Let the truth be told from young souls that become old.

From days spent in the jungle, where must one go?

To find it, time is real, we can’t rewind it.

Out of everybody I met, who told the truth? Time did.

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I never thought I would be writing this letter. It’s something I have thought about for some time, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. This is very hard for me, but it’s the right time.

I met you when I was 9 years old. My boys, who were a little older, used to kick it with you in the park. They would sit and listen to you speak for hours on end, taking in every word you had to say. They would say to me “you have to listen to her speak.” Many times they recited your words to me; they had your poems memorized. I wont’ lie, your words were dope. Soon I was there with them, listening to you. Hanging on every word. Finding harmony in your poems.

Your poems were about a life I never knew existed. Even though I never experienced what you talked about, I could feel your emotions as if I had lived it. While many disapproved of what you had to say, more and more were listening to you. It wasn’t long till I fell in love with you. You were the first of the only two loves I would ever know.

We grew up together. Through my teens, you were the only one I would listen to. I would try to learn every one of your poems. Some of my friends would be amazed at how many of them I had memorized. A few laughed at how immersed I would be emotionally when reciting your words. You were with me through most of my firsts, experiencing them together. Through out my teens I found comfort in your words. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life, I always felt like you understood me. I can’t count the hours that I spent alone with you, just listening to you, silently. I still remember this one night. It was a Friday. Me and the boys were a little older. It was my first time drinking. It was dark and late. We were by the jungle gyms. We always hung out there because it was away from the walking path and the lamps. You were there as always, speaking to us. I drank a lot that night. I don’t remember most of it. I do remember your words. I remember how vivid the emotions felt as you spoke. I had never felt them this profoundly; maybe it was the alcohol. I remember reciting along with you; every word as if I had written them. We all did. We didn’t stop, even as we walked home while the sun was coming up.

Through most of my life I always kept current with every one of your new poems. We grew together, matured together, and changed together. As we grew older, so did your audience. You poems were being accepted by the majority rather than the minority. Your popularity was never higher and you were attracting a larger audience. Your poems started to change, the emotions in your words changed. While most of your poems appealed to a broader audience, you still managed to write some for the few of us that had been listening to you from the beginning. Yet, we continued to grow older; continued to grow apart.

Over the last few years I’ve come to realize, your poems are no longer meant for me. They’re for a newer audience, a younger audience. Without realizing it, I started to move on. I still listen to a lot of your new poems, but I would be lying if I told you I felt the same emotion as I did in my younger years. Those you recited to me as I grew up will always be a big part of my life. I still listen to them and even though I have moved on, just remember that I will always love you… Hip Hop.

As for the other love, I’m not ready to write that letter to her.

I gotta be honest, 2008 was one of the most disappointing years I can remember in terms of Hip Hop for me personally.  Lil’ Wayne was the top grossing rap artist of 2008.  Now, no disrespect to the man and his success, but Lil’ Wayne has never really been considered a lyrical genius and to be honest, I really ain’t feeling him.  I never have, and I don’t think I ever will.  Like my  man Common said “If i don’t like it, i don’t like it, it don’t mean that i’m hatin.”I mean Rick Ross was in the top 5 selling rap albums of 2008.  RICK FUCKING ROSS, that hurt just writing it.    

There were some good albums that dropped in 2008, but nothing that made me say “I definitely need to have that joint in ma collection.”  Some of the albums that stood out for me in 2008 were T.I.’s “Paper Trail”, Ludacris’ “Theater Of The Mind”, GZA’s “Pro Tools”, Elzhi’s “Preface”, Q-Tip’s “Renaissance” and Scarface’s “Emeritus.”   While all of them were good albums, I wouldn’t say any of them were instant classics.  I can’t remember many years where there wasn’t at least one album that was an instant classic.  

However, 2008 is over and the disappointment is over.  It’s 2009 bitches and with it comes anticipation.  A lot of anticipation.  There are some BIG names dropping albums this year.  I’m looking forward to 2009.  I expect Hip Hop to rebound this year.   Oh and in 2009, i’ll bet my house that Rick Ross won’t make it into the top 5 best selling albums of the year.  There should be a rule, any year that Rick Ross makes the top 5, it’s a disappointing year for Hip Hop.    With heavy hitters like Jadakiss, Busta Rhymes, 50 Cent, Big Boi, Kanye West, Rakim all dropping albums this year it should be a great year for Hip Hop.   Here’s the thing though, as impressive as that list there is, they ain’t even the guys i’m most looking forward to.  My top 10 anticipated albums of 2009 is as follows…

10. Raekwon: “Only Built For Cuban Linx II” – The first one was a classic.  Knowing that RZA is gonna be handling the production on this one got me thinking, Rae’s got another classic in him.

 

 

 

 

9. Mos Def: “The Ecstatic” – Now I gotta be honest, “The New Danger” and “True Magic” were very disappointing.  But, there’s some rumblings going on about this album.  People are saying Mos is going back to the “Black On Both Sides” formula with this one.   That he actually took time away from his acting career to concentrate on this one.  If that’s true, I can’t wait to hear this.

 

 

 

 

8. Method Man & Redman: “Blackout 2” – Meth & Red together again took too long to happen.  I still bump “How High” all the time.   On their own, over the last little while, they really haven’t put out much to talk about.  I’m hoping the two of them re-uniting will spark a forest fire of music.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Outkast: TBD – Now they’re both droppin’ solo joints this year, but after that they hook back up for an Outkast album which should drop at the end of ’09.  I really hope it does.   I know I’m looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

6. Jay-Z: “The Blueprint 3” – I gotta be honest, Jay hasn’t dropped anything worth talking about since “The Black Album”.  I mean “Kingdom Come” was okay, but you expect better from Jay.  As for “American Gangster”, I won’t even talk about it.  I just hope we see the same Jay we saw on the original Blueprint and if that’s the case, FIRE!

 

 

 

5. Lupe Fiasco: “LupEND” – Lupe is one of the best new lyricists Hip Hop has produced.  He definitely has provided some of the best albums of this decade with “Food & Liquor” and “The Cool”.  So to hear this is to be his last album is disappointing.  However, we’ll see if that really lasts.   I’m looking forward to a bunch of hits from Lupe, but a 3 disc album?  I don’t know if you wanna be going out with a 3 disc album.

 

 

 

4. Common: “The Believer” – Common is one of my all time favorite emcee’s.  Lyrically, he’s a genius. Now “Universal Mind Control” was a little different, he was experimenting again, kinda like “Electric Circus”.   You also remember what came right after his experiment, it was “Be”.  So I’m thinking, Common might have got that experimentation part of him done.  If I’m right, we could be talking about the album of the year when it’s all said and done.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Eminem: “Relapse” – We’ve been waiting for this a long time Em.  Seriously, what the fuck took you so long?  I’m really excited about this for two reasons, for one, Dre will be doing most of the production.  The other, you ready for this?  I’m thinking you might wanna sit down before you read this.  DJ PREMIER AND EMINEM.  DJ Premier confirmed that Eminem asked him for a track.  I just hope Em doesn’t pull a Jay and leave it off the album.  I can’t wait to hear Em on a Premier track, oh man… I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

 

 
2. Royce Da 5’9″: “Street Hop” – DJ Premier is the executive produce on this and will handle most of the production on the album.  Have you heard “Shake This”?  If not, GO LISTEN TO IT NOW.  I MEAN IT, NOW! I’ll wait………………… Now I’m bias, I’m a HUGE Royce fan and I think he’s one of the most under rated lyricists in Hip Hop.  And to be honest, Royce and Premier always make incredible music.  “Boom”, “Hip Hop” and now “Shake This”.  Royce & Primo are kinda like the new Gang Starr, do I even need to say more?

 

 

1. Dr. Dre: “Detox” – So he says this is the year it’ll finally drop.  Dre, don’t play with my emotions.   Dre, I ain’t joking, seriously.  You better drop this shit this year.  You been teasing us way too long.  It’s like the stripper that teases you in the back room getting you all excited thinking you’re gonna get to fuck, and then 3 minutes later at the end of the song she just ups and walks away.  And all you can say is… DAMN!