The eight days of Hanukkah begin at sunset Tuesday (December 4), and in commemoration of the holiday, we've lined up the week's eight biggest new releases:
Ghostface Killah's The Big Doe Rehab
December 4 matters more to Ghost than to a lot of the artists dropping new releases this week, mainly because he actually had to put up a fight to keep the date. While he told Mixtape Monday in October that his seventh studio album had been cemented for a December 4 release date "for the longest [time]," he came to discover that the new Wu-Tang Clan album, The 8 Diagrams, had been pegged for the same date. But apparently in an effort to appease Ghost, RZA delayed the latter disc a week — which likely made him as content as he appears on his new CD's album cover. He has most of his fellow Clan along for the ride — RZA's nowhere to be found, though — as well as Beanie Sigel, Chrisette Michele and others on the follow-up to Fishscale, which was widely ranked as one of the best rap releases of 2006.
Wyclef Jean's Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant
Ghost's guest list pales in comparison to Wyclef's, which isn't just longer but runs the gamut in terms of music genres. Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Serj Tankian, T.I., Norah Jones, Akon, Shakira, Chamillionaire and even Paul Simon play a role on the release, which features a bonus big name on pretty much every track. Pick up the deluxe edition for even more guest-star goodness — Weezy, 'Kon, Raekwon and more are featured on some of the extra CD's five additional tracks and three videos. The iTunes version of Carnival II has yet another bonus track, while the Best Buy edition comes with three Rhapsody Original extras.
DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz: The Album
There's yet another red-hot guest list in the mix this week, and it's the one featured on Drama's long-overdue studio-LP debut. Diddy, Outkast, T.I., Young Jeezy, Lil Jon, Wayne, the Clipse, Yung Joc, Pharrell, Paul Wall and Nelly all piled onto the disc. The effort was delayed a few times due to Drama's much-publicized studio raid earlier this year and controversy over his well-known moniker, which left him time to come up with another banger or two. "What a better time to drop than during the holidays, a week and a half after Thanksgiving?" Drama recently told Mixtape Monday. "I call myself 'Mr. Thanksgiving.' "
Mariah Carey's "The Adventures of Mimi" DVD
Mirroring Justin Timberlake — who released his new "FutureSex/LoveShow - Live From Madison Square Garden" DVD only through Best Buy a couple of weeks ago — Mimi has stepped up with her own exclusive double-DVD release for the chain. Her first video package since 2000's "#1's" collection captures her October 8, 2006, concert in Anaheim, California, with 19 performances, behind-the-scenes clips, a tour documentary, a karaoke-style feature and more.
Nelly Furtado's Loose: The Concert
Furtado is feeling a bit more generous than Carey — the singer is not only releasing her concert set wide, she's also issuing it in both CD and DVD form. The former item finds Furtado running through 11 of her best-known songs while on her recent European and U.S. tours in support of Loose — including "I'm Like a Bird" and "Promiscuous" — while the expanded DVD has her covering Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and chalking up a bunch more songs, including "Turn Off the Light" and "Powerless." In case fans need even more incentive to grab the DVD instead, it comes with a half-hour's worth of behind-the-scenes video footage with the pop star.
Styles P's Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman)
We've been streaming for free the third solo effort from the D-Block member, a disc that has "Blow Ya Mind" (featuring Swizz Beatz) as its first single. But that's not the only guest P has in tow — he also tapped one of his December 4 competitors, Ghostface, as well as Beanie Sigel, Akon, Jadakiss and others. "I'm just trying to be the MC and come with good, old-fashioned street soul music," he recently told Mixtape Monday of the vibe of the effort, which marks his debut on Koch Records. "I really feel like the '90s era."
Godsmack's Good Times, Bad Times ... Ten Years of Godsmack
The hard-rock band has sold about 11 million albums in the U.S. since it formed 11 years ago, and with a dozen or so singles that rock radio has probably burned into your brain, a greatest-hits collection is only fitting. Also "good timing," so to speak — given Led Zeppelin's recent reunion — is Godsmack's cover of the classic-rockers' "Good Times, Bad Times," which kicks off the 16-song menu. Aficionados will likely want to grab the CD-plus-DVD edition, which features the band performing acoustically at the House of Blues in Las Vegas.
Blake Lewis' Audio Day Dream
Last but not least, the beatboxing "American Idol" alumnus steps up with his first album — for which he claimed to MTV News that he had invented a whole new genre. "I call it '2080,' because it's a mix of all the great pop music that's inspired me," he said of the disc, which blends funk, soul, rock and pop. The sixth-season finalist's album is led by the single "Break Anotha," which was co-written with and produced by Ryan "Alias" Tedder of One Republic, as well as other tracks Tedder helped craft. J.R. Rotem produced and co-wrote "What'cha Got 2 Lose?" with Lewis and fellow "Idol" finalist Chris Richardson, while none other than Lupe Fiasco — who cranks out his own new album, Lupe Fiasco's "The Cool," in a couple of weeks — is featured on "Know My Name."
That's a Rap: Hip-hop heads have a lot on their plate this week — in addition to all the above, there's also a new album from Scarface, Made, that features guest spots from (surprise!) Lil Wayne and T.I. Scarface's last album did well, reaching #12 on the Billboard albums chart and selling more than 300,000 copies, but with hardly any promotion behind his new effort, it's going to be tough for him to score a repeat performance. Also back in stores is Too Short, whose Get Off the Stage is coming under the radar as well — probably because it's the last release he's putting out through Jive. It features E-40, the Pack and more.
There's plenty more bristling on the archival front too, chiefly the new two-part The Best of 2Pac collection. The discs are being sold separately and feature one unreleased song and one new remix apiece: Part 1: Thug has "Resist the Temptation" and a new mix of "Dear Mama" featuring Anthony Hamilton, whose original version was nominated for a Grammy Award; while Part 2: Life contains "Dopefiend's Diner," which finds 2Pac using a vocal sample of the melody line from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner," and an acoustic remix of "Thugz Mansion."
Mack 10, Fiend and Westside Connection are also getting some love from the vaults with best-of collections, while some of Eazy-E's most memorable guest spots were culled for Featuring Eazy-E. An expanded 20th-anniversary edition of N.W.A's Straight Outta Compton is also hitting stores — with five bonus slices, including a live performance of "Compton's N the House" by Dr. Dre and MC Ren, and covers of Compton tracks by Snoop Dogg, C-Murder, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mack 10 and WC. And repping newer talent is TVT's Crunk Hits Vol. 4 comp, which has the latest crunk classics by T.I., Lil Jon, Chris Brown and more.
Song Title of the Week:
"Conjunctions, Conjunctions, Everybody Loves Them" from Memphis May Fire's Memphis May Fire
Album Cover of the Week:
Ex-Boyfriends' three different "Clue"-themed covers for In With
Various artists' "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis"
In case you weren't privy to the landmark 7/7/07 event, a little guy named Al Gore is trying to raise awareness about a little issue called global warming. Backing him up at the concerts were about 100 of the world's best-known musicians whose performances across the globe were whittled down for the two-hour broadcast captured on this two-DVD/one-CD set. The first video disc spotlights John Legend, Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, Snow Patrol and more; the second one has Rihanna, Foo Fighters and the Smashing Pumpkins, among others; and the CD includes tunes by Madonna, John Mayer, Keane, the Police and others. The net proceeds from the sale of the package go to the Alliance for Climate Protection.
Daft Punk's Alive 2007
The Parisian house duo had a huge year, ruling at Lollapalooza and getting a big boost from Kanye West. Their new live album — the release of which was delayed in the U.S. due to production issues — tries to put all that energy into disc form by immortalizing the act's first show in their hometown in 10 years. The two-disc version comes as a bound book and houses an extra enhanced CD with five songs from Daft Punk's encore, as well as 50 pages of photos and a video of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," which 'Ye lifted for his song "Stronger."
Lamb of God's Sacrament - Deluxe Producer Edition
Not crazy about the metal titans' latest disc, the genre's top-selling album last year? Well, why not rework it yourself? That's what the guys are offering this week — a version of the disc with the studio tracks isolated, separated and prepared for use on Macs or PCs. Fans can rearrange or mix up the music at their whim, which means they'll have no reason to complain if they're still not happy with songs like "Walk With Me in Hell" and "Foot to the Throat."
· 4 Bonjour's Parties - Pigments Drift Down to the Brook (Mush)
· Aloha - Light Works (Polyvinyl)
· Ben's Brother - Beta Male Fairytales (Virgin)
· Bodies of Water - Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink (Thousand Tongues)
· Bonde do Rolê - Marina Gasolina (EP; Domino)
· Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (limited-edition version comes with bonus CD; Virgin) [Buy Now]
· DJ Drama - Gangsta Grillz: The Album (Atlantic) [Buy Now]
· Ex-Boyfriends - In With (Absolutely Kosher)
· Food for Animals - Belly (Hoss)
· Nelly Furtado - Loose: The Concert (Geffen) [Buy Now]
· Ghostface Killah - The Big Doe Rehab (Def Jam [Buy Now]
· Isis - Holy Tears (EP; Ipecac)
· Wyclef Jean - Carnival II: Memoirs of an Immigrant (Best Buy edition comes with three Rhapsody Original bonus tracks; Columbia) [Buy Now]
· Blake Lewis - Audio Day Dream (Arista/J) [Buy Now]
· Memphis May Fire - Memphis May Fire (Trustkill)
· Shane Newville - Formless (Syntax)
· Rademacher - Stunts (self-release)
· Scarface - Made (Asylum) [Buy Now]
· Chris Schlarb - Twilight & Ghost Stories (Asthmatic Kitty)
· Shipwreck - Rabbit in the Kitchen With a New Dress On (None)
· Styles P - Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) (Koch) [Buy Now]
· Tender Forever - Wider (K)
· Too Short - Get Off the Stage (Jive) [Buy Now]
· Armin van Buuren - Universal Religion 2008: Live From Armada at Ibiza (Ultra)
· Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (with DVD; Geffen) [Buy Now]
· Woelv - Tout Seul dans la Forêt en Plein Jour, Avez-Vous Peur? (K)
· The Wreckers - Way Back Home: Live From New York City (with DVD; Warner Bros.)
· Various artists - Night Owls 4 - A Shot in the Dark (Syntax)
· Various artists - To the Fallen Records Presents Country: Volume I and Rock: Volume I (To the Fallen)
· Various artists - "P.S. I Love You" soundtrack (Atlantic)
· Various artists - "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" soundtrack (Columbia)
Notable Reissues and Archival Material:
· 2Pac - The Best of 2Pac: Part I - Thug and Part 2 - Life (Interscope) [Buy Now]
· Trace Adkins - Greatest Hits, Volume II: American Man (Capitol)
· Jason Aldean - Relentless (with bonus "Soundcheck" DVD; available exclusively at Wal-Mart)
· David Bowie - David Bowie Box (10-CD box set; ISO/Columbia) [Buy Now]
· James Brown - The Singles: Volume Four - 1966-1967 (limited-edition two-CD set; Hip-O-Select) [Buy Now]
· Nick Drake - Fruit Tree (box set with three CDs and one DVD; UMe/Fontana) [Buy Now]
· Eagles - Desperado; Eagles Live (two CDs); Eagles Greatest Hits: Volume 2; Hotel California; On the Border; One of These Nights; The Long Run; Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 and the two-CD The Very Best Of (Asylum) [Buy Now]
· Eazy-E - Featuring Eazy-E (Capitol/Priority)
· Fiend - The Best of Fiend: Mr. Whomp Whomp (Capitol/Priority)
· Godsmack - Good Times, Bad Times ... Ten Years of Godsmack (also available with DVD; Republic) [Buy Now]
· Billie Holiday - Rare Live Recordings 1935-1959 (five-CD box set; ESP Disk Ltd.)
· Lamb of God - Sacrament - Deluxe Producer Edition (with bonus CD of audio tracks that have been isolated, separated and prepared for use on Mac or PC; Epic)
· The Libertines - The Best Of: A Time for Heroes (Rough Trade) [Buy Now]
· Lindisfarne - The Very Best of Lindisfarne (Caroline)
· Mack 10 - The Best of Mack 10: Foe Life (Priority) [Buy Now]
· N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton - 20th Anniversary Edition (Capitol/Priority) [Buy Now]
· Westside Connection - The Best of Westside Connection: The Gangsta, the Killa and the Dope Dealer (Capitol/Priority)
· Various artists - Crunk Hits Vol. 4 (TVT)
· Various artists - 20 Years of Nuclear Blast (Nuclear Blast)
· Mariah Carey - "The Adventures of Mimi" (two DVDs; Best Buy exclusive) [Buy Now]
· Brian Eno - "77 Million Paintings by Brian Eno" (two DVDs; Hannibal)
· Nelly Furtado - "Loose: The Concert" (Geffen) [Buy Now]
· Pelican - "After the Ceiling Cracked" (with CD; Hydra Head)
· Scissor Sisters - "Hurrah: A Year of Ta-Dah" (Universal) [Buy Now]
· The Marshall Tucker Band - "Carolina Dreams Tour '77" (Shout! Factory/Ramblin'; one DVD and two CDs)
· Rufus Wainwright - "Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!: Live From the London Palladium" (Geffen)
· Various artists - "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis" (two DVDs and one CD; Reprise)
· Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - American X: Baby 81 Sessions (limited-edition EP; available exclusively at ThinkIndie.com)
· Echo and the Bunnymen - B-Sides and Live (2001-2005) (Cooking Vinyl)
· Interpol - Interpol Live (EP; available exclusively at ThinkIndie.com)
· John Lennon - "John Lennon Video Album" (available exclusively at Starbucks via the iTunes Digital Release card; Capitol/EMI Music Marketing)
· Nassiri - Holiday Collection (self-release)
· Professor Murder - Professor Murder on a Desert Island (free EP; RCRD LBL)
· Various artists - Through the Wilderness: A Tribute to Madonna (Manimal Vinyl)
· Bow Wow and Omarion - Face Off (also available with bonus DVD; Columbia) [Preorder]
· R. Kelly - "Trapped in the Closet, Chapters 1-22" DVD (Jive) [Preorder]
· Mario - Go (J) [Preorder]
· Wu-Tang Clan - The 8 Diagrams (Best Buy edition comes with exclusive DVD; Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Christina Aguilera - "Back to Basics: Live and Down Under" (RCA) [Preorder]
· Mary J. Blige - Growing Pains (Geffen) [Preorder]
· Chamillionaire - Mixtape Messiah 4 (Universal) [Preorder]
· Chingy - Hate It or Love It (Disturbing Tha Peace) [Preorder]
· Rivers Cuomo - Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo (Geffen)
· Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's the Cool (Atlantic) [Preorder]
· Rick Ross - Trilla (Def Jam) [Preorder]
· Various artists - "High School Musical 2": Non-Stop Dance Party (Disney)
· Various artists - "Young Frankenstein: The New Mel Brooks Musical" (Decca Broadway)