Annal: 2003 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album

Results of the Grammy Award in the year 2003.

Album:Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

OutKast

At a time when experimentation is taboo in most overground rap, that’s all Outkast seem intent on executing. Firstly, this double CD has no cohesive link, other than the fact that it sounds like a pair of solo albums stitched together to demo exactly how Andre’s yin works to augment Big Boi’s yang. Andre 3000’s Love Below disc rates as the more eclectic of the two, given that he’s turned in his emcee credentials to become a full-on funk-soul-jazz vocalist who mostly sings about items of love (“Happy Valentine’s Day”), carnal lust (“Spread”), and female…

Album:Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse

Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse

Jay-Z

Do you want in on hip-hop’s dirty little secret? Well, not even rap’s greatest icons have been able to pull of a memorable, fast-forward-free double disc—2Pac’s All Eyez on Me and Wu-Tang Clan’s Wu-Tang Forever included. On this follow-up to part one, Jay teams up with Destiny’s Child’s Beyoncé on “03 Bonnie & Clyde,” a so-so remake of 2Pac’s “Me and My Girlfriend.” The Dr. Dre-produced remix to “The Watcher,” featuring Rakim, reveals that, in addition to expanding his audience, Jay is interested in appealing to his tried-and-tested demographic—East…

Album:Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

50 Cent

He’s been shot nine times. Incarcerated. And stabbed up and down. And that’s only what’s happened on 50 Cent’s down time. Hands down, 50 Cent is the biggest buzz emcee since Eminem (who just happens to be his label CEO), and Get Rich also features Dr. Dre on production, so it’s a can’t-miss record, right? Well, mostly. Get Rich is not filled with midtempo, radio-friendly numbers like “Wanksta,” his thinly veiled Ja Rule dis first heard on the 8 Mile soundtrack. Instead, Cent brings the heat, not heater. He sheds his inner thug on “21…

Album:Phrenology

Phrenology

The Roots

If you were wondering what the heck phrenology means, the Roots wouldn’t have it any other way. Hip-hop’s hardest-working live band continues where they left off with Things Fall Apart, forcing listeners to think outside of the Hot 97 FM box—or just plain think. On “Thought at Work,” lead emcee Black Thought—the most criminally underrated wordsmith of his time—weaves captivating flows over a neck-snapping break beat, while on “Water” he boldly addresses the controversy surrounding his partner-in-rhyme Malik B’s alleged substance abuse. While…

Album:Under Construction

Under Construction

Missy Elliott

Attention B-girls and boys: Missy Elliott is officially over it. Like her homegirl Mary J. Blige, the rap diva declares, “no more drama.” Time to get back to the essence. To that end, Under Construction bubbles over with a combination of ridiculously slamming beats and clever old-school references—not to mention a slew of guest stars. Based on the rhyme schematic from UTFO’s “Roxanne Roxanne” and featuring Ms. Jade’s tight-laced drawl, “Funky Fresh Dressed” draws on several classics, including the Beasties’ “Paul Revere.” Missy croons and Jay-Z namedrops…

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