Hip Hop Music 2008

hip hop music 2008

Hip hop music continued to push boundaries this year. While some artists adopted pop-oriented styles, others such as 50 Cent’s G-Unit camp, Jay-Z, and Eminem sought success through darker forms of rap music.

Bishop Lamont unashamedly exposes himself on this emotive track, showing his artistic side with its intricate lyrics over Just Blaze’s driving beat.

1. The Bridge Is Over

Hip Hop: Songs That Shook America presents the Queensbridge Rivalry between KRS-ONE and MC Shan in historical perspective on this episode. We hear opinions from participants like Marley Marl, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, Funkmaster Flex and Funkmaster himself on its significance – though oddly Nas did not share his perspective!

Contrary to some of the bloodier battles of hip hop’s history, this one only involved rhymes. Yet this episode does an outstanding job of showing how this battle enabled rappers to make real money from their music.

Thirsty Fish is an LA trio part of Project Blowed movement who have released an enjoyable album, Testing The Waters. Boasting clever lyrics and unique beats, their album provides an entertaining listen for fans of West Coast underground Hip Hop music who will find this track appealing.

Killer Mike unleashes his anger on everyone around him with this track, unleashing vicious lines about those and places that make him unhappy. Reanimator and Macromantics provide a solid drum-and-bass beat to complement Killer Mike’s sharp bars, providing the song with an undeniably masterful performance.

2. Money Ain’t a Thang

Hip hop music may have made plenty of money for some rappers, yet most remain financially-independent. That is probably why 88 Keys and EMC’s refreshing tribute to cash-free living is such a delight – the lively production and fast rhymes keep listeners smiling while listening.

Even avid fans of Southern rap must admit that Three 6 Mafia and other bands from that region were somewhat unrealistic in terms of depicting gangsters; on this anthem from Goodie Mob however, their members come much closer by exploring various historical imaginaries of the South (such as its rebel flag symbolism) through lyrics and video.

This song may have been one of the more underrated singles of 2008, but it still represents a strong effort by a group that deserves more credit. Sage Francis (of Strange Famous Records) provided an infectious beat while Go-Go’s frontman Antwan Glover (“Big G/Slim Charles”) provided the ideal sample from “I Heard It’s the Bomb”. These elements combined beautifully for this ode to self-reliance.

Killer Mike provides an outstanding example of how hip hop can address important issues while also entertaining listeners. Within minutes, Killer Mike attacks Kobe Bryant, Don Cornelius, BET, Al Sharpton and more before dropping some serious knowledge about the financial crisis of 2008. Detroit native Rhymefest shows his affinity for Africa when he weaves three separate narratives of African struggle on this early buzz cut from El Che. Buckshot delivers earnest lyrics while Kweli provides soothing vocals while 9th Wonder provides seamless production; all together creating the ultimate political rap anthem this year!

3. Ante Up

Doomtree released this groundbreaking group album to demonstrate their individual talents. From production excellence and top tier rhymes all around to solid verses that all come together perfectly on record, Doomtree proved themselves more than just talented MC’s who can rap.

Whoever underestimated this album should give it another listen – particularly its opening track “Oceans”. This track serves as a straight to the point gangsta anthem with real substance. Bishop Lamont delivers an uncompromising, visceral, and profoundly unnerving verse wherein he discusses shittalk as part of hip hop culture and emotional immaturity – making the entire song sound very real and relatable for many listeners.

Southeast Slim produced an outstanding beat on this track as well. He’s responsible for Wale’s biggest hit “Dig Dug”, providing an upbeat soulful drum sample with an intriguing bass line and adding an intriguing synth pad, truly one of 2008’s underrated producers.

Bun B delivers an outstanding follow up to his debut solo album Trill with this excellent release, expertly balancing political and worldly issues with entertaining party tracks that represent Brooklyn. Bun B is an exceptional rapper, and this album marks his best work to date.

Detroit rapper Invincible stands out with exceptional flow and rhyme skills, creating complex rhyme schemes with internal rhyme schemes to craft impressive lyrics that showcase her talent. Her latest release “Hype,” was one of 2008’s best albums that was often underestimated.

4. Guru

Imagine any hip hop artist creating a song as funny as this one, featuring silly retainer and Karate Kid references to create an instant classic that still makes people laugh years after its initial release.

Keith Elam (known by his stage name Guru) was one of the game’s premier vocal stylists, adept at conveying multiple moods with his clear, soothing voice – from ease and insouciance, through to thuggish deference, hardheaded self-assurance. This track from Gang Starr album Daily Operation showcases these talents beautifully.

Bishop Lamont exposes himself with this candid retelling of his carefree youth. While such confessional statements might otherwise pass unnoticed, his ability to turn them into an attack on hip-hop’s superficiality makes this piece stand out.

It can be easy to forget that Jay-Z and Dame Dash weren’t exactly best pals prior to and following Roc-A-Fella’s dissolution, even after its successor label had folded. In this interview, Dame criticized Hov for the break-up of his label as well as being “asleep at the wheel” with him.

The Brooklyn MCs’ hard-love flow jolted listeners like potholes in Brownsville streets. Thanks to DJ Premier’s scratched hook (“Money growing like grass with mass appeal”) and Vic Juris’ melodic loop as well as Guru’s deadpan delivery style, their song became the ultimate New York street anthem anthem; their album that followed was equally dope.

5. Get Low

“Get Low” marked the peak of crunk culture when it was released. The Ying Yang Twins provided its “to the windows and to the walls” hook (originally used by black fraternities for fraternity chanting), and producer Lil Jon transformed it into over-the-top party music; thus creating something both brash and disrespectful like its creator himself rapping it.

The Brooklyn mash-out posse shook you out of your seat when they shouted “Yap that fool/ Ante up!” The track featured an infectious beat by DJ Premier and melodies by Vic Juris; however, Guru kept you hooked with his gruff tough-love flow that held strong throughout. Guru remains one of hip-hop’s most celebrated voices today and it shines here through his lyrical dexterity.

2003 marked an important turning point for hip hop culture. New York prepared to shed its cultural relevance as the South began its breakthrough; Atlanta’s top emcees, such as T.I. with his number-one single and Outkast with two hits released that year; it also marked a breakthrough year for three young rappers from Huntsville Alabama known collectively as Paper Route Gangstaz.

Production wise, this track’s production was an absolute triumph – an ideal blend of old school wisdom and new school flair from the South. J-Live’s flows are smooth and his crew’s ad-libs add an authentic element. Unfortunately, Then What Happened? wasn’t as successful an album overall but should still please fans of his group; hopefully soon there’ll be another collaboration from them all!