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.

Opinion: Joe Budden is self-destructive …

What is tragic here is that someone as talent and bright as Joe Budden has a tendency to destroy everything around him. It is just his Modus Operandi. The rapper, entrepreneur and commentator has amassed huge potential. However, the ability to sustain and build long-working relationships a hard task for the man.

Joe Budden wants to keep things a 100. He wants to be real and speak from the heart. Nevertheless, he breaks things down and dips when he has to put the work-in. If that is a Second Slaughterhouse album on Shady Records. If it continuing his popularity after “Pump It Up” or anything else.

Heck, Joe has destroyed Revolt TV “State of the Culture” a deal he signed with P. Diddy. The same man was a vital figure in the rise of the YouTube sensation and cultural force within Complex own “Everyday Struggle”. It is just like he enjoys to see it rise and when it does. He wants a big cut of the profits and if he doesn’t he jumps ship. Instead of negotiating and making sense of things. He just bails out and hope other people picks up the pieces.

Just like it was with his solo career as well. Where he went from Def Jam. By some luck and wit was able to make it from one song to mixtape into a independent album with Slaughterhouse. Before signing with Interscope/Shady Records and drop another mixtape and the sophomore album there. However, in the end destroy the opportunity to drop the second on that label and the their third of the all star group.

Joe was able to drop another 3 albums independently after this. Before switching over to become a commentator and a podcaster. That is why he has participated in so many different ones. Before, he started his own and kept that going.

The Joe Budden Podcast have lasted since 2015 now. It is a long run and his side-kicks has been stable with there. Rory was there from the beginning, but Mal joined it in 2016. So they have all history there. Now, they have dipped and the first week without them at the latest edition of it.

It just seems like all the other enterprises of Joe he just have to burn this one as well. Joe just cannot help himself. Now, that things are established and gotten to a aspect of cultural phenomenon. He just got to dip again. Make it all about him and let the others fly solo. Just like when things was going good at Revolt. He just had to pull a stunt. The same over at Complex. It is just the gift of Joe. He just can’t help himself.

Joe now got the Joe Budden Network and is working on various projects there. How long will these relationship lasts and how far will he take it? When his dropping to sign with Spotify and others. Just like he did with “State of the Culture”. That is just what he does… He even sort of made the “Everyday Struggle” fallout much more hectic and significant than it needed to be. That is why there will always be something weird between him and DJ Akademiks.

Joe Budden is his worst enemy… Joe don’t need to fight anyone else than his own self. He can self-destruct and deplete all things he has made. When things turn shiny and golden he just gets greedy. Instead of waiting for his turn and ensure the gravy-train is moving. No, he wants a quick buck and a pay-off on the expense of others. That is how it seems.

Just like he doesn’t understand that the Shady Records had to re-coup and get profits, which as non-existent with the investments made in the production of the album and the roll-out there. He expected quick money from that too. Even as Eminem lost money on their album. The only way he could have made money, as stated in reports was if the group released the second on Shady or their third group projects, which has never happened to this day. That is unfortunate because the group had massive star-power and was assembled with lyrical wordsmiths. Who could have shown their greatness, but that was thwarted with the ego of Joe for instance.

Therefore, the “strike” of Mal and Rory isn’t something new in the life of Joe. No, it is just too common and sort of what he does. When he builds up something… he just got to destroy it. That is his gift. Instead of prolonging or trying to make something last. To even have longevity or a legacy he rather smash it quickly. That is what is so tragic.

Joe has had the option to make big cultural phenomenons lasts on other platforms. However, his ego and personality have gotten in his way. It is as if it is never enough. He wants more out of it and doesn’t get his way.

I have followed him on these platforms, seen the shows, listened to the podcasts, but I am tired of his mess. That he cannot get his ducks in a row and be solid. That for a man who wants to keep a 100. He surely take a sledgehammer and hits the fine china into a million pieces. The he expects someone else to clean up his mess. It is just tiring.

Especially, when the brother has such talent and skills. To just waste it and give the world all this negativity. That is really it. Joe Budden could be better and have significant more to give. However, he is his own worst enemy. This man doesn’t need a nemesis… because he can just look at his own shadow and in the mirror.

It’s a lot of things he could’a, would’a and should’a, but at this point. He should hang up the mic and just talk frank to his peers. Joe should resolve this and patch the hurt. Unless, he wants to destroy this too. Just to prove a point. The Joe Budden Podcast is the trio with him, Mal and Rory. The balance each other and makes it worthwhile. Instead, he wants to be the man on the pedestal and adore his greatness. However, that is not happening.

Joe, if you were that great in the first place. You wouldn’t need the team around you. Just like you couldn’t manage to break it solo. You needed Slaughterhouse to reaffirm yourself publicly. I think that this is forgotten and knowledge he doesn’t want to be reminded about. Because, who was really awaiting a mixtape and solo album of Joe in the 2000s? Not so many, right?

That’s the truth and just like that it’s now too. He has a name and a platform. Nevertheless, his not the sole reason why people are tuning in and he shouldn’t forget that. Joe is Joe, but now Joe got to stop. Unless, he wants to destroy this one too. Just like he did with the others in the past. Peace.

2020: The Hip-Hop albums I enjoyed

I used to be a Hip-Hop blogger and write about music a decade ago. That is how it all started for me. To write and speak about a topic I knew. However through college and studies. I turned more political and so did my content. That is why the few who knows ASAP08.Wordpress.com used to be my page and my blog for years.

This is why I am going to my roots now. Just writing my 2 cents about music and hip hop. As that is the genre I’m not only familiar with, but enjoys for the most part. The music scene is different. The auto-tune, the mumble-rap and other sub-genres is more prevalent than in the past. Even though T-Pain and Lil Wayne used the auto-tune like crazy back-in-the-day too. So, it’s not like its breaking news.

Well, 2020 have been a weird year. In a sense, the lockdowns and home quarantines have ensured that I actually listen to less music. As I listen the most on the road home back and from the office. I am old-school so I download the album on my phone. If I am digging it. It stays and if it sucks. I’ll delete it and check out a new project to download later. Like Datpiff and other pages have served me well over the years.

The big surprise release was Jay Electronica with “A Written Testimony”. Though it shouldn’t have been released as a solo joint, but a joint effort with Jay-Z. It seems like Jay Elect wouldn’t have gotten this out if it was for Carters persistent push and dropping bars for him in the studio. It would seem like he never would have released it. No matter what Jay Elect would deliver. It would never master expectations of the build-up. The endless singles and snippets. The brilliant 16 bars as a feature and then nothing. Jay Elect bummed me out. It is decent, but when your waiting this long. It should be a Chronic or a College Dropout sort of statement. Not just another Spotify filler tracks.

One that came with a banger and an album with no fillers for me was Royce Da 5’9” “The Allegory” is my favourite of this year. The Detroit native is proving not only his skills behind the mic, but also his own production. The album is so consistent and such a project. That I will listen to this for years to come. His roll of good projects is continuing from the Phryme era and the “Book of Ryan”. Royce is again and again proving why his viable and a MC to look out for.

For instance this year Griselda artists became a main stay for me. This being Benny the Butcher with his “Burden of Proof” and Conway the Machine with “From King to a God”. Both of these projects is heavily played on my phone. This is the sort of jams I appreciate.

I have enjoyed the Crooked I & Joell Ortiz “H.A.R.D” project. That was a dope project and proved their standing. The Slaughterhouse MCs are still banging and together they are perfect blend of both coasts.

I preferred Jadakiss’s “Ignatius” over the long overdue project “Living Off Experience” from the LOX. Though that DMX 16 bars on one of their singles are worthy of 90s vibe. Jadakiss was the most personal in years and his tone was inspired through the album. This is why I can recommend this one too.

Another New Yorker and the late rapper Pop Smoke can with his posthumous release “Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon”. Compared to the “Dior” and other previous tracks I heard from him. This was less gritty sounding and more poppy. Surely the 50 Cent production and executive producing is the reason for that. However, we can only imagine where he could go and that his voice will be missed in the years to come. Pop Smoke was special and was on the rise to become someone to reckon with.

Black Thought of the Roots returned with his series “Streams of Thought Volume 3.” it was a continuation and shows his relevance on the mic. These sort of projects doesn’t get the credit it deserves and seems like he isn’t either aiming for charts or the accolades. Only having fun and showing his bars. Which is fun for the listener, but he deserves some acknowledgement. Both this one and the second in the series is projects I listen to on the regular.

I am a fan of both T.I. and Young Jeezy. However, their projects this year haven’t been that inspiring. Neither “The L.I.B.R.A” or “Recession 2” have gotten replayed. I am considering giving it more time. As these are artists that I am listening to their older albums, but these aren’t sparking the same interest and maybe their ways of trying to fit in isn’t that sort of vibe I need. They are sort of coping with the trends, instead of setting it themselves.

A moment of nostalgia for me this year. Was listening to the Paul Wall and Lil Keke project “Slab Talk”. It is nothing deep for the veteran rappers of Houston. Their topics and their production is nothing unique. Just fun to feel their return and having the jams on. Reminded me of listening to Slim Thug and UGK. Music that is fun and not so serious.

Papoose also returned with “Endangered Species” proving why he was sought after and was someone to look out for back-in-the-day. The man can still write and show his fierce wordplay. However, the lack of single and push from a major record label. Is the reason why his lingering in the underground and isn’t pushed higher.

Big Sean’s “Detroit 2” was good and shows his growth as an artist. I can take him seriously now. However, I am not sure how much longer I will listen to it though. It’s not a masterpiece, but a great piece of work. Not just a “Culture” or for the radio with “ASS”. His becoming his own man and can be proud of his work.

One that was a downer compared to previous released projects was Tech N9NE “ENTERFEAR” album wasn’t so banging as in the past. I don’t know, but it didn’t have what I sought out for. Maybe, the same sort of style gets old. I really don’t know. Always looked out for more Tech Nina, but here he didn’t bring it for me…

Joyner Lucas dropped “ADHD” the longest album run with nearly every song dropped as singles and it did fall flat. The repetition and lack of various material made it a sombre listen. Joyner have some fun jams, but he overplayed it and didn’t do more of the Timbaland produces fun joints. If he had mixed it up. It might have gotten more traction for me.

He dropped later in the “Evolution” which is a much better album. If your listening to Joyner. Listen to Evolution where he also have “Thugs Needs Love Song” with Ashanti and his “Snitch” single too. Like his trying to compete with Obie Trice.

R,A. The Rugged Man returned after years without an album. This year he dropped the “All My Heroes Are Dead”. The bom-bap and fun sort of stuff. R.A. proves his skilled and has bars. That he doesn’t care about being trendy in the now. “Legendary Loser” is one of the most fun tracks of the year. “Golden Oldies” sounds like a Macklemore knock-off, but R.A. is himself and has dropped a good piece of work.

Mozzy the new “Scarface” of this generation have dropped the “Beyond Bulletproof” and is worthy of a listen. If you are into the gritty nitty and not the ones for the radio. Mozzy is himself and his worth a listen.

Megan Thee Stallion dropped two projects this year. That being “Suga” which I got tired of really quick. “Good News” came out lately and is more interesting, but she is missing a little touch and showing more skills. Megan have it if she wants too. However, ad-libs gets old and there is just so much flex a man can listen too.

Denzel Curry’s “Unlocked” is a fun EP or album. Not like its a move forward from TA1300. Denzel can be both brilliant and funny on the mic. He has shown that before and therefore, I always look forward to her something from the man. However, here there was some joints, but not bangers.

These are just a few. There was a lot more projects, but these are the ones I remember and that I have listen too. I have listen to other things too and I maybe drop that in a separate piece. As that is more Afro-Beat and more pop based music too.

This was my quick review of Hip Hop in 2020. I know there is a lot more to say and state. Nevertheless, I am not the one to listen to Lil Baby and DaBaby, even though others do. Peace.

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