Common, geto boys, kweli, david banner
Chicago-bred Emcee Common says he still enjoys old school hip-hop, which plays a significant role in his upcoming album, expected in 2005. "I usually go back and listen to a lot of old hip-hop to inspire me, whether it be Nas' Illmatic or Only Built for Cuban Links by Raekwon,” Common told MTV. And of the notion that hip-hop is dead, a phrase that has been brought up frequently, Common said, “That ain't what it is. It's still some good hip-hop out there." To illustrate, Common named his top songs of the year, including Kanye West’s’ “Jesus Walks” and Jadakiss’ “Why.”
The Geto Boys trio, consisting of Bushwick Bill, Scarface and Willie D, is set to release their ninth album War and Peace onJan. 25, 2005. According to the group, fans will get a dose of classic Geto Boys on this record. “It’s definitely not a departure from the old Geto Boys shit,” said Willie D, who rejoined the group on their reunion album Resurrection. “The only thing that is really different about the album is the beats are more up-tempo. But our energy level is still the same and our subject matter is still the same. We’re still championing the cause of the underserved. We’re still Geto Boys for life.” The group’s preceding album was The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, excluding Bushwick Bill.
Following the release of Beautiful Struggle, Talib Kweli has issued The Beautiful Mixtape Volume 2: The Struggle Continues, featuring 15 new songs, including some leaked from an incomplete version of Kweli’s album, The Beautiful Struggle. Making appearances on the mixtape are Snoop Dogg, the Game, Ghostface, Ludacris, Saigon, David Banner and Common.
Mississippi rapper David Banner has apparently been crafting his stage skills for the last few months by taking acting lessons in Los Angeles. "I'm studying this form of talent," Banner told The Associated Press in an interview. "I've had opportunities to be in several major movies, but I don't want to just jump in." While acting appealed to Banner as a youngster, the AP reported, the rapper said he never knew how to get started. "Those opportunities are not readily available, coming from urban situations where you don't know much.” Banner benefits from his training in more ways than one, though. “Acting actually teaches you to be more patient with society," Banner said. "As an actor, you're able to break down the psyche of people." Banner is also working on a new album, projected to release next year.