Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Music Day - The Stimulus Package

Got a bunch of new albums today. Figure I might as well sit down and write about them. Couldn't find a torrent so I actually went and bought "The Stimulus Package" by Freeway and Jake One. While it would have been nice to have the full physical product with all the care they put into it, despite the fact i paid 17 bucks for this on itunes instead, I am a few tracks in and I don't regret this purchase at all. I love hip hop albums that are cohesive all the way through, not grab bags of disparate styles and ideas. The easiest way to achieve this is with only one producer and that's done brilliantly here. This is an album I can see myself coming back to and not languishing on my hard drive somewhere. The songs are memorable, beautifully soulful and catchy choruses. While its always impressive to hear a rapper go in just tear a track apart, its always gonna be more memorable if that ferocious rapping is coupled with a strong song structure.

That being said, Freeway isn't exactly ferocious here. He sounds forceful, but still laid back, sounding very comfortable and at home on Jake One's soul beats. Also just got to the Raekwon feature. God damn that man can do no wrong these days.

Yeah, if i had a car these days, this would definitively be on high rotation.

But to further wax lyrical on rap music these days (cause I'm white you know, and as such we spend our time discussing the ins and outs of the state of rap music, no I'm not being sarcastic here.) this goes to show what you can achieve if you let the artist be themselves. One of the most distinguishing features these days is the divide in quality between mixtapes and albums. Two of my favorite rappers these days released insanely good mixtapes (Kid Cudi's "a Kid Named Cudi" and Wale's "A Mixtape About Nothing"and "Back to the Feature") only to follow it them up with major label debuts that are either lackluster or cringe worthy.

Its discouraging because you get to know these people in their original material which they effectively have a free hand to express themselves and do so admirably yet when applied with the pressure of having a commercial debut, introducing themselves to audiences that aren't glued to the internet and the major label pressures, they seem to lose their way. Wale is prolly the best example of this (written on especially on this issue by Jeff Weiss in two parts), having to have the mandatory Neptunes track and Gucci Mane feature, when in reality, what needed to happen in my opinion was a fucking awesome album, choc full of BKS and Mark Ronsonm, (where he'd came from) and Dave Sitek (where hes going) production and the ability to be that everyman rapper that he does so well. Here hoping the next few promising names (Jay Electronica, Pill, Starlito, Drake, Nipsey Hussle to name a few). I want some more classic albums. While the past decade has shown that mixtapes can be art, I want new classic albums, not just awesome beat jacking.

Which brings me back to The Stimulus Package. Its nearly over, not a bad song on there, never felt the slightest need to hit the skip button. This is the level of quality I want in my hip hop. And i remain optimistic.

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