There are those that are to be expected, there are those that over time started to wear down my ear drums, then there are those that came straight out of leftfield like a slap on the cheek on a brisk winters morning (albeit a lot more pleasurable). Yet however they made it, they make up my 2nd annual favourites list. I have to say that I find it rather amusing when some of my fellow scribes drop things like "if this album or that album isn't on your best of list, you're not Hip Hop", or something along those lines. It may be a tongue in cheek remark, but intentional or not we shouldn't be trying to influence our fellow bloggers opinions. After all, that is what most blogs (write ups) are based on, opinions. That's why this is a list of my personal favs. As usual, i had a hard time separating a few but below is where i ended up. Remember these are just my personal favourites. holla back!
The ultimate in quirky UK swagger. I can't remember hearing drums quite like some of what's on show here anywhere else. The cross genre appeal of United Colours... is undeniable. With each release Orifice, Dag, Metropolis & DJ Nonames just get better with each new release. Overlook this at your peril.
I'm still wondering why I had never added this one to my regular rotation list. I've been playing it regularly for about 2 months straight. I had always meant to review it but never actually got round to it, which is doing this albums greatness a grave disservice. It is these kind of discoveries that reignite my faith in Hip Hop.
He’s done it himself, he’s done it with Blu and now he's done it again with Fashawn. It seems that any project Exile touches turns to platinum (metaphorically speaking unfortunately). But don't think this is purely a beat driven decision as Fash is a wordsmith of the highest calibre. An MC with a message, some substance, and an shedload of mic skills.
Quite easily the most original album on my list. This politically driven mix of Indie, Funk, Drum n Bass, Grime and Hip Hop, incorporates live instrumentation throughout and as such the tunes are catchy as hell. But this also an album full of jewels provided by none other than Lowkey. Ably assisted by a concoction of The Arctic Monkeys, Babyshambles & Reverend and the Makers. Reel them in with the great tunes and hit 'em with the heat when they're caught. In my view this should be verging on greatness but will probably be consigned to life under the radar.
This one came at me from nowhere to ultra repetitive play. And the worst thing is I had this in my collection a couple of months ago. Such is its quality I am embarrassed I didn't jump on it sooner. Big up the Bloggerhouse crew!
My personal pick for the best MC in the game right now. He murders everything his touches. Yet he does it with such substance that I always find myself rewinding because of what he said and how he said it. You can’t say that about many of today’s lyricists. As for the beats, ooooooh ant. You bloody genius. And ain’t nobody gonna tell me any different!
Say what you like about the accent but that doesn’t change the fact that this album is an example of what Hip Hop is all about. His formula has never changed but when it works this well, why bother.
This guy has always been pretty much at the forefront of my thoughts whenever the Neo-Soul Movement is mentioned. All of his releases are of the highest standard and this one is no different. I still can’t believe there are people out there who profess to love there modern soul, yet have no idea who this guy is.
Moonlighting is a great album. Brooklynati is even better. The beats have moved up a notch and as usual the rhymes are supperb. Yet its the concept behind it all that solidified it’s place in my list. A Cross betweeen Brooklyn and Cincinnati!?! This has gotta be the most original concept of the last few years right (let alone ‘09).
The talent is just as great as it was the first time. Hip Hops everyman for us over here returns just as hungry as before. But there's no escaping the fact that he is being accompanied by a selection of even better beats this time round with M-Phazes and Jehst among the selectors of choice.
I have always been a big fan of this guys flow. His album with regular PNC 9th Wonder is still in regular rotation on my Ipod/Blackberry. I was just hoping that his beat choices matched his delivery. The Salvation is an apt. Title.
Finally its here. This is a man who, so far, hasn't missed a beat with any of his albums. This, his latest album, may not be as personal but with the obviously suggestive title it was never meant to be. Whether inwardly perceptive or outwardly sensual, the vocals are always spot on. Justin may shift more units, but this man is my champion for mainstream rnb.
The third release from the Brothers Thornton, doesn't quite reach the same echelon as the previous 2. But look at what this year had bought mainstream Hip Hop. in my opinion this is still way beyond most of 2009's other contenders.
Quite simply awesome! Gem after gem after gem is dropped with amazing regularity. The beats that were selected to drop them over however are bordering on the stuff of legend. If your gonna put out a mixtape, this has gotta be a blueprint for how its done. Oooooh The Golden Age.
How do these guys do it. The combo of Sonny, Geechi and Ski (Beats) behind the boards has always been a match made in retrofied heaven. How and why ski isn't a much busier man continues to be a mystery to me. Loaah!, have a niche all their own and play their roles superbly. All time favourites of mine and long may that continue.
Dynas sophomore effort and first via BBE also happens to contain my personal fav headnod this year. Family jewels is an undercover banger (with slick rick thrown in for good measure). No weaknesses here at all yet its dynas' varied yet charimatic flow the drives this one from start to finish.
There are those who don't consider this to be as good as Fun DMC. That as may be (I still got from start to finish without skipping a track though) but those folks should now compare Carried Away with most of the alternatives. These guys simply don't do wack.
Sorry Bus but if it was a boxing match, your mixtape would take on the mantle of floyd mayweather. Quite why you didn't release such outstanding material as the album only you will know. As it is the mixtape proves that you still are a man to be reckoned with on the mic and that DJ Scratch is still just as savage behind the boards.
These dudes are gritty. Real talk from start to finish. Yet the unabashed grit of earlier releases has been replaced by a sharper, more focused approach. The results are a far more polished effort. And the guys take on the Wu classic C.R.E.A.M. is lyrically genius.
Loose Girl stream
Madlib at his awesome best, SAS tenderizing the mic, plus a couple of scene stealing cameos. Means that this will be on repeat on my ipod well into 2010. Peep the review.
And so the Principles, ear for beats and errrr... Gem dropping skills are being passed througout this already burgeoning crew with the emergence of Phoenix. Read the review for the rest but needless to say, anything Triple Darkness release is fire.
The critics were silenced when Rae let this baby loose. The tone carries on right where part 1 left off. It may not quite carry the classic undertones of its predecessor, but it comes mighty close. This is near classic stuff to me. And Dre let this pass him by!?!?!
My Honourable mentions: