What it do DS thugs and scrubs? It’s ya boy Vill finally getting my feet wet with these new blogs. I’ve been slacking, because life’s been keeping me nice and busy, so I can’t complain. Enough about me though, let’s get down to business. With December coming to an end, I thought I’d throw together a “Best of 2012″ list to wrap up the year. Obviously, these are all my opinions, so try no to get too butt hurt.
I don’t know about y’all, but I thought ’12 was a good year for collaborations. I mean they seem to be popping up like Walgreen’s in this b*tch, but despite the high quantity there were quite a few projects that brought the quality to it. I’ve always said Hip Hop is the most competitive AND collaborative form of art. Here’s a look at a few of the years highlights in the collab category, no Slaughterhouse-Black Hippy, but oh well – let’s take a look and see what we got:
Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa – Mac n Devin Go to High School OST
Travis Barker & Yelawolf – Psycho White EP
Harry Fraud & _____
Curren$y & Styles P – #TheFirst48
Sheek Louch (+ D-Block) & Ghostface Killa (+Wu-Tang Clan) – Wu-Block
G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
A$AP Mob – Lord$ Never Worry
11. Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap (Documentary by Ice-T)
I have to say this was one of the biggest surprises for me of 2012. Not only is the doc well done and informative, I think it provides a very good description of the birth and growth of this thing called Hip Hop, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the acapella freestyles by a few elite MCs that were some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. And even though he hasn’t contributed much to the genre in quite a while, Ice-T makes a great host and narrator for the documentary.
10. Cleveland Bus Driver Upper Cut
This doesn’t exactly have anything to do with Hip Hop, however if weren’t for WSHH, Twitter and rappers love for ratchetness, the world would probably have never seen this highlight in the history of mankind lol. Seriously though, I have never seen a heaux more deserving of this humiliation and thankfully the bus driver doesn’t seem to be getting much criticism for his epic fisticuffs. Here’s to hoping we hear some hilarious bus driver uppercut punchlines in 2013.
9. New School MCs
Now, there are more struggle bars being spit by sub-par rappers these days than any other time in history, however, there are a few cats keeping it funky and real for us Hip Hop heads. While this past generation of MCs (late 90s to early 00s) helped put Hip Hop in the public eye and get it the recognition it deserves, this younger generation seems to be getting Hip Hop back to its roots (for the most part). Here’s a few youngin’s who had a good year and will probably have many more to come:
8. Pusha T
One half of The Clipse, Pushaton, must be Ye’s choice to be what Drake is for YM, Meek for MMG and Juicy J to Taylor Gang. Ye’s been putting Pusha on like he owes him a couple bands, like Pusha gave Ye some DMT so he could talk wit his momma. I wasn’t a fan of any track on Cruel Summer that didn’t have Pusha on it, and he dropped one of the hardest diss tracks of the year, (“Exodus”), taking on one of the Goliath’s of the rap industry. It feels like every MC is looking for a Pusha verse and I, for one, salute him for sticking to his grind until he got the props he deserves. Wooooooo *Ric Flair voice*
7. O.N.I.F.C. Cover
Nah, but this album is what Rolling Papers should have been. I’m not mad at this album at all. It helped remind me why I’m a fan
6. Harry Fraud
Mr. Fraud was this years Lex Luger, except his beats don’t sound the same 90% of the time. He did joint mixtapes with Spitta and Smoke DZA, plus countless tracks with a plethora of artists. I hope to hear many more beats from the homie.
5. channel ORANGE
Seeing as R&B is Hip Hop’s more attractive, less ratchet older sister, I figured it was only right to give props where they are more than due. I’m no dummy, I know Frank’s coming out helped boost the sales and popularity (which probably had everything, I mean something, to do with the timing), but that doesn’t change the fact that this album is simply amazing. And how messed up is it that a bi-sexual cat is coming out with the best tunes to seduce a young woman to (other than maybe The Weeknd)? After GKMC, this album probably got the most rotations on my iPod this year.
4. Top Dawg Entertainment
So can we just go ahead and officially name these cats the future of Hip Hop? Ab-Soul and ScHoolboy Q dropped the 2 dopest Indie rap albums of the year. Jay Rock was a little quiet after dropping Follow Me Home last year, but still had some dope tracks and features here and there. And Kendrick… we’ll get to him later. They had 3 of the very few dope freestyles at this year’s BET Award Cyphers. Oh, and I forgot to mention they signed to a little label called Aftermath. You may have heard of them. If you’re like me, you can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the near future. #HiiiPower
3. Life is Good
For a while this was “album of the year,” once again, we’ll get to that later. Nas did something very difficult with this album; he combined lyricism, storytelling, introspective and retrospective tracks, put them all on dope production, and he did this at the age of 39. If you ask me, that’s just as impressive as dropping a classic debut album at the age of 20. I mean I don’t even have a child, let alone a daughter and I was rocking out to that song like I had 2 plus 1 on the way. Not too many, and by not too many I mean zero, MCs are dropping records like this after being in the game for over a decade, or in Nas’ case, almost over two decades.
Hip Hop has come full circle. Back in the day, mixtapes held you over till your favorite emcee dropped an album. Nowadays mixtapes are what an artist(s) releases to keep hardcore fans happy while sheep drool over their album. And hell, who’s going to complain when there are just as many mixtapes with original production as there are with recycled beats? Regardless, the mixtape game is making a killing while record sales continue to dwindle. And this year saw many, many dope mixtapes. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Psalm 82 v 6 – Crooked I
Starvation – Ace Hood
On the House – Slaughterhouse
4EvaNaDay – Big K.R.I.T.
5 (Murder by Numbers) – 50 Cent
The SOUL Tape 2 – Fabolous
Babyface Killa – Freddie Gibbs
ROYALTY – Childish Gambino
Taylor Alderdice – Wiz Khalifa
Ambitions Az A Writer – Horseshoe G.A.N.G.
Detroit – Big Sean
V6 – Lloyd Banks
Ammunition EP – Chamillionaire
Warning Shots 3 – Saigon
1. Good Kid, m.A.A.d City/Kendrick Lamar
My choice for the very best of 2012 goes to Kendrick Lamar and his debut album. I give the top spot to the album and the artist, because even without the other, one could stand alone as the stand out of ’12. Starting with the album – this is the most complete, fluid and thought provoking album I’ve heard since I can remember. Classics have to stand the test of time but I’m going to get on my Tom Tom ish and say this will be considered a classic 10, 20, etc, years down the road. The production was excellent, lyrics, excellent, content, excellent, concept, excellent. It was the best debut since Illmatic. Now, to the man himself, K.Dot is this years MVP even without GKMC. Radio hits with “The Recipe” and “Swimming Pools,” features on features on top of features, dope loose tracks, signing with Aftermath, smashin’ Lady Gaga… you name it, Kendrick probably accomplished it this year. He’s got to be making other MCs mad, because he’s proved that you can have lyricism, commercial appeal, a personal touch and stay true to the art without having to compromise anything.
-Jesus Piece- Game ended a long streak of Ls with this album. Spectacular production, but way too many features, but it is, what it is.
-The Stoned Immaculate- another big surprise of 2012. Spitta took what he’s always done and took it to another level. Exactly how established mixtape artists should do it
-Kenny Seigel’s (of Horseshoe GANG) verse on “Team COB” (Psalm82:6)- One of the best extended metaphors ever, incredible verse.
“Kenny is a beast, so niggas is whatever
You touch screen niggas y’all sensitive to pressure
My flow switches like the weather vicious with the letters
I’m murder on top of sheets every written is a stretcher
No deputy but step to me if you want the heat
Low key so they can’t detect if I’m on the street
If you want the purp step into my office sir
We can even share if you wanna chief
But if there’s no loot in it I ain’t gonna speak
‘Cause I hustle while you’re under cover I ain’t gonna sleep
While I’m still making references to police like a racist cop
Niggas scared when I’m on the beat”
I also recommend taking a listen to his verse on “Team 6” off of Ambitions As a Writer. I can’t find the lyrics, but it’s probably too long to post anyway. Regardless, he spits some heat on that track as well
Well there you have it. My list of the best things Hip Hop offered over the past year. In retrospect, it’s been a pretty damn good year for Hip Hop. And while the bad will only get worse, I see Hip Hop getting better as a whole in the next few years. So here’s to a good year and to even better years to come. Deuces
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog are solely those of the blog post author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Defsounds.com.