What’s up XXLmag dot com family? I hope you people have been doing y’all, because I have been doing me. The Northeast heatwave has New York City all fucked the fuck up. It’s not like we ain’t used to getting all muggerlunch when the weather gets a little muggy, but after years of neglect and lack of intellect the infrastructure of the city is starting to show some wear and tear. The subways are fucked the fucked up, the roadways are fucked the fuck up and that my peoples, is just fucked the fuck up. I can only imagine how sick shit popped off down south during Hurricane Katrina. Nobody could have predicted how crazy the weather was gonna get. At least there haven’t been any bridge collapses on this side of town.

I finally listened to the new UGK album. I am going to give it another spin to confirm what I already knew, but at the end of the day this album’s best moment was the track that 3 Stacks opened up. Most solo artists just sound better with additional voices on their beats. UGK is one of those groups that just does better on collabos than on their own shit all by themselves. The album is aiiight, but to have the ‘International Players Anthem’ so early in a double CD doesn’t help the listener wade through the rest of the tracks. Nothing else comes close to the flavor of that song. ‘Swisha and Doshas’ is my second favorite track on this piece. UGK should have made this release an EP instead of a double brick. If you are a hardbody fan of these dudes then you won’t be too disappointed with all the filler. If you don’t fucks with UGK like that then just iTunes that ‘Swishas and Doshas’ track since I know you already DL’ed the other one featuring ‘Kast.

I’m not sure what to say about Common’s new album, ‘Finding Forever’, that people smarter than me haven’t already said. If you haven't copped this joint yet you lost. FF won't be your favorite Com Sense album, but that hasn't stpped it from being one of 2007's best offerings. The album employs some of the same soul music infused rhythms that I find on the UGK album. Not the same samples or the same beats, but the use of soul music as the foundation for the sound. ‘The People’ is still one of my favorite J Dilla tracks that KanYe has ever produced. The rest of the album definitely has a nice ATCQ Native Tongue feel. I’m not sure why some of the critics have panned this album other than their personal agenda against progressive rap music. Oh well, I suppose we all have to get in where we fit in. I hope that Common does some decent numbers for his effort, but what I really see on the horizon is a monster album from ‘Ye Tudda. No one inside of rap has grown their style as fast as ‘Ye Tudda has. He already had the beats OnSmash. Now he’s got a flow that at least doesn’t disparage the instrumentals. I hope that proposed tracklist from ‘Graduation’ grows a little bit with a couple of exclusives. It could be the best album released this year in front of ‘Jesus Price Superstar’ and my favorite for 2007, ‘Red Gone Wild’. RGW has been the only disc I run in the old LP fashion. I put on the first track and I just let the album play throughout without skipping. Good shit.

The last time I spoke with you I told you that there was a possibility that class action lawsuits filed against rappers might become the prevailing practice. Apparently there are some lawyers that read XXL Mag Dot Com because there are two legal actions recently filed that portend to this trend. The civil lawsuit against Busta Rhymes, Aftermath and Universal is the major one. I think that Universal and Aftermath are both as liable as Busta is. Why should record companies directly profit from the carnage left in the wake of some rappers while the artist is the only one to pick up the legal tab at the end of the day? All these companies and media outlets have long since made scrilla hand over fist from Hip-Hop’s exploitation and the rest of us, the fans, the listeners have been getting shortchanged as far as artistry and content. Something has got to give. The second lawsuit is a lot more subtle, but I think the ramifications are just as far reaching in undermining the façade of wealth and ownership that some people in the rap game have created. If Jay-Z is found liable for wage discrimination at the nightclubs he purportedly owns this could topple those businesses and the image of ownership he projects. My advice to him is to return to the sanctuary of the recording booth. This is the only place where he wears the Superman cape. Outside of the booth there is Kryptonite in disguise around every corner.

And when it all falls down do you know who is making the money? Lawyers.

F.Y.I. 2007's Top Five Hip-Hop CD's
1. Graduation*
2. Red Gone Wild
3. Jesus Price Superstar
4. Finding Forever
5. Bodega Chronicles

*As of 9/11/07