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Added by mojack on 10 May 2014 06:30
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2008: Best Rap Albums

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People who added this item 3 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Tronic - Black Milk
BOOM, that's the sound of my respect for Black Milk, which was kinda low and apathetic, being punched right in the gut by the full force of this album. Punched up in the air to a chorus of fireworks, because damn this is fine fine music. My main complaint about him before was that I just didn't hear anything really interesting to him, nothing that stood out of the crowd. All that is changed now, the bets are up in the air. He tackles instead of Dilla's sound, the Kanye West style synth production, and beats the originator at his own game, and how! This is beautiful synth hop music, stunning, the best in the year thereof. It rips, snorts, and flutters, all within the sound pallet. The opening song "Long Story Short" might just be the best rap song of the year period, if nothing else on the album was even good that first track would have earned him that respect. But the whole thing is great, even his rapping I didn't care much for before worked ten times better over this music. I was on the outskirts before, not accepting him as one of the new big production faces, but now I'm with ya'll. If he can replicate this level of quality from here on out? Then by god he may be the Dilla successor yet.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Long Story Short, Hold It Down, Overdose, The Matrix
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 18 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 0
Rising Down - The Roots
Synth use in rap has clearly taken a sudden turn into the spotlight, and so far it's been used not unlike the 80's did with it's pop. Common and T.I. both have churned out bouncy dancey fun. Rays of electronic light. When ?uestlove made early comments about how this album would be synth heavy it seemed destined to be in the same mold as those others. But when the album was finally released people were in for a surprise. The Roots are using many synths here yes, but they've flown in exactly the opposite direction as their compatriots, flinging themselves deep into the abyss and making some harrowing nightmarishly intense music. Songs that almost seem to rip at the earphones to get out, at you, or to escape, who knows. It's violent electronic music that wants nothing more then to make you feel the same. It reaches it's darkest point with the chilling "Singing Man", a song rapped from the viewpoint of a political assassin, a school shooter, and finally the view of one of the 9-11 hijackers. Call that shit wimpy synth music. Very fresh very exciting. Too many sorta inorganic guest spots and sung hooks? True. But it doesn't stop the album from being great at all. And if you don't like the wistful electro most backpackers are churning out, then boy do Black Thought and the gang have a treat for you.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Rising Down, 75 Bars, Criminal, Singing Man
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
The Renaissance - Q-Tip
What's a record label that doesn't release albums? What's hard work that gets shelved right after you complete it? What's ten years of your career spent with no release? And most importantly. What good is an ear if a Q-Tip isn't in it? NOTHING. But at long long long fucking last, we get, something from one of the original titans of the alt rap world. Tip is back and actually moving some major units (and getting some considerable radio play! Go Tip!) And the album getting all this deserves it, as it's short and oh so beautifully simple. This essentially sounds like the same style he's been playing around with since he went solo nearly ten years ago, but strangely at long last perfected. Open was a good album but it spent a whole lot of it's time dicking around, never really nailing what it wanted to get done, Tip seemed lost in his own little realm of soul. But this is the real Renaissance here, it makes you see what he was up to the whole time, and makes you nod your head like hell...I can't remember when. I really couldn't be happier for him, dude put up with unbelievable shit and was humble throughout. And at long last he's rewarded. And hopefully, due to the success, the next time, labels won't doubt him like idiots.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Gettin' Up, Manwomanboogie, Move, Dance on Glass
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 19 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Nas is on LP number 9 here and he's thankfully still on a wave of refound glory following his return to form on "Hip Hop Is Dead". He's found his motivation again, and his delivery has been brought back to being full on point. This album had a very controversial rise to release where Nas wanted to name it "Nigger", the labels eventually balked and he instead released it without a title and an image that in a lot of ways conveys the same meaning as the original title. The material is his most overtly political release ever, he hits on a long list of topics within the usual and some not so usual spheres of rap discussion. In a way this could easily have been his new best since Illmatic, but it falters in a few ways. First off, it has a weak start. Track 4 for instance is garbage, skip it. Secondly it has some meh production, most of the beats are at least alright, but at the same time they are a bit ...cheesy. Few of them have any sort of real quality to them. It's Nas that really carries this album with his passion and interesting topics. If he can keep up this emcee quality, and get amazing production for his next album, then he might just be capable of a release that finally, finally, finally is comparable to Illmatic.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Hero, America, Y'all My Niggas, Black President
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
A modern man like T.I. might have chickened out on the idea of a whole album in the new Synth Hop style, but leave it to a straight up veteran to fully embrace it. Common has done what he needed to and stopped sounding tired and predictable, instead we have an LP where he struts his stuff over wonderfully 80's sounding electronic fun. No other album of the year better embodies this new sound, I mean damn, listen to the final track "Everywhere" and tell me this isn't a new thing. It's especially great seeing someone so weathered in the game being the one lapping the young turks and grabbing the flag, it probably came in handy being pals with Kanye (who was spearheading this sort of stuff to mixed results on "Graduation"), but Common makes probably the first whole rap album that makes it work. He even has the insight to make the first track and lead single be a tribute to the forefather to Synth Hop (Electro), Afrika Bambaataa himself. The best decision though is to keep it short and simple, it's ten tracks! Ten! Holy shit! When's the last time a major rap album was ten tracks! Please please please let this be a resurgent trend, nothing would better the game right now then such a thing. PLEASE.

Rating: 4
Highlights: Universal Mind Control, Make My Day, Gladiator, Everywhere
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
Ode to the Ghetto - Guilty Simpson
Stones Throw has apparently designated Simpson as their next big thing, and his flurry of exposure after the release of this make it hard to deny it. Guilty is a Detroit rapper with close ties to the modern masters of the LA/DT alliance, and the album shows it in the production credits. Madlib, Oh No, Black Milk, and a Dilla track. This should be amazing with those names, so how come it it's only so so on beats? Lib in particular could have done much better, while Black Milk makes up for some of this on his spots. Guilty himself is hard to describe in terms of appeal. I usually don't like guys with flows as slow and simple as his, but something intrigued me anyway. He raps about hard and rugged stuff and maybe that's what makes him refreshing? Hard to say. If he can keep close to the big names on this album and get better products out of them he may yet drop a banger.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: She Won't Stay Home, Ode to the Ghetto, My Moment, The Real Man
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 1 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
The Ugly Truth - Prolyphic and Reanimator
This album kind of reminded me of early Jedi Mind Tricks, y'know the type of stuff I'm talking about. And considering how far astray from their old ways most such acts have gone at this point I gotta say this was in a way refreshing. It's that kind of east coast music that make you shiver a bit because it captures that urban cold feeling, the bleakness. It's stuff that could hypothetically be made in Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago or Detroit. But for whatever reason only the Northeast seems to make this stuff. But no one's really been making it for ages. What I'm getting at is I'm not sure how much of my enjoyment was the thrill of hearing fresh new material in this style, and how much was for the album on it's own? It definitly strong though no doubt, both sides of the act bring their best.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: 99 Bottles, Survive Another Winter, Box Within a Box, Two Track Mind
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
The Preface - eLZhi
Elzhi is the guy who replaced Dilla in Slum Village after he left, so in other words he's a Detroit rap-soul artist through and through. He fits in well with them, but Slum Village was never about emceein' so I guess the question is can he hold up on a solo release? Now don't get me wrong! This guy can rap! It's just he's really nothing too special for me, simply adequate. For a guy like this to soar he needs some great production backing, and since we have no more Dilla who ya gonna call? Well how about some Black Milk? That's right. This is a genuine rarity in this day and age, an album that is pretty much comprised of one rapper and one producer (aside from guest spots). A real duo affair in the vein of Pete Rock and CL Smooth. So much so that it's a shame it isn't stronger then it already is! I'm fully satisfied with Black Milk's work here, man was simply on fire in 08', but if only I cared more about Elzhi himself... oh if only. Well regardless you can toss this one on top of the growing pile of hella nice material from Detroit.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: Motown 25, Fire, Save Ya, Hands Up
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 0 Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0
White Van Music - Jake One
Most producers make beats for certain scenes and groups of the rap world. Some focus on crews, some on sub-genres, some on levels of commercial exposure. But then there's Jake One, who has produced for G Unit and turned around and produced for De La Soul, don't mean no thing to him. The way this works isn't so much that he varies his style either, it's that his style is very....basic. It has very little that really places in it in one strata, so many different types of rappers can work on it. And for this he certainly has many types. DOOM, MOP, Young Buck, De La Soul, Freeway, Elzhi etc. It acts as a show almost of what works best. Much of it is sort of only alright, but a few moments shine. Elzhi shines. Freeway shines. It's as if Jake wanted to see who to go with for real.

Rating: 3.5
Highlights: The Truth, Oh Really, Scared, Glow
People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Paper Trail - T.i.
T.I. jumps part way into the synth hop pool here, especially with the radio hit single of "Live Your Life". But something about alot of the music on this is bland, most of it doesn't even sound much different from his old sound really, just a little more computerized is all. The moments where he really does go for the synth gusto are nice and refreshing, but the majority is populated by genericness.

Rating: 3
Highlights: Live Your Life, Swagga Like Us, Slide Show, Dead and Gone
mojack's rating:
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (35 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
Wayne had been comin' up big time for several years due to his previous two Carter albums and a flurry of mixtapes (I don't care about mixtapes though), so the hype for this album was gigantic as Wayne shaped up to be the biggest single rap artist since Kanye. And when I say hype, I mean hype, was it Time? Newsweek? One of them said something along the lines of Wayne being a modern day Bob Dylan. Yeah, so hype. So in a way this album was to mark his official arrival as the new prince of the mainstream world. And...well it's pretty disappointing for that sort of thing. There's still some definite signs of his potential, and of course he always brings his 100% on passion. But mostly it's just boring and fairly generic sounding.

Rating: 2.5
Highlights: Mr. Carter, Dr. Carter, Shoot Me Down, DontGetIt

A year that really did change things in the hip hop world again. America elected a man with Jay Z on his I-pod as it's leader, who also had some directives in the opposite direction of the previous eight years of disaster or something but yeah, Jay z on his I-pod. But more relevant to the world of hip hop things slowly and surely picked up into an avalanche of perhaps the first major stylistic movement in rap since neo-soul that wasn't an awful southern party genre. A throwback to 80's new wave, rap's own electro past, and a general love for synths and autotone voice effects. Like hell should I know why hip-hop has suddenly started flirting with Tears for Fears, but I'm mostly just refreshed. It's already clear that many rap hipsters are bemoaning it, but I for one welcome the new sound. And a new era in general.

Added to

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Hip Hop Best Album Directory (21 lists)
list by mojack
Published 9 years, 9 months ago 1 comment

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