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Give ’Em What They Want

360.jpgIt’s not basketball season yet, but XXL has a major case of fourth-quarter fever. If the 2006 rap game was a hoop game, it would be characterized by one thing—bricks. Of the major hip-hop releases this year—from stalwarts like Mobb Deep, Busta Rhymes, T.I., Ice Cube, Cam’ron, LL Cool J, Ghostface Killah and B.G.—exactly one, T.I.’s King, had achieved platinum sales as XXL went to press. Maybe Nas is right, and Hip-Hop Is Dead. If only Nasir could release that highly anticipated aforementioned long-player. Which brings us to the fourth quarter…

There’s hope yet for hip-hop in ’06. The rap rumor mill is buzzing with gossip that the last three months of the year will be particularly star-studded. Of course, we never shy away from rumors. So here’s our take on what’s in store for hip-hop as ’06 comes to a close.

Jay-Z: The Prez is coming out of retirement sometime, and like another G.O.A.T. born in Brooklyn, Hov’s known for his fourth-quarter play. But is he comeback Jordan from ’95 or ’01?

Lil Scrappy: Lil Jon’s protégé’s stepped it up since he burst on the scene two years ago. Now, backed by both the King of Crunk and 50 Cent, Scrap should be good to go.

Clipse: The Kings of Coke Rap have been repeatedly blown off by their label, and lately they’ve been beefing with their longtime benefactor, Pharrell. Maybe drugs are bad after all.

The Game
: He’s been talking about The Doctor’s Advocate almost as long as the Dr.’s been talking about Detox. Okay, not quite. But if Game drops an album without Dre’s advocacy—or beats—will anybody care?

Nas: With his label president mulling moves of his own, it might be best for Nasir to think about ’07. But Def Jam seems determined to put God’s Son out. Maybe it’s part of Jay’s diabolical plan…

Ludacris: He claims “War With God” is about himself, which makes us think Luda’s a bit loony. But ’Cris is a clutch fourth-quarter performer, so expect him to come through.

Baby/Lil Wayne: They put out “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” and no one really cared. Maybe they should hold this Daddy stuff ’til next Father’s Day, and drop Wayne’s solo at the end of ’06. But the labels never get it right.

Young Jeezy: Da Snowman’s making noise with “I Do This.” But with Hova’s plans undetermined and Nas on the schedule, the stars of ’01 might steal the Thug Motivator’s thunder.

Lil Jon: The ATL’s been all snow and snap since the King of Crunk last released an LP of his own. But we’d bet our pimp cup Jon will still have something for the masses.

Snoop Dogg: The Doggfather’s promising the Blue Carpet Treatment for late ’06, and he’s usually true to his word. Except for that thing about quitting weed.

Read the rest of the 360 section in XXL‘s October 2006 issue (#85)

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