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November 22nd, 2010
To say it’s a good day for hip hop lovers would be a gross understatement. Two of the most highly anticipated albums in the game hit stores today— Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. Spunky Young Money protégé and controversial Chi-town superstar. Both artists are favourites of the New Music Videos team, and both are at pivotal points in their careers.
If I can be dramatic (and I usually am), today might just be a day that we nostalgically look back on and remember its importance in hip hop history (too far?).
Kanye’s got a lot riding on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album was conceived in the depths of the rapper’s personal turmoil and the hype preceding its release has been deafening. His promotional tour has consisted of countless outlandish one-liners and numerous blogworthy moments. Not to bring up that VMA thing again but it’s safe to say Ye’s pissed off a lot of ‘peeps since his last album. To put it simply, Yeezy needed to bring it. And bring it, he did. He’s overcome the angst of public scrutiny and delivered the best music of his career.
The reviews have been unanimous. Hard-to-please indie blog Pitchfork gave Dark Twisted Fantasy a perfect rating and the general consensus among critics is that after four albums, ‘Ye has finally stumbled upon his masterpiece. It could be an amalgamation of good timing, flawless collaborations, impressive beats and ballsy, brutally honest lyrics. Whatever the reason, this one’s a classic.
As for Nicki, home girl has just as much riding on the release of her debut disc, Pink Friday. Aside from a few hit singles and some memorable guest appearances on tracks with artists like Kanye, Lil Wayne and will.i.am, we haven’t really seen if Nicki can make it on her own. She’s definitely got the talent. Armed with lyricism we haven’t seen since Lauryn Hill and strong, sex appeal only rivaled by predecessors Lil Kim and Foxy Brown, Nicki’s potential to be great is unmatched. With her catchy tune “Right Thru Me” leading the way, Pink Friday is poised to be the album that solidifies Nicki’s position among the hip hop greats she’s hanging around.
While both artists are projected to get big sales this week, I hope the numbers aren’t the only thing we remember about these releases. I think it’s bigger than record sales. In a game that’s been bogged down by gimmicks, misogyny and mindless rhymes, here are two artists who are bringing style, sincerity and originality.
So which album should you pick up today? Both.