Monday, 8 July 2013

Top 5 Albums of 2013 So Far...

Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay (caused by exams and travel) but I'm back with a relatively short entry on my top 5 albums of the midyear so far (albums released before the end of June). To be honest, 2013 has not been that great of a year for Hip-Hop so far. After a much anticipated wait for both Kanye West's Yeezus and J. Cole's Born Sinner, both projects ended up being disappointing on some level and there has been a very small amount of albums that have wowed me this year; especially compared to last year (midyear releases included: El-P's Cancer 4 Cure, Lushlife's Plateau Vision, ScHoolboy Q's Habits & Contradictions, Death Grips' The Money Store, Ab-Soul's Control System, Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music, etc...). However, my picks for this year so far have been incredible albums, all worth your time and money. So without further adieu, I give you my top 5 albums of the midyear so far!

5- Twelve Reasons to Die - Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge:
Ghostface Killah has always been my favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan for his immaculate flow and vivid storytelling. For these traits, its no surprise that this album would land on my list. Twelve Reasons to Die is a concept album that truly shows how great Ghostface can tell a horror story with incredible detail. He allows you to be transported into the storyline of the concept and witness the murders and drug deals that occur. He portrays a character that's very violent, gory, inhuman but strong and determined. Adrian Younge handled the production on this album and did a fantastic job. His production is stellar and sounds like he's orchestrating an opera or scoring a movie. The chemistry between him and Ghostface seems natural and I hope they collaborate more in the future. The features were all great, adding more depth and character development to the story. If you're a Ghostface Killah fan, I highly recommend you listen to this album. It truly is a great listening experience. I hear Ghostface is dropping the second installment of the Supreme Clientele series and a collaborative album with MF DOOM which should both be dope as hell. So keep your eye out for those. 

Favorite Track: Beware of the Stare - I Declare War - Enemies All Around Me

4- King Remembered in Time - Big K.R.I.T.:
Continuing his streak of incredible albums, Big K.R.I.T. came back with yet another stand-out self-produced mixtape. To be honest, I wasn't feeling this mixtape from the first listen, however as I sat with it longer and started dissecting it, I grew to appreciate it a lot more. Big K.R.I.T. is still as lyrical and personal as ever, if not more, yet he still manages to not repeat himself. He continues to make quality albums, all of which are distinctively diverse. The production was stepped up a lot more this time around, with Big K.R.I.T. experimenting with different sounds yet yielding lots of success. Big K.R.I.T. continues to impress me with his awesome albums and I'm looking forward to his collaborative album with Yelawolf. Be sure to check this mixtape out!

Favorite Tracks: WTF - R.E.M. - Banana Clip Theory - Bigger Picture 

3- Czarface - Inspectah Deck & 7L & Esoteric:
Czarface has been an album that I have repeatedly played over the months. This album brings back the 90s feel of Hip-Hop, especially with 7L's dope production. Inspectah Deck and Esoteric spit incredible verses, incorporating super hero and comic book references that are sure to bring out the nerd in all of the comic book fans. They show how they can lyrically go back and forth on tracks like World War 4, It's Raw and Rock Beast. You'd think after years of them being in the game, they would run out of things to say. But they prove themselves by delivering some of the best verses of the year. They're both very underrated artists (people forget Inspectah Deck was on Wu-Tang's classic C.R.E.A.M.) and I hope many people listen to this album. The guest features play a large role to the success of the album, with Action Bronson, Roc Marciano and Vinnie Paz dropping dope verses and Ghostface Killah killing his verse. Overall, this albums is absolutely incredible and is sure to entertain with all of the spastic flows, delivery, pop culture references and hard hitting punchlines. 

Favorite Tracks: Savagely Attack (Feat. Ghostface Killah) - Rock Beast - World War 4 - Cement 3's (Feat. Roc Marciano) 

2- Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P):
With the success of Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music and El-P's Cancer 4 Cure and their new found chemistry last year, the duo teamed up and joined together to create a collaborative album that I cannot stop listening to (along with my number 1 album). With only 10 songs, this album is doing what 18-track albums are failing to do which is; create a project that appeals both lyrically and sonically. El-P and Killer Mike have clearly not missed a step since last year and have spit some of the illest verses of the year. The chemistry between these two surpasses any collaborative project released in a while (ex. Bad Meets Evil, The Throne etc...). Never does this album bore or drag, and the punchlines the rappers spit are dope as hell. El-P hitting you with the complex rhymes that require decoding to fully appreciate and Killer Mike hits you with the straight up clear meaning but still "don't fuck with me" lyrics. Lines like Killer Mike's "Producer gave me a beat, said its the beat of the year/I said El-P didn't do it so get the fuck out of here" show the chemistry and passion these MCs got. El-P's production is incredible, creating a vibe that doesn't sound like neither R.A.P. Music nor Cancer 4 Cure. He creates a sound that is uniquely yet strictly just Run the Jewels. Me talking won't do this album justice. Its up for free download so go and download it asap! You won't (or shouldn't be) disappointed. 

Favorite Tracks: Run the Jewels - Banana Clipper (Feat. Big Boi) - Sea Legs - DDFH - Get It - No Come Down - A Christmas Fucking Miracle 

1- Legends Never Die - R.A. The Rugged Man:
To be honest, this is the first R.A. the Rugged Man album I have ever listened to. I wasn't familiar with his music until this album was released. Turns out he had verse of the year on Jedi Mind Trick's Uncommon Valor: A Vietnam Story, so I checked that out and I was overly impressed with his lyrical ability, the imagery he uses in his storytelling and the unbelievable dopeness of his flow. So I copped his album and listened to a masterpiece. I don't know why but it seems like this album has been slept on hard this year. No one seems to be talking about it much or hyping it up to the extent that it deserves. From track one, R.A. spits hot fire, putting together the best verses this year. They aren't super complex but they can be very emotional, hard-hitting, political and even funny. The production is pretty good, but your focus is on his flow the whole time so it almost doesn't matter what beat he's on. The features are all perfect, with the exception of Hopsin (he was good, but not as good as the others). Tech N9ne killed his verse but Brother Ali, Talib Kweli and Vinnie Paz all "Two of my bars are more lyrical than two of your verses". Couldn't have said it better myself! So if you haven't checked out this album yet, be sure to do so. You will not be disappointed. 

Favorite Tracks: The People's Champ - Definition of a Rap Flow - Learn Truth (Feat. Talib Kweli) - Bang Boogie - Legends Never Die (Daddy's Halo) - The Dangerous Three (Feat. Brother Ali & Masta Ace) - Sam Peckinpah (Feat. Vinnie Paz & Sadat X)

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