Saturday, November 15, 2008

Curious Production

As the 4th quarter becomes increasingly less star studded, it seems the only albums we'll hear are Kanye and Luda's. I suppose this supposed "Carter 3" with all new tracks (how does this not make it "The Carter 4", someone please explain this to me) is also going to drop before Christmas, according to Kanye. After hearing Dedication 3, that doesn't even sound all that exicting. Wayne's downswing has now continued to the point where he even phones in verses on his supposed event tape. I found myself enjoying Gudda Gudda and Willie The Kid's apperances more than Wayne's sporadic AutoTuned meandering verses that clearly sound like he's high off his ass and just rambling to hear himself talk.

Jadakiss and E-40's albums have lost essentially all of their buzz. People have clearly tired of the trend of giving Akon & T-Pain each a song on your album. The label wanted to jump right into "U & Dat" before giving his core audience "Tell Me When To Go". The roll-out for The Last Kiss is baffling. Def Jam better have one of those NYC megaton-bomb joints on the level of "I Get Money" or "Lean Back" ready to go in the next three weeks or I see 'Kiss dropping with a whimper and being forgotten about within a month, much like Sheek and Styles' solo albums, post A Gangster & A Gentleman. Why no one sprung for a posse cut with Beanie Sigel & 50 Cent is also puzzling. (Although why pay either of these gentleman, when you have Ne-Yo for free labor) It's not like either of them have any reason not to do it. Beans' chances of releasing another solo album are slim to none, and it seems like we'll have to hope Scarface wasn't lying when he said he was only going to do joint albums with people like Beans, Ice Cube, Nas, Jay-Z, etc.

I figure 50's next move will inevitably be the collabo with someone he used to "beef" with. If he can't drop in December, who can? Which is a shame, because "Get Up" isn't half bad and the album seems as if it'll be free of attempts to woo the ladies. Either way, I'm sure a reunion with The Game can't be too far off, or dare I say, Ja Rule?

No disrespect to Plies, but all these developments make Theater Of The Mind and Emeritus two of the last LPs of the year I'm even remotely excited to listen to. Theater Of The Mind is of particular interest, just for the simple fact that it counts DJ Premier among its producers. And that Jay-Z & Nas appear on a track together, though not the Premier one. It's a symptom of the sad state of hip-hop that it takes Southern rappers and Christina Aguilera for the guy to get regular work. Ironically, one of his best recent major-label beats also to a southern artist, Cee-Lo, for "Evening News". With all of the horrific beats now used on many East Coast albums, it's shocking no one ever thinks to give Premier a call. Nas should really have given up whatever reason he has for not working with him by now. Anyone who would choose Polow over Premo (he's becoming a real pain in the ass, he even talks all over tracks he hasn't even produced) just simply has been raised on the wrong kind of hip-hop.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lil' Wayne goes kamikaze and other musings

Ever since his "coronation", it seems Weezy Wee's on a mission to destroy his stardom before it even settles in. Between the god-awful "Mrs. Officer" video, the lip piercing, and suspect award show apperances, it seems he's re-examining the great idea of baiting Jay-Z. Why you would come strapped to your performance with Hova is beyond me. And then when you're on the same bill the next night and Hova was giving you the silent treatment, you start rapping his lyrics. After his subliminal powerbomb on T.I.'s "Watch What You Say To Me", it seemed like Wayne had given up on attempting to lure Hova into a battle. Although I'd still love to know what Jay-Z's reaction was to Wayne's spitting, "You old ass rappers need to stay on tour, you're like 44, I got a 44, I'm only 24, I could murk you and come out when I'm 44".

So Fabolous is doing a Carlito's Way concept album? Really? I guess the not-good album streak can officially be run to five. He might have a decent album if you cherry picked all four he's done, but I'm not even sure about that.

When will Yo Gotti get his big chance? After hearing him tear down "Get Silly" and "Cash Flow", not to mention his past show stealing appearances on the Gangsta Grillz album and Lil' Scrappy's G-Unit/BME album, it seems like he could hang with just about any of the other young guns of the south. If Yung Joc can get two big-deal major-label looks, Gotti needs one.

I still don't know what to think of "Arab Money" or "Pop Champagne", but the latter has been in rotation since it first dropped, sans Dipset.

When is Max B going to explain this supposed paperwork that gives him some sort of convuluted above the law status? Of all the many middling second-level rappers that populate NYC these days (Jae Millz, Red Cafe, etc.), he seems like one of the most likely candidates to break through. It's very apparent he helped Jim Jones craft "We Fly High". I defy anyone to come up with another Jones hook that was that catchy that he actually wrote himself. I give Jimmy credit, though, for managing to release 3 albums despite the fact that he has alternating man-crushes on Hova and Dame Dash. They've even had eminently listenable portions. Diary Of A Summer might have even qualified for 3 mics. But, I'd be 10 times more excited for a Max B solo album than I ever could be for a Jim Jones.

Memo to Eminem & Dr. Dre: What are you two waiting for? The top 5 rap songs in the country are "Mrs. Officer", "Whatever You Like", "Live Your Life", "My Life", and "Swagga Like Us", which means all of the top songs right now either rap to females or involve Wayne and T.I. in some way. What better time for them to drop? I'm as much into T.I., Lil' Wayne, T-Pain, etc. as the next guy, but something needs to shake up this stagnant scene. Lest you think this is just a top-of-the charts trend, take a look at the next five on the charts. "I Know What Them Girls Like", "Got Money, "Please Excuse My Hands", "Ride", "Get Up"........with the exception of the new 50 song (coincidence?), the next 5 are all either songs for women or Wayne concoctions. A look even further down the charts finds Mike Jones/T-Pain, Bow Wow/Soulja Boy collabos ready to attack our ears, not to mention Unk and V.I.C. ready to pounce again. Just drop the albums already before people really turn on you.

If any of you haven't peeped Q-Tip's The Renaissance, Statik Selektah's Stick 2 The Script and the Coldplay/Jay-Z Viva La Hova mix, you're doing your ears a major disservice.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Signs Of Life

Maybe I'm only speaking for myself, but 2008 has definitely been a bounceback year for rap as a whole. Following years of southern domination that culminated in a bizarre year-long mass media marathon of gargling Lil' Wayne's ball sweat and no less of a publication than Time Magazine declaring that he was, indeed, the best rapper alive. While I'm far from a hater of Wayne, the sheer idea that he was the best the game had to offer seems to have woken up many, which become one of the best things that could have ever happened to the game.

For my money, The Recession & Paper Trail were more solid pieces of work than Tha Carter III. Even the mostly dissapointing LAX was more kin of Tha Carter III. Paper Trail has the unmistakeable quality of a man's passionate desire to express his exasperation through music. It doesn't hurt when Toomp, Swizz, Drumma Boy, Kanye, Just Blaze, Danja, et al. are providing the backdrop, but it also doesn't hurt to hear an album of someone simply speaking honestly about their experiences. In a climate where people are pretty much dancing into the industry off their criminal backgrounds and gang associations, it's refreshing to hear someone speak about the downside of that lifestyle with such vigor and personal reference.

The Recession, on the other hand succeeded because Jeezy did something most rappers in his position are scared to do, admit he's paricularly good at creating one certain type of music and sticking to that formula for an entire album. A major reason why many major-label albums fail to make much of an impact these days is that they decide to simply assemble the hottest producers and guest artists, making a hodgepodge of high profile collabos that seem to decide when or if these things even come out or not. With a few exceptions, most classics are remembered because they stuck to one motif, lyrically and sonically.

That isn't to say creativity is thrown out the window, but to say that many classic albums are built on one producer, or a couple creating a soundbed that stays consistent throughout, with the same MC or crew of MCs laying the rhymes. Many modern rappers are constantly hemmed into this formula and I can't help but wonder what might have become of some of the casualties and also-rans had they been allowed to create music without worrying about catering to the materialistic female audience. Seriously, how many songs have been in the past 5 years about telling girls how much designer whatnot you're gonna buy them? Who actually listens to that shit, if not younger, mostly white chicks?

Cassidy surely would have benefitted from this more than just anyone. After an uneven but promising debut album buoyed by the radio success of "Hotel" & "Can't Get No Better", two mainstream but not entirely untolerable singles, he's seen his trajectory hit the point where I'd be shocked to see him release his 4th album anywhere besides Koch, and I'd be even more shocked to his Clipse-Neptunesesque relationship with Swizz Beatz continue. Which may be for the best, anyhow. Cass needs to drop the pretense that he's Hova or B.I.G., pull a Jeezy and just make an album of straight up brag rap. I'm not predicting a classic or even a good album, but it can't be much worse than B.A.R.S.

Fabolous is an even more obvious candidate for someone who just needs to make one decent, honest album. Real Talk and Ghetto Fabolous are the best albums from his catalog and even those aren't anything to write home about. Those are just the albums where he raps to chicks the least. I can't help but think someone needs to lock him in the studio with Buckwild, Premo and Kanye and see if they can't squeeze something out of him other than his account statements and tales of bedding women of all races. He has the potential to be remembered as one of the finer spitters of his generation, but one doesn't make such lists off DJ Clue freestyles and ocassionally searing guest verses (best verse on Tha Carter III, arguably one of the best verses on Lord Willin', Hi Hater (Remix), Paper Touchin' (Remix), etc.)

Rap nerd moment: So we're evidently not gonna ever discuss that one of the most talked-about tracks on the supposed biggest album of the year is nothing but a mixtape leftover with Fabolous left on, Cassidy taken off, and Wayne & Juelz tacked back on? Or that "Dr. Carter" was meant for Jay-Z? Or that "Comfortable" was out for almost a year before the album dropped? That "3 Peat" is nothing but a mediocre re-tread of "I'm Me"? I'm not denying that Tha Carter III obviously had superior moments, but as a whole, it just didn't feel right. Here we are, 3 months after it dropped, and I'm hard pressed to find more than a handful of tracks that I'm still playing.

As much as I enjoyed some of Tha Carter III, its impact on popular culture is very reminiscent of Hollywood. It smacks of people attempting to praise something lukewarm excessively as a means to make amends for not paying attention before, much how some receive an Oscar, almost as a make-up by the Academy for not recognizing them for a much better performance. Tha Carter III is Wayne's The Departed, while Tha Carter II, Dedication 2, and Da Drought 3 are more akin to Goodfellas and Casino. Now T.I. has his moment in the sun, moving 550K in his first week, which you stat geeks might note as being half of Weezy, but is also almost triple The Game, and nearly doubles Jeezy.

Soon, we gear up for a star-studded fourth quarter, with Dr. Dre's Detox, Jay-Z's Blueprint 3, Kanye West's 808s & Heartbreak, Ludacris' Theater Of The Mind, Jadakiss' Kiss My Ass, 50 Cent's Before I Self Destruct, Scarface's Emeritus, and what the hell? We'll throw Rick Ross' Deeper Than Rap & Plies' The Realest in there for good measure. Theater Of The Mind & Emeritus already sound like winners from their leaked tracks, but the others sound spotty. Hov seems to be ready to come with it, as "Jockin' Jay-Z" and a "Swagger Like Us (Remix)" featuring Jeezy, Nas, and Dre 3K have me sold. 808's seems like it might very well suck, but I guess that's why we listen to the albums. Maybe I'll actually want to hear Kanye express his inner anguish through the majesty of AutoTune. My hope is that 50 wasn't lying on the "50 For President" freestyle and him, Em, and Dre really are all together making music and that he's about to "push the re-start button". By January, the modern view of the rap game will be all cleared up, as following the year of Jeezy, Weezy, and Tip (quoting Sickamore, the modern day Jay-Z, Big, and Nas), with the dropping of Kanye (arguably tied with Weezy as the biggest artist of the modern generation), Jay-Z (arguable G.O.A.T.), 50 Cent (the last major superstar of the big record sales era) and Dr. Dre (it's all been said before). I, for one, will have my popcorn ready.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

To paraphrase an old "SNL" sketch, who are the ad wizards behind the campaign for Paper Trail? Damn near half the thing has leaked already. How a Jay-Z/Kanye West/Lil' Wayne posse cut that also happened to be the first song Kanye produced since his mother's passing and included a timely MIA chop for the refrain wasn't under lock and key is beyond my comprehension.

As anyone who follows rap closely and remembers the days when one single was dropped to promote an album and that was all you heard until the LP came out, it has to make you almost wish we could return to the good old days. The Recession isn't available in its entire form as of yet, but at least 10 tracks already are. How can you enjoy any of these albums as much as the ones from the past if you've already heard half of them by the way you sit and have a proper listen. I can remember going to the store on the strength of someone's name alone.

Now, we've reached some kind of bizarre impasse where people wonder if Jay-Z needs to even bother dropping new material anymore, simply because the younger generation has been weaned on commercial rap artists' short regins at the top. Newer "top selling" artists like Lil' Wayne, Plies, Rick Ross, 50 Cent, and the like have gotten people used to hearing something new from them at least once a week and the public has little patience for people who wait a long time in between albums and aren't considerate enough to make a bunch of free music in the meantime. Either way you feel about it, tracks like "Swagger Like Us" & "My President Is Black" would have packed a lot more punch if people hadn't heard them so far in advance. I can recall when posse cuts and collabos were the songs that surprised you on the album after you had already heard 2, maybe 3 choice cuts from the artist.

The industry, always looking for some new sort of gimmick to keep people interested in buying rap albums that are increasingly worse in quality and easier to download, should try a new one..........make sure your shit doesn't leak. I'm sure it's easier said than done, but if a label, like say, Interscope, put all their muscle behind making sure, say a new artist like Wale, rather than Em or Dre didn't leak, who's to say they couldn't. Just a random theory.

Monday, July 14, 2008

In These Times, Well, At Least To Me

As 106 & Park flickers on the TV, and I chuckle at Yung Berg's latest trifle, it occurs to me that for as much as I laugh at whatever's on 106 & Park, G-Unit & Nelly would probably kill for any sort of that success. Nelly is what, 6 singles deep now? 7, if you count the Ashanti/Akon video or whatever they're about to drop. If rapping over K-Ci & JoJo's "All My Life", doing a song with Pimp C (RIP), a pop collaboration with the red-hot Fergie (don't know why she's so popular) & Polow Da Don, a sneaker anthem with JD & the lovely Ciara & and a 4 minute E-40, Too Short, Spice 1 tribute don't get him any spins, I don't understand who's putting up the greenbacks for the Usher collaboration that leaked a few days ago, unceremoniously. It's things like these that show how fickle rap stardom really is.

A few years ago, Nelly could do no wrong. He was selling 8 million copies an album and even was able to put out two albums on the same day and have them both do big numbers. It's crazy to think that now he's leaked half his album to a populace that either is too young to remember his popular days or just doesn't care anymore. Usher actually isn't too far from the same sort of fate. How often does an artist make an album that sells 10 million copies and then stuggle to go platinum the next go round? I'm all for the sales don't have anything to do with the quality argument, but for every Here I Stand, there's a Hell Hath No Fury. People lose interest quickly.

5 years ago, the idea that Nas would be more relevant than 50 Cent would have been laughable, what with 50 in his Get Rich Or Die Tryin' stage and Nas not far from his Street's Disciple, boring production stage. Maybe we'll get a hungry 50 on this 4th solo album coming this year, with it being his final album on his Interscope deal and with him already speaking of creating music at a Dr. Dre-like pace. It almost makes one wonder if anyone will even care by the time Dr. Dre & Eminem roll out the projects that they have been secretively working on. By all accounts, it seems that the Dre album is mostly finished, but now it's a process of getting all the marquee names on it. Much like how 2001 gave us Hittman, 6-2, and Knoc'turnal, Detox promises us people like Slim Tha Mobster & Bishop Lamont. Any knowledgeable rap fan will want the album regardless of how many Snoop & Eminem rhymes it contains. But the tall Israelites think otherwise, and now, we wait. Maybe, if Nas' album attains commerical success, we will be able to hear all these albums that are being held under wraps. Maybe Saigon finds a release date somewhere.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Real Meaning Of Nothing

The past week has seen the release/leak of two different projects, one which has already been discussed relentlessly and one which has flown largely under the radar. The Carter III, I will tell you right now, comes nowhere near living up to the impossible hype. That's not to say it isn't a fine inclusion in The Rapper Eater's catalog, but after 3 years, even 5, if you count the Sqad Up mixtapes that seem to be forgotten when people mentioned his seemingly overnight rise, what bizarre reference could he make that would still surprise people? The effects of his relentless output are evident as several songs feature bars already spat on countless volumes of Evil Empire mixtapes. For example, Shoot Me Down has him spitting tales of going after his mother's boyfriend with a cleaver, which would have been gripping entertainment if most hadn't already heard the same bars on World Of Fantasy off one of the last summer's Drought Is Over tapes. His interest in concepts is what keeps the album afloat, especially considering that the lyrics are no advancement and in in some spots, weaker, than those on The Carter II. Jay-Z effortlessly outdoes him on his own song, and I also found myself enjoying Juelz Santana's bars on You Ain't Nothin' much more than the latest Wayne AutoTune tomfoolery. I also found myself wondering where his Dr. Dre beats went (maybe the raps Wayne supposedly wrote him for Detox weren't up to snuff), where his Ludacris collabo disappeared to, and why he didn't put the long performed Pussy Monster Freestyle on it.
However, it is one of the better albums to come out in awhile, but this more of a commentary on the lack of creativity and new product in rap music than it is on the supposedly classic quality of the album. A classic album has no tracks you don't enjoy, just tracks you enjoy the least. Lollipop is in no way a song that belongs on any classic rap album. It was a desperate ploy that at least seems to have worked enough to get the album out, but one wonders how much longer the label would have sat on it until Wayne finally issued the full out pop song that they may have been hounding him for. The toughest part about this album is that there's not much to compare it to. To place it with other southern classics doesn't even seem right. I can't imagine still listening to this in 10 years, like Aquemini or Too Hard To Shallow, or even 400 Degreez. It's just like any Lil' Wayne mixtape, it has moments where you're convinced he could stand with the all time greats and moments where it sounds like someone reciting Tha Block Is Hot on lean. I also wonder how he managed to make an entire album without Birdman chiming in once. The Carter III is perfectly acceptable by today's standards of music, but for someone who desperately wants us to mention him with all time greats, it falls far short of those lofty standards.
Wale, on the other hand, has managed to quietly put out one of the more satisfying listens in recent memory. I've barely heard a whisper about his recent drop The Mixtape About Nothing, which is a shame. The tape eschews the usual beat jacking festivities except for one Roc Boys freestyle, and uses soulful production as the backdrop for Wale to talk about the state of affairs in rap and other social issues. As expected, Seinfeld snippets are played before a few tracks, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus even has an interlude. He uses Micheal Richards' racist tirade to set off a track where he speaks on racial conflict on a level that makes you wonder whether Nas should call him for a cameo as The Roots already have. His fluid style of rapping and willingness to talk about just about anything under the sun (Eddie Murphy, Cleo Lemon, Napster) makes him that much more enjoyable to listen to. He even manages to rap alongside Lil' Wayne, Bun B, Pusha T, and Black Thought and sound every bit their equal. On the heels of the enjoyable but more uneven 100 Miles & Runnin', this mixtape valuts his upcoming album near the top of the list for most awaited.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sales Decline, Creativity Increases

Some would have you believe that the sales decline in rap music means nothing but death for the art form. Comparisons to disco have sprung up almost overnight. I am not in this faction, obviously, but I can't imagine I'm the only person who hasn't noticed that many rappers are choosing a far more thoughtful path as they complete and begin new albums. Take Busta Rhymes, for instance. After making his bid for across-the-board stardom with his underrated Aftermath debut The Big Bang and seeing no increase in sales, but an increased in unwanted publicity, it seems apropos that he would return to his peaceful party vibe for the first two leaked tracks off his next release, I'm Blessed. "Lights, Camera, Action" is produced by Teddy Riley and sounds much like his work on Snoop Dogg's new album. Busta finds his groove on a slow, sensual beat and manages to pull the whole track together. I can't imagine him doing a song like this if The Big Bang had done Kanye numbers. Meanwhile, "Don't Touch Me (Throw Da Water On 'Em)", produced by Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, American Gangster) is one of the most enjoyable Busta Rhymes songs I've heard in a long time. It sounds like an advancement on his older work, in the vein of "Woo Hah" and "Dangerous". He even goes back to actually rapping quickly and impressively for the first time since Bun B's "Get Throwed (Remix)". While I haven't yet heard the entire Linkin Park collaboration first single, even if that sucks as badly as I think it's going to, I'm still more excited for this Busta Rhymes album than I ever was for The Big Bang.
Another album that I'm palpably excited for would have to be Nas' Nigger. I admit that his new gimmick of giving his album the most shocking title he can fathom has already grown weary. It pains me to think what he'll come up with again if he ever manages to get this one out. After having heard his recently leaked teaser song for the new album "Be A Nigger Too", it immediately made rap fans wonder if Nas really does have the politically charged classic album he claims to have created. While I remain skeptical (what will it take to get him or Jay-Z back into the studio with DJ Premier? even Eminem was smart enough to get him for his comeback album), it seems that the album will at least have a few tracks that will function as brain food. I just wonder if Nas has finally picked some beats that are worthy of his wordy, street poet style of rhyming. Hip Hop Is Dead was a definite progression, beat wise, from Street's Disciple & God's Son. Hiring Dr. Dre & Kanye West will always help in that department. Let's just keep our fingers crossed for no Eminem production or Kelis cameos.
While no one else has leaked material as provocative as these two, there are a number of upcoming albums that look to be quite good, for reasons similar to the ones listed for Busta & Nas. Jadakiss' forthcoming Kiss My Ass sounds to be a return to his old, punch line heavy New York boom bap. Alchemist is a confirmed contributor and the snippet they have leaked sounds like 'Kiss at his finest, before he started mouthing his own chopped-and-screwed hooks for Weezy videos (while rocking Famous Stars & Straps, natch) and spitting alongside Hurricane Chris, Lil' Boosie, Yung Joc, Rick Ross and anyone else with a check. Big Boi's Sir Luscious Leftfoot has every chance to be great. If that album produces even 5 songs that sound remotely like "Royal Flush", the unofficial "Skew It On The Bar-B" sequel that has been floating around the Internet, it will be a worthwhile endeavor. I'm similarly thrilled to hear what a DMX gospel album will sound like and to bend my ear to T.I. raps that have actually been written down on paper and not freestyled in the booth. And I'll be one of the first ones to listen to albums from The Cool Kids & Wale.
Snoop Dogg's Ego Trippin' seems to have set a good precedent in this regard. His willingness to experiment with country and older stylings of R&B was a breath of fresh air in an era full of rap albums full of collaborations that make no sense and a list of expensive producers, rather than one cohesive sound. Hopefully, instead of getting The Runners, Polow Da Don, Drumma Boy, and Timbaland, more and more albums will come out as one whole concept instead of a paint by numbers.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What times we live in......

Between the news that DJ Khaled will A&R the next Ludacris album, Bow Wow's sudden transformation from kiddie pop rapper to ballin' gangsta, the inexplicable popularity of "Lollipop", and Remy Ma & T.I.'s respective prison sentences, there's plenty going on to interest even the most casual fans of rap music. I'd prefer to focus on the this whole Khaled/Ludacris deal. In a word, it's reprehensible. The simple fact that a proven star would hitch his wagon to a such a fly by night property is bothersome enough. Now, mind you, I'm not a Khaled hater. "S On My Chest" & "I'm So Hood (Remix)" have gotten plenty of burn over here. I enjoy what he does with his albums, as far as putting together tracks that feature a lot of people and manage to make them sound cohesive. DJ Drama would do well to take a lesson from him whenever he manages to connive T.I. to put up the bread for "Gangsta Grillz: The Album II". But, the last time I checked, one of an A&R's primary duties on album is to pick guests and beats. I'm not an expert, but considering Khaled's track record of constantly assembling ridiculous posse cuts backed by thunderous, heavily synthezised scores, I don't like what this seems to mean for Ludacris. We seem destined for the first single of his album to be something much like "Down In The Dirty", the single he dropped for the seemingly forgotten about third volume of the Disturbing Tha Peace album series. The song itself wasn't bad, with a passable bass heavy Clinton Sparks track and fairly good 16s from Rick Ross & Bun B. But, I can remember the days when Ludacris' singles were always popular, and not necessarily formulaic. From "Southern Hospitality", "Roll Out", "Saturdays", "Area Codes", and on down. Even "Move Bitch" was the type of song that anybody could listen to and enjoy a certain aspect of. While he has already began to head down the direction of formula rap with his last album and its three singles/collabos with Pharell, Young Jeezy, and Mary J. Blige/Polow Da Don (who I will talk more about in a future post, probably as soon as his Nelly/Fergie produced collabo explodes), an album filled with Runners beats, and cameos from T-Pain is not what I or persumably anyone else wants in a Ludacris album. Here's hoping that Ludacris is wise and limits the Khaled contributions to a minimum. Maybe we luck out and he limits Khaled to a single, or maybe just a couple of album cuts. And no T-Pain or the like.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Back Like I Left Something

After a prolonged hiatus, some random thoughts on the latest goings-on in the rap world:

Fat Joe fighting Papoose for being on Hot 97 with 50 Cent has to be the most hypocritical move I've seen in awhile. Joe was annoyed when 50 picked a fight with him for standing next to Ja Rule, so why should Papoose have to suffer for hanging out with 50? Either way, Joe's legacy in rap was forever tarnished even before this dust up. Now it's just getting ridiculous.

Flo Rida only selling 86,000 in his first week even with 2 hugely popular singles on the radio needs to be the final nail in the coffin for labels still attempting to build cookie cutter stars. With the way the industry is moving, rappers need to accept that they will only have a core audience and that a very select few rappers actually sell major records anymore. Shit, when 50 Cent & Jay-Z both fall short of 1.5 million, what else do you need to hear?

Lil' Wayne seems to be on a mission to destroy his career before it reaches its proper apex. We all were hoping that when The Carter 3 was ready to drop that Wayne might have retired the gimmick of singing his rhymes through the T-Pain vocoder box. Lollipop has flown in the face of that logic. If Lollipop flops, what will this mean for Wayne's career? It seems that he is betting the farm on people wanting to listen to him sing. Time will tell.

Shawty Lo.......the man can't rap to save his life, but there just has to be a place for him in the rap world.

Am I the only one with the sneaking suspicion that this supposedly shocking upcoming Nas album isn't nearly as good as the hype would suggest? I remember when Jay-Z supposedly kept him from dropping when American Gangster came out, and we're now heading into April with no release date in sight for N*gger. Why he won't just pick up the phone and call Premo or AZ is beyond me at this point. Even Fat Joe managed to make room for Premo in between the Plies & J. Holiday cameos.

New York City needs to let a new rapper put out a damn album already. How long have Saigon, Papoose, Maino, Jae Millz, etc. all sat on the shelf? You would think maybe someone like Maino would stop shooting for stardom with Lil' Kim & Shawty Lo cameos and put out a good, hard street album on Koch. Instead, Jae Millz signs with Young Money. Ask Currensy how well that turned out for him.

G-Unit has impressed me lately. Between Return Of The Body Snatchers & Elephant In The Sand, there has been noticeable signs of life from 50. The Mechanic even gave a glimmer of hope that the old 50 still lurks beneath all of the new Vitamin Water money.

As much as I've critcized Red Cafe in the past, I have to admit that he has himself a real knocker in "Paper Touchin'". If the remix with 50, Jada and Fabolous gets any sort of push, he might defy every expectation I've ever had and actually release an album. I'm sure that a big single collabo with Akon is upcoming, and the success of that record will determine his outcome.

This topic has been beaten into the ground, but the collapse of Dipset is one of the more depressing things I've watched as a rap fan. Between Cam'ron's career stalling out and him essentially deciding to derail Juelz Santana in the process, I don't know which is worse. For some reason, I actually believed I Can't Feel My Face would drop and that Public Enemy #1 would catapult Cam back into the consciousness of fans.