Monday , March 4 2024
Just when you thought they were done, the labels ask "why wrap your presents this year when you can...rap them?"

New Album Releases 12/04/07: Christmas Rapping With Ghostface Killah, Eazy E & NWA, 2-Pac, Scarface, Too $hort, Wyclef Jean; Plus David Bowie, Blake Lewis

Just when you thought the labels were done with Christmas, (based on last week's serious lack of noteworthy new releases), this week they have come roaring back with a fresh batch of new music.

Well, at least some of it is new.

The thing that really stands out most about this week's bumpercrop, is the disproportionately high amount of rap and hip hop in the mix. Not that this is in and of itself unusual — it's just the way that so many rap albums are hitting all at once this week. You would think that the marketing strategy of the record labels would have dictated spreading them out more. At least, that's how it worked back when I was slinging discs for a living.

As with everything else this holiday season, the majority of these are compilations or greatest hits collections of some sort. In addition to the big guns like N.W.A. and 2Pac, you've also got hits packages from the likes of Mack 10 and Westside Connection (both of whom have direct ties to N.W.A.).

There are also a few noteworthy rap albums this week featuring actual new music. From the Wu-Tang Clan camp comes The Big Doe Rehab, the latest solo offering from the Wu's Ghostface Killah. Geto Boys member Scarface also has a new solo joint out with the decidedly gangsta title of M.A.D.E.. The man credited by many as the pioneer of the explicit, pre-gangsta "dirty rap" style, Oakland rapper Too $hort, is back with Get Off the Stage. Meanwhile, ex-Fugees rapper/producer Wyclef Jean duets with everyone from Paul Simon to Mary J. Blige on his Carnival sequel, which not surprisingly is called Carnival, Vol. 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant.

Personally though, I'm most excited about N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton [20th Anniversary Edition], where the gangsta classic gets the deluxe reissue treatment it so deserves.

glenandnesandnwaI actually have some history with this group, who single-handedly pioneered the West Coast gangsta rap style, when this landmark album was originally released in 1987. Although the picture is a little small, that's actually me you see (dressed in white) in a photo taken that year with Eazy E, Dr. Dre, MC Ren and company at the record store I managed at the time.

Ahh, memories…bitch!

Also new from the N.W.A. camp is Featuring…Eazy E, the latest posthumous compilation from the N.W.A. rapper (who died from AIDS complications). This one features Eazy's guest raps on albums from people like Bone Thugs N Harmony, and of course N.W.A. themselves.

The other rap compilation that should get registers ringing this week is the two volume hits package from 2Pac, which comes on two separate discs called Thug and Life. Thug Life — get it?

There are of course also a number of non-rap releases this week, including a live Daft Punk release, hits packages from Godsmack and the Libertines, and something that, on a first glance anyway, looks suspiciously like Rufus Wainwright doing an entire record of Judy Garland music. Yikes!

Audio Day Dream, the debut album from last year's American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis, is also in stores. This only makes me wonder that much more about when we will see something from Sanjaya. Finally, David Bowie has a ten disc box-set called, simply enough, David Bowie Box. Since I didn't recognize hardly any of the songs listed here, I'm assuming that this box set focuses on Bowie's more recent material, which I confess I've largely ignored.

Here are all this week's new album releases courtesy of All Music Guide:

Daft Punk
Alive 2007
Electronica, Acid House, Club/Dance, Left-Field House, House

Ghostface Killah
The Big Doe Rehab
Def Jam
East Coast Rap, Hip-Hop, Hardcore Rap

Blake Lewis
Audio Day Dream
Pop Idol, Teen Pop

Original Soundtrack
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Comedy Rock, Film Music, Traditional Country, Rock & Roll

Trace Adkins
American Man: Greatest Hits, Vol. II
Contemporary Country

Light Works
Indie Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

David Bowie
David Bowie Box [Box Set]
Album Rock, Experimental Rock, Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock

The Breakup Society
Nobody Likes a Winner
Get Hip
Punk-Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

James Brown
The Singles, Vol. 4: 1966-1967
Hip-O Select
R&B, Soul

William Christie
Haydn: Die Schöpfung (The Creation)
Virgin Classics
Classical Choral Music

Nick Drake
Fruit Tree [3CD/1DVD]
Fontana Island
British Folk-Rock, Baroque Pop, Progressive Folk, British Folk, Folk-Rock

Gangsta Grillz: The Album
Atlantic / Wea
Hardcore Rap, Gangsta Rap

Featuring…Eazy E
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, G-Funk, Dirty Rap

4 Bonjour's Parties
Pigments Drift Down to the Brook
Indie Pop

Nelly Furtado
Loose: The Concert [CD/DVD]
Pop/Rock, Urban, Dance-Pop

Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack
Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal, Post-Grunge

Scottish Fiction: Best of Idlewild 1997-2007
Indie Rock

American Gangster [Acappella]
Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, Pop-Rap

Wyclef Jean
Carnival, Vol. 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant
Contemporary R&B, Pop-Rap, Alternative Rap, Reggae-Pop, Party Soca

David Korevaar
The Ricardo Viñes Collection
Koch International Classics
Modern Piano Music

The Libertines
The Best Of: A Time for Heroes
Rough Trade US
Garage Rock Revival, Punk Revival, Indie Rock, Britpop, Punk Revival, Indie Rock, Britpop, Garage Rock Revival

Mack 10
Foe Life: The Best of Mack 10
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, G-Funk

Grachan Moncur III
Inner Cry Blues
Lunar Module
Hard Bop, Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Róisín Murphy
Indie Electronic

Straight Outta Compton [20th Anniversary Edition]
Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, West Coast Rap, Golden Age

Shauna Rolston
Modern and Contemporary Music for Cello

Pants Yell!
Alison Statton
Soft Abuse
Indie Pop

Pittsburgh Slim
Def Jam
Party Rap, Alternative Rap

Southern Rap, Hardcore Rap, Gangsta Rap

Chris Schlarb
Twilight & Ghost Stories
Asthmatic Kitty
Experimental Rock, Indie Rock

Styles P
Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)
Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap, Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap

The Teardrop Explodes
Peel Sessions Plus
Post-Punk, New Wave

Tender Forever
Indie Rock, Indie Pop

Too $hort
Get Off the Stage
West Coast Rap, Dirty Rap, Hardcore Rap

The Best of 2Pac, Pt. 1: Thug
Amaru / Interscope
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, G-Funk, Hardcore Rap

The Best of 2Pac, Pt. 2: Life
Amaru / Interscope
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, G-Funk, Hardcore Rap

Various Artists
Busoni: The Complete Two Piano Programme
EMI Classics
Modern Piano Music

Various Artists
Valentin Silvestrov: Drama
Koch International Classics
Contemporary Chamber Music

Rufus Wainwright
Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall
Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Chamber Pop, Cabaret, American Popular Song

Westside Connection
The Best of Westside Connection
West Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, Hip-Hop

Tout Seui Dans la Forêt en Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur?
Indie Pop, Dream Pop, Singer/Songwriter

The Wreckers
Way Back Home: Live from New York City
Warner Bros.
Alternative Country-Rock, Contemporary Country, Country-Pop, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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