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Hip-Hop Summer Album Preview: Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of my Summer Album Preview, you can catch up by clicking here. Today we’ll take a look at what’s coming out in July, with one more installation for August coming soon.

 

July 2: 50 Cent, Untitled

Chalk it up to his multiple extra-curricular ventures (acting, feuding, making video games), but one of America’s most popular rappers has spent the past three years doing almost everything except rapping. That changes on July 2, as Curtis Jackson’s fifth LP finally sees the light of day, trailing behind it a comet’s trail of delays and re-writes.

Formerly known as Black Magic, the album has since been relegated to “Untitled” status, owing both to 50 Cent’s fickle artistic sense and ongoing feuds with Interscope Records. This LP (whatever it winds up being called) fulfills Jackson’s five-album obligation to Interscope, so maybe in future years we’ll see an increased pace of production for 50 Cent’s musical releases.

 

July 17: French Montana, Excuse My French

Aside from having the most chuckle-inducing name of any debut LP released this year, French Montana’s Excuse My French also earns points for having almost been released by just about every record label under the sun.

After the Bronx-based MC fled Akon’s Konvict Music imprint due to a string of blown release dates, rumors circled that he would be signing to everything from Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music stable. In the end, he opted for P Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, though Ross earned an Executive Producer credit on Montana’s debut.

Having perfected his flow over the course of 17 mixtapes, the expectations for Excuse My French are nearing the realms of ridiculous.

 

 

July 17: Nas, Life Is Good

Yes, Nas, life certainly is good. Or at least it must seem that way to an MC heading into his tenth studio outing with accolades a-plenty and a relatively clean artistic slate. After burying the hatchet with Def Jam label owner and sometimes collaborator Jay-Z, Nas has procured for himself the enviable position of hip-hop elder statesman. Well, okay, maybe not quite “elder”, but the Nola-based MC is still as good as gold in the eyes of the hip-hop establishment.

“Daughters” tries valiantly to upend that stalwart reputation by forcing Nas to rap about parenthood, a subject that functions like kryptonite on all genres of pop music. At least the beat is solid, as is Nas’s performance.

 

June 26: Rick Ross, God Forgives, I Don’t

Rick Ross has plowed through the hip-hop scene during the past five years like a bulky, bearded battering ram. Despite revelations about the outright fabrication of his gangster past, the Miami-based MC has become XXL Magazine’s “Man of the Year” twice in a row, opened one of the most successful labels of the past few years, and shown up on more notable singles than can be easily imagined.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Ross has favored tight, economical albums that don’t overstay their welcome. Of course, at this point the Teflon Don’s reputation has reached such heights that he could probably release thirty minutes of pure static and have it considered an “event”.


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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