DAR Hip Hop: 7 Underrated Albums From 2007

By @TrueGodImmortal

2007 was not the best year for mainstream hip hop honestly. The biggest albums from the artists that year all seemed to be disappointing in some way, and we were regulated to the crazy 50 vs Kanye sales battle that was pointless in retrospect, but at least entertaining. Aside from the albums that garnered sales and attention, there are the albums that deserved more attention and more acclaim that didn't get it, or at least not to the level it should have. Today, we discuss 7 albums from 2007 that were essentially underrated. Which albums make our list? Read on to find out.

*Blu and Exile- Below The Heavens

-It may seem confusing for an underground classic to be considered underrated, but that's the reality. A number of lists on the best albums of the year will have this debut album from Blu and Exile on it I'm sure, but the average list will feature Jay-Z, Kanye West, Common, maybe even 50 Cent on it and at a higher position because of name value. Blu and Exile have the album of the year and I don't think it's even a question. With true to life lyricism, smooth and soulful production, and just all around great music, Blu and Exile deliver something timeless that give us classics such as "Dancing In The Rain", "Blu Colla Workers", "The Narrow Path", and of course "No Greater Love". Below The Heavens stands as a landmark moment in the career of Blu and Exile both and rightfully so.

*Black Milk- Popular Demand

-The Detroit producer is one of the better artists and producers from his city, and he has a lot of music in his catalog that entices listeners, but in 2007, his second album Popular Demand really set the tone for what he was about and what to expect going forward. Black Milk is slept on in general, but this album features some of his best music period. Armed with some excellent production (all done by himself), Black Milk enlists the help of fellow Detroit natives and other Midwest spitters for an album that gives us great tracks like "Action", "Watch Em", "Shut It Down", and "Lookatusnow", among other songs. Simply put, Black Milk delivers on an album that should have received more love when it dropped.

*Little Brother- Getback

-The last true Little Brother album (because Leftback was clearly thrown together) that really felt like a collective effort was a gem in 2007 that saw the duo of Phonte and Pooh rejecting the nonsense of major labels and sticking to their bread and butter. They would also be without their in-house producer 9th Wonder minus one song, as 9th departed from the group, but they would get contributions from Hi-Tek, Mr. Porter, Nottz, and more, proving they could deliver greatness on beats from any producer. The album is not on the same level in concept as their previous two classics, but from a song level, the album is on par with those. Getback was less conceptual and more straightforward following their departure from Atlantic Records and the other mishaps that occurred, and it results in classics like "Sirens", "Can't Win For Losing", "Dreams", "After The Party", and "When Everything Is New". Little Brother is one of the greatest groups in hip hop history and this album reminds you why they earned that spot in such a short time.

*Freeway- Free At Last

-Roc-A-Fella was attempting to make a comeback following their publicized breakup and this was the real start of it. After an unsuccessful attempt in 2005 with Memphis Bleek and Young Gunz as the gunners for the squad, it was time for Freeway and Beanie Sigel to carry the torch in 2007 next to Jay and Kanye. For Beans, his album would fall a little short, but Freeway did his job. The album wasn't a huge success commercially, but quality wise, the sophomore album from Free is only a notch below his classic debut Philadelphia Freeway. With smooth production, top shelf lyricism along with having both Jay-Z and 50 Cent assist with the project and you have a winner. There are a number of songs on here that stick out, but my favorites were "Still Got Love", "Take It To The Top", "When They Remember", and the beautiful opener "This Can't Be Real". Freeway avoids the sophomore slump and releases yet another excellent album that somehow went under the radar on the year.

*Prodigy and The Alchemist- Return Of The Mac

-One half of the legendary duo Mobb Deep returned with a new solo project completely produced by a producer that he was very familiar with in Alchemist. This album was essentially the type of music we fell in love with Mobb Deep for, full of bravado, aggression, and P at his most raw lyrically. The highlights on this album include "The Rotten Apple", "7th Heaven", "Stuck On You", and my personal favorite "Bang On Em". All in all, Return Of The Mac was one of the best releases of the year that sometimes gets overlooked.

*Pharoahe Monch- Desire

-I always loved Monch and his music, and while I thought Internal Affairs was a really good album, my belief was always that he could likely end up outdoing it with his later work (or his next album at least). He would prove me correct with his album Desire, which is still my favorite work in his catalog. The production was beautiful from beginning to end, with Mr. Porter, Black Milk, and The Alchemist stealing the show on the sound front. Monch delivers some amazing verses and great concepts throughout the album, providing listeners with greatness such as the title track, "Push", the controversial "When The Gun Draws", "Free", "Hold On", and the intense "Trilogy", which features three different beats and three pieces of a story. All in all, Desire is an amazing album that solidified Monch even more as a hip hop legend.

*Sean Price- Jesus Price Supastar

-RIP to the late great Sean Price who was one of the unsung heroes of hip hop that never got his true just due. He was one of the most rugged MCs in the game and he had a lot of solid moments in the game over the years with his Duck Down crew, but he began to find his own lane as a solo artist and this was the album that served as a bit of a breakthrough following the mild success of his first solo Monkey Barz. Armed with production fron Illmind, 9th Wonder, Khyrsis, and more, Sean has an amazing soundbed to work with and solid guest appearances from his Duck Down crew, Phonte, and Skyzoo. Highlights from the album include "Let It Be Known", "You Already Know", "Mess You Made", "Hearing Aid", and "Cardiac". This album, much like the others listed, were all slept on in a major way and deserve much more recognition on a weird year for hip hop mainstream wise.



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