This past weekend I felt like I was taken back to the year of 1990. In the apartment where my dude's aunt lived. On St. Johns Place in Brooklyn. Where my dude's aunt also pushed that snow white. The same apartment where the music played, with drinks, laughs and the pungent scent of blow burning up in the Newport, the smoke clouds itself making a cat feel high, like Dr. Strange. The Clipse's upcoming album 'Til The Casket Drops' did that for me. Reflecting on that album, plus some others that dropped this year, I came to the conclusion that if '08 was the year of emo and weirdo rap, with rappers like  Kanye and Weezy leading the charge, '09 is rounding out to be the year coke rap came back. Back to flood the streets with dope product. Via the Internets, ipods, cable and word of mouth, coke got heads hooked again. Love it or hate it, coke is once again king in the streets again.

Not tryna dig into my top albums of the year stash, that's for later on this month. But with the timely release of the aformentioned 'Til The Casket Drops' (this Friday, Dec. 4th) it's undeniable how some of this year's best rap records have gone back to being on that drug shit. Back to when it was cool for rappers to spit about how they move product, how that product referenced actual drug experiences or was used as a metaphor for the drug effect of what their music brought on. Tired yes, but nonetheless still very potent, crack ain't wack no more. Shit is hard out here, and drug rap might be that thing to momentarily take our minds off our daily sufferings. Huddle up and get some, then pass that shit around B.

Blame this regression on Cam'ron. Looking like a response to how hard the recession hit the streets, and regardless of the event that was Obama taking the gig of being H.N.I.C, the album 'Crime Pays' dropped this past March with Killa reaching out to the common man with I Hate My Job, an ode to how jobs suck, how they'll always keep a nigga broke and in the futility of struggling to keep one. Upon contact, Cookin Up took listeners back to the familiar tenement kitchen, pots a bubble, rocks boiling up. Letting us know how he Got it in Ohio, 'Crime Pays' was that first shot into the crowded room of wack rap records, heads ducking, scrambling for cover from the gunplay that ensued. Dip Set was no more and the Capo been done left the building for greener pastures, but don't sleep, niggas still be out there in the streets. Cam gave crack rap addicts the shot they wanted.  A most definitely slept on dope record for '09, Harlem's first Diplomat set the tone for what would be a banner year for rap's drug music trade.

2009 saw Miami based rapper Rick Ross taking the ass whupping of his adult life from you know who. Ross never ever got my undivided attention before, so he can most def thank Curtis for how closely I listened to 'Deeper Than Rap'.  After clearing my mind's eye from the extraneous circus that was taking place and focusing solely on the mans music, 'Deeper Than Rap' proved to be an exceptionally good crack rap album. Especially since I was never checking for Rick Ross before. Regardless how you feel about his tarnished image, Officer Ricky confidently dropped a beautifully executed record, filled with lush production and raps painting a vivid story, a colorful landscape of the best of what drug life offered, after the grimey street transactions and violence. Maybach Music, Yacht Club, Magnificent and Rich Off Cocaine chose to ignore the ills as it brought to the headphones the happily ever after part of Ross' drug dealer fairy tale. For someone pegged as being a major fraud, Ricky got mad critical points for being so convincing in telling a story we all knew was fiction. In real life,Tia and his son were having mad shits and giggles on play dates up in Floyd Mayweather's home, but on wax, 'Deeper Than Rap' beat the shit outta 'Before I Self Destruct'. In real life, Ross might still be losing, but on records, he was the clear winner. Sorry Boo Boo.

For years we were teased with the possibility of Raekwon the Chef following up with the perfect sequel to his timeless purple tape masterpiece that was 'Only Built For Cuban Linx' dropped way back in 1995. That's very a long time in rap years. But yearly, many promises had gone unkept as to when and if said sequel was ever going to materialize. To the point that by the top 0f 2009 some of us no longer cared. But when the damned thing finally dropped this past September, the naysayers were finally silenced. Rolled out in perfect rhythmic symmetry to its predecessor, 'Only Built For Cuban Linx, Pt.2' saw Rae, his whoadie Ghost Face and the rest of the Wu-Tang collective sounding brand new. Hardened old school rap battle axes more concerned with spitting it raw than they were about capitalizing on how they survived the game to live to be the ripe old age of being the near 40 year old rapper set. Crime bosses, but still close enough to get their hands dirty with the dirty work associated with the game, Rae and Clan let fly the guillotines as their words blasted gats and sharp beats inflicted bloodshed hemorrhaged on wax. In the shadow that was the media tsunami of Jay-Z's 'Blueprint 3', armed with darts Cold Outside, Surgical Gloves and Broken Safety, 'OBFCL2' quietly, but firmly edged out most competitors as being that album to beat for top spot rap record of the year. Angel hair with the lobster sauce indeed.

This week (Friday, December 4th), Virginia based crack rappers Clipse drop their third studio record, 'Til The Casket Drops'. Less about painting a picture and more about bringing to the chest the emotions felt with the damage the life of a drug dealer inflicts on himself, compromised morals, remorse, hardened souls, all that, Malice and Pusha T return to claim their place as pioneers of this crack rap shit. Soulful, haunting, the Clipse deliver a package sure to hook even the casual user to their brand of coke rap. Whether random or by design, they close the year and drug trend out by joining forces with New York co-d Cam'ron on the blazing Popular Demand (Popeyes) and enlist Cousin Rick Ross on the I'm Good remix, resulting in 'Til The Casket Drops' rounding out the year of crack rap perfectly.  Maybe I'm too attached to it now, because of how dope it is, because of how it's been stuck on rotation since I "copped" a copy this past weekend, but I'm willing to put good money on a wager that 'Til The Casket Drops' might be the record that goes head to head with Raekwon's 'OB4CL2' as being best rap record of 2009.

It's been a while since I dug into my wallet and actually went to the record store to buy an actual physical music cd. Trust that I'm doing that this Friday, with the Clipse. Times are hard out here and my will is weak. I need an escape from all this cRap wack music flooding the airwaves. Nas was dead wrong when he proclaimed Hip Hop dead. Hip Hop ain't dead, just been busy in the kitchen cooking up some of that marvelous hit. When it all boils to the surface, crack rap rules in 2009. Don't fight it, forget being on a higher road, just take a hit. It's time we all got high again.

Don't think I'm overlooking the dopeness that was Fabolous' 'Loso's Way'. Another crack rap banger for '09, and one of my favorites, it would take a coupla hundred more words to squeeze that one into this post.

PEEP: 'Til The Casket Drops' Album Review