Rawse & Craftmanship
If you'd asked me at a few months what my album of the year was, I'd have said 'Teflon Don' in a heartbeat. But then Kanye's album came out and changed all that. But why would I have said the Rick Ross album was my favourite of the year?
He learned how to rap.
While I liked a few albums this year - I loved Janelle Monae's effort, quite liked both Pilot Talk albums and Black Milk's 'Album of the year' made me wish he'd be locked in a studio with Ghostface so they could make a classic. But 'Teflon Don' was my favourite. The beats were top notch and, more surprisingly, Rawse has been Hip Hop's most improved player for two years running. He couldn't rap his way out of a paper bag on his first album, could barely rap on his second and did a good impression of a rapper on his third. But Teflon Don? He got it. It all clicked. He was, finally, a good rapper.
And for that I have to applaud. There's plenty of rappers who never improve during their lifetime and Rawse's improvement is down to him respecting rapping as a craft you can improve on. It's a lot better than the whole 'I'm a hustler not a rapper' trend that ran through rappers like diarrhoea after Jay-Z said it.
Which is why it's refreshing to see someone knuckle down and work at getting better at their chosen craft. It's the done thing to be a jack of all trades these days, someone who starts a blog is automatically a 'founder and editor in chief'. It's often said that everyone's a writer and everyone's a photographer, but that's bullshit. Becoming a photographer isn't a case of just buying a 7D. And becoming a rapper isn't just a case of lying about meeting the real Noriega (and being owed a hundred favours). Rick Ross has learnt that and, bizarrely, showed how getting better at your craft should always be your aim.