By Zeck Wreck AKA Jerry Nice
I thought I’d kick off my first entry to Touch (hopefully many more to come) with a list of my most anticipated albums of 2008. While doing research, I noticed that this year seems to be much more promising than 2007, which is a plus for the future of music (unless you are a HUGE Lil’ Wayne fan). So without further ado, here you go:
10) Prodigy: H.N.I.C. 2-March 2008
Did anyone hear how good last year’s Return of the Mac was? I did, and it was by far one of the highlights of an overall dismal year in hip-hop.
Mobb Deep has not dropped a decent album since 1996’s Hell on Earth, and Prodigy has done a great job by himself since. Both of his solo releases (H.N.I.C. and Return of the Mac) have outshined his partner Havoc, which makes me particularly excited about this project.
9) Nas: N***er-February 2008 (doubt it)
If this were two years ago, then Nasty Nas would have made it a little higher on the list (maybe even #1). But, the fact is that he just put out a big album not too long ago and it still gets play every now and then. Also, at this point I wonder if Nas is focusing too much on being controversial then he is on making a good album. All I’m saying is, in 2006 Hip Hop Is Dead was arguably the biggest subject in music, which eventually led to Nas’ first #1 spot on the Billboards. If Nas sells controversy and it makes Def Jam a ton of money, then why wouldn’t they go for that angle again?
I could also be reading too much into this, but somebody has to say something about it.
Don’t get it twisted though…The greatest album of all time is still Illmatic, and I am still the biggest Nas fan ever invented.
(click read more to check out 8-1)
8 ) Pete Rock: NY’s Finest-2/28/2008
Since his 1991 debut All Souled Out with former partner C.L. Smooth, Pete Rock has been regarded as one of the best producers in the game. The amount of classic material under his belt is mesmerizing, and can only be matched by a select few (Dilla, Premier, and Dre come to mind). However, PR has remained rather quiet since dropping his last album, Soul Survivor 2 in 2004.
His latest entry, NY’s Finest, has been in the works for the past couple of years and features such guests as Jim Jones, Raekwon, Sheek Louch, and Styles P. “Till I Retire” was the first single to leak, which includes the super-producer rhyming as fresh as he’s ever sounded before.
In the day and age of ring tone rapper dominance and excessive use of voice box effects, hip-hop is in dire need of some REAL representation. If “Till I Retire” is a sign of things to come, then this album may be exactly the type of representation we are looking for.
7) Murs & 9th Wonder: Sweet Lord–??
While many hip-hop fans are looking forward to Murs’ first major label release Murs for President, the one to look for is the third installment of the Murs/9th Wonder saga. The past two collaborations (Murs 3:16 and Murray’s Revenge) were incredible in their own right and 9th has recently promised that Sweet Lord is the best yet.
Murs is a very original and talented character in hip-hop and 9th is a type of producer that we haven’t seen since Pete Rock. Combined, they create incredible music and leave the listener continually asking for more.
If Sweet Lord is anything like the previous joints, this album will not disappoint. Let’s just hope we can get this one before 2009.
6) Del The Funky Homosapien: The 11th Hour-3/11/2008
After seven years without a Del solo joint, we are once again blessed with some uncut West Coast funk that only the Homosapien can provide. His last album Deltron 3030, with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala was critically acclaimed by most and musically praised by all. Since then, we have been patiently waiting for a new release from the Hieroglyphics leader himself.
The 11th Hour has been in the works for the last several years now, and since finding a home with El-P’s Definitive Jux label, it appears to be getting the treatment it deserves.
His first single “Bubble Pop” hit the internet a little over a month ago, and has fans worldwide anticipating the final product. Also, it stands proof that this album will finally see the day-of-light, and within a reasonable amount of time.
5) Guilty Simpson: Ode to the Ghetto-3/25/2008
Guilty Simpson is dope…Bottom line. He has the natural presence of a lyrical beast, and is about as grimy as they come. The kind of dude that would sound perfect over a Havoc beat in 1996 (and what’s better than a Havoc beat from 1996?).
Since getting the stamp of approval from the legendary J Dilla himself, Stones Throw had no other option than to finally sign him to their independent All-Star label (including such artists as Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf, J-Rocc of the Beat Junkies, and MED). Dilla was able to work with Guilty on several songs before his untimely passing, which gave us a taste of things to come (check “Man’s World,” and “Clap Your Hands”).
He adds a lot to the already eclectic Stones Throw roster, and is one of the few exciting hip-hop artists in the game. Don’t sleep…
4) Saigon: The Greatest Story Never Told-Early 2008
This album has been pushed back more times than I’d like to remember. It was originally supposed to drop on Atlantic back in 2004, but was held up for several years, apparently due to sample clearing issues (namely the first single, “C’mon Baby”). Just Blaze handles a majority of the production, with such artists as Q-Tip, Devin the Dude, and Jay-Z making guest appearances as well.
According to the man himself, “There’s not been an album in the past 20 years that is going to better then mine. My shit is better then Illmatic.”
I do have very high-hopes for this album and think that Saigon and Just will deliver a great piece of work. Saigon is very slept on, and is a rare breed of a New York lyricist that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
But I don’t know about Illmatic greatness homie…
3) Madvillain: Madvillainy 2 (tentative)–??
I don’t care what anyone says, Madvillainy is a classic album. MF Doom and Madlib go together like Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, or for their sake, Cheech and Chong. Madlib seems to be at his most creative with their first album, and I strongly feel it has to do with the musical chemistry that he and Doom share.
And yes, it’s still fucked up that Doom has been using imposters at his shows lately, but you can’t deny the quality of music. Hip-hop could use a breath of fresh air in its current state, and the combination of these two is more than enough for the moment.
2) Dr. Dre: Detox–??
Originally, this was going to be a concept album with Denzel Washington narrating the entire thing. Then 50 Cent happened, time passed, and Dr. Dre scrapped “Detox” all together. However, since exclaiming “look out for Detox” on The Game’s “Higher” in 2005, buzz for the album picked up heavy steam once again.
Whenever Dr. Dre releases a solo joint, it’s something special and is sure to significantly shake the foundations. Fans across all genres have been heavily anticipating this album for some time now, and 2008 seems like the perfect time to release it. I am pretty confident this album will drop within the year, because if not, we may never see Detox at all.
1) Raekwon: Only Built for Cuban Links 2–??
The idea of Dr. Dre and Raekwon together may sound too good to be true (and apparently was), but I for one think it will work perfectly. If you want my opinion, Raekwon will drop as fierce as ever and become relevant once again in a big way.
There are many people out there that don’t believe this album will ever see the day of light, but I beg to differ. Both the Chef himself and Ghostface have been promoting this album heavily lately, which is a good sign. It’s a known fact that OB4CL2 will no longer drop on Aftermath (ala Rakim’s Oh my God!), so finding a home for this album will be huge if we are to see it come out in 2008.
There was a time when Raekwon and the Wu could do no wrong, and I would like nothing more than to see the Chef take his rightful place at the throne before the end of the year.
This better come on purple cassette too…
Honorable mention: Foreign Exchange, Ghostface & Doom, J Dilla (Jay Love Japan), Clipse, E-40, Gnarls Barkley