The picture above sums up 2009 about as well as an 1000 words I could come up with. For me, I will remember this as the year of Drake...where he went from an aspiring actor to a can't miss Hip Hop rookie. While it's still waaay too early to call him one of the best (seeing as he hasn't even released a full studio album yet), his So Far Gone Mixtape will go down as one of the most memorable Hip Hop compilations that weren't initially meant to be sold.
As far as Cudi, he produced a similarly inspired album with Man on the Moon: The End of Day, which in my eyes was the best studio album of the year. His out-there style and the way he went about creating the album was such a breath of fresh air that he deserves his share of dabs & lbs from the Hip Hop community in my eyes.
Other notable observations from 2009:
- When its all said and done, Timbaland may end up having the most successful album with the goldmine of singles on Shock Value 2 he still has yet to release.
- You could argue Pitbull had so many club tracks with a long shelf life that he's become the most well-known and radio-friendly artist in Hip Hop. Flo-Rida fans would argue against that and probably have a valid point...either way South Florida is officially the home of club friendly pop rap.
- 50 cent, although now much more relevant in film and other media like video games, did an adequate job with his Before I Self Destruct album. He still will never be able get back to the level of Get Rick or Die Tryin' without the Dr. Dre crutch though.
- It was a sad year with one of the most respected and my personal favorite rap groups, UGK releasing their last true studio album (since Pimp C passed away in early December 2007).
- Fabolous came back strong with Loso's Way, again reminding me he's probably still in the top 5 in Hip Hop (with Juelz, Drake, Lil Wayne and Crooked I) with producing catchy, creative one-liners.
- A new super-group in Slaughterhouse was formed, bringing together four of the most underrated talents in Hip Hop. I still maintain their role in Hip Hop is and will always be underrated.
- Jay-Z dropped another classic, platinum album...ho hum.
- Eminem attempted what's amounted to an unsuccessful comeback thus far to rap with Relapse and Relapse Refill . While I say unsuccessful that's completely objective because both albums still sold and are selling pretty well despite even Em admitting to the albums being tainted because he was still working the drugs out of his system and going through withdraw. Em I see your recent work with Weezy on Drop the World and Forever...those were glimpses of you in your prime...keep going toward the light man.
- Wale burst onto the scene with an innovative sound on his album Attention Deficit, as well as Asher Roth with Asleep in the Bread Aisle. Both albums were one of the better released this year and show why this 2009 Hip Hop Freshman class may someday go down as one of the more stacked groups of young artists to make it.
- Bobby Ray, you survived on strong Mixtapes, looking forward to the upcoming album in April.
- Clipse will ALWAYS be the most undersold Hip Hop tandem in the game...their new album Til the Casket Drops is really worth a listen...QUIT SLEEPING ON THEM EVERYONE!!!
- We hoped, like every year for Dr. Dre's Detox, but again...didn't get it. Rumor is it'll be out in 2010...wait...haven't we been saying that since 2004?
- Most notable (in my world at least), we saw a cream of the crop of producers assert themselves as the best this year. R&B producer of the year, hands down, Darkchild with Polow Da Don and JR Rotem right there. Hip Hop was dominated by Jim Jonsin this year, but DJ Khalil emerged as my favorite new producer to join the likes of The Runners, Danjahandz and Timbaland.
If 2010 is any near as exciting music wise as 2009, it's gonna be a good year.