EMINEM Featuring DR.DRE & 50 CENT: CRACK A BOTTLE (Interscope)
Em’s long absence has created major hunger for his return. Although we’ll all be heartily sick of this in a month’s time, for the moment, it’s a mad catchy quirky return to form.
JAY-Z Featuring SANTOGOLD: BROOKLYN GO HARD (Bad Boy)
His Jamaican accent might be a bit dodgy, but everything else about this hard-hitter from the ‘Notorious’ movie soundtrack, (not least the naggingly infectious hook,) is pure heat.
SHONTELLE: T-SHIRT (Universal Motown)
Along the same lines as Beyonce’s ‘Irreplaceable’ and Chris Brown’s ‘With U’, this female-friendly end-of-nighter has all the ingredients to put Shontelle on the map as the next R&B superstar.
RIHANNA Featuring CHRIS BROWN: BAD GIRL (Def Jam)
The latest Jay & Beyonce-style pairing of R&B’s Posh and Becks might be a cynical marketing move, but the mainstream simplicity of the hook, lyrics and beat would have seen this become a club favourite either way.
RISKAY Featuring AVIANCE & REAL: SMELL THAT CHICK (Hard 2 Beat)
I’m a grizzled urban music veteran, but the original ‘raw’ version of this disgusts even me! Far more palatable is this cleaned-up version for radio play. Either way, the melody is undeniably catchy, in a no-brainer kind of way.
SHAUN BOOTHE: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF MUHAMMAD ALI (White)
The Toronto MC continues to educate and entertain with the latest in this fascinating self-produced series, instalment three of 12 giving potted histories of a handful of influential black legends.
BILLY DANZE Featuring BUSTA RHYMES: UNDESCRIBABLE (White)
Both Billy himself. (of M.O.P) and Busta put in remarkably restrained performances over a midtempo head-nodding piano beat, making for a highly satisfying whole.
NOTORIOUS B.I.G: GUARANTEED (Bad Boy)
The crusty quality of the sound recording leaves a lot to be desired, but the hype value of a vintage ‘undiscovered’ Biggie tune – especially at the time of the ‘Notorious’ biopic -cannot be measured.
SOULS OF MISCHIEF: TOUR STORIES (White)
Straightforward underground hip-hop with a bouncing beat and insightful lyrics about the life of a rap crew on tour. They don’t make ‘em like this any more. Sadly.
SELF-TAUGHT BEATS: WHERE I WANNA BE (First Love)
Lyrical reflections and musings over the tootling melody used on De La Soul’s ‘Keeping The Faith’ and with a kiddie chorus a la Nas ‘I Can.’