This is the second half of the critique I started yesterday. Today as the title so suggests, I’m critiquing specific albums on the Rolling Stone Top 25 Albums of 2009 list. I will leave a link to the full list on Rolling Stone’s website at the end of this post. Enjoy and post your comments!
A lot of hip hop fans who aren’t Jay-Z fans have been against Jay-Z for a while now, their claim is that he’s fallen off lyrically (and that even in his prime he was not the best lyricist) and moreover he’s not hard anymore; most of that was gone after The Black Album & the rest flew out after Kingdom Come. But for all the knock against him Hov still put out his 11th number one album and musically it had some classic/vintage beats…there was nothing unexpected from Hov. At this point in his career Jay-Z is too jaded, he’s come so far from the edgy kid from Marcy Projects even if he fooled us with the album’s first single “Death of Auto-Tune.” When D.O.A. dropped over the summer hip hop fans looked up and saw the “bat-sign” flashing in the sky, they were confident that Jay-Z would flourish and return to Blueprint/Black Album form…but then “Run This Town” dropped and Kanye killed Jay-Z on his own song (revenge for “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” perhaps). “Run This Town” also featured Rihanna who is well noted as the R&B feature/hook queen and overall the track went in the wrong direction and it appeared to be a downhill tumble from there, eventually 70% of the album’s songs leaked and Jay-Z pushed up the release date. However after all the smoke cleared and after all the criticism Jay-Z managed to put out one of the best rap albums of 2009 and can only fall second to Eminem’s Relapse. Also since Jay-Z’s album released I’ve noticed a significant decline in Auto-tune use…Get back to rap you T-Pain’n too much!
This was a suprising appearance on the Top 25, the album came out in early 2009 (March 10) and featured, in my opinion, one of the best dancefloor/baby-making hits of the year…yes I’m talkin about “Rockin That Thang.” That track was on…I played it for a friend off my iPod and friend had to threw the headphones out of their ears because the song had them hype, in public! The rest of the songs were not amazing to me, not the way the songs on The-Dream’s 2008 album Lovehate stuck out to me. Maybe I need to give the album another good listen but had Robin Thicke’s Sex Therapy come out a few months earlier it might have outranked/knocked out The-Dream and Love vs Money.
Dropped the mixtape the $#*% sounded like an album! No kidding Drake, congratulations and what-not but since when does a MIXTAPE qualify for a TOP ALBUM spot…lets be real if Lil Wayne sold some of his older mixtapes no one else would make this list for some years, Da Drought mixtapes were vicious to the extent that Tha Carter III was a disappointment. Back to Drake though, as I stated in the last critique this man his hip hop’s golden child he can’t be harmed and nothing, not even a controversial music video for “Best I Ever Had” which subsequently betrayed his female fans who claimed the song was special.
“When my album drop bitches will buy it for the picture”/”Yeah just know my condo is the crack spot”/”Get it from the back and make your fucking bra strap pop/All up in your slot until the nigga hit the jackpot”
Now pause for a second, I know a handful of dudes with game who ARE NOT Drake who would get smacked/left so quick if they whispered this to some chick so let’s get it straight…this isn’t a special song, Drake is just keeping it 100% in that this sex is gonna be the “Best [You] Ever Had” because he’s putting in work! And on that note ladies don’t get mad if a good dude tries to let you know he’s about to put in work! Back to the Mixtape/Album, its a solid work and it took time for me to get used to it but I’m sure that this is Drake’s sound, this is what he has taken years to craft before Lil Wayne taught him flow and lyricism. Therefore when Drake’s actual first album drops (in March 2010) I expect to hear a mix of styles from So Far Gone and collaborations with hip hop heavy hitters that show Drake’s versatility. What I will say is that although Drake will most definitely have better sales than Wale, Attention Deficit will have better (deeper) rhymes and content than Drake’s Thank Me Later.
ECSTATIC! ECSTATIC, ECSTATIC! My man Mos Def, much love on making the list. The average listener would not realize this but, The Ecstatic was originally slated for a release in Spring 2008, I know because #1 I’m a fan of Mos & #2 I wrote a preview on the album at that time. Musically this album was amazing, Mos Def drew in so many different sound samples and styles to make this album to the extent that this album has a track for everyone. Oh and more importantly the album has been Grammy Nominated for Best Rap Album of the Year…but he’s got steep competition against Eminem’s Relapse. Also check out the music video for Supermagic, we’ve got a post on it here. What I like about Mos Def is that he’s always been an un(der)appreciated emcee but he’s made more quality music than any gimic rapper and if the game was really about quality he’d be the leading man along with Talib Kweli.
I’ll admit…I haven’t listened to this album but the same uncles who raised me on hip hop have been pushing me to listen to it. This album was a longtime coming after the first Purple Tape (nickname for Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…which dropped in 1995) and from its original release date in 2005. However, after all the problems with the papers, management and producing the Purple Chef made his great return and stayed true to the form of the original Purple Tape (remember that in 1995 we were still using cassettes people)!