Name: Ron, aka "Ronald Grant"
Web Site: http://muzikrevyze.com
Bio: Ron Grant is a freelance journalist and blogger originally from Detroit and currently residing in Orlando. He is a contributor at HipHopDX.com, is the lead writer for Orlando-based indie music label Conscious Mind Records and runs his own independent music blog, The Music Nerdvocate. Follow him on Twitter @RonGreezy.
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Music producer, sought-after DJ, indie Hip Hop label head…there are a few things that North Carolina’s 9th Wonder is known for these days. But more and more people are beginning to know his by the titles of academic and scholar with the recent release of the trailer for the 9th Wonder documentary “The Hip Hop Fellow”. The Hip Hop documentary will apparently focus on 9th Wonder’s time at Harvard University as he leads discussion and teaches classes on Hip Hop music, culture and history. It got us to thinking here at SoSoActive: what are some of the greatest recent examples of the convergence of Hip Hop and higher learning? Here are five that might surprise you:
JAY Z COURSE AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
Professor Michael Eric Dyson taught a course on the sociological and cultural impact of Jay Z’s music in 2012 at Georgetown University, and has also written books about the music of Nas and 2Pac.
QUESTLOVE’S CLASSIC ALBUMS COURSE AT NYU
Among his vast array of jobs (producer/DJ/Drummer/Curator/Music Supervisor), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson also gained the title of professor by teaching a class called “Topics in Recorded Music: Classic Albums” at New York University in 2013.
J. COLE LECTURES AT HARVARD
Last year, Harvard’s Hip Hop Archive presented a town hall styled conversation with Roc Nation artist J. Cole.
WU TANG’S GZA AND COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY TEACH SCIENCE TO HIGH SCHOOLERS
Part of a program in New York called Science Genius, The GZA worked with Columbia University professor Christopher Emdin to teach science to high school kids through writing Hip Hop lyrics.
THE NAS HARVARD FELLOWSHIP
In October of last year, Harvard University and Queensbridge legend Nas announced the details of the Nasir Jones Hip hop Fellowship, a program that will fund visiting scholars who engage in Hip Hop-related research and academics.
I’m taking a bit more of a serious tone with this installment of my weekly Hip Hop-centered articles.
As many Hip Hop heads now know, over the weekend Detroit native and on-the-fringes emcee turned “alternative Hip Hop” darling Danny Brown took to Twitter for a vent session that alarmed more than a few fans, publications and the like.
Some of his messages went as follows: “I can’t sleep my anxiety is at an all time high (sic) but don’t none of y’all care about that sh*t.” Or: “Depression is serous y’all think I do drugs cause it’s fun.” And: “Nobody cares if I live or die.. That’s the bottom line.. Y’all want me to overdose just don’t be surprised when u get what u asked for.”
To be fair, Danny Brown has been speaking candidly about his struggles with mental health for years in his music. Yet and still, it’s something that many times Hip Hop as a community either shuns or just sweeps under the rug, and just keeps it moving.
Some may dismiss this as the whining and pining of a Hip Hop star diva. But the truth is in the last few years alone there have been more than a few signs of strain in the Hip Hop community with regard to mental illness, which can potentially lead to drug abuse (Read: DMX) and even suicide (Read: Capital STEEZ), as well as Donald Glover a.k.a. Childish Gambino for his somewhat troubling Instagram note from last October where he spoke of fear, loneliness and making mistakes. So maybe it’s time for the Hip Hop community to stop with the posturing and turning of a blind eye to the issue of mental illness. Here are a few reasons why our undivided attention is needed.
LACK OF STANDARD HEALTH CARE AS PART OF THE JOB: We all know being a performer is not like having a regular 9 to 5, and so common knowledge asserts that the benefits of said 9 to 5 don’t come along with being an artist, mainly, health care. Many times it’s left to the artists to fend for themselves. With the state of the world seemingly growing more dire by the day, emcees suffering in silence might need all the help they can get.
MUSIC’S LONG HISTORY OF SELF DESTRUCTION: Maybe not always attributed directly to mental illness, but music has a long list of artist that have crumbled right in front of our eyes. Should we take Danny Brown’s tweets as a game, or as a true, full-fledged cry for help?
THE STRESS OF LIFE ON THE ROAD: The life of an artist signed to a major deal ain’t for the faint of heart: countless festival appearances, cancelled shows, not knowing what city you’re in half the time. It can potentially put a rapper on a road straight to meltdown.
HIP HOP’S RECENT STRUGGLES WITH SUICIDE: Again, not always directly associated with mental illness, but there’s on obvious connection. With the death of Capital STEEZ, both artists and fans have begun to take notice.
A DECLINE IN ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR: Jamilah King’s story on Danny Brown on Colorlines.com pointed out that even with suicide being the number three killer of African American boys and men, they are the least likely to access mental health services. Add to this how mental health services have been stripped of urban communities throughout the country, and the issue becomes that much more stark.
OUR FASCINATION WITH BURNED OUT MUSIC STARS: Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are two of the greatest examples in music history, but burned out Hip Hop stars are becoming more and more common, as well. Going back to the point of the grind of life on the road, it’s easy to see how artists can experience such burn out.
DRUG CULTURE: It’s not merely just a recreational thing anymore, even though the popularity of harder drugs in Hip Hop lyrics has grown in recent years. But Danny Brown, DMX and Prodigy of Mobb Deep have all given accounts of using their own mix of prescription and non-prescription drugs to try and make the pain of both physical and mental illness go away.
THE LACK OF ARTISTS WILLING TO SPEAK UP: Whether it be focusing on their own problems, refusing to comment or being dismissive of mental illness and disorders not being a problem, Hip Hop needs more of its artists to take a stand and make their voices heard loud and clear, and that’s not happening.
THE CONDITIONING OF HIP HOP ARTISTS TO SHOW NO EMOTION: Sure we joke about artists like Drake, Kid Cudi and Wale getting all emo, but at least they’re willing to not hide their true feelings. There might be tons of emcees keeping lots of feelings bottled up and packed down, which is never healthy.
THE NEED FOR GREATER AWARENESS: This can go back to the willingness to speak up and speak out on the part of artists, but everyone in the Hip Hop world needs to get educated to see just how much this issue is effecting the artists we love.
The real question going beyond Danny Brown’s disturbing Tweets is: Who will be willing to step up an help this man out? And even greater, when will the Hip Hop community face up to the fact that many of the people we look to for expressing and maintaining the music and the culture may very well be going through some very and dire internal situations that they can’t face alone?
In this weeks’ installment of our VEVO mini reviews, we take a closer look at the videos for a North Carolina emcee with one of the standout Hip Hop albums of 2013, an NYC mix tape hero on the verge of a mainstream breakthrough and a veteran diva looking to get her throne back in the R&B world.
J. COLE – SHE KNOWS
Cole’s string of dramatic, gut-wrenching everyday struggle story videos continues on the third single from Born Sinner. In a similar vein to “Power Trip” and “Crooked Smile”, Jermaine continues to develop his visual storytelling capabilities as a young man discovers his mothers’ infidelity. It’s nothing new or groundbreaking for J. Cole’s reputation but makes for an engaging mini-soap opera.
TROY AVE FEATURING PUSHA T – EVERYTHING
In 2014 Troy Ave is looking to get in the Dope Boy Hip Hop spot amongst the likes of Rick Ross, French Montana and Pusha T. While the latter guest stars on this joint, it’s pretty much a standard cocaine Hip Hop video with lots of flesh and bragging, similar to his “New York City” song/video featuring Raekwon: dope lyrics and lots of flash and flare, but that’s about it.
MARIAH CAREY – YOU’RE MINE (ETERNAL)
Mimi makes her way back to the charts with this pleasant ballad of loving and longing, featuring Trey Songz as the object of her desire. Nowhere near a departure from previous Mariah videos, “You’re Mine” is filled with enough waterfalls and glitter to make you think you’re in Never Never Land. Ms. Carey plays it pretty safe in her comeback video for 2014.
Valentine’s Day is guaranteed to bring on a whole heap of beautiful love. But inevitably, there’s sure to be some hurt feelings and parting of ways. So for those that either won’t be participating in the candy heart, pink & red balloon festivities or will experience the sting of the break up, here are 10 R&B tunes to loathe your former significant other to.
AALIYAH – “WE NEED A RESOLUTION” (2001): Who should be hurt? Who should be blamed? According to Baby Girl, there’s enough of both to go around. Aaliyah’s classic songbird voice deceptively gives way to lyrics of mutual distrust and scathing, accusatory honesty.
BRUNO MARS – “GRENADE” (2010): The second single from Mars’ debut album Doo Wops & Hooligans almost makes you feel sorry for him by it’s end: the sheer frustration bordering on hatred is crystal clear throughout, and the imagery of him desperately pulling a piano uphill in the video only adds fuel to the songs’ fire.
DRAKE – “MARVIN’S ROOM” (2011): Considered by many in the Hip Hop community a blasphemous move by Rap’s most sensitive emcee, October’s Very Own nonetheless made a song specifically about hating on his ex’s new man, something most men have done but probably would never admit to.
ERYKAH BADU – “TYRONE” (1998): A 90s Neo Soul masterwork of a songstress long past fed up, Badu shows her man the proverbial front door while dismissively suggesting he call on his main friend to help him get back on his feet.
KEYSHIA COLE – “I SHOULD HAVE CHEATED” (2005): Beginning a song with the lyric, “First of all let me say, you can’t accuse me of all the things you know that you are guilty of…” is a great indicator it will be one of the realest break up songs ever. Keyshia added to a long history of hurt female anthems with this jam.
LAURYN HILL – “EX FACTOR” (1998): Ms. Hill’s stellar work of art IS breaking up. It’s solemn, angry, heartbroken and bitter, but delicate weary. And it’s no wonder, with the song’s inspiration being Hill’s alleged affair with Wyclef during their time in The Fugees.
R. KELLY – “WHEN A WOMAN’S FED UP” (1998): The unofficial answer record to Badu’s “Tyrone” from the double album R, Kelly gives the point of view of the man that did his woman all kinds of wrong. A classic cautionary tale of for any man that thinks he can play the game without breaking the heart of the woman he should hold most dear.
RIHANNA – “TAKE A BOW” (2008): Known more for her sexy siren persona and fashion forwardness, Rih Rih dug into her beau on this song, sarcastically congratulating him for one hell of an acting job as a real man that wants to be in a relationship.
TONI BRAXTON – “JUST BE A MAN ABOUT IT” (2000): No one makes a break up song like Toni. This one, though somewhat underappreciated, is no less engaging as she emotionally pleads with her man to simply be real about the fact that he no longer wants the love they once shared.
USHER – “CONFESSIONS PT. II” (2004): The break up joint taken to a higher level. Usher cheats not only cheats on his girl, but also gets another woman pregnant. One of the songs that propelled the album of the same name to 10x platinum.
With so many stigmas attached to it, Hip Hop is a genre not always associated with the idea of love. But more often than it’s been given credit for, Hip Hop’s loving spirit comes shining through in song. There’s years worth of classic Hip Hop love songs (“I Need Love” by L.L. Cool J, “All I Need” by Method Man and Mary J. Blige), but the new millennium has already given us many Hip Hop love tunes for new generations. Here are some of the most notable Hip Hop love tracks for the 21st century.
NICKI MINAJ – “YOUR LOVE” (2010): Over a silky smooth bass line, Nicki professes her love to her crush by rapping and singing her with an almost teenaged exuberance.
DRAKE – “BEST I EVER HAD” (2009): In his signature Rap & B crooner fashion, Drizzy wears his heart on his sleeve for the object of his lusty affection. Arguably the song that made him a star and the So Far Gone EP such a hot commodity in ’09.
COMMON feat. MARY J. BLIGE – “COME CLOSE” (2003): Aided by Mary J. Blige and The Neptunes during his bohemian phase, Lonnie Lynn gets down on his metaphorical knee by letting his love interest know, “the pimp in me may have to die with you.”
KANYE WEST – “BOUND 2” (2013): Kimye’s entire relationship is the tabloid fodder at this point, and the video is even more ridiculous, but “Bound 2” is quite possibly the best moment from Yeezus: soulful, arrogant, and topped off by the old school coos of Charlie Wilson, it’s one of the most sought after love moments of 2013.
FUTURE – “TURN ON THE LIGHTS” (2012): Spacey and atmospheric, Future blurred the lines even further between ratchet Hip Hop, new millennium R&B and pop music as he Auto-tunes his way into his honey’s heart.
KENDRICK LAMAR feat. DRAKE – “POETIC JUSTICE” (2012): Two leaders of the new school of emcees come together in this ode to the Hip Hop Cali classic starring Janet Jackson and 2Pac. Rumor has it K. Dot actually wanted Ms. Jackson herself in the video. Alas.
LUPE FIASCO – “PARIS TOKYO” (2007): This jazzy, A Tribe Called Quest-influenced tune from Lupe’s sophomore album is perfect for that world-weary traveler looking to get back in their significant others loving arms after a long stretch out on the road.
WALE feat. MIGUEL – “LOTUS FLOWER BOMB” (2011): Overflowing with a brash sense of decadence, Wale still manages to pull off a brazen yet poetic, love-meets-lust, “lemme holla at you real quick” moment from the Ambition album.
J. DILLA feat. PHAROAHE MONCH – “WE MUST BE IN LOVE” (2006): With an old school sample from The Impressions, J. Dilla’s posthumous genius is on full display with this gritty, inspiring underground love joint. Pharoahe’s lyrics and the duet at the end are the icing on the cake.
JEAN GRAE – “LOVE THIRST” (2008): Jean Greasy unexpectedly transforms herself into the ultimate seductress on this joint, filled with mounds of sensuality in the lyrics. And the moaning and groaning towards the end is enough to get anyone riled up.
No matter how you feel about it as a form of music or art, Hip Hop over the last few decades has done a hell of a job at shedding a light on social issues and teaching younger generations about their history. Black History Month is the perfect time to do just that. And here are a few songs from a wide array of Hip Hop artists that have stood the test of time by raising awareness and helping Hip Hop heads to know their past. You must learn!
COMMON – A SONG FOR ASSATA: The Chicago emcee pays tribute to one of the Black Panther Party’s larger-than-life figures.
DE LA SOUL – STAKES IS HIGH: From the 1996 album of the same name, a song taking a look at the state of Hip Hop and of society from De La’s perspective.
KANYE WEST – CRACK MUSIC: Yeezy gives his own version of a history lesson about the crack epidemic that plagued Black America and in some cases still does.
KENDRICK LAMAR – HII POWER: K-Dot’s video for this single from the Section.80 mix tape is filled with powerful images of the Civil Rights and Black Power eras
KILLER MIKE – REAGAN: A full on, scathing indictment of President #40. Mike pulls no punches in his assessment of the Gipper.
MOS DEF – MISTA NIGGA: Inspired by A Tribe Called Quest’s “Sucka Nigga” from ’93 and featuring Tribe’s own Q-Tip on the hook. The artist currently known as Yasiin Bey went all out in condemning racism.
QUEEN LATIFAH – LADIES FIRST: The Queen’s celebrates both Black Power and feminism with assistance from Monie Love.
STOP THE VIOLENCE MOVEMENT – SELF DESTRUCTION: A classic moment of solidarity in Hip Hop history featuring legendary artists like KRS One, Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, Stetsasonic, Heavy D and more.
TALIB KWELI – FOUR WOMEN: An emotional Hip Hop rendition of the classic Nina Simone tune by the Brooklyn emcee from the first Reflection Eternal album.
X CLAN – HEED THE WORD OF THE BROTHER: Heavy on the funk samples and the black consciousness, X Clan’s track is one of the best and most well known from the late 1980’s black awareness period of Hip Hop.
The year 1999 is remembered for many things on many fronts, from social issues to politics and more. It was the final year of the go-go 1990s Clinton administration in Washington, leading to George W. Bush’s time in office. It was the year many people watched in horror the tragedies of the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado. It was the year panic and fear spread over Y2K and the approaching new millennium. It was the year The Matrix took movie theatres and pop culture by storm. And the year the music industry changed forever because of Napster.
1999 was also a vastly interesting year for music. Many of us who were growing music heads at the time didn’t realize it, but we were witnessing the birth of the iTunes era, where barriers between artists and genres would be crushed. And many seminal albums by some of our favorite artists were released in 1999, from the ultra poppy (…Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, Millennium by The Backstreet Boys, On the 6 by Jennifer Lopez) to the ultra Hip Hop (…And Then There Was X by DMX, The Block Is Hot by Lil Wayne, Da Real World by Missy Elliot.) Here’s a list of some of the most important albums from that year that will be turning the big 1-5 in 2014:
2001 – DR. DRE: Released November 16, 1999
BLACK ON BOTH SIDES – MOS DEF: Released October 12, 1999
BLACKOUT – METHOD MAN AND REDMAN: Released September 27, 1999
CALIFORNICATION – RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS: Released June 7, 1999
ENEMA OF THE STATE – BLINK 182: Released June 1, 1999
FANMAIL – TLC: Released February 22, 1999
MARY – MARY J. BLIDGE: Released August 17, 1999
PLAY – MOBY: Released May 17, 1999
THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES – RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: Released November 2, 1999
THE SLIM SHADY LP – EMINEM: Released February 23, 1999
THE WHITE STRIPES – THE WHITE STRIPES: Released June 15, 1999
THE WRITING’S ON THE WALL – DESTINY’S CHILD: Released July 28, 1999
THINGS FALL APART – THE ROOTS: Released February 23, 1999
VOL 3…LIFE AND TIMES OF S. CARTER – JAY Z: Released December 28, 1999
WHEN THE PAWN… – FIONA APPLE: Released November 9, 1999
It’s official like a referee with a whistle: Season 4 of “The Boondocks”, in all of its satirical, hilarious glory, is set to premiere April 21st on Adult Swim. The first three seasons of the show did a fantastic job of capturing just how ridiculous and troubling pop culture, especially when it comes to African-Americans, has become in the new millennium. And no one has been safe from the glare of Aaron McGruder and his team: from R. Kelly to Tyler Perry, from President Obama to Lil Wayne, from Bill Cosby to Anne Coulter.
Even everyday local news stories of regular people have been used as inspiration for some of “The Boondocks” most memorable episodes (check out “Fried Chicken Flu” and “The S Word” as examples.) And to say that McGruder has lots of ammo for this new season would be an understatement (“12 Years A Slave”, the Zimmerman verdict, Rick Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O.” verse.) And while it’s likely that Season 4 is already complete, here are a few topics that McGruder could use involve Huey, Riley, Granddad, Uncle Rukus and the whole gang in to get our sides splitting and our minds working.
SHARKEISHA AND OTHER VIRAL VIDEOS
The WorldStar-like viral video that closed out 2013 and set both the blog sphere and mainstream media (CNN, The Huffington Post) abuzz is a prime example of the material McGruder can create a whole episode from. Other viral videos that “The Boondocks” can satirically harp on? The infamous Worldstar “Bus Driver Uppercut” video and the recent 2-year-old Omaha toddler “Thug” video.
HOLLYWOOD PRAISING SUBSURVIET AFRICAN AMERICANS
2013 saw more than a few major Hollywood motion pictures with African-Americans in subservient roles, including Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years A Slave”. And in a continuing tradition, the Hollywood awards season has recognized these and other films with multiple nominations and heaps of praise for its actors, writers, directors and more. In this instance, it’s definitely a prime opportunity to McGruder to poke fun at Hollywood’s predictable and sometimes frustrating portrayals of black people.
HIP HOP REALITY TELEVISION
Probably too easy of pickings for “The Boondocks”, but it would still be vastly entertaining. Both versions of “Love & Hip Hop” alone could make for a few hilarious episodes involving Huey and Riley (especially the latter.) Yes, we’ve seen similar ideas before with the character of Thugnificent in Season 2; still, I’m pretty sure McGruder could tear Mona Scott-Young, VH1 and BET a new one given the chance.
Lemon, a popular CNN anchor and host, felt the sting of the African-American community after his thoughts and comments about the things holding back black people and the New York City “stop and frisk” law in 2013. Popular blog The Grio even went as far as to ask if Lemon is the new Clarence Thomas. This would be the perfect opportunity for McGruder to use show character Tom DuBois to give a hilarious commentary on the continued division that exists between different generations and segments of African-Americans. Just a thought.
Kanye makes himself an easy target for anyone to make fun of. Just look at what transpired on Jimmy Kimmel. But with the way the keeps himself in the public eye with radio interviews and rants that tow the line between passionate and incomprehensible, it would still be worth our time to see “The Boondocks” take on Yeezus. How about an episode where Riley gains the success in Hip Hop that he obviously pines for and goes on Kanye-esque diatribes against anyone or thing in his way? That would be a classic.
We’re starting a new segment here at Sosoactive.com: mini reviews of some of the latest videos featured on VEVO. For our inaugural set, we take a look at vids from a TV and Broadway star, a young R&B upstart and a California pop/rock band that had enormous success in 2011.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE – COMING OF AGE
With their new album Supermodel set to drop next month, California band Foster The People will look to follow up the gigantic success of single “Pumped Up Kicks” and the 2011 album Torches. In doing so, they dropped the new single “Coming of Age” and the accompanying video, which premiered on VEVO on January 14. The time-lapsed video features the creation of mural on what appears to be a downtown L.A. building and matches the songs’ reflective, slightly somber nature. Lead singer Mark Foster reportedly says Supermodel will be grittier and less party-centric that it’s predecessor. And the video for “Coming of Age” captures that feeling pretty accurately: it’s inward looking and mournful yet still infectiously danceable.
LEA MICHELLE – CANNONBALL
Looks like we’ve got another all entertainment in one star on our hands with the premiere of former Glee star Lea Michelle’s video “Cannonball” on VEVO just a few days ago. It seems the video is more an exercise in displaying Michelle’s vocal skills as opposed to an all out performance on film. Looking more than vulnerable in an abandoned house throughout the majority of the video, she’s got a very good voice. It’s just that there’s not much else going on to keep viewers’ attention. Nothing all that exciting, or visually interesting here, but look for this one to be featured on VH1’s Top 20 Weekend Countdown sometime during 2014.
ERIC BELLINGER featuring PROBLEM – I DON’T WANT HER
Bellinger seems to be taking the Ne-Yo route to pop music stardom having already written songs for Chris Brown, Selena Gomez and Grayson Chance. The production for “I Don’t Want That” is inspired by 90s megahit “Jump” by Kriss Kross. The video itself? Pretty standard. Nighttime rooftop fashion show/VIP party in a major U.S. city with Bellinger crooning about how bad his chick is and how haters need to take notice, with a special cameo by R&B mainstay Tank, and bursting at the seams with model-quality women. Honestly not very distinguishable from many Hip Hop or “urban” videos these days. Let’s hope Bellinger’s next outing a little less forgettable.
We’re about half way in between the first month of 2014 and already the anticipation is building at a feverish pace for new Hip Hop music to consume, critique and debate. And recent years have seen a lot of follow up and sequel albums by some of Hip Hop’s most notable names, from Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1 (which fell a little flat with many listeners) to Eminem and MMLP2 (considered one of 2013’s best.) 2014 has no shortage of sequels either. Here are a few that many fans are looking forward to, a few of which are definitely happening, and one which is somewhat doubtful, but no less anticipated by the Hip Hop world.
KILLER MIKE AND EL P – RUN THE JEWELS 2
Last year’s Run The Jewels, an unofficial follow up to Mike’s 2012 solo project R.A.P. Music, was the darling of the music blog sphere in 2013, and with good reason. Killa Kill and Mr. Cancer 4 Cure have developed a chemistry that’s taken the collabo album in Hip Hop to new heights. So Run The Jewels 2, confirmed by Killer Mike himself, has a lot to live up to. Will the ATL King and the underground legend be able to surpass the original album’s success? We’ll just have to wait and see.
BUSTA RHYMES – EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENT 2
Bussa Buss’s mid-to-late 90’s run of albums is the stuff of Hip Hop legend (The Coming in ‘96, When Disaster Strikes in ‘97, Extinction Level Event in ’98). And last year, the New York emcee teamed up with fellow longevity-laden artist Q-Tip, releasing the acclaimed mix tape The Abstract and The Dragon. It will interesting to see if Busta goes back to his old ways of obscene amounts of energy, or if he settles into the role of elder statesman, on the sequel to his 1998 album.
REDMAN – MUDDY WATERS 2
The original Muddy Waters is quite possibly one of the best albums from the year 1996. Then again, that was almost 20 years ago. True, Reggie Noble has had some respectable guest spots and mix tape appearances in the last few years, but does he still have the personality and the pull to get people to listen to the sequel of a Hip Hop album that came out nearly two lifetimes ago in Hip Hop? It’s a heavy task. Then again, it’s also a great opportunity for young bucks to go listen to the original and get a lesson in grimy, ultra lyrical and comical Hip Hop.
THE LOX – WE ARE THE STREETS 2
Releasing The Trinity earlier this month, the Yonkers trio of Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss seem to be looking to return to their street wise ways with this follow up album. The first We Are The Streets was an exercise in classic East Coast Hip Hop a la Mobb Deep and Capone-n-Noreaga, only more lyrical, with each emcee effortlessly trading bar after bar on song after song. The streets are definitely talking, and there’s not question they are hotly anticipating this one.
THE THRONE – WATCH THE THRONE 2
It’s on everyone’s minds and hearts. But nothing at this point is even close to being set in stone for the follow up to Jay Z and Kanye West’s 2011 ode to 1-percenter Hip Hop decadence. We’ve seen the “New Rules” on full display with the original Watch The Throne, as well as with Yeezus and Magna Carta Holy Grail in 2013, making the anticipation for the sequel even greater. Honestly, we shouldn’t hold our collective breath in this writer’s estimation, but as Yeezy and Hova have already demonstrated, anything is possible when it comes to these two releasing music together.