Reggie honorary smartaleck
· best albums
- Brother Ali : Shadows On The Sun
I planned to sleep on this album and let it pass me by, but the buzz around it piqued my interest. I'm glad I checked it out, this album became one of my favorites for the year. Ali's got a real good delivery and something worthwhile to say.
- Ugly Duckling : Taste The Secret
This is just a great concept album from start to finish. The not-so-subtle commentary on the state of popular music is funny and well-delivered. Not every track is a stunner but it all fits in with the storyline.
- Non-Prophets : Hope
I had an advance copy of this so I've been listening to it for eight months…and it has gotten more rotation than any other LP this year. The production is straight out of the book of Pete Rock and Sage is technically outstanding on the lyrics.
· albums I listened to
- Viktor Vaughn : Vaudeville Villain
I expected more from this LP, but I was still satisfied enough to spin it about a hundred times. This, primarily due to Doom's wordplay; some of the beats were lame.
- Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf : Big Shots
This album is not just good in context, it's just a great album. I think it would have stood strong next to the Brand Nubians and Tribe Called Quests of the day
- The Best of B-Boy Records
This two-disc Landspeed compilation of practically every single B-Boy Records did was in rotation for several months this year, couldn't say why other than the fact that J.V.C. Force is stupid fresh
- Juggaknots : Re:Release
This reissue by Third Earth Music reissued itself into my CD player for about four straight months
· best songs
- Ludacris : Stand Up
They're still spinning this on the radio regularly, and it's been out for almost six months. Luda, you had me at "feels like a midget is hanging from my necklace".
- C-Rayz Walz feat. Wordsworth, J-Treds, Thirstin Howl III, Vast Aire, Breezly Brewin, & MF Doom : The Line Up
The underground posse cut of the century! Everyone comes nicely on this track, but Doom predictably murders it. If you slept, you were probably too captured by Prince Paul's "People, Places, Things (It's Who You Know)" (aka "Chubb Rock Can You Please Pay Paul the $2200 You Owe Him"). Well, Doom ripped that one, too.
- Esoteric : Runaway
The only redeemable dis track in the Cage/Weatherman vs. Esoteric/Demigodz beef, this track is well-produced and kills Copywrite efficiently. In the grand scheme of things, though, this track still sucks. Fuck, I don't know why I mentioned it, try the next one.
- The Neptunes feat. Jay-Z : Frontin'
I hated at first, but came to like this track a lot. I'm still not 100% on Pharrel's falsetto, but I'll let it slide this time if he promises to use it sparingly. I also dug its sister track, "Change Clothes".
· best producers
- Kanye West owned 2003
- ANT of Rhymesayers put that 'weak snare' complaint to rest
- Just Blaze just blazed 'em all again
- Madlib was too prolific this year not to be mentioned
· best emcee / lyrics
- MF Doom
"Take Me to Your Leader" was not what many expected and "Vaudeville Villain" left a little to be desired, beat-wise, but Doom lit up every track he was on. Good thing, too, since he was featured on about a dozen non-album tracks. If Doom drops half of the promised 2004 catalog with the consistency he's brought so far, next year will be his
- 50 Cent
I am suffering from 50 overload about now, but I can't front: he was real nice on "Get Rich Or Die Trying" and his many mixtape appearances. Too bad he saturated the market so quickly, I think he could have been the 21st century Kool G Rap if he played his cards right
- Brother Ali
This guy has the voice of a teacher, the delivery of a friend. Very accessible without being stupid. Ali made a fan of me this year
· favorite artwork
- Lexoleum Records
You have to give it up to these guys! How do they afford all this? Embossing/ debossing, silver ink…the Tes lp was very clever, "Ghetto Pop Life" looked sparktacular, and "Hope" was just some classic religious woodwork style. Three cheers for the guys that make purchasing (and not downloading) an LP worthwhile!
- Aesop Rock : Bazooka Tooth
The cover makes you laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time. If that isn't the purpose of art, I don't know what is.
· favorite labels
- DayByDay Entertainment
If they're the best label, then why didn't any of their releases make it to the 'best albums' list? Because they weren't the best LP's, but they were-and are-the most consistent label in rap today, period. Not one of their releases is too 'avante garde' or so wildly different in quality and style from another that you can't just buy with confidence. None of their releases in 2003 was mind-bending, but they were all top-notch.
- Stones Throw
In this new millennium, Stones Throw has been the benchmark of quality and consistency in underground hip-hop. Sure, many release cater to the beat-digger, but if it doesn't have your head nodding it will at least help you understand what made your head nod in the first place. For the record, I didn't like "Champion Sound" so step off.
- Rhymesayers
Big (distribution) moves were made, dope albums were dropped, I don't know what more one can expect. Much respect to Rhymesayers for doing their thing, now poised to take over MTV in 2004.
· biggest disappointment
- G-Unit : Beg For Mercy
Someone explain to me what the big deal is about Lloyd Banks again? This was a snoozer.
- War on Terrorism
Continued despite the apparent lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Bush's public admission that Saddam had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11/01. America, go get a late pass.
- The Source Magazine declares hip-hop state of emergency
Overall, I don't really care, but this magazine used to be a reputable hip-hop publication. What happened? Oh, you gave Benzino co-foundership, I forgot.
· books I read
I read some histories and biographies that you probably don't give a hang about.
· movies I saw
- Style Wars (DVD release)
Most DVD's are just repackaged garbage, but this one was actually well worth the while. Featuring interviews with director Tony Silver and graffiti photographer/ documenter Henry Chalfant, the film editors, outtakes, and even updated interviews with much of the cast, this flick is a must-have for any hip-hop or graffiti nerd-even if it's just to peep Kay Slay minus 200 lbs.
- Scary Movie 3
I thought this would suck, but it was actually really funny.

American Splendor
I used to read the 'American Splendor' comic back in the 1980's, and this movie was pretty dead-on. I don't know if people that didn't read the comic will like it as much; you'll surely find it humorous.

· websites I visited
heh, too many to even begin naming.
· foods I ate
Quizno's Subs
The difference between a hero sandwich and a hero sandwich on a toasted bun: roughly $4. And an even more intense case of heartburn.
· things that made me smile
- those insane Benzino comics in the back of the Source Magazine
I haven't seen stuff like this since Jack Chick's religious tracts. Poorly conceived, written, and drawn, this is the stuff that cynics are made of. Benzino might truly want to save hip-hop but he certainly doesn't want to save himself any embarrassment.
- Hangar 18 : Where We At (promo single)
I've been waiting for some music from this camp for a minute and they did not disappoint one bit with this one. Expect explosive things from these cats next year.
· worst moment(s) of 2003
my brother died of Lou Gehrig's disease in July. He was diagnosed in 1999, and just declined steadily since then. This is not a pretty disease. Please remember to hug your loved ones regularly.
· what I'd like to see in 2004
Benzino is unmasked by Scooby-Doo and the gang and turns out to be the cranky old caretaker of the Faversham Estate. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids.
· what I don't want to see in 2004
Bush re-elected. In fact, can we just have a do-over and get rid of all the damned lawyers in politics? Those guys are screwing it up for everyone.
· hip hop in 2004 will be...
I predict an increased visibility of the independent scene, further declining sales of major label releases. One or more big labels will probably fold under the pressure.
· my new years resolutions
stop spending so much damned money on records!!!!