Rap albums of the half-year
As an addendum to my post the other day on the best and worst of hip-hop in 2007, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few other albums I’ve enjoyed this year. I already mentioned the new El-P and Redman albums in the other post, so I’ll spare you any more on them. Here’s another eight, which, in addition to those other two makes a solid 10. I didn’t bother to put them in any order, since who gives a shit anyway?
Without further ado.
Black Milk, Popular Demand. One of the few bright spots in an otherwise typically suck-ass year in hip-hop has been the emergence of Black Milk, one of the best rapper/producers in the game since forever. It’s almost as if the RZA, Primo, and J Dilla’s corpse all got together and adopted a kid and taught him to be a damn good producer, albeit fairly derivative of his fathers. He’s not a bad rapper, either.
Brother Ali, The Undisputed Truth. The more and more you hear about Brother Ali, the more you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. I mean, there’s the albino thing; the whole being a Muslim thing; possible blindness; the fact that he’s often mistake for being black; the whole being forced to have Ant produce your entire album thing; a stint as a homeless person; a failed marriage; a dead mother. The list goes on and on.
Evidence, The Weatherman LP. Not that too many people were clamoring for an Evidence solo album, but he went ahead and made one anyway. Obviously you don’t miss that other guy from Dilated Peoples, and Evidence takes advantage of the opportunity to get extra personal (some would say emo) on the lyrical tip. Production tends to be a strong point on DP releases, and that’s definitely the case here as well.
KRS-One & Marley Marl, Hip Hop Lives. A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of alluding to the fact that KRS-One has a tendency to talk out of his ass, as well as to the years of crack cocaine use which will eventually lead Marley Marl to an early grave (a while before his recent heart attack, mind you). I guess I learned my lesson!
Pharoahe Monch, Desire. One the all-time great MCs returns after having been gone since way back in the 1990s. I wonder what he was doing. If this album’s beats were any good, it’d be one of the best rap albums in ages, if not evar. As it is, it’s still worth giving a listen or two, if only find out who really killed JFK.
Phat Kat, Carte Blanche. My guess is that many of you ‘bags have never heard of this guy, but at least he’s black, right? In fact, I’ll have you bitches know that Phat Kat was once in a group with J Dilla, and this album includes three beats which Dilla returned from the grave to produce. There’s also killer work on this from hot newcomer (nullus) Black Milk and some kid named Young RJ.
Prodigy, Return of the Mac. One of the all-time great feats of shamelessly wanton sampling since the days of Three Feet High and Rising. Prodigy isn’t half the rapper he used to be, but most rappers these days aren’t one-tenth the rapper he used to be, so he still sounds pretty good by comparison.
Talib Kweli, Ear Drum. It won’t be out for a minute, but I’m assuming we’ve all heard this by now. Talib Kweli has somehow gone and made his best album since Reflection Eternal, if not evar, despite himself. I mean, collaborations with the likes of Norah Jones and UGK don’t seem like very good ideas, but they still more or less work. A few tracks are even genuinely good without any qualification!