What's good folks,
I'm still getting together the overall BlackRadioIsBack.com/FuseBox Radio Broadcast Best and Worst of Black Music Lists for 2008 while on a little mini-vacation, I just wanted to hit folks off with our first annual "BlackRadioIsBack.com's Most Criminally Slept On Black Music Albums by Black Radio" list.
This list is not in any particular order and pretty much consists of any albums in the Black Music genre that were either distributed or promoted by major record labels, yet for whatever reason, received an abnormally to almost malicious lack of credit, shine and/or promotion by what we know of as mainstream Black/Urban Radio.
Ironically (and totally not done on purpose), in an age folks seem to ask where is the Black Female being represented positively in all forms of media, looking over my top slept on albums list, it consists of all ladies who are not on the coonery.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the list and check out some of these artist's music, if you haven't already, even if you don't agree with my opinion...here goes:
1. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War
Erykah Badu's album probably had one of the most authentic Hip-Hop Music sensibilities of a mainstream album of 2008 (yes, it's technically a Soul music album but I stick by this statement), and the grooves were insanely hot.
On the real, "Honey" is a great track (respect to J. Dilla, R.I.P.) and fantastic video, but from all of the tracks on New Amerykah, this was not even the highlight (which shows how on point this artistic project was).
The only thing I can think of is that Ms. Badu scared the hell out of some mainstream Black Radio/Urban Radio Program Directors (those folks who MIGHT have the power to make up a radio station's song playlist, depending on who gives the ultimate leeway in management) with the rest of the album's tracks like "The Healer", "The Cell" and such.
This is just another example of what happens when most of the mainstream Black Radio/Urban Radio are owned by huge corporations who probably aren't the biggest fans of lyrics like "Hip-Hop is bigger then Religion, Hip-Hop Is Bigger Then My Niggas, Hip-Hop Is Bigger Then The Government" that actually doesn't sound too preachy for the young heads on up to get AND has the sonic power behind it to not fall into the trap of some music with a message family of "my lyrics are hot yo, even though I'm rhyming over what sounds like a cheap Casio keyboard pre-programmed beat in my Mom's house" syndrome.
Erykah Badu Official MySpace Page
2. Chrisette Michele - I Am
Beyond the shadow of a doubt, this was probably one of the worst promoted albums during the Jay-Z Presidential Reign over at Def Jam (even though Redman's Red Gone Wild: Thee Album and the past 3 Ghostface albums run a really close second and third).
"If I Have My Way" is a nice ballad, but folks ran that into the ground like nobody's business.
The Def Jam promotional machine at the time also let the song which had the potential of being one of the Spring 2008 premier singles with "Be OK" drop WAY to late in the game (and while the production end on the track by Will.I.Am is tight on this joint, he could have put in some sort of effort with his "I just smoked a lot of that NYC Piff before getting the booth" rhyme, which later got kicked out out the video version).
The insanity of Chrisette Michele's promotion travels continued with totally ignoring tracks like "Let's Rock" (a beat that I see Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole battling for) and "Best of Me" (just throwing the Babyface song out the window was not bright).
While this album for my taste could have taken out about 2 ballads, this R&B Music project was way better then a lot that came out during 2008 (mostly because the sis can actually sing and sound good sans autotune) and should have done better then at the moment is a mid-size following.
Chrisette Michele Official MySpace Page
4. Estelle - Shine
Maybe it's just me, but there were plenty more tracks on this album than "Wait A Minute" and the summer takeover jam "American Boy" with Kanye West that could have killed it on the airwaves (and mp3 and ringtone sales), thanks. :-/
All I know is whoever decided to not release the title track "Shine" as a follow up dance single needs to be put in a straight jacket post-haste, much less not selecting either "So Much Out The Way", "More Than Friends" or "In The Rain" somewhere in the mix.
Was it the Black British vibe that annoyed/confused the promotion heads along with the fact that Estelle wasn't beat to surgery it up to be more "acceptable" to American audiences that pretty much made folks throw this album in a ditch? I just don't get it.
Estelle Official MySpace Page
4. Janelle Monae - Metropolis: The Chase Suite
This sister put out this damned near brilliant independent EP earlier this year that musically wasn't too far the hell out there for folks to put tracks on the airwaves, especially with mainstream America apparently being in love with folks like Outkast, TV on the Radio, N.E.R.D. and so forth.
So while being apprehensive as all hell when folks got the distribution deal through Bad Boy Records (when was the last time you heard a G. Dep, Total or Craig Mack album from over there...anyone?), I thought that through P. Diddy aka Sean Combs aka Mr. I Am King that Janelle Monae would have at least got some more quality exposure outside of the internet, live performance and magazine circuits to make some sort of sales impact with the EP redistribution.
Besides being seen on the next intern for hire and humiliation show on VH1, an upgraded promotional website and being able to place the Bad Boy logo on the CD (which granted, got the joint in Best Buy, Circuit City and such places for folks to purchase and see on display), this release from my viewpoint wasn't promoted worth a DAMN in the U.S. at least by the radio or website promotional teams.
Diddy is the same man who shoves folks like Day 26, 3LW and whatnot down folks throat with crazy promotional tactics and NOT ONE TRACK got onto mainstream Black Radio/Urban Radio with the only video folks were able to check out from Janelle was on World Star Hip Hop.
* confused and annoyed face *
Maybe Diddy wanted to sign Janelle for both artistic cred (which frankly, the brother has not had since Biggie R.I.P.) and that's respectable. But damn, could you have at tried to have done something?
C'est la vie - Janelle Monae is still going to get it in and capture a strong following (especially if this is just a one-off arrangement, PLEASE let it be so) but it seems like the entire Bad Boy detour had no purpose.
Janelle Monae Official MySpace Page
BlackRadioIsBack.com's Most Criminally Slept On Black Music Albums by Black Radio of 2008 (Put Out My Major Labels) Runner Up List (in no particular order):
1. The Knux -Remind Me in 3 Days
2. Solange Knowles - Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams
3. Dwele - Sketches of a Man
4. Santogold - Santogold
5. Bloodraw - My Life the True Testimony
6. Noel Gourdin - After My Time
7. Young Jeezy - The Recession
8. Scarface - Emeritus
9. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
10. Kardinal Offishall - Not 4 Sale
11. The Roots - Rising Down
12. Bun B - II Trill