When you get all your new music either for free from the labels themselves or for free the same way Carlos Mencia got his first bike, you tend to lose sight of album release dates. I mean, what difference does it make when an album hit the stores when there are hardly any stores left anyway?

Hence I was surprised to read this morning just how many rap albums are being released today. In addition to the new Redman, which I would imagine is the most highly anticipated among us aging haters, there are also new albums by Prodigy from Mobb Deep, Young Buck, Lil' Flip, and "hot" newcomer Mims. And that might not even be all of them.

My guess: the last week in March must mark the end of some sort of fiscal period for these labels and so they're releasing all of these albums so that they don't carry over into the next period, for tax purposes. How else to explain the fact that so many of these albums, except for the Mims, which is brand new, and the Prodigy, which doesn't count anyway, have been held up for ages for a variety of reasons.

Probably the most dramatic of all was the situation with Lil' Flip's I Need Mine. I'm not sure of all of the back story, nor do I particualarly give a shit (this is, after all, the guy who did that teh ghey-ass "Sunshine" record), but, supposedly, Lil' Flip was having issues with his label and decided to leave, and the label retaliated by leaking his album to the Internets. Damn.

As far as I know, Redman's relationship with Def Jam hasn't been nearly as contentious, but you could hardly fault the guy if he decided he wanted to take his proverbial marbles and go home. I'm not sure whose fault it is that it took so long for Red Gone Wild to be released, but, alas, it finally was and it looks like it will only be the latest in a series of high profile fuck-ups for that label.

My review of the new Redman:

Similarly, I'm not sure what the thought process was behind pushing back Young Buck's Buck the World, but my guess is that they didn't want it to be tainted by the whiff of failure emanating from the likes of Mobb Deep's Blood Money and Lloyd Banks' Rotten Apple. In the interim, Fiddy has managed to stir up some shit with Cam and Team Rocket, but I doubt that will actually generate much interest.

My review of the new Young Buck:

Speaking of Mobb Deep, Prodigy's new Return of the Mac is pretty good, if not quite as good as the likes of Tom Breihan or my London Bureau Chief Akuma would have you believe. The only thing is, you wonder how Prodigy could possibly top this with HNIC 2. You'll recall that Mac is just supposed to be a mixtape to generate interest for that album, but I don't know. He might want to rethink that one.

Akuma's review of the new Prodigy: