These are the top ten “disappointments” of 2007 – NOT the 10 worst albums, although some may actually be up there. This is based on what I was expecting when I listened to the album versus what I actually heard. So, although Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, etc may be some bad albums, they are not included in this list because 1) I didn’t listen to them, and 2) I wouldn’t expect to like them. So here’s the list.
10) Army of the Pharoahs – Ritual of Battle
Can anybody actually tell me who the members are now? Either can I. But whoever they are now, they are not nearly as good as they used to be. Apathy was not on this album at all, the lyrics were boring, and the production was uninspired. The exception was the production on “Seven” by Ill Bill, which was one of my favorite beats of the year. Vinnie Paz used to be one of my favorite lyricists, but he seems to have run out of things to say. This wasn’t horrible, but it doesn’t leave me dying to hear the next AOTP offering, whoever they might be.
9) Cormega – Who Am I
I was always a fan of Cormega, but nothing really stood out on this one. On the positive side, the guest spots were from artists from virtually every region. On the negative side, they weren’t very good. It had been so long since his last release, I thought he would come out with something better than this.
8) Big Shug – Street Champ
“Who’s Hard” brought back that Gang Starr sound that had been missing for a couple years. It didn’t get near the notice it should have. With “Street Champ”, any title Big Shug thought he had he lost. Nothing remotely interesting about this one.
7) El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
I know a lot of people loved this album. I was never the biggest fan of El-P, but based on others’ great reviews of it, I gave it a try. I just didn’t like it at all. He gets credit for putting together an original sound, but original doesn’t always mean good.
6) Eightball and MJG – Ridin’ High
PLEASE get away from Bad Boy immediately. They used to one of my favorite groups. Then, in an effort to get a little nationwide notice and make a little extra money, they signed with Puffy (I still refuse to call him Diddy). It’s clear that Bad Boy has no idea how to promote them and, from interviews I’ve read, the group doesn’t seem to enjoy their label either. It shows in their lyrics too, as MJG puts out some lyrics that are on the level of labelmate Yung Joc. Eightball still has his swagger, but any more albums like this and the Space Age Pimps may be stuck in a black hole that they can’t get out of.
5) Redman – Red Gone Wild
I should have known this would be a disappointment when it was consistently delayed from being released. Every 30 seconds he has to yell Gilla House like we have any chance of forgetting. But I guess that broke the monotony of his lyrics.
4) Camp Lo – In Black Hollywood
I keep waiting for that next great Camp Lo album after loving Uptown Saturday Night. I’m still waiting.
3) Dogg Pound – Dogg Ch!t
The title says it all. Neither Daz or Kurupt has anything else to say or an entertaining way to say it. After waiting for years for another good album and being constantly disappointed, I give up on them.
2) Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
Part of the disappointment comes from the fact that I was expecting to be disappointed. All of the little kindergarten bickering between members and Ghostface’s whining about the release date, the production , and whatever else was wrong on a given day killed this one for me. It wasn’t horrible, but after hearing the “The Heart Gently Weeps” I had high hopes. Although the production and lyrics were okay, the album felt forced. It seems like this will be the last WTC for a while and that’s disappointing too.
1) Little Brother – Get Back
Whether you liked this or hated it, you had to be disappointed. I figured this would be in my top three of the year. Instead it’s my most disappointing. It’s too bad too because Phonte and Big Pooh seemed to work really hard on this release. They had decent producers to replace 9th Wonder, but the production seemed all over the place and didn’t have any theme. On a positive note, Lil Wayne lovers were finally able to see what the rest of us had been saying for years. Weezy has a decent flow, a decent style, a decent delivery, but lyrically he’s mediocre at best. He was trying real hard to compete with Phonte and Pooh, but his struggles and shortcomings were obvious. “The Listening” and “The Minstrel Show” are two great albums, so maybe LB gets a pass for one boring album. It’s still better than a lot of releases this year.