Rock Out, Baby!

2006 Year-End Music Wrap-Up

Although he did yeoman's work all year and teamed up with titans like Jay-Z and Eminem, the best of Boogie came on some of his lower-profile projects. Case in point: his Mobb Deep mixtape, More Money More Murda, which shredded the album it was supposed to help promote — through some live Roots collabs and remixes filled with the New York grit that Prodigy and Havoc's G-Unit debut lacked.

For the record, the Commish would like to point out his own notable '06 trend: "The return of good albums. Hip-hop has been lacking in album quality for the last two years," he says, "but this fall has been tremendous. Great full-lengths from Jay-Z, Nas, Clipse, Outkast, Game, Snoop, and UGK are closing out the year with a bang. Who says albums are dead?"

It was the year of the British. Sort of. In fairness, 2006 can't be counted as the sort of watershed 12 months we witnessed two years ago, when Dizzee Rascal and the Streets and their grimey countrymen planted the Union Jack in hip-hop's bloated American carcass, with no intention of ever ceding territory again. And they haven't; while Mike Skinner was only at three-quarter strength on the Streets' The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, his cockney wisecracks were still more fun than three-quarters of his Yank counterparts. Anyone Skinner failed to offend, the wee, witty Lady Sovereign — Def Jam's nod to the British Invasion — took care of. Meanwhile, one of the most slept-on releases of the year came from U.K. vets New Flesh; Universally Dirty mashed up dancehall, grime, and even soca to give British hip-hop yet another brand-new beat.

It was the year of deep thoughts and the year of partying (and sometimes, deep thoughts about partying). There's room for both viewpoints now in hip-hop's increasingly diverse underground, which is good news indeed. Critical darlings Spank Rock might have merely made Too $hort safe for all the eggheads who thought they were too $mart for him the first time around, but even so, was there an album more fun in 2006 than the high-concept/low-art Yoyoyoyoyo? Didn't think so.

Both fun in their own thoughtful ways were albums from the Bay Area's Ise Lyfe, whose SpreadtheWORD suggests he might someday take over Mos Def's mantle as hip-hop's activist poet laureate, and Georgia Ann Muldrow, an adventurous L.A. artist who reassembles urban music in novel ways on Olesi: Fragments of an Earth. Both discs make great soundtracks for the parties in your mind.

It was the year of self-promotion. Well, every year in hip-hop is the year of self-promotion, but today's kids certainly have it down pat. Just ask Jibbs his favorite hip-hop trend of '06, and he barely blinks before answering.

"I would definitely say that the hottest trend," he offers, starting to chuckle, "was people that got their chains hangin' low." Dan Leroy

For more 2006 Year-End Music Wrap-Up articles, visit our music section.

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