Why 2008 was hip-hop's worst year
Everyone seems to agree that 1994 was hip-hop's best year. We don't exactly disagree.
Def Jam Records Nas
But what was hip-hop's worst year? No it's not, as so many stick-in-the-mud hip-hop traditionalists say every year, "this year."
In fact, it was, unequivocally, 2008. And here's why.
The Gnarls Barkley Effect
As much fun as Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse's "Crazy" was in 2006, it led to the awful trend of, how should we put it, rappers not rapping on their rap albums. At all.
Call us old fashioned, but we tend to like our rappers best when they're, you know, rapping. Thanks, auto-tune.
It's ironic that, the same year Chinese Democracy finally arrived, rap albums were delayed like crazy.
When works like Three-6 Mafia's Last2Walk and Del tha Funkee Homosapien's The Eleventh Hour finally did arrive, they were underwhelming.
Remember the phrase, "it's not an album, it's a mixtape"? In 2008 that's how it worked for seemingly everything.
Rappers would put original verses on original beats, charge money for them in retail outlets, and then call them "mixtapes."
Why? Who knows. Perhaps it was an effort to make the works critic proof, as if to say "Oh, forgive that flaw, it's just a mixtape."
Promotions Departments Took the Year Off
It seems like all throughout 2008 one would walk into a record store and see new releases from established indie labels, that hadn't received a shred of promotion.
We understand that budgets were slashed that year, as the sky was falling, but if there's one thing we learned from hip-hop, scared money don't make no money.
Nas's record label told him not to title his album a certain "N-Word." So he didn't.