Wow what a year in Hip-hop! We had some great albums and some well… not so great albums. There were also a lot of albums that finally came out after years of anticipation. I have selected 25 albums of 2009 that I have listened to. There are 3 awards I am giving out to this years’ class. The 3 awards are for (1) Most disappointing album of the year, (2) Most surprisingly good album of the year and of course (3) Album of the year. Along with the awards there are 25 reviews for the albums I selected. The ratings are out of 5...
Only Built for Cuban Linx II: Raekwon- Rating: 5
The follow up to the classic Only Built for Cuban Linx, Cuban Linx II was long anticipated and the wait was certainly worth it. Raekwon really outdid himself with this absolute gem. While it wasn’t as good as the first, Cuban Linx II is definitely one of the best albums of 2009.
Born and Raised- Cormega: Rating- 4.5
Superb in every way, Born and Raised is an example of what hip-hop should sound like in 2009. I get Goosebumps every time I start listening to this album. Really a great experience if you listen to it all the way through. Best songs: “The Other Side”, “Rapture”, and “Journey”.
The Ecstatic- Mos Def: Rating- 4.5
Really, really nice album, I enjoyed the work Mos put into this project. It really sounds like Mighty Mos hasn’t lost a step with this piece of art. Good tracks and an individual style that STILL resonates true original swagger, Outkast take notes.
Blueprint 3- Jay-Z: Rating- 2.5
Probably the most anticipated album of the year for most people, BP3 showed Jay still has it lyrically. Jay employs many of today’s top hip-hop producers to on this album, the problem he also employs many of today’s commercial artists as well, which was really a downer for this album. Really kind of disappointing in many ways.
Soft White- Mack 10: Rating- 2
Really did not feel this album. Looks like Mack took his check and said thank you. Not sure what he was trying to accomplish other than that. I was hard pressed to find one nice joint on the whole album.
All out War- M.O.P.: Rating- 2
Long list of tracks and really a lack to promote this album by M.O.P. All Out War was a disappointment and really left me scratching my head. Maybe they kept it under raps for a reason. I really wanted this album to be good, unfortunately it was not.
Blackout 2- Method Man and Redman: Rating- 4
This was a very good album and nice surprise. I actually thought it was better than the first Blackout. Multiple quality songs and it sounds like both Red and Meth still have it lyrically.
The West Coast Don- Yukmouth: Rating- 3
Not bad, but not really all that good. It is hard to hear this album, or other recent Yukmouth albums, without noticing a major difference from his days with Luniz. But like I said not bad, but not really good either.
Legendary- AZ: Rating- 2
Not feeling it. Where is the lyricism? The instrumentals are also boring and anemic, started listening to this and fell asleep. I am harsh on this album because I know AZ can do better, check Doe or Die and you will see why.
Elizabeth: Introduction To- Killah Priest: Rating- 3.5
Not bad. Priest sticks to his eerie but yet powerful rhymes but adds a different dimension not seen on his previous work.
The Last Kiss- Jadakiss: Rating- 3.5
This is the strangest album of the year (No there is not an award for that) Jada still has nice lyricism and the production was top-notch, I also like the Wu collaboration. Why is this album weird? Because Lil Wayne is on it! Wait that’s not weird, that’s bad!
Before I Self Destruct- 50 Cent: Rating- 3
Classic 50, going out of his way to diss other MCs. I love it!!! Some not so great song on here but also some pretty nice tracks. Mixed batch you never know what you will get with 50 on the loose.
The Relapse- Eminem: Rating- 1
Very disappointing album from many aspects. I guess I shouldn’t be disappointed, Em has been doing this same crap ever since the Eminem Show. I guess there will never be another Marshall Mathers LP.
The 7th Seal- Rakim: Rating- 3.5
Wow this album is good quality. Rakim really goes hard on this and reminds people that he is still around. Too bad this album wont sell well…
Till the Casket Drops- Clipse: Rating- 1.5
This album kinda sucked. Well… yeah it really sucked. Just another hip-hop group trading in raw for riches.
Hidden Files- Havoc: Rating- 4
Good album and probably the best solo album Hav has put out. Really like a lot of joints on the album and the collaboration with Cassady is very interesting. The instrumentals are unique and I really like what he has done with this. If Mobb Deep puts out another album, this kind of production would be very welcomed.
Channel 10- Capone-N-Noreaga: Rating- 3
Pretty good, this album wasn’t groundbreaking by any means but it was well produced and there are some nice joints on it. It is definitely worth a look.
Chemical Warfare- The Alchemist: Rating- 3
Chemical Warfare is the answer to the question, what would an album be like if Alchamist put a new one out? Well here is the answer. I like a few joints and I like who he features, but I felt like it was a various artists album produced by Alc.
Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City- Ghostface Killah: Rating- 1
Wow… Wow… What the hell was that? I heard this and was questioning why exactly I liked hip-hop. Ghost what are you doing? What happened to Ironman or Supreme Clientele? Oh I think I get it now he is trying to throw me a curveball, the REAL album is coming out in a few weeks. Phew I thought for a minute there this was the real album, thank God, you had me scared Ghost.
The Broad Street Bully- Beanie Sigel: Rating- 3.5
Very impressed in this album. Multiple good tracks and is very listenable. Tight rhymes and good production make this a good album.
Slaughterhouse- Various Artists: Rating- 3
Not bad. No really big stand out tracks but overall a good work. Not a Joe Budden fan but that was covered up by other better MCs like Royce and Crooked I. Good work and worth a listen.
Survival Skills- KRS-One & Buckshot: Rating- 4
Really nice album! I really like the featurees (Heltah Skeltah, Smif N Wessun, and Immortal Technique) I also like how Buckshot and KRS came together and brought an old school sound to a new school setting. Survival Skills is one of the best albums of 2009.
Malice ‘n’ Wonderland- Snoop Dogg: Rating- 2
Not surprised with this album because Snoop already sold out with Ego Trippin but there’s always hope. Unfortunately this is an occasion when hope is crushed. It’s kind of like BP3, the bigs have moved on.
No Security- D-Block: Rating- 2.5
I give it a big fat OK. Not very impressive but does have some pretty good joints on it. It has always kind of been this way with D-Block, LOX, whatever they are called, the solo albums are way better then the collaboration work.
Live From Hell-Hell Rell: Rating- 2.5
Another big fat OK. Rell needs to stop putting out so many albums and just focus on making one good solid album.
And the awards go to:
1. Most disappointing album of the year
The Nominees: (1. Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City- Ghostface Killah, 2. Blueprint 3- Jay-Z, 3. All out War- M.O.P., 4. Soft White- Mack 10)
Winner: Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City- Ghostface Killah
This album barely wins, to tell you the truth it could have been anyone of the four. The reason it won is because Ghost is so respected and still has it. This project doesn’t even sound like he did it. Oh well better luck next time…
2. Most surprisingly good album of the year
The Nominees: (1. Survival Skills- KRS-One & Buckshot, 2. The Ecstatic- Mos Def, 3. Before I Self Destruct, 4. Blackout 2- Method Man and Redman)
Winner: The Ecstatic- Mos Def
This has been the winner since it came out. Really nice tracks and the reason this album won was the sheer fact that Mos sounds like his skills have not diminished one bit. I like Mos Def but this album makes me like him way more!
3. Album of the year
The Nominees: (1. Only Built for Cuban Linx II- Raekwon, 2. Born and Raised- Cormega, 3. The Elastic- Mos Def, 4. Blackout 2- Method Man and Redman)
Winner: Only Built for Cuban Linx II and Born and Raised- Cormega
It’s simple, OBFCL II= best album for the general hip-hop head. Born and Raised= best album for the Paul Meara hip-hop fan. Born and Raised is a Mega classic and really has that individual style not many can match. OBFCL II is another classic from the Wu camp and was worth the 4 year wait. I love both and that is why they both won.