2003 - the year 50 Cent changed hip hop

Ahh, good ol' 2003...
Godzilla and Mothra fucked me up good, then I spent the entire summer at home going crazy talking to Dutchess and playing video games and shit.
The summer drew to a close with the introduction of my Little Buddy into the world, so I guess all is well that ends well.
I am thinking coming into this and I specifically remember some HUGE releases that came out this year, much to the point where I am looking forward to writing this. I am so looking forward to it, I am skipping the rest of the intro and getting right down to it.

You know, I don't know if I should take this as an omen, or the calm before the storm?

Okay, we'd all heard "How to Rob" and the industry's responses to it. Eminem and Dre caught lightning in a bottle, packaged it for sale with a liberal smathering of pre-release hype/buzz and 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' would go on to forever change how we do this hip hop shit.
Zion I released Deep Water Slang V2.0 (and I don't even know who they ARE) and Mike Jones & Magno released 1st Round Draft Picks and Murs' ... The End of the Beginning, Freeway's Philadelphia Freeway.
I guess it is for the better that 50 Cent set this shit the fuck off. I am not necessarily into defending the dude's actions these days, but DAMN was that album a game-changer. People started releasing heavily hyped albums on the Friday prior to official release to fight back bootleggers, people selling 800k+ first weeks, people NEEDING beef to sell records again, EVERYTHING such kicked off right here.
[Phlip note - I ALSO want to mention R. Kelly's Chocolate Factory here too, not because it was a hip hop album, but because it was THAT fucking good and him being who he is makes it at least relevant. It won't count on the final tally though, just begged a mention]
Otherwise, this was a weak fucking month.

Fabolous starts the month off, hip hop wise, with Street Dreams and he could definitely do better than this, but to this point (2009) he still has not, and I am willing to bet that it has a lot to do with the fact that he seems to speak as if he is doing just fine, and that is what is wrong with hip hop these days... Don't get me wrong, I bought it and it was not a bad album, just he could do a lot better.
Wait, where was I?
Run DMC's The Best of Run DMC came out the same day.
One week later, came Killer Mike's Monster, and Buju Banton's Friends for Life, the BEST FUCKING ALBUM EVER FUCKING INVENTED!!!
Okay, perhaps that assessment was a bit on the extreme side, but it is among my top 10 albums of my 30 years on this rock. It kept me company during that long hard [pause...] summer, and that is/was fucking VALUABLE.
Little Brother released The Listening, Kottonmouth Kings, whomever the fuck they are (and why in the FUCK do they make so many albums a year?!!?), attempted to ruin my musical orgasm with Stash Box, but apparently only enough people cared to fund their next album.
The month closed out with Hot Boys' Let Em Burn and Scarface's Balls and My Word. The Diplomats -- whom I STILL don't know WHY people like -- released Diplomatic Immunity. Also was Mr Cheeks' Back Again!.
Small ignorables notwithstanding, this was actually a REALLY fucking good month and this is shaping up to be a good year on the whole.

Jay-Z released Blueprint 2.1 and little babies died, effectively sucking ALL the wind out of the fucking year that had been built in the first quarter. Cunninglynguists released SouthernUnderground as well, but who cared?
Lil Kim released La Bella Mafia and Krazie Bone, ever the opportunist, made Leathaface: The Legends Underground (Part 1), which apparently inspired the ALWAYS opportunistic KRS One to make Kristyles. RZA and Keith Murray joined the party with The World According to RZA and He's Keith Murray, respectively.
DAMN, am I glad this month is fucking over now.

Continuing the fuckery of April, Daz Dillinger puts out DPGC: U Know What I'm Throwin' Up and Brother Ali released Shadows on the Sun, which I never heard of. Saving grace is found in Prince Paul -- the father of the rap album skit -- and his Politics of the Business.

Big Moe releases Moe Life, then Joe Budden releases the best album of the second quarter (HA!), Joe Budden, then we get another greatest hits from Digital Underground, Playwatchulike: The Best of Digital Underground. Not to be taken as a joke, I did enjoy the Budden album, and again he has and can do better, but that an album that "could be better" is the best in it's quarter is SCARY.
[Phlip note - remember in that other blog how 50 Cent KILLED a whole quarter's releases? Looks like that is another thing he is good at]
Inspectah Deck released The Movement (totally unbeknownst to me until RIGHT now), Mo Thugs released The Movement and Bone Crusher released AttenCHUN!!!
Madlib released Shades of Blue, on a cover reminding me of Coltrane's Blue Train... Black Eyed Peas released Elephunk, Gangstarr released The Ownerz -- and immediately broke the fuck up, chew on that for a minute -- Daz Dillinger releases ANOTHER shitty album, Southwest, and we escape the month/quarter with Three 6 Mafia's Da Unbreakables.
It pained me to type that month out.

Starts off with E-40's Breakin' News ruining my birthday and an oddly-titled album from Killah Priest, Black August -- released 24 days short of August. Equally painful was Chingy's Jackpot. Louis Logic released Sin-A-Matic, which I have NEVER seen in a store, so I downloaded it free.
God, that month hurt... Good thing I was bottled up in the house with my jaw wired shut for this one.

Kottonmouth Kings (told you, these guys are like fucking cockroaches) released Classic Hits Live on the same day as Onyx and Triggernometry... My, how great is it to be able to ignore TWO shitty albums on one release date?
Lil Bow Wow offered his own shitty album, Unleashed, a week later. One week following, Ryan Sellars dropped by the house to visit me in my injured state and we went to Best Buy, where I would realize that TI had a new album out, Trap Muzik. I promptly purchased and bumped the FUCK out of it for YEARS to follow... Still do. Also released that day was Neptunes Present... Clones, which SUUUUUUUCKED!!! and People Under The Stairs with Or Stay Tuned, which was not as bad.
One week after that, Jedi Mind Tricks released Visions of Ghandi, which I JUST downloaded like 3 months ago and Nappy Roots with Wooden Leather, which I copied from Phillip (not me, the other one, jackass) at the time. Wu affiliate Mathematics also released Love, Hell or Right, which I was not interested in before or after typing that sentence.

Ying Yang Twins released Me and My Brother.
[Phlip note - didn't these motherfuckers make another album named My Brother and Me? yes, they did]
Styles of Beyond released Megadef, Bubba Sparxxx released Deliverance, Atmosphere released Seven's Travels, which was not half bad, well worth the download to me, Sheek Louch made Walk Witt Me and none of us did, Mark Ronson dropped the slept-on Here Comes the Fuzz and Murphy Lee released Murphy's Law (which I copied off of my brother and did not hate), then came Obie Trice with Cheers (which I copied off of Jason when he came to visit me at the house) and Outkast with Speakerboxx/The Love Below, which sold a bajillion copies. DMX closed out the month with Grand Champ, which I am SURE I cannot name one song from right now.

MORE poshumousness from 2Pac (did I EVER mention how thin this shit is wearing?) with Nu-Mixx Klazzics whatever the fuck that means, released the same day as Jaylib's Champion Sound; Wyclef Jean with Preacher's Son, which I bought because of 2 Buju Banton features (noticing a trend?); Ludacris with Chicken-N-Beer and RZA with Birth of a Prince. Swollen Members [pause...] released Heavy, dead prez had Get Free Or Die Tryin' Turn Off the Radio Mixtape Vol. 2, Black Moon's Total Eclipse, Hieroglyphics' Full Circle and Run DMC closed the month with a compilation, Ultimate Run DMC. A funny release was The Intelligent Hoodlum Tragedy Khadafi with Still Reportin' which harkens to memories of Capone-N-Norega's The War Report, and they won't even talk to him, even to this day.

Jar Jar Binks Rule released Blood in My Eye to the collective disappointment of the industry and Pete Rock made the day better with Lost & Found: Underground Hip Hop Soul Classics. It really must suck to release the same day as some old bullshit. The soundtrack to the ironically unfunny-named Tupac: Resurrection released a week later, overshadowed by a Friday release of Jay-Z's redeeming from the sins of Blueprint sequels The Black Album. Gee, I hope he learns from that mistake. [Phlip note - Oh... wait] Unfortunate for G-Unit, they tried the same trick with Beg For Mercy and they even tried a Willy Wonka "golden ticket" promo, but no one was checking for 50's Weed Carriers to make this a good idea. Timbaland and Magoo released Under Construction Part II -- an ODD title, since that was a Missy album -- and it got MORE weird when SHE released This is Not a Test! the next week on the same day as KRS-One's D.I.G.I.T.A.L. and Nelly's Da Derrty Versions: The Reinvention, a release date made tense by their "beef," if one might call it that.

Big Tymers released Big Money Heavyweights, same day as Nick Cannon-Carey's Nick Cannon, released under his maiden name; Snoop Dogg's Tha Dogg, Best of The Works released by Death Row; and Westside Connections Terrorist Threats.
Isn't that a FUCKED up day?
Well I will make it hurt a little bit less...
Memphis Bleek released M.A.D.E. one week later, same day that Raekwon released The Lex Diamonds Story [fucking OUCH!!!]
One week after that, Juvenile released Juve the Great and this shitty month was thankfully OVER.

Again, as I look back over all that I have found (and I know I naturally can't touch literally EVERYTHING), this year was fucking epic for the number of albums released. As mentioned on another, the number of GREAT or even classic albums released this year is enough to make one happy.
Noteworthy as well is that 50 did very much change the game and how hip hop was "done" from this moment forward.
Score it...
83 releases... 34 came home in some form or another. That is 40.96%, which is not so great on the surface until one pauses to look and see that Get Rich or Die Trying came out, helping to exacerbate the end of Ja Rule's effectiveness and Jay-Z released an album that was not a shitty Blueprint sequel. Killer Mike, Little Brother, TI, Buju Banton, and Outkast ALL released MOTHERFUCKING STELLAR albums in this cycle. The underground was pretty big as well, that Styles of Beyond album comes to mind, and I did not buy it until 2006, when I copped FROM them at a show in Atlanta.
On the whole, I was pleased with 2003. Very much so.
Being that I now have 2006-2009 to cover in this series, I am pretty sure that this will be the last year in this that I so enjoyed.
2006 comes next, folks!


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