The Gray Area

The Gray Area

Hip Hop Shows Signs of Life in 2008

with 2 comments

Whether or not you believe Hip Hop is or was dead, it’s still fun to say so. For argument’s sake, let’s just say it got its ass kicked and was lying comatose in the hospital for a while. The artists listed here are signs that Hip Hop has not completely punched the ticket yet.

The Roots  – Rising Down

Hip Hop can always count on The Roots to deliver, even in the midst of all the madness. While, to me, this wasn’t as good as Game Theory, it’s kinda like complaining that you got head instead of a blowjob.

Joe Budden – Mood Muzik 3 & Halfway House

My favorite rapper.  Joe Budden puts my emotions into words. 2008 was a great year for Joe Budden. He grew a lot musically, and put out two dope mixtapes, not to mention forged what could become the dopest hip hop group EVER (Slaughterhouse – Joe Budden, Royce 5’9, Joell Ortiz, Crooked I). He is truly one of the artists who improves on every project he works on. I hope this trend continues. I kinda almost prefer him to stay a dope ass mixtape artist, as opposed to making a mainstream name for himself. This way, he’s still (pause pause pause) my secret. Here’s MM3. And Halfway House.

Fav track

  • MM3 – All of Me

Royce 5’9 – Bar Exam 2

Royce is BACK! I haven’t cared about a Royce song since Bad Meets Evil. Bar Exam 2 shows that he’s still a force. One of the better things to come out of Detroit.

Fav track

  • Done Talkin

Stryfe – Detroit Rap City

Stryfe hooked up wit a French producer named Jihazed for this album. This was truly a bright spot in the year. I think it came at a real good time for me; I was LOOKING for something new.

NERD – Seeing Sounds

Does this count as hip hop? Even if not, the shit is dope, and deserves recognition.

Fav track

  • Sooner or Later

Detroit CYDI – The Rhyming Dictionary

Merry Christmas! I can always count on these guys to deliver hip hop how it should be: FUN! They’re lyrical, funny, and creative. It’s a much-needed break from the norm of “gun-clappin, drug-sellin, nigga-robbin” rap. Very refreshing. Grab it!

Black Milk – Tronic

Black Milk is part of the reason Slum Village stayed so dope after Dilla’s departure. He’s got his own sound, but was clearly influenced by Dilla. On top of that, he’s got rhymes. This album bangs from front to back (with the exception of maybe one track).

Fav track

  • Long Story Short

Elzhi – The Preface

I had given up on an Elzhi album 2 or 3 years ago. When this actually dropped, it caught me by surprise, and I was actually not that excited to listen to it. Once I got into it, all that original enthusiasm returned. Not one song on this album that I skip.

Fav track

  • Fire (remix)

Charles Hamilton – The Pink Lava Lamp

Charles Hamilton is like Lupe Budden Jr. He’s got Lupe’s imagination and eclecticism, with Joey’s emotion. On top of that, he’s an actual musician. He plays to complement his samples instead of letting the sample drive the track. This album consists of songs that I’ve sampled for my own beats, or WANT to. I love listening to artists whose shoes I can picture myself in – this, (and Black Milk) was that for me this year. I relate to his lyrics right behind my own and Joe Budden’s. “My lifestyle needs a Lifestyles; fuck the world!”

Fav track

  • Boy Who Cried Wolf

Murs – Murs for President

Some thought he “sold out” to commercialism on this album. I kinda noticed what they mean, especially with the Will.I.Am track. And one thing that bothered me is Murs stopped sayin “nigga” a couple albums ago, but brought it back for this one. Iono if it’s for the sake of reaching the general hip hop audience, or just had a change of heart about it. Anyway, it’s a solid album.

Fav track

  • I’m Innocent

Q-Tip – The Renaissance

It’s Q-Tip, do I have to explain???

Drake – Comeback Season

Drake is nice!

Feel free to add more. I’m sure there are mad others I’m leaving off.


Written by TomDaBomb2u

January 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I gotta throw my man Stat Quo into the mix. His mixtape Quo City is the truth!


    January 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  2. T.I – Paper Trail
    Fav track – I’m Illy


    January 24, 2009 at 4:30 am

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