we believe in maximum effect

The summer of hip-hop comes to a triumphant conclusion:
Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass is an oddly indie and suprisingly bad-ass sounding affair, mostly because of Aesop’s ridiculously low voice and never-ending lyrics.  Blockhead’s production does no harm, although the album’s eponymus cut is both the catchiest and the biggest depature.  Instead of low-slung NYC funk, it’s a melodic, borderline techno sort of jam.  I was surprised as you are, but probably substantially more pleased.

RJD2 – Since We Last Spoke isn’t a bad album, but nor is it a good one.  The universal response to me telling people that I picked it up used was “oh, you should have got Deadringer” – and I can’t disagree with that statement.

Madvillain – Madvillany gets the award for being the most stoned and most San Francisco album of the summer – it’s also one of the best, with loose, textured production, casual words from MF Doom, and a bit of a (stoned!) sense of humour.

Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) ain’t nothin’ to fuck with!  Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with!  Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with!  Now I see why people big up the RZA so much:  because the man can write a drum track and drop a sample.

Blackalicious – NIA makes me smile, mostly because of the breadth of topics covered.  There’s a typical “rapper makes it big and forgets his friends” tune, given voice by the amazingly annoying Lyrics Born, a ridiculous jam about a magic sword, a delightful big-up track about an archetypal all-mother, and any number of get-down numbers hidden in between.

So the only question now is:  what’s next summer?