'Aight, so if the fact that Jay-Z--excuse me, Shawn Carter--has become the prez of Def Jam doesn't convince you that homie is pretty nice with his... well, fuck ya, really. The whole favorite-rapper discussion is whatever; this guy has joined the lofty ranks of the check-writers, the fools who really decide what happens in the game. Street's Disciple is tight, but is Nas gonna be taking Donny Ienner's job any time soon? Goddamn, Jay. Keep overchargin' 'em for what they did to the Cold Crush. Fuck what you sayin', Joe and Jane Backpack, this is a special moment, dammit.... Which makes me realize, 2004 was indeed an interesting one in hiphop, nationally and locally... What with 50's reign ('03) giving way to Kanye's... the latest award-show fracas leaving Dr. Dre sucker-punched and Young Buck charged with stabbing someone... Jake One and Vitamin D emerging as much sought-after beatsmiths... ODB's death (ruled as an overdose on coke and prescription pills--a lot of y'all better take heed), not to mention that of Mac Dre's... Seatown hiphop foundation, Source of Labor, calling it quits, and apparently for real this time... Rhymesayers Entertainment making big moves in the NW, signing Vitamin D, Grayskul, and Boom Bap Project. Did I miss anything? Oh, a bunch of great fuckin' music was released... so, as Em said, "Here's a list, there's no order to my list that it's in": De La Soul The Grind Date; Gift of Gab 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up; Madvillain Madvillainy; Nas Street's Disciple; Royce Da 5'9" Death Is Certain; RJD2 Since We Last Spoke; Murs Murs 3:16- The 9th Edition; Kanye West The College Dropout; Ghostface The Pretty Toney Album; the Roots The Tipping Point... Stuff them stockings. Peace, people.