The wayback machine...

The year?
That would be 1996...
I will carry this from the beginning of the year until the end, so this will include the second half of Junior year in high school and the first half of Senior year.

The year started slowly, with the first hip hop release being Kris Kross' third album "Young, Rich and Dangerous," which thankfully ushered them out of the consciousness of those among the 4 million plus of us who actually BOUGHT "Totally Krossed Out" just 4 years prior. That was January.

February
(a word in which the R is not silent in) only saw the release of 2 hip hop albums, one of which was not all the way hip hop -- Tupac's Death Row debut and game-changer "All Eyez on Me" and The Fugees' "The Score," both CLASSIC albums, ironically released on the same day. I was not a 'pac Stan like so many people in my high school were, so it would be months later before I would let myself buy his album, but I had The Fugees quickfast, I still have my original CD now, over 13 years later...

March
Saw us with an album from Rappin' 4-Tay (yaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwn!) and Busta Rhymes' "The Coming," (how come no one asks him now what the FUCK he was talking about with that 'there's only 4 years left' shit?), so one good hip hop album out of this month.

April
saw the released of the CRIMINALLY slept on Chino XL "Here to Save You All," as well as groaners from MC Eight and MC Ren, "Death Threats" and "The Villain in Black," respectively...

May
gave us "Dr Oktagonecologyst" from Kool Keith, if you're into that sort of thing -- which I am not... Same applies to Master P and "The Ice Cream Man"

June
gave us Jay-Z's "Reasonable Doubt," and nothing else... I guess that is for the better since nothing else would have COME CLOSE to comparison.

July
sees Nas dropping "It was Written" one week later the day after my birthday, which I copped at Super K before I went into work that morning at good ol Celebration Station. Damn, sometimes I miss the fun we had at that place at the expense of the visitors...
Oh yeah, Tribe dropped "Beats, Rhymes and Life" at the end of the month, which was the beginning of their downfall. UGK classic album'd us with "Ridin' Dirty" as well.

August gave us A+'s slept-on-because-he-was-fourteen "Latch Key Kid" and Outkast's "ATLiens," another album that would have RUINED the rest of the month for anyone else, if anyone else had bothered trying to drop.

September
saw the release of one of my top 5 favorite albums, The Roots' "Illadelph Halflife," and no other hip hop... That was fine with me, as it gave me some new shit to have the leg up on those humps early on in the year, and making up for the fact that NOTHING had come out for the prior days of the month.
Yes, I am acting like Do or Die's "Picture This" didn't happen with that statement...
Oh yeah, Tupac did Nas the favor of dying on his birthday as well.

October
gave us Ras Kass' "Soul on Ice," -- which I kinda slept on and didn't buy until like 99 -- as well as Xzibit's "At The Speed of Life," which I bought soon after release... The end of the month gave us Ghostface's "Ironman," an album I can still throw in and ride to at 30 as readily as I did at 17. Not so much so for MOP and "Firing Squad," but I am not mad I own it.

November
gave us a "strike while the iron is hot" posthumous release from Tupac under the moniker Makaveli, who gave us "The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory," in which the first thing you hear if you're paying enough attention to the intro is a voice saying "Suge Shot Me." I heard it and I will swear on a stack of bibles that it is there. Oh yeah, Snoop also forced out his Death Row exit disc "Tha Doggfather," which I have listened to TWICE in my life and never will again. DJ Shadow also dropped "Endtroducing," if that counts - which I think it does since I do actually own it. Mobb Deep also dropped "Hell on Earth," which had my high school OPEN.

December
only gave us Redman's "Muddy Waters," and I guess if you have to be the only hip hop released in time for the Christmas rush, you've done yourself the ultimate service by making sure the album was fucking GREAT.



See what I did just there?
Remember, I got to talking about something like this back in May when I went over what is mine and many others' favorite years in hip hop? Yes, that would be 1998 of course.
What I just did there was named 22 albums released over a 12-month period... I own 16 of them now, and could understand if YOU owned one or two of the ones that I do not (Kool Keith and Snoop, for the record). Even before hip hop's golden year of 1998, it served to common sense that if you were going to make an album, then dammit you went in the studio and wrote, then you got it the fuck IN!
19 out of 27 is 70.3% and in a world where you can't please all of the people all of the time, 70.3% is a pretty damned good draw.
No, it is not the 95% as indicated in the 41-out-of-43 in my 1998 post, but again, you will only catch lightning in a bottle like that once in a generation, I am quite glad to have seen it take place...

I really must be getting old as a hip hop fan, because I am looking at this year's releases and it seems that the best hip hop album released to this point is not actually a real hip hop album, but a parody of one, in The Lonely Island's "Incredibad."
Look, I can place the blame for the sheer volume of hip hop albums actually finding shelves on the economy, but numbers do not lie. 3 albums worth purchasing out of 24 is .125, and look where that decimal is... 2009 in hip hop is badly in need of summer school so far. I am not wholly clear that albums from Jay-Z and 50 Cent will help, or that an album from Lil Wayne will even materialize (Word to Tony Grand$), same goes for Dr. Dre. I know that Plies ain't saving us, nor will Drake and I am not even sure what the status of that forthcoming Roots' album is to be, but I am looking forward to it, as I am the Slaughterhouse CD I downloaded before work yesterday and will buy anyway.
I am not one of those dumbass old fans who sits and longs for Wu Tang to make music that doesn't suck again, nor am I waiting on my old favorites to make an album, as I am full willing to accept when someone is past their useful life. What I am, however, is more than justified in my DEMANDS for something worth my money if I am expected to be parted with it in exchange for your music. Trust and believe that in these days of blogs and Google, I have usually test driven your album before I get in the coupe to run over and plop down 10-12 of my recession-fought dollars for your disc. I would like you to thank me by showing the effort that goes toward making something worth my time and money as a fan.

"Swag" rappers, trappers and coonin' line dancers need not apply.
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