It’s that time of the year again, when the best music is released…as Jay-Z would say of his own career: “seven straight summers, critics might not admit it but nobody in rap did it, quite like I did it”. Which artist will take the crown this summer? With several big releases, they all better bring their “A” game if they want the throne. So far, Eminem‘s Recovery, which sold 744,000 (the highest debut of the year), has been number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 since it’s been released. Some other noticeable releases were The Roots‘ “How I Got Over”, Big Boi‘s Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Z-Ro‘s Heroin, and Juvenile‘s Beast Mode.

Let’s start with Capone-N-Noreaga, who planned a strong comeback with the new album The War Report 2 while inking a new deal with Raekwon’s IceH20 Records. As you can probably see, the new album is the sequel to their critically acclaimed debut. The first single, ‘Hood Pride’ (featuring Faith Evans), shows that they are looking to retain the title of T.O.N.Y. The album will have appearances from Nas, Busta Rhymes, Raekwon, and the L.O.X., with production from the likes of Alchemist, Scram Jones, Neo Da Matrix, Tha Bizness, Buckwild, araabMUZIK, DJ Green Lantern, and Just Blaze. If the duo can makes another classic album with The War Report 2, it could be enough to bring them back to the forefront of Hip-Hop.

Paul Wall hasn’t really had a thriving album since his People’s Champ, which went Platinum and debuted at   #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The new album, Heart Of A Champion, has Travis Barker doing quite a bit of the production with additional help from Beanz N Kornbread. The album will have appearances from Yelawolf, Lil Keke, Jim Jones, Raekwon, Bun B, and Jay Electronica. Paul Wall also reunited with his former friend/foe Chamillionare, who he has had a well-documented falling out with since 2007. The two rappers have also decided to tour together in the near future (more than likely after Chamillionaire releases his upcoming album).

As a teenager, Curren$y was signed to No Limit Records, who didn’t really do anything with the young artist before he left in 2005 and inked a deal with Young Money Entertainment. It was there that he created the hit track, ‘Where the Cash At’, which gained a lot of street buzz on the mixtape circuit and later became the lead single for his eventually doomed debut, Music to Fly To (the album was later shelved). He eventually left Young Money in 2007 to venture off and market his own music. For several months he released a series of mixtapes with gained him notoriety and allowed him to make a name for himself, to the point he was appointed to XXL’s Freshman 10 of 2009. In 2010, he landed a deal at Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam, where he created his latest piece of work Pilot Talk, which is his third studio album and first major label debut. The album is mostly produced by the legendary Ski (yea that one), with assisted production from Mos Def, Nesby Phips, Michael Sterling Eaton and Monsta Beatz. The album also features Snoop Dogg, newly signed Def Jam artist Big K.R.I.T., Jay Electronica and Devin the Dude.

From the success of Deeper Than Rap, Rick Ross returns with the most anticipated album of the summer Teflon Don. In May of 2010, Rick Ross announced a management/partnership deal with Diddy, while Freeway Ricky Ross was filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in an attempt to stop the release of the album (the injunction was eventually tossed out of court). The album has a wide variety of features from Kanye to T.I. to Erykah Badu with production provided by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, No ID, Clark Kent and the Inkredibles. Diddy stated on his twitter page that Teflon Don will be an instant classic, and come 7/20 we’ll all find out if Diddy was simply selling us a dream.

The Game is back on Aftermath, the label that signed him back in 2005 and the label that he left amid his heated dispute with 50 Cent and G-Unit. The Game also stated that LAX would be his last album, but a chance to reunite with Dr. Dre was clearly hard to turn down. So they have finally reunited to release his upcoming The R.E.D. Album, which will feature the likes of Lil Wayne, Justin Timberlake, Gucci Mane, Jadakiss, Robin Thicke, Drake, Beanie Sigel and Rick Ross. Dr Dre and The Neptunes handle executive production on the album and No I.D., Drumma Boy, Kanye West, Cool & Dre, Just Blaze, and Rza help with the overall backdrop. I am for one very interested to listen to a full album of Pharrell and Dr Dre sounds meshed together in one album (although on a minor scale it’s already been done before).

To end the summer, September 14, 2010 aka G.O.O.D. Music Day will be a big day in hip-hop and could go down in history, as label head Kanye West and label mates Consequence, Kid CuDi and Big Sean will all be releasing their album on the same day.

  • Kanye has being lying low since he went on stage at the MTV Awards and stole the moment from Taylor Swift. Good Ass Job has been rumored to feature Drake, Nicki Minaj, Dwelle, and Big Sean. Production is rumored to come from Kanye West (of course), No I.D. (another given), DJ Premier, Q-Tip, RZA, Pete Rock, DJ Toomp, Madlib (surprise), and Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em (….). Kanye will bring his A game for the new album and the streets can’t wait for the release. 
  • Kid CuDi, coming off the success of his debut album Man on the Moon: The End of Day (which debuted selling over 100,000 copies and landed at #4 on the Billboard 100). Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager will have features from Chip Tha Ripper, Ratatat, Cage, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. Production for the album will be provided by Kid Cudi, Kanye West (who also serves as the executive producer), Emile & Plain Pat (who is co-executive producer) and the Neptunes. Kid CuDi has made a name for himself in hip-hop and has many waiting to see if he will break the sophomore curse. 
  • In 2005, while Kanye West was in Detroit doing a radio interview, he ended up meeting the up and coming Big Sean. Ever the determined, he managed to get a chance to spit 16 bars as Kanye (after declining several times) was leaving, also leaving a demo-tape in high hopes. Well, it eventually worked; Big Sean became signed to G.O.O.D. two years later. Since then he’s released two mixtapes (Finally Famous Vol. 1 & 2), with intentions to release a 3rd volume and the end of the summer. The young rapper will also be performing at Rock The Bells this year. So if you don’t know who the Big Sean from Detroit is you will when his debut album Finally Famous is released on 9/14 (Jon’s Note: I don’t see any of this working, except for the already established artists, sans Consequence. Take a look at Big Kuntry King’s career for an example).

Some other noticeable summer releases:
• The Gates Mixed Plate by Tech N9ne
• The Darkside Vol. 1 by Fat Joe
• Villa Manifesto by Slum Village
• Trill O.G. by Bun B
• King of All Kings by Pastor Troy
• The Rehab by Young Buck
• Ready Set Go! by Roscoe Dash
• Crossroads 2010 by Bizzy Bone
• South Central State Of Mind by Nipsey Hussle
• Too Cool To Care by New Boyz
• The EP by Slaughterhouse
• Back On Money by Kane & Abel
• Armando by Pitbull
• The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted by Gucci Mane
• TM 103 by Young Jeezy
• Nothing by N.E.R.D.
• W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) by Pharoahe Monch
• Album of Year By Black Milk
• There is No Competition 2 EP by Fabolous

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