Sunday, January 08, 2006

13 Hiphop albums I’m looking forward to this year

In lieu of content, I mention things in list form.

I think of 2005 as a decent year in rap music, relative to the post 2K standard. While there was no mind blowing revelatory record ala Madvillain, the art form seems to have spread out in every direction giving us quality oldschool albums (Gza vs Muggs), weird underground psych shit (Quasimoto, Edan), cartoon rap (Dangerdoom), Thug rap (The Clipse, Sean Price, the Game), purely underground records (Cunninlynguists) and a whole variety of southern music. The album format certainly isn’t as strong as it used to be but it’s hard to argue that even the most superficial rappers nowadays can come out with a crazy single. That said, I’m a mid 90’s baby at heart and the Long-player format remains my favorite, so here are 13 full lengths that have got me hyped for 06. There’s other stuff that I’m moderately interested in hearing and some stuff that could potentially be dope but this is all the stuff that I’ll hear regardless.

1. Ghostface – Fishscale
2. Ghostface and MF Doom – Swift and Changeable
3. MF Doom and Madlib – Madvillainy II
4. Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Linx II

Yeah, my top 4 albums are by a small select group of people working together. Despite my snapping on Ghostface’s single, it’s not that bad and the final production lineup on Fishscale (Doom, Dilla, Madlib, Pete Rock, more) has the potential to be downright incredible if Def Jam doesn’t fuck it up too much. Regardless, his collaboration LP with Doom Swift and Changeable is pretty much guaranteed heat so things are looking good as far as Tony Starks goes. Meanwhile Madvillain will (probably) deliver the sequel to their classic debut which should be nothing but perfection. I know it’s not cool to like underground/indie stuff anymore but since when have I been cool? Finally, Raekwon and Rza are in the lab working on a little something called Cuban Linx II. The first single State of Grace still sounds butter to my ears and Rae recently spoke on a Wu-posse cut called House of Flying Daggers which is apparently top notch. All of these look to be must owns.

5. Saigon – True Story

I’ve been interested in Saigon since I first read his unsigned hype piece in the Source many moons ago and copped his 12’ inch single on Rawkus. Flashforward to 06 and he’s ready to drop his album backed by Just Blaze, Jay-Z’s former A&R and Newsweek magazine. If one new mainstream cat blows up in 06 as was custom in recent years with Game, Kanye and 50, I hope Sai’s got next.

6. Nas – Nasdaq Dow Jones

The title’s corny, the beats could suck and Nas has totally lost focus in his middle age making John Lennon/Yoko rap but I must include this for one simple reason: to maintain the hope that Nasir Jones will deliver another body of work that while not necessarily of the Illmatic caliber, is at least as good as It was Written. Besides, there’s bound to be at least a couple of bangers on it.

7. Cormega – Urban Legend

This could end up at the top of the list this time next year and the only reason it’s so low is because Cormega has taken his sweet time with it. Cormega’s been blessing us with everything from reissues to compilations but this will be the definitive test for Mega and the album that could put him in the rap A-list definitively. One of the most interesting things about Cormega seems to be how self-aware he is of the quality of his work and thus his promises that this is his best work yet actually means something. The snippet of the Premo produced Days of Reality points towards a winner as well.

8. Outkast – Idlewild

Outkast gave up their introspective, southernunderground approach after 98’s Aquemini and it’s been strictly intelligent-pop-music since but thankfully they’ve revealed themselves to be incredible musicians even if the poetic lyrics have been put to the side. Sure I’m no fan of Andre3000’s overly sexed up lyrics (bring back his depression raps!) and the threat of ragtime rap scares the bejeesus out of me but they haven’t fucked up yet so I’ll give em a chance…

9. Jay-Z - ????

He’s gonna put out an album and you know it. Let’s hope it’s more solo than Dynasty but that may be a bit much to ask.

10. Cannibal Ox – Untitled

Cannibal Ox have sucked since approximately 5 minutes after their debut album dropped, but the prospect of a totally reunited crew (including El-P) and guest production by Pete Rock and Rza has got me interested. Could be the comeback of the year.

11. Cam’ron – Killa Season
12. Brother Ali – The undisputed Truth
13. The Clipse – Hell hath no fury

Don’t know much about these, can’t wait for em to drop.

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