January 2004

January 11th, 2004

Releases: Although there’s little official word it seems the general consensus, based on how long its been since past projects and such, is that the following artists all have new albums out this year. If all goes to plan 2004 will be a very strong year for quality hip-hop. But it’s a big IF because we all know about album delays, don’t we Mos Def. Black Twang, Roots Manuva, Tommy Evans, Zack De La Rocha, Dilated Peoples, One third of Ugly Duckling, Lauryn Hill, Pras, Sage Francis, Aspects, Nas, Canibus, Eminem, D12, Dre? and a hell of a lot more I’m sure!

Lauryn Hill For the first time since almost ever www.laurynhill.com was updated this week, with posters and a book of the artist available to buy. There was also a pay per view studio track you could slam your plastic down for and a DVD for sale of the same performance. The industry was quick to shout hypocrite, questioning the highly priced items and the seemingly still ‘mad’ multi Grammy award winner. However, on closer inspection the whole website update is in fact very likely a stunt of satire. On her official Sony website’s message board loyal fans were quick in pointing out that the billing system for the live performance is merely a long winded mailing list subscription form and that whatever credit card details you enter, you still get e-mailed the address for the live performance. So what’s it to be? Fans are in denial that their heroin has turned into the capitalist pig that she’s been ranting about of late, or she’s just too clever and the joke went over our heads? Either way, here’s the video whilst you make your mind up. Note that towards the end of the performance, pre recorded vocals and drum percussion starts playing. Very promising! Khulami Phase is scheduled to drop in June 2004.

Tommy Evans recently put out a three track 12” featuring new material from his forthcoming CD album entitled ‘The turbulent times of Tommy Evans’. The lead single ‘Who Am I?’ boasts humorous word matter and a fantastic beat, a lot less gloomy than a lot of UK hip-hop to date. Mr. Evans of YNR Productions, interviewed for this site some months ago, aims for the full length debut album to have around ten tracks in total, believing albums of twenty or more titles is too long winded and not what it takes to produce a classic.
Best Sellers In the recent RIAA list of the top fifty best selling artists of all time, hip-hop made its presence felt. At number 32 was Tupac Shakur, Beastie Boys held the 56th position whilst Eminem came in at number 58.

My Top Five Tracks: Freedom Of Speech- Immortal Technique, Who Am I?- Tommy Evans, Shorty- Busta Rhymes & Chingy, Citizen Smif- Jehst, The Get UP- Little Brother.  

Skills this month released his novelty track ‘Niggas’ in the same vain as his previous annual review ‘Rap Up 2003’. The beat’s not as great but there’s some good lines on there. I just wish he’d concentrate on an album that’s easily available and free of label delays and politics…Rawkus were once sooo good!