There’s not much for me to say about this other than, Gucci! No seriously, we all know Gucci and Drake had big coming out parties in ’09. I had previously followed the ATL rapper in years pass through street certified singles like “So Icey” and “Freaky Gurl.” All the work he put in on his celebrated mixtapes were starting to pay off. Fresh out of jail in the spring of ’09, he dropped the mixtape, Writing On The Wall, which featured joints like “Gorgeous” and “Wasted.” Alongside his sidekick OJ Da Juiceman he made a hit of “Make Da Trap Say Aye.” Frankly, the dude was everywhere and working with A-list stars like Mariah Carey and Jamie Foxx.
On the flipside, not too many people in hip-hop history had a buzz as big as Drake. The Toronto bred rapper’s mixtape So Far Gone was better than most albums in ’09. He got co-signs from everyone from Kanye West to Jay-Z. Thanks to touring with Wayne, he became a household name in hip-hop.
Despite much of the attention being on the rookies, there were some dope release from more established names. I fed my lyrical appetite with Jadakiss’ The Last Kiss and Rick Ross’ Deeper Than Rap. Eminem’s comeback effort The Relapse and Raekwon’s much anticipated Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. II were both worth the wait. But I must admit, at first listen, Em’s Relapse didn’t move me, but I’ve recently made a connection with the record. Go figure. Slaughterhouse’s self-titled debut didn’t sell but it gets my vote for one of the best joints of the year. Joell Ortiz is a beast.
I’m not even going to begin mentioning all the mixtape releases that were worthy this year. I’ll just say I got my fill of them, especially from Pill’s 4075: The Refill. The Atlanta rapper made his mark with “Trap Goin Ham.” He’s definitely someone I’m rooting for in the next decade.
But before we get to the next decade, I must show love to my personal artist of this one, Jay-Z. Hov halted the out of control auto-tune fad in 2009 with the much-needed “D.O.A (Death Of Auto-Tune).” Then, he dropped a quality album in the Blueprint 3 to end the decade in style.
I’ll say one thing after looking back at this decade of hip-hop, it was never as bad as people made it out to be. I enjoyed the ups and downs and look forward to the next 10. —Rondell Conway