"Dear Kanye, I like the 808s, cannot stand the heartbreak. Please revise."
I hate comprehensive end-of-the-year lists. THE best 5/10/25 songs. the absolute WORST 5/10/etc. Which rapper had the Bestest Year Ever? Which one fell off the hardest? (Although, in fact, AllHipHop's List Of Who Took The Biggest L In '08 is hilarious and on point.)
Overall, hip-hop in 2008 kept me entertained, but not too many groups or artists really blew my mind. only a half dozen releases this year had me on that whole press rewind, memorizing the lines, bump in the whip daily tip. here they are, in no particular order:
The Recession was, to my surprise, my favorite album of the year. Maybe it was the excellent time of the album's theme. Maybe, like Tom Breihan, I love Jeezy's crazy hoarse/creaky/old man delivery so much that it overcomes my distaste for his corny (at times) punchlines. I wasn't a big fan of his first two albums, tho I had love for several bangers on each.
But you can bump the Recession all the way through, it's an old school long-player like that,like College Dropout or One Day It'll All Make Sense. The similar production style on nearly all the tracks enhances this effect. And Jeezy really hangs with the Clipse on the coke rap here, especially all the paranoid end-of-Goodfellas stuff in "What They Want" and "Who Dat." And "Circulate." Actually, maybe I just love it like I love coke rap in general. Mr 17.5 has never been shy with bird flipping specifics, but he really goes in on that stuff throughout the album. Favorite Joints: "Who Dat," "Circulate," "By The Way," really everything except "Put On."
Prodigy released H.N.I.C. Part II in several versions, and I got all four; like his first solo tape, Alchemist went crazy with all kinds of old skool never get cleared for release types of samples. Some of them are missing even from the official-ish (linked) release; "My World Is Empty Without You" is a five mic masterpiece, and whoever denied that sample hates good music, pure and simple. But nearly every song on the tape went in. Favorites: "ABCs," "New Yitty," and most of the rest.
Scarface says he's hanging up the mic after this final drop, Emeritus, and it's a sad day for hip hop. First week sales confirmed dude is in a post-commercial situation right now, but on at least a half dozen tracks here he absolutely owns that Texas/depressed/paranoia/gangsta mindset that "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" arguably invented. Forgot About Me with Weezy and Bun B. spittin fire, and High Powered viciously putting snitches on notice, are bangers despite AND because of their downbeat lyrical content. And "Soldier Story" passes that particular torch to Z-Ro as both dudes hold it down for rappers with clinical depression and sick, sick flows.
Favorites: Those three tracks, "Emeritus," "Redemption." More?
I'll pick this up later tonight...if I can. Lots of drinking to be done! But my worst and most surprising of '08 are yet to come! Stay tuned, my 3 or possibly 4 readers! There will be more.