30. The Knux – Remind Me In 3 Days…
I didn’t hear about the hip-hop group The Knux until 2008, but I was glad someone reminded me to check out their album entitled “Remind Me In 3 Days…”. I was instantly overtaken with a new sound, something that I hadn’t heard before. Just because you make creative music, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good music – a concept that many people fail to recognize in the music industry nowadays.
The duo called “The Knux” were able to make an album that featured creative sounds, creative concepts, and still make it a (more than) noteworthy piece of music to check out in 2008. You really owe yourself to check up on their music if you haven’t already. Standout tracks include: “Bang! Bang!,” “Cappuccino (Remix),” and “F!re (Put It In The Air).” I highly recommend that you buy this album to add to your collection in 2008 – even if you are the slightest bit interested in their music.
PURCHASE: The Knux – Remind Me in 3 Days
29. EPMD – We Mean Business
Nine years since the duo (Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith) dropped “Out Of Business” they made a return to the world of hip-hop with the release of “We Mean Business.” The album has the same old-school feel to it, though they opted to leave the infamous DJ Scratch out of the lineup. Veteran guests like Raekwon, Redman, Mobb Deep, and KRS-One make the listener appreciate the quality music.
The album is really a must-listen for any fan of EPMD and definitely worth checking out if you appreciate good hip-hop music. My favorite tracks from this album include: “Listen Up” – which is arguably the biggest “banger” on the album, featuring Teddy Riley. I also especially enjoyed “Run It” featuring KRS-1.
Though DJ Scratch was missing from this project, due to various issues with the group – the album is still a very noteworthy piece of 2008. It is filled with a grand total of thirteen tracks, but there was absolutely zero “filler” (i.e. interludes / skits) – which is common on most albums. Old school fans and hip-hop heads alike should mos.def. check into this project.
PURCHASE: EPMD – We Mean Business
28. Murs – Murs For President
When I heard that MURS was going to be running for president I got excited. Murs has had a long history of making quality music. On this project Murs rhymes the truth and makes what I refer to as genuine music. This alubm “Murs For President” has something to offer for everybody – from the “feel good” anthem (laced by super-producer “will.i.am”) called “Lookin Fly.”
“It seems like nobody’s tryin man / there’s Kids dyin in Sudan and nobody cares / at least I’m tryin man” – says the artist Nick Carter. The album brings up major issues that many people can relate to and other concerns of the worldly focused artist Murs.
Murs opted to sign with a major label in order to get more promotion and in order to get more people exposed to his music. He didn’t care whether the deal made him lose profits, he had the goal to push his music on as many listeners as the promotion would allow.
This album makes for a quality listen from beginning to end. Though some instrumentals failed to keep my interest, Murs’ wordplay and rhymes always made things interesting. Standout tracks include: “Time Is Now” featuring Snoop Dogg, “Can It Be,” and “Lookin Fly.” I definitely cast my vote for Murs in 2008, I hope you all go out and pick up this project. Murs was truly one of the artists that kept true hip-hop alive in 2008.
PURCHASE: Murs – Murs For President
27. GZA – Pro Tools
Wu Tang Clan member the GZA (a.k.a. Genius) delivered his 5th solo album entitled “Pro Tools.” I was looking forward to this project since I heard a promotional release of “0% Finance” and a track (“Paper Plate”) geared towards dissing Curtis Jackson (more commonly known as “50 Cent”… He says “one verse shatter your spine and crush your spirit, no matter what, you still window shop for lyrics.”
The production on this album is good, definitely tailored for GZA’s rhymes. The lyrics are all strong, yet I wish the GZA would’ve conveyed more emotion through them. Tracks that really stood out to Yung Drew include “Pencil,” “Paper Plate,” and “Intromental,” and “0% Finance.”
The final note: After taking a listen to this project, it is clear that the Wu member the GZA is an extremely bright individual with plenty of creativity. RZA and Masta Killa both make notable appearances too. This album “Pro Tools” is a must-cop for any fan of the Wu and a must-listen for hip-hop heads.
PURCHASE: GZA – Pro Tools
26. Large Pro – Main Source
If you’ve never heard of Large Pro a.k.a. Large Professor before, then you clearly aren’t up on the history of hip-hop music. The man Large Pro has produced for hip-hop legends like Nas, Kool G Rap, and the group A Tribe Called Quest. Large Professors obscure sampling – that features hints of Jazz, Soul, and Funk – all sound great on this album “Main Source.”
A couple of personal favorites from this album include “In The Ghetto” and “Hot: Sizzlin’ Scorchin’ Torchin’ Blazin.” It’s always great to hear from Large Pro and I felt that a lot of people slept on this album or weren’t aware of it’s release. Well, now you should know it gets the cosign from Yung Drew, and is something I highly recommend checking out.
PURCHASE: Large Pro – Main Source
25. Ghostface Killah – Ghostdeini The Great
Ghostface Killah has returned after his last project entitled “Big Doe Rehab” with the release of the compilation album “Ghostdeini The Great.” Basically it has a bunch of classic cuts and remixes that GFK served up to satisfy all the fans during the holiday season. The project bumps from start to finish and includes notable cameos from Kanye West, Ice Cube Ne-Yo, Styles P, Beanie Sigel, and Malice (of The Clipse).
The likes of Sun God, Raekwon, Freeway, and Method Man can also be found as features. Think classic Ghostface Killah, then put this album in the CD changer and vibe out as you drive down the highway. Classic music coming from the legendary artist on his compilation (Note: not a “greatest hits”) album. If you are a fan of Ghosface Killah, then this album is a must-buy.
24. Jean Grae – Evil Jeanius by Blue Sky, Black Death
It’s apparent that if there’s one best femcee (female emcee) in the game, it’s Jean Grae. This “Blue Sky Black Death” album by Jean Grae is easily one of the most incredible albums of 2008. Though the project is fairly short at only 10 tracks, each track is worth well over the $.99 that it costs via iTunes. The production on this project is extremely solid.
Jean Grae literally tears the beats to shreds with her lyrical prowess. My favorite tracks from this album are “Threats” featuring Chen Lo and “Shadows Forever.” The lyrics deal with real life issues and the rhyming connections are ridiculous. Most artists wish they were at Jean Grae’s lyrical level – complimented by what I would call a “wicked” flow.
Really the only downfall of this album is that it’s fairly short at only 10 tracks. Next time you hear anyone claiming that they are the best female emcee, you’ll know that unless they speak of the artist Jean Grae, they are only kidding themselves. Pick up this album today and hear her out for yourself.
PURCHASE: Jean Grae – Jean Grae: Evil Jeanius
23. DJ Revolution – King Of The Decks
For those who are a fan of DJ’s, this is a must-buy album for 2008. The entire project “King Of The Decks” is filled with incredibly ill cuts from DJ Revolution. The album consists of 24 tracks of pure fiyah. I wasn’t too familiar with DJ Revolution, but decided to take a listen to the album when I heard the track “The DJ” featuring the legendary emcee KRS-One.
With guest appearances on “King Of The Decks” from KRS-One, Sean Price, Guilty Simpson, Bishop Lamont, DJ Premier, Joell Ortiz, Termanology, and the Boot Camp Clik – you know it’s something to check up on. DJ Revolution has proved – with this project – that he is one of the heavyweights in the DJ industry. My top three tracks from the album include “King Of The Decks” with Sean P, “The DJ” with KRS-One, and “Funky Piano” featuring Bishop Lamont, Crooked I, and Styliztik Jones.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with DJ Revolution, it’s really time to take a listen to this album. One of the top 30 picks of 2008 for a reason!
PURCHASE: DJ Revolution – King of the Decks
22. The Roots – Rising Down
This album “Rising Down” is the eighth studio album put together by the incredibly talented hip-hop group reigning from Philadelphia, PA – “The Roots.” Let’s face it, The Roots are arguably the most creative group in hip-hop today, and always bring something classic. Black Thought is one of the top emcees in the game, and my dude ?uestlove (Questlove) always rocks the instrumentals.
Black Thought showcases his lyrical skills on the track “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” – where he spits 75 Bars straight for everyone to follow. The production on this album is quality – definitely stronger than most. My two personal favorite tracks consisted of (the title track) “Rising Down” and track headed in the opposite direction entitled “Rising Up.”
Though the album “The Tipping Point” is still my favorite project from The Roots since 2000 (followed by “Game Theory”) this album is definitely a project that every hip-hop music fan should have added to their collection within the past year.
PURCHASE: The Roots – Rising Down
21. Reef The Lost Cauze – A Vicious Cycle
I’ll be completely honest, if I had to pick whether or not I’d listen to this artist based on the name “Reef The Lost Cauze,” I’d probably pass – as would most of you. With that said, I had looked at some reviews of this album giving Reef high praise with “A Vicious Cycle.” I nearly passed up the opportunity to give this a listen, but was sure glad that I didn’t.
Reef The Lost Cauze’s ability to spit quality lyrics is unmistakeably above average. The album features 20 tracks that get torn to shreds by lyrics of fury. The instrumentals are all quality, making the album extremely enjoyable to listen to for any bonafide fan of hip-hop.
Personal favorites of tracks include: “Thug Fantasy” and “Back At It.” The dude’s flow is showcased on every song though. Though this was the first year I had ever heard of the dude Reef The Lost Cauze, I definitely look forward to hearing more music from him. Depending on who you talk to, this album is a classic. Worth buying? Without a question.
PURCHASE: Reef The Lost Cauze – A Vicious Cycle
20. Black Milk – Tronic
The highly experimental hip-hop super-producer Curtis Cross returned to the hip-hop scene an undeniably awesome sounding album entitled “Tronic.” Also behind the production of his homey Jason Powers’ album (which I also recommend checking out). The production is incredibly diverse on this project “Tronic” and Black Milk compliments his instrumentals with solid rhymes.
Notable guest appearances on “Tronic include Royce Da 5’9″ on the track “Losing Out” – which is one of the strongest (and my personal favorite) of the tracks on the album. Another extremely pleasing track from the album is “The Matrix” – which features Sean Price, Pharoahe Monch, and DJ Premier. If your thirst for quality hip-hop is as strong as mine this past year, you should definitely quench it by picking up that Black Milk.
PURCHASE: Black Milk – Tronic
19. Termanology – Politics As Usual
Boston emcee Termanology returned in 2008 with his extremely solid album entitled “Politics As Usual.” On this 14 track album, Termanology lyrically slays the pristine instrumentals that were layed down. His flow is one of the best in the game, something that true hip-hop fans need to get more familiar with.
Favorite tracks from the album include: “Respect My Walk,” “How We Rock,” “Please Don’t Go” and “Hood Sh*t.” Fans of hip-hop that are into incredible lyrics with strong production, and non-stop rhyming, should check out this album – as they will be more than satisfied.
A side note for Termanology fans: The track “Guns Gon Blow” featuring production from DJ Babu on the album “Duck Season (Vol. 3)” is one of his best tracks of the year. And although I’m not going to compare Termanology to Big Pun – he will: “I see myself as the lyrical resurrection of Pun.” – Termanology.
PURCHASE: Termanology – Politics as Usual
18. Nappy Roots – The Humdinger
With undoubtedly one of the most SLEPT ON albums of 2008 comes from the highly talented group that goes by the name “Nappy Roots.” I was first introduced to the group back when their songs “Po’Folks” and “Aww’Naww” were just emerging and gaining popularity. Well, in case you forgot about the group (who took about a 5 year hiatus from the hip-hop world), it is time to get reunited through their project “The Humdinger.”
The album really has something to offer for everyone. Sounds range from the bassy “Flex” – where they say “hotel room for some real good sex,” to the track geared towards the youth / a bright future for all / feel-good anthem called “Good Day.” Personal favorite tracks on this album include “Kalifornia Dreamin” and “Good Day,” but the entire album is strong from the Intro. (track #1) to “Small Town” (final track #16).
If you are a fan of Nappy Roots or are interested in hearing more of their music, then get out and purchase their project entitled “The Humdinger.” It’s easily one of the best albums of the year.
PURCHASE: Nappy Roots – The Humdinger
17. Bun B – II Trill
Bun B’s album “II Trill” is a southern classic. The production on this album thumps hard from start to finish and Bun B’s lyrics are literally “southern smoke” (c) DJ Drama. Though the album sounds largely commercialized, it appeals to both the underground crowd and fans of mainstream rap.
The album as a distinct “quality” southern sound that is rare to find nowadays in the hip-hop game. Reigning from Texas, Bun B represents his region to the fullest. Guest appearances on the project include the likes of Lil Wayne on “Damn I’m Cold,” Sean Kingston on “That’s Gangsta,” and many more superstars including Sean Kingston, Junior Reid, and Lupe Fiasco.
My favorite gems on this album include “Swang On ‘Em,” “Damn I’m Cold,” and “If It Was Up To Me.” His counterpart Pimp C would be incredibly proud of him for putting together this classic southern, rap album. So if you’ve been sleeping on the south due to nursery rhyme lyrics in the recent years, realize that Bun B’s work will always be an exception.
PURCHASE: Bun B – II Trill
16. Heltah Skeltah – D.I.R.T.
Easily one of the most “willfully ignorant” lyrical albums of 2008. The lyrics are focused around violence, acting crazy, and being “hard” – this is the niche of Heltah Skeltah. With that said, I definitely think it is one of the dopest albums of 2008 for rap fans to check out in order to feed their dark-side. The duo that goes by the name Heltah Skeltah consisting of Rock n’ Ruck (more commonly known for his solo career as “Sean Price”) did not disappoint with this album “D.I.R.T.” – an acronym for Da Incredible Rap Team…
This album was undisputably the single “hardest” album of 2008 as far as grimey lyrics, which is the reason a lot of people like it (including myself). Though I do not recommend buying this album for your kids, I do recommend that you check out Da Incredible Rap Team (Ruck n’ Rock).
If you are not mentally unstable, definitely not anything I recommend listening to as it will feed your wild side (c) Jack Links. Some lyrics include: “F*ck a hip-hop, I take ya wristwatch, put ya gun to ya tongue and make you lick shots.” “Jesus the name, no I’m not the lame on the cross” – Sean “Jesus” Price a.k.a. Ruck. If you can handle violent lyrics and like the griminess that has been absent in the rap game lately, then there was no better album to buy in 2008. Oh and a side note for all the fans: *Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka*
PURCHASE: Heltah Skeltah – D.I.R.T.
15. Jake One – White Van Music
If you are not aware of the super-producer Jake One, it’s time to wake up and pick up his album “White Van Music.” The production on this album [from Jake] has an extremely diverse sound that hip-hop needed in 2008. I wasn’t too familiar with Jake One before this project, but I was definitely glad that I had enough of an open-mind to hear his product “White Van Music” out.
Notable appearances on the album include: M.O.P., Freeway, Brother Ali, Royce Da 5’9″, and even the obscure MF DOOM. Standout tracks on the album include “Gangsta Boy,” “The Truth,” “Glow,” “How We Ride,” “Oh Really” – with my personal favorite tracks being those from [MF DOOM] the man with the mask entitled “Trap Door” and “Get Er Done.” Quote to sum things up: “Make no mistakes son, it’s Jake One – he makes beats well like I likes my steaks done.” Definitely a MUST-BUY album to add to your 2008 collection.
PURCHASE: Jake One – White Van Music
14. Young Jeezy – The Recession
Though I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the album “The Recession” from Young Jeezy, it’s time for me to set things straight. This album is a must-buy if you’re a fan of Young Jeezy. All people who enjoy hearing Young Jeezy’s music will like this album. If you don’t like Jeezy’s slow flow / swagger, you should obviously not review this album – as your opinions will be extremely biased.
With all the self-proclaimed “hip-hop heads” hating on Jeezy, it makes me a little bit upset. Though I have never considered Jeezy a lyrical heavyweight, I do consider him one of the most talented artists in the game. He makes music for a direct crowd to “inspire” them and get people “energized.” You can literally feel the energy coming from the instrumentals that nicely compliment Jeezy’s top-notch ad-libs.
Standout tracks from this album include “Crazy World,” “What They Want,” “Amazin,” “Who Dat,” and “Vacation” – with my top two tracks being “My President” featuring Nas, “Put On” featuring Kanye West, and the Don Cannon assisted “Circulate.” A must cop album for anyone that’s a Jeezy fan. Order of recent Jeezy albums for me go “Thug Motivation” > “The Recession” > “The Inspiration”.
PURCHASE: Young Jeezy – The Recession
13. Kardinal Offishall – Not 4 Sale
After hearing a few tracks (including “Burnt” and “Set It Off”) from Kardinal Offishall early in the summer of 2008 that sounded quality, I made up my mind that I would buy this album. The Canadian emcee who goes by the stage name of Kardinal Offishall, definitely brought the “heatrock” with this solid album entitled “Not 4 Sale.”
I was especially impressed with Kardinal’s ability to showcase his lyrics. The production on this album definitely was geared towards a mainstream crowd and the streets – which was a phenomenal combination. The album features noteworthy cameos from the likes of: The Clipse, Akon, Rihanna, The-Dream, T-Pain, and more.
Though there were only a couple of tracks that I thought fell short with production, 95% of the album was nothing but quality, creative, hip-hop with vocals from Kardinal – that sound nothing like you’ve ever heard. If you were reluctant to purchase this project, know that it gets a full cosign from Yung Drew, and that you should add it to your 2008 collection of hip-hop.
PURCHASE: Kardinal Offishall – Not 4 Sale
12. Ludacris – Theatre Of The Mind
Mr. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges tried to make a classic with this album “Theatre Of The Mind” – and I was really impressed with the quality music on this album. It is apparent by the title “Theatre Of The Mind” that Ludacris wants you to experience the complete album – and created the product not to be experienced as individual tracks. Each track was meant to be like part of a “movie” for your mind.
The only downfall of the album was that he tried to make a few too many tracks for the ladies. Though they (i.e. “What Them Girls Like” / “Nasty Girl” / “Contagious”) are all solid mainstream tracks, I felt it got a little bit too geared for the female fanbase. Not hating on the tracks, as they are all strong, but having them all back-2-back-2-back was a little much for me.
Ludacris comes particularly strong with the lyrics on this album. Every song showcases his diverse flow and creative lyrics – that blend with the beats, which sounds phenomenal. Personal favorite tracks included “Undisputed,” “I Do It For Hip-Hop,” and “MVP.” Other top songs include: “Last Of A Dying Breed,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “Do The Right Thang.” So I recommend (in the words of Ludacris himself) that you “use your brain homey, do the right thing” – pick up a copy of this album.
PURCHASE: Ludacris – Theater of the Mind
11. Ice Cube – Raw Footage
The O.G.’s came out from the West Coast to cop one of the realest albums of 2008 from the legendary hip-hop artist Ice Cube. The album starts out with “What Is A Pyroclastic Flow?” and let’s y’all know what to expect on this album. The album continues by blazing with the Young Jeezy assisted “I Got My Locs On” – which is undoubtedly one of my favorite tracks from the album.
Ice Cube doesn’t stray from his highly-political west-coast rhymes with quotes like “y’all know what I represent / the only rapper wanna fist fight the president” on the track “It Takes A Nation.” Continuing, the entire production on this album blazes from start to finish. Any fan of West Coast gangsta rap music hit the jackpot when they tore open the plastic-wrap on this album.
Since emerging onto the scene (as one of gangsta-rap’s earliest pioneers in the late 1980′s), Ice Cube clearly proves with this album “Raw Footage,” that no matter when he decides to release an album – it will be quality music that forces the listener to view important issues from his perspective. Definitely what I consider a must-listen piece of music for 2008.
PURCHASE: Ice Cube – Raw Footage
10. T.I. – Paper Trail
This album “Paper Trail” by Clifford “T.I.” Harris was no doubt one of the most commercial successes of 2008. Initially, I was a little bit turned off to this album by the mainstream sound. The song “Porn Star” and an initial opinion from others made me believe that this album was going to be a disappointment. Well, turns out that I was completely mistaken. The album is straight up banging from start to finish, with a few exceptions and appeals to a broader crowd than just “rap fans” – which is why it was such a phenomenal release for T.I.
With all that said, for as much success as this album has had with the mainstream, I still liked his album “King” more than “Paper Trail.” Favorite tracks off of “Paper Trail” include the likes of “What Up, What’s Haapnin’,” “On Top Of The World,” “I’m Illy,” “Whatever You Like,” and the biggest banger from the album “Swagga Like Us” (though the charts would indicate otherwise [i.e. "Live Your Life]…
On a final note, this album is a must-listen for all fans of Clifford and all fans of mainstream music. Those who are not even “normal” fans of hip-hop music or the artist T.I. may still have been able to vibe to the songs “Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna, “Dead And Gone,” and “Whatever You Like” at parties. Check out the trail of paper that T.I. left – pick up a copy.
PURCHASE: T.I. – Paper Trail
9. Scarface – Emeritus
The artist Scarface put together an incredible album entitled “Emeritus” for a 2008 release. He has made it public that this may be his last solo-album to ever be released. If this was his last project ever to be released in his solo career, he went out with a strong bang. The production on this album is phenomenal, and Scarface perfectly complements it with his rhyme skills.
Though some people may have been reluctant to check out this album, it is classic Scarface. There are a few cameos on the album, including Lil Wayne and Bun B on the track “High Powered” – which is a banger. Z-Ro is featured on “Soldier Story.” This album is all about real talk, and showcases Scarface’s ability to put together quality music that transcends the “chinchillas, diamond rangs, chains, range rovers, blang blang” that you hear on the radio nowadays.
One thing to note is that all that other rappers claim that they are the “King Of The South” in hip-hop, while this man (Brad Jordan) knows who the real king is…. himself.
PURCHASE: Scarface – Emeritus
8. Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold
Atmosphere comes through again with another classic effort on the album “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold.” Rapper Sean “Slug” Daley teamed up with super-producer Anthony “Ant” Davis to bless the world with another amazing release on the Rhymesayers label. The lyrical punch that this album packs – in addition to the down-to-Earth rhymes, give this album an edge over most other hip-hop projects.
They (Atmosphere) never try to shoot for mainstream appeal, which is why Atmosphere always thrives with their music. People can relate to what Sean Daley says. My personal favorite tracks “Yesterday” and “You” – are easily two of the top tracks to drop in 2008. If you do not have this album, you are missing out on some great music. Get yourself a copy A.S.A.P.
7. The Cool Kids – Bake Sale EP
With easily the coolest album of 2008 comes from the duo The Cool Kids – consisting of the two emcees Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks. Fresh rhymes, “cool” rhymes, dope beats, and music you can have fun with can all be found on this album. The production (largely from Chuck) thumps the entire time and deserves an A+. The lyrics are super creative and these dudes know how to put together a dope final product.
My only complaints was that this album (EP) was as short as it was. I know that Chuck n’ Mikey could have dropped some re-mastered unreleased material that surfaced later like “Schoolin,” “Gold Chain,” and “Unos” – which is one of my favorite tracks from The Cool Kids. Hardcore fans of The Cool Kids will know that the production of tracks and several lyrics changed between the “Totally Flossed Out EP” and the “Bake Sale EP.”
Favorite tracks from this album include: “Black Mags,” “What Up Man,” “Mikey Rocks,” “One, Two,” “88,” “Gold & A Pager,” and “A Little Bit Cooler.” The entire album is the definition of DOPE from start to finish. I cannot wait for their upcoming album “When Fish Ride Bicycles” – currently set to be released in 2009. These two “keep it cool like it’s goin outta style.”
PURCHASE: The Cool Kids – Bake Sale EP
6. Kanye West – 808′s & Heartbreak
In my opinion, to release this album was one of the most controversial decisions that Kanye West ever had to make. I was extremely glad that he released this project, because it turned out to be one of the best albums of 2008. Utilizing the vocoder (more commonly known as “autotune”) seems to be extremely popular nowadays in the hip-hop industry. Obviously not every rapper sounds good with the vocoder, or everyone would be using it for their next single.
Due to the extreme creativity, there are closed-minded / “strict” hip-hop fans that will are too “hood” for this album. And you know what? I do not (nor does Kanye West) care what anyone else thinks of his music. He makes quality music for him to enjoy – if you like it, then you like it. I definitley dig this album – IMO, it is better than “Late Registration.” (College Dropout > Graduation > 808′s & HB > Late Registration)… Which means that I’d basically give it at least a 4.5 / 5 for a review.
Top songs on this album include “RoboCop,” “Say You Will,” “Heartless,” and “Love Lockdown.” My personal favorite track is “Welcome To Heartbreak” featuring KiD CuDi. I can play this album from start to finish (with the exception of “Bad News” and the “Live Bonus Track” (which I feel should have been left off the album). As much as I enjoy hearing T-Pain lace the chorus with the vocoder on mainstream hits, I would much rather listen to an album of all vocoder put together by Kanye West than a project by T-Pain.
PURCHASE: Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
5. Q-Tip – The Renaissance
Any hip-hop head will tell you that Q-Tip’s album “The Renaissance” was one of the best, if not the best hip-hop album to be released in 2008. Before the album came out, I was super excited to hear that Q-Tip was working on a project “The Renaissance”… I then found out that his album was set to be dropped on election day and tried to promote the heck out of that project here on this website – all the followers know that I wanted you to cast your vote for Barack Obama on Nov. 4th, then go pick up Q-Tip’s album “The Renaissance.” And I really hope that you went out and picked up this album.
Though it is a relatively short album at 14 tracks, each track is of very high-quality. So if you over hear someone saying that New York fell off the map, you’ll know they have no idea what they just said. Q-Tip’s album definitely played a big role in keeping hip-hop music alive. Stand out tracks on this album include: every single track… My personal favorite being “Shaka” – dedicated to Q-Tip’s brother.
PURCHASE: Q-Tip – The Renaissance
4. Statik Selektah – Stick 2 The Script
Most people don’t know who Statik Selektah even is, let alone how to spell his name right (STATIK SELEKTAH)… Anyways, this album “Stick 2 The Script” gets the most iTunes rotation (from Yung Drew) compared to any other album that dropped this year. The album is thoroughly enjoyable from start-to-finish with no skips. For those that know the Showoff Records representative Statik Selektah, know that he does not do the rapping on his projects.
With that said, he laces each track with production that is out-of-this world. After taking a listen, you’ll know that this man did not at all stray from an incredibly dope hip-hop sound. Though it has less of a mainstream appeal, y’all better get familiar with Mr. Selektah, because he is going nowhere anytime soon – and depending on who you talk to, his album could very well be the number one album of 2008. If you don’t already own this album, you owe it to yourself and hip-hop to pick up a copy of Statik’s album.
PURCHASE: Statik Selektah – Stick 2 The Script
3. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
With the biggest success of 2008, comes Lil Wayne’s album “Tha Carter III.” This album was a mainstream hip-hop/rap classic. If you don’t already own it, chances are very good that you know someone who picked up “Tha Carter III” over this past summer of 2008. In my personal opinion, this was the single most lyrically creative album in hip-hop for 2008.
Virtually every track is fire. Personal favorites include “Dr. Carter,” “Mr. Carter” featuring Jay-Z, the mainstream / club banger “Got Money” featuring T-Pain, and undoubtedly the anthem of everyone’s summertime hip-hop collection “A Milli.” Regardless of the hate stemming from self-proclaimed “hip-hop” heads due to Wayne’s mainstream success, I can testify that this album is straight FIRE from start to finish. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
PURCHASE: Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
2. The Game – L.A.X.
This album was clearly one of the best of 2008, and an album that I feel deserves one of the top spots. With standout tracks such as: “Bulletproof Diaries,” “Dope Boys,” “House Of Pain,” “Let Us Live,” “My Life” and (my personal favorite joint, assisted by Ludacris) entitled “Ya Heard.” The Game put together an helluva album that I consider a MUST-BUY for any true hip-hop fan in 2008.
Raekwon, Ice Cube, Ne-Yo, Bilal, Chrisette Michelle, Nas, and more all make stunning guest appearances. Don’t cheat yourself by getting the regular version, the deluxe version has over 20 songs and can be played from start to finish without any skips. Jayceon Taylor is undoubtedly one of the top lyrical heavyweights of year 2008.
PURCHASE: The Game – LAX [Deluxe Edition]
1. Nas – Untitled
Oh, you were expecting Lil Wayne? You thought I forgot about Mr. Nasir Jones’ album? Here’s the album “Untitled” holding down the NUMBER ONE SPOT for top albums of 2008. The lyrics on this project were clearly the best out of any hip-hop project to drop in 2008 and the concept was unparalleled. Originally, this album was set to be entitled “N*gger” – but due to various reasons, Nas came around and changed the title to… nothing… That’s why the album is listed as “Untitled.”
This was a project that I had been looking forward to for awhile before it dropped. Usually, the only complaint I have with Nas’ projects is the production – because I know he always sets the bar high with his lyrics. Nasir Jones is a very deep individual and had many strong emotions to express on this project. This album is monumental in the fact that it addresses the word “N*gger” – a word most people are afraid to talk about in the year 2008. Nasir also takes it further by addressing Fox News (on the track “Sly Fox”) expressing political views.
This SHOULD be regarded as a hip-hop classic. Nas made history with this album. The only area that I feel it fell slightly short was in its production. Tracks like “Make The World Go Round,” “Sly Fox,” “Black President,” and the biggest instrumental (arguably mainstream) banger “Hero” really give music fans from any genre something to enjoy. One of the top picks (if not “THE TOP PICK”) for 2008 – rightfully so.
PURCHASE: Nas – Untitled
- Murs – Can It Be (Time Lapse Mural) [Video]
- Murs – Announcing Free LP: “Sweet Lord” With 9th Wonder (Video)
- MURS – Lookin Fly (prod. Will.i.am) (Live Performance) [Video]
- Kardinal Offishall – Toronto: Keys To The City [Video]
- Blu – My Sunshine Video (Official) (feat. Nia Andrews) [NoYork! Album Single]