Whoa… it’s that time already!?!?! It’s been a great year this year. But then again I say that every year. Some seriously top notch stuff but the one thing I noticed is the marked increase in collaborative projects. Be it MC.Producer, MC/MC or even Producer/Producer lot of our best and brightest got together for full length collabos. And yes, a few of those made my favourites list. Lets get down to business! And remember, this is not one of those ‘semi-official’ best of lists (i’ll leave those to the more established heads. These are MY FAVOURITE albums from the past 12 months. Like / don’t like, lemme know.
Celph Titled & Buckwild: Nineteen Ninety Now
My favourite album of 2010! superb from start to finish, Celph is made for these beats. I can only assume that sample issues prevented these beats from being used by other MC’s a lot earlier as I can’t believe they were passed over by anyone. I just hope that there is more in the pipeline from these 2.
The first of my ‘Free’ favourites. Tiron went the Illmatic route and kept things short and sweet. Not a skippable track to be found. and that DJ Dahi should be an awful lot busier.
Lewis Parker & John Robinson: International Summers
Lewis Parker, arguably the UK’s finest recent Hip Hop export. Man with the golden touch is right. Partnered this go round by the often overlooked John Robinson over probably his finest collection of neck snappers to date.
Kev Turner: Soul City Music (beats by Detayl)
I’ve always been an East Coast head. NAs, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang etc. I have always leaned to the right when it came to Hip Hop politics anyway. Kev Turner & Detayl’s collabo invokes thosefeelings in me whenever i listen to it… and I listen to it a lot.
Ty: Special Kind Of Fool
My 2nd favourite release this year. Everytimehe puts something out it makes my list (Closer did it 2 years ago). There is an understated quirkiness about Ty’s sound. Always bearing a message, Ty hasmastered the art of edutainment. Positive messages wrapped up in awesome beat choices and superb wordplay.
To be honest I love all things Tanya Morgan/Von Pea certified. Both Of these are on regular rotation on my Blackberry/Ipod and will be for some time to come.
J. Cole: Friday Night Lights
I’m not afraid to say that I was very late on this guy. The first time I really caught him was when I had Reflection Eternals Just Begun on constant repeat. And being honest, I only decided to grab this when I read that Hov had signed him (how shallow am I). No more will I ignore the talents on display on Friday Night Lights.
Ramson Badbonez: The Official Volume 2
& Give Badbonez A Break
I just can’t get over how good Ramson’s flow is. It could easily have faded after he initially blew up but he has proved that he is here for the long haul. So while we wait for his 1st official album this is more than enough to tide me over for now. Having more original beats on here than on volume 1 is an added extra. With Give Ramson A Break IQ & Gone have provided the original ‘Breaks’ to some of Hip Hops finest music for a backdrop. The first & last tracks are two of my favs of the lat few months (yes I am a man of simple pleasures).
Kashmere: Galaktus – Power Cosmic
I have always considered Kashmere’s interstellar flows to be the stuff of UK Hip Hop legend. I have also considered the beat making talents of Zygote (another album please) and Jazz T to be in that same bracket. And then they got together for Power Cosmic. Otherworldly organized chaos never sounded so good.
Clear Soul Forces: Departure EP
Another of my favourite freeness. I’d never heard anyhting of these guys at all before I grabbed this EP. If you are in that category now I strongly suggest you do as I did, you won’t be disappointed.
Hocus Pocus: 16 Pieces
I think i understand about 3 percent of what these guys are actually saying on their songs (unless an english speaking collaborator is present on the track). But we all know a nice flow when we hear it and besides, everything Hocus Pocus put out is among the finest examples of Jazz Hop of this Hip Hop generation.
Prose: Force OF Habit
Put simply, Prose do Boom Bap, and they do it very well indeed. Nuff said i’d say
JazzyFact: Lifes Like
Wow! what an album! Like Hocus Pocus I don’t understand a lot of what these guys are saying but like the aforementioned 16 Pieces, Lifes Like is also a superb example of Jazz Hop.
David Banner & 9th Wonder: Death Of A Pop Star
Just when it seemed that 9ths best work was going to be exclusively heard on mixtapes. Along comes the much promo’d Death Of A Pop Star. A few heads compared Banners flow to his Crooked Letterz days. So I revisited old pastures & I can see what they mean. 9th Wonder saved his best for last in my opinion.
Life: Life Beyond Rap
Whether going solo or as part of the Phi-Life collective, Life MC hasn’t missed a socio-political beat. That plus his undeniable chemistry with one of the UK’s finest, DJ Nappa, makes Life Beyond Rap arguably UK Hip Hops finest release this year.
And so I saved my (3rd) favourite release of 2010 til last. In my view, How I Got Over sees the roots return to the heady heights of Things Fall Apart. Yes I know Rising down is also an awesome album but this just trumps it for me. It would’ve been my obvious choice for favourite if Celph & Buck hadn’t created awesomeness personified!
My Honourable mentions:
Majestik Legend – The Great Escape
Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids
Black Milk – Album Of The Year
Kanye West – My Dark Twisted Fantasy
Skyzoo & Illmind – Live From The Tape Deck
and thats a wrap
see you next year…. p e a c e