Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hip-Hop music has been going through some serious changes for awhile now. Some were good and some bad, depending on who you ask? One thing that has remained the same is the love that true headz have for hip-hop of the 1990's, commonly referred to as the "Golden Era of Hip-Hop" by most. Some people feel that this was the decade where hip-hop music hit its peak as far as creativity, originality and trendsetting goes. One thing is for sure though, that era produced some the best emcees that ever touched a microphone. Remember when you first heard Biggie, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, Tupac, Big L and Big Pun? Names like those will remain in hip-hop history forever, but it's unfortunate that the majority of the folks I have listed are no longer with us. For the rap icons that have left us too soon, we will always remember them for their contributions to the evolution of hip-hop music regardless of how long they have been gone. That's the great thing about lives on forever creating new fans everyday. I am giving a personal salute to the hiphop veterans that are still releasing solid projects in 2006!

Well, today I bring you three hip-hop veterans that are still making moves on the music scene. Reintroducing...C.L. Smooth, Lord Finesse and AZ! All three of these katz have new projects available for purchase. C.L. Smooth dropped the "American Me" album back in October. If you are looking for his partner/producer in crime Pete Rock on this album, stop looking! Mr. Smooth has decided to do this project with other producers this time around. Even with Pete Rock not lacing the beats, the production is pretty solid overall. He ended up with a nice beat selection on this project. This album definitely worth a listen if you are a C.L. fan or just want a taste of what hip-hop used to be. Being a true Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth fan, this album definitely filled my void for the moment until The Chocolate Boy Wonder and C.L. Smooth get back in the studio once again. Let's hope it's soon!

Next up is the Funky Technician! If you have been hanging around the SoundNexx site for any amount of real time, you already know that Lord Finesse is one of my favorite emcees! This kat has always brought the effortless gift of gab on the mic for years, but I have always felt Finesse has never gotten the props he deserves. KRS-One (another legendary beast on the mic device) has even cosigned the phenomenal abilities that Lord Finesse possesses as an artist. That's saying a lot in my book! For those that are just waking up from a Nyquil experience, Lord Finesse has several dope albums and compilations worth your attention and this new one is no exception. The "Rare & Unreleased" compilation is packed with some of the more hard to find Lord Finesse material from his catalog. Full of the Lord's rare remixes and hard to find guest appearances, this compilation is full of that ole' N.Y. boom-bap from back in the day! If you miss the hip-hop sounds for yester-year, this is definitely one worth checking for. Some of these tracks have never been released in a CD format, so that in itself is worth your duckets! If don't own any Lord Finesse albums or at least some of the classic material from the D.I.T.C crew, your hip-hop collection is definitely lacking. Step ya game up!

"Life's A B*tch, and then you die" was the phrase that started it all for AZ back in 1994, when he appeared on Nasir's hip-hop classic "Illmatic" album. AZ used that opportunity to propel his rap career forward, which resulted in the release of his debut album entitled, "Do or Die" in 1995. The album was pretty solid, but it didn't really raise AZ's stock in the rap game like it should have? Since then, AZ has dropped several solid albums over the last 12 years of career, and "The Format" is his latest release. Personally, I like this album. No, it's not the best hip-hop album of 2006 in my opinion, but it delivers the consistency that many rap albums lack these days. A lot rappers know how to make hot records, but not many know how to make solid albums. AZ is one of the rappers that obviously has a the right FORMAT for putting together solid albums. Pay attention!

At a time when the music industry is filled with lame gimmicks, shameful subject matter and cookie-cutter artists that can't deliver the goods, turn to the hip-hop vetz that are still putting out solid projects. Most of them don't get the promotion and attention that they deserve these days, but they are definitely putting in work. Now, that Jay-Z and Nas both have new albums scheduled in the fourth quarter, it should be a great hip-hop holiday season after all!





1 comment:

Freedum said...

I definitely like that AZ and Lord Finesse!! Gotta kop that CL though.