I don't know whether its my recent string of arrests or my general anger towards race relations and life in the hood, but I've been listening to a lot of rap recently. Many new albums have surfaced recently showcasing some of the best work we've heard from already established artists.
Raekwon's latest, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, has gone through hell just trying to get released. Finished possibly as early as 2005, the album has gone through various record labels, name changes, and producers. Despite all of the drama involved, the final product was worth the wait. With tight production from RZA, J Dilla, y Dr. Dre, clever lyrics about life at the top of the mob, and various Wu-Tang members throwing in verses, the album hits hard on all ends. Listening straight through, I cannot say that there is a bad track. While I am posting these two RZA productions, I insist that you give the album an entire listen. Raekwon - Black Mozart (feat. RZA & Inspectah Deck) (YSI) Raekwon - New Wu (feat. Ghostface Killah & Method Man) (YSI)
Of the albums in this post, I'm having the most trouble with Q-Tip's Kamaal the Abstract. While The Renaissance sits high on my list of best rap albums this decade, this effort strives for a rap-over-jazz feel rather than just jazz beats. For the most part, the songs are a bit boring. Considering how well Tribe crafted beautiful verses over Jazz beats, I'm surprised I don't like this album more than I do. Regardless, "Even if it is so" is definitely the most interesting track and worth a listen. Q-Tip - Even if it is so (YSI)
Finally, one of the most surprisingly delicious songs in this post comes from none other than former Outkast member Big Boi. A SMOOTH jam, this one deserves some attention. I can imagine this gaining a lot of traction in the mainstream in coming months. Big Boi - Shine Blockas feat. Gucci Mane (YSI)