My two favorite hip hop artists of all time have released new music. In one case I’m very encouraged. In the other….yeesh.
Eminem (thankfully) broke his usual formula of making his lead single a barrage of celebrity insults and parodies. “Not Afraid” is a reflective, self-aware, and self-critical song with a big chorus that suggests he’s grown a lot as an artist in the last year. He trashes his last album and acknowledges he overused stupid accents.
I’m very excited to hear the rest of Recovery on June 22nd.
And then there’s my favorite hip-hop group of all time: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
Three years ago they released Strength & Loyalty which brought them back to a level I never thought they’d reach again. For that reason and a few others I had high hopes for Uni5: The World’s Enemy. And dear God have I been disappointed.
I think the reason may be simple. They didn’t spend a lot of money on accomplished producers like they did for the previous album. S&L featured tracks produced by will.i.am, Jermaine Dupri, Akon, and several by Swizz Beatz who also served as Executive Producer. That’s big time.
But the group left Interscope to form their own label and I’m wondering if they lost the financial ability to stack their record with solid producers.
The result is a collection of messy, forgettable, uninspired songs that combine to create a giant ball of hip-hop blech. The big single for this album is called “Rebirth”.
“Rebirth” sucks. In addition to a horrendous video, the chorus suggests that artists everywhere are trying to sound like Bone Thugs. That may have been true in 1997 when they were at their hottest, but not in 2010.
I waited three years for this album. I’ll probably just go back and listen to their earlier work.