Back when I created this series of posts, earlier this year, I planned on doing them more often, but the rap music biz has been in such a slump lately it’s hard to differentiate the genuine tax write-offs from the, shall we say, unintentional ones.
For example, we can presume Def Jam never expected to generate much of a profit from the Roots’ Game Theory, but you have to assume Interscope was counting on Pharrell’s In My Mind to do much better than it did. Both of them ended up selling as if they were coated in AIDS.
Below are my takes on three albums that almost certainly fall into the former category rather than the latter. Presumably, the labels are only pushing them out now so that whatever amount wasted on them doesn’t carry over into 2007.
That said, all of these artists have shown flashes of brilliance in the past, so I was interested in checking them out, if only to make sure they actually suck balls. Because hey, you never know.
Mos Def is still phoning it in
I wasn’t that crazy about Mos’ the New Danger back when it came out, but it’s grown on me in the interim. It’s still no Black on Both Sides, but it’s got some cool grooves and some thoughtful lyrics.
I was hoping Tru3 Magic might be a return to his old Rawkus-era form, but alas it’s more of a cross between Black on Both Sides and the New Danger. There isn’t much rock experimentation to be had here, but Mos still can’t be bothered to pull it together for more than a minute or so at a time.
Still, it is Mos Def, and he is kinda brilliant. Tru3 Magic is fairly enjoyable if you think of it more as a mixtape than a proper sequel to Black on Both Sides.
Styles P seems destined for the Koch graveyard
Notorious hater that I am, I never really got into the Lox too heavy, but I did always want to like Styles P. He seemed like easily the most thoughtful of the three and maybe the best at crafting actual albums, if not the slickest punchlines.
Time Is Money, then, should’ve been Styles P’s moment, but alas it almost certainly won’t be. For one, it’s been pushed back over and over, to the point where now both of its singles were actually radio hits not last summer, but the summer before.
Also, as it turns out, not all of Time Is Money is as brilliant as “Can You Believe It” with Akon and “I’m Black” with the broad from Floetry. The “Luck of Lucien” remake with Talib Kweli is just silly, if you ask me, and the new single with Swizz Beatz is just annoying.
At only 12 tracks, Time Is Money is too short and bullshit-laden to give a full-on recommendation, but it definitely has its moments.
DJ Clue should stick to making mixtapes
God, this is an awful album. I remember actually liking the first Professional album, way the fuck back during the Hard Knock Life era, but my guess is that Clue must have had better connections with artists and labels back then.
You get the idea that a lot of cats aren’t returning Clue’s phone calls these days. Of 18 tracks on the 3rd installment in the Professional series, three of them feature Clue’s boy Fabolous and two of them are the same track with the Game and Mario Winans.
Of what’s left here, the guest appearances are pretty spotty and second rate, but the real thing that kills this is the production. God this album sounds awful. I don’t know if it was mixed wrong or what, but it’s amazing to me Jay-Z would even allow this to be released.