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.