Archive for the ‘Hip Hop Editorials’ Category

Very rarely in hip hop can a rappers debut album be the most anticipated album through its reputation, exclusivity and fan following. Ice Cube, Saigon and Lloyd Banks all share a similar story regarding their debut albums, they had kept their fans hungry through “freak verses” on other projects. Busta Rhythms famously stated in an interview with This is 50 about how prior to releasing an album he was satisfied with dropping bars on other projects for a fee and had no plans to drop a solo album  inadvertently this caused fans to fiend for his music.

When talking about anticipated albums the most common that comes to mind is Dr Dres Detox which has been over 12 years in the making. Some projects (e.g. Dr Dre and Ice Cubes duet album which was never released) relied on the reputation of previous albums to create a buzz, but today fans world wide will be at the end of a long wait. Papooses album Nacirema Dream will be released in a matter of 2 hours.

Today the album is already trending online, Papoose has kept his fans hungry through releasing 28 mixtapes since 2004. Every quarter Papooses mixtapes have dominated the mixtape underground with fans eager to get the next fix, these tapes established Papoose as a solid top 10 MC with consistent flows and a “new school” touch of punchlines. After a set of mixtapes in 2004, by 2005 his debut album  was being hyped by Djs, online editorials and through fans sharing information. By 2006 and after another round of mixtapes it was official that the album was being shelved.

 

PASHS like other fans is waiting for the album to write an official review but was able to find a quick note from Papoose himself in regards to his last few years in the game and a thank you to the fans.

PASHS is wishing Papoose all the best of luck with the album and we genuinely cant wait for it to drop in 2 hours time. With love from the UK.

https://twitter.com/Papooseonline

 

Honorable mentions to DJ KAYSLAY for providing us with the mixtapes and keeping the StreetSweepers vibe alive.

A lack of promotion has been cited as the downfall of many hip hop albums. DMX’s albums which were on DefJam (N then there was X) performed much better in the charts, boasting high quality production, big budget music videos and all-star features. Then came the trials and tribulations of DMX, the last album ”Undisputed” failed to really impact anyone outside of DMX fans, the industry just moved on.  DMX blamed the lack of funding he received from Seven Arts Music.

Method man also went at Defjam stating the budget just wasn’t
for him to be paying producers just of their name on a track. On the Wu Massacre album Meth stated Def Jam put a rush on it,” Meth said. “We didn’t have a lot of time to work on it. We recorded with no budget. It is what it is. We did this for the fans. It felt good to get in the studio with Rae and Ghost.”

Artists with followings such as Eminem and jay Z can really on fans to buy the records without and promotion. Dj who kid famously stated how The Eminem Show was already several times platinum before anyone at Interscope had even thought up a promotion budget.
 Illmatic although lacked promotion was positively met by critics and over tine became an icon of hip hop music. The question that should be asked is what level of promotion can justify the potential of an artist. Olivia apparently cost 50Cent $1 Million through promotion costs however her album was a commercial flop. It could be argued that the wrong methods of promotion were used as key demographics were not targeted properly.
50 cent also kicked off at interscope recently as the delay of his album “street king immortal” has been delayed since 2009. 50 have argued with Interscope to promote the album properly which has led to several delays and arguments regarding what make an artist, the promotion or the skills.

Yoube  jeezy said the key to getting a hit record was to flood the market with your cds. This all however comes at a cost and even though Jeezy isn’t regarded as a top ten rapper his album sales would tell a different story.

A great example of how marketing can create the perfect channel for an artist is by looking a benzino. What do owning a magazine and being a rapper have in common? Well let’s look at benzinos visibility in the game before he got involved with the source. It’s safe to say that outside of Boston there was little hype. But once that link was made benzino was able to put himself on the cover of his own top selling magazine and through the links he made create his own compilation mix tapes with him featuring. The desired outcome of this is your work gets considered as good as those who are also on the complication album. The reality is the hip hop community realised the sneaky tricks behind this which led to the next time you heard about benzino was during beef.
Maybe the most visible argument of how even without a marketing budget you can become the most versatile of rappers is Immortal Technique. The majority of IT fans are based outside of the USA. During the early 2000s Immortal Technique mix tapes were promoted by fans all over the internet. By posting these tracks online rap fiends were able to finally discover fresh and raw talent talking about relevant issues opposed to the shootouts and gang themes associated with other acts.
So it could be argued that as long as you can stay current in the game and with the help of the internet careers can be made.

If you look at artist who are defined by their work names like Gangstar and Krsone come to mind. It’s crazy to think that at the peaks of New York hip-hop it was a mixture of perfected beats and a strong set of lyrical skills that defined an artist. If your songs were good djs would play it and if not expect not to get any air time. Now the game has changed to if you have a wack song but a good marketing mix your song can blow.

Immortal Technique. ”And if you go platinum it has nothing to do with luck, it just means a million people are stupid as fuck!

Nepotism has been a common theme in almost every sector, Presidents, Media giants and even athletes have all used their contact base to launch the careers of their offspring and family. Others have been influence by family members to enter the industry.

I think its fair when analysing hip hop not to stay focused on one area (gangsta rap) so o get a balance have a look at the kids of Will and Jada Smith. Willows first song “whip my hair” was a huge commercial hit but the follow up singles which featured Nikki Minaj etc. went met with the same positive reviews and her album has been delayed for this year. Jayden on the other hand has got involved with the movie star aspect of being a star. He did release a self-published mix tape last year but I think it’s safe to say he will be concentrating
on developing as an actor before he continues with music.

The name Diggy Simonds among rap fans is becoming a household name. The son of Rev Run from RunDMC, Diggys flow was shown to the rest of the world during a BET Cypher with fellow rapper Ice Cube and his kids. For anyone outside of the USA (like myself) this was the first instance where I took notice of this young rapper. After working with top producers such as DJ Premier in 2012 Diggy released his long awaited debut which boasted production from the likes of Jay Z and features from Jadakis. Diggy has been acclaimed by other rappers such as Kanye West who was quoted as saying “I knew this guy would do it”. As well as the album Diggy has released a clothing line, had his own TV show and even stared in his own film. His debuted was met with positive reviews and it’s pretty clear that thus kid is on fire right now.

In 2000 an artist from the westcoast emerged known as Hood Surgeon with a few songs but nothing really proffcient enough to create a buzz. A few years on and he changed his name to Curtis Young the biological son of Dr Dre. It seems that as with the name change Young’s music has also matured and so far he has appeared on a few mix tapes which has created a huge buzz for an album to drop. He has stated several times that he would like to revive the west coast like his father and Bing in new sounds, he has also stated his first love was writing poems at age 11. Let’s hope he dosnt take a long as Dre to drop an album or we can add Curtis Young to the list of MCs we wanted but never delivered.

Ice cubes first gave a glimpse of his two sons entering into the rap game during a BET cypher which also had the sons of rapper Runs two children. The cypher received positive reviews and shortly after Cube enlisted his two sons “OMG” and “Dohboy” on two tracks of his album “I Am The West”. A trap that the new artists can fall into is trying to replicate the same sound as their fathers. Cube has stated publicly that his two sons were brought up in a different world from the LA riots and gangbanging Cube saw when he was starting out. This outlook is shown through there lyrics which are by no means as hard-core as their dads work but still provides users with that new west coast style that has started trending. OMG released his first mix tape “Jacking for Beats” where he aps over popular current beats. The tape was met with favourable reviews and both rappers will soon feature in the NWA movie if it is very made alongside Dr Dre and Eazys E sons.

In 2009 Eminems brother had produced a demo of his music as a taster of things to come. A few years later it was reported that he had attained two DUIs in two stays which would delay his albums release as it would conflict with touring. He took the name Nate Kane and has tried to differentiate his music from his brothers by stating “I want to focus on songs that get played in clubs” compared to Eminem’s more hard-core tone. From hearing his most popular single “slide on over” it’s clear he’s not trying to get by under the Shady name, but similar rhythm patterns and style can be seen as similar to his brothers. Nate has credited his writing influence from Eminem as he was able to witness first-hand how Eminem wrote and created his own style. Publically Eminem hasn’t really supported Nate Music but this could be the result of Eminem focusing more on developing other artists (currently slaughterhouse/yellawolf) than promoting his brother. Never the less Nate Kane has had a small buzz in areas such as Detroit and getting some of his tracks played in local clubs.

When Eazy E died from Aids his son (soon to be known as Lil Eazy E) was only ten. The death of one of the biggest rappers in hiphop was the start of a slow decline of the west coast leading the rap game. As he got older he became an ambassador for promoting HIV awareness. After his dads death Ruthless records also started to decline as a company. With Tomica Wright (eazys wife) taking over acts like Bone thugs who were cash cows for ruthless began expanding their music outside of the label. Lil eazy e has released around four mixtapes and was set to launch a debut album a few years back entitled “Prince of Compton” after creating the initial buzz the album went into limbo and never got released. Lil Eazy had publicly beefed rapper Game claiming he was using his father’s name to much in his music which was why his music was selling. Game responded with a few lines on “120 Bars” but stated after he didn’t feel right beefing Lil Eazy as he had too much respect for his father. It’s clear that Lil Eazy has got support from rappers such as Daz, bone thugs and BG Knockout who was all affiliated with his dad, but as far as a debut album is concerned the finished product seems far away. It has been stated that he will zoom play the part of his father in the NWA movie however with this also being delayed it seems for the time being he is concentrating on promoting other artist as well as making more music which gets respected air time from Compton Djs.

Rapper and Ex magazine owner Benzino also brought his son into the game known as “Cool Breeze Ray”. The artist is still quite young and aside from a few tracks that have been released over the last few years the lack of music being made can be credited with the decline of the hype. Eminem famously dissed Benzino regarding him bringing his son into the game “you even brought your in son to try to eat of him because you missed your boat”. Benzino has stated he doesn’t want his kids to go into the rap industry as a primary source of income. An analysis of Cool Breeze style and flow are generally pretty good, from the last few songs thstv have been heard its clear he has created his own rhythm and style but in terms of a debut it seems it’s a long time coming.

Honourable mentions: Justice the son of rapper GZA who has had some input onto some Wu projects but watch this space as his voice has been cruised for not sounding mature enough over the beats, but time will tell.

Big L How come you can listen to my first album And tell where a lot of niggas got they whole style from?

11.

JJ fad; Supersonic. 1988
During the NWA era  JJ Fad associated themselves with NWA projects and tours. From the buzz that was created Dr Dre produced an album for them, which eventually went platinum selling around 400,000 copies of their single along with no promotion. Dres and Yellas beats would later be viewed as sticking to their electric roots (from the World Class Wreckin Crew) with a friendly funky mix which allowed the music to be heard on local radio stations. The album earned the group a top status however with the departure of Dr Dre and Yella on beats future albums wouldn’t sell half as well.

10.

Michel’le: Michel’le. 1989
Known for her squeaky voice in person, Michelle debuted her top selling album during the peak of NWAs reign. Before the days of Faith and Mary J Blige the album was new, raw and bragged high quality production from Yella and Dre. Even in the days of the World Class Wreckin Crew her vocals were unique. After selling 1.5million copies of her album the buzz eventually died down and her music is now considered a Dr Dre classic.

9.

The firm: The Album. 1997. 
During the shift from New York street music emerged the mafia influenced album of The Firm. In the style of acts like Scarface the album was produced differently to other Dre albums with heaver bases and slow strings. The all-star line-up included Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Narture. This period was considered the prime of the artist. Commercially the album didn’t do so well and The Firm never released a follow up album even though The Album was   certified gold and grew to have a cult following. All the artists in the group went on to fulfil successful careers.  The album would also be the reason some fans felt Dr Dre had “fallen off” after lack of appreciation for the new style.
Honourable Mentions: Executive Decision, Phone Tap, Affirmative Action.

8.

The D.O.C.: no one can do it better. 1989

Before NWA released Straight Outta Compton, The DOC had inputted to all prior NWA albums. His distant voice and mellow rhythms were welcomed in the rap scene leading to a debut album produced by Dr Dre and NWA. After recording the album DOC became a top figure in hip hop and with the lead single “Its Funky Enough becoming a critical success the album began having a cult following. Shortly after The DOC was involved in a car crash leaving his voice tarnished for MCing. He later began working behind the scenes for Dr Dres future works.
Honourable mentions: No One can do it better, The Formula and Its Funky Enough.

7.

The Game: The Documentary. 
After the success of 50 Cent, Compton Rapper The Game would be the next of Dr Dres prodigy’s to confirm Dr Dre hadn’t fallen off. The album went on to sell 600,000 units in its first week and eventually selling over 6million albums worldwide. The album bragged a new era for West coast music after the rise of New York Rap in the 90s. During the rise of 50 Cent the game learned how to compose music (Stating he only started rapping three years prior to being signed to Aftermath). 50 Cent helped to write around half of the tracks on the album but after relationships turned sour at Interscope, The Game who was once part of 50 Cents G Unit Group was later dropped.  Both Game and 50 went their separate ways both being involved with similar careers (Movie Roles and mix tapes).
Honourable Mentions: We Aint, Dreams and Westside Story (Feat 50 Cent).

6.

Eminem: The Slim Shady LP. 1999
With 300,000 albums sold in the opening week, The Slim Shady LP brought Dr Dre and Eminem to a more commercial market. Dr Dre was quoted with saying the album as created by Eminem and Dr Dre both popping Ecstasy Pills in the studio. After a heavy two day jam session they would reunite after a night to hear what they had recorded. The album established Eminem as a heavyweight rap artist and indirectly helped to overcome critics who argued Rap was a form of racial discrimination singling white people out as an enemy ( A view built from the early hard-core rap records of the 80s, e.g. Public Enemy and X- Clan)
Honourable Mentions: I’m Shady, Still Don’t Give A Fuck, Brain Damage.

5.

Eazy E: Eazy Duz It. 1988
Arguably the rap album that earned Dr Dre the title of most upcoming producer. By 1995 the album had sold over 2.5 Million with little to no promotion. This would become the only full length LP produced by Dr Dre for Eazy E before departing from NWA. The album was an early chance to see what the future of what West coast music would become, with mellow beats and Eazys signature style this album really was the solo album everyone was expecting and more! The album was written by MC Ren, Ice Cube and Dre which would pave the way for all future NWA albums.

Honourable mentions: Ruthless Villains (Feat M.C. Ren), 2 Hard Mutha (Feat Mc Ren), Eazier Said than Done (Feat Dr Dre).

4.

Snoop Dogg: Doggystyle. 1993

Before Eminem, Outcast and Little Wayne, Doggystyle was the fastest selling rap album of all time selling over 800,000 copies in its first week. Considered Snoop Doggs Best work the album boasted a new G funk style with mellow but hard beats over Snoops slurred style. Rumours of how the album was created have often been disputed in the past. The song “Tha Shiznit” was said to be completely freestyled and done in one take.
Honourable Mentions: Gin and Juice (Feat Daz), Tha Shiznit and Murder Was the Case (Feat Daz)

3.

 50 Cent: Get rich or Die Trying. 2003

In its first week 50 Cent had sold 900,000 records and was already signing movie deals as well as brining G Unit to the forefront of the new era of Hip Hop. Eminem and Dr Dre reportedly produced the whole album, Eminem was responsible for tweaking lyrics and Dre perfected the beats. The outcome was among the most acclaimed Debuted albums in history. The fusion of Dr Dre and Eminem had created a verbal monster who had achieved more through his debut album than many of his New York counterparts had in their whole career. The album is considered 50 Cents finest work with every track in my opinion a hit.

2.

Dr Dre: The Chronic, 1992
Arguably the most anticipated album of its Era. The Chronic has been in top ten lists since the dawn of 90s Rap. With all-star appearances the album was the first time Snoop, Daz, Nate and Warren G would be in the mainstream. Chronic is hailed as holding the precedence for all Hip Hop albums, boasting a new style of beats, flow and even to an extent a world away from the political influence from the 80s (X-Clan, Public Enemy, NWA). The album was surrounded with controversy from finding a label to distribute it to members of the public concerned for the wellbeing of their children and the affect the music would have on them. For me this album was a turning point for Dre and 25years later it’s still being spun in my CD drive.
Honourable Mentions: Let Me Ride, Rata tat tat, Nuthin But A G Thang.

1.

NWA: Straight outta Compton. 1988
During the rise of inner city gang violence NWAs début album went double platinum with no tours or marketing. The album morphed the five members into superstardom and is often credited with launching hip-hop into the mainstream market. With tracks like Fuck The Police and Gangstar Gangstar the members were constantly hounded by threats from the FBI and other government officials demanding all future albums sales to be halted and censored, but it was too late to kill the buzz. The production of the album was acclaimed and is still considered top quality even by today’s standards. Chris Rock ranked the album as his number one top rap album of all time. The album was also credited from shifting the buzz of New York hip hop towards the west coast. I have a feeling ill be listening to this record when I’m 50!
Honourable Mentions: Fuck The Police, If It Aint Ruff and Express Yourself.

The year was 1994 when Ice Cube, Mack 10 and WC would begin working collectively on each of their solo projects (Mack 10s album: Mack 10 on Westside Slaughterhouse). After the decline of west coast hip-hop with a shift to the East and South, the trio would serve as the last remaining dominating powers from the west for a long period.

Ice Cube, Mack10 and WC were among the few super groups to complete two ground breaking albums. I always wondered however why they haven’t been more appreciated in hip-hop. Even going through countless rap forums WC is rarely listed among top 10 lists often over shadowed by other groups such as NWA.

The groups first LP was “Bow Down” in 1996 with the biggest selling Tupac Album “All Eyes on Me” taking over the west, rap fans were also banging to this record. Around 4 of the tracks on the album were diss tracks towards Cypress Hill and showcased Ice Cubes battle skills (since No Vaseline). The album became an instant classic of the 90s and since the departure of “The Firm” the album was a prime example of how super groups could dominate an industry.

The follow up album Terrorist Threats (2003) boasted premium hard-core beats fused with west coast lyrics to provide a ground-breaking LP. The album received less favourable reviews but on reflection I prefer this record a lot more. With guests such as Nate Dogg and producers such as Young Tre, the album was everything I expected and more from the duo.

After years of AWOL Cube would openly declare the groups departure due to allegedly misunderstandings with Mack 10 over touring and producing a solo albums. Shortly after this rapper “The Game” was announced to join the group however this never materialised. In recent times the feud between Ice Cube and Mack 10 seems to have fizzled out, but don’t bet on another album as all three artists are currently focused on solo projects.

If anything we should be grateful to have received two knockout LPs from the time of the trios reign but any chance of a reunion is slim as it seems all artists are preoccupied with side projects (such as Cube bringing his kids into the game). I hope as time goes on more people get a chance to listen to the albums to really get an insight as to what the bench mark for hip hop albums really were.

In the words of DMX (Fame)
“Take it for what it’s worth, my birth was a blessing. Sent to live and die, on earth as a lesson. We each have a star; all we have to
do is find it. Once you do, everyone who sees it will be blinded”

In the early days Yella was part of the Electric group the World Class Wreckin Crew and noted for producing hit records for Eazy-E’s debut album Eazy-Duz-It and all three N.W.A albums. Prior to this Dr Dre and Yella were also official DJs on “Kday” Radio, this led to Yella becoming the official DJ for all future NWA shows. During the NWA drama Yella stayed Loyal to Eazy and helped him to build Ruthless Records through producing for acts like Bone Thugs n Harmony. After the death of Eazy E Yella it seems took a sabbatical  In 1996 he produced the album “One Mo Nigga Ta Go” featuring the remaining Ruthless Records roster spitting over his beats. The album didnt receive as much recognition as his NWA counterparts and was considered a flop by the All Music Guide. Yella has stated the album flopped due to bad timing of promotion.

After the failure of a rap career and without the guidance of his peers Yella left the rap game to focus on directing porn films. After producing over 250 films through the website http://www.djyella.net, Yella began making soundtracks for films enlisting help from Mc Ren.

Yella wasn’t present during the NWA reunion era, even during live shows (Up In Smoke Tour). Interviews and clips have surfaced over the years but nothing substantial enough to feed rap concessioner s. Yella has stated during the reunion era none of the members contacted him to jump on tracks. It has been argued that the reunion era was mearly media hype and that the artists (including Snoop) were just working on  Cubes album and not an NWA reunion album hence why only two songs were released with the members, (Chin Check and Hello).

After a long hiatus from the industry it has been rumoured that Yella boy is coming back with an album called “West Coastin” scheduled release for this summer (2013) so be sure to check it out. No acts have been confirmed but watch this space!

In the words of LL

“Dont call it a comeback, iv been here for years!”