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Why hip-hop doesn’t suck in 2009…

November 9, 2009

Here at Dope Towers, we like to consider ourselves a fair, accurate and balanced cultural outlet. In reality, this is far from true. Anyway, here’s a counter-balancing round-up of what didn’t totally blow in the rap music world this year.

fat joeTo kick off – salad dodging Joey Crack dropped Jealous Ones Still Envy 2. If you’re still envying a 300 lb ex-drug dealer who gets bullied on the reg by Fiddy and hasn’t had a real banger (hot dogs don’t count) since the good old DITC days, then something has gone seriously wrong for you, sir. Having said that, the genuinely hard Hendrix-flipping Hey Joe showed signs that there may be more to this old Puerto Rican than a catalogue of Akon duets. Just don’t call it a comeback.

Talking of Diggin’ in the Crates, the true school collective headed up a slew of quite interesting remix and rarities albums this year. Other not very notable releases included RA the Rugged Man, Snoop Dogg and yet another J Dilla beats collection. Where are people still finding beats from Jay? Going through his bins?

On an indie tip, 2009 was a good year for a few up and coming artists. Kid Cudi came with a nicely flowing concept-y album reminiscent of Sonic Sum. Underwhelming, but there were a few standout tracks like Pursuit of Happiness with MGMT and Gaga-sampling Make Her Say (which would have worked better as a bonus track or stand-alone release). The album did spawn the ubiquitous club track remixed by Crookers which is definitely one of the defining tunes of the noughties zeros decade.

Rappers like Wale managed to make the crossover to commercial riches, while frat-rap hopeful Asher Roth’s Asleep in the Bread Aisle ultimately crashed and burned on release. New talents to look out for like Illa J, Fashawn and Jay Electronica lead the pack vying to bring back proper hip-hop in 2010.

Label of the year? It has to go to Stones Throw. Peanut Butter Wolf’s day job has never been completely consistent but 2009 was good for him. Signing of the decade Dam Funk continued to dazzle with spaced-out beats sounding like the future fidgeting with your brain. DJ Mayer Hawthorne discovered he wasn’t bad at singing and released one of the best (not strictly hip-hop) albums of the year in A Strange Arrangement.

Add to the mix a return-to-form long player from People Under The Stairs with Carried Away and 2009 starts to look like a pretty good time for this music we call hip-hop.

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