Summer heats up with new releases
This summer should be hot in more ways than one. The lineup of albums that will grace the music world with their presence is simply great. Two of the biggest releases this summer are from Common and T.I.
Despite being a veteran hip-hop artist who has always had a strong fan base, Common has only recently enjoyed mainstream exposure. His 2005 album Be was a huge success and probably his biggest album because he received much critical acclaim outside of his usual niche of fans.
Though a great album, some fans, such as Common’s long time listeners, felt he was selling out by featuring "mainstream" artist Kanye West’s production throughout the album, with the exception of a mere two songs. Regardless of this criticism, West’s production was excellent and clearly fine-tuned toward Common’s style of music.
Once again, West will provide the majority of production on Finding Forever, Common’s anticipated June release. And, once again, the album will be concise, with a short track list similar to that of Be, which featured only 11 songs. The first single, "The Game," produced by West and featuring record scratches on the chorus from legendary disc jockey Premier, is vintage Common.
Besides "The Game," several other impressive singles have been leaked -"The People" could have easily been the first single. In "Misunderstood," Common returns to his classic storytelling style, unravelling the plight of two people who have made mistakes in their lives, discussing one in each of the two verses of the song. The sample of "Don’t let me be misunderstood," used for the song’s chorus, fits perfectly: "I’m just a soul whose intentions are good / Oh, Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood (I’m just human)."
If the rest of the songs on Finding Forever are anything close the quality of the songs released so far, the album will definitely be impressive.
In addition to Common’s new album, many are looking forward to another early summer release: T.I.’s T.I. vs. T.I.P. The premise of the album is that it will show the two sides of the artist: T.I. is the famous star, while T.I.P. is the person T.I. was before he achieved fame. This rawer alter ego is heard on the first single "Big Things Poppin’," which is definitely on par with T.I.’s previous upbeat songs. These two personas have clashed before on the very entertaining song "T.I. vs. T.I.P." from T.I.’s 2003 album Trap Muzik.
The new album, scheduled for an early July release, will include songs dominated by only one persona, as well as songs where both collide. It will also feature production from elites Dr. Dre, Timbaland and Just Blaze.
The most interesting song looks to be a collaboration with Eminem produced by Just Blaze. The combination of these two upper-echelon lyricists and an excellent producer has the potential to turn out a classic. Overall, T.I.’s new LP should be much more impressive than 2006’s King, which, while being the biggest commercial success last year, was a disappointment to many fans, especially when compared to the earlier high-quality material of Trap Muzik.
This summer looks promising when it comes to albums, and these are just two of the many to look forward to. In addition, many fans can rejoice as 50 Cent’s latest album, originally scheduled for a June release, has been pushed all the way back to September because of the lack of buzz around his newest singles – which are typical 50: lackluster.