A quick glance at this week's Hip-Hop Top Five charts (all below) from the Berkeley, San Francisco, & Hollywood Amoeba Music locations (thanks respectively to Tunde, Luis, & Marques Newson) further proves what I've been feeling all along this year: that hip-hop is in one of the most exciting and healthiest states that it's been in for a minute. To my ears, nearly every new hip-hop full-length release dropping these days is quality shit. Sure, there's a few lemons here and there, but mostly new 2008 hip-hop is more likely to be on hit than sound like shit.
Another glance at these new rap charts also reveals that hip-hop has arrived at perhaps its most richly diverse stage in its 30 plus years. It's as if in 2008 hip-hop has all grown up, multiplied, and gone forth and conquered the world (of music) with a wide range of sounds all qualifying as hip-hop today. From the stripped down, style of Minneapolis' Atmosphere, to the bouncy hip-hop of the Bay Area's Lyrics Born (pictured above) with its funk foundation, to the trippy sounding Danger Mouse-produced new Gnarls Barkley, to the straight-up hard turntable hip-hop beats and cuts of DJ Quest, to the twisted soulful, ten-track, mostly instrumental, grooves of the new one from the late J-Dilla -- a hell of a lot of musical territory is being covered under the hip-hop umbrella of '08.
HIP-HOP TOP FIVE @ AMOEBA MUSIC BERKELEY