BEST RAP ALBUM YOU NEVER HEARD (2002)
Most of Miami's rap hopefuls dream of the day their big break arrives in the form of a major-label record contract. Once they've signed on the dotted line, so their thinking goes, everything else is automatic: fame and fortune, groupies and gold teeth. Right? Not always. Take local emcee X-Con, whose independently issued single "Whoa! Lil' Mama" generated enough of a buzz to snag a deal with major Elektra. And if you opened up glossy hip-hop mags such as The Source, XXL, and Vibe last winter, you were greeted with full-page ads announcing the imminent arrival of X-Con's debut album. But good luck actually finding a copy of Dirty Life in the stores: The execs over at Elektra unceremoniously dumped X-Con from their roster immediately upon his album's release, cutting all promotional support, even refusing to answer questions about the matter. A somewhat chagrined X-Con isn't talking either about this mysterious career setback; rumors have been flying, citing everything from an aggrieved CEO with a personal beef to an abrupt change of heart over the rapper's commercial prospects. As to the latter charge, the curious can decide for themselves by rooting around Morpheus or other sites. Your downloads won't get X-Con any closer to MTV, but they won't put any change in Elektra's pockets either -- a dirty life, indeed.
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