The first great rap album of 2007

The consensus on the Internets re: hip-hop in 2007 seems to be that last year sucked balls and this year isn’t going to be any better. For example, there was a post at Straight Bangin’ the other day called “2007 Blows so Far.”

And I was talking to this kid the other day and he was saying how there are hardly any really big rap songs on the radio right now other than Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s,” which a) is retarded, and b) came out last year. To which I could only more or less agree.

However, it looks like things might be about to heat up. While the first couple of months of 2007 were as dry as an older woman’s barren hoo-hah, this month there’s already been two really good rap albums, both of which I happen to like more than anything that came out last year.

The second one will have to wait until next week, but the first one is Popular Demand, the new album by Black Milk, a young producer slash rapper out of Detroit hoping to follow in the footsteps of local legends such as Proof and J Dilla – except for the whole dying part.

I reviewed the album on my own site a couple of weeks ago:

Black Milk – Popular Demand: Album Review

And there’s also a free mixtape his label Fat Beats put out that has some hot shit on it, including tracks from the new album as well as some of the tracks he produced for the post-Dilla era Slum Village.

Black Milk – Pressure: The Official Mix CD

Here’s the thing: I tend to enjoy albums by producer slash rappers anyway, provided the rappin’ isn’t really, really bad. I don’t mess around with any of those Neptunes albums, but albums like Diamond D’s Stunts, Blunts and Hip-Hop and both of RZA’s Bobby Digital albums are right up my alley. Nullus.

I wasn’t as crazy about either of Kanye West’s albums because the production on the first one didn’t do a whole lot for me, and the rappin’ on both of them could get pretty shitty – and not charmingly so, like on his remake of Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s” or the remix to that Fall Out Boy song.

On Popular Demand, Black Milk strikes what I think is a pretty strong balance between good rappin’ and good producing, though he obviously excels at the latter more so than the former.

As an MC, he’s not breaking any new ground in terms of subject matter, but he’s got a flow at least as good, if not better, than the vast majority of cats who aren’t considered primarily producers, let alone the likes of Kanye West.

Truth be told, Black Milk’s production isn’t exactly groundbreaking either. Essentially, what’s he done is take the old Dilla sound and make it somewhat less idiosyncratic. In that sense, Popular Demand works in more or less the same way that those post-Dilla Slum Village albums did.

Let’s face it: before Dilla was every 18 year-old d-bag on the Internets’ favorite dead producer, he was known primarily as the guy who fucked up the fourth Tribe album and the second Pharcyde album. Not to discount the man’s work, but I’d say Popular Demand is as enjoyable, if not as innovative, and anything Dilla ever did.

  • chicity

    1st-great post boi. im gonna check it out.

  • Atl’s own

    yeah right!

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    ^You’re just jealous.

    I heard Black Milk was buying the Detroit Pistons. Him and Barack Obama are saviors of the black race.

  • thoreauly77

    i’ll check the record out. labcabincalifornia was brilliant in its own right, so that dig was lame, but BR&L was a bit disappointing i’ll give you that one. thanks for the links on the mixtape.

  • John Cochran

    Since there’s nothing else out and I been buying old cds from the used bin, Imma check for it. Producers/rappers usually suck at rapping or are just tolerable. Never hot mc’s, although RZA is has his moments where he is a genious with the wordplay.

  • Esskay “Ayo!” Franks

    Ether yourself, Bol.

    Preferably with some rusty seraded blade laced with roachspray.

  • sk

    What Kanye is 2/2 only one other rapper can claim that as far as I’m concerned.

  • LONZO

    im checkin out the link as i type….
    ccccuuuurrrrttttiiiissssss.

  • Joe P

    “Let’s face it: before Dilla was every 18 year-old d-bag on the Internets’ favorite dead producer, he was known primarily as the guy who fucked up the fourth Tribe album and the second Pharcyde album.”

    I will agree with the Tribe portion of that statement, but the Pharcyde’s second album is a slept on classic (similar to Redman’s Muddy Waters). Solid album. Plus they were honestly one of the first groups to spit “real talk” in their songs (pre-Eminem, Kanye, etc).

    Whether it was about wacking it, getting bullied/punked, losing/yearning for a chick, or being a stoner/burnout….the Pharcyde had it covered. Plus, didn’t one of them bone a chick from the The Real World? Extra points for the marketing move!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/affektsmusic Affekt

    u guys are always bitchin about there being no good hiphop, u just dont know where to look, speaking of Fat Beats, they signed Louis Logic last year, check that guys shit if u wanna see groundbreaking rhymes, and his producer j.j. brown is amazing
    http://www.myspace.com/louislogic

  • Washington

    He really did fuck up that 4th Tribes album, I’m still smarting from that too.

  • skrilla

    kanye is 2/2. got that right. 2 classics. and the other rapper to do that is game

  • Cuban Link

    Whats the second great rap album?

    also, College Dropout was hot, Late Registration sucked to be honest, except for Diamonds From Sierra Leone.

  • http://straightbangin.blogspot.com Joey

    Co-sign. I think this album knocks. Really like Black Milk ().

  • FRANK

    kayne is not 2/2, more like 0.5/2. he had some good tracks but nothing i would listen to at this present moment.

  • sATaLyte

    Yeah, I am not even going to claim I knew who Dilla was outside of SV, but these days it seems like everybody and they mama n’dem knew who the hell he was.

    They must be passin them JDilla shirts out for free at Roots concerts the way folks were reppin in em at their afterparties.

    I know what you mean bol, by not being able to give away free rap music, I really don’t even want to touch that link.

  • yaboy

    second great album is Devin the dude’s album Waiting to Inhale…

  • http://xxlmag.com Bol

    I haven’t heard that Devin album. The other really good rap album I’ve heard is I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.

  • Rap thang

    were can i download this?

  • E AKA THE REAL NORIEAGA

    I heard Black Milk was buying the Detroit Pistons. Him and Barack Obama are saviors of the black race.
    ^^^^^^
    I’m now convinced that I have to check the cd out.(nhjic)

  • jacquez
  • Rap thang

    jacquez, take that weak shit out of here. Sounds like you got asthma on the track, soft-spoken bitch!!!

  • Davinche

    Yep agree Bol, I checked the album out after it was “available”, and got to say its quite good.

    It’s also the first album where the instrumental track actually works (Play the keys)

    I’m a review it for my own site soon enuff, but right now I’d give it an 8.5.

    I’m wondering if I will like El-p new shit better though.

  • Meka Soul

    >were can i download this?>

    i’m pretty sure you won’t be able to get it from jacquez’ site.

  • sk

    Not gonna get into a back and forth but the other rapper is/was B.I.G. . And ppl stop lying to yourself Kanye put out two classic albums.

  • Eman

    “both of RZA’s Bobby Digital albums are right up my alley”

    I fuckin forgive you for everything you ever wrote that pissed me off just to have the balls to write that knowing people in this era of new school Rap will ump all over it Black Milks cool but all that shit it to backpack for me!

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  • fade

    just when i think you are sayin somethin good about dilla u go and fuck it up with some dumb shit which proves again u cant respect the dead mans legacy … u almost had a good post bol but until then ive got to keep my opinon
    u are trash

  • fade

    just when i think you are sayin somethin good about dilla u go and fuck it up with some dumb shit which proves again u cant respect the dead mans legacy … STOP PISSIN ON THE MANS GRAVE
    outside of that good post

  • Rap thang

    is black milk teh gheyest since hot rod?

  • Do I No Me?

    Fuck Hot Rod….

  • derfla the hus’la

    college drop out was tite

  • Train

    Was I the only one who liked Sean P’s second album?

  • jeff

    I loved dilla more than anyone else, but I am not biased to the point to where I can’t acknowledge that everything he dropped was not hot fire. The Shining was 1/4 great 2/4 good and another 1/4 of fast forward material. Critics and Fans moreso dick ride than tell the truth. Case in point, Common’s BE album. That shit got all these perfect reviews, but who is bumpin that shit now? Maybe some of those okayplayer people because they refuse to let reality sink in and admit that the roots ain’t been the shit since 1996′s Illadelph 1/2 life. Someone on that site had the nerve to call Electric Circus musical wizadry. Get off the Crystal Meth and codeine please…but, Black Milks album is THE TRUTH. Hands down. Am I saying that he is better than Dilla?, no..but what I am saying though is that this brotha has great potential. Whose to say his next album wont be just as good, better or worse? We just gotta find out. He may end up being better than Dilla one day. Can’t cheat him out of that because Dilla died. That ain’t his fault and time reveals the truth to us all. Cop that Devin the Dude shit too. Bananas!!!

  • thoreauly77

    what? no st patty’s day post? too many natty lights already?

  • your father

    you speak on a lot of things that you obviously have no knolwedge of. and that is the mark of a truly ignorant man. you fat fuck you make me sick. i wish your mama woulda swallowed you.

  • NoMamesBuey

    “the best things in life are free” (c) Janet Jackson & Luther Vandross

    The best YTD rap album is also legally free

    http://www.rappersiknow.com/?p=57

    Little Brother & DJ Mick Boogie “And Justus For All”

    “Cop” that ASAP my sons!

  • dj finness

    ummm labcabincalifornia and beats rhymes and life are tight…particularly labcab. fuck u hate some unhatable stuff

  • black thought

    What does it matter if people discover dilla post-mortem? Good music is good music, you can’t dismiss an artist because his following after death.

    Black Milk more innovative than Dilla? Disrespectful.

  • Texas

    XXL

    all yall have too much ego. im one more issue away from not buying ur shit. i dont want to read what u have to say i want to read what reality has to say.

  • Breez-a-leo

    if your 2007 music choices suck… you need to check this out now!!!

    http://get-a-bar.blogspot.com/2007/03/dl-young-hootie-culmination-mixtape.html

  • shityside

    i like black milk’s album too, but it not better than welcome to Detroit. black is nice but he is not better than J Dilla yet, and more innovative than J Dilla that just crazy.

  • NoMamesBuey

    I always felt Tribe’s “Beats Rhymes & Life” was massively slept on & unfairly hated on.

    It only SUCKS RELATIVELY when compared to the classic “Midnight Mauraders” & “Low End Theory”. Those 2 albums are among the BEST RAP ALBUMS IN HISTORY.

    But as an album itself BR&L is damn good. Hell I put it about the same quality level as Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt”, another excellent album from 1996. Before you hurl insults for my “blasphemy” in that statement, listen to both albums & see if you agree.

    Plus Phife is fockin hillarious on BR&L
    Who can forget Phife’s verse on “The Hop” (source http://www.ohhla.com/anonymous/tcquest/beats/the_hop.tcq.txt)

    You see you, your career is done like Johnny Carson’s
    Get me vexed, I do like Left Eye, I’ll start an arson
    Now that I got that out my system
    Watch me stab up the track as if my name was OJ Simpson
    I packs it in like Van Halen
    I work for mine, you, you’re freeloading like Kato Kaelin
    I’m representing wit my crew
    Mess around, bite my rhymes, I beat that ass wit my shoes
    C’mon, you know I’m crazy nice (nice, nice)
    Brothers can’t deal wit this shorty named Phife
    You must be mad in the head
    I bust his ass and leave ‘em bloodclot for dead
    Niggaz sound like Das EFX
    If it ain’t Das EFX, then they sounding like Meth
    You might as well do Megadeth
    Yo, punk MC’s better save your freaking breath
    You’se a corny muthafuka
    You must be high smoking dust wit Chris Tucker
    You ——asses don’t want this
    I pull more beeps than the beep at the premier of Pocohantas
    Word is born, I am the baddest
    And all you honies out there, word is born, you know my status
    So come and pull your panties down
    This ain’t no Barnum and Bailey show, I don’t get down wit the clowns
    So why don’t you and your friends, get wit me and my friends
    But don’t bring your ass buying you ain’t got no ends
    Word is born, it don’t stop(stop,stop,stop…)
    Just ease your mind, come along and do the hop

  • insanity
  • insanity
  • theDon rja

    fuck you i like to see you to make as many hits as jay dilla columnist judge what they can’t do you wish you had the brillance of dilla
    oh yeah black milk is tight he gives dilla respect so u should 2 bitch

  • EReal

    Let’s face it: before Dilla was every 18 year-old d-bag on the Internets’ favorite dead producer, he was known primarily as the guy who fucked up the fourth Tribe album and the second Pharcyde album.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Co-Sign.
    Even tho it is hypocritical to compare BM as JDilla swagger jacker and then say BM is better.. dont get that. RIP to Dilla, but Im not all about this, if the person is dead you cannot criticize or review their work as anything but amazing.

    Not too into the BM, but that Devin the Dude is fire and Redman has been KILLIN it lately, cant wait for that album to drop.

    1 hunned.

  • Sky High

    HATE the new look of the blog. Guess their TRYING to give all bloggers an equal chance of gettin read. I dont subscribe to RSS so now I just have to see who posted. Glad they atleast put the bloggers name in RED so I can look for the few I read on here.

  • Jay

    You need to be fired your such a hater you faggot Boi.

  • BOL is a fag

    you are the worst hip hop journalist ever, nobody cares about your opinion after seeing your embarrassing fat ass.

  • Detroit City

    The whole dying thing? Favorite dead producer? Son You a Herb!!! Detroit will piss on you. You on somthin’ man? Dilla was always that guy. Quit hidin’ behind your compter screen!

  • Detroit City

    The whole dying thing? Favorite dead producer? Son You a Herb!!! Detroit will piss on you. You on somthin’ man? Dilla was always that guy. Quit hidin’ behind your compter screen!

  • oogaBooga

    your an idiot

  • oha

    I just finished listening to popular demand, it’s more cohesive than anything dilla ever did. B.M. has the best album of 2007

    Don’t shit on pharcyde’s second album, it stands the test of time better than bizzare ride

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  • John G

    Talking ill of the dead is truly pathetic. Fuck all your shit, you ain’t ever gonna get any money from me.

  • Meenstreek

    I disagree with your assesment of Dilla’s work on Labcabincalifornia.

    I thought producvtion wise it was far superior to BizzarerideIIthepharcyde

  • RIOTLIFE

    Cmon BOL? I just heard that Black Milk Album. WHY U OVERHYPING THAT CAT WHILE TALKIN DOWN ON ERRBODY ELSE? I mean he gets a plus for tryin to keep his sound classic and keepin it real like that bla blah… But that shit is so boring!!! Nothing innovative in terms of production or rapping. And if you knew something about sampling you´d know its only basic tricks he pulls. I got better joints on my mpc that are 5 yrs old! No comparison to Kanye on both levels. His shit is at least entertaining and from a productional point of view way more innovative and harder to do. Black Milks sample-chopping is crusty and dont deserve props! His rhymes dont fade me either… NULLUS

    Check some of my beats on myspace.com/ironive

  • Remy LeBeau

    That Black Milk album is nuts, check out his beat cd on myspace.
    http://www.myspace.com/blackmk

  • http://www.myspace.com/daysaverproductions DJ TRU BLU

    Black Milk/Detroit would not have their own style if it werent for Dilla. And as for dissing Pharcyde’s 2nd album? Weak! It has ‘Runnin’ on it! Amazing Joint!

    http://www.myspace.com/daysaverproductions

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  • Dylan, I Spit Hot Fire

    ok well i am wondering when eminem’s 2007 album is gonna be released cause i heard in the fall but there has been no real hype and there usually is with his shit, also when is detox coming out cause you know that new Dre shit will be the bomb, explosive

  • http://www.myspace.com/raydarellis V-Dubb

    Yo, Black Milk is hot but you gotta check out this dude Raydar Ellis. He’s blazin’.

  • dystopia

    WOW. You were actually semi-positive about something..

  • http://www.dynamicproducer.com dynamicwayne

    Few years late…lol but props for the read