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The Early Bird: Top New Recorded Releases 8-12-22 – 8-18-22 Reviewed

The Game was never the hip hop superstar he might have been and yet he has maintained a close handle on his rap form and on the nearly two hour Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind he lays down his claim to being a giant with Ye, A$AP Rocky and Big Sean being among the major features, and everything in the shade of The Game’s ten minute brutal dismissal of Eminem on “The Black Slim Shady” (Grade: A-).

Still on albums, April Rose Gabrielli’s debut, power pop art rock I Woke Up Alive, was reviewed earlier (here) (Grade: A), The Roots rapper Black Thought and the overrated mixer Danger Mouse with a lot of dreary rap as written, overworked and overarranged on Cheat Codes (Grade: C-), the return of the “Roll Over Me” pop rockers from the 90s Del Amitri with an odds and sods Fatal Mistakes: Outtakes & B-Sides (Grade: B-), Megan Thee Stallion may be overrated, she is no Cardi B, but she has her moments and Traumazine has more than any album since 2019’s Fever -not as wild but the rapping is excellent and very fluid (Grade: B+).

Over to singles, Ronald and his Brother Isley’s give Bey something she doesn’t have on her own new album, the place to stretch her singing on a purely soulful track, “Make Me Say It Again, Girl” (Grade: B+), the new Titus Andronicus has every chance of being major, “Give Me Grief” -a power pop track, is a winner (Grade: A-), I wonder how Buddy Guy would be remembered today if he hadn’t live so long, “Gunsmoke Blues”, about mass shooting in High Schools, with the often tedious Jason Isbell are busy doing nothing much (Grade: C-), inspired by an old Four Seasons song (which explains Bob Gaudio’s credit Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Burning” is pretty good (Grade: B) , I am sick of waiting for Jessie Reyez to hit it big but she hasn’t had that song and so her gorgeous voice carries her on “Mutual Friend” (Grade: B), out of prison after Kodak Black received a Presidential parson and on his way back to jail so nice to hear from him when he’s out (Grade: B+)

I Woke Up Alive – April Rose Gabrielli – A

Gunsmoke Blues – Buddy Guy, Jason Isbell – C-

Cheat Codes – Danger Mouse, Black Thoughts – – C

Fatal Mistakes: Outtakes & B-Sides – Del Amitri – B-

Mutual Friend – Jessie Reyez – B

Haitian Scarface – Kodak Black – B+

Traumazine – Megan Thee Stallion – B+

Make Me Say It Again, Girl – Ronald Isley, The Isley Brothers, Beyoncé – B+

Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind – The Game – A-

Give Me Grief – Titus Andronicus – A-

Burning – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – B-

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