True Music Reviews does not claim ownership over the "To The Islands" mixtape cover. Full credits go to XX/\/\E and the real creators of the cover which are unknown to us.
If you have been keeping up with my reviews, I am sure that you have heard of XX/\/\E by now. Even if you haven't heard his music yet, please do so. With yet another mixtape, XX still impresses me in different ways. Let's begin with the first track.
Track #1: "Born"
"Born" was a great intro to a great mixtape, especially since the mixtape outro is "died". It had a very nice spoken quote that had me thinking a little, and more importantly pumped me up for the rest of the mixtape.
Track #2: "To The Island"
"To The Island" was a good, semi-relaxing title track. Even though it could have used a little bit more multi-syllabic rhymes, the lyrics on this track were in fact on point, and so was XX's flow. The instrumental was nice, but it could have used a heavier kick and baseline. It was probably the low point of the song. At this point, Ghost McGrady is living up to his name.
Track #3: "I Know I Already Released This"
"I Know I Already Released This" had a good subject matter, but was easily outshined by the previous track. I did like XX's use of different voices, but his flow was not as good as some of his previous tracks. In addition, I didn't like the instrumental as much. Once again, it could've used a heavy kick and baseline.
Track #4: "OR"
"OR" did in fact have the heavy instrumental that I wanted, even though it was a pretty smooth track. XX's lyrics are still good, but his flow was definitely more boring than the previous two tracks. Pick up the pace a little, and don't rap slow! "Detox" would probably be released by the time XX finished a bar.
Track #5: "What Happened"
"What Happened" is probably the one I could relate to most out of the first 5 tracks on the mixtape.This wonderfully constructed song starting off with XX doubting himself to him praising himself. Confidence is an important thing to have when rapping (however, Kanye West is too confident).
On the other hand, the production and lyrics were nice. XX's flow improved too. "What Happened" was a good track overall.
Track #6: "The Non-Rhyme Rap"
The rhyme schemes in this song were very underwhelming. Still...who wouldn't expect that due to the songs title? On the other hand, I like the cool feel that the beat produced. Overall, this was a nice track that would be better if XX actually tried with the lyrics.
Track #7: "ChantingVenting"
The beat of this song was very trippy but good. I enjoyed the sample at the beginning, even though it could be incorporated with the actual beat a little bit better. XX's flow and lyrics on the other hand weren't particularly great though. Even after multiple listens, both were just too simple, and could've been a little better thought out. Patience is key. This was a nice track though.
Track #8: "I KNOW I ALREADY RELEASED THIS"
I can't think of what song XX is making a remix of, but this song does sound awfully familiar. With nice production, a fair amount of complex rhyme schemes, and a nice flow, XX goes hard on the second track titled "I Know I Already Released This". Or as J Trauma puts it:
Track #9: "You Were Wrong"
One of the best parts of this song was the very unique instrumental that kept changing keys. This was a very risky move, but it certainly paid off. XX's flow was good, and I noticed that he used some good homophone rhymes in the song. This was a good track overall.
Track #10: "I KNOW I ALREADY RELEASED THIS"
Once again, I swear that I have listened to this track before. The nostalgic beat was very nice, and XX's flow got the work done. The lyrics weren't SUPER FANTASTIC, but they were pretty darn good. This was sweeter then a nut overall.
Track #11: "Elevator Music"
This was a nice track. XX must not like Eminem very much though.
Track #12: "Weird People True Love"
There was something strangely addictive about the song. I enjoyed XX's unqiue flow, and his dope lyrics. The production is on point too. "Weird People True Love" has a very fitting title, but is still a good track overall.
Track #13: "God"
To be honest, I was expecting a much more upbeat track with the title of "God". Even though that was not what the track was like in reality, "God" was still a smooth track that deserves recognition, even though its beat was a little boring.
Track #14: "Quick Sentences"
XX's subject matter is still great on this track. There were a few lyrics that really made me thing, and I feel like this song developed very well. The production was simple yet beautiful at the same time. I like this track...a lot.
Track #15: "Piano Xost"
I expected a piano to be more omnipresent in a track with "Piano" in its title, but the instrumental was still nice, but slightly boring. I would probably say the same thing about XX's flow, even though his lyrics are still really good. Imagine if he rapped on a beat like this.
Track #16: "Take Me There"
"Take Me There" was definitely the best track on the album flow-wise, even though XX's lyrics are not as good as some of his other tracks. It really fit in with the exceptional instrumental, which was constructed masterfully. He also dropped his most iconic lyric once more
I'm the best rapper dead
Track #17: "Died"
Just like the intro, "Died" was a terrific ending to a great mixtape. It featured the same sample as the intro, and was still just as effective.
In conclusion, "To The Island" is XX/\/\E's best mixtape thus far. This is definitely his most lyrical tape, his flow was good, and the instrumentals were good, even though some of them lacked a few important elements. Another thing I liked about "To The Island" is that it flowed very well from XX's "Born" to "Died".
My biggest suggestion for XX is to keep working on his flow, and expand his subject matters. He should also probably go back to using multiple producers, instead of using beats from just one. That's all. Stay tuned for more true music reviews!
J Trauma is an aspiring rapper that I found on a website that I contribute on, Rap Genius. He asked me to review his most recent mixtape, "Nothing Significant". One part I like about J Trauma is that he is experimenting with different styles and subject matters, which is always good. I think he should keep releasing mixtapes so he can find out what is good and what is bad. Let's begin.
Track #1: "Troublesome"
After listening to the first track, I can tell that J Trauma enjoys using the distinct style of jazz rap. I am not usually a huge fan of the sub-genre, but I enjoyed this track. Both Trauma's flow and lyrics were pretty mediocre, but I can't be too harsh on an intro track. Let's see what is to come.
Track #2: "Flexin Nothing"
I kind of liked the minimalistic production of the song, and I felt like it did fit in with the theme of the song. Trauma's subject matter is on point, and his lyrics have improved from the previous track, even though I wouldn't go as far to call them great.
On the other hand, J Trauma should have used a faster flow, because his slow flow was boring. Plus, the hook was very cringeworthy. We don't need to have another Soulja Boy.
Track #3: "Is That So" feat. Mak Nikova
First things first, I would like to say that the vocal sample at the beginning of the song was very strange, and it probably was not necessary. In addition, I couldn't really hear what Trauma was saying, because of his poor mixing and mastering. It would be unfair for me to judge his lyrics.
Despite this, I could hear Mak Nikova's verse, which I thought was really dope. In addition both rappers had good flows.
Track #4: "Retro"
Out of the first four tracks of the mixtape, "Retro" is definitely the best song. I could tell immediately when the very unique production began, and I thought J Trauma showcased good flow in the song. In addition, I could actually hear his lyrics, and I will tell you that they are above average. I wouldn't call him the next Nas or anything, but J Trauma isn't half-bad.
Track #5: "Sexmusic"
I commend J Trauma for trying to create a sexual song. They are very risky, and could easily go wrong. Unfortunately, this was the case for J Trauma. With hilariously bad lyrics that could easily belong on "I Am Not A Human Being II", "Sexmusic" is easily one of the worst tracks on the mixtape. At least the instrumental isn't that bad.
Track #6: "Still" feat. YPH
I literally laughed out loud at YPH's verse. I am not even going to say anything about it. However, I liked J Trauma's verse. It had good wordplay, and wasn't completely corny (unlike Hopsin). His flow was mediocre, but it wasn't terrible. The production's baseline could've been a little bit heavier, in my opinion, but it was a good quality beat overall.
Track #7: "Dusk"
Other than J Trauma trying to pull of a Drake (he tried to sing), "Dusk" was a very nice track. His mixing and mastering was very on point here, and lyricism was good. I enjoyed the production too. However, J Trauma, please never even think about singing again. Stick to rapping.
Track #8: "Saturday"
"Saturday" easily had the best instrumental out of the first eight tracks on the mixtape. However, he completely ruined the song with his lame excuse for a hook that really did not belong on the beat:
On so many drugs
I normally don't care if a rapper raps about taking drugs and whatnot, but J Trauma should have chosen a more mature subject matter for such a great production. If you want songs about drugs, just give Rick Ross a listen.
Track #9: "Everlasting"
I really loved the production of this track. It reminded me of a jack-in-a-box that I owned when I was a young kid. J Trauma's lyrics were good, and had quite a few clever punchlines. This wasn't one of his best flows, but it certainly got the job done. Overall, "Everlasting" was a well thought out track.
Track #10: "LEGITIMATE"
"Legitimate" is definitely the most lyrical song out of the first ten I have listened to. The rhyme schemes were great, and Trauma's wordplay is stronger than ever. I found myself enjoying the nostalgic beat too. What a great track!
Track #11: "Words No Thought" feat. XX/\/\E
I liked this track, even though XX/\/\E did renegade J Trauma on his own track. The production reminded me of an old-school video game, and that was kind of nice. I am not quite sure what the point of the instrumental outro was, as it was very different from the actual track, and it took up 1/3 of the entire song. This isn't "Hold My Liquor"...
Track #12: "Grey Skies"
To be honest, "Grey Skies" was a boring track. The instrumental wasn't anything special, J Trauma's flow was very slow and dull, and his lyrics were pretty corny, even though the subject matter wasn't. I was not very impressed unfortunately.
Track #13: "Human"
Dang...I didn't expect this song to be so depressing. J Trauma did have some very valid points, but also provided me with some very disturbing lyrics such as this one:
If I could make every human in the world, including myself, I would
J Trauma's flow was pretty good on this track, but it wasn't his best. The production was very gloomy, which I believe was done on purpose. "Human" definitely made me think. It was a very interesting way to conclude this mixtape.
Track #14: "Phantom" feat. YPH and DJB
Even though this song is technically a bonus track, I decided to include it anyway. Both J Trauma and YPH murdered their verses (unlike last time), and the production was definitely on point. I thought this song was a great way to conclude the mixtape.
In conclusion, I think J Trauma is in the right track. His flow, lyrics, and mixing/mastering could use improvement, but those things could be easily fixed. Most of his instrumentals were dope, but some samples did not feel like they belonged in the song. However, I am still looking forward to more work from Trauma. Here are the Top 5 songs on the mixtape.
The highlight of this standout track is its unique production. In addition, J Trauma showcased both good flow and excellent lyrical abilities. "Retro" is a great track overall.
I think J Trauma understood the concept best for last (like Eminem on the Marshall Mathers LP 2). All of the artists on this song performed excellently on the track that isn't a track (as "Phantom" is a bonus track).
#3: "Words No Thought"
This collaboration between two Rap Genius rappers worked out really well. Both rappers killed their verse, and the production was excellent, even though the songs instrumental outro didn't really make sense.
Through an excellent, nostalgic beat and clever punchlines, J Trauma succeeded in the track "Everlasting". The beat managed to use sampling in a smart way, and J Trauma's lyrical abilities shined in the song.
"Legitimate" was by far the most lyrical song on the album, and is also one of the best production-wise. J Trauma made excellent use of internal rhymes with helped him deliver a superb track. It is definitely one of the best on the tape.
That is all. Stay tuned for more true music reviews!
Even though "Lies" does not have any vocals in it, that does not make it a best song. Simply put, it is dubstep mastery. On the first listen, I was impressed with the first drop, but the second drop was even better. It is obvious that "Lies" is a very well-thought out song, and that Unbalanced spent a lot of time working on it. I am proud to be collaborating with him.
If you haven't done so, listen to the song above. Stay tuned for more true music reviews!
Once again, the rapper XX/\/\E has requested me to review a mixtape. This time, I reviewed his latest mixtape "1958.1963.2014". Overall, it is a lot better than "1912.2014", even though it was a little long for my taste. There were also some key issues that happened on this album that I will go in depth throughout this review. Let's begin.
Track #1: "2000"
Just by listening to this first track, I can tell that XX has improved a lot since his previous mixtape. The highlight of "2000" is its hauntingly beautiful beat. I loved the theme of this song, but some of the lyrics were corny, which slightly ruined the vibe of the song. XX's flow was nothing special, but it was enjoyable to listen to. At least it isn't as bad as Soulja Boy's flow!
Track #2: "Broken INternet"
As it title suggests, "Broken Internet" was very messy, with weird effects such as XX toning down his voice two octaves to him spontaneously singing. However, I think that XX got his point across through the song, and I still thought it was a good-quality track. The production was not as good as the previous track, but the CriticalHitz beat got the job done.
Track #3: "GhostKidEra"
"GhostKidEra" was not as appealing as the two previous tracks, due to XX experimenting with a strange autotune effect that didn't really work out like he planned. It made him difficult to understand. Once again, the quality of the beat was not as good either. "GhostKidEra" isn't a bad song, but could have used improvement.
Track #4: "Hey"
"Hey" is an improvement lyrically and flow-wise from the previous track. However, I did not really feel the beat, and I didn't really feel like it fit in with the song. In addition, this track is still not as impressive as the first two tracks, but at least it is better than "GhostKidEra". XX, please do not try to be the next T-Pain.
Track #5: "Eyes"
"Eyes" is better than the other short song, "GhostKidEra", and I would say that it is even better than "Hey". It was the superior song, both conceptually and lyrically. I kind of enjoyed the chopped and screwed sample...I thought it fit in well with the song. It still is not as good as the first two tracks though.
Track #6: Parelell
"Parallel" was a very cool track, but it would've been a lot better if it had a heavy kick and baseline. Those two factors are sometimes vital in a beat. Cloud rap production can sometimes work, but this song should've been more trap-like, in my opinion. I did enjoy XX's singing though! Once again, I feel like this track is a step in the right direction.
Track #7: "Prospect Park"
I really enjoyed "Prospect Park", even though I wouldn't say that it is the most lyrical track on the album. It has a heavier kick (unlike the last track), and XX's singing was emotional and sweet. He could even be the next Drake! :) Despite this, if I were XX/\/\E, I would've added a rap verse to this song, instead of singing the whole time.
Track #8: "Insomniac"
"Insomniac" had some very interesting lyrics, such as the last ones:
Yeah I'm rollin', like I'm kamikaze
Despite this, XX's weak flow in this song, bored me after a while. It wasn't a terrible track, but "Insomniac" is far from exciting. Part of the boredom exerting from the song may have come from the poorly made beat.
Track #9: "Park"
Even though the track may not have been lyrically, I enjoyed the nostalgic feel that XX/\/\E managed to generate with his hums at the beginning of this song. Some lyrics made me think a little, but on the surface, most of the lyrics in this song were simple, even though they were not terrible. I did enjoy the production in this song, and I thought XX's flow was good, even though it wasn't great.
Track #10: "Tree House"
Even though I enjoyed listening to this song, I felt like "Tree House" sounded more like a "filler" track than anything else. It wasn't very memorable, and was less than 90 seconds long. The mixtape would not be affected that much if it was removed.
Track #11: "Mispelled"
"Mispelled" is by far the best song I have ever heard from XX/\/\E. First of all, XX's flow was superb, and was superior to any other song on this mixtape. In addition, he finally moved away from cloud rap, and gave us a excellently produced song. He went really hard on this, and had great lyrics. Finally, he brought back the cool robot voice that he used frequently on his previous mixtape, "1912-2014".
All in all, it was a great track, even though he probably should have split both parts into separate songs. It is far better than a lot of the tracks on "Yeezus" for example.
Track #12: "Routine"
Even though the track was nothing special, "Routine" was a nice track produced by ITALIC(F), even though XX's voice was a little too loud compared to the beat. Once again, I felt like it was a filler track, due to its short length.
Track #13: "After"
To be honest, there was something I didn't like about the song "After". It might have been its dull beat, or it could have been XX's boring, monotonous flow. I just didn't think it was that great of a track...it is easily forgettable.
Track #14: "FatherofTheChildren" ft. J Trauma
I was a little skeptical when I first heard that jazz-influenced production. However, I did enjoy this smooth track, and I liked the lyrical content. XX threw in some oxymorons in the song such as this:
I aint good at rapping, yet I'm the best rapper ever
I thought J Trauma also had a nice verse, even though I think he desperately needs a better microphone. Overall, this was a nice and relaxing track, even though it is not the best one on the mixtape.
Track #15: "Interstellar Combat" ft. Mak Nikova
Compared to the previous collaboration, "Interstellar Combat" was by far the better track. Both XX and Mak Nikova went hard on their respective verses, and the use of sampling was definitely a highlight of this song.
My only complaint about the song is that XX's verses were too loud, and the beat was too quiet; this was an issue that occured a lot on his previous mixtape. That's honestly the last thing we need.
Track #16: "Talking About Me (Teacher)"
"Talking About Me" was one of the most conceptually clever songs on the entire album. I enjoyed the production quite a lot, and it is one of the best beats I have heard from XX/\/\E so far. He nailed his verses, and had decent flow. Overall, it was an above average song.
Track #17: "Pdf"
"PDF" was a good track, but I am not sure how the title is incorporated into the song. It was good, but not one of my favorite tracks on the album. It was just too forgettable. Oh my!
Track #18: "Babylonian Soldiers"
"Babylonian Soldiers" had unique production, and I enjoyed how it fit in with the theme of the song. XX's flow was a little below average, but his lyrics were pretty good here. It was not one of the best songs on the album, but it definitely was not one of the worst.
Track #19: "XX/\/\E"
For a track titled "XX/\/\E", I was not very impressed. The subject matter and the lyrics are way too similar to "Talking About Me", and there may be some lyrics that were repeated. I do still like the concept, but this was kind of overkill.
Track #20: "The Last Honestly"
The beat was a little boring, but I liked XX's slower flow. I also enjoyed the vocal effects that he used when he was singing, and it harmonized well. It was a nice break from a long string of songs with all rapping in it.
Track #21: "Hey"
Even though I think it is strange that XX/\/\E put two tracks on the album with the same title, I enjoyed both of them, even though this "Hey" was a lot better. I enjoy it when XX raps faster, and the production got the job done. I also think this track was more lyrical than the other "Hey".
Track #22: "I Woke UP"
"I Woke Up" had some of the best rhyme schemes on the entire mixtape, but got boring after a while. XX hits us up with his usual "I'm different" lyrics, and the song's outro lasts too long. I wouldn't go so far to say that I dislike the track, but there was room for improvement.
Track #23: "Kid"
"Kid" was a nice way to conclude this mixtape, but its length was a little too long for me. I thought the phone call at the beginning of the song was cool, and XX had some great lyrics on the song. I dug the beat too.
In conclusion, "1958.1963.2014" is a major improvement from XX's previous mixtape. The biggest issue that I had with it is that the subject matters on the tracks were too similiar, and that XX should rap about different things. Despite this, he shouldn't put himself down so much, because he has a lot of potential, and is improving at a rapid rate. I expect more from his next mixtape.
#5: "Broken INternet"
The abruptive transitions between sections of the song such as XX toning down his voice two octaves to him spontaneously singing were strange, but it worked. I think XX achieved what he wanted to in this song. The production was unique, but still very enjoyable.
#4: "Interstellar Combat"
As the superior of the two collaborations, "Interstellar Combat" made excellent use of sampling. Both XX and Mak Nikova had terrific verses, and there was not much wrong with the song despite issues with volume, similar to those on "1912-2014".
"2000"'s eery beat and good theme made it well deserving of its position as title track. XX's flow was not extremely complex like Eminem's, but it was still a lot better than French Montana's flow!
#2: "Talking About Me (teacher)"
"Talking About Me" was one of the most conceptually clever songs on the entire album. I enjoyed the production quite a lot, and it is one of the best beats I have heard from XX/\/\E so far. He nailed his verses, and had decent flow. It was definitely a highlight on the album.
As I explained above, "Mispelled" is by far the best song I have ever heard from XX/\/\E. Every aspect of the song was good, and it even brought back of the cool robot vocal effect. All in all, it was a great track, even though he probably should have split both parts into separate songs. It is far better than a lot of the tracks on "Yeezus" for example.
That is all. Stay tuned for more true music reviews!