Best Mixtapes of 2006:
Best of The Roots by DJ J Period
The Bay-meets-Brooklyn DJ did it to death this year, when he linked up with Black Thought for an official Roots jump off tape. With over 50 tracks, J Period added blends, rare verses, and remix material that helped show why Stetsasonic mayve started it, but The Illadelphs Roots crew are Hip-Hops biggest band. Without relying on leaking Game Theory tracks, this mixtape pushed in the door for the album, making J Period not only a dope DJ, but somebodys whos gonna get plenty of label love in the future.
Dedication 2 by DJ Drama & Lil Wayne
The Aphilliates stock is at an all-time high, and its perfect time to say thanks, to the biggest artists in the game. The second installment of Waynes Dedication found the New Orleans prodigy claiming, Im the Best Rapper Alive. That alone raised interest, but Wayne and Drama gave a mixtape that held Waynes status high in 2006, even without a solo. Southern rappers finally have that DJ they can go to for the buzz.
(Hustlin, "Workin’ Em" featuring Currency)
Young Buck: Chronic 2006 by DJ Whoo Kid
When an Oscar Award winner hosts your tape, youre nice. Jamie Foxx and DJ Whoo Kid had a ball with this material from G-Units Southern genius. The mixtape allowed Buck and Whoo Kid to poke fun at the Vibe Awards incident, drop disses at The Game, and still loosely follow Dr. Dres blueprint for what an album should be. When youve got to sit the year out, its imperative that you get a tape to hold the weight. No question that Whoo Kid held Young Buck down properly.
Alive on Arrival by DJ Green LanternGreen Lantern
Artist mixtapes arent the only medium these days. True to the original form, Green Lantern went big with his 2006 Alive on Arrival. The mix featured new and remixed material from Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, and Pharrell, mostly over original Green Lantern production. The runaway hit Impeach the President brought in dead prez, Saigon, Immortal Technique, and Just Blaze showing that mixtapes can be political too. If youre gonna do it, do it real big like Green Lantern.
("Impeach the President" featuring Saigon, Immortal Technique, dead prez, and Just Blaze, 21 Bronx Blocks featuring Remy Ma)
Lupe The Great by Digitaljunkeez.com and Lupe Fiasco
Before delving into Food & Liquor, Lupe Fiasco had recorded enough material for a box set of albums. Of the half-dozen mixtapes leading up to the album, Lupe The Great had the colorful styles, clever concepts, and blend between the block and the blog down pat. Hopefully this tradition continues as Lupe begins campaigning his next effort.
New Artists: Class of 06
Ten years ago, Trick Daddy smashed on the scene and rebuilt the Miami scene from the booty-bass days. In 2006, Rick Ross took the lane and helped take cocaine rap to the next plateau. With a unique image, a dumbed-down delivery, and beats that blew the license plate off the back of the trunk, Rick Ross represented the new Miami lovely. The other side of the bridge hasnt been rapped about this much since Shan and Kris had words.
("Hustlin’," Holla At Me by DJ Khaled featuring Cool & Dre, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, Pitbull, Paul Wall, and Lil Wayne)
Lupe Fiasco proves why great rappers dont have a shelf-life. After botched deals with both Epic and Arista, Lupe ended up at Atlantic, with his First & Fifteenth made to feel comfortable. After a clutch appearance on Kanye Wests Touch the Sky, and a ringing endorsement from Hova, Lupe finally secured a date for his Food & Liquor. Not since the early 90s, has a new rapper been so embraced by a bootleg. After the leak, Lupe Fiasco survived the storm. Revenge of the Hip-Hop nerd.
Cleveland lacks the women and the weather of Miami, but Ray Cash flipped the script on Ohios Hip-Hop scene with his Cash on Delivery. Backed by Sony, this rapper used a quiet image to play the background, as his lyrical expletives led the way on tales of ziplocks, tucked waists, and hunger pains stole the show.
("Bumpin’ My Music" featuring Scarface, Cash Rules)
Perhaps Termanology will be the next Source Unsigned Hype alum to really do things with his career. Straight outta Lawrence, Massachusetts, Termanology landed himself a deal with Boston-based Brick Records, and has brought DJ Premier, Roc Raida, and Statik Selektah onboard for production on his Hood Politics Volume 4 street-album. Whether or not he ends up backed by a major, Termanology is a problem.
(Got Em featuring Snuk, "Watch How It Go Down (Remix)" featuring Lil Fame, Papoose)
What Ray Cash is to Cleveland, Wiz is to neighboring Pittsburgh only hes not backed by a major, yet. Big Mike, DJ Sickamore, and our very own illseed have all promoted this 18 year-old prodigy. Show and Prove a fiery street album with curb-serving anthems, city pride, and soulful production is getting Wiz attention from everybody. Wiz is the truth.
Biggest Dissappoints of 2006: The Ones that Got Away
In My Mind by Pharrell (Star Trak/Interscope)
It was bound to happen Pharrell showed his imperfection in a big way. While Can I Have it Like That? was a hot single nearly a year ago, its buzz dried up by the time Interscope decided to release this album, which slacked in production, and got a bit downright weird in terms of lyrics. Perhaps this lathered em so that The Clipse could shave em, showing everybody a few months later why Skateboard P is still that dude.
Rotten Apple by Lloyd Banks (G-Unit/Interscope)
In a quiet year for G-Unit, Lloyd Banks suffered the hardest. Rotten Apple was far from a rotten record, but dropped in the traffic of Snoop, Jay-Z, The Game and so many others, it just didnt seem to be that delicious. Well forever wonder if that groupie ran away with Banks true sophomore classic.
Todd Smith by LL Cool J (Def Jam)
LLs classic pedigree is set but albums have been hit or miss lately. Todd Smith hit the rim, but bounced off. As Ice Cube, Jay-Z, and Snoop got their grown man on, we naturally expected LL to lead off with the same. However, Control Myself and Its LL and Santana started off an immature album that just went downhill from there.
Killa Season by Camron (Diplomats/Asylum)
When youre dissing Jay-Z, the buzz is supposed to be big. But when youre promoting your album that way, the album has to be fire. Camron nearly pulled a Jayo Felony when he released this album, which was dwarfed by Purple Haze barely over a year ago. Asylum mayve jumped the gun on their million-dollar prize-rapper, who didnt leave the ring a winner in this one.
Idlewild by Outkast (Laface/Jive)
Outkast has never made less than a classic album until now. Idlewild was far from wack, but after a decade of putting up darts, this one was a bit harder to stick. No worry though, a lot of people accused Gnarls Barkley of robbing Kasts blueprint for loony tunes. When Outkast comes back out again-with an Outkast album, not a soundtrack with their name slapped on it-the expectations remain high.
Top Artists of 2006 (Commercial Impact):
Top Artists of 2006 (Artistically)
Trends Wed Like To See Die in 2007
Drug Dealer Rap
Every simile and metaphor for pitching, serving, flying, weighing, bagging, and block-hugging has been used. Theres the veterans we respect, and a sea of new jacks that have Hip-Hop saying, We dont believe you, you need more people!.
If a song comes with a pre-packaged dance, check. If a song is about a food or food metaphor, check. If a song uses a nursery rhyme to support a piece of jewelry, check. If there are White people mocking you on YouTube with said song, check. Get the idea?
YouSendIt makes Canal Street look like RIAA headquarters. With Lupes album, Jeezys album, and Jays album, so much anticipation and fun was ruined. Everybody loves an exclusive, but leaks have hurt the culture.
Jeezy and Nas, Jim Jones and Jay, The Clipse and Lil Wayne it seemed everybody wanted an opponent going into first week sales. Maybe this trend is why very few people actually talk about music anymore. Kill the noise.
Quantity over Quality
Twenty songs, mostly filler dont equate to nine darts. A low-budget independent album does not make us more interested in a major label effort six months later. A chopped and screwed bonus disc does not entice anybody who wouldnt normally buy your album, to do so on the strength. Artists need to make consumers hungry again in the 07.
Best Books of 2006
Ruthless: A Memoir by Jerry Heller (Simon Spotlight)
Eazy-Es initial backer in Ruthless Records told his story of The Black Beatles, Suge Knight, and the Compton empire that forever changed the way rap record labels would function.
Notorious C.O.P. by Derrick Parker (St. Martins)
The Hip-Hop Cop reveals the profiling he did in the 90s and 00s, as the now retired Derrick Parker also weighed in on possible motives in the deaths of some of Hip-Hops biggest slain stars.
Bling: The Hip-Hop Jewelry Book by Reggie Osse and Gabriel Tolliver (Bloomsbury)
Since everybody wants a Paul Wall grill, its important to understand the history behind the bling. Also, this will help Brooke Hogan, Paris Hilton, and all the other trust fund babies who wanna be down look like they know whats good they dont.
Dead Emcee Scrolls by Saul Williams (MTV Books)
Hip-Hops poet laureate penned this book that used imagery from subway tunnels, 40 ounces, Rakim records, and all the elements that Saul pulls from. While his past books have always incorporated Hip-Hop elements, this is true rhyme poetry.
Make it Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation Guide to Success by Kevin Liles (Atria)
Like Russell Simmons Life & Def, Kevin Liles chronicles his rise to mogul-dom. This is an inspiring book for anybody who wants the fruits of hard labor, and is willing to provide honest labor to reap said fruits.