iHipHop’s 2009 Wrap Up Post
Perspective‘s Best Commercial Hip-Hop Albums Of ’09
EDIT: The albums ARE NOT ranked with any sort of numerical value.
Jadakiss- The Last Kiss CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Jada dropped an album in ’09. He’s gunna be on this list. Was it his best offering? No. Was it still better then the majority of the other releases? Yes.
Tracks: “One More Step” ft Styles P, “Cartel Gathering” ft Raekwon & Ghostface Killah, “Can’t Stop Me”
Rick Ross- Deeper Than Rap CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Despite all the f*ckery with this guy in the last year, the dude can spit. The album was theatrical. I listen to it all the time. Plus Ross in entertaining and his absurd but awesomely entertaining viral videos are on point. Shouts to Spliff TV.
Raekwon- Only Built For Cuban Linx 2 CLICK HERE FOR REVIEW
The most surprising album of the year. How do you follow up Only Built For Cuban Linx in 2009? Raekwon did it, and he did it independently. An impressive feat.
Drake- So Far So Gone EP
Drake? The guy blew up and still sold a more records then most commercial releases all year of a mixtape he gave away for free in the first place. He dropped some phenomenal music, and I must say I consider myself a fan. That being said I started this with his name and a question mark for a reason. I’m interested to see how his official album release, Thank Me Later, does in 2010.
Tracks: “Fear“, “Uptown” ft Lil Wayne & Bun B, “November 18th” (Only On Mixtape)
Slaughterhouse- Self Titled CLICK FOR REVIEW
I think these guys helped solidify the power of the internet and music. They really managed to create a cult following, and it seemed to happen overnight. We’ll have to see if this alleged Shady deal goes through? Interscope giving Slaughterhouse a streetdate?
Tracks: “The One“, “Microphone” “Onslaught 2”
Clipse- Til The Casket Drops CLICK FOR REVIEW
-The Clipse kind of share the sentiment of Jadakiss. They dropped an album? They’re going to be on this list. This album made me go back to older Clipse albums. Is it really absurd to consider Lord Willin‘ one of the best hip-hop albums of all time? I think not. Either way Til The Casket wasn’t to shabby either. It was actually really dope.
Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3 CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Ironically I’m bring the Clipse into this Jay post. Combat Jack asked them about “The Blueprint 3”. Pusha T described it as “European Hov”. I think that captured the album perfectly. It’s cool and all, but you kind of want to hate on it. Just like Europe.
Tracks: “Already Home” ft Kid Cudi, “Empire State Of Mind” ft Alicia Keys, “Thank You”
Kid Cudi- Man On The Moon CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Cudi. A lot of people swear by your album. I thought it was so-so. That being said I thought A Kid Named Cudi mixtape he dropped not only changed hip-hop, but kind of changed the internet mixtape game. He was the first rapper to kind of blow up through the blogs. Plus that “Day N’ Nite” single wasn’t a bad look.
Tracks: “Day N’ Nite” “Soundtrack 2 My Life” “Simple As…”
Snoop Dogg- Malice In Wonderland CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Snoop always makes good albums. I wasn’t sure about putting him on here, but the album was good. Go here for my rant on Snoop.
Tracks: “I Wanna Rock” “That’s Da Homie” “Gangsta Luv” ft The Dream
Gucci Mane- The State vs Radric Davis CLICK FOR REVIEW
-Some might say it was the year Drake blew up, but I think Gucci was the one who really blew up. While he has been around for a minute, he seems to be the hottest artist out right now. The album wasn’t the best, but Gucci has delivered so much material this past year that he’s getting on this list.
Perspective‘s Best R&B Albums Of ’09
EDIT: The albums ARE NOT ranked with any sort of numerical value.
-I’ll be briefer on the R&B Stuff.
Trey Songz- Ready
-YUUUP!!! I feel like Trey Songz dominated 2009. He seemed to be constantly working. He dominated the air waves on radio from what I’m told, but I preferred his freestyle/remixes. Specifically “Day N Nite“, “Every Girl“, & “So Fly”
Bobby Valentino- The Rebirth
-A lot of people might be surprised with the Bobby V pick, but I think he is one one the best out right now. I think he put the album out himself as well.
Alicia Keys- The Element Of Freedom
-Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don’t. Alicia Sold 420K first week. That isn’t easy to do these days. I thought the album was average, but that “Empire State Of Mind” track ended up being a good look. So what if it’s Jay’s song.
Ryan Leslie- Transition
-First off let’s not forget that R Les dropped his debut Ryan Leslie in February of ’09.
It was good, but Transition was better. I have previously gone on whole Ryan Leslie rant, so go here.
-This guy kind of just came out of no where to dominate ’09. Let’s keep it at that.
Pleasure P- The Introduction Of Marcus Cooper
-After departing Pretty Ricky to go solo I think my expectation were pretty low. Then I listened to the music, and was fairly impressed. However there was recently a child molester mix up recently which is never a good look. I think he might be innocent, but it sucks when people start thinking you molested children.
Chrisette Michele- Epiphany
-I remember the first time I heard Chrisette Michele on a Ghostface record called “Slow Down“. I was immediately hooked. I kind of forgot about he existence until her “Epiphany” single surfaced. It was a “wow!” moment. The whole album just has a lot of felling in it, which in my opinion is essential to good R&B. This is definitely the sleeper album of this list.
The Dream- Love vs Money
Haha, The Dream. This guy just makes me laugh. He’s the underdog short pudgy guy that somehow became one of the most influential people in R&B. I’m a fan though. The dude has a futuristic pop type sound that no one else can duplicate. I think he’s currently the VP of Island Def Jam. When he’s not making serious moves in the music business he is wearing the most absurd wedding outfits ever. No Homo.
Keri Hilson- In A Perfect World
Keri has been in the “industry” for awhile now. It just was in a songwriter capacity. 2009 was the year she stepped out of the shadows and into the limelight. I feel like her being a songwriter first really helped solidify her presence as an artist. She always came over very confident and decisive in her interviews. 2009 was the year of Keri’s arrival, and the year she proved she’s here to stay.
Rihanna- Rated R
This was definitely a year in which Rihanna stayed in the headlines albeit for the now infamous night Chris Brown assaulted her. Rated R was the album where Rihanna was going to show how much of a strong woman she was. My main beef was that Def Jam just used the domestic abuse case to market her record. Kind of making her look vulnerable in the long run. Regardless the album was solid, and she was smart enough to get a Young Jeezy feature. Yeeeeaaahhhh!
JGerson‘s Best Underground Hip Hop Albums of ’09
1. Brother Ali – Us (Rhymesayers Entertainment) CLICK FOR REVIEW
What can I say about Brother Ali that hasn’t been said already? With each subsequent release, the albino from Minneapolis solidifies himself as one of the strongest voices amongst artists, and 2009’s Us is no exception. Once again relying on Atmosphere’s producer, Ant, Us is a musical landmark featuring a wide range of instrumentation such as steel drums and synthesizers with Ali doing what he does best – belting out powerful vocals of pride, heartbreak, and clarity. From beginning to end, Us is a near perfect creation. Ali crafts songs without exaggeration even when he gets cocky, always remaining true to himself. If I had to recommend one indy release to purchase this year, it would be Us. The fact that Ali was overlooked for a Grammy nomination is an atrocity in my opinion (I mean Flo Rida?..come on).
2. Fashawn – Boy Meets World (One Records) CLICK FOR REVIEW
I’m not going to lie; when I was asked to review Fashawn’s debut, Boy Meets World, I was a sort of reluctant. I knew from “Freedom” that Fashawn was dope, but knowing little about him, I thought it would be easier to remain ignorant. Anyhow, to say I was impressed by Boy Meets World is an understatement. Despite the long-winded critique I gave the album when it first dropped, it’s been in steady rotation in my iPod and continues to grow on me. Exile does a fantastic job providing Fashawn with a canvas to illustrate his upbringing in poverty and life on the streets of Fresno. Drug dealing and gun play aren’t glamorized, as Fashawn attempts to demonstrate the physical and emotional tolls this lifestyle has taken upon him, at times evoking the spirit of a younger Common. Despite having some tracks that are passable, the album is reminiscent of Nas’ debut, playing through as a West Coast ode to Illmatic.
3. Apathy – Wanna Snuggle? (Demigodz Entertainment) CLICK FOR REVIEW
Apathy is one of the most slept on emcees out there. He knows what it means to make a solid LP rather than “drop a bullsh*t mixtape every six months.” Wanna Snuggle has Ap showing a different side of his personality; the ferocious lyrics, flow, and humor are still there, but this time he’s also dealing with the baggage relationships bring along with them. Nonetheless, this album is especially impressive because Apathy produced the majority of it himself, utilizing some of the most soulful samples in Hip Hop this year.
4. CunninLynguists – Strange Journey Volume Two (A Piece of Strange Music) CLICK FOR REVIEW
CunninLynguists is one Southern Rap trio that needs to blow up. The consistent act with a somewhat changing roster has been a staple of loyal fans as much for their lyrics as for their swagger. While Deacon, Natti, and Kno may never become household names, they are committed to providing quality flavor for your ears. The second volume of their Strange Journey series proves to be better than its predecessor with some well placed guest appearances by the usual suspects from QN5 as well as some help from Freddie Gibbs, Sean Price, Poison Pen, Evidence, and even E-40.
5. Saigon & Statik Selektah – All In A Day’s Work (Amalgam Digital)
So I think it’s safe to say that Statik Selektah is on his way to becoming in next ‘DJ Premier,’ if not the only ‘Statik Selektah.’ Does that make Saigon the next Guru? Not quite, but The Yardfather is one of the nicest out there. Bringing together two cats that genuinely love Hip Hop, All In A Day’s Work is one of the best releases of the year, and according to Statik it took no more than 24 hours to make, including a short nap. The chemistry between the two is undeniable and the only problem I have with this release is that I wanted to hear more (thankfully the sequel is coming in 2010).
6. DJ JS-1 – Ground Original 2: No Sell Out (Ground Original) CLICK FOR REVIEW
Straight up, this album is the closest thing you’ll hear to 1994 these. The Rocksteady Crew’s very own JS-1 manhandled the turntables as usual, while proving he’s a force to be reckon with behind the boards as well, bring that old boom bap back. Recruiting some of the nicest in the game, it’s a no brainer that this would be a banger just by looking at the track listing. While there may be one or two lackluster verses on the entire album which includes over forty emcees showing what they do best, it seems like JS himself never falls short.
7. Termanology – Time Machine (Hood Politics VI) (ST Records) CLICK FOR REVIEW
About a year ago, with the anticipation of his debut album, Politics As Usual, Termanology seemed destined for the type of success that takes cats out of the underground and places them in the limelight. Unfortunately these days came and went as the lyrical content of the album fell short of expectations surrounding his Hood Politics mixtapes. Less than a year later, Term redeemed himself with the self-released Time Machine. Combining some classic production from the likes of Large Professor, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, the Alchemist, and Statik Selektah, with lyrical prowess and a rapid-fire flow, the ‘street album’ became one of the hottest and most slept on joints of ’09, leaving those with their ear to the street anticipating what’s next to come from the Boston spitter.
8. The Alchemist – Chemical Warfare (E1 Entertainment) CLICK FOR REVIEW
I know I’m not the only one that thought Al’s fist LP was straight crack, but Chemical Warfare didn’t exactly live up to 1st Infantry’s reputation. Either way the album’s undeniably nice, although the guest appearance could have been done better (Eminem and Fabolous have extremely brief cameos). What impressed me even more than the production was actually Alchemist’s vocals; dude can spit. Makes me wonder what we can expect from his Gangrene project with Oh No.
9. Joe Budden – Escape Route (Amalgam Digital) CLICK FOR REVIEW
Yes, I know I’m going to get some heat from people for this choice, but bear with me for a moment. Joey’s Padded Room was a lackluster wannabe pop album in my opinion – Escape Route is geared towards the hardcore Budden fan looking for the Mood Muzik Joe. The production is dark and consistent, plus I expected this prelude to The Great Escape to be a dud and was surprised it was better than my number ten pick. Either way, when I heard this album, I instantly became a fan of the man’s work. His worldplay is clever and so are his punchlines (“cry me a river and I’ll turn into Mike Phelps“).
10. Wiz Khalifa – Deal or No Deal (iHipHop Distribution) CLICK FOR REVIEW
’09 was a good year for the up-and-coming Wiz Khalifa. After his departure from Warner Bros, Wiz proved to the world he was hungry with his independently released Deal or No Deal. Khalifa has a unique look, but an even more interesting brand of music; it’s basically club music for you to chill to, and I’m alright with that.
Overall some great Hip Hop came out in 2009, especially when looking at what didn’t make it to MTV. What are your favorite albums of 2009? Leave me a comment.
Perspective‘s Top 10 Mixtapes Of ’09
EDIT: The Mixtapes ARE NOT ranked with any sort of numerical value.
-XV is a personal favorite of mine. This mixtape was different. Great production. Look out for more from him.
J. Cole- The Warm Up
-Jay-Z’s newest signee to Roc Nation introduced himself to the masses with this tape. The NYC via Fayetteville , NC rapper clearly has a witty sense of delivery. I think he has tremendous potential, but he definitely has some ways to go as far as development. We’ll have to see what he’s up to in ’10.
Big Sean- UKNOWBIGSEAN
-I listen to this guy’s stuff all the time. You should go back and cop Finally Famous Mixtape as well. I believe his whole album is produced by Pharell & Kanye West which is definitely a good sign. I don’t know if Island Def Jam knows how to market him, but look for Finally Famous (the album) to drop in 2010.
Wiz Khlaifa- Flight School
-While Wiz has dropped numerous mixtapes previously to this, most notably Star Power & Prince Of The City 2. However, I feel like this was the tape that made everyone realize it was time to get familiar. Wiz has a tendency to rap about smoking weed, being fly, drinking champagne, and girls. You know, the good stuff.
Cory Gunz- Heir To The Thrown
-This Don Cannon assisted tape proved one thing. Young C can spit. I think Chris is the type of rapper that can be embraced by all of the sub-genres that now exist in hip-hop.
Diz Gibran- Soon You’ll Understand
-This is the sleeper of the bunch. This mixtape was better than 90% of the albums that dropped in ’09. The LA wordsmith linked up with producer Moonshine to create a real composition of music. This is the tape that a 40 year old and a 16 year old fan can bump to.
Pac Div- Chruch League Champions
-This LA based group of MC’s has a tendency to remind me of A Tribe Called Quest. They just seem to spit, and have fun doing it. “Whiplash“.
Nipsey Hu$$le- Bullets Ain’t Got No Name Volume 3
-I feel like ’09 was the year Nipsey really solidified himself in the hip-hop scene. Nipsey makes that gangster hip-hop music that everyone can seem to relate to. He seems to rap more about the struggle of life as opposed to being some sort of criminal master mind.
-I almost forgot this tape even existed, but it’s at this time of year that we remember little gems like this. I still think that Blu may be the wittiest rapper in the game. With this Jazz infused production, you may want to just sit back, spark and L, and let Blu expand your mind. Also be sure to cop his classic (but slept on) album with Exile Below The Heavens.
Perspective‘s Best R&B Mixtapes
Rashaan‘s (R.E.D) Top 10 Mixtapes of 2009