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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Top Albums of 2006

2006 began a bit slow with rap albums released, but things picked up pace towards the end. Here's some of the albums to own from 2006:

King - T.I.
- It's up for the grammy for best rap/hip-hop album. It offers some great cuts like "Top Back", "What You Know" and "Why U Wanna", and overall is a strong release from the King of the south, T.I. The production and beats are solid, and while many say the dirty south is too watered down these days, TI is one to dispel these myths.

Game Theory - The Roots - They received very little promotional push from the label, Jay-Z's Def Jam, yet brought one of their strongest records to date. My friend has a good theory that less is better on rap albums, which can be true. The Roots don't put in all those filler skits or watered down radio-friendly songs. On this release, some say their darkest yet, they give us more classic material with tracks dedicated to good times, society and the late J-Dilla..Introspective and smart, the way alot of rap should be..

Servants in Heaven, Kingdoms in Hell - Jedi Mind Tricks - This is one dope, borderline horrorcore release. The slick tongued rappers coupled with some of the sweetest, chilling and symphonic style beats makes for an epic release. Hadn't checked much by these guys in the past, but this album sparked it off. The tracks have relevance whether discussing war, death or violence, but they do it in a smart way.

Eastern Philosophy - Apathy
- straight outta CT and you wouldn't know it until he says it. He touches on many topics on this album from drug/medication use on "Chemical" to how dollar bills get passed from criminals to citizens to politicians on "The Buck Stops Here". A clever collection of beats, samples and on-point rhymes.

Doctor's Advocate - The Game
- Game manages to pull off what seems like an impossible feat; produce and rap on a solid album without the assistance of Dre, Eminem or 50. The album is just that start to finish and as mentioned before in the blog it's like "Chronic 2006". If you like West Coast rap, this is one for you with hardcore beats and even harder lines. It's hard not to find a beat you'd nod to on this one.

Hell Hath No Fury - The Clipse
- Clipse finally make a return to rap after several years of dealing with bs from labels and management. They had been appearing on mixtapes and creating a frenzy of anticipation, and this album meets expectations. It brings Pharrell beats and old-school simplicity with some of the illest lines and metaphors on an album this year. "Chinese New Year", about robbing homes offers the line "mask on face, glock in hand, I was in and outta homes like the Orchid man". Clipse are back for sure.

Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
- Chicago's Lupe Fiasco had the unfortunate situation of having his album leaked, jacked and criticized to pieces. However, whether you got it early or on release, it's a solid album worth of mention here. On his first solo he enlists the intelligent production from people like Kanye West, Jay-Z and Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park/Fort Minor). Lupe also is the 1st rapper to really perform a crossover move uniting the skating world with hip hop on his huge single "Kick Push". The album offers classic cuts like "Daydream" featuring Jill Scott on the hook, and the chilling yet inspirational "Emperor's Soundtrack".

"Hip Hop is Dead" - Nas - Nas returns to the game with his first official release under his new home Def Jam, and new boss, Jigga. And Nas manages to outshine "Kingdom Come" with this introspective banger of an album. Credit Nas for continuing to try new things like his rhyme style on "Who Killed It" (or discredit him for allowing Chris Webber to produce). Nas offers props to the various artists who are MIA from hip hop history on "Where Are They Now?", and enlists production from the likes of and Kanye West, with guest spots from Snoop, Kanye, Game and yes even Jay-Z himself. If nothing else own this track for the first true collab by Jay and Nas, it's a thing of beauty in hip hop..ok let's not get sappy.

Kingdom Come - Jay-Z - Hate to do this, but this is the "un-retirement" album of Jay-Z and deserves a mention up here, solely because it signifies a great is back in the game. While not on par or above some of his previous works, it offers enough good tracks to be worth owning. If nothing else, a piece of hip hop history. Tracks like "Kingdom Come" and "30 Something" shine, while other tracks don't work as well such as "Anything" or "Dig a Hole" (which some think is a Jim Jones' dis track). The album definitely has its moments but can be R&B heavy in comparison to other Jay albums. Overall, Jay is back and hearing solid cuts like "Kingdom Come" or "Lost Ones" its obvious he's not gonna stop til he's sure people know who's King of this game.

Some Honorable mentions - Some albums that are worth copping:

"The Blue Carpet Treatment" - Snoop Dogg
"Like Father, Like Son" - Lil Wayne/Birdman
"Me, Myself and I" - Fat Joe
"Press Play" - P Diddy


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