Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cicero's Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2013

Welp the year is about gone but before we get to the end of 2013, here is my top 10 Hip-Hop projects.  This is completely my opinion and I factored in a few things when putting the list together.  
- Sonic Value -  From production to flows & hooks, how good does it sound?

- Replay Value - How many times have I personally come back to jam to this album throughout the year.
- Execution - What was the album trying to accomplish and how well it did that.

- Live Value- Being a Dj, I decided to factor in how I feel crowds would respond to some tracks on these  albums. It's not all about me, sometimes it's about the people. Here we go!

10. Deltron 3030 - Event 2

The Long awaited followup to the classic sci-fi concept album, I was pumped for this release.  Not quite as cohesive as the first one, but just as creative and ambitious. I mean just take a look at their live show, dope!
Fav Tracks: City Rising from the Ashes, Look across the sky, The Agony

9. Childish Gambino - Because the Internet

Gambino comes back from the shortcomings of Royalty with an album that unfolds like a short film.  Each track has its own distinct feel and artistry to it.  This late release might have moved up if I had more time to listen

Fav Tracks: I.crawl, IV.sweatpants, III telegraph ave

8. Kevin Gates -Luca Brasi Story

Kevin Gates put out two projects this year but this is my favorite.  His southern delivery is very distinctive and catchy all while being powerful or vulnerable when needed.  All the beats bang too, this dude will be on national radio really soon.
Fav. Tracks: Neon Lights, Counting on ya, Paper Chasers

7. A.Dd+ - DiveHiFlyLo Every Man is King

The Dallas duo dropped their long awaited album later in the year but it's been bangin in my truck ever sense. Dope production here with great chemistry between Paris P and Slim Gravy.  These guys are making really good Texas Hip-Hop but not defined by the region, don't miss out.

Fav Tracks: Drive Safely, Can't Come Down, Paris Pen

6. Action Bronson - Blue Chips 2

Add some playful East Coast lyricism, nostalgic samples from Party supplies, and hilarious sports references and you've got another tasty dish served up by Action Bronson.  Put this in, have a laugh, and vibe out.

Fav Tracks: 9-24-13, Pepe Lopez, Action Silverado,


Eminem is an unrivaled lyricist, we all know this, but its great hear him back in rare form on MMLP2.
I find myself just shaking my head at some of his lyrics & wordplay on this thing they're that good.  That said, I haven't found myself wanting to listen back to the album much mainly because of some sketchy hooks here and there.
Fav Tracks: Evil Twin, Brainless,

4.Ghostface Killah - 12 Reasons to Die

Adrian Younge creates a vivid sonic backdrop to accompany the gruesome story that Ghostface delivers firsthand on 12 Reasons to Die. You can get lost in the top notch production or visualize this concept album track by track. I'm not bangin this on the daily but this album is what a good Quentin Tarantino movie feels like.
Fav Tracks: Just listen to it from start to finish lol

3.Chance the Rapper - Acid Rap

The 20 year old Chicago MC came outta nowhere with a great project.  True his style is unorthodoxed, but it works once you buy into it.  Replay value is through the roof here, all the beats are great at helping paint his picture.  This is quirky, soulful album that you have to check out if somehow you missed it.

Fav Tracks: Everybodys Somebody, Smoke Again, Acid Rain

2.Killer Mike + El-P - Run the Jewels

These guys were at it again in 2013 with another powerful project.  It doesn't hurt that I saw them Live in Austin at Mohawk, but the music speaks for itself.  Mike & El-P trade rapid fire flows all while having a message and purpose.  You can ride to this, party to it, or start a revolution to it, the choice is yours.

Fav Tracks: Sea Legs, Banana Clipper, DDFH

 1. Danny Brown-Old

Danny Brown had a tough task following up XXX but damnit he delivered.  Old is an important album cuz to me, its a perfect blend of where Hip-Hops been and where it's headed.  The first half travels through Dannys rise out of his drug dealing roots in Detroit over great production for traditional hip hop listeners.  The 2nd half follows his present party lifestyle as a jet-setting, hedonistic rap star doing sold out shows at EDM events.  Lyrically this thing is killer; Dannys at the top of his game. He knows when to be deep and when to turnup for the twerkers.  Some won't wanna indulge in the trap induced second half, but for me it's got some of the best party tracks of the year.  There's something on this album for everybody.  In the end, this album scored big in all of my requirements along with painting a great portrait of the 2 sides of Danny Brown.    

Fav Tracks: 25 Bucks, Float On, Break it Go, Gremlins

Honorable Mention:
Oddisee - Tangible Dream
Jay-z - Magna Carta Holy Grail
Vince Staples - Stolen Youth

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Look Back: Cold In December

As I continue to record for my next project Cicero Mode 4.0, I decided to look back at one track from my last Cicero Mode. Here's the track I did with my homie Concept, produced by Rupert the Duke 'Cold In December'.  We did the song all through emails and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  With the sudden change in weather, this seemed like a good joint to revisit. Enjoy!