Sunday, January 31, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

Over the past few days, a bunch of new leaks have surfaced. An album that I completely forgot about, but am now once again excited to hear is Erykah Badu's Part Two: Return of the Ankh. As of right now it has a release date for March 30th, 2010, but who knows if it'll be pushed back or not. Anyways, the first official song to be released off of that album has leaked online, and it's pretty hot... Lil Wayne and Bilal make contributions as well

Big Sean, one of my favorite up-and-coming artists, did a freestyle over the beat from Gucci Mane's song "Lemonade." This is the best of both worlds because I'm not a fan of Gucci Mane, but the beat for "Lemonade" is pretty hot (it's produced by Bangladesh, who also did the "A Milli" beat), and Big Sean does the track justice by spittin' some dope lines.

Another album I'm really looking forward to is the upcoming collaboration between Freeway and producer Jake One called, The Stimulus Package. It's being released on Rhymesayers Entertainment, which along with Stones Throw Records, is one of my favorite indie Hip Hop labels. Representatives of Rhymesayers gave HipHopDx a Stimulus Package song for Dx's Hip Hop Helps Haiti donation drive mixtape. The song is hot so check it out, but also take a listen to the mixtape when you have a chance.

Complex Magazine is quickly becoming one of my favorite publications. Two articles that I really enjoyed recently were Complex's "25 Most Anticipated Albums of 2010," and "10 Classic Songs Recorded at Baseline Studios." The first article is self-explanatory, but the second one may require a brief history lesson. Baseline studios, which has been run by Just Blaze the last 6 years, was essentially the headquarters for Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella Records. This past week, it closed down for good... something I was extremely sad to see. With that studio closing, it almost marks the end of an era that I was quite fond of. Anyways, Complex did an article about their top 10 songs that were recorded there.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 4: Timbaland

Along with Dr. Dre and The Neptunes, no one has changed the landscape of music more throughout the years than Timbo the King. His style has consistently evolved, each one completely different than the last. Although I'm not a fan of his most recent work (Blueprint 3 and Shock Value 2), there is still no other producer I would want to help create a bonafide hit.

1) Aaliyah- Are You That Somebody

"Are You That Somebody" was the lead single off of the Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack back in '98. The one thing I remember most was that whenever I turned on the radio, this song was getting spins (and for good reason). It's widely regarded as one of the greatest pop music songs of the '90s, and is probably one of my top 3 favorite Timbaland beats.

2) Nelly Furtado- Promiscuous

The track that put Timbaland back on the map... "Promiscuous" was a HUGE song when it dropped, and reached #1 on the Billboard charts pretty fast. I believe this was the first time we heard a collaboration between Timbaland and his now famous understudy Danja.

3) Missy Elliott- Work It

In my opinion, I'd say "Work It" is the biggest song of Missy's career, and that's saying something considering she has a number of hits under her belt. Back when this dropped in '02, MTV bumped this song like it was going out of style. Regardless, it's a hot song, and Timbaland once again laced the beat.

4) Jay-Z- Big Pimpin'

It's hard to say where "Big Pimpin'" ranks in my all-time favorite Jay-Z singles, but it's more than likely in the top 5, possibly top 3. Everything about it is epic... the Hype Williams directed video, the multi-million dollar yacht, big Dame Dash pouring bottles of Crystal out on the video girls (haha), it's just a dope song/video. The beat, which is a sample of an Indian song called Khusara Khusara, is fire. Everyone's heard "Big Pimpin," and if you haven't, you must've been living under a rock the last 11 years.

5) Justin Timberlake- Cry Me a River

When this song first came out, I remember thinking 'wow Justin Timberlake is a little bitch,' but after the millionth time I heard "Cry Me a River" on the radio, I gotta admit I started to like it. The beat is credited to Timbaland, but it's pretty well known that it's also co-produced by Scott Storch (who I will do a "behind the boards" post for in the near future). Looking back on it, the song is undeniably hot.

6) Bubba Sparxxx- Ugly

The funny thing about Bubba Sparxxx is that the dude is straight country. Only a producer like Timbaland (or Dr. Dre, case in point with Eminem) could take a white boy from the rural south, and create a dope song. "Ugly" is a raucous beat... the kind that we've come to expect from Timbaland, and Bubba holds his own for the most part.

7) Jay-Z- Dirt Off Your Shoulder

I still say "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" is one of the hottest beats/Jay-Z songs of all time. I hate to keep making references to Blueprint 3, but I really was expecting songs of this calibur... not like the lackluster "Off That," or the two other Timbo-produced songs. Anyways, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" once again solidifies Timbaland's reputation as one of the best producers of all time.

8) Petey Pablo- Raise Up

THIS ONE'S FOR NORTH CAROLINAAAA!!!! Petey Pablo was pretty wack, but it's hard to deny the appeal of "Raise Up." The beat is wild, and the hook is just out of hand. It's one of those songs where you just have to "Raise Up" when you hear it.

9) LL Cool J- Headsprung

Say what you want about "Headsprung," but if you just listen to the beat, you cannot deny that it is one of the hottest beats Timbaland has to offer. Personally, I like "Headsprung" as a complete song, but I know there are haters out there that aren't really feelin' it. Regardless, I think we can all agree that the beat is fire.

10) Missy Elliott- The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)

This is a landmark song for a number of reasons. First of all, it's the first Hype Williams-directed video to become famous for 'the fish eye' effect. Second of all, this is the song that really put Missy on the map. I remember seeing this video on MTV, thinking it was the most bizarre thing I'd ever witnessed up until that point in my life. Third of all, "The Rain" is what established Timbo and Missy as a hit-making duo.

Once again, Timbaland's catalogue is way too extensive to only choose 10 songs, so I highly advise you to check out the honorable mentions, as well...

Honorable Mentions: Missy Elliott- Gossip Folks, Ginuwine- Pony, The Game- Put You on the Game, Lil Kim- The Jumpoff, Ludacris- Rollout, Memphis Bleek- Is That Your Chick, Justin Timberlake- (the entire FutureSex/LoveSounds album)


In one final post today, I wanted to share the newest track from G.O.O.D. Music's Consequence. He did it big with Whatever U Want, and he will be releasing his next mixtape project ConsTV Presents... Movies on Demand which is said to drop sometime in February.

The recent track is entitled Childish Games and features a verse by Asher Roth, as well as a sample of the Notorious B.I.G. The track depicts the problems with the fakeness of the world and the industry, and how it needs to stop. It's great to see Consequence keep doing his thing and I'm glad he got my man Asher on the track since I haven't heard anything from him since the drop of his under appreciated album Asleep in the Bread Aisle.

You can hear the track below, see behind the scenes footage of the video here, and check out the G.O.O.D. Music remix of Whatever U Want on this previous post.


I definitely enjoy a lot of the music of Wiz Khalifa. His mixtape, Burn After Rolling, was, for the most part, a great listen. Things got quiet with him after his album dropped late last year, but he is still out there doing his thing.

I recently heard what could only be called a smoker's anthem that he did over Lady GaGa's Poker Face. In the cleverly titled track SmokerFace, Wiz rejoices over one of his favorite past time's. You can check out the track below. Be on the look out for his next project, entitled Kush and Orange Juice, that will be released sometime between spring and summer of this year.

Distant Relatives

I am extremely excited for the release of the upcoming collaboration between Damian Marley and Nasir Jones. The album, Distant Relatives, is scheduled to be released April 20th. Marley told Rolling Stone in March of 2009 "We're trying to have a sound that's reminiscent of both of us, but not exactly like either."

From what I've heard so far, they are doing just that. One being a rapper and the other a reggae artist, they do their perspectives things on each track but they mesh so well together. When you hear the back and forth bars you realize that this project is something that the two should have done long ago. There is something about their chemistry that only adds to each of their respective talents.

As the name Distant Relatives and the album cover may hint at, the album concentrates a lot of issues in Africa, topics stemming from ancestry to poverty. Regardless of the heavy social commentary, the tracks below do not cease to entertain. Be on the look out for features from Stephen Marley, K'Naan, and Snoop Dogg.

Exhibit Jay

It took me a while to get behind all the buzz that was about Jay Electronica. I had not really been exposed to much of his music, but he is a very smart and talented individual. If you haven't read it yet, Mr. Evan's did an awesome post on the dude a while back for his Who's Next Series. You can check out that post here.

There aren't many rappers today that can match his outstanding lyricism. Fellow lyricist Nas gave Jay a co-sign which is impressive coming from such a legend in the hip-hop industry. Nas is said to be featured on Jay's Act II, which is said to be experiencing delays because Nasir sending in his verses late.

Many of you have probably heard Jay's Exhibit C by now, but today I'm bringing you a remix of the track. A producer named Hasan Insane flipped the track and contrast Just Blaze's original sample he used. Add in a seamless Nas verse, and an amazing song only got better.

EDIT: I wanted to add a second track, featuring Jay. The track, Just Begun, was brought to us by Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek) off of their Revolutions Per Minute mixtape. The song features not only Jay Elec but fellow up and comer J. Cole and industry veteran Mos Def. Mos actually refers to the four rappers as the fucky four horseman, and I wouldn't mind hearing other collaborations from the group. For more on Reflection Eternal, check out Mr. Evan's post here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Miscellaneous Post of the Day

Going forward, I'm going to make a commitment to write at least one post per day. Whether it's the next installment of "Who's Next?," "Behind the Boards," or the new "Miscellaneous Post of the Day." So anyways, let's see what's recently caught my eye...

As a MacBook, Logic, and iPod user, I'm a huge fan of Apple products. So naturally, when I saw the official announcement for the new iPad, I knew I had to give my first thoughts. Part of me thinks this is the coolest thing I've ever seen (even though it's essentially just a giant iPhone), but part of me doesn't want to let go of the past. As much as I love this digital age, I'm still a fan of physical things. CD's are already becoming obsolete, could books and DVD/Blu-Ray discs be the next to go? I certainly hope not... Regardless, check it out here.

A good friend of mine recently put me on to this Wu-Tang Vs. The Beatles mashup. I haven't listened to it all the way through quite yet, but from what I've heard it's definitely worth a download.

Also, if you've read most of the posts on here, you may have noticed that I'm a fan of Dame Dash. Recently, The New York Observer wrote an article about Dame's recent transtition into the indie world and his new Tribeca workspace, DD172. It's an interesting read, so be sure to take a look at it.

Bonus: Swizz & Dame at DD172

P.S. Stay tuned for Parts 4 & 5 of "Behind the Boards," a review of Clipse's Till the Casket Drops, and the next installment of "Who's Next?" coming soon...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Adventure Continues

It is no secret that we at A Young G's Perspective are big fans of the newcomer B.o.B. He just continues to impress me as an artist, continually putting out new music. I just recently heard a Hip-Hop Saved My Life freestyle that he delivered off the dome and more importantly, just heard another song called The Biz. B.o.B switches up the flow from verse to verse and just when you think the song is over, he finishes up stronger than ever.

Below is the video for the Hip-Hope Save My Life freestyle and just below that you can listen and download his newest song, The Biz.

B.o.B - The Biz

And don't forget that his debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray is slated to be released May 25th. It is rumored that Lupe Fiasco, Weezer, T.I., and Eminem will be featured on the album, but even without any star artists, I can see B.o.B doing big things with this.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Alright, so I was home for break and didn't have internet, but lucky for us Mr. Evans has been keeping up with the site. Now that I'm back, it's time to get back to work. I was just recently listening to Bun B's II Trill album, his second studio album. The record is solid almost all the way through - a couple tracks that got radio play and many others that didn't but lyrically were excellent. This album was released after the passing of Pimp C, so you can hear Bun's message to his late partner as well as other tracks pertaining to social issues Bun takes up and some standard tracks documenting the southern lifestyle.

My favorite track on the album was Swang On Em with Lupe Fiasco. I love how Bun and Lu are two very different rappers but they mesh so well together on this heavy bounce track. Lupe really impresses me rapping about growing up on southern rap alongside a southern great like Bun. His verse does nothing but add to the track.

Another great track was the second single off the album. You're Everything was an ode to the late, great Pimp C, Bun's other half of UGK. His passing left something missing in the southern rap world, which you can see by the features of Rick Ross, David Banner and 8 Ball and MJG.

A third track I'm going to feature is Damn I'm Cold. I have my qualms with Lil' Wayne, but I enjoy hearing both him and Bun on a track together. The beat is dope and both of these respected artists really go in.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 3: The Neptunes

The Neptunes, individually known as Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, have amassed one of the greatest production discographies (if not the greatest) of this past decade. Recently, Billboard gave them that exact distinction. Once again, picking 10 songs was incredibly difficult. The Neptunes have created such an extensive catalogue, that you could easily swap 5 of these songs out for 5 different ones, and it would be difficult to argue. I read a statistic that in 2003, 50% of the songs on mainstream radio were produced by The Neptunes- that is absolutely astonishing, and a feat that likely won't happen again for some time. Anyways, here are my Neptunes top 10...

1) Snoop Dogg- Drop It Like It's Hot

I remember the first time I heard "Drop It," how dumfounded I was by the 'tongue click' that is a main part of this song. But the more I heard it, the more it grew on me, and now it's one of my favorite songs ever. Surprisingly, it took The Neptunes to give Snoop his first #1 hit, and it stayed at the stop of the charts for 3 weeks. Recently, Billboard named "Drop It Like It's Hot" the most popular song of the decade, and in my opinion, it's hard to argue otherwise.

2) Gwen Stefani- Hollaback Girl

I'm not the biggest Gwen Stefani fan (I'm really not a fan at all), but 'Hollaback Girl' deserves your attention. The reason why is the infectious cheerleader-type beat. In typical sparse Neptunes fashion, it's the big, epic sounding drums, and the infectious hook that draw you in. You won't catch me going out of the way to listen to it, but you can't deny how popular this song is. "Hollaback Girl" reached the top of the Billboard charts and basically established Gwen Stefani as a solo artist.

3) Justin Timberlake- Rock Your Body

Without question my favorite Justin Timberlake song, "Rock Your Body" is the song that made me stop 'hating' on JT and finally become a fan. Certainly a lot of credit goes it to The Neptunes and Timbaland for providing him with top-notch music, but he added his own flavor and made the music hot.

4) Britney Spears- I'm a Slave 4 U

Even though the majority of Britney's songs are wack, "I'm a Slave 4 U" is certainly one that is pretty hot. Pharrell and Chad hooked her up with a hot beat with the standard 'Neptunes sound,' but it works. It didn't do quite as well commercially as some of her previous songs, but it garnered a fair amount of praise from critics for a style that was edgier than her past work.

5) Clipse- Grindin'

Grindin'... one of the hottest beats and songs of all time. I remember back in the day, in middle school, I would pound the beat out on the lunchroom table or on the bleachers of the gymnasium- it was just such an infectious beat. The drums are way too hard, and Pusha T and Malice come with serious heat, lyrically. With lines like "I move cane like a cripple," and "some days I wasn't able, but there was always cane," (get it?) they left no secrets as to what they were talking about. "Grindin'" is always in my iPod rotation and that probably won't change for years to come.

6) Usher- U Don't Have to Call

While he's not one of my favorites, there's no question that Usher's got some hits under his belt. One of which is definitely this Neptunes-produced beauty. Their signature sound was perfect for Usher, and the hook and video are memorable as well.

7) Kelis- Milkshake

To be honest, I had never heard of Kelis until "Milkshake" came out, but once I heard it, I knew I'd never forget. It was so hot, you couldn't front on it. The lead synth in the song is hard, which gives "Milkshake" the perfect edge to make it more than just a 'pop' song. The video is pretty fun to look at too...

8) Clipse- Wamp Wamp (What It Do)

While the chorus kinda ruins the song, the beat for "Wamp Wamp" is one of the craziest and best Neptunes beats to date. Pusha and Malice, once again, never fail to rip the track to shreds. There was a little bit of controversy surrounding this beat as Foxy Brown or Lil Kim (I can't recall which) wanted this beat, but Pharrell insisted that the Clipse have it. Some feelings were hurt, and I believe there was the threat of a possible lawsuit, but luckily everything worked out and the Clipse were able to work their magic.

9) Busta Rhymes- Pass the Courvoisier Pt. 2

"Pass the Courvoisier Pt. 2" is without a doubt one of the hottest songs I've ever heard. There is no way you can sit still when this jam comes on. Pharrell lends a hand on the hook, and Diddy adds a verse as well as some adlibs, to create an unforgettable track.

10) Nelly- Hot In Herre

Although Nelly is a pretty lame rapper, there's no denying that "Hot In Herre" was a HUGE song when it dropped. Everyone has heard it at least once, and it went on to be a cultural phenomenon to some extent. It was Nelly's first #1 song, and is widely considered to be one of the biggest songs of the past 10 years. Love him or hate him, Nelly and The Neptunes got this one right.

Honorable Mention: Mystikal- Shake Ya Ass, P. Diddy- Diddy, Clipse- Cot Damn, LL Cool J- Luv U Better

Friday, January 08, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 2: Just Blaze

Probably my favorite producer, Just Blaze never ceases to amaze me. When he's not busy playing video games and steps behind the boards, he has been known to make some of the greatest beats in Hip Hop. Him and Kanye were essentially in-house producers at Roc-A-Fella, and created the backdrops to anything 'Roc' affiliated, whether it was a Jay-Z release or a song from Beanie Sigel. With all due respect to Kanye (who is also one of my favorite producers), I'll take Just Blaze any day over him. It was tough to pick out my 10 favorite beats when his catalogue is so extensive, but here's what I chose...

1) Kanye West- Touch the Sky

Although Kanye usually does almost all the production on his albums, he had no problem handing the reigns over to 'Just' for "Touch the Sky." The triumphant horns, sampled from Curtis Mayfield's song "Move On Up," fit perfectly with the rest of Late Registration's 'orchestral theme.' The video is especially memorable, as most of Kanye's videos are, and the Pam Anderson appearance doesn't hurt, either.

2) Freeway- What We Do

Easily one of the greatest songs to come out under the 'Roc-A-Fella dynasty,' "What We Do" is a jam. Every single person rips it... Free, Jay, and Beanie all kill it over JB's production. My favorite line is probably when Jay-Z says, 'so I move keys, you can call me the piano man.' Not much more has to be said about this song except that it is fire.

3) Fabolous- Breathe

"Breathe"... one of the hottest songs of the decade. Seriously. Don't get me wrong, Fab did his thing on the track, but this beat is just silly. Stupid hot. This is probably in the top 3 of my favorite Just Blaze beats, and maybe top 10 or top 15 beats of all time.

4) Cam'Ron- Oh Boy

Everyone HAS to remember this song. This was one of my favorites from back in the day, which is no coincidence due to the fact that it came out around the time when 'The Roc' was killin' mainstream music. When The Diplomats signed to Roc-A-Fella, it was over. Cam'Ron, Juelz, and the rest of Dipset would never have to worry about working with lackluster producers, as Just Blaze and Kanye were officially in-house.

5) Jay-Z- Public Service Announcement

An absolute banger, period. This is the Jay-Z I know and love. Personally, I don't think Jay has been the same since The Black Album. Just Blaze hooks up one of the best loops, possibly of the decade. It's a sample of Little Boy Blues' "Seed of Love," and Jay sounds great over it. Probably one of my top 5 favorite Jay-Z songs.

6) Jay-Z- Show Me What You Got

While it's not one of the greatest lyrical showcases for Jay, it is a great showcase for Just's production. The beat is pretty epic, and the edition of live drums definitely helps. The video is the definition of 'big budget,' as it's shot in Monaco and features cameos from Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

7) Saigon- C'Mon Baby

The Greatest Story Never Told is still one of my most anticipated CD's (right up there with Detox) and "C'Mon Baby" is a reason why. Sai spits heat over one of Just Blaze's most raucous beats. People that have heard The Greatest Story Never Told have said that when it is released, it will go down as one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of the last 10 years. A big reason for that is Just Blaze producing 75% of the album. The video is pretty cool, and it features both Just and Swizz Beatz as well.

8) The Game- Why You Hate the Game

While, I'm not the biggest fan of The Doctor's Advocate, it did have some hot songs, including the magnum-opus ending, "Why You Hate the Game." It's a beautiful song, with Marsha Ambrosius on the hook, and NaS lending a hand as well. "Why You Hate the Game" might be a top 5 favorite Just Blaze beat, simply because of the large, grandiose scale of the song.

9) The Diplomats- I Really Mean It

"I Really Mean It" is by far my favorite Diplomats song, and it's one of my favorite beats of all time. I remember the first time I saw the video for "Dipset Anthem," which was a hot song in it's own right. Then it fades into "I Really Mean It," and the scene that follows is simply classic...

10) Jay Electronica- Exhibit C

The hottest Hip Hop song of '09, "Exhibit C" is too dope. It's one of Just's best beats in a while (partly due to the fact that he doesn't put out too much music these days) and Jay Elec absolutely massacres the song. If you haven't heard it by now, that is a FAIL on your part, but you can make up for it by checking it out below.

Honorable Mention: Cam'Ron- The ROC (Just Fire), Jay-Z- U Don't Know, Joe Budden- Pump It Up

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Behind the Boards Pt. 1: The Trackmasters

As an aspiring A&R/producer, I closely follow who is responsible for creating the backdrops in the world of Hip Hop. There are loads of talented producers in Hip Hop, but in the coming weeks I'm going to highlight my favorites. One of my favorite production duos, that despite their numerous hits goes under the radar, is The Trackmasters.

Very few people can deliver those mainstream, yet still Hip Hop bangers like Poke and Tone. One of the reasons I love these guys is they have cross-over appeal, but they never sell themselves out. They always stay true to Hip Hop, but with their signature flavor, it adds an entirely different dimension to the music.

1) The Notorious B.I.G.- Juicy

Everyone knows "Juicy," and if you don't, you should just quit life. I shouldn't even have to go into detail about this masterpiece, as it is one of the greatest songs of all time- regardless of the genre... simply timeless. Most people aren't aware of the controversy behind the making of this song. Apparently, Puffy came over to Pete Rock's place one day, and Pete (who is one of the greatest Hip Hop producers of all time) was playing an unfinished beat that Puff thought was pretty hot. According to Mr. Rock, the next thing he knew, he heard that beat all over the radio, and that ended up becoming the classic cut that we know today, 'Juicy.' On Biggie's album, the song is credited to Puff Daddy and Tone, which most likely means Tone constructed the beat, and Puffy added in his various intricacies.

2) Destiny's Child- Independent Woman, Pt. 1

Without a doubt one of Destiny's Child's biggest songs, it jumped onto the Billboard Hot 100 charts in November of 2000, and held onto the #1 spot for eleven weeks. You may remember it as the lead single for the Charlie's Angels soundtrack. I don't even like Destiny's Child, but I have to admit this was a dope song.

3) Jennifer Lopez- Jenny From the Block (feat. Jadakiss & Styles P) (Trackmasters Remix)

I'm not gonna say this song made me a Jennifer Lopez fan, but the co-sign from Jadakiss and Styles definitely helped her establish a little bit of 'street cred.' The Trackmasters hooked her up with one of my favorite pop music beats of the 2000's. You may not necessarily be a J. Lo fan, but it's difficult to hate on this song.

(fast-forward to the :37 sec mark to get past the BS)

4) Will Smith- Miami

Miami... Easily one of my favorite songs of all time. Yeah I said it, OF ALL TIME. Every time I hear it, I smile and imagine myself on South Beach with some Latin honeys. The first half of the video is real hot, but it segues into a salsa-type scene that has grown on me over the years, but still doesn't compare to the first couple minutes. Even Eva Mendes makes an appearance in the video, during the 'beinvenido a Miami' part. This is probably my favorite Trackmasters beat.

5) Jay-Z & Mya- Best of Me, Pt. 2

Essentially a remix of Mya's song, "Best of Me," Poke & Tone once again hooked up a pop music artist with a hot Hip Hop-flavored beat. Jay-Z lends his hand to "Part. 2" and makes this into a banger. The beat is a standard late '90s style beat- dope drums, a thick bassline, and some piano notes layered over. It's very simple, yet often times simplicity and sparsity can be an artist's best ally.

6) R. Kelly- Fiesta (Remix)

"Fiesta (Remix)" is my second-favorite R. Kelly song, behind "Ignition (Remix)." Once again, Poke & Tone prove their remixing prowess with this now-classic cut. It was #1 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart for five weeks, and ended up becoming one of the biggest songs of 2001, and arguably the 2000's. This song is the reason Jay-Z and R. Kelly decided to work together to create their collaboration album, Best of Both Worlds. It's also the reason Best of Both Worlds was produced almost entirely by The Trackmasters.

7) 50 Cent- How to Rob

Off of his unreleased album Power of the Dollar, this is the song that put 50 on the map. One of the most infamous songs in Hip Hop, he described how he would rob some of the most famous names in the industry. A lot of people thought this was career suicide, but it turned out to be a brilliant move. 50 called out everyone from Puffy, to Jay-Z, to Timbaland, to the Wu-Tang Clan, and even the people that produced this song- The Trackmasters. Once it began to make waves, other MC's knew that 50 was no joke and needed to be 'dealt with.' Once Jay-Z dropped his comeback diss at the Summer Jam concert that year, it was on... and 50 began his run as one of the biggest acts in Hip Hop.

8) Jay-Z & R. Kelly- It Ain't Personal

My favorite song off of Best of Both Worlds, "It Ain't Personal" is a heartfelt song that is the definition of real. I'm not entirely sure if the lyrics are simply a metaphor, but I have a hunch Jay-Z is talking about his former mentor, Jaz-O. All I know is the song is real hot, and for whatever reason, I always find myself coming back to it.

9) NaS- If I Ruled the World

On the long list of classic NaS cuts, "If I Ruled the World" is brilliant. With Lauryn Hill on the hook, you can never go wrong. In 1997, it was nominated for a Grammy for 'Best Rap Solo Performance.' The video is dope, as it's directed by Hype Williams, who is one of the greatest 'big budget' music video directors of all time. The Trackmasters provided NaS with a glossier, more mainstream sound, as opposed to the rawness of Illmatic (which is my favorite album of all time).

10) LL Cool J- Paradise

Say what you will about LL Cool J, but if you really know his body of work, he easily stacks up as one of the greatest and most influential MCs of all time. His albums Radio and Mama Said Knock You Out are classics. However, most people (especially in my generation) know him for his R&B-type songs. I'd say "Paradise" is his best song of the aforementioned type. Amerie laces the hook, and the beat is the perfect compliment to the lyrics.

Honorable Mention: LL Cool J- Make It Hot, NaS- Rule

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Who's Next? Pt. 6: U-N-I

Up until a few months ago I had never heard of U-N-I, but everywhere I went I kept seeing advertisements for their free cd. As soon as I saw the words "free cd," I knew I had to check it out. But truth is, that's not the only reason... every blog including nahright, 2dopeboyz, and illroots seemed to hype these guys up big time.

Hailing from Inglewood, CA, U-N-I has a style that brings back the glory days of Hip Hop, albeit with an updated, glossed-out funk style. I've listened to this mixtape/album quite a few times, and it's definitely dope. The production wears a little thin towards the end, but if this is any indication for their future, I'd say we have a lot to look forward to.

RE:Turn, RE:Unite, RE:Union

One of the CDs I'm looking forward to the most in 2010, is Reflection Eternal's (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, for those that don't know) second album. Their 2000 album, Train of Thought, has garnered an enormous cult following and is considered by many to be one of the best 'underground' CDs ever. While Talib has gone on to become known as one of the best MC's in the game, Hi-Tek has established himself as a great producer. Last time I checked he was signed to Dr. Dre's in-house production team over at Aftermath. Anyways, they've decided to break the new year off with a brand new mixtape to hold everyone over until March (when the new album, Revolutions Per Minute, drops). It's a mix of new material, some old classics, and unreleased cuts... nothing but great music.

Here's the official video for "Back Again," the street single off of Revolutions Per Minute