Monday, December 31, 2012

My Top 5 Hip-Hop Albums of 2012

It's the Last day of 2012! I decided to do a few Top 5 lists to close out the year.  Remember these picks are all my opinion, but let me know what you were feelin the last 365.

5. Killer Mike - R.a.p Music

Killa Kill collabs with indie hip hop producer El-P on this high energy mission statement. Killer Mike's lyrics are potent as ever over El-Ps minimal yet menacing electronic production. This album is meant to provoke thoughts and opinions on everything from hip-hop, politics, the crack epidemic, and rollin with 'blunts and bibles'. None of these topics are new to rap, but don't feel stale either. I think this is also a testament to the chemistry between Mike and El-P, well done guys.

Top Tracks: Southern Fried, Regan, Butane  

4. Oddisee - People Hear What They See

'They say you've got your whole life to make your first album', raps the DC Producer/MC on the first song of People hear what they see; and it was well worth the wait. Oddisee has lent his soulful production to some of indie hip hops biggests names over the years, while also crafting his own label; Mellow Music Group. This debut has Oddisee's signature sound with some great live instrumentation to take all these tracks to the next level. His lyrics are introspective at times, but focused mostly on the world around him. The vibe is smooth and meaningful, definitely my sleeper pick and well worth the listen.

Top Tracks: Let it Go, Maybes, Another Grind

3. Big Krit - Live From The Underground

Young Krizzle has given away more great music than some rappers ever even make, so it's no suprise his first album continues his progression. To me, what I first thought was a weakness became this albums greatest strength. Big Krit is unapologetic about being from the South, and this album reflects that to the fullest. No electro-crossover tracks or pop star laden hooks here, Krit drenches every song in the sounds of the South that raised him. This makes the album incredibly cohesive, which is a rarity these days. By the time you reach the Live From the Underground Reprise, you'll realize you just took a ride with one of the games brightest young dual threats.

Top Tracks: Pull Up, Yea Dats Me, Live from the Underground (Reprise)

2. Nas - Life Is Good

I'm a huge Nas fan, and he's always at his best when he's recalling his personal life. He overcame the streets of Queens in Illmatic. He gave us insight on losing a parent while winning one of the greatest rap battles ever with God's Son (yea I said it, Nas won!). Even the controversial Hip Hop is dead  had me leaning in to hear what he had to say about the embattled state of music. Life is good sees Nas once again reflecting over some major life issues, most notably his divorce from Kelis. From the albums opening cut, No Introduction, Nas balances personal tales of his past and present over some of his most elegant production ever. Lyrically, Nas is Nas, meaning one of the greatest to ever do it. To me, this album speaks on things no other Mcs of his stature wouldn't dare touch. Can anybody say the song Daughters isn't a new and interesting perspective to hear from a rapper? Nope.  This could be a monumental project for hip hop. It shows one of the genres most recognizable artists aging gracefully, even if some of his fans are still 'trapped in the 90s'

Top Tracks: Where's the Love, Cherry Wine, Stay  

 1. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.a.a.d City  

Yup no suprise here; not much to say about this album that hasnt already been said but here we go. With all the hype leading up to the TDE rappers debut, Kenrick Lamar lived up to and exceeded expectations. This and Nas were neck and neck, but what sets this album apart is the cinematic narrative that flows throughout. I'm a sucker for concept albums, and this is one of the best I've EVER heard. From the laidback groove of Money Trees, to the confession filled character study on Sing about me, Lamar tells a bittersweet story thats more uplifting than maddening.

Top Tracks: Bitch don't kill my vibe, Money Tress, Black Boy Fly   Honorable Mentions:
Alchemist - Russian Roulette
Ab-Soul - Control System

What were your Tops of 2012?

Top 5 Mixtapes/EPs of 2012

It's the Last day of 2012! I decided to do a few Top 5 lists to close out the year. Remember these picks are all my opinion, but let me know what you were feelin the last 365.


Trapstep, Trap Beats, Trap... whatever, this EP was the most solid collection of originals of it this year. Lunice and Hudson Mohawk make a great team, lets hope they keep it rollin.
Top Track: Gooo

4. Big Sean - Detroit

Solid tape from Big Sean,.I'm still somewhat surprised at his consistency here.
Top Tracks: 24 k of Gold, Experimental    

 3. Catching Flies - The Stars EP

I came across Catching Flies not that long ago but really loved his Stars EP. Laid back beats, lush electronic production and smooth vocal samples make this a downtempo delight.
Top Track: The Stars      

2. Joey Badass - 1999

Joey Bad@ss came out of nowhere with this golden era hip hop throwback. Great track selection and potent flows will have you grooving on a rainy day. Dude must've been played early 90's hip hop while in the womb, cuz the 17 year old made one of the most enjoyable mixtapes of 2012.
Top Tracks: Summer Knights, HardKnock, Snakes  

 1. Mickey Factz - Mickey Mau5e  

Mickey Factz could've simply done a crossover mixtape with electronic/dubstep beats like so many others have done. Instead he created a concept album starring an entirely alternate persona too. The story of 'Mau5e', a graffiti artist from the 80's, is truly unlike any other mixtape listen of 2012. Some of the parallels between Mickey Factz and his character Mau5e are what take this work to another level.
Top Tracks: Memoirs of ? Entry 1, Hulk Hogan & Crack, Union Square    

What were your Tops of 2012?

Guilty Pleasure/Party Starter of 2012

One track I hated to love and one the slayed the dancefloor.

Guilty Pleasure  of 2012

Future -Turn on the Lights

I can't Lie, this song jams! I really dig the structure of the beat and Future did his autotune thang, somehow it works!

Party Starter of 2012

Good Music - Clique

With so many great remixes and re-edits, this is the one I loved throwing in the mix to get things poppin. 'Mercy' might have been a bigger single, but 'Clique' had the better hook.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dope Gifs: Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas Everybody!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Listen: A$AP Rocky '1 Train'

The web is goin crazy off the recent release of the ASAP Rocky song, 1 train.  All of the featured rappers here have dropped at least one critically acclaimed project in the past few years, and it's dope hearing so much potential over this Hit-Boy beat. Swing by HipHopDx for a listen or click the pic below:

Here's how I rank the verses from this posse cut:

7th - A$AP Rocky
6th - Kendrick Lamar
5th - Action Bronson
4th - Danny Brown
3rd - Yelawolf
2nd - Joey Bad@ss

1st - Big K.R.I.T

What did you think?