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Hip Hop Column #01

By ; April 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM 

So I’m writing a column. It doesn’t take much time to find material – the art form pretty much allows for constant drama and tidbits for the writer. Every week, someone’s bound to piss someone off, or make a mistake, or an album will get pushed back, starting a turbine of rumors as to its quality, and so on.

This week, apparently Ice Cube still thinks he has some ounce of credibility. He’s been planning to release an album entitled I Am the West, which he certainly isn’t. Yes, in the early 90’s he was likely the best rapper alive. He essentially created (along with Dr. Dre) Eazy-E’s place in hip hop history for him, yadda yadda. Nowadays though, as everyone knows, he’s the marquee name for bad movies with a (formerly) cool black guy. His latest track, “Drink the Kool-Aid” disses more or less everyone. Saying that Kanye is a bitch, or that Dre is lazy, or that Eminem has grown emo is all well and good, I suppose, but Cube just isn’t in a position to diss anyone. All any foe would have to do is pop Are We Done Yet? in the DVD player and beef over. Wikipedia has Dre listed as a producer for the album, which has to be awkward. I suppose Cube could apologize for it as the desperately attention seeking maneuver that it is. (In fact, Cube’s more recently stated Dre asked him about the track, and explained it away in pretty much that manner, the good ol’ “uh…it wasn’t a diss.” maneuver.)

Speaking of Dr. Dre, as the Earth likely knows by now, Detox is supposedly coming out this year after all. Think there’s any chance it’ll live up the ridiculous expectations it’s created for itself? Word’s all over the place about its first single, apparently called “Under Pressure,” featuring Jay-Z. My lack of enthusiasm regarding Jay-Z aside (he’s made 4 good albums, guess which ones I think those are?), pretty lame move. Dre is releasing his first album in forever, he’s a hip hip titan, and he can’t ride his own steam for the first single? Or at least get back at it with someone from his posse – preferably Snoop or Slim? Nope, instead he’s coming in with the safest (and most boring) big name in the game. For anyone hoping for a straight up hip hop record, a pairing with a (arguably the) pop rap icon isn’t exactly promising. After how bad Blueprint III was, Hova appears to have fallen off; I suppose he could use this track to prove me wrong. I’m not really counting on it (I will gladly eat my words come next column if the song comes out and is good), so here’s to hoping Dre didn’t have him do the ghost-writing for the track too.

Seeing as this whole affair has involved Aftermath in some regard, might as well keep it up. Eminem certainly knows how to create buzz out of nothing, in the 24 hours since I wrote this article, I’ve had to rewrite it 3 times as he announced something new and exciting again and again. As everyone knows and seems to be obsessed with by now, he’s releasing an album on June 22nd. After the “long” wait – not really, seeing as Relapse took four years – Relapse 2 buzz built once more due to hype from Just Blaze et al, and then was killed in an instant when Slim himself declared it dead. He’d promised big news, but this certainly wasn’t what we’d been hoping for. I wasn’t overly concerned, as I’d been figuring he’d change the title for some time now. Now Eminem announces Recovery, as this very site has already said. Great. I’m relatively confident that this album will blow Relapse out of the water, but a bit of a lame title, no? It makes sense and all, but meh. Aside from the list of producers already mentioned on this site, rumors are abound as to guest spots: Lil Wayne has been touted for some time, and now B.o.B. is being mentioned, which I suppose would make sense considering Eminem’s upcoming spot on the former’s debut. That’s fine too I suppose, but thus far the guy’s largely come off as a watered down Andre 3000 to me. Both Jay-Z and Elton John were supposed to be on Relapse, so maybe those tracks will show up here. Lastly, there’s the list of the usual suspects: Dre, 50, and D12 have been all but officially confirmed, and the latter group has said they recorded a track entitled “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” for the album. Let’s just take a moment and realizing how exciting it really is that Eminem is branching out with new producers and collaborators, and that he appears to be simply getting back to making great music. I never stopped, but try and remember how much you loved this guy circa 2000. This could be fantastic.

That’s all for now. Next time I think I’m just going to go off on how entirely uninspiring and hardly talented Drake is.

Editor’s Note: We’re still working on a name for the column but expect it on the next installment. Following posts will also include some of our favorite new tracks. Stay tuned.

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