Will These Delayed Rap Albums Finally Come Out in 2014?

Categories: Dr. Dre

Abdul Aziz via Wikimedia Commons
Jay Electronica
The year was 2009 AD. After countless years of delays and speculation, Wu-Tang Clansman Chef Raekwon unleashed upon an unprepared world Only Buily 4 Cuban Linx II. Originally slated for a 2005 release, the exceptionally big gap between its announcement and its hitting store shelves was quickly forgiven in favor of the rap world realizing it had taken so long because it was being perfected. There's been plenty of delayed rap releases, as well as announced projects that never come to fruition, but the handful of albums we keep getting updates about despite being roughly a decade in production are slowly killing us. Using a highly scientific and completely arbitrary system, we've assembled the odds for those of you willing to make a bet as to whether these oft delayed albums will finally see the light of day this year.

See also: The 10 Best New York City Rap Albums of 2013

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The Top 3.5 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Week

The worst result of 21st-century technological advances, at least from a musical point of view, is the dual proliferation of DIY recording equipment and social media, allowing millions of—notice the quotation marks—"musicians" to flood inboxes, festival backpacks, Facebook timelines and Twitter mentions with "hot" tracks. Rappers could be seen as the worst offenders, since rap songs are the easiest to record, needing only a mic, an instrumental and minimal mastering to work.

As a result, Internet browsers are all being transformed into freelance (and usually unpaid) A&R reps, sifting through hundreds of songs before finding something that's worth loading into an iPod. The job can be quite overwhelming—but have no fear. Every Wednesday, we'll bring you the week's best hip-hop tracks so you can clear your inbox and stop playing the guessing game. Here are the three and a half great songs that popped up this week.

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The Top 13 Hip-Hop Songs For Summer

Free lunch, fire hydrants on full blast and beach chairs on the sidewalk—yep, the summer's here Need a hand composing a playlist to go along with a hot and lazy day's activities? Just in time for the official start of summer (and today's 90-plus temperatures), SOTC has put together a list of the best songs we like to hear while poolside, seaside, passenger-side, or just sitting in front of a fan watching Do The Right Thing. (No, "Hot In Herre" is not on the list.) Drums, please...

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12 Tracks, Two And A Half Hours: Sound Of The City's Mixtape Of Long Rap Songs

The saga continues... for 10:24.
Last week, the new Gorillaz track "DoYaThing" dropped. It's long—a full 13-minutes and some seconds of music, a lot of which involves Andre 3000 getting frenzied and inspired with that rapping thing he does so well. With "DoYaThing" and persistent talk about Outkast reunion rumors bedazzling up the Internet, it seems like an apt prompt to get all expansive and cobble together the world's longest rap mixtape.

But first some rules! We're imposing a ten-minute minimum threshold. In the interests of listenability, we're also nixing any freestyles (sorry Game and your "300 Bars," and Weezy and your alleged "10,000 Bars"), and we're abiding by the rule of keeping it moving so the playlist spans hip-hop's growth and doesn't just dwell in a pool of lengthy old-school rap tracks (not that doing so wouldn't result in a very fine mixtape). We're also being curmudgeonly and overlooking anything that drifts into the realm of the ridiculous, like Canibus's 45-minute "Poet Laurette Infinity"—after all, if you're making your way through an artisanal 12-course tasting menu, the last thing you want is Canibus's rancid, oversized pulled-pork sandwich tampering with the delicate balance of your seared scallops with morels in a balsamic reduction sauce. In the interests of playlist culture maximization (and further clogging up your iPod), here's the world's greatest longest 12-track rap mixtape.

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Oddsmaker: Do Beyoncé And André 3000 Have Enough Swagu To Beat Kanye And His Dozens Of Friends At The Grammys?

The Grammys created the awkwardly named Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category ten years ago, around the time Ja Rule's various "thug love" duets were dominating the airwaves. The award recognized a growing sector of popular music that didn't quite fit into the preexisting rap, R&B or pop song awards, and its creation was a prescient move. In 2001, 13% of Billboard's Year-End Hot 100 Songs featured at least one rapper and one singer; in 2011 that number had doubled to 26% (after peaking at 33% in 2010). The category's a little more unpredictable this year, as NARAS snubbed the biggest dancefloor-friendly rapped-and-sung hits of the year ("Give Me Everything," "Party Rock Anthem," "On The Floor," "E.T.") in favor of more urban radio fare.

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Here Is A Cake Shaped Like A Pair Of Those Beats By Dr. Dre Headphones You've Probably Seen Around Town

Snapped at last night's opening party for The Beats Store, an emporium devoted to Beats By Dr. Dre, the headphone line that sprung from the collective mind of the aforementioned rapper-producer and Interscope-Geffen-A&M honcho Jimmy Iovine. (Both Dre and Iovine were present at the bash, as was will.i.am.) The store itself has a bunch of stations where you can sample the various headphone offerings via music released by the IGA imprints ("Yoü And I," "Super Bass," LMFAO, etc.) and a soundproofed room showcasing the company's speakers, as well as some extremely helpful staff members and a wall that shows off a few custom-made headphones for people more famous than me (Yelawolf, the Yankees). It's a nice shop, and clearly inspired by the Apple Store, only with more wooden accents and Diddy-Dirty Money videos projected on the wall. But look at that cake! I'm almost sad I didn't get to see it get cut open, if only to see the innards of the arc.

Radio Hits One: T-Pain Escapes Lead Single Purgatory

The Revolver cover.
On Thursday Jive Records announced that T-Pain's fourth album rEVOLVEr would be out on December 6. That same day, the rappa ternt sanga's single "5 O'Clock" reached a new Hot 100 peak of No. 25 . The timing wasn't exactly coincidental. The track, on which T-Pain is supported by Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa, is the sixth single he's released in support of the album, and it has quickly become the most successful to date. But for over two years, he was lobbing one song after another into the marketplace, and each time it would quickly fall off the charts, and Jive would delay the album and start over from scratch.

The press release announcing the album calls "5 O'Clock" the second single from rEVOLVEr, designating "Best Love Song" featuring Chris Brown as the first. Truthfully, they're the sixth and fourth singles, respectively, but they're also the only top 40 hits from the campaign so far—which means everything else that missed will likely be tossed out, or only included as bonus tracks on certain editions of the album.

Not long ago, an album with half a dozen Hot 100 hits would be considered a runaway success. But the bar for singles-chart success to serve as a benchmark for potential album sales has been raised so high in recent years that rEVOLVEr has struggled for two years to find its way into stores, and other albums like it have as well.

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50 Cent Is Done With The Album-Releasing Game

Man I'm not releasing a album i can't believe interscope is this f*cked up right now. I apologize to all my fans.less than a minute ago via UberSocial Favorite Retweet Reply

It should be noted that your correspondent is no great fan of 50 Cent, the Queens-born MC/smart drink mogul who has made himself over into something of a Twitter celebrity in recent months, simultaneously acting like a prankster and making big declarations about healing the world in a way that has so profoundly affected some, they've gone so far as to commit online shenanigans in his name. (It's like a religion!) But his announcement that he's no longer releasing albums is certainly worthy of note.

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The 10 Best Hip-Hop Album Skits

This next joint is getting lit for a tradition in hip-hop long since passed--not Iceberg sweaters, but album skits. There've been so many awful ones that the handful of good ones weren't enough to keep them from going to hell in a backpack. But a few were incredibly vivid--and funny. Of course, it helped if the rapper performing them sounded cool saying pretty much anything, a la Ghostface Killah ("It feel hot at night..."). Or they were performed by Dave Chappelle, who Talib Kweli brought on board to imitate Nelson Mandela.

As you read on, you'll realize that three out of the 10 skits collected here are Wu-Tang related. To anyone tempted to complain about that, I say: Fuck off. I'm from the Wally era.

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Was 2010 The Best Year For Music Ever? Bowling With Titus Andronicus and the Joy of the Work

Welcome to Sound of the City's year-in-review rock-critic roundtable, an amiable ongoing conversation between five prominent Voice critics: Rob Harvilla, Zach Baron, Sean Fennessey, Maura Johnston, and Rich Juzwiak. We'll be here all week!

Please, this holiday season, spare a thought for these millionaires.
King Kong, Loch Ness, Goblin, and Ghoul,

I'm a zombie with no conscience. But if this trip 'round the mulberry bush has got me thinking about anything, it's evangelizing. We all champion the artists that feel precious and reject everyone else's narrative. Rich positioned the much-hyped Robyn as the invalid child of the dance-pop elité, propped up as a paragon of fortitude and invention, before doing the deep-dig on some great dance music I'd not heard at all this year. Zach crawled into the depths of his youth to make Superchunk the cool Aunt and Uncle of the game, the kind who let you smoke and watch R-rated movies when you slept over their house. Maura made the last-minute battle cry for R. Kelly, a conflicting but righteous choice, while closing the book (for good?) on the American Idol Generation. Rob repped for Robyn in the face of dismissal, defied me (!) on Taylor Swift, found evenhanded things to say about the hegemony of Arcade Fire, but ultimately couldn't even muster a joke about the Black Eyed Peas. And then there is Zach's reminiscence on a moment we shared in my living room (you're all invited to come and see the weird mirrors some time soon) that involved Pusha T and Kanye West. During a VMA live chat with Ryan Dombal for this very blog, I wrote, quickly, after the performance, "Feels really good to see the two rappers I've been most invested in for the last 10 years closing the VMAs. Frivolous, but weirdly important."

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