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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Jelani Lateef

Cold Days and Dark Nights

Review by Gary Hill

Hip hop can be a tough genre to review. I mean, a lot of times it comes down to just the lyrics and rhythms, because some of the times there isn’t a lot of what you’d call music. That can make for a genre that feels a bit samey. This album manages to avoid that. It also (other than in a few places) avoids many of the parental advisory issues that turns some away from the genre. I really like this set quite a bit. It’s a strong album, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Pursuit of Happyness (intro)
This is literally an audio excerpt from the movie of the same title. It has some music, but I don’t remember if that music is from the movie or not. Either way, this is inspiring.
Action
The music is driving and rocking. The raps are powerful and rhythmic. This is great stuff. It reminds me a bit of Ice-T.
Book of Life
There are no big changes here. That said, this is a great song.
Motivation (interlude)
With only percussion as the background, this seems to be another bit from a movie. I don’t think I know what movie it is, though.
I’m A Star
This is more aggressive. It’s a real powerhouse. I love the musical grind to it. This does include the “n-word.”
Look What You Done
I love the classic soul vibe on this number.
How It Feels
I like the processed chorus on this. It should be noted that it rates a parental advisory, though. The rap is particularly effective. This is a highlight of the set.
Cold Days and Dark Nights?

Another strong rap song, I love the chorus on this.

The Lyrical featuring DJ HasH
This is another highlight. It has a real jazz vibe to it. It does earn another advisory, though.
Flashback (Cold Days Mix)
The story of this song is so sad. The music is pretty and the raps are solid. It’s another highlight for sure.
What It Is
I like this, but it’s not a big change. It’s also not exceptional. I do like the effect of the multiple layers of vocals.
Manhood Talk
With definite lyrical advisories, this is an energized and aggressive rap. It’s also quite strong. I love the jazz bits that come in later, too.
Love Thing
I love this song. The raps are infectious and the music is great. The whole thing just grooves in some great ways. It does contain the “n word.”
Can’t Stop Now (Cold Days Mix)
I like the raps on this a lot. Beyond that, though, it’s nothing exceptional. It does get another advisory.
Gone
This is a great groove. It’s another highlight of the set. The music and the rap both work well together.
Believe
A strong groove, this is good, but not as potent as some of the rest. That’s more an indication of how strong everything else here is, though.

 

 
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