Thursday, January 3, 2008

2007 Hit-List Part II - Most Disappointing Albums of '07

It's inevitable, life is full of disappointments and music is no exception. You know that feeling - you pop in a fresh disc with certain expectations, listen to it through then feel like you just wasted your time. And in my world, time is money. So not only did these albums mess with my money in '07, they were at times borderline painful on my ears. Call me a hater, the feeling is mutual for these frisbees...

Hit List Part II - Most Disappointing Albums:

1. 50 Cent – Curtis

The industry's biggest pimp's last quality album was Get Rich or Die Tryin', but he could care less after this year's $100 million Vitamin Water payout. Curtis is on the wrong side of the industry divide between generic and innovative; "I Get Money" and "Straight To The Bank" quickly became the most played of the many mindless songs about green paper and "Amusement Park" is laughably simple. Timbaland and Justin Timberlake saved "Ayo Technology" from flopping and 50 just doesn't have the hunger that made GRODT a corner classic. No wonder Fitty got embarrassed by Kanye West's sales numbers in their September SoundScan scuffle - now where's that retirement he promised?

Everyone Point and Laugh Award:

Amusement Park prod. Chris Styles

Thank You Mr. Mosley and Mr. Timberlake Award:

Ayo Technology ft. Timbaland & Justin Timberlake prod. Timbaland

2. Hi-Tek – Hi-Teknology 3

This one just saddened my hip-hop soul. Hi-Tek, one of the game's most underrated producers, has been on his beat grind since the Reflection Eternal days but struggles to put together a cohesive album on his own two. The production is good but not his best by any means - the urgent strings of "Handling My Bizness" and intense guitar riffs on "My Piano" are great but the LP suffers from too much pillow-soft, sleepy R&B loops. Although appearances from Talib Kweli, Ghostface, Raekwon, and Little Brother help make certain songs on Hi-Teknology 3 somewhat tolerable, it is plagued by no-name, C-list rappers (Chip the Rippa, anyone?). I'd rather have an LP of instrumentals, por favor.

Wish I Never Heard It Award:

Ohio All Stars ft. Cross, Showtime Mann & Chip The Rippa

Loved It:

Time ft. Talib Kweli & Dion

3. T.I. – T.I. vs T.I.P.

This album was sorry - T.I.'s half-assed attempt at a conceptual album pitting one personality against another (gasp! how creative). "Big Shit Poppin'" and "You Know What It Is" are catchy enough to bump occasionally but don't push the envelope of Southern rap like "Live In The Sky" or tear the club up as much as "Bring 'Em Out." The skits are horrendous and it takes a verse from Jay-Z to keep listeners' attention. Did we really need to hear from Nelly again? Next.

Would Not Subject My Worst Enemy to the Torture of this Track Award:

Show It To Me ft. Nelly

Let it Rock:

Watch What You Say To Me ft. Jay-Z

4. 9th Wonder – Dream Merchant Vol. 2

The ex-Little Brother Fruity Loops expert compiled Dream Merchant Vol. 2 haphazardly - the beats are stale and seem forced, the rappers and singers don't flow well, and the songs are random rants on topics ranging from an enchanting quest for crack ingredients ("Baking Soda") to a corny picnic anthem ("Sunday"). The only bright spots are "No Time To Chill" where 9th's verbal counterparts Phonte and Big Pooh discuss their constant hustle and "Saved" as Saigon and Joe Scudda drop knowledge. Plus, I want to smack the person who gave 9th permission to try and resurrect Memphis Bleek from rap's metaphorical graveyard.

Worst Drug-Related Reference Ever Award:

Baking Soda ft. Big Treal

Always Grindin' Award:

No Time To Chill ft. Little Brother

5. Drama – Gangsta Grillz The Album

When Outkast & Marsha Ambrosious dropped their track off Drama's debut CD, I got excited for this one. Little did I know, that's where the creativity stopped. Gangsta Grillz is as prepackaged, commercial, and generic as can be - you know your album is in trouble when the Katt Williams interlude outshines the majority of songs.

Ignorance At Its Worst Award:

Makin' Money Smokin' ft. Willie The Kid & LA The Darkman

Great Song, Not So Great Album Award:

The Art of Storytellin' Part 4 ft. Outkast ft. Marsha Ambrosious of Floetry

Rounding Out the Top 10:

6. Young Buck – Buck The World

7. Boot Camp Clik – Casualties of War

8. Evidence – The Weatherman LP

9. DJ Khaled – We The Best

10. Caltroit - Black Milk presents Caltroit

Other Notably Agonizing Albums:

Acelayone – Lightning Strikes

Chamillionaire – Ultimate Victory

Consequence – Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Cormega – Who Am I?

Median – Median’s Relief

Percee P – Perserverence

Paul Wall – Get Money, Stay True

RJD2 – The Third Hand

Twista – Adrenaline Rush 2007

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