2004, a hip hop history discussion

The year is 2004, I am working to put my life back together after the run-in from fathers day with Godzilla and Mothra.

One consistent remained through all of this, though, has been my music, for better or for worse.
Along with weeks, months on end of 10-hour overtime workdays 7 days a week dealing with a hastily thrown-together and ultimately failed system workover, which led to a murder of company profitability for several weeks, which hastened a 2005 company merger, which made shit so unbearable that I left the company in 2006, all I had was music on the in-between.
This [particular] blog, though, is not about me or the shit I have been through. We're here to talk about the year 2004 in this thing I love that we call hip hop music.

It also stands to explanation that I DO categorize everything that IS hip hop music AS hip hop music, even if it is the shittiest of shit. I refuse subscription to the "hip hop vs rap" argument when the abject comparison is actually "what I like vs what I don't like," I am fine with letting my purchase and word of mouth do my talking for me, compared to the use of uppity-negro denigration.
Let us get down to business, here, shall we?

RBX struck 8 years after his iron was hot with Ripp The Game Bloody: Street Muzic [a fact I was not aware of until now, go figure] and Kanye Zest managed to help make Twista actually relevant, less of a cartoon, with Kamikaze. Nothing else hip hop to start this year off.

House of Pain's "Greatest Hits" [HA!!!] titled Shamrocks & Shenanigans came out to test our collective senses of humor. Kanye Zest fully entered the conversation with a stellar debut in College Dropout and none of us would be allowed to be the same again. Royce Da 5'9" released Death is Certain this month, as did Paul Wall's Chick Magnet and Z-Ro's oddly-titled The Life of Joseph W. McVey.
For the amount of product hitting the market this month, the fact that I now only own 3 albums released this year so far is quite saddening.

Okay, Cee-Lo gives us Cee-Lo Greene... Is The Soul Machine and things are looking up...
... except the album wasn't all the way hip hop, containing a lot of soul and such. Also released, were Cassidy's Split Personality, Cypress Hill's Till Death Do Us Part, Master P's Good Side, Bad Side, NERD's Fly or Die J-Kwon's Hood Hop Murs & 9th wonder with Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition and Lil Flip's U Gotta Feel Me.
I am angry at myself for owning a lot of what I do of this month's releases, which includes everything except J-Kwon, Master P and Cypress Hill... If I had it to do again, I would ONLY have the Cee-Lo and Murs albums, and I mean that to say that NOTHING about NERD's first album makes the piece of shit they presented here worth owning.

Ghostface released The Pretty Toney Album and I cannot name ONE song from it, and Kottonmouth Kings released Fire it Up, D12 released D12 World, Tha Dogg Pound released Tha Last of Tha Pound and Z-Ro released Z-Ro Tolerance. All of this falls to the collective indifference of the critical and buying publics, because I own ZERO of these albums and have only listened to one, and cannot name a single song on it.

Petey Pablo was Still Writing in my Diary: 2nd Entry, and De La Soul was Live At Tramps, NYC 1996. Oh yeah, it pains me to have to mention Method Man's Tical 0: The Prequel, but I must for the sake of this presentation remaining objective.
One copy off of my brother's purchase, one first-day didn't-know-it-was-coming-out purchase and one REFUSAL to listen to ever again respectively. This month is a weird month.

Masta Killah's ironically-titled No Said Date came out, as did Jadakiss' Kiss of Death, Lil Wayne's Tha Carter and Slum Village's Detroit Deli: A Taste of Detroit and Lloyd Banks' The Hunger for More.
I own 4 of these, 2 of them by way of bootleggery. That one is Jadakiss, I think the most of you can put those other pieces together.

My birth month saw a disappointment from Beenie Man, Back to Basics and a groaner from KRS-One Keep Right. The good of this month was the ever-silly Devin The Dude's To Tha XTreme and The Roots with The Tipping Point. The totally forgotten would be The Pharcyde's Humboldt Beginnings, which I did not even know of until 15:51 on October 20, 2009. The "damn, why'd Pun have to die?" is fulfilled in the Terror Squad album True Story.

Masta Ace dropped A Long Hot Summer and SOMEBODY kept the fuckery alive by releasing a live 2Pac album. 213 released The Hard Way and no one missed it. Jim Jones made On My Way to Church and released it this month, ironic in that Mase released Welcome Back. Were they talking to one another? We were left to ponder that [or not] as we ignored releases from Insane Clown Posse and LL Cool J, The Wraith: Hell's Pit and The DEFinition respectively. Criminally slept on is Foreign Exchange's Connected and Brand Nubian made Fire in the Hole the same day as then-labelmates Jedi Mind Tricks' Legacy of Blood... Also noteworthy is the fact that by this time, I am not even TRYING to listen to anything LL Cool J makes, it seems that people neglect to notice that his career includes maybe 2-3 good albums, only one certifiable as a "classic." Oh well.

Daz Dillinger releases an inaccurately-titled I Got Love in These Streets - The Album and it had so ruined the chances at the month being worth a shit, that Nelly released 2 albums on the same day; Sweat and Suit, then Lil Romeo continued the shitstain on September 2004 by releasing Romeoland. Talib Kweli released The Beautiful Struggle this month, and I am going to have to look back and say that I am less impressed with this album now than I was then. I am going to salvage this month by counting Saul Williams' Saul Williams -- even though it was spoken word and not necessarily hip hop -- and Jean Grae's This Week.

De La Soul's The Grind Date and Wyclef Jean's Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101 were followed by Busta Rhymes The Artist Collection: Busta Rhymes compilation and Mos Def's The New Danger; followed in 1 more week by Bizzy Bone's Alpha and Omega and Juvenile's Greatest Hits. Jay-Z & R. Kelly gave us Unfinished Business and Trick Daddy released Thug Matrimony: Married to the Streets for an overall depressing month.

Bizzy Bone thinks he is fooling someone, releasing an album titled The Beginning and the End only 3 weeks after releasing one with basically the same damned name. Didn't work for him, though, because none of us can name ONE song he has done since E1999 Eternal. The Ying Yang Twins released My Brother and Me [Phlip note - aptly named after a similarly, but not nearly egregiously coonish] 90s Nickelodeon show. Fabolous released Real Talk and Eminem gave us Encore. Chingy released Powerballin' [a title I bet has something to do with his escapades in Vegas with tranny hookers] Lil Jon made Crunk Juice and The Kottonmouth Kings released The Kottonmouth Experience. [Phlip note - who the fuck ARE these guys? Should I look into them?] Ludacris dropped The Red Light District the same day as Snoop did R&G - Rhythm & Gangsta, and Luda won that matchup. The month ended with a pretty big day, with Linkin Park & Jay-Z, Nas and TI dropping Collision Course, Streets Disciple and Urban Legend, respectively. Nas hurt himself in this by having a double album with only a single album's worth of decent music.

Cam'ron released Purple Haze and people inexplicably liked that shit. Some of my good friends actually ENJOYED this warm horse shit!
A Run DMC compilation Artist Collection: Run DMC came out, as did more blasphemously-titled poshumousness from 2Pac; Loyal to the Game, Xzibit's Weapons of Mass Destruction and and Mannie Fresh's The Mind of Mannie Fresh closed out the year.

After having compiled this list, I look over this and I am almost fucking AFRAID to score this, but I have committed to the project so I must do it.
74 albums released by my count, 30 of it all I have owned in some capacity, stolen or otherwise... Applying the modifier of the regret of 3 purchases gives us a score of 36.48%, a score that would not only see me beaten brutally even as late as high school, but might even score someone remedial classing.
Even looking at the albums I DON'T regret and I own/owned, I am a bit thrown off by the lack of quality compared to their older or (in some cases) later work as well. I am REALLY worried about continuing this damned series, but there again I have committed to it and I am going to fucking do it even if it pains me, as summarizing this has to this point.
Fuck this, I am doing 2002 in the morning.


Kousen Tora said…
Man, I am almost afraid to see how 2007-2008 fared. I'm thinking it's gonna be far worse that that 34%.
Tony Grands said…
R & G, Street's Disciple, Collision Course, WMD......

I bought & still listen to those albums. I was smoking so much weed then & playing XBOX all day. I loaded those albums onto the platform, & would stay up for days playing this game called 'Black' or 'Grand Theft Auto' with them playing on "random".


Those albums, if spliced together randomly enough, contrast & compliment each other like it was one gigantic 4 CD recording. Or, maybe thats just sweet memories of the soundtrack of brain cell murder....

By this time, I'd given up hope on the majority of releases. It had boiled down to me needing a legitimate reason to purchase the album(s). Word of mouth & "a name" meant nothing anymore, simply because rap in general had been thoroughly disappointing for several years.

Little did I know. Wait, I had 'Tha Carter' also-same rules apply as the aforementioned albums.

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