Z-RO Drankin and Drivin Review



Houston emcee Z-Ro finally released his first album after leaving Rap A Lot and he’s never sounded more better. Perhaps it was the lean addiction, label problems, beefs with his peers that kept Z-Ro distracted over the years. But with Drankin & Drivin, Z-ro seemingly have recharged his batteries and sounds more energetic than he has in years. When you listen to the opening track titled Devil Ass City. Its introducing the world to Z-Ro’s view of what the city of Houston became. He’s gonna represent it until he dies but he’s also aware of the snakes and crabs in the barrel that exists amongst it.

Krayzie Bone is the only guest appearance on Drankin & Drivin and he fits perfectly with the flow of the album. Considering Bone Thugs N Harmony opened up doors for harmonizing in rap, featuring Krayzie is fitting. Z-ro paints the picture perfectly of someone whom is going through  the grieving stage of losing a friend. Krayzie’s verse about being one of the last to survive is also reflective considering that he’s battling his own health issues.

The album sticks perfectly with the title theme. You’re being taking through a journey of the mind of Z-ro’s struggles, pain, and using different vices to get through the rough stages. Whenever it be Baby Mama issues on Baby Mama Blues or haters wishing for his down fall on Women Men(Where he ironically samples Many Men from former rival 50 Cent).  You have the feeling of Z-Ro using the drink to keep his mind from running off the track.

There are some slower cuts such as I Aint Gonna Lie,  Successful, and Hostage that slows the vibe down a bit. But its so soothing and addictive that it sticks to the listener and it ends up being the album’s high points.  You can feel the influences from his inspirations Tupac, Scarface, and K-Rino heavily on these songs.

Overall this was probably the sleeper banger of 2016. Z-Ro sounds more live and free than ever before and it reflected heavily on this album. Fans whom already know how Z-Ro get down should know what they expect, however this one would definitely help him gain more new fans.

Vic Rating 10 outta 10



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Off the Cuff Radio interview featuring Sylk E Fyne


This was possibly one of the best shows we did. We were joined by Legendary West Coast female emcee Sylk E Fyne. She talked about everything from working with Eazy, What caused Ruthless’s demise, Female rappers, Being Blackballed, Tupac’s work Ethic and giving new insights of what she’s been really up too.

Download Link:

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For those who missed it. The replay of the legendayr Spice 1 for those who missed it. We talked about everything from
His basketball career before rapping
His upbringing in music
His thoughts on these new school jokers coming at the legends
I asked him about how he created the concept for 187 Proof
His thoughts on the Tupac Movie coming out and how he met him
The concept behind Born II Die from Tales from the Hood
Why he wasn’t in Menace II Society with Tupac
The theme behind Amerikkkas Worst Nightmare
How he linked up with Method Man for Hard 2 Kill
The Independent game vs the Major Labels
His thoughts on the rap game currently
Possible Movie career

We also had Spice engage with alot of his fans as well and I wanted them to feel apart of the show as me. We also played his classic cuts along with his recent stuff and played joints from Vince Staples(Farrakhan), Royal Flush War, and MC Ren(Keep it Real Remix) throughout the music break.

Phone was breaking up a bit and that was due to high demands of callers but nevertheless great show!

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RARE footage: MC Ren and Eazy E dropping knowledge of the Industry




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Dr Dre-Compton Review


2015 was a pinnacle year for Dr Dre. He started by  becoming Hip Hop’s first ever billionaire when Apple bought his Beats by Dre headphone line for 3 billion dollars. His artist Kendrick Lamar continue to push creative boundaries and setting the bar for the new generation with his spectacular release To Pimp a Butterfly. Then to top it off, The long awaited NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton was finally released in theaters and was critically acclaimed and became a Hollywood smash. Thus introducing NWA to a new generation of listeners.

The elephant of the room within the past 15 years is “When Dr Dre gonna release his followup album Detox?” We been introduced teaser singers such as “I Need a Doctor”, Kush,  and supposed singles featuring T.I. JayZ, and Ludacris. Reference songs have leaked as well but really nothing official. Dre decided to scrap the album all together because of the endless pressure. Following up to two critically acclaimed masterpieces that were The Chronic and Chronic 2001 is no easy task.

Feeling creatively free from the pressure, Dre actually surprised everyone and released an Album/Compilation titled “Compton”. The direction of this album is like that of any Dre album, Sonic-ally crisp next level production, introduction of new emcees and appearances from the veterans he helped establish. But it seems like with Compton Dre is trying to appeal more to the current generation and even started rapping more.

The opening track Talk About it isn’t quite the way people expected or even wanted Dre to open up what was considered a long anticipated album. Dre’s flow is very unorthodox to say the least, but he was laying down the foundation of what made him a legend and boastfully brags about his new financial status: Getting money before the internet and having Eminem checks he didn’t open yet.The song also introduces North Carolina Emcee King Mez and Justus to a new audience.

But people don’t check out Dre’s albums because he’s top 5 dead or alive, They check him mainly for what level he’s gonna take production wise and whom the new emcees he recruited to be apart of the projects.

Compton features the legends he put on from Ice Cube, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Game, and Xzibit. But the main MVP’s of this Compton Project was Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Pakkk. These two scorched every track they are featured in from Genocide, All in a Days Work, and Deep Water.Kendrick really skyrocketed his net worth throughout but its Anderson Pakk whom will possibly be the next to blow due to his performances on half of this album. King Mez is also featured heavily on the project and did tons of writing so he’s gonna possibly receive great looks as well.

Its great hearing the legends represent throughout this album and this is where the album becomes more enjoyable. One of my favorites features the legendary OGs Cold 187, Xzibit, and new comer Sly Piper on Loose Cannons . Ice Cube shows that even though he’s in his 50s and now a family man that he can still go with the best of them on Issues. Snoop Dogg even joins in for the fun on Satisfaction and One Shot One Kill respectively . Snoop sounds right at home under Dre production and we can only hope we get a Snoop album produced in its entirety by Dre at least one more time in the future. Jon Connor also proved that he’s hungry and ready to be the next one on One Shot Kill as well.

My personal favorite on here is actually Just Another Day because it’s that trademark West Coast sound that we know from Dre. Anyone familiar with Straight Outta Compton have already heard this as a backdrop for one of the scenes. Game has shown so much vast improvement over the years and brought a more aggressive flow here on this track. Another noteworthy highlight is Medicine Man featuring Eminem which is one of his best performance in years.

People expecting a sequel to Chronic 2001 will be heavily disappointed with the direction. Dre clearly took the direction away from the gangsta rap grassroots and into a more dreamy melodic type of vibe within his production. The sounds are next level hollywood soundtrack shit and those sounds are also heard on Straight Outta Compton. I wish DOC would have had more involvement along with Quik to give it a more west coast flavor able sound.

Considering the hype, I’m sure many people would probably be disappointed. But if you’re not comparing this to any of Dre’s previous work, It remains as one of the best releases of 2015 and a top off the biggest year Dre ever had as a business man. Be on look out for Jon Connor, Anderson Pakk and King Mez in the future as well.

Vic Rating: 9.0 outta 10



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Gucci Mane Everybody Looking Review


Gucci Mane being released earlier from prison than expected was a major surprise within the hip hop community. Despite him being away for a long period, his presence in the rap game is still heavily felt. Gucci has birthed and put on many of the hottest acts in the Industry and for certain Atlanta. You can hear a lot of his flows, his adlibs, his beat selection, and trap style being encoded in many of these up and coming rappers. He also kept the streets happy by having mixtapes being released while being on lockdown.

Gucci was released from prison and looks like a whole brand new person. He lost tons of weight, he grew his hair out, his speech is more coherent and his delivery is more crisp.  This led to many rumors of Gucci possibly being “cloned” and conspiracy theorist claiming that the real Gucci was killed in prison(which was absurd).

The album’s first street single titled “First Day out of the Feds” is the perfect introduction to the new Gucci. His flow is more clearer than before, He really improved on the technical aspect of his flowing and reveals that paranoia of being locked down and dealing with folks whom wanted him dead.

Going on to the album, Gucci completed this within a month in a half after being released and its clear that he’s more focused than ever. The album’s first introduction titled No Sleep is a perfect example direction of where Gucci is taking with his project and career as he compliments his work ethic:


Whats good about this Gucci album in comparison of his last two major retail ones was that he catered less to the radio and more so to his base here. Yeah he may had Industry heavyweights Drake and Kanye West rushing to jump aboard the bandwagon on respective tracks Back on the Road and Pussy Print. But fans shouldn’t worry,  He sticks to the recipe of what made him who he is.

Gucci allows Zaytoven and Mike Will Made it to handle the bulk of the production. Gucci and Zay go back to the days where Gucci was at war with Jeezy and being blackballed by the industry at the time. Even when Gucci could have allowed all hot of the moment producers to ride his new-found wave, He still gives Zay his position and name dropped him on the next potential hit Waybach: “I rather rock a Zay track than a Dre track”.

Guwop Home is a celebration of Gucci’s welcoming back on the turf, Even though Young Thug is just as horrible as usual, It doesn’t take too much away from Gucci’ performance on here. There’s tracks such as “Richest Nigga in the Room”, A least a M,  that celebrate his new-found notoriety and success.

Anybody that follows Gucci’s career knows he’s never no stranger to controversy. The track “My Children” which would be looked as a shot at the new generation of Atlanta rappers whom are clearly influenced by Gucci’s style(Migos, Future, Young Thug, ) Its catchy enough to be another hit and the cover itself is hilarious:

gucci all my children

Overall this album was a enjoyable ride.  People expecting lyrical acrobats and punchlines are gonna be heavily dissapointed because thats not Gucci’s lane. Gucci’s lifestyle change has eventually paralleled into his musical direction as well. He didn’t go too far into the Trap talk like he did on Trap God 1 and 2.  Its clear that he’s free, he has money,  respect, and now with Guwop Enterprise, He’s aiming for power moves.

Vic Rating: 8.5 outta 10






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Cormega- The making of the Realness(Snippet of XXL article)



If New York is the mecca of hip-hop and the Bronx is the birthplace, then Queensbridge is the Hall of Fame. Home to Nas, Mobb Deep, Tragedy Khadafi and other rap legends, QB has always bred a special strain of rappers, often tripling up their syllabic rhyme patterns within one bar. Their writing seems impeccable, born from years of studying mic technicians like MC Shan and Craig G, but despite being a beacon of rap talent, infighting kept that region from exerting power over time.

Cormega was a victim of that infighting. In 1989, he made his first appearance on wax before getting locked up in 1991, and coming home in 1995. Soon after, his neighborhood friend Nas put him on a track called “Affirmative Action,” which turned heads in the industry. Mega quickly secured a deal with Def Jam and set to releasing singles like “Dead Man Walking” and “Angel Dust.” He even joined Nas, Foxy Brown and AZ to form The Firm and do an album produced by Dr. Dre. His second life after prison seemed promising.

But then it came to a screeching halt. He separated from The Firm, had his original debut album, The Testament, get shelved at Def Jam and found himself in limbo, signed to a label that didn’t want to release his music. One of the most anticipated rappers of the 1990s was a prisoner to a contract, and he stayed that way for years.

Until 2000, when he was able to leave Def Jam with his masters and set upon crafting his first official album release, The Realness, after two stalled careers. He released the LP independently in 2001, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart for two weeks in a row. The critically acclaimed LP helped Mega start on a path of top-notch album releases, from True Meaning to Legal Hustle to his original debut. To this day, Mega is revered as one of the greatest lyricists the game has ever seen.

So to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the classic album, The Realness, XXL speaks with Mega and producers like Alchemist, J-Love, Havoc and more about how they put together this insane LP.

Sha Money XL
Jae Supreme
The Alchemist


Cormega: “TVT Records was gonna do The Realness album and I wanted to do a label situation, a partnership, but they were offering me a deal. They told me if The Realness did well, they’d give me a label deal for the follow-up project. So Landspeed Records had the capability of making the album come out within a few months. July was the set date for The Realness and we signed the deal in like April or late March, so my back was against the wall and I wanted to have an album out for the summer.

“On TVT, there was no guarantee my album would come out because when you deal with labels, they have schedules for how they market and put out an album. Landspeed was guaranteeing my album would come out in July and with TVT, I’d have to do the schedule thing, plus TVT was offering me a deal as opposed to a partnership venture, so I went with the Landspeed thing and I did The Realness in like two weeks. If you got a copy of each session sheet, it would add up to about two weeks.

“They gave me $15,000 for the album and that shyt sat in my bag for months, I didn’t even put it in the bank. I showed it to the guy from Landspeed when we were on the road, like, ‘See? I ain’t thirsty for money. I ain’t even spend that money you gave me.’ And he was like, ‘Oh my God. You better put that in the bank before it bounces.’ And he started laughing.”

DJ Kay Slay: “Cormega would come to 118th Street and 1st Ave., that’s when I was still in the hood, tenement building third floor by himself, sit there and vibe for a while and the track going on and he’d spit. There’s times where I might have linked him up, with a Black Rob came through, McGruff, Sporty B or whoever it was, when I throw that beat on and he’d get that vibe, he’d get up and spit and he wouldn’t bow down to nothing. He was always the greatest to me, when it came to being a true lyricist to the game, I kind of felt like he was overlooked, because the glamour and glitz starts kicking in, the big diamond chains and the jewelries, and the Bentleys, but he wasn’t really into all of that. He was always down to earth with the hip-hop culture. He definitely came uptown all the time and to my crib and laid his freestyles, open up intros, the mixtapes, everything.”

J-Love, producer: “He was pretty much walking away from [rap]. I definitely was one of the driving forces behind him. A lot of people in the industry had turned their back towards him at that time, due to his vibe with Nas and Nas being the more popular artist. I mixed most of that album, I sequenced that album. The only one he chose was ‘The Saga,’ I wanted to put that later on the album.”

Recording Studio

Cormega: “Hydra Studios was the main place where I recorded, that was the hub. Ninety percent of The Realness was done in Hydra. ‘R U My nikka?’ was done in Queensbridge, in Jae Supreme’s apartment, and ‘The Saga’ was recorded down South, unless we re-recorded it in New York, but I believe I did it down South. Everything else was done at Hydra, except for the songs that were done before that, ‘Killaz Theme’ and ‘They Forced My Hand.’”


1. “Dramatic Entrance”

Cormega: “The feel of it, the melody and the energy just felt perfect for an intro. I just wanted to vent, but I also wanted to express my story. I wanted to come from a street perspective. This is my first album, so the intro had to be flawless, it had to grab people’s attention. I remember taking it real serious and I remember being real happy with the lyrics after it was done.

“I had a chip on my shoulder from the Def Jam situation and for the industry, from people that were in power and trying to shut doors on me. It was like fukk that, I’m coming. Everything y’all ever did to try and stop me… fukk it, I’m here. I didn’t know what was going to happen with the album. I just knew I had to get some shyt off my chest.”

J-Love: “I was working on my compilation album and I was always a fan of Cormega since I heard him on records like ‘On the Real.’ I was getting a lot of exclusive Cormega records and I got one that was unfinished with Mega and Pun. And I had played it and I remember him telling people he was looking for me, like, ‘This guy’s always playing my shyt,’ and so on. And then when I met him at N.O.R.E.’s record label Penalty, we just built and I told him I wanted him on my album. So we just clicked.

2. “American Beauty”

Cormega: “That was inspired by Common Sense. I was freestyling with him on Future Flavas one day and I told him I loved that song ‘I Used to Love H.E.R.’ and I was gonna do a tribute song like that. I don’t know if he remembers or if he thought I was joking but I was dead serious because I really respected what he did with that song.

“It was also in a Mega way, an edgier way. I wanted to be a little more descriptive and that was also the first song I ever produced that came out. I knew where I was going with it because I knew the sound and I knew everything about the song because I came up with the idea and the concept and everything, so I wanted it to be magical. That’s one of my favorite songs. I perform that at every single Mega show.”

3. “Thun & Kicko” Featuring Prodigy

Cormega: “Havoc is one of the most talented producers I’ve ever met in my life because Havoc is such a perfectionist. There’s times where he does tracks and he’ll be like, ‘I don’t like the beat’ and he’ll totally erase it. We call it throwing it in the garbage, meaning it’s outta here, you’ll never hear that song ever. The shyt he’s thrown away is better than some producer’s catalogs.

“So when I found out he was about to trash ‘Thun & Kicko’ I pleaded with him to get that, please, please, please. The Prodigy verse was already on it and that was prior to The Realness coming out so any speculation about Prodigy [going at anybody] is false. I had that over a year before The Realness came out.

“I had some beats from Havoc [recently] and one of the beats he played for me that I should have picked ended up on Kanye’s [The Life of Pablo]. It’s definitely not ‘Real Friends.’ It’s the other one [‘Famous’]. I felt kind of stupid, but at the end of the day I don’t feel that stupid because everything ain’t for everybody.”

Havoc: “I was just playing him some joints and when I played him that joint he felt it immediately and I just be happy for nikkas to be liking anything that I make. So when he was feeling I was like bet and I gave it to him.

“Me and P used to do a bunch of songs. It probably was something that we just did because we always work even when we not working on an album. So it was probably a song we just did, just had it on the side, just laying there. Probably nobody would’ve never heard it if nobody would’ve used it.”

4. “The Saga”

Cormega: “A very powerful song, very cinematic. It just takes you there. You can feel the ghetto in that song. That’s another song I’m proud of. I wrote that in my sister’s apartment [in South Carolina] and there was no heat on that day at all. I just put my blood, sweat and tears into it. The fact that there was no heat on and it was the middle of winter and I’m freezing, it just made that struggle come to mind. So that song was made from creativity and struggle.

“I put on a mink, fukk it, because a mink is warm as fukk. So I’m sitting there in a mink coat writing ‘The Saga’ with K.L. from Screwball writing his own rhymes. Sometimes we’d just get together and have vibe sessions, get right and inspire each other. He’s writing his shyt, I’m writing my shyt, it’s quiet in the room and we’re not bothering each other. I don’t know what the fukk he’s writing, he don’t know what the fukk I’m writing. Even though it was freezing, it always feels beautiful that K.L. was there. He even talked at the beginning of ‘The Saga.’ We were very close.

“I met [producer] Big Ty through my man 40, God bless the dead. 40 was one of my close friends and he introduced me to Ty and then I went to Ty’s house and we started vibing. I just wanted some different shyt, I didn’t want the typical shyt you hear from a New York artist. I wanted something that resonated with different states, so that beat just had a certain feel to it that I knew people from other states as well as New York would like it.”

5. “R U My nikka?”

Cormega: “That’s just a real song. Every street person in the world likes that record. I think there are people that hate my guts but like that record, that’s how real it is. Even people that aren’t from the street love it because they relate.

“I just wrote that because I had a lot of questions about myself, my life, circumstances and situations and the circle I was in. So I was asking these questions to myself about my friends, like would these dudes do this? I was just reading people’s body language and the way I was feeling just spilled into that song. That was a real honest song.”


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