Skyzoo & !llmind - Live From The Tape Deck

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Make no mistake, Live From The Tape Deck is worthy of your car stereo, iPod, CD player, or for heaven's sake, your tape deck.

Though they are not frequent visitors on Nielsen SoundScan, emcee Skyzoo and producer !llmind have both tallied up respectable catalogs that place them amongst Hip Hop’s new guard. Occasional collaborators in the past, the two artists come together for Live From The Tape Deck, a project that highlights their strict diet of beats and rhymes.

While the title of the album calls upon the cassette era of the 1990s, !llmind’s production features a progressive format. This can be heard on the album-opening “Digital Analog” where layered synth lines boost the intensity of the song. By contrast, “Speakers On Blast” sounds like an assembly line of instruments interlocking at the right time to create a well-rounded melody that drives the record forward. Giving the album an edgier mood, !llmind lays down a grimy back drop with “The Now Or Never.” Over aggressive drums and distorted guitar Sky, Styles P and Buckshot rap tales of their next violent heist. Contributing a wide array of beats, !llmind gives Live From The Tape Deck a distinguishable sound that simply can’t be duplicated.

Skyzoo holds up his end of the bargain as well with top-notch penmanship. This is most evident on “Frisbees” , where Skyzoo challenges the listener to follow and decipher his swift delivery. Over a pulsating beat, the record almost feels like lyrical exercise for the Brooklyn emcee. Teaming up with Coney Island rapper Torae, the two Duck Down artist’s trade rhymes about their underappreciated lyrical talents on “Barrel Brothers” . Needless to say, their hook-less verses provide a convincing argument. A spotty performance does seep through with “#AllAboutThat” as Skyzoo offers a new girl an open invitation into his life. While it does have affectionate moments, the track’s proverbial vibe is offset with lines like “I got her eating donuts every February 10th.” Sure, a nice homage to J Dilla, but poorly executed.

As evidenced by his past work, Skyzoo has been known to create conceptual records that highlight inner-city struggles. However, it’s his poetic imagery on “Krylon” that captures this portrayal vividly. Almost as if the image comes to life through his spray cans, Skyzoo raps, “White tee corners wit’ blue and whites upon ‘em / Brown paper stashes and grey sewers to support them / Purple tops is down, purple pouches of Crown / Black leather Bibles, gold robes and gowns / Green and white dice games, charcoal calibers / Silver hops out and burgundy the parameter / Running through burgundy cans, I can’t keep ‘em / Try painting the high ups but I can’t see none.” With a serious tone, the second verse goes into an intense story of rape that will immediately send shivers down the listeners’ spine. As such, its records like this from Skyzoo that make his comparison to the literary icon on “Langston’s Pen” sound admissible.

Much like label-mates 9th Wonder & Buckshot or Marco Polo & Torae, we can only hope !llmind and Skyzoo continue their collaborative efforts into the future. Both are great at their craft, and likewise have a clear drive to get better. Make no mistake, Live From The Tape Deck is worthy of your car stereo, iPod, CD player, or for heaven’s sake, your tape deck.


  • Evdogg007

    wow so if an album or a emcee don't use swears every 3 words and actualy put out great rhymes u all can't handle it

  • sahdiddy

    beats were sick but didn't dig the rhymes, too generic

  • hell 2 the nah

    a real snooze

  • bazz

    this album is the bomb not like the salvation but it's still a dope album 5 mics cause of the way u put your words together and spit it.and then u got illmind on a whole other lven man,keep up the good work,be blessed and stay save.lone bazzooka/ngrlgr from amsterdam, peace.


    Every one needs to relax, I have yet to cop but a 3.5 is very good. Really a 4 star album should be truely great, a 4.5 album is absolutely incredible and a 5 star is completely stunning. I used to get all hurt if an artist that I liked didn't get at least 4 stars or a 9/10 on reviews but its just that my rating scale was different. Reviewers really do know their shit. Its not that the album is bad its just that the most readers think that 4 stars is the border between dope and wack. But really I would say that 2.5 or 3 is.

  • C.

    to the folks saying illminds "old" beats were better, i know for a fact some of the beats were made years ago, so pipe down with that noise. album is dope pure boom bap hip hop. No way i can cop this on itunes, got to get a physical copy!

  • tha620hawk

    @C_Spen. This album is def better than "the salvation". Get real. This album is a good album. Well put together. The reason is because skyzoo does his best work with !llmind. So it's only natural that his best album will be with his producer. Not to mention he just doesn't mesh well with some of the others. Alot of filler tracks on salvation. To each their own though.

  • C_Spen

    Everyone always has something to say about something on the internet. If it's not one thing it's another. You people who are bashing the reviewer must need something to do. This album wasn't at all but it was worthy of a four or higher. This is good release but it's nothing mind-blowing imo. And to the person who said this was better than The Salvation, your trippin

  • Jesús Diaz

    This is at least a 4/5 album, this review was poorly written.

  • balls

    Yo man, I gotta say, This may be a little higher than a 3.5. But, I also gotta say that Illmind kinda let me down, man. I mean, his beats are usually INSANELY dope; Not saying these beats aren't nice, but they're not the quality Illmind usually produces. But like DX said, he has a new, progressive sound in this album. I just hope he's not gonna change it for good.

  • jihod

    duckdown stay winning this is a 4 mic album, with Pharoahe Monch on deck.....

  • jihod

    If Yall giving Fat Joe 4 outta 5 then this definitely deserves 4 outta 5 simply because Skyzoo's thee most underrated rapper in the Game right & Illmind is dope.

  • Spoon

    Pretty weak DX. Betwen the review and the rating its like you were impressed by his lyricism but couldn't actually figure out what he was saying. Step your game up.

  • DMV Dave

    HHDX is channeling the Sauce when it comes to the ratings these dayz. Only diff is that you're giving 4's to pedestrian records like 'Classic' (Nottz's beats didn't bang like I thought they would), O.C. & A.G, and Cormega. Your credibility lies in consistency, and when it comes to ratings you niggas ain't got it. Your bitch-ass rating system gets 2 stars. Good thing this ain't a pay site.

  • Hootie Hoo

    Ridiculously good album. Nice little review but writer's rating is off a star. I give it a 4.5. Boot Camp in their 15th year is getting it done with their crew.

  • calibeatbox420

    I co-sign with almost everyone here,great review but yet a shitty rating.....damn

  • HipHop

    Your interviews are great, but damn, the reviews are the opposite.

  • jerzhiphophead

    Wow this nigga really gave it 3 and a half stars? Keep in mind that this is the same sucka that gave Black Milks album the same rating. Biased ass shit mane smh

  • seqal1

    This album right here is the future. Was'nt a fan of the salvation but this is a good look for hip hop. Instead of calling it worthy and all that, i would say they are taking their artistic ability to the next level

  • defovx1

    This is a terrible review, the majority of it was spent praising the talent of Sky and !llmind. There was only one detraction from the album in the review and that was that Sky had one predictable line out of the ENTIRE album. Pretty sick if i must say so myself. If your going to rate a great lp as run of the mill atleast give us a stronger reasoning behind your opinion. Great LP Skyzoo will never disapoint he takes pride in every line and has respect for his fans. Real heads no what's up. No man's poorly articulated opinion can sully the truth.

  • Robert Laryea


  • shoop

    why does dx give good reviews and low ratings. i need to make my own site

  • shoop

    this is easily at least a 4. why does dx give an album a good review and then rate it poorly. i need to create my own site

  • tibedo

    Holy shit!!! Skyzoo's delivery is sick. Great Album!!! Cop this real hip-hop shit right here. Fuck Wayne, fuck Jeezy and fuck all this pop shit, radio huff shit. Skyzoo holding it down, Black Milk holding it down, Doom holding it down, Madlib holding it down, 9th Wonder holding it down, Wale holding it down, Pharoahe Monch holding it down. Fuck a top 10 list cause a pop list aint shit.


    I wonder when DX is actually going to be consistent with their reviews. 3.5 when weaker joints have scored higher. C'mon son!

    • EddieMurrrphy

      heflys waddup son. recognize from ughh. i was gonna leave a post but that slant eyed dick head spammed me out of this fucin genius paragraph i wrote. this was gour abrum you think so. haro prease

    • heflys

      I don't even take this site seriously any more. Shit is a joke.

  • napalm sean

    not to mention the guest appearances on the album. barrel brothers sounds like some nas az shit or something. and styles might be one of the most guest rappers of all time. he always goes hard on a feature. like his verse on cuban linx 2. heltah skeltah were made for the beat on burn notice and they both ripped it. rhymefest's verse was dope too. only one who came soft was buckshot

  • YaBoy_Mal

    come on dx.this is at least 4 and a half.the boy skyzoo came through on this one

  • Harry

    wow so you rate this the incredibly dope album 3.5 when you rate 'teflon don' as a 4 which had one good track on the album. your rating says this is equal to tha carter 3. we can't take your reviews seriously dx with your inconsistant rating system. The two best albums of the year IMO (this and black milks) received 3.5 mics. Whilst opinions are subjective these albums clearly show more skill, creativity and thought than many albums rated higher. This album should be rated 4.25-4.5. PEOPLE IGNORE THIS SHIT REVIEW AND BUY THIS ALBUM

  • napalm sean

    damn dx why you gotta be so stingy with that last half x. this shit is at least 4 maybe even 4.5. the production sounds like hip hop should in 2010 and i dont know a mc who puts more effort into each bar than skyzoo. another banger son this dude is too nice. skyzoo j cole jay electronica currensy joell ortiz(even though he old) are my favorite of the new school