On The Radar: KRS-One & Showbiz, Lewis Parker, Saigon, Verbal Kent, Kooley High

On The Radar is a new series where we highlight multiple albums that are certainly worth your time. They serve as a way for us to review more music while offering the same depth and analysis on our traditional reviews as we’re known for giving. In installments of On The Radar, we’ll tell you about a bunch of albums we checked out, but didn’t necessarily have time to do a full review on. They’re on our radar, though, so we want to share them with you.

KRS-One & Showbiz – Godsville

Rating: $16.99 / 20.00

KRS-One & Showbiz - GodsvilleWith Showbiz only semi-providing a potent production punch (that also does not very much mirror his older, classic work), KRS is left to try and guide this monumental collab effort. Kris does the best he can, but doesn’t deliver a classic or even highly-memorable lyrical record by any means, but rather a lot more of his usual song and dance, respectfully. The chemistry “Godsville” lacks lingers a good while, too. Don’t despair, there’s several really bumpable jams, but after you grab that handful, you’ll be tempted to trash the rest.

Saigon – The Greatest Story Never Told

Rating: $17.50 / 20.00

 Saigon - The Greatest Story Never ToldThe much, much, much awaited street scholar finally drops his debut and it’s a solid effort…for the most part. Amazingly, Sai does muster 11 initial tracks that are all undeniably dope. First half of The Greatest Story Never Told will definitely have your itchy “it’s a classic” finger ready, but alas, Giddy nor his main collaborator, Just Blaze, could keep things on track for the back half of the LP, where things falter noticeably. Oh so close, but no cigar.

In any case however, this album will be a pretty strong cop if for nothing else than the production value and the fact that it really feels like a real hip-hop album at 18 cuts deep with a focused direction that almost lasts. If it weren’t for Giddy’s wayward forays into swooning the chicks he would of garnered a perfect Andrew Jackson from me.

Verbal Kent – Save Yourself

Rating: $17.99 / 20.00

Verbal Kent - Save YourselfThis album will be one of the most reliable underground picks of 2011 thus far. Chicago MC, Verbal Kent, puts his best foot forward for his sixth LP release, Save Yourself, which harbors all the general tell tale signs of an underground banger; dope beats, precise, well-delivered rhymes and some ‘90s legends poppin’ through to assist our main protagonist. Holding his own alongside names like Masta Ace, Sadat X and Pete Rock, Verbal Kent makes an awfully strong case that he may be ready for even further collaborations of similar weighty nature. I’d have to agree.

Lewis Parker – The Puzzle: Episode 1

Rating: $17.75 / 20.00

 Lewis Parker - The Puzzle: Episode 1Fresh off a stunning collab record with John Robinson, the UK born- and- bred (and now NYC residing) producer/MC, Lewis Parker, has unleashed a brand new record that will heavily cater to the record diggin’, vinyl fanatics and should honestly reel in a lot of you hip-hop purists. Utilizing his trusty SP-1200 and what I’m sure was a good deal of dusty crates, Lewis crafts one beat break blessed track after another and rhymes over all of them. A real show of skill from all angles really. The Puzzle: Episode 1 probably won’t start a riot in terms of widespread acclaim, but I assure you this is a great record.

Kooley High – Eastern Standard Time

Rating: $18.00 / 20.00

 Kooley High - Eastern Standard TimeThis band of former N.C. State University students turned subterranean hip-hop standouts had been dazzling folks for some time with their work on the mixtape circuit and with some of the solo members’ solo releases on the side, but the question was: Could they make a dope record together? The answer is yes, as their first studio LP, Eastern Standard Time, is also another one of the underground’s best of 2011 two months into the year. Driven by interesting and innately boom bap production at it’s core, each group member develops nicely along the ride. Maybe none more than the lone femcee, Rapsody, who captivates literally every time she makes a sound. It’s a good debut, and they still have a good deal to grow…I can’t wait to hear more.

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