Happy New Years everyone! Hope y’all have a great 2013. One of the things I want to do for my New Year’s Resolution is to truly reboot this music blog again. However, I’m not going to do it alone. For now on, I will be having 2 good friends of mine post on here as well. And they will be giving you the latest news on genres including Rock, Metal and more. I will still be updating about Hip Hop but I am hoping to expand my blog with different genres.
As for 2012 overall, it was very great year for me personally. Instead of sticking with just one genre this year, I was trying to discover new types of music. And here is the result, my 15 favorite albums of this year (other than hip hop) in no particular order. And if you haven’t heard of these albums, I highly recommend all of them.
Lone- Galaxy Garden [House/IDM/Electro]
Single: Cthulhu (with Machinedrum)
Chairlift- Something [Synth Pop/New Wave]
Single: I Belong In Your Arms
Beach House- Bloom [Dream Pop/Indie Pop]
Frank Ocean- channel ORANGE [R&B/Neo-Soul]
Portico Quartet- Portico Quartet [Nu Jazz/Ambient/IDM]
Fiona Apple- My Idler Wheel… [Piano Rock/Art Pop/Jazz Pop]
Single: Every Single Night
Grizzly Bear- Shields [Indie Rock/Folk Rock]
Single: Yet Again
Tame Impala- Lonerism [Psychedelic Rock]
Spiritualized- Sweet Heart Sweet Light [Space Rock/Psychedelic Rock]
Single: Hey Jane
The Flaming Lips- The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends [Psychedelic Rock/Experimental Rock]
Single: Helping the Retarded to Find God (ft. Edward Shapes & The Magnetic Zeros)
Baroness- Yellow & Green [Alternative Rock/Stoner Rock]
Single: Take My Bones Away
Pallbearer- Sorrow & Extinction [Doom Metal]
High On Fire- De Vermis Mysteriis [Sludge Metal/Stoner Metal]
Single: Fertile Green
Torche- Harmonicraft [Sludge Metal/Stoner Metal]
Single: Reverse Inverted
Ondatropica- Ondatropica [Latin]
Single: Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazon
How was everyone’s holiday? Sorry it took me this long. But it’s here now, so let’s cut to the chase. Or if you want see the full list, click here.
10) Roc Marciano- Reloaded
This right here is one gritty ass classic sounding New York album. For Roc’s sophomore album, he delivers a very dark experience that can bring its listener to the times of Raekwon’s Only Built & Mobb Deep’s The Infamous without sounding like a ripoff. Roc Marciano does it his own way delivering dark lyricism and gloomy storytelling. And also producing the majority of his own album, while having other producers backing him up including The Alchemist & Q-Tip. The instrumentals completely fit with the lyrics with the use of its moody basslines, piano melodies, interesting use of soul samples and buried drums. For Roc’s darker approach, it completely fits the timezone it would sound in.
9) Brother Ali- mourning in america & dreaming in colour
Single: Mourning In America
A new Brother Ali is always a good thing and as usual, he never disappoints. The only difference with his latest album is that instead of his go-to producer Ant on the boards, we have Jake One this time around. And Brother Ali receives outstanding production to spit about his political views and personal life. Like Macklemore, Brother Ali has an amazing ability to rap about the points he’s trying to get across to the listener, all without sounding too preachy but still sounding aggressive. At the same time, Ali also shows he is not a force to be reckon with on some of these tracks. This album is easily my favorite political album of the year which is an usual from Brother Ali.
8) O.C. & Apollo Brown- Trophies
Single: Prove Me Wrong
As much as I loved Dice Game, Apollo Brown’s other collaboration this year was in my opinion superior. From beats to hard lyrics, underground vet O.C. & Detroit’s upcoming producer make a dangerous combination. For O.C.’s comeback album, O.C. is a still that raw MC that you would hear in the 90’s and he fits perfectly over this new type of production style. Apollo Brown doesn’t attempt to try to make gritty New York type of beats. Instead, he creates very smooth, synth friendly and soul sampled beats which still can have a grittiness to them. And O.C. fits that bar for this type of production. It’s a fantastic street album that offers something new and doesn’t sound outdated.
7) Aesop Rock- Skelethon
Single: Zero Dark Thirty
The underground legend has finally released a solo album since 2007 and when I mean solo, I mean really solo. As in, it’s pure Aesop Rock all over this album. The entire album is produced by Aesop himself and includes no guest appearances (except for Kimya Dawson). While at first I was disappointed to hear that Blockhead wasn’t involved, this album made me realize how amazing Aesop is as not only a rapper but a producer as well. It actually sounds like he hired a whole live band to handle the production but nope, its all Aesop. As for him as a lyricist, he isn’t for everyone. People do get turned away from him due to his very crazy lyricism and bizarre storytelling in which it loses some people’s interest. However, what I like the most about Aesop is just by decoding his lyrics. You can get many different experiences in his music. Even if it wasn’t what Aesop was going for, you still get something else out of it. Again, it’s not for your average hip hop listener but me personally I can really get a new thing out of Aesop everytime I listen to him. And that to me is the genius behind all of Aesop’s albums including “Skelethon”.
6) El-P- Cancer 4 Cure
Single: The Full Retard
El-Producto has finally dropped a new album since 2007 and it was completely worth the wait. El-P aims for a familiar sound that you would hear in “Fantastic Damage”, production wise. It contains some intense synth leads and as well as having that gritty Boogie Down influence in his music. El-P’s production is so layered, insane and beautifully constructed, it gives off a very dark moody atmospheric New York feel. And El-P himself is such a deep and yet hardcore lyricist. Just like Aesop Rock, El-P is the kind of MC that you can get multiply meanings from his verses (except El-P is much easier to understand than Aesop). El-P shows the underground scene once again why he’s one of their most unique figures as both a producer and MC.
5) Ab-Soul- Control System
Ab-Soul has fucking surprised me with this one. Like ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul is another artist who truly found his sound. While the beats aren’t the most amazing part of the album, it’s Ab-Soul who really takes advantage of them. One of his nicknames is the “Genius Idiot” and that’s probably the best way to describe himself. He raps like a mad scientist and his gigantic vocabulary and intelligence proves this. While rapping about his knowledge and views, he will also jump on tracks that are very braggadocios and he even jumps on some decent R&B songs where Ab-Soul is singing. But the standout track on this album is easily “The Book of Soul” which is about dealing with the death of his late girlfriend “Alori Joh”. It wins the best track of the year to me. Also the saddest. Overall, if Emmett Brown were to make a rap album, “Control System” represents it best.
4) billy woods- History Will Absolve Me
Now this album should of deserved way more attention than it did. Anyone in the underground scene, can appreciate this new project from billy woods. He is very aggressive version of Del the Funky Homosapien over very abstract and chilling beats. And besides its great production, what threw me into this album was billy himself. His voice alone is very attention grabbing and it makes you want to hear every single word he spits out. You get a tough man persona from him yet he doesn’t brag about himself. And not only does he ride the very bizarre production very well and has a great delivery, he is an animal as a MC. He’s another MC that has dark stories to rap about and his voice makes me really pay attention to them. As for the production, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea but me personally I find it to be perfect for billy woods. The beats are as tough as billy’s flow and they feature some great synthlines, rock & soul samples, piano melodies and hard as nails drums. “History Will Absolve Me” is just one badass hip hop album that really needs your attention.
3) Death Grips- The Money Store
Single: Get Got
Like I said before, this album isn’t for everyone. Your everyday hip hop listener probably won’t like this. Your everyday hipster who listens to abstract music will love it though. All well. Anyway, for Death Grips’ debut album, they created an intense industrial hip hop album but add a twist to it this time around. It’s not as abrasive as “Exmilitary” making it an easier listening experience. But the lyrics didn’t get sofer. In fact, they have got even stranger and filthlier. This album is just pure evil and very villanish in which it talks about a villain’s daily routine. At the same time, MC Ride always raps about why he is this horrible person. And the production has a huge bump to it with mashing up many other genres together which is usual from Death Grips. With MC Ride’s coked up Waka Flocka sounding flow and bizarre lyrics mixed with the very noisey and unusual production, Death Grips might have truly created their very own genre of music at this point.
2) Killer Mike- R.A.P. Music
Single: Big Beast (ft. Bun B, T.I. & Trouble) (best music video of the year btw)
This right here is worthy of becoming an underground classic. Killer Mike is easily one of my favorite MCs from the south and he dropped an excellent album last year called “PL3DGE”. And hearing that Killer Mike’s latest album was going to be produced by El-P, sounded insane. There was tons of curiosity of what these two would cook up together. And the result makes the unusual collaboration a match made in heaven. With only 12 tracks, Killer Mike creates his own Southern version of a classic Ice Cube & Public Enemy album. And if you have listened to Cancer 4 Cure & R.A.P. Music, it’s very obvious that El-P’s production adapts a Southern sound on R.A.P. Music using trap drums while still having that El-P twist to it. Killer Mike as a lyricist is always promising but here, he has definitely shown great amounts of improvement. From his dark imagery storytelling on tracks like “Don’t Die” to political views on “Reagan” (the killumanti track of the year), Mike has shown why he is one of the South’s best. Also, Killer Mike & El-P are talking about making a new album with them trading verses with each other. Nice.
1) Kendrick Lamar- good kid, m.A.A.d city
Single: Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe
Yeah I know, it was very anti-climatic but there’s a good reason why it’s such a praised album. Kendrick Lamar is someone who offered something completely different than any other MC at the time when he released “Section.80”. His storytelling abilities and lyricism skill is absolutely remarkable. What I enjoy about Kendrick’s music is that it offers a much deeper meaning which much not be completely understood for a first time listener. At the same time, his music has tons of replay value with its use of great production, catchy hooks and quote-ables. This gives the listener a reason to revisit the music until they truly understand what the musician is going for. Kendrick does this with his albums giving them a hidden concept. That being said, when I first listened to “good kid, m.A.A.d. city”, I thought it was a great album but it was far from my favorites of the year. But as I started to return to it, everything started to really click for me. I knew that there was a concept behind the album but I didn’t fully get it at first. After the 3-4 listen, I fully understood what Kendrick was going for and it’s pure genius.
Like it says on the album cover, it’s a short film. And each song is a scene of the movie. The album is about Kendrick Lamar (going by the name K. Dot which is his former rap persona) who gets surrounded by drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, being violent, getting related in gang activate, falling in love with hood rats, dealing with the death of a close one, flat out living in Compton, etc. All while Kendrick Lamar is expressing his true feelings of doing this actions, referring to the album title “good kid, m.A.A.d city”. And the skits at the end of each song really enhances the story. The songs really grab your attention to the story and the story itself actually improves the music, too. For example, I wasn’t hot on the track “Backseat Freestyle” when it first got leaked with its over the top bragging lyrics and overall being very out of character for Kendrick. But after hearing that track in the contents of the album, it makes complete sense why it was included. Obviously, I can talk about this album forever but I really fell in love with it. It’s easily one of the best examples of cinema that shows the listener what it is truly like to live in the projects for a kid being surrounded by gang like activates and why they do the things they do. All with the use of music. It’s the kind of album that makes you want to listen to it from top-to-bottom instead of just listening to just one track. It’s personally my favorite album of the year and not just as a hip hop album. It’s definitely worth anyone who is a fan of music’s attention, and that’s a promise.
But enough of hip hop, before the year ends, I’ll be doing my 15 favorite albums of this year (other than hip hop). And then, a big announcement. Stay tuned and hopefully it doesn’t take me long.
20) Danny!- Payback
Single: Payback (ft. iLLmont)
Danny dropped a really dope project last year called “Where Is Danny?” which I completely ignored. But I’m making up for it here. Danny has once again dropped a very cohesive album paying tribute to Missy Elliott & Timbaland. The whole thing sounds like an album you would hear in the 90’s like De La Soul or A Tribe Called Quest with Danny’s very own twist on it. Just like all of his other albums, Danny handles all the production and as a MC, he is still a very entertaining and easy to follow. It also has alot of unexpecting guest spots including ?uestlove, Agallah, El-P, Tanya Morgan, Blu, even the Based God himself….. Lil B! Thank you….
19) Oddisee- People Hear What They See
Single: Do It All
Another album entirely produced by the MC himself. After all these years, Oddisee has officially dropped his debut studio album. And its one hell of a mature debut. Oddisee’s production is always a standout. Just by hearing the very layered production, not one beat sounds like a throwaway. And Oddisee’s glued flow and storytelling abilities gives his own beats justice. Overall, a timeless debut that fans have been waiting for and it truly shows Oddisee’s development as an artist all around.
18) Nas- Life Is Good
Single: The Don
People might criticize me for this but I don’t find this album to be a classic at all. I honestly find “Untitled” to be more classic worthy if you compare it with “Life Is Good”. But still, Nas’ last album on Def Jam is still a dope project. While it doesn’t bring back that Illmatic sound fans were hoping for (for the most part at least), it did bring back something from Nas back in the day. It was Nasty Nas that was spitting on this album. Plus, it reached my expectations by not sounding like a whole crappy divorce album. Nas fucking snapped as a MC with his very dark storytelling imagery and having too many standout verses to count. Personally, I don’t see a classic in my eyes but I still see Nas reminding everyone that he is still the nasty spitter he has always been. But I think everyone can agree that “Summer On Smash” track can get the fuck outta here.
17) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis- The Heist
Single: Thrift Shop (ft. Wanz)
For a pop sounding album, it’s amazed the shit out of me. This is how a pop rap album should sound like. And it’s also a great conscious album which does a great job sneaking its messages into the listener without sounding preachy. And for a pop album, it has some great hooks and of course production coming from Ryan Lewis. Many tracks on this album are in the same lane as its amazing singles “Same Love” & “Wing$” making it an excellent example of a mainstream sounding album done right.
16) THEESatisfaction- awE naturalE
This ain’t your average hip hop album. You can say it’s a much trippier, jazzier & funkier version of “Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” The MC of the album, Catherine Harris-White, both raps very aggressively and also sings her verses throughout this album over very experimental funky production. There is also a Shabazz Palaces influence on this album. And that’s because THEESatisfaction collaborated with Shabazz Palaces once before on “Black Up”. When first jumping into this project, don’t expect a pure hip hop album but it’s definitely a whole new journey for the short time the album has. And any Shabazz Palaces fan will love this album.
15) ¡Mayday!- Take Me To Your Leader
Single: Badlands (ft. Tech N9ne)
Now this right here is how you make a Rap Rock album. ¡Mayday! released their Strange Music debut and it’s considered to be a Strange Music classic. And for good reason. This album reminded me how good Rap Rock can truly be. It’s not a Rage Against The Machine album nor is it a Linkin Park album. It’s just pure ¡Mayday! doing what they know best. They deliver an album that considers something any rock fan can enjoy. It really woke my ass up. For anyone who lose all faith in Rap Rock, you must check out “Take Me To Your Leader” at least.
14) Lushlife- Plateau Vision
I discovered Lushlife this year and after listening to his latest album, I already want to hear more from him. Again, it’s another albumthat is entirely produced by the MC himself. And the production here goes in many different directions. You will be hearing Boom Bap, Dreamy Hip Hop, Trip Hop & even Glitch Hop. It’s a mixed bag full of amazing different discoveries. And Lushlife is a very clever lyricist sounding great over his own beats. It’s just a flat out dope album that I enjoyed alot. Short and sweet.
13) De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2- First Serve
Single: Must Be The Music
Out of nowhere, De La Soul has finally returned with a new album, kinda. Posdnous (Plug 1) & Dave (Plug 2) reunited to create a new De La Soul related project since 2004! On top of that, it’s an excellent concept album. It’s about a hip hop band called “First Serve” and the album talks what every musical band has to go through and from there on. Plus, it’s a very entertaining album featuring many funny skits and lyrics. On top of that, Plug 1 & Plug 2 truly play as their characters making the listener forget its Posdnous & Dave rapping. Overall, great concept album and De La Soul still do what they know best and beyond that.
12) Blu & Exile- Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them.
Single: Maybe One Day (ft. Black Spade)
I can’t even describe how happy I was to hear this album. To finally hear a Blu album without any of the other bullshit that happened to Blu’s projects last year. On top of that, it’s finally great to hear a very cohesive album from Blu in a long time considering all of the other crappy experimental projects he has been releasing (although, I did enjoy NoYork!). This album proves once again that Blu & Exile are one of the best rapper/producer collaborations ever to happen to underground hip hop. While it’s not in the same lane as “Below The Heavens”, Blu & Exile’s latest album will definitely satisfy fans.
11) Dark Time Sunshine- ANX
Single: Valiant (ft. Child Actor)
Onry Ozzborn & Zavala have amazed me with their latest album together. While album isn’t as dark as their last album “Vessel” and there is an obvious different production style this time around, they have created a very dreamy, synthy friendly & abstract album taking influences from Aesop Rock. This album isn’t for your average hip hop fan but I personally would still recommend it to them. From very layback flow with conscious lyrics on very dreamy & sweet production, it feels like an acid trip gone right. It’s not your party trip music like A$AP Rocky, it’s music for the brain. It’s healthy for you and you should at least try it once because you’ll never know if you’re going to find it groundbreaking.
Next 2 lists:
1) My Top 25 Favorite Hip Hop Albums of 2012(10-1)
2) My Favorite Albums of 2012 (Other Than Hip Hop)
After, I have a big announcement. Soon…
More lists…. yay. Here’s my favorite instrumental hip hop albums. Before I begin the list, I’m not the biggest fan of honorable mentions but I do have to give one mention to Blockhead’s new album “Interlude After Midnight”. While not as amazing as “The Music Scene”, it’s still worth a listen. Anyway, on to the list.
5) Sinitus Tempo- Journey
I discovered this dope beatmaker last year with his album “Abstrakt Mindz Thinc Ulike” and immediately fell in love. Ever since, I have been checking out every project he has dropped from EPs, mashups, anime themed albums and more. The guy is a monster with the releases, dropping at least 4 or more albums a year. But “Journey” is easily my favorite. He has very visible Nujabes inspiration to his music with his own twist to it. If you’re still crying over the death of Nujabes, “Journey” should make you feel better.
4) Karriem Riggins- Alone Together
Single: Stadium Rock
After many years, drummer/producer Karriem finally has released his debut album. Karriem is highly known for working with artists including Slum Village, Erykah Badu, Common, Talib Kweli and much more. And to finally hear an album from him was definitely going to be interesting. This album is full of short 1 minute in a half beats with a J Dilla’s “Donuts” inspiration mixed in. And following Donuts, each beat on “Alone Together” has something new and unique. From being synth friendly to rock influenced, each beat offers something different for the short period of time it has. Its basically a sketchbook of beats. And it’s a damn good sketchbook.
3) Flying Lotus- Until The Quiet Comes
Single: Putty Boy Strut
And FlyLo makes another appearance on my lists. However, in all honesty, I was a bit underwhelmed when I first heard this album, thinking it would be even better than “Cosmogramma”. And me personally, I consider “Cosmogramma” to be near flawless. But overtime, I found myself liking “Until The Quiet Comes” more and more. On every FlyLo album, he takes on a different style of production. While “Cosmogramma” was heavy on electronic-jazz influence and also gathering many instrumentalists to guide the songs, “Until The Quiet Comes” still has its jazz influence but FlyLo tries to recreate that same sound without having other instrumentalists backing him up (for most of the songs). Exception being Thundercat who is now a staple into FlyLo’s production. Tracks on here have an African-Tribe like sound mixed with a dreamy flavor to them. And FlyLo’s new direction of sound on this album is a complete success. Plus this album easily contains Flying Lotus’ best singer collaborations to date including once again Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Projects like these make me question what FlyLo is going to do next.
2) The Gaslamp Killer- Breakthrough
As much as I love FlyLo’s music, I have to admit that his Brainfeeder signee The Gaslamp Killer dropped the best project from his label this year. For his debut album, Gaslamp dropped a mad scientist of a project. You will be hearing very dark sounding synths with some of the most hardest hitting drums of this year and other instrumentalists contributing as well. Gaslamp has other producers and instrumentalists including Gonjasufi, Adrian Younge, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Daedelus, SAMIYAM, Shigeto and more to create his madhouse album. This album as a whole is very experimental psychedelic hip hop experience and quite the adventure.
1) BADBADNOTGOOD- BBNG2
Single: Flashing Lights
I feel bad for not giving this guys a mention last year for their project “BBNG”. But this should make up for it. BADBADNOTGOOD have blown me away for how much improvement they have gained since their last project. While the jazz/hip hop band is doing covers of other musical acts including Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, the Creator, Gucci Mane, Kanye West, James Blake, My Bloody Valentine, the band has also created their very own unique songs. This project contains very abrasive raw jazz where every instrumentalist is very aggressive but it all still sounds very cohesive. But the covers are easily my favorite. The change-ups they created with tracks including “Earl”, “Lemonade” & especially “Flashing Lights” are just beautiful. The best part of about this project, its FREE!! Get this shit A.S.A.P. It’s completely worth it.
Now here’s the best hip hop albums of this year (25-21). This year wasn’t as amazing as 2011 but there are still many gems to count. Plus, many of the albums included here just rely on only one producer. Some even self-produced. Before I begin, I wanna give another honorable mention to “Sean Price- Mic Tyson”. Looking for a dirty New York album with great lyricism, look no further.
25) ScHoolboy Q- Habits & Contradictions
Single: THere He Go
This was one hell of a year for the Black Hippy movement. For one, not only did ScHoolboy Q obtain much attention with this album, Q has truly found his own original sound. This album is a mixed bag of ScHoolboy Q’s personality. You will get some braggadocios tracks, some great party songs, and many songs on the more serious side of Q. It also has one of the best introductions of this year.
24) King Mez- My Everlasting Zeal
Single: Monte Carlo
Don’t get distracted by his Big Sean sounding voice, King Mez is something else. While King Mez is reaching for a more mainstream audience, he has something on this album for everyone to enjoy. His complex lyrics and storytelling abilities over the CunninLynguists sounding production is always a great combination. If you’re a J. Cole or Lupe Fiasco fan, I recommend this album without a doubt.
23) Big K.R.I.T.- Live From The Underground
Single: I Got This
Out of all the projects Big K.R.I.T. has released in the past few years, this album is actually one of his more weaker ones. That being said, it’s still a dope project! Big K.R.I.T. still remains relevant for his Def Jam debut gathering many Southern MCs and also shows his impressive production skills by not being sample friendly this time around. He tackles many big topics that are good for a decent debut while throwing in deep tracks you would expect in Return Of 4Eva. Yet another project to prove that Big K.R.I.T. is a Southern living legend.
22) Murs & 9th Wonder- The Final Adventure
Single: Funeral For A Killer
Now, this shit makes up for “This Generation”. While I wasn’t really amazed by the last Murs & 9th Wonder collaboration, “The Final Adventure” really ends off the series with a bang. Both artists really try to recreate an album that can be in the same lane as their first two albums. From excellent storytelling from Murs to some of 9th Wonder’s best production of the year, “The Final Adventure” really hits home. Plus it ends off the series on a high note.
21) Guilty Simpson & Apollo Brown- Dice Game
Single: Let’s Play
This right here is one dirty Detroit album. As much as I like Guilty Simpson, I wasn’t really hot on his past albums. But “Dice Game” breaks that streak and Simpson has finally dropped a whole project I can fully enjoy. And it’s entirely produced by Apollo Brown which is always a great thing. Apollo Brown changes his beat style on some of these records for a more nasty Detroit sounding feel. And the aggression in Guilty Simpson’s flow makes it a perfect feel. This is also Guilty Simpson’s most personal project and in which there are no only guest spots on the album (except for Torae & Planet Asia). This album as a whole is filthy but also very thought-provoking.
Let’s begin with the mixtapes (a.k.a. FREE ALBUMS)!
10) Chuuwee- Crown Me King
I heard about this cat last year when he was featured on ScienZe’s album “When Skies Fall” (great album btw). And hearing about this new project, I was definitely on it. And its just overall a dope tape from Chuuwee. Chuuwee while sounding young, still has aggressive voice which gives him a Joe Budden sounding flow at some points. It however still packs a punch over the great production. Speaking of the production, it contains a mix bag of boom bap, soulful samples and some parts can be pretty experimental. While the tape does have its flaws (mainly the hooks), its still a very nice project from Chuuwee which is worth a listen.
9) Captain Murphy- Duality
Single: Mighty Morphin Foreskin
Probably one of the most unexpecting new artist to take on rapping this year, was the Brainfeeder leader himself “Flying Lotus.” And anyone who knows me personally, knows how much I praise this man’s music. And it was very surprising to hear that he was taking on a rap career. Before it was revealed to be FlyLo, there was a huge decision on who this mystery rapper was. Captain Murphy completely came out of nowhere with big name producers on his debut release including Jeremiah Jae, SAMIYAM, Teebs, TNGHT, Madlib, Flying Lotus himself and even Just Blaze. Once you listen to Duality, you will forget that FlyLo is the one rapping, which is a great thing cause that’s what he was going for. FlyLo plays as a supervillain and lays down very funny, silly & of course villainish lyrics. While the mixtape is only 35 minutes long, you will find short but enjoyable verses, instrumental breaks, skits and outstanding 60’s-70’s psychedelic sampled production. This project as a whole is short but very rewarding.
8) Joey Bada$$- 1999
I might get some hate on this but I don’t feel that this project is a classic and that Joey Bada$$ is a soon to be NY Legend, which is what many of his fans claim him to be. I’m not saying Joey Bada$$ will be a legend but just judging by one decent mixtape, it’s something that can’t be completely confirmed yet. Or for that matter, not in a while. That all being said, I still enjoyed the majority of this project. Joey Bada$$ is a great MC for his age and his clique “Pro ERA” ain’t half bad either. It’s a smooth boom bap tape featuring half recycled beats and half original beats. The mixtape has a classic New York boom bap style and can bring someone back to the Black Moon or Big L times. Overall, great mixtape that recreates that classic NY sound.
7) Meyhem Lauren- Mandatory Brunch Meetings
Single: Brand New Marijuana
Now this right here is very hard & gritty New York mixtape. If anyone is familiar with Action Bronson, then they must know Meyhem Lauren. Lauren really impressed me with his other mixtape this year called “Respect the Fly Shit” which he recorded in just 48 hours! Featuring tons of guests and entirely produced by Harry Fraud & Tommy Mas. And once again, Lauren has impressed me with this greatproject. This album is also Meyhem Lauren’s darkest project to date but it does have its light moments. While not having Harry Fraud & Tommy Mas as his main producers, it contains some great producers that still bring the beast in Meyhem Lauren. Meyhem Lauren is a fucking monster on the mic and the production just turns it into an old school hip hop sounding street album. Plus, it also has the coolest name out of all the mixtapes on this list, easily.
6) Heems- Nebru Jackets
Another New York mixtape, and a damn good one too. Heems, who was part of the comedic hip hop group “Das Racist”, decided to take on solo career before his group split up. The same went with Kool A.D. but personally I felt that Heems was dropping the superior projects. For his solo debut, he has beatmaker “Mike Finito” produce the entire project. And Mike Finito provides very hard hitting, bass heavy beats and which the majority of them seem to sample Middle/Far East records. While Heems keeps it somewhat mellow over the huge production, the combination is a complete success. Heems is still his funny self and at the same time, can also be pretty serious. There are even tracks where Heems isn’t rapping in English. Plus, there are tons of guest spots including Kool A.D., Despot, Danny Brown, Mr. MFN eXquire, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and much more. If you’re looking for a humorous tape to seriously bump in your car, download this shit.
5) Freddie Gibbs- Baby Face Killa
Tell me. Did Gibbs ever drop a bad project? So far he has been keeping a clean plate. Freddie Gibbs doesn’t change a thing about his lyrics but this album contains new flows and styles for Gibbs to jump on. And he is highly known for comfortably jumping from popular Lex Luger sounding beats to Madlib or boom bap type of production. He does it well and Baby Face Killa proves that Gibb is capable of doing the same while at the same time, still being relevant to himself. The album is mainly full of great Southern sounding production with really REALLY catchy hooks coming from Gibbs himself. The album is overly full with guests including Z-Ro, Krayzie Bone, Young Jeezy but Gibbs still reminds as the shining MC throughout it. Anyone who is either into gangsta rap or classic Southern Hip Hop will definitely enjoy this project. Now, if only we got anymore news on that Freddie Gibbs/Madlib project, that would be great.
4) Wrecking Crew- Wu-Tang Pulp
Single: Pulp Banga 101
Easily the best tribute project of the year. Wrecking Crew, which consists of Has-Lo, Zilla Rocco & Curly Castro, have joined forces to create a whole tribute mixtape dedicated to obviously the “Wu-Tang Clan.” And tributes can either have a great twist to them & have a positive result (Elzhi- ELmatic) or just be an average tribute with nothing that special included. Wrecking Crew however did it the right way. They recreated some Wu “classics” from albums like Enter the Wu-Tang, Tidal,Supreme Clientele & more. The producers really outdid themselves for reworking the same Wu-Tang feel as well. Wrecking Crew even gather many guest rappers to once again, brings it back to the “Enter the Wu-Tang” time slot when you just had a bunch of MCs spitting verses one after the other. You can tell that tons of hardwork was put into this tribute and any Wu-Tang fan will recognize it.
3) Death Grips- No Love Deep Web
Single: No Love
While this is considered to be Death Grips’ second album, it was released for free. So, technically, it’s a mixtape. Now, I’m not one of those crazy Death Grips dickriding hipsters that you see on /mu/, but I can really appreciate what Death Grips have done with Hip Hop. They have completely created their own sound by combining Hip Hop with many other genres. The best way to describe Death Grips’ genre is Industrial Noise Hip Hop Punk. Hell, that might not even be the best description. Either way, I enjoy the shit out of their music but I know it’s not for everybody. Your average Hip Hop (mainstream or even underground) listener might not enjoy Death Grips and that’s completely understandable. No Love Deep Web is basically Death Grips darkest (which is saying alot) album to date and captures the same sound that was familiar in Exmilitary while at the same time experimenting with other genres. It’s not a pleasant album but it doesn’t want to be and the ending result is very worth it.
2) Action Bronson & The Alchemist- Rare Chandeliers
Single: The Symbol
Yet another New York mixtape and in my opinion, this is Action Bronson’s best work to date. And that’s saying alot. Last year, Action Bronson dropped 2 albums which successfully brought back a classic 90’s boom bap sound. But as months go by, Action Bronson has been developing his own unique style. And this mixtape is the final staple to it. Action Bronson is as funnier as ever but also shows improvement by giving his songs more serious concept. Plus, this tape also includes Alchemist’s best production of the year. Which is also saying alot, considering that Alchemist’s production was everywhere this year. The combination of Bronson’s braggadocios but witty wordplay with Alchemist’s amazing consistent production style basically creates “Quentin Tarantino: the Album”. Or better yet, the album cover perfectly represents the music on this tape. Now, doesn’t that sound awesome? (Also, Bronson’s mixtape with Party Supplies called “Blue Chips” was really good but I didn’t wanna have 2 Bronson projects on the same list. It’s still worth your time.)
1) Big K.R.I.T.- 4Eva N A Day
Single: Boobie Miles
And Big K.R.I.T. has done it again. What more do I have to say about this guy? Between being a very thought provoking MC, great storyteller, fantastic producer, being incredibly consistent and just overall, having complete control over his work, K.R.I.T. is definitely one of the South’s best. Dare I say it, in the same lane as UGK & OutKast. While I feel that Return Of 4Eva was a better project (slightly), Big K.R.I.T. has once again impressed me with his first concept mixtape. K.R.I.T. shows improvement from all angles. From storytelling to production. 4Eva N A Day easily features K.R.I.T.’s prettiest and best production he has ever done. And his storytelling has gotten deeper and at some points, darker. Plus, there are no special guests except for Willie B on the sax & Mike Harnett on the guitar. If you wanna see very conscious project that doesn’t sound too preachy with a pop sounding flavor, download this mixtape immediately.
Tomorrow, I’ll post my top 5 favorite instrumental hip hop albums and then the (25-21) of my favorite hip hop albums. Hopefully, I won’t be as descriptive as I was on the mixtapes.
This shit again. Let’s get on it. These were the albums I was heavenly looking forward to this year but didn’t reach my satisfaction for the most part. This is just opinions so don’t piss yourself.
5)Murs & Fashawn- This Generation
Best song/most tolerate song: Slash Gordan
You would think a whole album with Murs & Fashawn rapping together would sound awesome, right? Two of the west coast’s best underground rappers hitting the studio would some really cool, wouldn’t it? It sadly didn’t. While I wasn’t mind blown by the first single that dropped called “Slash Gordan”, it was still an interesting listen and it grew my curiosity for the whole album. However, it turns out that the first single was actually the best track all together. Due to some of the weak ass hooks and weak ass production, it doesn’t do Murs & Fashawn justice. The entire album was produced by Beatnick & K-Salaam who have done great production in the past for artists including Freddie Gibbs. Hearing that they were producing the whole thing, I got even more hyped but however Beatnick & K-Salaam didn’t really shine this time around. I’m honestly glad Murs dropped a MUCH better album this year with 9th Wonder. It makes up for this crap.
4)Prodigy- H.N.I.C. 3
Best song/most tolerate song: Live
Wow, how the mighty have fallen. Mobb Deep were doing some serious bullshit this year. To the point, where now I seriously don’t give a fuck about them anymore. Before Havoc confirmed his diss towards Prodigy, Prodigy dropped his long awaited installment to the H.N.I.C. series. And this album was basically the Spider-Man 3 of the trilogy. It contains some incredibly outdated and weak production from actually some great producers including The Alchemist, S.C., Ty Fyffe, and more. It also contains very radio-friendly hooks to the point it sounds like its mocking those kind of hooks. Each track sounds like Prodigy is trying way too hard to make a radio hit. The first single to drop from the album was called “Get Money (ft. Boogz Boogetz)” which has a Crank Dat Soulja Boy type beat with an incredibly repetitive and OBNOXIOUS chorus. Prodigy doesn’t sound comfortable at all over this new type of production and really doesn’t spit anything memorable. For that matter, there is nothing at all memorable about this album. Word is that Prodigy & The Alchemist are creating another project together, though. I mean, I’ll check it out but my expectations are very low at this point.
3) A$AP Mob- Lord$ Never Worry
Best song/most tolerate song: Balt Salt (ft. Flatbush ZOMBiES)
Ok, this might come as a surprise to some of you but it needs to be said. A$AP Rocky ain’t that great of a rapper. I know, your mind is probably blown. To me, A$AP Rocky just sounds like another swag MC who just raps about his swag, fashion, drugs, fucking bitches, representing Harlem, etc. Plus, lyrically, it isn’t even great braggadocios wordplay. That being said, why was I looking forward to this mixtape since I ain’t big on A$AP Rocky’s wordplay. Well, like most people, I don’t listen to A$AP Rocky for lyrics. I listen to him for his sound. What I enjoyed about Live.Love.A$AP was that it was a completely new take on Southern Hip Hop and Stoner Hip Hop. Unlike artists like Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y or Dizzy Wright who are labelled as stoner rappers, A$AP Rocky’s music actually sounds like pure drugs. The instrumentals he spits really gets the listener into a musical trip. On top of that, A$AP Rocky sounds great on these kind of beats. Adapting flows from Bone Thugs, Three 6 Mafia, UGK and even creating his own, A$AP Rocky did create an unique sound (Cloud Rap) without being that lyrical. I don’t listen to him for lyrics.
That all being said, I was super hyped for a new free A$AP Rocky related mixtape. Since it was the A$AP Mob rapping this time, I was expecting for them to sound just as good as they were on A$AP Rocky’s first mixtape. However, this mixtape goes in many different directions. It’s a group album, meaning all the members are doing what they want to do instead of trying to make another Live.Love.A$AP. This won’t be a bad thing if they were all going to create their own original sound. Instead, you have members of the mob rapping over shitty trap beats, they have shitty flows and they spit horrible lyrics. If you thought A$AP Rocky was a crappy rapper, then you’re gonna hate this rap clique as a whole. Even when the A$AP Mob try to rap over those trippy type of beats, they don’t sound great. Members like A$AP Ferg & A$AP Ant are so offbeat and so bad at rapping, they actually sound retard over the production. The beats on the tape for the most part is decent but it’s nothing amazing. Even Clams Casino doesn’t deliver that great of a beat on this tape. However, producers like VERYRVRE & P On The Boards really outshine the rest of the producers who were involved. The only rapper who was interesting and has even improved was obviously A$AP Rocky (but someone should tell him to stop the singing, please). Plus, A$AP Rocky raps over more gritty New York type beats and sounds great on them. But overall, this mixtape was very wack and I honestly should of expected that.
2) Big Boi- Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors
Best song/most tolerate song: In The A (ft. T.I. & Ludacris)
This is easily the best album out of the top 5 but it’s number 2 here because I was expecting so much more from this album. Big Boi’s first solo album “Sir Lucious Left Foot” was damn there perfect. It was just great to hear a new OutKast related full length album after a while. And hearing that Big Boi gathered collaborations from artists like Phantogram, Little Dragon and even Wavves, I was really hyped. What I liked about “Sir Lucious Left Foot” was that Big Boi gathered many unexpecting collaborations on that album and all the guests sounded great. Hell, it made Gucci Mane sound good! So, I was hoping for these new collaborators to adapt the usual OutKast style and make something really unique. Instead, these bands involved just do their usual thing which isn’t a big thing but does sound fit well with Big Boi? Not completely. The Phantogram featured tracks are decent but the tracks with Wavves & Little Dragon aren’t really doing anything for me. Most of the album sounds like Big Boi is going Indie Pop with barely a twist of Southern Hip Hop. I was hoping the blend of these genres would sound great but it doesn’t for the most part.The first 4 tracks (excluding the intro track) sound fantastic which they contain a good blend of Southern Hip Hop and Indie Pop. Then that Kid Cudi featured track comes in and it just goes downhill from there.Most of the tracks are very synth friendly and very poppy. But not a good kind of poppy. This album contains cheesy hooks and pretty weak beats as well. Plus, the last 3 tracks on the album feel like the final nail in the coffin where they are very R & B. They contain some crappy singing coming from Mouche, Scar & even Big Boi himself. Hell, the final track Descending (ft. Little Dragon) actually sounds like a really great way to finish off the album but it is then immediately ruined by Big Boi’s hooooooooorible singing. Like it said before, this ain’t a bad album and I’m pretty sure OutKast fans will enjoy it but me personally, I expected way more.
And now, it’s number 1! Before it’s revealed, I want to say this again. It’s opinion. You don’t have to be upset. That being said, what I might say about this album might piss off some heavy dickriders. All well……
1) Slaughterhouse- welcome to: OUR HOUSE
Best song/most tolerate song: Coffin (ft. Busta Rhymes)
Jesus Christ, this album. This album right here was not only the biggest disappointment of this year, but it was also one of the worst fucking albums I have heard this year. I absolutely hate this album. How the fuck did they fuck up Slaughterhouse this bad. The group that consists of some of the hardest MCs. Who fucked it up this much! Oh wait…. this guy again.
I just wanna make one thing clear. If you want your album to sound like a watered-down Recovery, just sign to Shady Records and have Eminem executive produce it. And then after a few failed singles, you have your piece of shit you call “welcome to: OUR HOUSE.” It seems that everything Eminem has been touching lately has turned to another Recovery album. Which it great because I absolutely hate that album, too. You would think a record label that contains hard as nails rappers like Eminem, 50 Cent, Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse would make some hard as nails albums. They do not as of now. And something like “welcome to: OUR HOUSE” is a primary example. When I think of Slaughterhouse, I think of some intense MCs just ripping the mic while over mean production. Not a bunch of MCs rapping over Recovery type beats with shitty Skylar Grey hooks. I don’t think anyone was expecting Slaughterhouse & Sklyar Grey to collaborate (and I think no one was asking for that either). Songs are immediately ruined just by the hooks. This album on its own has the worst hooks out of this top 5 (or for that matter, this year). Especially that hook on “Get Up” which was annoyingly bad. And the second single “My Life” (ft. Cee-Lo Green) just seemed like a very poor attempt to have Cee-Lo just say “fuck” in a song, thinking it would be another big hit. Now you might be saying, “what about the lyrics?!?!?” Well, sadly that’s another downside about this album. Slaughterhouse sound like caged animals. They aren’t even spitting anything that great this time around. The only memorable lines are the ones that are actually corny, which is baaaaad thing coming from a Slaughterhouse album. Overall, this album disappointed me from all angles (appreciate it Em) and it really pissed me the fuck out considering that Slaughterhouse’s first album was very dope. I’m very glad that they dropped a great mixtape before this album. That mixtape was probably just for the fans who were gonna hate the Shady debut. I respect that.
And that’s it. Tomorrow, I’ll hopefully drop “My Top 10 Favorite Hip Hop Mixtapes of this Year”. Hopefully………….. stay tuned tomorrow.
10) IMAKEMADBEATS- IMAKEMADBEATS
You can just tell by his name this guy is a great producer. For his latest album, he got tons of underground special guests. And every guest does really well. Producers 9th Wonder & Statik Selektah released albums this year as well with tons of special guests and while the production is great, those albums were forgettable and rappers on it got kinda lazy. But with IMAKEMADBEATS, that issue isnt here. This album is very memorable, great guest rappers and of course excellent production. Loved it.
9) Tech N9ne- All 6’s & 7’s
Now if anyone knows me, I’m a huge fan of Tech N9ne. I even preordered this album and got Tech N9ne to sign it. Anyway before this album was released, Tech N9ne was receiving tons of mainstream attention (something he wanted for years). Lil Wayne wanted to work with him and it caused tons of controversy. So this album was a big deal since alot of big names were on it. And when it dropped, it was fantastic. Tech N9ne tackled the underground to mainstream debate really well. And hes still sticking with his old style. Everything fans love about Tech N9ne is on this album. Its just another great album from Tecca Nina.
8) Has-Lo- In Case I Don’t Make It
This album is one hell of a dark journey. This is an album you have listen to carefully. Has-Lo raps about life struggles and tells stories really well. This album really does stick with you. Its full of lines that will make you paint a picture in your head. Plus the beats (who were produced by Has-Lo as well) are perfect for the mood of this album. One of the best listens this year.
7) Beastie Boys- Hot Sauce Committee Part Two
Its great to hear the Beastie Boys make music again and while they are in their 40’s, they still sound like the classic Beastie Boys. This is a very crazy album and its everything a longtime Beastie Boys fan will love about it.
6) Big K.R.I.T.- Return of 4Eva
And this right here is a Southern hip hop album. If you love OutKast or any other Southern hip hop, you’ll love this mixtape. Big K.R.I.T. spitted & produced the whole thing. Big K.R.I.T. is bringing the South back with his memorable wordplay & hooks, chill flow, & great production. Plus this mixtape is free. Get it asap.
5) Elzhi- ELmatic
Easily the best mixtape of 2011. I already reviewed this mixtape so I’ll keep this simple. Elzhi covers songs from Nas’ album Illmatic but Elzhi got a whole band to recreate Illmatic’s beats and Elzhi adds twist to the originals. Plus Elzhi turned classics into classics. Nuff said.
4) The Roots- Undun
This is The Roots first ever concept album. And its a fucking great concept album. Its a backward story about a fictional character named Redford Stevens. Its a short album but its an incredibly interesting listen. The Roots tried something different and it worked perfectly. This is a flawless first concept album.
3) Shabazz Palaces- Black Up
I don’t know much about Shabazz Palaces but this album is one of the strangest & most creative hip hop albums I’ve heard all year. This is not your usual hip hop album cause it might sound very different & weird the first time. But for me, every time I listen to it, it keeps getting better. The really strange but creative wordplay, the choppy sampling, the jazz elements & the synths. Its one crazy listen. While it does sound weird at first, its incredible creative and there is something new I find every time I listen to it. I highly recommend you listen to it on your stereo cause if you listening to it on your headphones, you’re only hearing half of it. Really dope album.
2) Kendrick Lamar- Section.80
Oh man, I really loved this album. Kendrick Lamar made an outstanding digital album with some awesome wordplay, good views, intense storytelling, etc. Kendrick goes hard on every track. Plus, the beats are just amazing. Tons of jazz influences & dope synths. Plus tons of great songs to light up to if you know what I mean. Its all put together really well. Plus the last song “HiiiPower” produced by J. Cole was my personal favorite song of the year. I can’t wait to hear more from Kendrick next year. This year Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg & Game crowned him “The New Prince of West Coast.” He’s our generation Tupac. He’s gonna be big next year.
And number one is………..
1) CunninLynguists- Oneirology
As much as I loved Section.80, I felt like this album was even better. This is CunninLynguists’ 5th studio album and they still haven’t disappointed me. Kno did the all the production and he really outdone himself. This was easily the best production I’ve heard all year. Deacon & Natti provide tons of great views and its really motivational. Its actually beautiful. Its just an outstanding album with outstanding wordplay and outstanding production. And I felt like it deserves the best Hip Hop album of 2011.
And thats my list. I hope you guys enjoyed it and I’m really looking forward for 2012. See ya guys later.
Well the year is almost over and its been a great year for hip hop. Tons of reunions, the West Coast dominated this year, long awaited collaboration, not-so long awaited collaboration *cough*ICP & Jack White*cough*, great upcoming rappers and prodcers, & underground MCs finally get noticed by the mainstream. Now, its time for the best. Instead of the usual, I’ll just be posting the cover art and a link to one of the songs off the album.
50) Talib Kweli- Gutter Rainbows
49) Stalley- Lincoln Way Nights [mixtape]
48) Torae- For the Record
47) XV- Zero Heroes [mixtape]
46) Game- Purp & Patron [mixtape]
45) Murs & Ski Beatz-Love & Rockets Vol. 1: Transformation
44) Das Racist- Relax
43) Joell Ortiz- Free Agent
42) Roots Manuva- 4everevolution
41) Brotha Lynch Hung- Coathanga Strangla
40) Atmosphere- The Family Sign
39) Mr Muthafuckin Exquire- Lost in Translation [mixtape]
38) Apathy- Honkey Kong
37) Hail Mary Mallon (Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic)- Are You Gonna Eat That?
36) Immortal Technique- The Martyr [mixtape]
35) Pac DIV- The DIV
34) A$AP Rocky- Live.Love.A$AP [mixtape]
33) Danny Brown- XXX [mixtape]
32) Childish Gambino- Camp
31) Jay Rock- Follow Me Home
30) Evidence- Cats & Dogs
29) Pharoahe Monch- W.A.R.
28) Saigon- The Greatest Story Never Told
27) Action Bronson- Dr. Lectar
26) Skyzoo- The Great Debater [mixtape]
25) DJ Quik- The Book of David
24) Death Grips- Exmilitary [mixtape]
23) Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown- Daily Bread
22) Freddie Gibbs- Cold Day in Hell [mixtape]
21) Phonte- Clarity Starts at Home
20) Killer Mike- PL3DGE
19) Vakill- Armor of God
18) ScienZe- When Skies Fall [mixtape]
17) ScHoolboy Q- Setbacks
16) Ab-Soul- Longterm: Mentality
15) J-Live- S.P.T.A.
14) Reks- Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme
13) Logic- Young Sinatra [mixtape]
12) Common- The Dreamer/The Believer
11) Thurz- L.A. Riot
10-1 hopefully coming tomorrow. See ya then.
As the year is wrapping up, I promised a top 50 best hip hop albums list but I also promised other lists on the side. And this is one of them. So without further ado, here’s the Top 10 Best Instrumental Hip Hop Albums of 2011.
10) DJ Premier- Beats that Collected Dust Vol. 2
DJ Premier is someone who doesnt need an introduction. He’s by far the best hip hop producer ever. And hearing some unreleased beats from him is always nice. Personal favorites are Dots and EPIC-ISHH. What else can you say, its Premo.
9) Onra- Chinoiseries Pt. 2
If anyone knows me, I absolutely love Onra’s music. I’ll seen him live, stated that his album “Long Distance” was the best album of 2010 and I even bought it. So hearing that Onra was making a sequel to Chinoiseries, I was hyped. And when it dropped, it was dope. Onra only sampled records that he found while he was on vacation in Vietnam, so it has an Asian theme to it. The beats are full of head bangers and Onra has some pretty creative ideas with some songs. On the song, “It’s All Memories” the drums are just bells and it works great. If you like J Dilla or Wu-Tang Clan, get this album. Drag I say it, its better than Pt. 1.
8) Nujabes- Spiritual State
I’m the kinda guy that gets alittle shaky about posthumous albums. Mainly cause we don’t know if these songs are finished, what the artist attended, you get the picture. However, I am always down to hear unreleased music, especially from Nujabes. This album is just beautiful. Nujabes being the jazz/hip hop producer he is, created some beautiful and chill tracks. With excellent piano and sax. Its sound more like a jazz album then a hip hop album. There are also special guest rappers including Cise Star, Pase Rock & Substantial. Besides some filler songs, this is an excellent final album from Nujabes and fans of him will love it. Also, R.I.P. Nujabes.
7) araabMUZIK- Electronic Dream (Deluxe Edition)
A.K.A. King of the MPC. If you have seen this guy perform live, he is outstanding with the MPC. He brings songs to a whole new world and its on the spot. So for his debut album, he samples all trance/techno songs. He samples classics like “Castles in the Sky” and other artists including Kaskade & Deadmau5. However, he transforms these club songs into badass hip hop bangers, while the song still sounds like club music. The songs on this album are perfect for clubs. If you like dance & hip hop music, check Electronic Dream out and be sure to get the Deluxe Edition. There are 6 bonus songs. The more the merrier.
6) DJ Burn One- The Ashtray
I don’t know much about DJ Burn One. But I do know he’s a great producer. He’s known for making a mixtape with Gucci Mane and has also worked with artists like Freddie Gibbs. As for his instrumental debut, there is one word to describe it. “Chillllllll.” This is one chill album. With some great guitar samples, Southern feel and of course the chill production, it makes it a very decent album. These are beats that you listen to when you wanna escape from everything. If you are into weed smoking music or hell, Classic Rock, give this album a listen. Its free and you can listen to it here: http://smokingsection.uproxx.com/TSS/2011/07/download-dj-burn-one-the-ashtray
5) J Rocc- Some Cold Rock Stuf
J Rocc is a DJ/producer from Stones Throw Records and also formed the crew “Beat Junkies.” For his debut release, the veteran DJ creates some crazy ass songs which are very entertaining. What I love about these songs is that these instruments change and transform as they continue. It keeps you entertained and avoids being repetitive or boring. If you enjoyed DJ Shadow’s “Endtroducing…”, get this album.
4) Apollo Brown- Clouds
Apollo Brown is one awesome producer and one of my personal favorites. He has produced albums like “The Left- Gas Mask” & “Hassaan Mackey- Daily Beard.” Both great albums. As for “Clouds,” its also an excellent album. The beats on here make me feel like im floating on a cloud. They are very chill and they all flow really well. Tons of beats on this album have replay value to them. They impact you. Apollo Brown never seems to disappoint and this instrumental album proves it.
3) Sinitus Tempo- Abstrakt Mindz Thinc Ulike
You might be wondering? Who is Sinitus Tempo? He is an excellent jazz/hip hop producer who is heavily influenced by Nujabes. His latest album has really fantastic jazz samples and has that Nujabes feel to it. There are also rappers appearances on this album. The track “Razor’s Edge” is really dope and reminds me of something from the 90’s. If you like Nujabes, check this guy out asap. Also check out Sinitus Tempo’s past releases especially “Lovely Dreams” & “Soul Eater.”
2) Clams Casino- Instrumental Mixtape
Clams Casino is a new hot producer and damn is he a great one. The beats on his mixtape are out of this world. They sound like they are from space. Clams Casino has one of the most original styles I have ever heard. These beats contain banging bass, awesome synths, great vocal samples and are just.. something. They are incredibly banging and also stick with you for awhile. But the strangest thing is who he gives his beats to. He gives them to really shitty rappers like Lil B & Soulja Boy. Those artists dont deserve these beats at all. These beats are too good. However he has produced for Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky & even Big K.R.I.T. and I’m down with their music. Either way, check out this mixtape. Its even free.
1) Gramatik- Beatz & Pieces Vol. 1
I discovered Gramatik from his hit song “Stairway to Hip-Hop Heaven.” As you can guess, it samples the Led Zeppelin classic. And sampling a classic can be really risky cause no one wants to hear a classic ruined. However, Gramatik did a fantastic job and did no harm to the regular. Hearing that song got me interested in Gramatik’s other work. And his latest album was just outstanding. Like with J-Rocc’s album, every track on this album didnt bore me. Gramatik always throws in something new or a new sample to keep the instrumental entertaining. Gramatik takes on tons of different themes. There’s jazz, funk, classical, soul, even mobster music and more in this album. It all blends together with Gramatik’s style. Its an excellent listen. I highly recommend to check this album out. It contains the best production I have heard all year.
So that was my list, here are the next lists of the year:
Best Hip Hop Albums/Mixtapes of 2011 [honorable mentions]
Top 50 Best Hip Hop Albums/Mixtapes of 2011
MC & Producer of 2011
See you then.
This was one crazy year for hip hop. Tons of our famous artists and newcomers have released their most anticipated albums. However, some of these albums weren’t as amazing as we expected. And we were disappointed. We expected so much more but it was just a let down. So, here are the top 5 biggest album disappointments of 2011.
Before I begin, I just want to make it clear that I have tons of respect for these artists and I have enjoyed their past work.
5) J. Cole- Cole World: Th Sideline Story
To be fair, this isn’t a bad album. Its an alright album but for a debut, its disappointing. J. Cole is a rapper from Jay-Z’s record label “Roc Nation” and he has been getting tons of praise. Many people call him the new Nas. J. Cole has released 3 mixtapes before his debut, all being successful. So finally hearing a debut album from him was mos def gonna make this one of the most anticipated albums of the year. However, this album suffered from some flaws. One being, J. Cole got softer and corny. It sounds like he is trying to be as soft as Drake a.k.a. the Kitten Whispers and when he spits a corny line, I’m getting Lil Wayne flashbacks. With lines like “boy you cant outsmart me… I make you feel like you the shit, but boy you cant OUT-FART me.” There are pros about the album. J. Cole produced most of it and all the production on the album is great. And J. Cole has some really creative ideas and meaningful songs like Lost Ones & Breakdown. Other fantastic songs are Sideline Story and Dollar & a Dream III (which samples Kingdom Hearts). While there are songs here that I would give straight 10s to, the biggest flaw with this album is that its forgettable and I feel like it ends short. It makes me want more. Like I said, it ain’t a bad album but it ain’t no classic that everyone expected it to be.
4) Kanye West & Jay-Z- Watch the Throne
If you haven’t read my review about this album, I thought this album was meeehhh… The main problem with this album is that its fill of filler songs, failed attempts at being singles and its too short. Like with Cole World, there are songs here I would give straight 10s but that ain’t gonna save this album. The reason why this album is a letdown is cause you got 2 of the biggest names of hip hop making a full-length album together and we get shit like “Lift Off” & “Made in America.” Big disappointment. Word is that there are rumors for a sequel. I will give Hov & Yeezy another shot tho. I fucks with their music.
3) Lupe Fiasco- Lasers
Now I got nothing but love for Lupe Fiasco. Lupe is one of the favorite rappers and he makes some of the dopest music ever. I love his rhymes, his personality, his views and he’s also one smart motherfucka. Now that he has reached mainstream attention, it was only a matter of time for a new album. Before Lasers was released, the first two singles were fantastic. It was everything I loved about Lupe. But then Lasers was released and oh god…. Whats so bad about this album? Lets start with the good. Lupe Fiasco is doing his thing. The usual. Everything we love about Lupe is in this album but the biggest flaw (and its big) about Lasers is the production and the corny hooks. From top to bottom, these songs sound like something I would hear on Radio Disney. At some point, I thought the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus were gonna pop in. It sounds like this album was made only for radio play. This completely doesnt match with Lupe Fiasco’s style of rapping. He could be rapping about something important or motivating while there is a cheesy beat with it. Its like building a house with Lego’s but you’re missing some, so I have to use your Mega Blocks to replace them. They don’t go together. The only good songs on this album are the first two singles and the song “All Black Everything.” If this is the first time you’re hearing Lupe Fiasco, you’re hearding the wrong shit. Check out his albums “Food & Liquor” & “The Cool.” Those are really great albums. Lets hope this is the last time we hear such a disappointment from Lupe cause this is Lupe Fiasco’s Nastradamus or Lupe Fiasco’s Kingdom Come if you know what I mean.
2) Yelawolf- Radioactive
This album is actually better than Lasers but the disappointment meter is much MUCH higher with this album. Yelawolf is a Southern white rapper who is known for his dark take on Southern hip hop. While his successful mixtape “Trunk Muzik 0-60” was flawed, it made me want more from Yelawolf. I love his flow, I love how he tells a story and once again his dark take on the South. And then he signed to Eminem’s record label “Shady.” Since Yelawolf was working on his debut album with one of his biggest idols, I was expecting all the flaws in Trunk Muzik to be decreased and his skill as a rapper to increase. However, the flaws I had in Trunk Muzik skyrocketed. This album starts off really strong and the first 6 tracks are great. Hearing old Southern rappers like Mystikal & Gangsta Boo was nice. The party song “Hard White” was much better than the party song in Trunk Muzik. And the song “Growin Up in the Gutter” is just fucked up…… in a great way. But after “Throw it Up” this album gets much worse and worse. From songs 7 to 13, it sounds like this album was made just for radio play. It suffers from the same problem as Lasers. Even some of the people who worked on Lasers are on Radioactive. It sounds all sweet and shit. Completely doesnt match with Yelawolf. Songs like “Good Girl”, “Radio” & “Made in the USA” isn’t the shit I wanna hear from Yelawolf. The song “Write your Name” (produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League) sounds exactly like their beat from Rick Ross’ song “Aston Martin Music” just with added piano. And the incredibly corny hooks dont help the album either. Apparently he was working with OutKast & N.E.R.D. but that didn’t make the cut. Also, what happened to his really dope song “No Hands”? Radioactive picks back up with the final 2 tracks but they cant save this album. Who’s the blame for this mess of an album?
I fucking love Eminem. He’s one of my favorite rappers of all time but he’s the reason why this album sucked. He executive produced the album and thought the album should be soft and talk about girls. Its literally stated at the end of the song “Throw it Up” where Eminem tells Yelawolf he needs a song for girls. Eminem, stop with all this soft shit. Thats not what we wanna hear from you & Yelawolf. It pretty much ruined this album. Plus this album sold 41,000 copies its first week. Not that impressive. Hopefully, Yelawolf can make it up for a bad debut.
Before I begin with 1, I want you guys to not get upset. I’ll say it again. All the albums here are from artists I like. Ok? Number 1 is……
1) Tyler, the Creator- Goblin
Oh man… where to begin. I discovered Tyler like everyone else. Through his music video “Yonkers.” And I absolutely loved that song and the video that went with it. It was fucking awesome. Because of that video, Odd Future was everywhere. And they spread fast. People checked Odd Future’s older work and saw videos of Tyler and his gang. And Tyler is someone alot of teenagers and hipsters can relate to. Hes funny, strange, a troublemaker, awkward, honest, etc. And personally I like Tyler. Hes a strange character to relate to. But does that mean I have to like Goblin. No. I was looking forward to this album soooo much. I couldn’t wait to hear new music from Tyler. And when Goblin came out, I just couldn’t enjoy it. I know alot of friends enjoy this album but I couldn’t. I tried and I tried to enjoy it but it has way too many flaws. For one, Tyler whines alot. I respect Tyler’s use of honesty but here its just boring and at one point upset me. He whines about blogs, and he just does this kinda shit for shock value and saids he’s just fiction. So he’s just this fake ass kid who is whining about criticism. Boo Fucking Hoo. Now I know that Tyler isnt this devil worshipper nut but stating that in your album just defeats the point. Feels like I’m not even listening to an album. Just someone whining. And it gets worse, the production. The production is god awful. The weak ass synths and boooooooring beats ruin this album even more. It sounds like something off a trial version of Fruity Loops. The beats on Bastard weren’t amazing but they were much better than these. Speaking of Bastard, I was expecting Goblin to be Bastard times 10. I liked the album Bastard. It showed all of the Tyler’s strong points.
The only good things about Goblin are the songs Yonkers, Sandwitches, Her, Nightmare and the Waka Flocka parody “Bitch Suck Dick.” Like I said, I like Tyler’s honesty but when hes dissin blogs and complaining, I just dont care about it. Why should I buy an album just so I can hear someone whine about pointless shit. The problem is that the fame effected Tyler’s talents in the worst way possible. I honestly wasnt surprised it was gonna do this but I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad. So yea I dont like this album but its not worst I heard this year. But it was mos def a huge disappointment. But there is on question I always asked myself. Why do white people and hipsters like Tyler, the Creator? Why is Odd Future mostly mentioned on indie sites? The answer. Its because these hipsters are young and can relate with Tyler. And it is a strange & interesting character. Plus they like that kinda dark music. However, if you like dark music or hell, you consider Tyler “horrorcore,” you’re listening to the wrong music. Listen to Brotha Lynch Hung’s latest album “Coathanga Strangla.” Thats a horrorcore album. It will give you chills. But, if you like Goblin? Its all good. No problem with that. However, if you consider Goblin to be revolutionary or hell, you consider it to be the Best Hip Hop Album of 2011, its plan obvious its the only hip hop album you’ve fully listened to cause there are tons and tons of hip hop albums that were released this year that are much better than Goblin. And to proof it, later this month I will be releasing a new list which is “The Top 50 Best Hip Hop Albums/Mixtapes of 2011.” Wait till you see. Alright, peace.