My Decade in Rap, Pt. 4 [2008-2009]


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

Playlist of the Year
1. Jay-Z feat. Pharrell “So Ambitious
2. Drake feat. Trey Songz – “Successful
3. 50 Cent – “Crime Wave
4. Pill – “Trap Goin Ham
5. Gucci feat. Plies – “Wasted

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  • drew10

    Thanks for the atricles, brings back memories. XXL needs to make a list of the best songs of the decade.

  • Abdul Sosa

    Remember The Name
    Big Sosa
    Gunna Be The Next Jay-Power With Nelly Hits, Eminem Sales. Anyone who need hip hop to be like it was in the early 00′s and ofcourse 80s/90s, don’t give up on that dream, skys’ the limit my niggaz, keep harassing labels and making buzz. I Want hip hop to be powerful, no bullshit gimmicks ya know, many agree.
    But yeee illll end of the decade wrap up, From Jadakiss Coming Up To Ja Rule’s End, 50 Cent’s Buzz, Jay-Z’s retirement, Nas Hip hop is dead movement, it wasnt a bad one but anything after 05′ hip hop lost it’s way.Ill never forget my childhood with hiphop, it was a classic, now im about to start up university man,hip hop is a family member to me.

    P.S E.I, ride with me, and country grammer should be top 3 of the top 5 in 00′ man.

  • ri067953

    Yo, whoever writes this post is corny!

    • BIGNAT



    well, let’s see. in 2008, i was drinking the kool-aid like a mutha fu**a. i copped Carter 3 the day it dropped. & i was riding round bumping Gucci the whole summer (living in Decatur, what choice did i have). The Movie was Gucci’s best mixtape evar, BTW.

    Rocko’s album had some fire on it, i dont give a damn what anybody say. i was bumping his shit, HARD in the whip. Dis Morning, Tommorrow, Hustle Fo, Umma Do Me, Busy, Old Skool, & Like Dis Here. he had a album full of singles.

    • DetroitDraper

      Rocko did have a bangin album…I was suprised by him, didint expect it at all. Im glad Gucci finally gettin what he deserves. Gucc been workin real hard wit great music ever since Trap House and it took years for ppl to finally catch on and appreciate. I actualluy never thought I’d see the day of a Gucci and Usher or Gucci and Mariah. IMO Chicken Talk or Bird Flu was his best mixtapes.


  • Grimey G

    Did Rick Ross really have a movement? I mean, clearly he had a very big following and developed a growing fanbase, but a movement is pretty strong. Eminem had a movement when he burst on the scene. Same with 50 and even Drake. L’il Wayne developed a movement when he started getting really big. But Ross? Nah not that wasn’t a movement.

  • latino heat

    Last Kiss and Deeper Than Rap “fed your lyrical appetite”? damn homie, you must be an anorexic.

    seriously though, good look back at the last 10 years. you brought back a whole lot of good (and bad) memories.

    big congratulations to Jay-Z. by far the rap artist of the decade. think back, who was the hottest rapper on January 1st, 2000? and he will arguably still be the hottest rapper on January 1st, 2010. that’s unheard of in the rap game.

    i can see from your list that i still have a lot of catching up to do from 2008. but i do agree that Q-Tip, Nas, Murs and Scarface all delivered bagers. Heltah Skeltah’s D.I.R.T. was hot too.

    there was a lot of solid material in ’09, but am i the only one that noticed there was no real summer bangers this year? like last summer when you went to the club you would hear A Milli like 3 times in one night. this summer i can’t remember one REAL hot song. and your ’09 playlist reflects that.

  • Chilly Willy

    And Universal Mind Control was that joint, eff what you heard! But the best albums from 08 for me has to be The Renaissance. For 09, Jay, Rae, SH, those are the ones who fed my lyrical appetite. So, “swag” was first heard in 07, huh, Rondell ? Didn’t know about that one…

    • EmCDL

      I said the same thing about Common’s album, everybody kept hating on it though. That ish go hard….although not as hard as Finding Forever and Be, but it goes hard nonetheless for what he was trying to get at.

  • Abdul Sosa

    is a fuckin’ pussy
    real talk,

  • John Cochran

    I’m really interested in seeing what new artists will come out in the new decade. This past one we had more veteran artists than rookies. I’m gonna have to ask Jay Z to sit down too. Not because he’s not good, but because he’d do better helping to usher the new generation in rather than keep the spotlight for himself.

    • NotoriousAGC

      I’m gonna have to ask Jay Z to sit down too. Not because he’s not good, but because he’d do better helping to usher the new generation in rather than keep the spotlight for himself.

      ^^^^Are you serious? when Jay-z DID sit down he wasnt USHERING SHIT!,remember all the defjam roster saying they werent getting publicity?remember even LL sayin jayz sucked monkey sack as “president” or whatever the fuck he had goin down there.Jay-z will never go away, not even when hes 55, hes gonna be like one of those family members you dont wanna be mean to but really start to fuckin annoy the hell outta you in 30 mins,so you try to *in a nice way* say FUCK OFF??

  • og bobby j

    my only complaint about this whole series, was not a single mention of 2 things:

    1st – papoose while he never blew up commercially, dude had the mixtape game crushed and a serious buzz for a minute

    Statik Selektah – his “stick 2 the script” album, was easily top 5 when it dropped.

    Just thought they deserved a mention….

  • DetroitDraper

    Papoose is a lyrical god…like the definition of a lyricist. If you not up on yet just download one of his 20 somethin original tapes


    • NotoriousAGC

      that HOL’ UP line reminds me of Martin, when Bruh-man used to come out the bathroom with Martins robe…

  • Renegade

    How dare u live out the return of Rakmn the god emcee…

  • Esco

    wheres masta ace and ed og at?
    redman and method man and the blackout2?

  • brand-new

    @ latino heat wow, you bring up a good point with jay-z. jay-z has definitely stood the test of time and proved to the nay-sayers that there’s no age limit in hip-hop.

  • must’ve been a suckish decade

    this fool jumped on every bandwagon there was this decade. i understand trying a bit of everything, but come on.

  • El Tico Loco

    You must be going back to do 09

  • EmCDL

    These blogs brought back some memories seriously…some good and some bad. I hope the next 10 will have a resurgence of some real hip hop and no more bs coming out these days…

  • Abdul Sosa

    doubt it
    unless PEOPLE not rappers learn to buy records for real underground/alternative/commericial but skilled individuals. Did you seriously even buy or check out mos’ new album? didn’t think so.If they stop buying shitty records like wayne or whatever then you know, they’ll bow out. Even if there is a worse raper that soulja boy, everyone can destory it, just ignore it. Next 10 years will be good but niggaz will be struggling to go gold TRUST. Aslong as niggaz sign the right deals, to the right labels, make true music, 2010-2020 will be some good shit. Also Drake and Wayne are gunna die out around 2013, promise.

    P.S WDF happened to OutKast ? Came to my mind alot of these ppl who ran the 90s/00s are leaving like scarface, outkast,luda of the top of the dome.

  • esco22

    i like the shout out to Pill’s refill but how about the hottest rapper out right now? FREDDIE GIBBS, this is real rap about real life. This dude is STILL not even signed to label but he’s putting out some of the dopest joints. This dude has been through all the shit Lil’ Wayne is going through now, Hov’s crack selling, and all the dark shit Em’s been through.

    somebody help this dude grow.

  • Technique

    So I guess it’s fair to say that 2008 was the worst year for music this decade?

  • silentmurder

    no “Blackout! Vol. 2″ or “Montezuma’s Revenge”???

  • brand-new

    @ technique yeah, i think 2008 was the worst year in hip-hop history, mainly because of auto-tune and the beginning of the cross dressing fad with the skinny jeans and shit.

  • megulito

    papoose is hot trash he has moment buts got loloyd bank punch line and annoying ass voice but i do like him what happen to the dj khaled movement? out here grinding and im so hood remix hand wildin the fuck out along with theeoriginal and the go hard remix and joy damn when u think about how jay ran shit 4 a decade thats kinda crazy… good article keep it up

  • Technique

    @ brand-new

    I agree with you completely. Ha I never really qualified the worst years in hip hop until this list…

  • Rich

    Jayz has been consistant, and at the same time showed growth, his music and persona continue to take hiphop music to respectable levels

  • abcd

    good series, but GREAT pick with jay electronica. dude is the truth and when/if he ever drops an album it’ll be worth the wait.

  • Slick4000

    Everybody sleeping on Lupe’s the cool album. Shit was great. Also, Q-tip’s album needs to get the respect it deserves but yeah Jay’s career is stellar special in rap.

  • Peter

    Where’s Kid Cudi at? He had his own style of Hip-Hop and wasn’t even mentioned. 2009 isn’t even over, how would you write out this article and call in complete in the first place?

  • Mr Sin

    these posts reminded me how shit the last decade has been for hip hop.
    commercial rap took over and ruined the scene…

  • Vic De Zen

    It’s funny how Fif barely made a blip on the radar with BISD in 09. His candle is slowly dying! Definitely Jay-Z, Drake, Em and Gucci were the artists of this year.