Romel & Noel
Every few years an album comes along to not only change the musical genre it represents, but to change the lives of those who listen to it. This is one of those albums.
Romel & Noel are what hip-hop used to and should be about – inspiration, fun, skill and style. The 8 and 6-year-old brothers rap and sing over producer Big Mel’s extraordinary tracks, with and confidence and skill that rivals, and surpasses, most of their hip-hop peers. Having vocal ability, they perfectly fuse hip-hop with R&B.
Songs such as “Fall Back” and the title track bounce with infectious rhythms and devastating drum patterns. The boys ride the bucking beats like expert bull jockeys.
Then on slow jams “I Like You,” “My Chain,” and “Puppy Luv” the boys add street grit to the tunes of the midnight hour. On the powerful “Katrina,” Romel and Noel reflect on the devastating hurricane that cost their grandmother her home. The tune is emotional, grabbing you by the heart and not letting go. They carry the pain of the nation carefully on this healing song for the ages.
“Hip-Hop Babies” is easily one of the best albums of the year.
The Massacre Special Edition
50 Cent appears to have everything under control, including making the club scene come unhinged. His latest single, “Outta Control Remix,” has a catchy chorus, simple, yet memorable lyrics, the edition of Mobb Deep and a riot-powered track produced by Dr. Dre.
The song is found on this, the re-release of 50 Cent’s multi-platinum “The Massacre” album. The new version of “Outta Control” replaces the weak original. The rest of the songs on the album remain the same. The catch here is the DVD now included with the album, which presents a music video version of every song. While this album wasn’t that great the first time around, the inclusion of the gritty videos gives this album more of an underground feel – a place where 50 Cent is usually at his best.
The hip-hop mixtape scene in the south continues to create new rap stars, with Slim Thug being the latest. While his album title reminds one of his underground success, Slim has enlisted the production help of The Neptunes to ensure his number 1 spot in the mainstream market is followed by six zeros. The Neptunes fuse their abstract sound with southern hip-hop for some cool beats. Slim’s lyrics are average to below average at times, yet his delivery is so polished that you might not care. Give “This Is My Life” and “Ashy To Classy” a listen.
Ying Yang Twins
United States of Atlanta
Ying Yang Twins have a reputation for being party rappers; their lyrical ability goes unnoticed.
On this, their 4th album, the Twins have gone a little more toward their creative side. While dancing and partying can be accomplished with this collection of new tunes, the song make their artistic talents stand out. Their production remains bouncy, still using triple and quadruple pattern drum tracks and heavy bass, but the melodies and patterns have gone to greater creative lengths to compliment the wording. But expect a classic. Listen to this entire album in moderation though or you’ll be plotting your escape from USA. The Twins still find ways to get way under your skin; listening to the entire album straight through causes irritation. Check out “Wait (The Whisper Song),” “Live Again” featuring Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and “Pull My Hair”.