Last Year in Music: Hip-Hop/R&B

Best

Last year was a great one for music, especially hip-hop. Although record sales took another huge hit, the industry delivered some very entertaining music. Everyone who was anyone released an album; 2007 saw two hip-hop heavyweights going head-to-head on 9/11, a double platinum comeback by an R&B songstress, and even some lackluster performances from big-name artists.

Ending the year on a very cool note was Lupe Fiasco’s sophomore release, The Cool, which upstaged Jay-Z’s American Gangster for the #1 concept album of the year. The Windy City spitter took the character from his album and expanded on his-story complete with metaphorical characters while Jay-Z took a well-known drug-dealer’s story and combined it with his own to bring him back to his Reasonable Doubt roots. Alicia Keys returned from a four-year hiatus with all-new material to shoot back to the top of the charts. The showdown that everyone was anticipating between 50 Cent and Kanye West produced the #4 album Graduation, proving that Mr. West can stand the challenge and bring a solid effort.

Rounding out the top 5 is Jill Scott’s The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 with honorable mention going to Common’s Finding Forever, Talib Kweli’s Eardrum, and UGK’s Underground Kingz.

Worst

2007’s most popular dance craze also came from the worst album of the year, Soulja Boy’s Souljaboytellem.com. With titles like “Yahhh,” “Booty Meat,” and “Donk,” the youngster cranked out an expected sub-par album. Brave by Jennifer Lopez continues her unsuccessful music streak. An unoriginal 50 Cent dropped his worst album to date with Curtis holding the #3 spot.

With all of the hype, the Rap Icon did not meet expectations. The face off between Bow Wow and Omarion was a disappointing event and T.I. rounds off the list with what was undoubtedly the worst concept album of 2007.

Overall, 2007 generated near-classic material for some artists, while others gave their careers a significant nosedive. The fourth quarter was especially memorable with veteran MC’s and R&B Divas all releasing with lots of fanfare. Hopefully, even better music will come in the New Year, with Eminem, Lil Wayne, Usher, and Nas prepping for releases.