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
Listen. Ludacris is a criminally slept on emcee. Period. I know, I know. His antics on videos and tracks make him come off goofy but you can’t front on the lines. This is probably the only Ludacris album that “completely” backs up that statement. This week’s re-Release is Ludacris’s “Undisputed“.
“Calling its guest vocalist co-stars and kicking-off with a “the movie’s about to begin” intro, Ludacris‘Theater of the Mind is dressed-up as some conceptual piece but this hodgepodge of high-gloss tracks just barely sticks together. While his previous effort, 2006′s Release Therapy, was much more the thematically tight album and deserved a concept, this loose set of tunes is all-together more entertaining, thanks in no small part to a highly inspired Luda and all the punch lines he lands. Most are unquotable jokes that sound nothing but filthy when taken out of context — especially the one about rappers so full of something they end up “rhyming in farts” — but the superstar team-up with T.I. called “Wish You Would” boasts about “So many shoes that my closet look like Finish Line” and brings other reminders of “Pimpin’ All Over the World” and its unashamed vision that wealth equals victory…” - Allmusic.com
For a long time Redman was my favorite rapper. Not only was he nice on the mic, he was crazy funny. I never knew what he was going to say. I never skipped a track as a result. Redman was always more than a “weed” rapper. The dude was (and still is) a dope lyricist. This week’s Re-Release is Redman’s “Tonight’s Da Night“.
“Never quite a superstar, Redman was nonetheless one of the most off-the-wall, beloved, and enduring rappers of the ’90s and 2000s. BornReginald Noble in Newark, NJ, he made his initial impact on EPMD‘s 1990 album Business as Usual and stepped out as a solo artist with 1992′s Whut? Thee Album, one of the year’s best debuts, rap or otherwise. He blended reggae and funk influences with topical commentary and displayed a terse though fluid vocal style that was…” - Allmusic.com
This was my first introduction to the Legendary Roots Crew. We all know the “silent treatment”. I thought it was creative for The Roots to craft a song based on this annoying trend in relationships. I also really dug the idea of a live band providing a “jazzy” soundtrack of sorts. They certainly weren’t the 1st hip-hop band but they carry the torch well. This week’s Re-Release is The Roots “Silent Treatment“.
“Because the Roots were pioneering a new style during the early ’90s, the band was forced to draw its own blueprints for its major-label debut album. It’s not surprising then, that Do You Want More?!!!??! sounds more like a document of old-school hip-hop than contemporary rap. The album is based on loose grooves and laid-back improvisation, and where most hip-hoppers use samples to draw songs together and provide a chorus, the Roots just keep on jamming. The problem is that the Roots‘ jams begin to take the place of true songs, leaving most tracks with only that groove to speak for them. The notable exceptions — “Mellow My Man” and “Datskat,” among others — use different strategies to command attention: the sounds of a human beatbox , the great keyboard work of Scott Storch, and contributions from several jazz players (trombonist Joshua Roseman, saxophonist Steve Coleman and vocalist Cassandra Wilson). By the close of the album, those tracks are what the listener remembers, not the lightweight grooves.” - Allmusic.com