I guess the late Notorious B.I.G. was right: â€œMoâ€™ money, moâ€™ problems.â€ The financial crisis has had the STD crew a little bit shook lately. Amid banks being bought out and Congress deciding what to do we werenâ€™t sure where we would end up. Between nightmares of MarthaStewart.com buying STD out and BET writing our paychecks itâ€™s been pure madness at the office. Rest assured though, we still found time (between bathroom breaks, of course) to crank out Issue 51. The reviews are a little nicer than usual (two 5-rated albums), but consider that our gift to you in these depressing times. Word to Young Jeezy.
The Way I See It
Raphael Saadiq is different than other musicians. Either heâ€™s older than we know or heâ€™s an absolute musical genius. Those are the only explanations for how someone can make music that sounds dirt old but at the same time makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I wasnâ€™t even born in the 50â€™s and 60â€™s but listening to Saadiq takes me way back to those times: You know, before the wheel was invented and when people went out to kill their dinner every day.
-A. Hugh Leonard
Itâ€™s always good to see artists overcome turmoil and return to prominence by releasing a stellar albumâ€”aww hell, who are we kidding? We could care less about a musicianâ€™s personal trials and tribulations as long as they keep putting out hot shit. The only problem is T.I. has been releasing crap as of late so not only was he viewed as a deviant in society but he was also on the fast track to becoming a has-been in the music industry. Luckily, facing jail time seems to have slapped some sense into T.I. and made him realize a job as a Waffle House cook isnâ€™t the most desirable post-penitentiary job. Using a wonderful balance of life lessons and just plain fun music, Tip validates his â€œKing of the Southâ€ claim.
– A. Hugh Leonard
D.I.R.T. (Da Incredible Rap Team)
If there was a hip-hop award for â€œbest comedic performanceâ€, Heltah Skeltah would win hands down every time. How many artists can rap about pimp slapping your mother, having unprotected sex with R&B stars and dish out homophobic one-liners with absolutely no hesitation? Itâ€™s truly amazing how such an uncomfortable listening experience can simultaneously be so entertaining. After a 10-year gap between this album and their last effort, one has to pray these guys donâ€™t wait until their 50th birthdays to make us laugh again. If so, maybe MTV can work out a deal for a reality television series because only God knows what the world will do without new episodes of Rob & Big.
-A. Hugh Leonard
Year Of The Gentleman
Ne-Yo must be playing a joke on us. His third solo album, titled Year of the Gentleman, is ok at best. What bothers me is the title. What exactly makes Ne-Yo a gentleman? And who gave him the right to tell us how to be one? Wasnâ€™t this the same â€œgentlemanâ€ who was the topic of blog conversations everywhere when a photo of him receiving fellatio from a young lady popped up on the Internet a year or two ago (Side note: I guess the rumors werenâ€™t true)? Your mother must be proud.
TV On The Radio
Hello Brooklyn! Your favorite indie-alt band from BK is back with their best effort to date. TV on the Radioâ€™s third album, Dear Science, meshes sounds only real music purists could appreciate. Their soulful soundscape is a hybrid of new wave hooks, hipster dance beats, Afrobeat rhythms and funky production. No doubt, a true musical jambalaya. The revolution will be televised (and danced to). This is the part where you pop, lock and drop it!