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Monday, July 2, 2007

T.I. Vs. T.I.P.: (Afterthoughts)/Prince Paul's A Prince Among Thieves = a Real Hip Hop Concept Album

Props to my homie Shafeeq for the inspiration on this one...

Enter T.I. who says:

“You have to go back to Aquemini, All Eyez on Me, Reasonable Doubt, Ready to Die. You have to go back to all those classics to compare this album to."

My Opinion: Hell No

About a day or two after that T.I. album leaked, I reviewed it on my blog. Initially, my thoughts were it was a real good album. In fact, I said it was a damn good album. Here's why I thought that though: he actually carried the dual persona motif throughout the duration of the album and he took a risk by putting out a concept album when he could have just put out a traditional LP and still sold a billion ringtones/albums. And as far as production (top notch producers), storyline (self explanatory) and arrangement (cohesion) it was a nice overall effort. Now, the lyrics weren't spectacular--not a big surprise, T.I. was never Rakim or no shit like that--but as far as the whole presentation and how dramatic and larger than life it was, it was a kinda fly album.

It was kind of like how you know Diddy sucks balls at rapping but you cop the album because you know there's going to be some ill beats and some crazy features. Yea, it was that type of effort.

Now that the dust has settled the shit don't seem too ill anymore. T.I. fans may want to exit The shit is a blatant bite off of at least 3 or 4 albums. Circa 2004, I recall Cassidy recording an (shitbag) album named Split Personality where he recorded halfway decent gutter tracks and the other (God-awful) half of that crappy album was cotton candy ballads with R&B artists that catered to chicks. Albeit the album hurt my ears, you can kind of see the similarities between the two efforts. Not convinced, what about Nelly's weed plate album that came out around the same time Sweat/Suit. I'm not gonna front like I've ever listened to more than about 4-5 tracks on either of these discs but the concept behind the album is half of the tracks are for the club and the other half are for chicks...T.I.'s mix = half for the streets/half for the birds...Then there's Eminem who had the whole Slim Shady alter ego thing. With that said, you can't really give T.I. too much props for the whole split identity concept b/c it's been done a million times before and those are just the joints I can't remember. And the whole alter ego motif is the foundation of the album so if you can't give him props for that what else is there??? Right.

Womp womp for T.I.

Now that I've got that out of the way, I can talk about a REAL concept album: Prince Paul's A Prince Among Thieves.

If you're semi new to this hip hop shit read about him. Here's Wiki's description of A Prince:

"The concept follows the story of an aspiring young MC named Tariq (played by rapper Breezly Brewin), who needs to collect money to record a demo tape before a meeting with Wu-Tang Clan leader RZA. A desperate Tariq quits his low-paying job, and turns to his friend True (played by rapper Big Sha), who plugs him into the world of drug dealing. The story sees the two making their way through the drug world, a police ambush, jail, and finally, a deadly showdown.

The album features cameos by Kool Keith, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Biz Markie, De La Soul, Everlast, Sadat X, Xzibit, Kid Creole, Special Ed, Chris Rock, RZA and Buckshot. If you haven't heard it, go buy/download or steal it."

Here's my description A Prince Among Thieves = CRACK. My words won't do it justice. Do yourself a favor and cop it (buy/download/steal) by any means necessary. Imma try and find the album and post it.



Shanti said...

Nice blog...however your change of mind about the album makes it look like you are just following in the footsteps of other critics rather than staying true to your real thoughts. I think this album is OK, not great but not horrible but for some reason imo its receiving harsher criticism than what it deserves. I hope your change of mind wasn't affected by the thoughts of other writers/bloggers/music critics...

J. Burnett said...

i changed my mind after more thought, more listens. i think sometimes after hearing something new to our ears it's hard to really put an evaluation on it. the album is not as bad as most critics make it out to be but it's not great either. i think i'm changing my mind back and forth with this album everyday.

Shanti said...

Ok cool, that's respectable. I'm a huge TIP fan so I attempted to put aside my bias when judging this album(not sure if I was successful). Like I said before, the album is OK but then again he'll never be able to return to the artist that caught my attention in the first place. By the way, the name of your blog makes me giggle every time I read it. I've bookmarked seem to have interesting and creative posts.