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September 05, 2001 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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1

Fall into Daily Arts ...
Come back to Daily Arts
tomorrow as we help you get
ready for arts this Fall with
our fall preview.
nuchigandaily.com /arts

RTS

WEDNESDAY
SEPTEMBER 5, 2001

12A

SUMMER ARTS IN RETROSPECT
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nil d th ast summer
? F i

Singl of
Summer,
By Rob Brode
Daily Arts Writer

By Dustin J. Seibert
Dy Arts Writer
The entire year of 2001 has not treated the hip-
hop/R&B side of the music industry very well, but
the second and third quarters saw something of an
improvement over the dismal early months of the
year. There were a few long-awaited albums that
turned out to be flops, and there were some fresh-
man efforts that were surprise hits. Unless you are
a die-hard alt-rock fan, however, the year in review,
up to this point anyway, lacks the greatness that we
usually see at the end of every year. So, it is with
great reluctance and fear for my personal safety
that I offer the best albums released over break:
1. DJ Hi-Tek: Hi-Teknology - Quite possibly
the best new producer to the hip-hop world, Cinci-
natti-born Tony "Hi-Tek" Cottrell is also one-half
of Reflection Eternal; currently one of contempo-
rary hip-hop's finest groups. Coming off of their
2000 sleeper jewel Train of Thought, Hi-Tek goes
for the jugular with his long-awaited compilation
album. His guest list reads as a who's who of intro-
spective hip-hop; Common kicks off the 14-track
album nicely with songstress Vinia Mojica on the
very different yet upbeat "The Sun God, " while
Ms. Mojica hooks up with rapper-cum-singer Mos
Def once again for the nice, mellow "Get Ta Step-
pin'."'
A surprise collaboration saw Queensbridge
native Cormega flowing over "All I Need Is You,"
an ode to all those relationships plagued by late
nights at work. Fellow Eternalist Talib Kweli spits
flames in both "Get Back Pt. II" and "Theme From
Hi-Tek, surprisingly mediocre tracks that are not
at all representative of their capabilities. The rest of
the album features a diverse array of guest appear-
ances, ranging from Black Moon's Buckshot, to
Hi-Tek's hometown group Mood. Unfortunately,
the album doesn't come too close to the caliber of
the Reflection album, my personal favorite of 2000,
but despite the label of "real hip-hop" that Hi-Tek
carries, this album has a little something for every-
one, from mainstreamers to R&B heads alike.
2. J. Rawls: The Essence ofJ. Rawls - Warn-
ing: Only heads need apply! This one is for the
backpackers and underground fans. One half of
another MC/DJ duo, Lone Catalysts' Jason Rawls
offers up the "Essence," a 14-track compilation
album featuring the finest underground rappers
currently in the game. "Elegy (In 3 Pts.)" features

Rubix in deep thought flowing funeral-style about
the death of common sense in hip-hop and general
mentalities. The "Great Live Caper" has an up-
and-coming J-Live kicking a tale of assailants
breaking into his home and stealing his "priceless
book of rhymes" - it should remind folks of
Common's "Payback is a Grandmother."
The excellent "Blue #2" has Home Skill flowing
over extremely mellow production and jazz saxo-
phonist Charles Cooper. The entire album has pret-
ty much the same vibe to it - consistency being so
important in a good record, and this is one of few
albums that I have listened to almost completely
through without hitting the skip button. You won't
hear this album playing at your local frat party, and
it is also pretty difficult to get a hold of unless you
order, but those who appreciate fine lyrical fury
over sweet beats better cop this one.
3. Pete Rock: PeteStrumentals - This one is
an unconventional album in that it consists of
mostly beats (hence the title) crafted by none other
than the great Pete Rock, one-half of legendary
pioneers Pete Rock and CL Smooth (The MC/DJ
thing is pure coincidence, I swear). We haven't
seen any full albums from Pete since 1998's Soul
Survivor, and frankly, had this been another compi-
lation album featuring a wide list of rappers, it
would have gone down in history as a classic. The
album does, however, feature a handful of songs
from new group The U.N., consisting of Flip-
mode's Rock Marciano along with newbies God-
fre, Divine and Laku. "Cake" and "Nothing
Lesser" features some ill flows that demonstrate
the promise of the group's future. If you cop the
vinyl version, you will be treated to a version of
"Give It To Y'all" with lyrics from the group. Pete
hasn't lost his touch, and if you are looking for
some tight beats to vibe to with a few raw hip-hop
tracks, then this is definetly the move.
4. The Isley Brothers: Eternal - Old ass pret-
ty-boy Ron Isley proves that he still has it, being
the only artist to have a hit in both 1959 and 2001.
ILown to just two brothers (Ernie is on the guitar),
thie group hasn't missed a beat yet with this sur-
prise hit album that factors a bit of the old school
flavor that made them famous with some new
school production. Everyone has heard "Conta-
gious," the continuing saga of Mr. Biggs and R.
Kelly's always well-vocalized tales of adultery, but
the awesome "Think" demonstrates that age has
had no bearing whatsoever on Ronnie's voice.

Courtesy o fo'umbia, tEecKtra and UreamworKs
Top: The Train boys think they can, they think they can make you sick of them Bottom right: Staind Is all over
your radio, tired yet? Bottom left: The Isley Brothers are old enough for Viagra, hip enough for the top 40.

"Ernie's Jam" puts the other brother in a spotlight
of his own with a three-minute long guitar jam that
just begs to be played at night under a nice full
moonlight. Listen for Jill Scott on "said Enough,"
and play the eight-and-a-half minute long title track
if you get bored. You see, it's guys like Ron who do
their thing in their golden years without the use of
that stupid blue pill. Rock on, fellas.
5. Cormega: The Realness - Cormega brings
us back to that Queensbridge sound that we all
thought we lost somewhere around the mid-to late-
90s with his new, independently released album.
Having dealt with label issues some time ago,
Mega was supposed to drop almost five years ago
an album that has been forever shelved. Kicking
adversity square in the nuts, he got back on point
and cut an entirely new album. Fourteen tracks of

gritty street knowledge prove that he hasn't lost it
during his hiatus from the game. "American Beau-
ty" is yet another joint that looks at rap in the
metaphorical sense, but he pulls if off uniquely
over a very different set of chords and beats.
"Glory Days" is a nice, feel-good joint about
reflecting on the days of old, while "Get Out My
Way" is a knock down, drag-out challenge to those
attempting to jack his shine. And the enticingly
haunting hidden track, "Killaz Theme," featuring
Mobb Deep, gets me so amped that I feel like peel-
ing back a few caps my damn self Mega's album
would probably be much more well-accepted had it
been released when it was supposed to, but those
who like to reminisce on the flavor Nas and Mobb
Deep had when they first came out will appreciate
it.

The hot track that keeps the rso
dial in place in June will usually have
you punching the presets as soon as the
opening chord hits come August.
Thankfully while most of us have a Sat-
uration point there is always that guy or
girl in a group who will gush ebullient-
ly "I LOVE THIS SONG!" and turn up
that tired old jam that was everyone's
favorite track back in July and for these
people here is the pesky, pervasiveop
five list of summer ditties that they are
still singing along to.
5. Christina Aguilera et. al -
"Lady Marmalade." In a summer of
remakes this tune comes as little sur-
prise. A slew of talented young ladies
and Lil' Kim drove this tune up the
charts. "Lady" was on fire back in June
but a chilly reception of its accompany-
ing movie soon cooled the single.
However a video with the vamps in
panties kept this one hot enoug o
come in at number five. Uh uh uh uh,
Lil' Kim, uh uh uh uh indeed.
4. Nelly "Ride Wit Me" - "Ride
Wit Me" is the third single over the last
year from Nelly's debut album Country
Grammar to hit big. This joint had the
hands up and the booties getting down
last spring in the frat houses but it took
the rest of the masses a bit longer. Sub-
urban white kids screaming "Mus e
the money!" probably was not t
Nelly had in mind, but its quite fitting
nonetheless.
3. Incubus "Drive" - An incubus
is an annoying spirit that bothers po-
ple while they sleep and "Drive" was
an annoying song that bothered anyone
in close proximity to a radio.
2. Staind "Its Been Awhile" ,--
Most likely it hasn't been awhile since
you've heard this song. Those who lis-
ten to rock radio have known a'9it
this song since last spring and Top 40
radio fans were privy to it since Jury.
The strengh of this single along with
the electric version of "Outside" landed
their album Break the Cycle atop the
charts back in May. Don't be fooled
though, the album is heavier than its
smash single. Ballads pay the bills and
keep record execs happy so the band
can keep playing the music ty
REALLY want to play. '
1. Train "Drops of Jupiter" -
The song has a string section, abstract
lyrics, a chorus of na na na's, and a lib-
eral dose of reverb. Is there any more
basic a formula for pop success? This
song just would not quit. Its been rain-
ing drops of jupiter since last spring
but the drizzle turned into a full out
torrential downpour this summer. We
can only hope there is nothing more
left of jupiter to drop. SOMEONE
PLEASE DERAIL THIS TRAIN*
Accordin
to the 'u'
Compiled By Rob Brode
Daily Arts Writer
In my ramblings around the
campus I polled a series of Fresh-
men to see what their favorite
songs of the summer were, and
make an attempt to add some
numbers to my little black book
Needless to say I didn't add any
digits to the collection, and nar-
rowly avoided a series of slaps
upside the head.
These are the few that coul
take my inquisitive ways:
Michelle Branch "Everywhere"

Alicia Keys "Fallin"
Blu Cantrell "Hit 'Em Up"
Jeffrey Gaines "In Your Eyes"
U2 "Walk On"
Morianne Kitmiller Freshman

Exactly what it sounds like.
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Jagged Edge "Where the
At?"
Train "Drops of Jupiter"
Gorillaz "Clint Eastwood"
Backstreet Boys "More
That"
N'Sync "Gone"

ty
Than

N

Karl Lovata. Freshman

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