charlie hearn’s ever informative look at the world of hip hop this time sees dr. dre’s long awaited comeback album finally begin to resemble a finished record, nicki minaj split opinion in two and t.i. seemingly still being incapable of keeping himself out of trouble for longer than it takes to listen to an eminem skit.
There have been some highly anticipated album releases in Hip Hop over the years, but very few can claim to come anywhere close to the level of hype attached to this one. It’s been ten years and two months since the release of Dr. Dre’s masterpiece 2001, and after delays followed by delays followed by, you guessed it, more delays, it was announced earlier this month that the follow up Detox will be hitting shelves sometime next year (but we’ve all heard that one before, haven’t we?). To show that they might actually be serious this time, the Aftermath camp have confirmed rumours that snippets of the track ‘Kush’ (featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon) which have been doing the rounds on the internet are definitely taken from the album that most Hip Hop fans gave up on a long time ago. Bizarrely, ‘Kush’ sounds as if it could quite have easily made the cut for 2001. But Dre has been quick to defend his creative integrity, commenting “I don’t want people to think that’s what my album is about, this is actually the only song with that type of content”. Interscope have already encountered a mine field of post-millennium problems, ‘Kush’ will now be used as the lead single after it emerged that the sneak preview was in fact unintentionally leaked. With a decade’s worth of demand and file sharing culture still rampant, it’s not hard to envision an unmastered version making a full appearance on the net before the dawn of 2011. Here’s one of the many YouTube clips that stake a claim to the prototype, see what you think:
On the other side of the spectrum, another album release that has received a colossal amount of press interest is Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday. Young Money’s first lady is yet to really cause a stir in the UK, despite charting on Jay Sean’s single ‘2012 (It Ain’t The End)’, however in America it’s a different story all together. Having access to Lil Wayne’s little black book of collaboration contacts (and let’s face it, there’s probably nothing little about it) has done wonders for the eccentric rapper’s early career. Often seen sporting a bubblegum pink wig that would look more at home on a children’s television show, the 25 year old New Yorker is a bit of a handful. Her rapping style sees her flitter between two personas, Nicki Minaj and Roman Zolanski, often ending her lines sounding a little bit like Alesha Dixon from her Mis-Teeq days. Pink Friday came out on 19th November, check out the video to ‘Massive Attack’ and see what you make of Hip Hop’s answer to Lady Gaga:
In other news, Hip Hop’s answer to Pete Doherty, T.I., has had another eventful month for all the wrong reasons. The self styled ‘King of the South’ just can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble and his latest bought of mischief has landed him and his missus Tameka “Tiny” Cottle a year in the clink. The pair were pulled over in their Maybach in October after police thought they caught the whiff of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Subsequently, the couple were searched and found to be in possession of ecstasy (which smells of what exactly?). Due to the new drug charges directly conflicting with the terms of T.I’s parole for a 2009 gun conviction, the federal system have pulled no punches in handing out substantial prison time. On the 1st November, the rapper reported to Forrest City (Arkansas). This latest brush with the law could not have come at worse time for T.I, who was in the latter stages of preparing for the release of his highly anticipated seventh studio album No Mercy, still slated for release 7th December. It crowns an intensely frustrating period for the king who has seen his shot at commercial success continually stifled by criminal activity over the course of the last 3 years. In a recent letter posted on his website, the rapper vented his frustration for his current state of affairs and hinted that the lack of a father figure in his life might be the root of his problems.
Finally, earlier this month I had the pleasure of catching up with one of the UK’s more interesting prospects when it comes to the future of urban music. Noah Francis is a name that you might not have heard of before, but the all round performer who hails from Wales has already left his mark on both the acoustic scene and the metal scene. However, Noah is now set to cast his sail in a different direction on his latest project, the singer has drafted in a series of names that will grab the attention of even the most hard nosed Hip Hop fan. I caught up with Noah and Wu Tang Killa Beez members Shyheim and Prodigal Sunn in a recording studio in Shepherds Bush ahead of their first gig together in the UK; here’s what they had to say.