Artists We Expected To See, But Didnt…
Listen! was all set to drop, and then Warner Brothers got cold feet about something. Was it a weaker first single? Was it the poor sales of Lupe Fiasco, Jurassic 5, and others in 2006? Nobodys sure, but if Blacksmith is worth their salt, theyd better drop Talib early and Jean Grae midway through 2007.
How many mixtapes can you make before Sony/Red greenlights the album? Easy Pimpin Cons definitely got better this year, but a Grammy Family is only as good as it expands, and Cons and GLC for that matter, deserve to be heard. If nothing else, put these guys out independently. Callin Me and Summer Breeze were fire mixtape joints this summer.
Its been a quiet year for the Roc, and after last year, we were sure that Tru Life would come out bangin on his enemies. The Lower East Sider continues to be active on the mixtapes, but after New New York smashed, Tru Life seemingly made a promise hes yet to deliver. If Def Jam wants to get courageous, let this lion out of his cage.
A year without Beans dropping and no Free? Surely with his involvement with G-Unit, people expected to see an album with Jay-Z and 50 Cent executive producing kick the year off with a raspy scream. Still, Freeway dropped a mixtape but no album. Thiss album has the potential to be a Def Jam blockbuster for 07, which both 50 and Jay could probably use under their belt.
The Organized Konfusion veteran has been label shopping since the great Rawkus collapse. After rumors of Shady and G-Unit signings, Monch ended up on Steve Rifkinds SRC Records. With hard hitting singles Lets Go and Push out almost a year, it seemed fruitless to push this album back. Hopefully Universal gets it together for 07 and lets this Queens killer MC make his triumphant return.
Artists We Demand to See With Albums in ’07
We got the Shady Records Re-Up, but where the hell are Ab-Liva and Sandman? These Philadelphia MCs kept up with The Clipse for two years on some of the hottest mixtapes to ever pop. While Sandman is working with Clark Kent, Ab-Liva is dropping solo tapes. Somebody with proper paper (we need Neptunes beats and Clipse features) needs to make this happen for the 07.
Middle Passage promises to be one of the bluntest albums since Blunt Records folded. Immortal Technique slowed his roll, but after the crossover love Babygrande Records found with the Hi-Tek project, there will be no excuses why the mainstream doesnt get slapped in the face with hard knock commentary, plenty of conspiracy theory, and the second coming of a public enemy number one.
If Jay-Z can come back out, so can Dre. Unlike in 2004, we also know that Dre didnt slip The Game his albums beats either. While Jay and Snoop pulled Dre out more than ever, fans demand to see Detox, which surely will also have people screaming relapse! to keep classic albums coming from Hip-Hops top beatsmith.
Def Jam decided to release two Ghostface albums in one year, but no Budden? Okay, perhaps the rumors of Jumpoff Joey not turning in an album are true, but after another batch of pristine album verses, there is no reason that Joe shouldnt come out in the 07. Anybody who attended AllHipHop Weeks Concert Finale knows just how crazy Joe gets a crowd, let alone the headphones. Bring em out!
Maybe Just Blaze got a lil busy when Jay-Z told him to bring his beats over to Sony Studios for a secret project. But Saigons verses throughout 2006 were hard as hell. Capped off by Dreamz with 9th Wonder, Saigons abilities to make meaningful songs are there. After Atlantic saw success with Lupe, they should take another risk, going against the grain with The Greatest Story Never Told.
Biggest Surprises of 2006
Three-6-Mafia Wins an Oscar
After years of being too devilish for MTV, it came as a shocker to see Juicy J and Paul grab Oscar gold on stage, with their big speeches and shiny grins.
The Games album lacks Dr. Dre
The Doctors Advocate was a mighty misleading title for a song and an album. Perhaps 2007 will shed light to what really happened, but one cant help but wonder if Nas and Jay got Games tracks.
Proof Gets Murdered
Just weeks after losing J Dilla, Detroit mourned the loss of D-12s Proof. An artist who seemed largely unappreciated by the rap community during his life joins the ranks of Big L and Big Pun for what could have been.
Dave Mays Loses The Source
When Mays and Benzino lost their baby, nobody knew what would happen. The duo has a fledging Hip-Hop Weekly while Jeremy Miller and staff are rebuilding the Hip-Hop Bibles credibility one verse at a time.
Jay-Z Returns Records With Nas.
Since The Black Album rumors swirled of Jiggas return. But Just Blaze and Young Guru know how to keep a secret. With less than two months between announcement and release, Kingdom Come was a shocker, as was seeing former enemies get down together on Nas Black Republicans.
Tax Write Off Albums of 2006
Blow the Whistle by Too Short (Up All Nite/Jive)
With Shawnnas Gettin Some and Kelis Bossy, Too Short had more appeal in 2006 than any of his countless going-away albums. Although the label seemingly spent big dollars on A-list producers (Will.I.Am, Lil Jon, Jazze Pha), they got cold feet with releasing singles to the masses. The final outcome, Todd Shaw lost the chance to enjoy the kind of career jumpstart enjoyed by E-40. Meanwhile, his label signed his group, The Pack, whos song Vans will make the sneakers uncool for everybody by 2008.
More Fish by Ghostface (Def Jam)
Was Def Jam trying to meet a quota with this one? After reportedly advising Ghost not to release a second-single for Fishscale, they wanted to really serve fans the leftovers? While this album was too good to be a complete write-off, tracks absent of Ghost altogether and silly remixes left fans wondering if they were being pimped.
Blue Collar by Rhymefest (Allido/J)
For almost three years, Rhymefests press campaign was devoted to his genius penmanship behind Jesus Walks. When he finally got an album, everybody else seemed to walk. The sad thing is Blue Collar was a very well put-together album, with big producers, lots of sample clearances, and tangible subject matter but without a single getting any exposure, it just seemed to be a case of too little, too late.
Thug Stories by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Koch)
In early 2006, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony signed a deal with Swizz Beatz and Interscope Records. In a classic case of baller-blocking, their former label, Koch Records opted to release Thug Stories, the groups first album sans Bizzy Bone. For a group who has unfailingly put up high sales numbers, you could find more people at a Cleveland Browns game than actually bought this album. As a result, the big label return waits until 07.
The Professional 3 by DJ Clue (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
With hardly any warning, Def Jam squeezed off a late December release from DJ Clue after years of sitting idle at the label. Packed with A-team guests, notable producers, and high-energy, this release truly lost in a sea of carefully worked albums, in and out of the label.
The Sausage Awards For Bad Hip-Hop Beef:
The Game / Ras Kass
Loon / .40 Cal
Gillie Da Kid / Lil’ Wayne
The Clipse/Lil Wayne
14:59: The Cash In Your Fame Right Now! Award
The Flavor of Love Girls
The Biggest Singles of 2006
"What You Know" by T.I. (Produced by DJ Toomp) (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)
"Hustlin’" by Rick Ross (Produced by The Runners) (Slip-N-Side/Def Jam)
"Ridin Dirty" by Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone (Produced by Play-N-Skills) (Universal)
"Show Me What You Got" by Jay-Z (Produced by Just Blaze)(Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
"We Fly High (Ballin)" – Jim Jones (Produced by Zukhan) (Diplomats/Koch)
Ones To Grow On: How We’d Prefer to Be Remembered
"Kick Push"by Lupe Fiasco (Produced by Soundtrakk) (First & Fifteenth/Atlantic)
by Nas (Produced by Will.I.Am) (Def Jam/Columbia)
"Wamp Wamp (What It Do)"by Clipse featuring Slim Thug (Produced by The Neptunes) (Re-Up/Star Trak/Zomba)
"Testify"by Styles P featuring Talib Kweli(Produced by Hi-Tek)(Interscope/Ruff Ryders)
<b"New York S**t" by Busta Rhymes featuring Swizz Beatz (Produced by DJ Scratch) (Flipmode/Aftermath)
Guilty Pleasures – Don’t Front!
"Money In The Bank" by Lil Scrappy featuring Young Buck (Produced by Ike Dirty) (BME/Reprise)
"Make It Rain" by Fat Joe featuring Lil Wayne (Produced by Scott Storch) (Terror Squad/Imperial)
"Beach Chair" by Jay-Z featuring Chris Martin (Produced by Chris Martin) (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
"Vans" by The Pack (Produced by Young L)(Up All Nite/Zomba)
"It’s Going Down"– Yung Joc featuring Nitti (Produced by Nitti) (Block Entertainment/Bad Boy South)
The Biggest Collaborations of 2006
"Black Republican"by Nas featuring Jay-Z (produced by L.E.S.) (Def Jam/Columbia)
"Gang Bangin 101" by Snoop Dogg featuring The Game (produced by Terrace Martin) (Doggystyle/Geffen)
<b"Up Next" by UGK featuring Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap (produced by Marley Marl) (Jive)
"Walk It Out (Remix))"by Unk featuring Andre 3000 and Jim Jones (Produced by DJ Montay and Top) (Koch)
"Problem"by DJ Khaled featuring Beanie Sigel & Jadakiss (produced by DJ Khaled) (Terror Squad/Koch)