without tying in a rough, rugged edge along the way. I definitely enjoy this new take (to me) on The Joker, who has proven to be an artist of many layers and seems to refuse for a category or specific style to be attached to his name. His words hit home as well, and he provides vivid imagery to his metaphors. “Critical” is a fantastic track, and is another song on the album that can be enjoyed by fans of any genre of music. The Featured Tracks total for Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 continues to climb.
17- Go Down feat. Sleep Lryical
Sleep Lyrical comes through on his fourth allowance as well, tying with Dubbs and F.ET.U.S. for the most features on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 at this point of the album. Dubbs and F.E.T.U.S. had solo tracks, why wouldn’t Sleep Lyrical? I feel “Go Down” is placed in a great position on the album because the emotion and deeper connection with the audience on the previous tracks is matched, but Sleep Lyrical is able to twist it with a motivational, success-driven track that focuses on capturing the ‘struggle’ aspect of reaching a dream. The hook is very well written and delivered, giving listeners another catchy-without-repetition gem that glues the verses together the way a hook is supposed to. Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 isn’t slowing down, adding another Featured Track to the list.,
18- Grasping For Nothing feat. Living Evil
I can’t tell you how great it is to hear a compilation album with this many artists on this many tracks be consistent at a high-caliber level through most of its entirety while having such smooth transitions between songs. “Grasping For Nothing” is another one that fits the mold very well and has been placed in a great place on the album. In terms of content, Living Evil (which is a two-handed group) almost gives the audience an exact opposite to Sleep Lyrical ‘s “Go Down”. There is a rock feel to the music, and the same could be said about Living Devil’s delivery. I like how this track has a way of absorb the attention of the audience if given the chance. Living Evil delivers a hook that sticks with listeners, as if everything else didn’t come together well enough. Needless to say, “Grasping For Nothing” lands a spot with the Featured Tracks.
19- This Road feat. Sleep Lyrical and Nesto the Owner
On the final track, Sleep Lyrical pushes ahead of Dubbs and F.E.T.U.S. for the most appearances on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2. The intensity found earlier in the album returns with a vengeance, and Sleep Lyrical opens the last track with a hook that is bound to stay with listeners after the album has ended. He also controls the first verse, spitting straightforward bars with raw emotion and a down to Earth approach that informs everyone he will push to succeed no matter the circumstances. Nesto the Owner picks up right where Sleep Lyrical leaves up, dropping one of the best in-your-face round of bars to be heard on the album. The song tapers off to bring Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 to its end.
This is an advertisement
Place YOUR ad here! Visit this website to find out how!
Get your copy of Daggystyle by Dag here.
Monster’s Ball, Cant Go Back, Roll, I Don’t Really Care, Murderous Habits, Blocka Blocka, Blissful Ignorance, Behind Enemy Lines, Dreams, Critical, Go Down, Grasping For Nothing, and This Road.
THE WRITE UP
I would be lying if I said I didn’t have high expectations before listening to any of the songs on this album and, despite those expectations, I was still impressed when the album came to a conclusion. Other than a couple of tracks in the middle section of this compilation album, there was a captivating consistency throughout that can’t be denied. The majority of the featured artists delivered at an upper tier level, giving great performances while keeping the content crisp and entertaining. Almost every hook will win with listeners, and every artist on this album is bound to expand their fan base from the effort each individual put into this project. Despite the couple of tracks around the midsection that, I feel, aren’t up to par with the majority of the songs on Underground Unleashed Vol. 2, there are two reasons this one barely misses receiving a classic rating. The first reason is simply because these aren’t all ‘original’ tracks. Some of these, perhaps most of these, songs were originally part of solo projects released previously by the artists themselves. With an abundance of songs to select from, it shouldn’t be hard to see how that makes everything a little easier when it comes to organizing the project and making sure everything came together in fitting fashion. Start at ground zero with this many artists, with the desire to have 19 tracks, and it would be much more impressive to have something like Volume 2 be produced as the end result. That reason doesn’t hold as much weight as the second, though. While there are many great tracks on this compilation album, none of them are truly groundbreaking or completely original in nature. Having an original song may not seem possible because of how many songs have been made during the course of history, but there are ways of spreading a message someone shared before you in a new, clever, and inventive manner. There are also plenty of topics and issues that I have not heard being discussed on a hip hop track yet. Anyhow, other than those two reasons and the slight sag in the middle of the album, Underground Unleashed Vol. 2 swings for the fences and smacks the ball for a home run!
(4.5 out of 5 stars)
Check out more great stuff at The Write Reviews!