"The Year in Review" - a tradition for the last decade at RapReviews.com! We've tried many different ways to satisfy the public's appetite for a thorough analysis of who "the best of the best" during that time. In 2000 and in 2001 Steve 'Flash' Juon compiled the lists. In 2002 the list was created by polling the entire staff. By 2004 we found the most successful formula - individual editorials by contributors to the site wherein they chose their own "best of the best." We've done it this way every year since then and we're doing it again in 2009! Without further adieu, here are the editorials:
There are a few constants when a year comes to a close. People who don't normally go out and party will drink more than they can handle and do something painfully stupid, champagne will suddenly become everyone's drink of choice, and the next day, while groggily waking up to the sounds of Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit discussing the day's bowl games, people will hastily sketch out a few New Year's resolutions.
Although rappers may pop champagne a little more often than the rest of us, I'd like to think our favorite crowd controllers are just like everybody else when it comes to New Years resolutions. With that in mind, I think it's the perfect time to help a few of hip-hop's most prominent people, as well as our local artists, with their New Year's resolutions.
As previously mentioned, Reflection Eternal composed of Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, have teamed up with producer Statik Selektah for an official Reflection Eternal mixtape. The project includes new songs from the album as well as unreleased material and classic tracks.
Welcome back for another new edition of Hip-Hop Shop! For the last HHS of 2009 we're doing a show called Watch Dem in 2010! These are the artists you may not know yet, but could be hearing a lot from in the next 12 months. As always if you would like to sponsor Hip-Hop Shop please send an e-mail to email@example.com for more information. Hip-Hop Shop features podsafe music, so distribute the show and tell your friends to check us out every week at RapReviews.com! Special thanks to Odin Smith Labs for providing background music for our show.
* Blockhead - Which One of You Jerks Drank My Arnold Palmer * Trends - Weather Man * iLL-Literacy - Finding Emo * Thaione Davis - Notes in the Chamber * Bisco Smith f/ Esen, Human Grimace - Railroads * Sareem Poems f/ Theory Hazit - Come Get It * Shadowman Boogie - The Choice
Adam B: "Christmas may have been a handful of days ago, but there's one present left for you to unwrap - the latest edition of The Adam B Experience! OK, so technically there's no unwrapping involved, just downloading or streaming, but no matter how good your holiday was, this will make it even better. Thirteen brand new songs that include some of your favorite artists, like Homeboy Sandman, Top $ Raz and Dyalekt, and the ABX debuts YC The Cynic, Coolzey, Kidd Russell, and more. It's a full hour of great, unedited, hip-hop and me making an ass out of myself. Enjoy! Hit me up with feedback at AdamB@RapReviews.com." The Adam B Experience is 100% PODSAFE and TOTALLY FREE so tell your friends to download ABX right here at RapReviews.com!
"Breaking stereotypes at the same time they break records, Fly Gypsy is on that ol' next Russian and Jamaican shit. Oh word? That's an unusual combo, but it shouldn't be that shocking in 2009 (going into 2010) that hip-hop has such global appeal. Shed your preconceived notions that Alexei Jendayi (the producer) should be rocking fur hats or doing squat kicks, or that Kowboy Kom (the emcee) should be a rasta dreadlock spitting patois flows."
Delicious Vinyl DJ (iPhone App Review) Review by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Not many applications for the iPhone or iPod Touch are geared directly towards a hip-hop audience, but Delicious Vinyl Records aims to break from the norm with a low-cost app set to some classic rap they call Delicious Vinyl DJ. Coming in at an affordable $2.99, the price is certainly nice, but can the game live up to the hype?"
"Hip Hop is like pro wrestling in more ways than one. Yes, there is the fake beef. Another occurrence that can be observed in both disciplines is the following: every once in a while, there comes along an over-pushed, under-talented individual who has a rapid rise to the top for no other reason than having the right quality at the right place and time. In wrestling, you have seen this happen with the Ultimate Warrior and Lex Luger. The same can be said in Hip Hop for the likes of Ja Rule and Mike Jones."
"While the name Gully Platoon made me think the Boot Camp Clik was about to deploy a new generation of Bucktown troops, a sticker on the CD's shrinkwrap informed me that Gully Platoon was in fact 'The new powerhouse from Pegz, Dialectrix and Joe New.' If I'm not familiar with either, it is because they all hail from Australia. Pegz is apparently the group's elder, head of Obese Records and solo artist with three albums under his belt. Dialectrix and Joe New (AKA Two Toes) used to be in a group called Down Under Beats and both have solo albums to their credit as well."
"According to the press kit, James Jr. was raised in a few locations that range from Tacoma to Richmond, Virginia to Clarksdale, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. He was an excellent student in school and even graduated with honors. While he was pursing audio engineering, he came down with a severe case of pneumonia which caused him to leave school and battle the illness for two years. He wound up moving to Florida to make a name for himself. As fate would have it, James Jr. met his would-be future producing partner, Scott Coslett during a vacation in California, and through that association, he would land a deal with Spin Move Records. The culmination of all of the moves and turmoil in James Jr's life was the release of his debut album, "Intent 2 Distribute", which was released this past summer."
Magic Heart Genies :: Cardiac Arrest :: Michael Troy Music/M9 Entertainment as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon
"Myka 9 is from that rare breed of Cali rappers who have been around forever, are critically acclaimed for their creativity and have released over a half-dozen different albums as a group member or soloist. He's also stuck in a paradoxical dichotomy as a result - if you KNOW then you've been knowing ever since Freestyle Fellowship but if you DON'T know, you probably never will. He's not the type of artist you discover by accident. His musical and lyrical styles don't fall into any of the accepted hip-hop cliches, unless "eclectic" is a cliche, so you either follow the West coast underground hard or someone hipped you to his shit."
"Sareem Poems may be from the LBC, but that's all he's got to do with Snoop Dogg. He doesn't smoke weed, doesn't get drunk, doesn't party, doesn't own a gun, and has never been in a gang. Snoop's probably confused at the "doesn't smoke weed" part. Do you mean he only eats it? No, Sareem makes it clear that he doesn't do that either on "Impossible": "I don't get weeded/Don't want it, don't need it, and I don't eat it." Sure, there are a lot of MCs who are (rightfully) against gun violence, but smoking pot? The only other one I can think of is Dr. Dre, who infamously declared he didn't "smoke weed or cess" on 1988's "Express Yourself," a mere three years before he made an album named after weed and modeled after a package of zig zags."
"It's surprisingly hard to define what or perhaps WHO Young Money is. Now theoretically Young Money Entertainment is Lil Wayne's vanity imprint, the one which budding rap star Drake is signed to, but "We Are Young Money" is not being released under that imprint. In fact the only two labels of record on this new CD are Cash Money Records and Universal Motown. One might try to define Young Money as a rap collective instead - a loosely affiliated group of rappers that are friends with Lil Wayne and do records with each other. The problem is that Weezy takes Young Money more seriously than a loose affiliation - he clearly intends for it to be a full-fledged label."
Matt Jost passed along this interesting news tidbit from The Independent and we've included a brief excerpt to explain the story below.
"Rage Against the Machine ended Simon Cowell’s four year domination of the Christmas charts after a hugely popular Facebook campaign helped the Los Angeles nu-metallers snatch the Christmas number one slot from X-factor’s Joe McEdlerry. More than half a million people downloaded the band’s famously anti-authoritarian and expletive laden track 'Killing in the Name'."
When Billion’s album, SPF Dirty, hit my desk it instantly caught my eye. How could it not? The cover is a gorgeous bikini-clad woman at a beach. No head, though, just the body. Being a big fan of flat stomachs I popped the album in. Turns out, the listening experience is just as good as the visual one, as Billion is nice on the mic. That’s why this week I caught up with him to find out more about his work, the change he’d like to see in hip-hop, and why he’d consider interrupting one of Clint Eastwood’s award acceptance speeches.