2021: The albums I have enjoyed this year

Last year I was able to make to lists and separate the ones who was Hip Hop and the ones who was Pop & Afrobeat. However, this year I will make a joint session. Since well, music haven’t been as prevalent for me. Neither has the music been as vital or been as close as before. The lockdowns and quarantine has stopped a lot of time listening time for me. Usually, I listen to the most music in transit or watch music videos at home. Therefore, I lost a lot of space and opportunities to it by default by being home during lockdowns this year.

That’s why I will have one simple list and all genres will be represented here. The albums I did appreciate and can see myself bumping in the future… and the ones that was lost on me… the famous dishonourable mentions, if you may.

Well… here we go.

Mr. P – “The Prodigal” was a fun afrobeat album from the P-Square alumni. He really showed swag and wished more people had talked about it. There is nice joints on here and it’s underwhelming how little that has been pushed about this album.

HRSMN (Canibus, Kurupt, Killah Priest & Rass Kass) – “Last Ride” was a dope hip-hop album made by old-school heroes. It was really fun and not with tracks fit for modern radio. This was the finesse and funny bars from a collective of wordsmiths. All of these gentlemen have proven their skills in the past and this was just a gem to listen too.

B-Real & Scott Storch – “Tell You Something” was a shocker of a release. Not that I have anticipated or awaited anything produced by Scott Storch in a decade or so. Storch fell off and seemed to be lost .B-Real has been on joint LPs with Xzibit and Derrick of late, which has been super awesome to listen too. So, his just following up on that and is having a great time on the beats of Storch. FYI: “Never Go Home” has a terrible beat and it should have been forgotten on whatever Nintendo Gameboy Game he sampled it from. That’s the only downer on this one and is an instant skip.

Rudeboy – “Rudykillus” is the other P-Square alumni album of the year. Where he starts of the album reminiscing and reminding everyone of his past hits. His swagger is cool and all. This is an album worth listening too and tracks like “Focus” shows his star-power and talent.

Talib Kweli and Diamond D – “Gotham” is another wordsmith and hip-hop album, which I felt has gone under the radar. Not shocking, as it been years since Talib was a main-stay and relevant for a broader audience. Still, he deserves credit and can produce nice of bodies of work to this day.

Joell Ortiz – “Autograph” is the A-Typical project of the Slaughterhouse MC at this point. He can tell stories and paint pictures with his words. The beats are refreshing and vibrant. It’s an absolute gem of a LP. These are the sorts that should be higher on rankings and get acknowledged, but the game is rigged. That’s why it’s not there…

Fashawn & Sir Veterano – ‘All Hail The King”. The F is finally returning and off Nas’s Mass Appeal. He shows why his a cool dude and an artist. Here his just brazen and direct, as there is steady and funky beats by Sir Veterano on the production. This is a real underground, but he should get credit. As he has continued to push out his craft and with this LP his showing that he is a force to be reckon with.

Dax – “Pain Paints Paintings” was an album which grow on me. Dax hasn’t changed or anything. Listen to him thanks to YouTube and the videos there in quarantine. He dropped a few EPs before and it was evident there was skills there. Now with a full project it was fun to listen too. Not it is revolutionary or has any sort of traditional hip-hop over it …. NO. But, it is a fun joint and easy-listening, as Dax never goes to deep.

Saigon – “Pain, Peace & Prosperity” is the album of a man I have followed since the Yardfather mixtape series in the early 2000s. It is nice seeing him shining on this one. It is clear that Just Blaze isn’t as involved or have production on here. Though, it is refreshing to see Saigon deliver a full project and get support from all across the board.

Remedy – “Remedy Meets Wu-Tang” is the most out of left-field album of the year for my part. It was just so amazing to see the Wu-Tang Collective shine on a album in 2021. This was like the golden age returning and nothing had changed. The beats, the bars and the whole setting was made for this. Remedy, which I haven’t heard of and maybe I lost the memo. Was showing his skills, but there was plenty of times where the Wu-Tang MCs out-shined him, but who cares? It’s an awesome project!

Lloyd Banks – “The Curse of the inevitable” with the return of the G-Unit wonderkid. Well, Banks isn’t a kid anymore and been a long time coming for his return. The G-Unit rapper dropped an album which fits into the Griselda era and could easily been dropped on that imprint. This wasn’t sounding like any of his previous LPs or even having the production of a G-Unit album. However, his word-play and bars was obvious on this one. That was what made this one unique. Not like he was pressured by Interscope or G-Unit to make a radio-friendly jam to be played on Hot 97.

Tiwa Savage – “Water and Garri EP” was a fun instalment, a very short one, but a worthwhile one. This is what you expect and as always, Tiwa does deliver. There is no skips and just a jolly atmosphere until the project is over. Nas even featured on the first track and he phoned it in sadly, but at least he wasn’t speaking of “crypto-currency” on this one. Tiwa had deserved a more fitting rapper on the track, but she maybe wanted someone who is celebrated and gets recognized world-wide.

This here is my list and it’s subjective. There was several of albums that I still enjoyed, but didn’t play like did this. Others that I have in my “tape-deck” but haven’t gotten into. Which would be another list. Albums I tried to listen too, but never caught on or had the rush to bump again. There is a few of those. However, I don’t feel the need to drop those… Peace.

The State of current day Hip Hop and my take on it!

Let’s be clear at one point, I had all the information and new the releases. I listen to all hot mixtapes coming out. I was on point. I knew what was happening with Big K.R.I.T. and Yo Gotti. I knew about the possible releases from Cash Money. I could get the needed information of the artists signed to T.I. and the ones who was on Aftermath. Even the ones that was prospects on Bad Boy. Now, I know squat and living well. My Hip Hop blog ‘As Silent as the Pope’ (ASAP08) is history and ended suddenly in 2008. Now, my pages had since than had a different focus and scope. More worldly as you may, but still some rare post about music. Because music moves all of us, but just as my blogs changes, I have changed with time. I have evolved and so has my scopes and what I narrate, when I write. Therefore, the musical drama, the contracts, the newbies and the Hip Hop Industry doesn’t fetch the same dynamic within me. I still listen to the tunes, but is not as connected as back in the day. When I used lots of times, listen to interviews and was on.

Therefore, this post is to prove my view from the outside. After being a keen follower 10 years ago. Still listening to albums, but not as connected as before. Because I am more political after years of studies, a bachelor degree and becoming mature. That is just life catching up and Alfamega never got over the snitching paradigm and loss of Grand Hustle contract, I suppose.

When we are at this stage and the changes. As many are irrelevant and the approach to the art-form I love has changed. That is natural, just as I have evolved, the art-form does too. The Hip Hop landscape wouldn’t be same as I left it. There has always been artist living on hot beats and trashy talk with no common sense. Don’t tell me ‘A Tribe Called Quest’ was lyrical masterminds, even if Q-Tip has enough skills to kill me in one-bar. Still. On the same manner ‘Fat Boys’ wasn’t brilliant either, but they we’re entertaining. Therefore, when I say certain types of music isn’t good now. That might be true, they are entertaining today, but will you pick a LP by Lil Pump in 10 years time? I doubt it. It is cool now to be listening to ‘Gucci Gang’, but in a decades time, I doubt it will get better like fine wine.

The proof that a project is good is that you have a feeling you can listen to the LP years after it was released and still be relevant. The production might be dated, but the elements, the lyrical mastering and the topics is as relevant today as when it was released. That is for me an important matter. That I can pick up an older LP and it will still be banging. It will still move me and question my own thinking on the matter. Even see something new in it. Why I say this is the modern-day bashing of Tupac Shakur. The legend, the hero and the man who brought THUG LIFE to the forefront.

Because of everyone saying they are like Tupac. I started listening to his albums again, and especially ‘The Don Killuminati: The 3 Day Theory’ and its has the firepower that some of the current music today is missing. That Phryme has it place, its the old-school vibe and quality bars from Royce Da 5’9″ but not the political motivation. That is more Lupe Fiasco and he is trying. I am still listening to Lasers, the Cool and the Food and Liquor Part 2. However, the miles behind good and relevant albums are hard. Not that the Jadakiss & Fabolous project isn’t good, it is brilliant, but it hasn’t enough edge.

There are enough artists, but their tracks doesn’t shine through and some of the big men who has been big. Don’t need the center stage, they can rest on their past victories. If that is the Wu Tang Clan that dropped a project. Certain songs there was banging, but not the whole thing. The most consistent projects in while from Young Jeezy dropped, the Pressure LP, but without a ‘I Luv It’, the public is not picking up on it. That is how today is, you need the swagger jacking singles to matter. Even if the projects are good and are on point.

I don’t know if I will listen to Phryme 2 in 5 years, but I am listening still now and then to the first release of Phryme. I am still listening to previous LPs of Jadakiss and mixtapes from Fabolous. They are not far in my music-player. I am not even on Spotify or Tidal or whatever streaming-service. Because I like listening to whole projects. I am old-school like that.

Because I am old-school, I am not a fan of biting, imitation and taking inspiration is cool, paying homage to the ones before is cultural appreciation. Like I was amazed when Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis had features of Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel and Kool Moe Dee on their single ‘Downtown’. I had goosebumps before putting it on the first time. They didn’t have to this, but they decided to do it. That is what we need to see, because the new generation of music listeners doesn’t care.

This will be the same ignorant story of the time when Nelly had beef with KRS One. Where they both was claiming their place in the game and that Nelly was relevant and KRS was trying to eat of his plate. However, the point wasn’t there, but that Nelly should respect what KRS did to the game. Now, I am sure that Nelly feels like funny feature for many, as he is on Georgia Flordia Line ‘Cruise’ and isn’t the Head Honcho anymore. Other people has taken his place and Drake singing hook has taken over. That is just the way it is.

But the biting is taking to far for me. That is why I have a hard time listening to Cardi B and her kind. That is why anyone T-Paining and Future sort-of-rappers are to much for me. I had a hard enough time listening to Method Man and Jadakiss with a minute or two on Autotune. There has to make sense, Desiigner and the likes. Will be daft in the dustbin, there is enough talented MCs awaiting their spot and to drop something significant and meaningful. Then I don’t mean Logic or G-Easy, no they doesn’t entertain me even.

I just wonder when Biting was acceptable, when the copying and pasting, the ghostwriting levels was okay. There has always been that, but more for producers becoming rappers like Dr. Dre and the likes. Not the supposed to be hottest hot like Cardi. They we’re supposed to drop the bars and be the rawest MC. Now, I am sure anyone can lyrically defeat Cardi, because her team handle her bars and she just market her songs. If that is enough for this generation. I am sorry, I am not jumping on the bandwagon. I am not, even if liked the ghostwriting for Dr. Dre, there is fine line between them.

Not that I am big Nicki Minaj or Remy Ma. Both of them can spit and write their own bars. Even if the previous Terror Squad LP only had like three or four good songs. While Nicki has long time between hard-core bars and been radio friendly, not for the hip-hop crowd. That is understandable as the label and herself want a bigger crowd for herself. But they are both better at the craft than Cardi. Even if Cardi is the thing now. I am still not following. Maybe, because I am old-school in my mid-30s.

That is why I am not on Datpiff or even on HipHopDX, buying XXL every month or even looking a the Source. That is why I loose out, and suddenly guys like 21 Savage and others suddenly pops-up on the scene without any notice. Not that I buy into it the stick, but if a song is good. I check out more. But many falls through, because they are feature artists in my eyes like French Montana. Tell me one whole project you have loved, through and through, where he a stand-out artist? No, I thought so, he is no Pusha T or Cyhi Da Prince.

Let’s be clear, this is my rambling, as someone a bit of bounds. That used to be into it and listening closely. When people was waving to get Pimp C out of jail, when Houston was taking over. When Miami had prospects, more than just Trick Daddy. That was the time I was in, when Dip Set was still relevant and Cam’ron wasn’t just trolling 50 Cent. And when 50 Cent was gangster and not a TV Producer. Well, that was the days. Those days are numbered. However. I am not, I still follow, but from a narrow scope and randomly picking up LPs that sounds good and might have hope.

There will come new talent that will catch my ear and take my breathe away, but that is harder than before. Because I don’t need no to buy no LP like Cassidy’s ‘Split Personality’, that was a whack CD from a promising talent. Another one, that had deserved more credit is Saigon, whose delivered good LP’s, but very few has cared. There will always be like this, why I haven’t mentioned Nas or Jay-Z, well, they both should retire, maybe even Scarface, even if I respect all three. But this is game for yungin’s, but they should pay respect to the ones that opened the door in for them. That is lacking in our time.

J.Cole who dropped a project I will listen more to in coming days, paid respect to Nas and Jay-Z on his projects in the past. Waka Flacka Flame even dropped respect to the ones before him. It would be nice to the newbies doing the same, but there is less of it. Not biting their lines, but saying, I am dropping trap music because of T.I. and Three 6 Mafia. Juicy J is the reason why I make songs for Stip-Clubs. Let’s be honest, that is the little token of credit that the other artists deserves, the ones that built a career, surely Nelly would like some credit today for his Mid-West Rap-Game. But I haven’t heard any give him anything. It is just like KRS-One felt back in the day.

Well, this was my musical rant of the month and year 2018. I am out of the loop and its cool. But I still know this thing. I don’t care of the newbies doesn’t, but they should check the records, should listen to old-school and understand the craft. Not just think they can do everything because it is easy to upload and get social media crowds. Because, the people like doesn’t eat out of their hands and doesn’t pay for their LPs, unless it hopefully gets better like wine. If it doesn’t I have no reason to pick it up and bump it. I will just download, have one listen and let it go. Like I did to many Gorilla Zoe Mixtapes back in the day. You got to drop quality and show your value. I don’t care what Lil B or whatever whats his face, even ‘Tyler the Creator’ has lost his shock value, just like Lana Del Rey did.

Unless, your as foolish and dumb like Taylor Swift to cover ‘September’ of Earth, Wind and Fire. Than, I won’t care, because usually people aren’t that insensitive. But there is some who will take it further and not think of the consequences and the reactions to their raps. That Cardi copied Kodak Black, wasn’t cool, even if he gave credit and she got hit. But for me, that isn’t my thing. She should have her own style, but she is mixing it up and is proud of it. That is a disgrace for the art-form. But that is just me…. Peace.

Throwback Classic #13 – Tony Yayo ft 50 Cent – So Seductive

This is a song that made me get a album that really wasn’t all that in 2005. Still a good track though? The Tony Yayo dance with the hands is still a funny sight! An we understand why he became lazy, he lived of 50 Cent. Tony Yayo didn’t need a solo career, he had a amazing G Unit track record and hot mixtapes. Then the tours with Fif secured the cake! Peace.

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