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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Jus Allah
All Fates Have Changed
Babygrande Records

Rating: 5.5/10 ?

November 9, 2005
Guest appearances and clichés, chest thumps and numbing repetition; hip-hop by its nature is an exhaustible, stereotype-able style. If you have heard one MC rap about his personal struggles with poverty, racial discrimination and narcotics you've nearly heard them all, Eminems and Snoop Doggs alike.

Like a sexually frustrated married couple, hip-hop players have been trying to induce excitement into the tired craft with new partners - guest MCs and producers - and clichéd homage to past visionaries. The artists who are special are those who are catchy, even if slightly clichéd and repetitious, and find a way to fashion their hip-hop a little differently from everybody else's. These are the ones that you reference, saying "Oh, that cat sounds a lot like Aesop Rock" or "He's totally ripping Terminator X."

Going into Jus Allah's debut solo album, All Fates Have Changed, I am admittedly biased and impatient; I'm looking for something inspirational, something catchy, something that will make me forget the clichés and worn out, sampled beats. Right off the top I'm not very encouraged by the title, which is the inspirational equivalent of those "FEAR THIS" stickers peeling from the rear window of rusty old pickup trucks.

Jus Allah (also known as Megatraum) is awarded some underground cred for his contributing efforts on Jedi Mind Tricks' 2000 release, Violent By Design. Guest contributors though, as we know, are a dime a dozen, and are not automatically saved or damned by association. As far as guests go with Jus Allah's debut, he works with a good cast: Evil Dead, GZA and Genius of Wu Tang and Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian. Again, an album is not saved nor damned by guests, only tracks can be. Some of the appearances feel like an IOU reluctantly paid in full.

Starting with "This is for Y'all," the main MC is contributing - unfortunately it errs to the side of hip-hop stagnancy. The melody is sterile and sounds as if created within two minutes and composed from a cheap synthesizer; likewise the beats are nothing special or especially head-bobbingly impressive. Jus Allah starts his flow with a line so formula induced that it makes him come off as fake: "To all my enemies/I know you hear this/Fuck you" - yes, we know there are people who hate you, but fucking get over it and write a song that doesn't require you to be bitter about how shitty you've been treated.

Finally beginning with the album's third track, "Supreme," Jus's production quality steps up. The beat is still a bit aesthetically sterile, but at least the rhythm bumps in De La Soul laid back form. Same goes for the rapping and piano melody in this song - they just seem to fit more comfortably. This leads into the album's strongest track, "Pool of Blood," a feature that bounces fresh beat and scratch routine behind nearly characteristic rhymes from GZA and Genius.

Moderately likable moments heavily outweigh the exceptional ones on All Fates Have Changed, and because of its nature, hip-hop makes this type of recording somewhat forgettable. Without any definitive characteristics to showcase, Jus Allah's style is somewhat forgettable too.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger



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