As Is Hip-Hop Award Independent Release of the Year

So this is a category for the albums that didn't get that major label push even though one was in fact released by DefJam. Independent is now the way to go for a lot of artists who aren't going to get signed to a Universal where the label is going to make beaucoup money off of them. Once just the haven of Rawkus and then Koch records, the independent scene is very big because artists from NY are now taking the cues from their Southern cousins and doing it themselves. Let's get into it.

Number 5:

Red and Meth or Meth and Red have been very low-key since their television show was canceled by Fox and the sequel to "How High" was shelved. I was excited about their return to rapping with Blackout 2. They had a couple of strong singles for guys who probably no longer get the star treatment at the Universal building anymore. My favorite song is "Go Zulu" a great club banger that you don't normally expect from this duo.

Number 4:

Now I have never been a big fan of KRS-One or Buckshot but in this hip-hop climate, these wily veterans are necessary to provide the gritty bump to hip-hop's smooth out emo-soul vibes. While the album falls victim to the same sound and a lack of variety in the subject area, it still provided a strong sample of what NY hip-hop used to be and a glimpse of what some artists need to get back to to provide some balance in the game.

Number 3:

The Slaughterhouse album was a little bit of a disappointment if only because the hype preceding it on the underground scene was so tremendous. Crooked I, Joe Budden, Roycem and Joell Ortiz brought the heat when it came to the lyrics but could use just a little bit more on the creative side. The album was too short as well because with four emcees, the album seemed a little short on bars. However, there was still enough material for me to get a new appreciation of Joell Ortiz and Royce da 5'9.

Number 2:

Raekwon was supposed to drop the sequel to Cuban Linx on Aftermath records about 1 year ago at the latest. It took a few listens for me to get into the feel of the record but Rae's lyrical darts are as sharp as they have ever been as is his descriptiveness. The one thing that I could say I wished, was that Rae was more pronounced and energetic at times to bring something different to the album. I would also have loved to hear some of Dre's production to add a change of pace to what can be monotony if only because Rae fits so much into the bars you start to blend together songs. However, lyrically this joint is solid and where it needs to be.

Number 1:

However, the biggest surprise would have to be Ghostface who swooped in at the last minute with his "Wizard of Poetry" album. Now I'm not going to say that it is appreciably better than OB4CL2 however, it is definately more unique as Ghost takes on the hip-hop/r and b mash up genre and wins. Not your typical LP, Ghost basically dedicates the entire album to showing you fellas how to sweet talk the ladies while keeping your manhood with this collection of songs. This is some good music that you can play with your lady in the car and not feel a certain kind of way. This album is a must have.


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