Let’s just go ahead and get this outta the way….”R.I.P. Pimp C”….Okay, now back to our regularly scheduled program. The self-crowned “Kings Of The South” came back with a vengeance in ’07 with “Underground Kingz” and found themselves atop many “Albums Of The Year” lists. Coincidentally, with that being said, I have never been a big fan of this duo. Call it what you want, maybe even “East Coast bias”, but it’s the truth. However, I was a big fan of last year’s collaborative effort with Outkast, “International Players Anthem” even though the radio and video nearly killed it by playing it to death. Andre 3000 revisited his “rhyming days” and just murdered the track with clever wordplay and wit.
Back in June, many of my fellow bloggers were proclaiming El-P’s “I’ll Sleep When Your Dead” as their “Album Of The Year” throughout the mid-way point of ’07. Me, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about and after giving the album a half-assed listen I came away an Advil short of a migraine. However, I forced myself to love the album and in the end I can sit here and say it was a very enjoyable listen fueled with “Bomb Squadish” beats and El-P’s always distinct lyrics. “Poisonville..” was El-P at his finest, very descriptive and vivid lyricism over a banger of a track that boils over with originality. Believe it or not, this was one of the first tracks that I always played in my Ipod before I hit the weights as the break on this joint does no less than get me “amped”.
Ohmega Watts may not be the most highly touted artist in Hip Hop, but that’s not without saying that he may very well be one of the most talented. The very efficient “Watts Happening” ended up being one of my favorites in ’07 as this double threat (producer/emcee) virtually came outta’ nowhere to grace this list with no less than three cuts (“Triple Double”, “Gone With The Wind” & “Model Citizen”). “Gone With The Wind” wins with inspiring lyrics from Ohmega and a rolling bassline that that’ll rattle your ribcage. It’s never too late, be sure to peep “Watts Happening” as well as his previous effort “The Find”. Oh, and is it me or does dude look like Dave Chapelle on the cover pic for “Watts Happening”?
Yeah, I know that Joell’s prequel “The Brick..” to his Aftermath debut has been bubblin’ for a minute now but after catching the video for “125 Pt. IV (Finale) recently, I fell in love with this track all over again. “Finale” is very similar to the video……very simple, very soulful & very emotional. Joell delivers some of the most sincere, heartfelt lyrics that I’ve ever heard spilled on one track. Plus, the 9th Wonderish beat only breathes that much more life into Joell’s rhymes. This cat is one of the torchbearers for the next wave of commercial Hip Hop, and I feel completely confident in dude’s abilities. Bring on the Aftermath album already! This dude’s gonna’ blow up….no question! Although, without an actual ”hook” or “break” at nearly 6 minutes long this track does become a little “Looooong” at moments.
After attaining much props throughout “blogosphere” in ’07, let’s only hope that Athletic Mic League affiliate Buff 1 can continue with the quality brought forth on “Pure”. “Moving Along” loops those same, dope piano keys that also caressed your ears on Skipp Whitman’s “Brookline”. This is one of the few tracks last year that I never got tired of hearing but like R & B “up & comer” Tiffany Paige sings on the hook to “Moving Along”: “Time don’t repeat like this song/ That’s why you gotta’ hold on/Time keeps moving along”….ahh, that it does. I’m sure by now that Buff is tired of all the Ras Kass comparisons, but it’s inevitable, they both share a very commanding flow and voice, let’s just hope Buff churns out more quality material than what we’ve heard from Razzy as of late. “Pure” was without a doubt, not only one of the biggest “surpirises” of ’07 but also one of it’s brightest moments.
So the release date for the long-awaited Saigon debut was pegged for December 4th (hey, isn’t that Jay’s birthday?), anybody wanna’ make a bet that it gets pushed back….again? From what I’ve gathered thus far over the last few years (damn, it’s really been that long, huh?) on numerous Hip Hop related sites is that “The Greatest Story Never Told” will feature production handled entirely by the one and only Just Blaze and also be the first release on Blaze’s label, “Fort Knocks”. From the two tracks that I’ve heard from the album thus far (”Come On Baby” & “Saigon Meets Just Blaze”), I’m fairly amped and looking forward to this collective effort from what is probably the hottest producer in the game right now and an emcee who is trying to avoid “another hot New York mixtape rapper not to release an album status” (i.e, J-Hood, Uncle Murda, Red Cafe, Tru-Life, etc.,etc.). “Come On Baby” is the hottest thing that I’ve heard from Just Bleezy since “P.S.A” from Jay’s “The Black Album”. Backed by a “heavy metal guitar-like” riff and a hard-hitting drum track “Come On Baby” follows along the lines of prior Just Blaze classics like F-A-B-O’s “Breathe” & Fat Joe’s “The Incredible”. As far as Saigon is concerned, I think that dude has his own steez but I’ve never seen what all the the fuss concerning him is. If I buy “The Greatest Story Never Told” it’ll have to be on the strength of Just Blaze’s ridiculous production and not Saigon’s lyrical capabilities. Oh, and Jay-Z stops by for a guest spot on this club banger in case I forgot to mention. Can somebody explain to me what Jay-Z is doing by trying to reincarnate outdated phrases such as “Swwweeet” & “make it do what it do baby”? It’s almost as if dude is trying too hard to start another trend, it’s not like as if dudes still aren’t donning throwbacks and button-ups anymore. Don’t front on the “Get At Me Dog-ish” video for “Come On Baby” either, even though it appears as if the budget for it was $258.00.
Now, I’ve read mixed reviews for “The Weatherman” but I sincerely feel that this has been the one of most cohesive albums of 2007 …no question. Admittedly, I’ve never owned a Dilated Peoples album and before “The Weatherman” I didn’t even know that EV was a member of Dilated Peoples, maybe that is why I liked the album soo damn much. DJ Khalil of Self Scientific scored another hit with the production on “All Said & Done”, the bass knocks on this joint fell as if they’re being shot out of a double barrel shotgun, catching you square in the chest. Mr. “Slow Flow” himself, really doesn’t do anything with his lyrics on the track to blow you away, but he doesn’t fu*k up a dope beat either, which is a path that I wish a few nameless emcees who waste ill instrumentals would take.
Jesus, where did these cats come from? I mean, I DL’ed Common Market’s album on HHB around Christmas of 2006 and I kinda’ wondered who did the beats on that joint because I thought whomever it was….was pretty damn original. “Bayani” blew me away from the opening moments of those damn moracas and has had me in a daze ever since. “Bayani” (the album, that is) has steadily become the blogger’s choice as well as it deserves should be. Decent rhymes by Geo and amazing beats by Sabzi. I will say this, Sabzi loves his maracas, as they seem to find their creative place on half of the tracks on the album. “Bayani” is a beast, and it meshes ever so perfectly with the best track on the album, “Loyalty”.
I’m just not sure what to think about Black Milk’s “Popular Demand”. There are moments when I listen to the album that I’m impressed with Milk’s production and not so much with his lyrics, as he’s most definitely more efficient on the boards than on the mic. However, there are also times when I feel like his production is somewhat generic and almost too “Dilla-esque”. No matter, “Lookatusnow” is best representative of the talent that Black Milk does have on the beats, and it also doesn’t hurt that guest emcee Phat Kat delivers a vicious performance that parallels the forcefulness of Black’s up-tempo banger. While were on the topic of Phat Kat, what was so special about his 2007 album “Carte Blanche”?
I remember killing time earlier last year over on the OkayPlayer.com boards and believe it or not everyone and their momma was jumping the gun to proclaim “Waitin To Inhale” as a classic in the making. Uh,Uh….sorry, classic it’s not…enjoyable….hilarious….original…undoubtedly so. Devin has always been one of the most enjoyable, like-able, story tellin’ emcees since his days as a founding member of the Odd Squad. Let it be to the biased ears of this “East Coaster” to not really care that much for the music of Down South artists (there are the exceptions…Geto Boys, Kast’, Goodie Mob, etc.), but I’ve always enjoyed Devin. Hearing Devin disguise his voice as a “redneck” on the “Boom” skits for “Waitin…” is almost enough laughs for the price of admission. Of course, the typical quality you can expect from Devin was there as well…just check out “She Useta’ Be” as Devin goes in to detail on the transformation of a skinny ho with everything to a fat ho with nothing. In a few words to paraphrase the lyrical king (insert sarcasim ) Mike Jones: ”back then they didn’t want him, now, they all up on him”.