It’s been a semi-exciting year for hip hop with a lot of shocks. I’ll break down the news that had the most people talking.
1. Jay Z – Puts Kingdom Come behind him.
A year ago, Jay Z, came out of retirement to drop Kingdom Come, and the album got smashed by critics and fans alike. People thought, Jay was disconnected from his fan base and the culture in general. The consensus was, Jay had become to rich and sophisticated for us primitive fans. When Jay Z announced that he was making a new album called “American Gangster” inspired by the motion picture of the same name, fans forgot all about Kingdom Come. Rumors began to escalate, indicating that Jay was returning to his “Reasonable Doubt” style, which elevated the album to the most highly anticipated one of the year easily. The months past quickly, and songs began to leak. Jay had really returned this time. Everybody knew that, Jay, was back on top of the game. The whispers became screams, and at the end of October the album “American Gangster” leaked. The reception has been magnificent and Jay Z can sit comfortably in his throne for now.
2. Curtis Outsells Kanye West
I would have lost a lot of money, if I would have made a bet on the album sales contest between these two. 50 Cent and Kanye West both ended up releasing albums on the same day. Even sites, like Bodog, were gambling on who would sell the most records. In one corner, we had 50 Cent – who was releasing Curtis. His third lp, and the only one that subsequently from being released didn’t go double plat. Actually, it took almost a month for it go even go plat. It was basically taken for granted that 50 cent would outsell Kanye. In the other corner, we had Kanye West. He was also on his third lp titled “Graduation”. He had a lot of success with his previous albums, but nowhere near the level that 50 Cent had achieved. The first week results came in, and Kanye blew 50 out of the water. All of 50’s taunting was coming back to haunt him. He had to make up excuses and basically play the jackass. Although, I wouldn’t of won the bet. It makes my year to see 50 Cents ego, go down a little bit. He isn’t hurting much though, he made over $100 million after taxes with bottled water this year. I’m a bigger fan of his water than his music, for the record.
3. Nas – Lets Us Use The Word Nigger
Nas is a revolutionary in the hip hop culture. He has almost single handly became the most praised name in hip hop. Critics use him as a defense of hip hop. So, when Nas announced his latest album will be called “Nigger”, everyone was talking. Fans were putting their faith in Nas. They claimed, he would be flipping the title on the album into something positive. He would be starting a movement. Critics like Fox News were denouncing the title and using it as a weapon against hip hop. Jay Z and other artists were backing up the rapper from Queensbridge, and giving him space to flex his creative ability. A couple weeks later, Nas, said he was simply trying to take away the power of the word “Nigger”. He was trying to make it mean nothing. December 11th, the album will come out.
4. Hip Hop Is To Blame!
Though, not a shocking development, Hip Hop is to blame for global warming. Nah, I’m kidding, but basically everything else, according to the media. Between the Don Imus scandal, Dog The Bounty Hunter, V-Tech shooting, and Jena 6?. Don’t ask what any of the latter have to do with hip hop. I would be incapable of answering you. The media does an outstanding job of associating hip hop with all the worlds ills. Numerous discussions were held on “Fox News”, “MSNBC” and “CNN”, ridiculing hip hop, for encouraging violence, misogyny, and racism. Most famously “Bill O Reilly” attacked rapper NAZ, better known as Nas, for being pro-guns. Billy, I thought you liked the second amendment? He went into making an outrageous amount of “Piffy Comments” about Nas, attending a “free” concert for the V-Tech tragedy. Eventually, despite all of Bill O Reilly’s whining, Nas performed at the concert. I’m an advocate for more positive hip hop, but Eminem is not the reason your son is a drop out, drug dealer, who would rather have a lighter than a job. It’s just not true.
5. Jadakiss Officially Signs With Def Jam
Jadakiss has officially signed with Def Jam. Actually, he is now a Rocafella boy and can be seen in Jay Z’s new single titled “Roc Boys”. The rumors began to surface a couple months ago, though nothing was concrete, it did seem highly likely – Jadakiss would be heading to Def Jam. The news is gigantic because Jada has a huge following and would be an instrumental part in the reformation of the “Dynasty” that was once Rocafella. Hopefully, with this new label. Jadakiss will find direction that has been lacking from his career as of yet and make the album, everybody knows, he is capable of making. “Kiss My Ass” is slated to drop sometime early next year.
6. Wu Tang Clan Is Back – Sorta?
Arguably the best group in the history of hip hop, decided to come out with a new album titled “8 Diagrams” in 2007. Rza captivated the feelings of fans, in the announcement of the album, “This is the perfect time for us to come back; the stars are aligned. It’s like when we first started with Steve. We put out real hip-hop at a time when it was turning into pop or R&B. We brought the focus back to the music in its rawest form, without studio polish or radio hook”. Everyone thought this was perfect. It was time for Wu Tang to make history again. Rolling Stones praised the singles, claiming “Watch Your Mouth” was a relief from the “simplified ringtone rap”. The Heart Gently Weeps received the same reaction. Then seemingly like an evil divine intervention, problems began to surface. Raekwon of Wu Tang made a press release stating that RZA wants to take the group in a different direction that is not true to the wu. He further stated another album would be released right after “8 Diagrams” without RZA, a response album to it. We will soon see if the issues have been resolved because the album comes out December 11.
7. Hip Hop – Vote Or Die 08
Barack Obama got the nomination from hip hop this year. Every rapper and their grandmother has came out in support of the Senator from Illinois. Barack’s campaign is built upon change, which hip hop likes. Hip Hop fully supports the candidate who is antiwar, supports a simple path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and wants to get rid of tax breaks for the wealthy, while giving more to the struggling middle class. It will be interesting to see, over the coming months, how Barack Obama fairs against the financial domination that is the Hilary Clinton campaign, and the attraction of moderate voters to the populist message of John Edwards.