Fresh's real talk made me do some thinking, and no I'm not referring to the fact that I've been by far the least prolific contributer to this blog, though calling me out definitely made me at least get started on this post. Anyways, I've had a few thoughts rattling around this noggin of mine, and I've decided to voice them here, let's see what I can shake out of the cobwebs:
First of all, by far the most interesting aspect of what was otherewise one of the year's bigger disappointments (I'm referring of course to TI vs. TIP, though the album was by no means bad...you may have heard this opinion before, but I digress) is that it, hopefully not temporarily, resuscitated two MCs who I had believed to have fallen off considerably just a year back. Listen to these guest spots:
The first one I have here is actually more important than the second, but both are significant. Both Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes released thoroughly underwhelming albums in the year of '06, and both were in places that seemed distressingly telling of them loosing their once prodigious talents. Busta had found himself in some gangsta rut, while Jay seemed content to rest on his laurels and not even try to earn the title that he had already assumed would be bestowed upon him when he returned. This is why Jay's story is also more interesting, because this verse is the first where it is apparant that the backlash against the Jigga Man has set in, and he isn't thrilled about it. What it seems to have done is, rather than simply make him defensive in a "washed up rapper" kind of way that happens often, has actually rescucitated, if even if just for this song, the swagger. The one he never really lost but had become stale with the "mature" steps he had taken on Kingdom Come. What impresses me most is that the prospect of Jay swiping back at his detractors is still thrilling, especially when he makes such mentions in this verse, and those rappers (you know who you all are) better be ready, I don't think he's gonna let you guys off easy with another Brooklyn High (at least I hope not).
Busta's isn't as compelling, but it shows that the man can still spit a wicked double time, and if he wants to rap about beating people up, I find that to be much more believable than hearing about all those coke deals he never performed. Hopefully he'll approach his new work with the same vim, and maybe I'll wanna listen again. I think I"m allowed to be at least a little optimistic.
While on the subject of New York Royalty, Saigon finally released his first single, and god bless it's better than fucking Pain In My Life was ( though Elijah brought up the good point that most people will probably be listening for that Just Blaze production moreso than any sort of rapping that Saigon will be doing, though I enjoy hearing him on the mic). Also, I would find it eternally amusing if the crown of the city was placed not on all of these aforementioned guys vying for the throne but upon this head instead:
The video is up because the only really good evidence of Lil Mama's talent is in the accapella section that is only in the video. Now, I'm not saying that she doesn't have some growing up to do, certainly the city of New York is not gonna be brought back by a song about a women's cosmetic product, but she's got the raw skill that other young guns on the ups around here (Mims, I'm looking at you) seem to lack. She's also only seventeen, girl's got some time, and I know I'll at least keep an ear open in her direction for a while. Also, the pure delicious irony of a woman winning the much-sought title of "King of New York" is far too entertaining for me not to at least hope for, however distantly.
Of course...there's still hope that the real rulers of this city will return, and I know we'd all welcome them back with open arms:
That's right bitches, players only beyond this point.