Enemigos reviewed by BayUndaground.com

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Dec 6, 2002
If you didn't know that BayUndaground.com is deep into reviews, well now you know. We uploaded 5 reviews, both of recent and older releases, see for yourself. Let me publish on Siccness the review of "Agony & Ecstasy" by Enemigos and "All Ears On Me" by Hooli Automatic:

Enemigos - "Agony & Ecstasy"

Enemigos is a duo consisting of San Jose representatives: Gangsta Reese and Convic. The first one should already be known to elder rap listeners for his membership in the Full Clip crew with such cds as "Who'z Ridin" and "The 2nd Chamber". He debuted back in 2002 with a solo titled "Full Metal Jacket" and even released a sophomore half solo, half collection "East Side Stories Vol. 1" a year later. Convic on the other hand - from what I know - has only appeared as a guest on other people's projects including Brown Factor from Crazy Times Records or even the recent "Killa Sharks 4".

For the last 6 years Reese took a music hiatus, recording only a single verse here and there, so you may treat the "Agony & Ecstasy" as sort-of a come back; a classy and serious one. You can notice from the gates that rapper put much work into his most recent endeavor, both vocally and lyrically. He follows the rhythm with an ease, even if it turns out to be a dynamic one (like in "They All Say"). I remember that he used to miss a beat sometimes or have some other minor problems, but out here he showed nothing less than professionalism. The same can be said about Convic, whom I haven't had an opportunity to hear on so many tracks so far. You can recognize him by a very deep, low-pitched voice and a flow that might seem emotionless at first glance. I need to admit that I was surprised with his performances; the way he smoothly flows on all beats, polished lyrics with thought-provoking punch lines, interesting rhymes and word plays. The lyrical content is of great importance and one of the strongest aspects of the album. Both artists indeed recorded many tracks that are about something more than yet another repeat of typical bragging and representing one's turf. You'll hear songs about growing up ("Degrees Of Growth"), dwelling in prison ("The Yard"), younglings taking credit for somebody else's achievements ("Take My Word"), praise of independent hustle ("CDz Like 'D'"), real ode to old school cars ("So Sweet") as well as pulling cards of weak and phony emcees ("Hard Inda Paint").

Y'all some MySpace rappers, I don't see your shit in store
Selling burnt CD-Rs, talking 'bout you gon' blow
Your fan base is your mama and the bitches that have your babies
You's a back seat rider, on the Internet talkin' crazy

There are obviously also a couple of tracks with traditional themes including the home town San Jose, sex, women, rap game, but they were handled in such a fresh and finely chiseled fashion that turned out to be pretty impressive too. A notable part of "Agony Ecstasy" has been played by Filthy Rich, the producer who is responsible for the vast majority of tracks; only 4 were made by Gangsta Reese, Convic, Assassin and Hynote Ent. One could think that the cd will be monotonous in the long run, as the cd as a whole requires almost 80 minutes of your attention (I remind you that there are 19 full-length cuts!), yet he managed to come up with something original almost each time. Generally music has nothing in common with the contemporary northern California standards, so don't expect to hear anything that even resembles hyphy mannerism. Therefore the most keen will be enthusiasts of classic west coast vibes, the ones with hard sounds, heavy bass lines and medium pace. It is also important to note that that there are a few distinct samples in the background, that enrich the production in a subtle way. On top of that you'll get catchy hooks (great performances by Shea) and various add-ons like occasional scratches. To conclude, Enemigos recorded an impressive material, a mixture of back to basics with facilities of modern technology. I strongly recommend this album to all fans of 90's rap and to the ones who are not fond of party-like slappers. "Agony & Ecstasy" is in my humble opinion one of the best releases of 2009.

Reese, thanks for networking and providing the album for the review.

Hooli Automatic - "All Ears On Me"

Hooli Automatic is finally back in the rap game. This Hayward representative debuted under a name of Smooth Ace Tha Hooligan with an album "A Revolution Iz Born" in 2000. He came back 6 years later together with Jaye Stratus in order to release a mediocre hyphy compilation titled "Blue Zone: The Special Tape". 3 more years had to pass before this rapper finally came out with a serious solo endeavor.

For some time I was convinced that this album is an EP, solely digitally distributed as a promotional product on the Internet. Fortunately it turned out that Hooli decided to press a couple of units. However the main goal remains the same, which is create a serious buzz for the upcoming full-length solo, scheduled for late Spring 2010. "All Ears One Me" has been pressed on a regular CD with a nice imprint; it's a pity though that insert is limited to a flyer of an irregular size that serves as a front cover. Due to that both the disc and the inlay were placed in a paper sleeve. Fans of real, physical releases have also been gratified with 3 additional, bonus tracks - the one available for free on the Internet had only 7 cuts.

You can hear the most significant thing from the gates, namely Hooli Automatic stopped representing the hyphy style and got rid of silly talks about going dumb. What is more, on majority of the tracks he returned to his regular flow, while the more childish one (a bit like Harm) is present only on about 4 songs. The opening "Aint Holdin' Nothin' Back" shows that the rapper stepped his lyrical game up and indeed has something to say. He criticizes the condition of the contemporary Bay Area rap scene: hopping on the bandwagon, flood of mixtapes, boldness etc. Generally, you'll receive a meaningful lyrical content on most of the cuts. "Celebrate" is in fact a celebration of life, but also a grown-up insight into ones past, respect towards others as well as oneself. In "My Boo" you'll hear a praise of love, while "4 The Kids" refers to raising children, who try to follow their parents - role models. On the contrary "O.G's Know" is dedicated to youngsters, the ones who always think that they are right, however if they only listened to what adults tell them, they would be able to avoid certain mistakes. Themes are a definite advantage of this project. Apart from the already mentioned titles, you'll also get something more entertaining, so you can bob your head freely: mainly with additional guest appearances. These tracks are the ones where Hooli slightly alters his voice and stops being serious. It kind of irritated me at the very beginning, but I eventually concluded that such a small change is sometimes necessary. Production is basically also decent at least. Some beats have an audible old school feel to them and I would add more samples from time to time (for instance to "Ain't Holdin' Nothin' Back") or improve a bass line a bit ("Celebrate"). These already mentioned entertaining songs are more into modern, XXI century type of melodies, with faster pace and corny vibes. Production has been handled by Lunacie, Eric G, Bullet Beats and DJ Extra Large. Regardless of music, the artist always comes correct and smoothly flows over the rhythm, which ultimately shows that he's a flexible MC. The only thing I can complain about - it's not a big deal in fact - are scarce emotions in rapper's verses, they could emphasize the delivery. All in all, despite a couple of minor flaws, the promotional product "All Ears On Me" serves its purpose; it proves that Hooli Automatic can indeed offer something interesting to a bit more demanding consumer, that's why it's worth waiting for the upcoming "Thug Legacy".
Apr 25, 2002
This craft that we do takes time. I always attempt not to put just any ol' shit out so that something will be available. I put thought, effort, and dedication in mine. So when Vic is ready, we will be on a mission one more time. Thanx for the support macdrebaby, and all those who like my music, but dont wanna say so cause we up out the Teal Town, which IS the bays Most HAted city
Jun 16, 2009
Yup "Enemigoz" $lapz,....Hey Reese Wuz Good G, Imma Email You Some New Slaps Commin Out That ERV, Once I Figure Out How 2 Upload This Shit...