So, what have we learned in 2009?
Raekwon is more trustworthy than Dr. Dre. No one believed either of ‘em when we were told that Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II and Detox would drop in our lifetimes (R.I.P. to those that didn’t make it long enough), but Rae played the role of the tortoise, creeping upon the finish line, while Dre continues to stroll, seemingly uncommitted as to whether his magnum opus will live up to the hype. In the meantime, we have a handful of average-quality sounding reference tracks (with a surprising amount of T.I.), a Dr. Pepper commercial featuring a beat that may make Detox (though, it has already been utilized by Wale and Rick Ross & Birdman), and some $300 headphones (to enhance the listening experience of music that actually sees the light of day).
Albums don’t matter anymore. At least, that’s one rationale as to why Eminem is not one of MTV’s 10 hottest MCs (despite selling 600K of Relapse, his first release in five years, in its first week), omitted in exchange for several MCs who either did not drop albums this year (Weezy, Jeezy and Yeezy) or dropped mediocre-at-best albums (Fab). (Sorry if I’m downplaying the “heat” of Katie Couric interviews and Taylor Swift speech interruptions. Also sorry if I’m implying that MTV’s list has that much credibility.)
Not even 50 Cent can sell records in today’s industry — and this is the same 50 Cent that once sold Curtis to the buying public! Maybe it’s time to redefine “flop” — not that we ever had a Webster’s definition for it — because if 50 flopped, then what do you call Wale’s first week numbers? That’s not a diss, either — I like Wale a lot, and ML’s been tracking his career since 100 Miles & Running back in ’07. In fact, the only reason I don’t have a physical copy of Attention Deficit nearby as I type (I had to resort to iTunes) is because I couldn’t find one on any Best Buy store shelves — though, for whatever it’s worth, the Best Buy employee who told me that they didn’t have any copies also told me that it was dope (I should’ve asked him where he copped his copy).
Gucci Mane is a rap star. I never would have imagined this based on his first two videos — to me, he was just another terrible rapper from the South with no charisma. Now, he’s a pretty good rapper with, well, a little charisma. Good enough, I guess.
Rappers continue to diss Jay-Z and get no response. Game put out a diss record, which was kind of sad (in a lame, pathetic sort of way). Beanie Sigel put out a diss record, which was also kind of sad (in a “doesn’t feel right” sort of way). 50′s been trying to bait Jay for a while, but to no avail — The Blueprint 3 didn’t have a “Takeover”, let alone a half-a-bar for everyone to share. The only rapper to get a response record from Jay in the last few years? Jim Jones. That may be what’s the most sad about all of this.
And, last but not least, the following beats are dope…