The Year In Hip Hop: 2009

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-The later years of the 2000s were strange in hip hop. Music wasn't necessarily terrible, but there was a lot of emphasis on mixtapes, with very little emphasis on albums. I guess it was just a sign of the times. One year that was 100% in this same regard had to be 2009, as the hip hop scene was seemingly going through a change, as the sales of albums were getting less and less viable. There weren't too many big releases as far as albums go, but when talking mixtapes, it was a solid year and there were some true classics that dropped.

Two mixtapes that I'm sure have to be discussed from this year are Lil Wayne's No Ceilings and Drake's So Far Gone. Wayne and Drake combined for an almost one-two punch, with two masterful tapes, as Gucci Mane also began to dominate the mixtape scene, releasing some of his best work in this year before ending his year with his album The State Vs Radric Davis. J. Cole released The Warm Up, Nicki put out Beam Me Up Scotty, the new school of hip hop was well underway and this year saw the shift occur.

As far as albums, I was partial to what I feel is the best album of the year, the sequel to Raekwon's classic Only Built For Cuban Linx. OB4CL 2 was a great album, though not as great as the first edition, it still hit the mark. 50 Cent, after taking a loss to Kanye in 2007, returned with nothing but slept on heat in War Angel LP, Forever King, and Before I Self Destruct. All three projects are dope and if I had to crown a MVP for the year on consistency, it'd be 50(with Gucci not too far behind). Mos Def returned with an album, the dope "The Ecstatic", and it's also one of my favorite releases of the year. While 2009 didn't have a ton of great albums, the ones that were solid are true gems. I think the true issue with 2009 is that the albums that should have been great missed the mark.

The disappointing releases on the year were from Eminem with Relapse, Jay with Blueprint 3, Jada with the Last Kiss, Fab with Loso's Way, and honestly, Clipse and their Til the Casket Drops album. I wasn't a huge fan of Rick Ross and his Deeper Than Rap album, nor have I ever been a fan of Kid Cudi and his brand of music, but these were both noteworthy and respected releases that I felt fell short of the mark. When 2009 is looked back on, I think that's what will stick out the most is what could have been and probably should have been. However, this isn't all about me. The team has their opinion on the year as well. Let's get into that.

Mos Def’s “The Ecstatic” was my favorite project of the whole year. The album was lyrically fascinating and the production was a brilliant creative process. I find Mos Def to be an artist that is overlooked at times. His lyricism is bug-eyed at times and he delivers that in this work. The beats on this album are intriguing and the lyrics are the usual Def at his finest.  Eminem’s “Relapse” dropped and I only knew the song “Crack a Bottle” because of the radio. “Man on the Moon: End of Day” also dropped by Kid Cudi. This was in my opinion, his best work. A strong debut album with radio hits such as “Day N Nite”, “Make Her Say”, and “Pursuit of Happiness”. The spacey adventurous tone of the album is something that wasn’t popular with the rest of the year, but somehow the public enjoyed it. It felt like a personal pop/indie feel.

MF DOOM’s “Born Like This” dropped with absolutely ruthless aggression and focused on braggadocio, police brutality, and the ghetto. Hov’s “The Blueprint 3” was a surprise to the critics and to the general public. We see a mature Jay-Z and an attempt at a youthful Jay-Z at times. Compared to his other work, I personally put Blueprint 3 at the bottom of his discography. It’s too pop-friendly and over-produced on the next octave. It’s overall complacent and will be up for debate with Kingdom Come about which album is worse.

2009 was another one of those years where there were a lot of highly anticipated projects that disappointed heavily. It was just another year for hip hop that was killing it even more. Let's start off with Relapse. It's been 5 years since Eminem released an album at the time, as his last project was Encore, released in 2004. It was very anticipated, selling over 600k copies the first week. Well, it sucked. "So crack a bottle, let ya body waddle" ......... really Slim Shady? Some of the most corniest and wackiest bars he's ever said were on this specific album. Terrible. Then there's that overrated We Are Young Money album. Horrible. Deeper Than Rap, The Last Kiss, and Loso's Way also disappointed me. I was looking forward to these 3 projects the most and they disappointed the most unfortunately. Blueprint 3 did too.

Now, like I always say, there's always a positive about every year of hip hop. Man On The Moon, No Ceilings, The State Vs. Radric Davis, Bastard, So Far Gone, Flamerz 2, LEBRON Flocka James, How Fly, Coke Wave 2. Best year ever for mixtapes, however... not so good for albums. Seems like that's the usual nowadays.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-When we look back at this year in hip hop, one has to wonder how important it really is. This is the last true great release from Wayne, the official rise to stardom of Drake, the beginning of Gucci's real mixtape legend run, the return of 50, the beginning of the rise of Rick Ross, the crowning of Nicki as the female heavyweight hip hop champ (for better or worse), and the start of a new era essentially. Though the albums this year weren't that great, it was a year of shift in hip hop. For that alone, 2009 is memorable. Once again, for better or worse.



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