Wayback - 1999 edition

You should both be familiar with my 1998, 1996 and 1997 editions, and perhaps have noted that I will likely be doing one of these whenever the inclination hits me... I will not promise to keep them in order, as I have not to this point, only posting them whenever I feel like it. I will also not commit to how many or what years I will do here, as it is very much possible that I could be fully entrenched in WANTING to write something on a specific year, but left with nothing of special interest to write about in any particular depth.
With the promises out of the way, let's look at 1999 in hip hop.

January gave us only weak albums from Keith Murray and Foxy Brown, "It's a Beautiful Thing" and "Chyna Doll" respectively... This year is not off to a promising start to say the very least.

February had me WIDE open, though... Robin at work (Lim's Menswear) was from Detroit and apparently knew something about the cats that came through Maurice Malone's Hip Hop shop and went on and on and on about some white rapper named "M&M," which I thought she was saying at the time... This was also the month that The Roots were to release their next album, an album with 5 possible cover images. My manager in the store bought my ticket to their show at the Aycock Auditorium at UNCG... If neither of you have been to a Roots show, GO!!! Oh yeah, I bought both albums, "The Slim Shady LP" and "Things Fall Apart" on the same day in Best Buy, as Tuesdays were my day off in the store... Prince Paul's "A Prince Among Thieves" was great as a concept album, in that it played out as a movie... I will give it some time this weekend. Black Moon also gave us "War Zone" and I am willing to bet they wish they didn't, since I know I have not personally listened to it in 10 years, nor will I.

March... Remember when I said that A+ was slept on with his first album because he was 14 in 1996? Well, "Hempstead High," his 1999 followup at age 16 proved the detractors right.
I do have a cool story, though... I was working in the store one day, Rob and Ronny went off to lunch and Kelcey was off, so it HAD to be a Thursday... In walks Slick Rick and his wife, apparently on a small tour to promote his album. He was a really cool cat, shot the shit for a few minutes with me, dropped a few hundred bucks on some Enyce shit and bounced. Rob and Ronny would NOT believe me when they came back. It sucks that I could not afford digital photography until after I left that store, as my stories would be so much more gooder... Yeah "The Art of Storytelling" came out this month too.

April gave us "Thug Mentality 1999" from Krazie Bone as well as Nas' "I Am..." which was a decent album, but far from classic status. I kinda felt like he was feeling himself a bit too much and was reaching, more on that in a few... Also released this month was the next installment to the Rawkus Records epic compilations, with "Sounbombing II" and I will admit that this was when I bought the first one as well. BG and the Cash Money Millionaires came with "Chopper City in the Ghetto," which I am not ashamed to say I kinda enjoyed.

May gave us Snoop Dogg and "No Limit Top Dogg," which would be presented in the middle of No Limit's inundation of the market with product of questionable quality, which is sad because of who it is we're talking about here... 8ball & MJG gave us "In Our Lifetime" as well, but I don't own it. Insane Clown Posse also released "The Amazing Jeckel Brothers" as well as releases from The Backstreet Boys and The Jerky Boys.

June delivered Ja Rule's "Venni Vetti Vicci" came out and I will admit to getting a free copy from some dude who CLAIMED to be working for Def Jam at the time... I think he was trying to bullshit us so he could get free shit out of us. Pastor Mase also dropped "Double Up," the failure of which pushed him to the pulpit, Sway & King Tech dropped "This Or That" and Santana (Carlos, not Juelz) dropped "Supernatural," on which Lauryn Hill rapped and Cee-Lo Sang, my mama bought that CD for me. Blackalicious released "A2G," Fred Durst tried his hand at rapping on Limp Bizkit's "Significant Other," which I was somehow snowed into buying, RZA dropped "The RZA Hits" and Kenny G Dropped "Classics in the Key of G," which I listened to Tuesday night before bed -- no homo.

July served us Macy Gray's "On How Life Is," which I bought used at The Record Exchange only 2 weeks after release, I should have used that as reasoning not to buy it at all... This only counts because she was in the movie Training Day and because my thought processes are demented... Also released was Gangtarr's "Ful Clip: A Decade of Gangstarr" "Cant Stay Away" by Too $hort, as well as "Guerrilla Warfare" by the Hot Boy$ -- an album The Source gave 4.5 mics, clearly the continuation of the end of SOMETHING, though I actually bought it -- and GZA's "Beneath The Surface," which had a working title of "Music to Sleep To." I wonder why they didn't keep the working title.

August gave us the long-awaited (okay, I chuckled at the thought of this) debut of Memphis Bleek, "The Coming of Age" as well as "The Most Beautifullest Hits" from Keith Murray -- an album that hilariously includes a disproportionate number of songs from other peoples' albums, compilations and soundtracks to those from his own albums and ironically stalling the sales of a REAL album released just 6 months prior, which still to this date has only sold 150k, one of which is NOT in my collection. Puff Daddy would also release the album "Forever" this month, a title that I continue to get a guffaw out of reading as a threat, even today. Mobb Deep also hit us with "Murda Muzik," which I own and wish I didn't. Rahzel 'the Godfather of Noize' gave us "Make the Music 2000", which I tolerated.

September gave us Ol Dirty's "N**ga Please," Eve's "Ruff Ryder's First Lady" and Noreaga's "Melvin Flynt Da Hustler," and if any of you see Eve Jihan Jeffers or Victor Santiago Jr. around, tell them I want my fucking money back. Three 6 Mafia released "Underground, Vol 2: Club Memphis," as did Method Man and Redman dropped "Blackout!" And Inspectak Deck gave us "Uncontrolled Substance," which I plan to use to torture my victims when I take over the world.

October was a good month as it included 2 of my favorite albums to date. Mos Def's "Black on Both Sides" and Pharoahe Monch's "Internal Affairs," of which I have an original pressing, with "Simon Says" still intact, uncleared sample and all. Spice 1 dropped "Immortalized" and Warren G was again universally ignored with "I Want it All," The Youngbloodz released "Against Da Grain" Cypress Hill checked in with "Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol" or some shit like that, "Hidden Stash" from The Kottonmouth Kings, and Master P's "Only God can Judge Me," for which God eventually struck down No Limit Records as a sign of his judgment.

November gave us Rah Digga's "Dirty Harriet," and--... Hey, do you two remember when Lil Wayne was under his mama's orders to not curse on tracks? Well go back and listen to "The Block is Hot," and see. Warning - he raps a MILLION times better now than he did 10 years ago, when he was allegedly 16. The Roots gave us "The Roots Come Alive" this month too for THEIR second release this year, but this gets a pass because this one was live. Nasir Jones, though, does NOT get a pass, because he rushed "Nastradamus" to the market and it was worse than his first album of this year, which is saying a LOT. Dr Dre dropped his classic "2001," and Kurupt put out "Tha Streetz iz a Mutha..." Tash gave us "Rap Life" which is not easy to get into, but becomes a good listen with effort.
Also NOT getting passes for this month is Raekwon with "Immobilarity," I want my money back, Will Smith with "Willineum," which I did not, do not and will not own or listen to, Q-Tip with "Amplified," and Rakim with "The Master," which failed to capture the decent album status of "The 18th Letter"

December gave us some good ol' corpse fucking, with compilation albums "Born Again" headlined by a 21-month-cold Biggie and "Still I Rise" by 2Pac and the Outlawz, which at least featured artists that the deceased would (or at least could) have worked with in life. Also released was DMX's 50th album in 3 years, "And Then There was X," then he would get in some movies and pick up a nasty narcotics appetite. Juvenile dropped "The G-Code," which was THE album on which Wayne started spitting HARD, which he would not do on one of his own until "500 Degreez," Goodie Mob released "World Party" and then broke up, and Jay-Z closed out the year with "Volume 3."
George Michaels AND Culture Club both released this month as well (no homo) which has nothing to do with anything at all, I just wanted to say something that I thought was funny, damn if either of you thought so...



Let's score this thing out, now.
63 released, if I counted that correctly of which I now own 43 for a 68% score... Factor in the fact that I REGRET the acquisitions of 12 of those, 3 of which were free when the manager of Blockbuster music quit to go do MLM instead and gave me a huge bag of CDs for my birthday. Application of that modifier leaves us with a MORE abysmal 49.2%.
Yes, there were a few good albums released this year, 2 of them undeniable classics and 2 more were at least in the BUILDING of such. The problem here, though, is that one can see the beginning of the end. Watering down of the market came with multiple albums from the same people or heavily featuring the same folks. Coining in on the memory of the dead and cashing in on past successes ALL came together to make 1999 a really weak year for hip hop, only masking it by making the bad shit easier to miss in a maelstrom of product.
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