Check out my latest hip-hop commentary: NEW RULES
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Never thought I’d say this but I kind of miss their music. Seeing how wack some of rap’s mainstream artist can be these days, the dips weren’t that bad in hindsight. This is one of those songs that rocked the club. I still listen to it from time to time. This week’s Re-Release is The Diplomats “Dip-Set Anthem”.
“Cam’ron‘s Harlem-based Diplomats crew (also known as Dipset) centers around Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, JR Writer, and Diplomat Records president Freekey Zeekey. Though the first two volumes ofDiplomatic Immunity, released in 2003 and 2004, did well commercially, they’ve also made a fortune off a series of underground mixtapes, some of which have received wide distribution via Koch.” - Allmusic.com
There is a lot of new hip-hop music out there… Here’s what I’m currently rocking:
Talib Kweli ”Prisoner of Conscious“
“Sometimes I love Talib’s music, and other times I…Meh. This album here is all love. I think he recaptured that balance of radio friendly presentation, and conscious lyricism. I put this album in the same category as his Ear Drum album. Dope beats, varied concepts, and a all around potent experience. That’s all we really ask for when we listen to an album. One of the best this year…so far.”
J. Cole ”Born Sinner“
“I was hard on J. Cole’s debut album. His mixtapes were classics, while his debut sounded more like a poor man’s Drake. That is NOT the case with this project. From the first song, this album has a closer feel to the vibe of his mixtapes. Dope beats, rhymes, and concepts. This is the J. Cole we all know and love, not the dude singing Paula Abdul hooks. One of the best of the year…Cop That!”"
Prodigy & Alchemist ”Albert Einstein“
“Let’s be honest, we came to hear Alchemist beats. Prodigy is not even close to what he used to be, but he sounds good over Alchemist tracks. There are times where that old Shook Ones Prodigy shows up, but not enough for you to feel like he is back to form. Never the less, this is a solid album. The vibe is hard, and that’s all I ever expected. Check this one out.”
Action Bronson & Harry Fraud ”Saaab Stories“
“As a big Ghostface fan, I stayed away from dude. It’s not his fault that they have similar vocals/cadence. The more I listen to him, the more I see why dudes like him. This Ep is dope. Nuff said.”
Statik Selektah ”Extended Play“
“Statik Selektah is a preserver of hip-hop music. Period. He brings commercial and underground artist together for a common cause. His projects never sound like campaigns for radio play. They are what they are, and this album is no different. Another solid effort. Salute! “
We already knew he was the standout member of Leaders of the New School, but this song put the nail in the coffin. It was exactly what you envisioned a Busta Rhymes solo record would sound like. Raw energy personified. This week’s Re-Release is Busta Rhymes solo debut “Everything Remains Raw“.
“The most idiosyncratic personality in rap and possessor of its most recognizable delivery, a halting, ragga-inspired style with incredible complexity, inventiveness, and humor, Busta Rhymes formedLeaders of the New School in 1990 and released two albums with the group before breaking out with a 1996 solo hit single, “Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check.”” - Allmusic.com
Master P. provided a “mainstream” lane for a lot of dudes in the game now. He also made the “hood movie” for rappers, profitable. I hated this song when I first heard it…then I saw the movie (bad acting and all) and I found myself singing it. Go figure. This week’s Re-Release is Tru’s “I’m Bout it, Bout it“.
“Tru is a three-piece gangsta rap group that No Limit mastermind Master P formed with his younger brothers, Silkk and C-Murder. Tru became the most popular act on No Limit with their 1995 debut album,True; it sold over 200,000 copies with little promotion or airplay, and helped establish No Limit as an underground hip-hop force. Tru released its second album, Tru 2 da Game, early in 1997. Shortly afterward, No Limit exploded, making Master P into a superstar. Given his many duties at the label, along with his forays into filmmaking, basketball, and sports management, plus the burgeoning solo careers ofSilkk and C-Murder, it wasn’t a surprise that it took Tru two years — an eternity in No Limit time — to produce its third album, Da Crime Family.” - Allmusic.com
Would you believe that I’ve never seen this movie in it’s entirety? When it first came out, I was already a huge Eminem fan. I felt like he gave us the highs and lows of his life through his music. Why would I go to see a visual reenactment? Plus, Mekhi Phifer with locks looked ridiculous. Not the fact that he had them, just how fake it looked. Lol! Idk. This was the song that made me say, Damn. This dude continues to be special lyrically. Btw, I did see the rap battles…CLASSIC EM. This week’s Re-Release is Eminem’s “Lose Yourself“.
“This may be the soundtrack for Eminem‘s movie debut, but don’t think of 8 Mile of as an Eminem album, because it’s not. It’s a soundtrack and plays like a soundtrack, with many cuts from current stars and new artists (several associated with Eminem‘s fledgling Shady imprint), plus a couple of previously released tracks, most of it very high quality, whether it’s a hard-hitting Jay-Z, a sultry Macy Gray, or Taryn Manning’s Boomkat’s sexy slow burn “Wasting My Time.” Sure, there’s a couple of tracks that fall flat – Young Zee and Obie Trice feel strained — but it all flows well, and it’s all strong. But it’s also all overshadowed by four blindingly great new songs from Eminem (four and a half, if you count his show…” - Allmusic.com
Honestly, there isn’t much I can say about this record. At a time when rap’s mainstream success was booming, Rawkus was keeping the True School alive with a rookie line-up that obliterates XXL’s list today. This week’s Re-Release is Common feat. Sadat X & Talib Kweli “1999“.
“Rawkus Records — the little hip-hop indie label that could — went through various major-label dealings over the years, eventually falling under the Geffen Records banner in 2005, in theory an unseemly partnership that did have one immediately positive outcome: a long-overdue best-of collection, Rawkus Records: Best of Decade I (1995-2005). If you’re relatively familiar with Rawkus, you might find the title curious — the “1995-2005″ part, that is — because for all means and purposes, the label became inactive once the ’90s came to a close. Without a doubt, the glory years of Rawkus were the late ’90s, back when the Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge series were a cultural touchstone, back when Mos Def and Talib…” - Allmusic.com
There was a time when hip-hop had to make you dance. Chubb Rock always came with the perfect dance tracks. He was also respected lyrically. One of my favorite hip-hop records, this week’s Re-Release is Chubb Rock’s “Treat Em Right“.
“If you’d asked a hypothetical leading hip-hop expert what the main difference between East Coast and West Coast rappers was in the early ’90s, he might have explained that the West was more interested in beats and grooves, while the Northeast was concerned with rapping technique. Well respected in New York rap circles, Chubb Rock had plenty of technique — something there’s no shortage of on The One. The album leaves no doubt that his rapping skills are first-rate, but technique only carries Rock so far. Although decent and at times exhilarating, The One isn’t a great album. Rock (who often incorporates dancehall reggae) is at his best on excellent message songs like “What’s the Word” and “The Night Scene,” an arresting description of the horrors that surround drugs. But his boasting raps wear thin after a while. Rock has the chops; it’s his lyrics that aren’t always memorable.” - Allmusic.com