The rest of 2009 is shaping up to be pretty exciting in the world of hip hop. Not only have we finally seen the release of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, we’ve got way better stuff coming down the pipe.
This is, by far, not Hova’s best work, and generally the press seems to agree. Basically speaking, it’s a totally servicable album and one that isn’t likely to raise too much controversy, but Jay-Z has definitely done better. AllHipHop seems to love it a little more than I do, but not by much, stating that “it’s not jaw-dropping like the first Blueprint or as succinct as the Black Album, but it’s not all over the place like BP2 and takes more risks than the “safe” lane that was American Gangster (Jay can spin street hustler tales in his sleep).” They do make a good point and say that when people like Jay Z release an album, that unless it’s a classic someone will always hate on it. NPR has a nice little take on this debate.
I’m the first to admit that I can do that sometimes, especially with cats like Talib Kweli and Mos Def, who I’ve come to expect so much of. But I can’t help it. I know they can do better, so I want them to. Still, it’s not a bad purchase and one of the better albums of the year.
Now there are several albums coming out that y’all should be excited for.
This album looks very promising. Ali’s efforts on his last couple of albums (including The Rope-a-Dope) were less than great after Shadows on the Sun. It’s hard for artists sometimes, when they start off with such a stellar effort, to ever climb out from underneath it.
US, from what I’ve heard so far, is not a bad effort. You can get a taste of one of the tracks off the album and see for yourself.
Us (the track) is an interesting gospel-backed release and I can see myself getting into it eventually. Fresh Air is a more upbeat joint. In some ways, this album has a little bit of a lighter feel to it than his other efforts, but it’s not a bad thing by any means.
And now it’s time for a couple of albums that I haven’t managed to track down yet, but I’m excited for:
Gift of Gab – Escape 2 Mars
I may be one of the few out there who really did enjoy 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up, but I’m still quite excited for the newest release by the vocal half of Blackalicious.
The Gift of Gab is undoubtedly one of the world’s most talented emcees. If you don’t believe me, check out Alphabet Aerobics and tell me I’m wrong. He’s fast, clever, and has had some serious staying power. I have no idea if Escape 2 Mars will be good, but Pitchfork sounds excited about it. Take that for what you will, but they do report that Brother Ali, Lateef, and Del the Funky Homosapien will all be stopping by. I’m excited for it. Here’s one track off the album, called Gifto Magnifico.[audio:http://www.cornerstoneras.com/giftofgab/2%20El%20Gifto%20Magnifico.mp3]
I am starting to doubt this cat after this appearance on Jimmy Fallon, but I’ve got enough faith in Ghostface to give him the benefit of the doubt. At least until I discovered that it’s supposed to be an R&B themed album.
Here’s Baby, a single off this album. It’s…not what I expected.
These are just a few albums to keep you updated on the world of hip hop, so keep checking back for more.
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