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?