Hiphop: The kids love it, the mayor cain't stand it (and his loyal SPD back that stance to the fullest. What up Tabella?), and now Congress is officially hating on it. It's the mid-'90s glory days of "Dr." C. DeLores Tucker again. Fuck 'em—it's us versus the robots, on some Flaming Lips shit.

I say, celebrate the love, creativity, and spontaneity of all that is hiphop—go check the Magnificents, who De La's Posdnuos would call "a good combination!" The all-freestyle all-day crew is composed of (beatbox legend/cousin of Furious Five's Rahiem/frequent Mike Patton collaborator) Rahzel; freestyle deity Supernatural (who set the Guinness World Record for longest freestyle—9 hours—at the last Rock the Bells); and Rocksteady Crew representative DJ JS-1. Along with the dude Rik Rude and Thig Natural and Justo—aka the Physics—the Magnificents will be custom-crafting classics at Chop Suey come the night of Tuesday, August 25. All of my folks crying in their beer/tea because they missed this year's Rock the Bells, go get a taste.

For the record, both the Kanye and the 50 album have joints, and they're both "coo" to me. Kanye's has more joints ("Everything I Am" is some moving-ass shit), but Graduation is, to me, his weakest album (I know my man Brainstorm is gonna disagree here). Props to Jake One and Tha Bizness (and L.A.'s DJ Khalil) for having the best tracks on 50 Cent's Curtis—Jake's track that features Mary J. Blige is fire, and it better be a single.

Other than that, I was a little dejected that the Kanye album—for the past couple years, my dash of yearly inspiration—left me somewhat cold; then I finally listened to a record I'd had on the ol' iPod for a minute but never even bumped—Below the Heavens, the album from Blu & Exile. WOW, is it good—instantly one of my favorite hiphop records of the year, easy. You might know Exile, from his work with Mobb Deep to his own slept on crew Emanon, but this is the first most have ever heard from Blu, and what a debut; his brilliant storytelling flow is infused with a deeply soul-searched spiritual humanism, glazed with a cocky, tilted-brim flourish that inevitably hooks you in. He can't help but sound heroic over the production from Exile, which is straight-up flawless—a classic sound informed by Pete Rock's soul and swing as well as Dilla's grit and warmth. The two have delivered an album that is, for me, entirely unskippable, landing exquisite moment after exquisite moment in a fashion I forgot could be done.

After my disappointment at Kanye's cold and distant third album, and the fulfillment of all my expectations for 50's usual robot-gun-porn, I am smitten to find a record that connects so well. So I'm glad I didn't listen to it till now. As for y'all? Go get it. The millionaires will be okay without you. recommended