Our group’s setlist, Duos Through the Decades, was a spotlight on full-length hip-hop collaborations between pairs of artists.  For the set, duos not only included two-person hip-hop groups but also solo MCs who came together to work on complete projects.  The eight albums in the set stretched from the 80’s to current day, with two albums chosen from each decade. Beginning the set, we had debut projects from Cookie Crew (Born This Way) and Eric B & Rakim (Paid in Full). Both albums were declarations, statements of how the artists wanted to be recognized in the industry. We chose Cookie Crew, a female hip-hop duo from South London, because of their diversity and Eric B & Rakim for their pioneering efforts in lyricism and break […]

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When this album was released in 2011, I was only familiar with the cheesy and catchy chorus of Young, Wild & Free, feat. Bruno Mars.  While the song was successful as a crossover, Top 40 single, reaching all the way to #7 on the Hot 100 in 2012, it turned me off to all their related endeavors at the time. Photo Source – Billboard Hot 100 I was also uninterested in the album’s companion film because of its heavy focus on weed. Now I’m not completely intolerant to songs focused on getting high: D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar, Rick James’ Mary Jane, and Style P’s Good Times are classics! All these songs share a common thread though, a deep sense of soul.  So the expectations set by […]

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On a single studio album, two artists split their musical talents to create a sonically pleasing, precise work of art. Two entirely different stories are portrayed in this album by Georgia’s Andre Lauren Benjamin (Andre 3000) and Antwan Andre Patton (Big Boi).  Together they make up the South’s one-and-only Outkast. In 2003, after years of success together with five previous studio albums, these musical geniuses released Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below with Arista Records. The album woke its audience and demanded attention; it was an honest, respectful voice from the South—pure hip-hop. According to Big Boi, radio host and Dallas, TX native DJ Greg Street (original article deleted by host site) was the mastermind who proposed Outkast release a double feature, “…actually one album, two CDs basically.” […]

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Originally titled Freddy vs. Jason, Friday on Elm Street is a great collaboration between Fabolous and Jadakiss. While I appreciate Jadakiss and Fabolous and knew of this album when on release, it was not on my queue when it dropped because I do not follow either of their careers.  Fabolous and Jadakiss have collaborated numerous times before, with tracks like: 2011 – DJ Khaled’s track It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over which also features Mary J. Blige 2012 – Jadakiss’ mixtape Consignment track Respect It with Lloyd Banks 2013 – Fabolous’ The Soul Tape 3 mixtape track The Hope For those unfamiliar with the two artists, Jadakiss and Fabolous were both put on the map by record producers who owned record labels. Jadakiss’ rap career […]

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UGK, the Underground Kingz. consists of Pimp C (born Chad Lamont Butler in December of ‘73), and Bun B (Bernard Freeman, born March of the same year). From Port Arthur Texas, the two formed UGK in 1987 and reigned in the rap game until the unfortunate death of Pimp C in 2007. These two best friends from Texas were trendsetters, and over time gained recognition from key players and producers in the music industry like Jay-Z and James (J.) Prince who started Rap-A-Lot Records (distributors of UGK’s music), managed talented athletes like Floyd Mayweather Jr., and recently put a powerful stop to the rap beef between artists Drake and Pusha T. Years before Drake and Pusha would emerge on the scene, Bun B and Pimp […]

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Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is an audio proclamation for Big Boi and Andre 3000 as individual artists that redefines what duoship means.  While they each contributed to the other’s album, this collection represents two independent efforts. Accordingly, I will look at each album separately then consider how and why they belong together. Speakerboxxx Big Boi’s album comes first and is mostly characterized by a Southern hip-hop sound, similar to Outkast’s previous albums. The Intro’s tone is set with a great mix by Cutmaster Swift interjected with the name album throughout. To maintain the vibe of the album, that same, spoken title is used as a transition between a few of the disc’s tracks. It’s easy to miss the lyrical depth of Big Boi’s stylized flow, but […]

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Blackout!

Method Man and Redman Blackout! Cover

The intro to this project is wild great. Right away, these off-the-wall rap professionals lay out what we’ll experience in their back-and-forth dialogue laced with ganja and bars. Blackout! is this duo’s interpretation of life in 1999, and throughout, Redman and Method man (or Meth & Red, or Red & Mef, or John Blaze & Funk Doc, or Funk Doctor Spock & Johnny Blaze) perform as ultimate entertainers. Both artists hail from the East Coast and crafted their talent in separate crews: Mef in the Wu-Tang Clan and Redman in Def Squad. The two first started collaborating in 1994 after meeting at a studio album release party for fellow artist Kriss Kross. Blackout!’s development began four years later and is packed with producers like Erick […]

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Dirty Money

UGK Dirty Money Cover

It’s a warm night in Port Arthur, Texas. UGK is riding around in a chromed-out, candy paint black Cadillac. Dirty Money is their conversation. Each track is a snapshot into their life, as they focus on women, luxury, and power. In a black ‘Lac mackin’ wit’ a bop in a fade Boy, we fat stack packin’, steady choppin’ on blades…blades…blades – Bun B, Choppin Blades When Pimp C and Bun B rap about women, they only mention them as objects of sexual desire or assets.  I detest how women are only referred to in derogatory terms on Dirty Money, straight from its start on Let Me See It, a vulgar call-out for the women they want to be with. Other tracks like Like a Pimp and […]

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