Featuring a less-than-spectacular lyrical performance from the usually consistent duo of Malice and Pusha T, for a track that also appeared on a less-than-spectacular album, “Til The Casket Drops” (one of 2009′s biggest letdowns if you ask me), yet “Kinda’ Like A Big Deal” finds itself amongst the better half of tracks to emerge this past year, much in part due to an INSANE production from the likes of DJ Khalil, and yet another quirky, clever and somewhat comedic verse from “Mr. Dickhead” himself, Kanye West.
39. “Ventilation”-Paten Locke
While a may not have been as “big” on Paten Locke’s (Smile Rays, Asamov) solo debut “Super Ramen Rocketship” as another nameless blogger who is also responsible for..ahem..1/3 of Bloggerhouse’s content, don’t get it twisted this album was one of 2009′s most cohesive, well-produced long-plays. ”Ventilation” truly shows off Locke’s “triple-threat” ability as the elements of the DJ/emcee/producer all come to fruition on “Ventilation”, an airy, bass-heavy composition that incorporates a clever Q-Tip vocal slice. Speakers beware, this one packs enough bottom to set you back a few hundred bones if you aren’t careful.
38. “Laura’s Song”-DonWill
Taken from Donwill’s (1/3 of Tanya Morgan, to the late person) forthcoming solo joint “Don Cusack in High Fidelity”, “Laura’s Song” will go down as one of the more overlooked tracks 0f 2009. Shoot, who am I kidding? I’ve only been bumpin’ this track consistently for the last 45 days or so. Produced by one of Hip Hop’s most promising, up and coming producers in the game, Astronote, “Laura’s Song” continues in the tradition of quality output that is continually being produced endlessly by the T.M. camp.
Ehhhh, I’m really on the fence with Em’s “Relapse”. Honestly, I don’t know what to think about it, do I really wanna’ hear Em recollect the bouts with his Mother (once again) and Mariah Carey on what seems like every other track!? And, what’s up with Em switching up his voice? So much to the point, that it does tend to wear on your nerves a bit after a few listens. I bumped the album on at least three occasions from start to finish yesterday, and I’m still not sold…just yet. Yes, their are occasions where Em shows flashes of brilliance, yet others that leave you scratching your head like “when is dude gonna’ grow up?” or better yet: “maybe I’m getting to old for this sh*t”? Then, there’s a part of me that Eminem thinks: “F*ck it, I’ve mastered this lyrical sh*t, so much in fact, that I need to find ways (such as the different voice persona’s) to keep myself motivated”. Still, at the end of the day, “Relapse” is better than 3/4 of the stuff that comes across my airwaves. Sorry Em, it just comes with the territory.
On a good note, Dr. Dre’s production on “Same Song And Dance” would do the LabTechs proud as it gives new meaning to the term, “Beat The Speakers Up”. Jesus, I can see this one making it’s way to the dance floors quickly as “Same Song And Dance” is most definitely club-pump-worthy. Now, if only Em would lose the voice…again, all would be gravy.
36. Better Letter”-Educated Consumers
Umm….why are you still not familiar with SeezMics and T.E.C.k.! aka D.C.’s very own Educated Consumers? Haven’t I offered you a fair warning over the last two years? It’s been nearly three years (!) since the criminally underrated duo blessed the masses with the take it back, boom bap flavor of the ridiculously efficient “Write Hear” and nearly a year since their follow-up EP “The Waiting Room”. With “Hello Big Mama” T.E.C.k.! remains a monster on the production tip, but it’s the quirkiness and borderline smartassedness (?) of microphone controller SeezMics that makes “Hello Big Mama” such an enjoyable ride.
One listen to the vibrant “Better Letter” and you’ll witness the maturity of T.E.C.k.’s production, not that it was lacking to begin with..but, “Better Letter” is more sonically-infused than much of Educated Consumers’ past work. Again though, it’s SeezMics who murders not only this track but much of “Hello Big Mama” as well. I’ve never personally met dude in my life, but judging from his delivery and conversational flow Seez just seems like a laid-back, in control, cool ass cat that doesn’t sweat the everday bullsh*t. “Hello Big Mama” could go down as one of the underground’s best when all the smoke clears in 2009. Again, keepin’ it simple…One MC and One DJ still works as noticed with the duo and Fashawn and Exile.
35. “In The Air”-Rashid Hadee & Pugz Atomz
Make no bones about it, the Chi’s Rashid Hadee may have gone largely unnoticed to some in 2009, but with the release of this recent collabo with Pugz Atomz “Stormy” as well as his heavy involvement in the making of a future underground “classic”, Thaione Davis’ “Still Hear”, I’d say all in all dude’s had a pretty darn productive year! I gotta’ admit, since this site’s inception back in the early stages of 2006, there’s about a dozen or so artist who’ve become the site’s “flagship” acts (i.e, Ill Poetic, yU, Finale, Jazz Addixx, Blu & Exile, etc.), artists who we really support and anxiously await any forthcoming musical output from, Rashid Hadee is one of those cats!
Of course, it was easy to take a liking to “In The Air”, especially when you incorporate a vocal sample for the hook from my favorite emcee of all-time, CL Smooth. A breezy, almost summertime-vibish’ track, “In The Air” won’t get you up acting a fool, like say the recent release from A Disturbing New Trend, but tracks like these are one’s that truly set your mind free and put you at ease, all the while bobbing your head to the quality of production that we’ve come to expect from a talented artist such as Hadee. And, here we go again, some of the best music/albums to drop in 2009 where once again FREE…go figure?
Damn, listening to the 90’s thump of “Gimme 5″ (taken from Dres’, 1/2 of the legendary Black Sheep, recently released EP, “From The Black Pool Of Genius), it feels as if this track picked up right where Black Sheep’s “Without A Doubt” (from Dres and Mista Lawnge’s sophomore LP, “Non-Fiction”) left off. Someone get Salaam Remi on the horn, quickly! Yeah, the EP’s first single “Forever Luvlee” did the job, spreading a nice word of mouth that “ehh, Dres hasn’t lost a step lyrically” or “damn, this cat’s really still got it!” However, in my humble opinion if Dres’ truly wanted to raise a few eyebrows, “Gimme 5″ would have been a helluva’ drop for a first single! With lyrical assistance from Tough Junkie, “Gimme 5″ should really have borrowed the track title from the aforementioned “Forever Luvlee” as it perfectly describes the flair and flavor of this instant classic.
Yes sa’, Dart and I have been raving about Danny! for quite sometime now (nearly two years). While other nameless “bloggers” continue to write this cat off as another Kanye offspring, “Where’s Danny?” will do nothing but make those same dudes look like complete imbeciles. Sampling, you guessed it, Lauryn Hill’s classic “Lost Ones”, Danny delivers an honest offering that features his own one-of-a-kind, irresistible yet quirky production. Since Dart beat me to the punch with my favorite track from the album, the Von Pea-assisted “Hoedown Showdown”, I had to settle for the second best thing. I don’t wanna’ break down “Where’s Danny?” in it’s entirety for you just yet, as this album has stayed on repeat. I’m sure you’ll be hearing and reading plenty more from this album in just a few days. Also, peep Dart’s write-up as Danny! also made his list as one of the most anticipated artists to drop material in the forthcoming year.
How both this, Drake’s “Fear” (featured on Drake’s “So Far Gone” EP) and Fabolous’ “Never Let It Go” (included as a bonus track on Fab’s “Loso’s Way”), both featuring masterful production from DJ Khalil, weren’t good enough to be singles from their respective releases, or glaring at the track titles for both the aforementioned albums barely made the cut to begin with, is beyond me. While I’m not quite sure of the whole fascination with Drake, being that alot of “big-time” producers have given him the co-sign and listed Drake as one artists that they would most want to work with, on “Fear” a side of me could sense that just a tad of the hype that surrounds Drake was somewhat warranted.
“Foundation” the fifth official major release M.O.P., may have been somewhat rushed, yet turned out to follow in the tradition of prior M.O.P. classics, regardless. After being put in limbo with Roc-A-Fella Records without releasing any new material, the duo signed to G-Unit Records where they once again ended up without any releases aside from mixtapes and street albums. Signing a deal with E1/Koch Records, Lil’ Fame (Fizzy Womack) and Billy Danze finally released “Foundation” back in September.
I can even recall the initial reactions from Twitterland upon hearing “Street Life”. ”M.O.P. and autotune?”, was the resounding question that was posed, yet for reasons unknown “Street Life” instantly became my favorite cut from the album and along with “Rude Bastard” is one of the main tracks that I always tend to revisit when giving “Foundation” another welcomed spin. Honestly, prior to typing this entry I’d thought that DJ Premier was responsible for the production to “Street Life”, however, it was indeed Fizzy Womack (or Lil’ Fame to the late person) who did a darn good job of paying homage to one of the main reasons for M.O.P.’s continued success in the underground (intended or not).