AltWeeklies Wire

Jay-Z's Latest 'Blueprint' is Still Less Inspired and Less Fluid than the Firstnew

Mostly, the album is Jay's attempt to get hip -- or hipster -- as he enlists a crop of fresh new talent discovered by Kanye West to help him sound relevant. Unfortunately, much like a 40-year-old divorcee who hits the town with her daughter's friends, it's clear that Jay doesn't quite fit in among this crowd, and The Blueprint 3 suffers for it.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  09-22-2009  |  Reviews

Whitney Houston's New Album is Almost Absurdly Gimmick-Freenew

I Look to You sounds out of time, and if one didn't know better, one might suspect it was released a decade or two ago. But the timeless approach works. There's something extremely refreshing about a performer who refuses to kowtow to whatever they're calling the newest generation of brats.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  09-15-2009  |  Reviews

'If Tomorrow Comes ...' Doesn't Really Work as an Albumnew

Maino doesn't have enough variation in his style, too many of the songs sound alike, and the narrative skits throughout are not especially believable or interesting. Still, in an era when the traditional long-version album has all but disappeared as an art form, it's hard to hold these complaints against him.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  07-21-2009  |  Reviews

'Far' Feels More Serious Than Regina Spektor's Previous Albumnew

Sure, this is an album that contains a line about constructing a computer out of macaroni pieces, but sturdy production and easy, memorable piano melodies manage to ground nearly all of the songs.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  07-07-2009  |  Reviews

Asher Roth Is 'Asleep'new

Being a privileged white guy from the Philly suburbs doesn’t disqualify Asher Roth from legitimate hip-hop MC status—not being able to spin an interesting yarn does.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  04-28-2009  |  Reviews

Jim Jones' 'Pray IV Reign'new

While many established rappers are being downsized from major-label deals to "independent" contracts, Harlem MC Jim Jones is climbing up the food chain.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  04-08-2009  |  Reviews

Bishop Allen's 'Grrr...'new

Poor Bishop Allen. They were Vampire Weekend before Vampire Weekend was Vampire Weekend.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  03-17-2009  |  Reviews

'Brass Knuckles' is Nelly's 'Thriller'new

Brass Knuckles shows an artist who, having been deemed irrelevant, has come back hungry, utilizing every name in his Rolodex and teaching himself some new tricks.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  09-30-2008  |  Reviews

Why Southern Hip-Hop Is the Same as FOX Newsnew

Though FOX News and Southern rap both have anti-intellectual appeal, there's more to the story than that. Rather than simply pandering to the red-state masses, they have tapped into powerful populist sensibilities in areas that didn't previously have a national voice.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  05-07-2008  |  Music

The Efron Scandalnew

Lil Wayne's new project puts the high in High School Musical.
OC Weekly  |  Ben Westhoff  |  12-18-2007  |  Profiles & Interviews

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