Friday Rap-Up: Ichiban, Ludacris, Wyclef Jean, Jay-Z

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When Ichiban’s name was announced as the winner of Best MC at this year’s Westword Music Showcase, the hip-hop heads in attendance were taken aback but so was the rapper himself.

“There were so many dope MC’s in the category this year, I was actually very surprised,” Ichiban says now. “Yet at the same time I was very thrilled and honored to win it.”

Now Ichiban’s focus is on releasing his debut album, Psycle Analysis, due out at the end of the month. The entire album is self-produced with ManeLine’s DJ Tense as the sole guest on the project. Yes, not even his Life Crew brethren make an appearance on the album and it’s something that Ichiban planned.

“In a day and age when so many hip-hop albums rely on guest features and beats from an array of producers, I wanted to do something a little different and do the whole project myself,” he says. “It’s not that I’m not for collaborations, it’s that this album is very personal and I wanted it to be all me. You can expect an album filled with blood, sweat, and tears. Expect a refreshing dosage of wholesome hip-hop reminiscent of that early '90s golden era boom-bap.”

You can also expect a taste of Japan on the album. Growing up with a Japanese father and learning Enshin Karate (he won the 2008 Middleweight Sabaki title), integrates his Japanese culture into his sound and lifestyle.

“I definitely incorporate my Japanese culture into my beats and rhymes,” he says. “I have this cut named ‘Japanese Cowboi’ posted on his MySpace page, which has Japanese samples and Japanglish verses in it. I’m also a record digger so I’m always bringing back some heat from the motherland. And my pops is the founder and master of Enshin Karate so I’ve been practicing martial arts for practically my whole life.”

Apparently talking slick to Ichi isn’t a good move. Look what happened to this dude (fight starts about a minute or so into the video). In the meantime, here’s the first single from the album, “Goodbye”.

Ludacris dissed by Obama

Atlanta rapper Ludacris recently released a mixtape that featured a song dedicated to Barack Obama called “Politics as Usual”, where Luda endorses the Democratic nominee. But the problem comes when Luda starts calling out Obama’s rivals like Hillary Clinton and John McCain with lines like: “Hillary hated on you/So that b**ch is irrelevant” and “McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed/ Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped/ Ball up all of his speeches and I throw ‘em like candy wrap.”

Obama’s camp responded through a press release condemning the song and basically lambasting Ludacris. “As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to,” spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. “This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.” Listen to the song here:

Wyclef Jean being sued for $300K in Jewelry

Even though famed New York jeweler Jacob ‘The Jeweler’ Arabov is serving a two and half year federal prison sentence his company, Jacob and Company Inc., still want to be paid. The company filed a lawsuit against Wyclef Jean claiming that he owes money on custom designed watches and jewelry. The lawsuit claims that between 2002 and 2006, Clef bought items worth $765,100 but still owes $319,680 of that balance. The company has repeatedly asked for payment from Clef but the rapper-producer has been slow in paying the remaining balance. Wyclef has yet to respond to the suit.

Jay-Z maps out new album

Whenever Jay-Z- announces that he’s in the process of making a new album, the whole world gets excited. Rumors have been going around that this time the entire project will be produced by Timbaland. But in an interview with Rolling Stone, Jay-Z told everyone to hold their horses.

“You know I love Timbaland, he is like a brother to me, but until the music is done it’s premature,” Jay said. “I’m a person that works off music. If Timbaland makes 10 great tracks then he produces the album, if Kanye West makes 10 great tracks then he produces the album; if he makes three, I’ll take three. I let the music dictate the direction.”

There’s no word on when the album is supposed to drop, but Jigga is known to get recording done quick and have an album in stores in time for Christmas. NEW RELEASES

Tame One Da Ol’ Jersey Bastard Tame One stepped on the scene in the mid-90’s as one half of The Artifacts but after only one album, the duo went their separate ways to pursue solo careers. For his third album, Tame continues with that underground sound he’s know for and tapped Sean Price and Del the Funkee Homosapien to help him out. Tame is still a beast on the mic and the beats are tailor-made for the headphones.

K-Salaam & Beatnick Whose World is This? Talented producers and DJs K-Salaam and Beatnick have joined forces to put together a great album with a mix of hip-hop, R&B and reggae. The album features a plethora of heavy hitters like Talib Kweli, dead prez, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Young Buck, Trey Songz, Kardinal Offishall, Outlawz, Papoose and others. The collection will satisfy any urban music fan.

Bumpy Knuckles Crazy Like a Foxxx This Freddie Foxxx (now known as Bumpy Knuckles) was originally supposed to drop back in 1994 but was shelved. This re-mastered version has the original album that features guest appearances from 2pac, Chuck D, and Kool G Rap. There’s also a second disc with the demo version of the album that features production from Showbiz, Lord Finesse and Buckwild. For any hip-hop purists, the album belongs in your collection.

-- Quibian Salazar-Moreno

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