Flashback Friday Flop: “Kingdom Come”

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Welcome back to the latest – and final – edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This is the 25th entry of this series and while that is an arbitrary number, it’s a nice one with which to end. In fact, the truth is that I’ve explored most of the albums that I’ve wanted to within this space. To continue going forward every week would lead to me doing it out of a sense of obligation rather than interest. When that happens, the writing suffers.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Public Enemy’s Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age (1994)

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Public Enemy. The architects of four powerful, groundbreaking albums from 1987 to 1991, including what many (myself included) believe is the greatest hip-hop album of all time, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and company created politically-charged, aggressive, sonically-stunning, suped-up hip-hop music that spoke truth to power and shined a light on the plights of the black community.  Chuck D, along with Rakim, KRS-One, and the other greats of the late 1980s, was instrumental in rap rhymes becoming more nuanced and complex.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Asleep in the Bread Aisle”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Asher Roth’s Asleep in the Bread Aisle (2009)

Asher Roth was supposed to be next.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Money, Power & Respect”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: The LOX’s Money, Power & Respect (1998)

Puff Daddy and Bad Boy dominated the music industry in 1997, releasing three albums that year – The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death, Puffy’s own No Way Out, and Mase’s Harlem World – that combined to sell twenty-one million copies and gave birth to the Shiny Suit Era.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Blunted on Reality”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Fugees’ Blunted on Reality (1994)

One of the biggest albums of 1996 was The Score, the sophomore album from a New Jersey group by the name of Fugees. While they seemed to come out of nowhere, the trio of Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Pras had actually been around for several years and had already released a major label album to their name.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Nastradamus”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Nas’s Nastradamus (1999)

1999 was a strange time for music, especially hip-hop. The genre was only a few years removed from the deaths of its two biggest stars; Jay-Z had become a superstar; and a slew of young cats had entered the game. At the same time, Napster exploded onto the scene and online piracy immediately turned the music industry upside down, forcing several major rap acts to change their albums on the fly.

The biggest victim of this was Nas, who, after the classic Illmatic and the highly successful It Was Written, had been preparing an epic concept double album titled I Am…The Autobiography for his third release. When much of that album leaked, Nas scrapped both the concept and the double album, recorded a few new songs, and released a one disc mishmash titled simply I Am… in May, 1999.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Yeezus”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Kanye West’s Yeezus (2013)

Kanye West’s Yeezus was a success, both critically and financially.

It was one of the most acclaimed works of 2013. It was ranked as the top album of the year by TIME, Entertainment Weekly, The Guardian, The A.V. Club, Spin, The Daily Beast, and Consequence of Sound and was ranked number two by Pitchfork, NME, and Rolling Stone. In short, “Yeezus happens to be musically amazing, too, and in a completely different way from every other Kanye West record.”

It also sold 327,000 copies its first week, debuting atop the Billboard chart, and racking up the best first week sales of any hip-hop album in over two years, all without a traditional major single.

If it was such a critical and commercial success, why is it included here?

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Til the Casket Drops”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Clipse’s Til the Casket Drops (2009)

In the spring of 2002, there came a song with a sparse, backbreaking beat that immediately induced Pavlovian head nodding. As Pharrell introduced himself and proclaimed that “The world is about to hear something that they never heard before,” another voice kept chanting “I’m your pusha!

This is how most people were introduced to Clipse.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Blood Money”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Mobb Deep’s Blood Money (2006)

Hip-Hop was experiencing another golden age in the mid-1990s. Classic albums were coming from all over the map. The south had Scarface, UGK, Goodie Mob, and Outkast. The west had Death Row, Ras Kass, and DJ Quik. And in New York, there was The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Mobb Deep.

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Flashback Friday Flop: “Welcome to: Our House”

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Welcome back to the latest edition of Flashback Friday Flop, a weekly feature in which I examine a hip-hop album from years ago that was considered a flop, either critically or commercially or both, when it was released and see if it has gotten better – or worse – over time. 

This week: Slaughterhouse’s Welcome to: Our House (2012)

I’m a Slaughterhouse fanatic. I really, really like Joe Budden, Royce Da 5’9″, Joell Ortiz, and Crooked I as individual artists, but I love them as a group. Unfortunately, their aggressive, super lyrical content would be more at home in the late ’80s or early ’90s, so I’m one of about 29 people that went out and purchased their debut self-titled album in 2009.

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