What has happened to hip hop music? I have seen a disgraceful turn for the worse on my tv screen, but let’s review some real hip hop music.
We will stick to only albums dropped recently. Of course, I highly recommend all of these albums. I’m not going to criticize any of the albums. Simply because there is already a million people who have done so – with or without justification.
Let’s get started with the “Conscience Rapper” Common. I wish we didn’t have to use that particular terminology to categorize the rapper because all rappers should be conscience. It is basically the definition of hip-hop.
Common – Finding Forever
From the incredible “unforgivable” all the way to the radio smash hits, “The People” and “The Game” (no similarity to the west coast rapper at all) this album is worth your purchase.
Common puts together rhymes like a puzzle. Each piece being essential as the last. He uses intricate rhyme schemes, but still gets his point across in the most immaculate manner.
Common exchanges punchlines with Kayne West on “Southside”. My favorite collaboration between the two; up until this point. Kayne also produces this track as he does most of the album. West spits at the top of his game while spitting lyrics e.g. “I know you must be thinking its armorall flow because it never gets rusty”. Common on the other hand spits amazing lyrics himself, for example: “Your career was a typo, mine was written like a haiku.”
Though Common never comes out and blames the south for hip-hops decline ( that he mentions a multitude of times) the following lyric from “Start the Show” could be subject to misinterpretation, “You sing along wit it, inside you knowin it’s wack, Young who? I don’t need a openin act”. Common never backs down from a fight. He also mentions the lack of hip-hop spirit in the song “The Game”.
Is this Common’s best work? I don’t know. I personally like it better then his last album. Be had a completely different ambience to it though. I guess, we should give credit to Kayne.
I know this album could be perceived to have a few lackadaisical songs. Unlike fox news, I do give the other side. A counter perspective is available at Nobodysmiling
Talib Kweli – Ear Drum
Talib’s recent effort has sixteen tracks that will fulfill any fans need for another album from the rap superstar.
He spits some of his most intellectual and deep thinking lyrics to date in “Ear Drum”.
Electrify one of the most soulful tracks on “Ear Drum” is perfectly titled as it does electrify you. Especially your mind as most of the album does.
The guests help the momentum of the album more than they hurt it. Demonstrated in songs like “Hostile Gospel” with Bun B and Pimp C, who seem to fit in very well in the banger by Just Blaze.
If Talib had to take it back to square one. I’m talking about the hip-hop classic “Reflection Eternal”. He definitely took a few paces in the right direction.
I’ll finish the review by saying that the album isn’t perfect, but perfection is in the beholder.
Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth
Brother Ali probably would get his mic cut off by Bill O Reilly with his very open minded views on America. Actually more times than less, pessimistic views.
A “Letter From The Government” basically denounces the entire war. Ali blatantly states in the chorus, “I got a letter from the government the other day I opened and read and burned that man, The way that I live don’t concern that man, We gon’ have to settle this another way”. I guess he might also be talking about any possibility of a draft and his reaction. Maybe just a letter asking him to join the military. Nevertheless, one of the most intriguing songs that has been released this year.
The underground artist doesn’t stop there with his attitude towards America. Yes, his home country. On the track “Freedom aint free”. He annihilates our foreign policies. Especially when it comes to people who are starving in other countries. “So I use blood and sweat to butter my bread, Cos this cold world couldn’t give a fuck if I’m fed”.
If you are a liberal, you will probably take well to this album. He doesn’t like the war, he doesn’t like our foreign policies, and he doesn’t like how Muslims are being treated. He claims to be a devout Muslim in a few tracks.
If this album doesn’t make you sit back and think. You might want to get your brain examined.
El P – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
Honestly. What can I say about this album that hasn’t been repeated a million times. This is a monster underground album. One of the biggest in the history of hip-hop. You haven’t heard of it? Funny, isn’t it? If you like Mike Jones, I suggest you don’t check out this album, if you’re a real hip-hop fan, it’s a must!
Nas – Hip Hop Is Dead
I don’t think anyone else has said this, but hip-hop needed this album. Not because it has the best work by my man Nas, but because we needed the history lesson. I learned a lot from this album, I didn’t even know.
It also gave me the motivation to go back and play some of those old albums. How much dust does your “Mc Shan” records have on them?
We need to remember our roots, which is a perfect segway for my next album.
The Roots – Game Theory
The Roots put together an album that flows together like Rakim and Eric B.
You won’t skip a track on this cd. I can guarantee you that. Black Thought’s not even at the top of his game. Am I the only one who finds that unbelievably scary?
The Roots are breaking ground in hip-hop. Although it’s underground in general, It’s ultimately refreshing.
Ghost Face – More Fish + Fishscale
I am absolutely exhilarated to get all this new Ghostface material. Though he has never been the type to take a break from rapping. He comes back, probably full fledged with these two near classic albums.
Still spitting as mean as you would expect. If you want to learn to be an emcee. Study every move of Ghostface.
Killah Priest – The Offering
Though the album isn’t officially out. It did leak. I have heard nothing but positive reviews. I think this might be his best work to date.
The album also features some great artists like Canibus, Ras Kass, Kurupt, and Immortal Technique.
Canibus – For Whom The Beat Tolls
I might take some heat for including this album in my list, but Canibus returns to his old self. I couldn’t be happier. He is still one of the best lyricists in the game. Never demonstrated better than on his 400 bar track, “Poet Laureate Infinity”.
Canibus is known for being ruthless, but has some fun on the album, on “Dreamzzz”, Biz raps about having sex with a female news anchor. He even mentions her name Soledad O’Brien,who previously hosted “American Morning”. She was taken off because of low ratings, though she still works for Cnn on other endeavours. (By the way, firefox’s spell check can be quite annoying, I know the word endeavours is spelled correctly). It’s a pretty hilarious dream, but that’s about where the games stop for the album.
He spits with a vocabulary that would make Websters jealous throughout the rest of the album and punchlines that will knock you back.
Nothing seems more spectacular than his deep tracks like “Layered Prayers”, “One Ought Not To Think, and “Father Author Poor Pauper”, where he takes on a series of issues, including war, poverty, ignorance, and his career.
A must have album for any Canibus
fan. Cross that – an album created for you.
Jay Z – Kingdom Come
Jay Z brings a mature album. Honestly, well for the most part. You might get confused on a few tracks, specifically ones with singer Usher and Beyonce.
The Reasonable Doubt author might not be at the top of his game lyrically after his brief hiatus, but he is still one of the best emcees in the game. This album will prove it. I won’t waste time with quotes, I have to many.
Ludacris – Release Therapy
One of the most outrageous and hilarious artists in the history of hip-hop brings an exceptional album. I still can’t get use to this Ludacris because he is so much different then when he arrived in the game. But I would be missing out if I didn’t.
Do your time with beanie sigal is an amazing song about friends being locked up.
Everything is seriously outshined by “runaway love” with Mary J. Blige doing the chorus. Rather than explain the entire premise, I’ll allow you to check out the wikipedia entry located at Ludacris – Runaway Love
Ludacris also raps about starting a record label, being a man, and talks about girls like only Luda can.
What more can I say? It’s Luda, Luda!
Pharaoh Monch – Desire
Why isn’t this on my radio station? A powerful album to say the least.
Let’s go is one of the most creative songs, I have heard in a while. He uses puns throughout the entire song. Basically taunting us all.
Nothing compares to Trilogy though, one of the most impeccable songs in recent memory. I can’t even explain it, Pharaoh makes the song come to life. I’m not even exaggerating. Check it out and see.
For a sophomore album and still room to grow. The man is doing damn good, in my opinion.
Bone Thugs N Harmony – Thug Stories
Bone Thugs N Harmony – Strength Loyalty
Unfortunately Bizzy didn’t make the trip to Bones best album since 99’s classic eternal 99.
The album has bangers, gangster, and love songs (Bone Thug Style). The guests all do an exceptional job working with their own talents.
Bow Wow and Mariah Carey give a Lil Love to Bone Thugs and come up with a good second single.
Akon contributes to two tracks, “I Tried, and “Never Forget Me”. He brings them tracks from pretty good to definitely good.
The game does his thing on “Streets”.
Maybe nothing more impressive then “Twista” bringing the heat with his rivals on C-Town. They get gangster like only the chi can.
Though Bones best work might come when they are solo. Wind Blow which samples “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, is a stand out track on the album.
The promotion was better then latter efforts, but I still don’t think the masses know about this album. Please, check it out, if you haven’t heard.
Lupe Fiasco – Food And Liquor
Lupe is one, if not the most original artist to come out in at least four years.
His rhymes schemes, concepts, and unforceful personality really make this album a must have.
Lupe lyrically isn’t arrogant, ignorant, or materialistic. The opposite of everything out right now.
I am looking for fresh faces in hip-hop and this is definitely one I want to see. Bad news. He said he is going to retire after three albums, but who trusts hip-hop artists?
His protege Jay Z who handles himself quite well on the track “Pressure” that he features on, would know about not keeping promises. Jay Z said he was going to retire after his 03 cd “Black Album”. I feel as though we have already mentioned him in this article? Must be another Jay Z.
By the way, the extremely young (early 20’s) Lupe Fiasco, avoids being outshined considerably by the rap veteran. An almost remarkable feat considering the way Jay Z has been killing guest spots as of late.
I can’t even tell you my favorite tracks on this near classic. I’m just looking forward to “The Cool”, Lupes next album, which was recently delayed until December of this year.
Field Mob – Light Poles And Pine Trees
Ludacris picked up a great group with talent. I would assume this is the most slept on album of 06.
Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
Bits and pieces of this album are appearing all over the Internet. Please keep an eye out for it.
Obie Trice – Second Rounds On Me
Lyrically Obie Trice is beyond most emcees out today. If you like real ghetto lyrics,I suggest you check out this record.
He is underrated while most of shady records is overrated like a Bush Gallop poll. Damn. I am offending the Gop today.
Don’t worry. I’ll be bashing hip-hop’s support of Barack at some point.
I think that’s going to wrap it up for this column. It’s getting extremely late, this article is getting extremely long, and I’m getting extremely tired. Extremely makes a great adjective. If you read this entire article, you’re even enlightened or bored out of your mind. Thanks either or, I appreciate it. You will appreciate it more after you BUY a few of them albums. Peace, Love, and all that stuff that got Martin killed. One.
Ps, feel free to redistribute this article in anyway you see fit.