So, Jay-Z and his Roc Nation appear to be very resolute in assembling artist that will include all sorts of musical flavors. There's J. Cole, Electronica, Willow Smith, Sean Garrett and others like Rihanna that have their careers managed by the company. But, there is one veteran group that turned down the opportunity of a regular rapper's lifetime. Dead prez, the duo of M1 and Stic Man, opted not to sign with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, preferring to remain autonomous. Jay and dead prez worked together before and the revolutionary-but-gangsta group hope to work with Roc Nation in the future as well.
Since, Jay-Z appears to be looking for acts with substance and consciousness and dead prez isn't intested, here's an alley oop in anticipation of a conscious slam dunk in the commercial court. TALIB KWELI
Like dead prez, Talib Kweli is a veteran artist with a long history of quality music. In the conscious rapper space, he is rock solid. Furthermore, Jay-Z infamously said in song, "If skills sold / Truth be told / I'd probably be / Lyrically Talib Kweli / Truthfully, I wanna rhyme like Common Sense / (But I did five Mil) / I ain't been rhyming like Common since." Now, he can make amends with his inner artistic conflict and help futher the already stellar career of Mr. Talib Kweli. [Shameless plug: AllHipHop and Talib Kweli are doing a show on December 26th, click here for details!]. Lastly, let it be known that Talib was instrumental in Kanye West getting a foothold in the game. The circle can be completed!
Saigon has has endured industry bumps and bruises that would break another MC's spirit clean in half. But, he's still here and he's still cranking out great music of inspiration that speaks to the people. It doesn't hurt that he can destroy rappers on the battle side as well. By the way, The Greatest Story Never Told is scheduled to drop in February, 2011!"Dear Black America"
Here is a way for Jay-Z to truly dispel those pesky rumors. Sign a nice Christian rapper and get him hot in these streets. Lecrae in at the top of his field in the Christian rap game and just waiting for the opportunity to be properly positioned to the music industry. The music is there and the message is there.
"Far Away"(Haiti Relief)
Simply put, as a soloist, Black Thought is one of the most underrated lyricists ever. And that is a shame. As the lead rapper of The Roots, Thought has created compelling, thought-provoking material for over a decade. As a solo artist, there have only been a few chances to hear him shine. There are rumors of an upcoming solo project, but anything can be worked out if the paperwork is right.
"Thought At Work"
K'naan is the sleeper! He's much more than a conscious artist, he's an international Hip-Hop sensation. The product of war-torn Somalia has become an African ambassador that has people calling him the "Bob Marley of Hip-Hop."
"Waving Flag" - featuring will.i.am, David Guetta
With David Banner, Roc Nation could get a win/win. Banner has already proven himself as a viable brand in rap, but he's also a gifted, hit making producer. Jay-Z could benefit from some of those tracks and Banner could experience a resurgence of sorts as well. Speaking of which, Banner just released Death of a Pop Star with 9th Wonder to the glee of Hip-Hop purists. Win plus Win = Win.
"What Did I Do"
Say Roc Nation wants to get people really thinking. Sign Immortal Technique. Technique is the rapper that knows the inner workings of the Evil Empire and raps about it. Furthermore, he's an unrelentingly brutal battle MC. So true to his conscious mindstate is Immortal Technique, he built an orphanage in Afghanistan, a place ravaged by war.
"Dance With The Devil"
"Trust me when i say 2011 is going to be interesting," El P recently tweeted. I wonder what he meant. El P is another artist that has his respects as the owner of the iconic Def Jux Records brand, but also as a ferocious rapper that was "crushing fun" in the mid-90's. His bars are dark, dense and introspective enough to warrant a "Decoded' type of book.
Shad is a Canadian-bred rapper that was born in Kenya. Shad is mostly known for the lyrics that put himself down, but he's got a side that delves deep into social issues. "I'll Never Understand" is one such song that speaks about the tragedy known as the Rwandan genocide. Shad also has a quirky side with him so that may bode well with the current times.
"I'll Never Understand" (Rwanda Dedication)
Jay-Z was once regarded as the "hustler's poster child" so he should definitely have respect for the hustle and flow of Jasiri X. Jasiri has graced the web pages of AllHipHop.com quite a bit and his consistency is remarkable. More than that, he's out in the community helping the people. He then takes those ideals and experiences and puts them in song or video. Also, he's down with Paradise of the legendary pro-Black group X-Clan. The torch must be passed.
"Enough Is Enough" (A Dedication To Sean Bell)
Jay-Z once called himself the monster of the double enterdre. Therefore, he has got to love the lyrical dexterity of Detroits elZHi. After joining Slum Village in 2001 when J. Dilla (RIP) left the group, elZHi upgraded the groups lyricism by making all the group members sharpen their lyrical swords and grow beyond the daisy-age rhymes that made them famous. His own EPs and collaborations with other artists including Phonte and Drake have heightened his personal recognition because of his heightened mentality and vocabulary that could make him a rap professor. And Jay-Z should sign elZHi because, dammit, they would sound awesome on a track together.