Man, I Love This Hip-Hop Shit.

Seriously.

I’ve been getting some of the best music ever this summer. Sometimes I wonder if I’m so excited about these albums just because I’m such a hip-hop enthusiast, and because this is a music and culture that have had such a big impact on my life. But to me, the quality of real music doesn’t lie. Here’s a rundown of recent non-Michigan additions to the catalog. (The albums from the mitten get their own post later on. Yeah, it’s that serious.)

Nas, Untitled

Nas was forced to change his album title from “Nigger,” but upon listening to the fresh album leak, its apparent that the Queensbridge native had a point to make after all. The album sees Nas in a return to form of his Lost Tapes glory days, specializing in elaborate concepts to convey his objective of investigating the N-word and black people in history: “Project Roach” sees him metaphorically comparing the insects to other races’ perception of blacks, he speaks as minister Louis Farrakhan on the song of his namesake, and on “Sly Fox,” he beefs with Fox News instead of emcees like. Nearly every track on the album has a clear purpose that at least somehow contributes to the aforementioned goal; this, combined with Nas’ line-after-line depth, adds replay value – and, if it stands the test of time, the classic factor – to the most controversial release of the year.

Killer Mike, I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind 2

I’ve been a staunch supporter of Killer Mike since I was wow’d by his song “That’s Life,” on which he snaps at the prissiness of certain members of the black upper-class (imagine Michael Eric Dyson’s Is Bill Cosby Right? (Or Has The Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?), but with a crazy instrumental and more verses). His solo debut Monster was solid, but I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind 2 sees his potential fully realized: an incredibly well-rounded album that sees the Outkast affiliate showcasing a booming delivery that’s just as effective on passionate social rants and introspective reflections (“as it is on flossing anthems and egotistical boasts (“Big Money, Big Cars,” “10 G’s”). Frankly, just an incredible disc that’s refreshingly void of any gimmicks or contrived attempts at keeping up with trends, but filled with top-notch, high quality music. My early vote for album of the year.

Danny!, And I Love H.E.R.

This South Carolina producer/emcee’s story is just as interesting as his music: dude got kicked out of school for his participation in a scandal that altered students’ grades, his 2006 album Charm earned him a trip to the Grammys by being a shortlist nominee for Rap Album of the Year, and he won a contest with MTVU last year that got him a record deal with Def Jux. His latest project sees him continuing the concept of Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.,” with the album executing the theme of Danny!’s on-and-off romance with a special woman: hip-hop herself. Originality is Danny!’s primary advantage: his surreal melodies sound like they’re straight from an extraterrestrial jazz lounge, while capable, charismatic rhymes keep things going. As another review stated, “Danny! takes it back to the nineties without sounding like he’s trying to imitate the nineties.” Hopefully, he realizes that him and H.E.R. were meant to be together.

Don’t worry, y’all. I’ll be reppin’ my state again tough pretty soon.

-Ketch

  • Miss Brittany

    you make the new Nas sound necessarily epic; so now I must get my hands on it the morning of the 15th… Seriously, The Lost Tapes glory days? U Gotta Love It 🙂