Sunday, April 15, 2007

The First Stand Out Album of 2007?

So, you may not've noticed, but I've linked another "Favorite Hip-Hop Site That Ain't Mine" to my blog links. Oh Word is a fun, well-written site that I've been sort of checking for every so often.... but not so much because they focus on contemporary hip-hop, no matter how dreary and commercially painful the scene has become. I mean, do I really care about comparisons between UGK & Outkast, or commentary on Cam'Ron's latest album, even if the writer is clever? I don't know, maybe I'm just a cranky ol' curmudgeon. But, anyway, I was just browsing through a bunch of their old entries I'd missed the first time around, and there's some really good stuff, so I finally added 'em.

But, yeah. That brings me to the object of this post. The only new releases in 2007 that I've had any interest have been part of the recent (and really fantastic) wave of unreleased old school material being put out for the first time. The Ultimate Force LP was just released, Freestyle Professors just re-released their obscure '94 EP with all new tracks from the period, DWG is putting out a 7-track EP of great, unheard GodFather Don songs from the late 90's... But finally, a new album has come out that's really woken me up; a 2007 release that actually ranks higher than "eh, I guess that's alright."
Sacred Hoop's latest album, Go Hogwild actually has a copyright date of 2006 on it; but Atak has only just added it to their catalog, and until recently, the Hoop had pre-mix, earlier versions of some of the songs on this album up on their myspace. Which makes me think the album was just recently completed, but they printed up the artwork earlier. Just a guess. Anyway, they're only just now promoting it and making it available.

And it's hot. Damn, go get it. Vrse's production is spot on, DJ Quest and DJ Raw B's scratches add new life to the prerelease demo versions (although, frankly, I miss the driving piano sample from the original version of "Chicks Pack Heat" - can we get a 12" single that combines the best of both worlds please, guys?), and Z-Man, as ever, is on hand to add some ill guest verses. And there's no filler; this is at least as (possibly more so) consistently solid as Sleepover. Gone is their lo-fi, 4-track Sexy Henrietta sound, but you won't miss it. The Hoop is definitely at that rare point where they've matured and elevated their sound without turning into it into dumber, commercial gloss.
So, yeah. You can pick this up from Atak or direct from their official site, Live it up. This might be the only worthwhile new album 'till 2008.

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