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The Year End List To End All Year End Lists

by Travis on January 14, 2008

That’s right, it’s the year end list to end all year end lists. I don’t mean that in a cocky way neither, I mean it as in “I am so late doing getting this together, that this has to be the last one”. The more I look back at 2007 as a whole, the more I see that it was a damn good year. In fact I’d go as far as to say it was the best year since ’98. Nope, hip hop is not dead. It’s just changing, evolving, as it has in the past. Hip Hop and the music industry in general face a challenging year in ’08. The way music is sold and marketed has changed and will never be the same again. The internet will continue to play a vital role in how things shake out. You simply can not just throw some ads in a magazine, release your CD with 14-16 songs and expect it to sell, quality or not. I’m not saying if that is right or wrong, it’s simply a fact of life now.

We are not here to discuss the future, today it’s all about the past. It’s time for the Second Annual WYDU Awards. Last year it was the pantie awards, but this year, we are sticking to the cute little titles, since you never know when something you say or do on the internet might end up biting you in the ass.

We had nine people (originally ten, but one didn’t get back to me) in on the voting.

Trav of WYDU
Polarity of WYDU
SoulClap of WYDU
Chris of WYDU
Hugo of WYDU
Storm Davis, solo artist and member of Poorly Drawn People
Eric of When They Reminisce
CH Commish of the Slushy Gutter Crew
Scholar of Souled On
Jason Gloss of Phila Flava

I tried to get a varying tastes and views on hip hop. For example, Jason Gloss and our own Hugo added some of the west coast/southern sound, stuff that I wouldn’t normally listen to. Clap and my former fellow Denverite, CH Commish was into some of the more “mainstream underground” (oxymoron? I think so) material like Talib, Common, Wu, Jay and that type of stuff. Of course, Eric and I are on the same page, even if we don’t necessarily agree all the time. Our token “celebrity” judge, Storm Davis had a wide variety listed on his nominations. My favorite Soul/Hip Hop blogger, Scholar from Souled on added some different flavor as well. One thing I did learn this year is next year, I’m doing the nominating myself, then letting the rest vote on them. I had each voter nominate three artits/projects for each category. I thought having three artists each, that surely some overlapping would go on. Not exactly, in some cases, we had 27 artists/projects out of a 30 possible votes. Needless to say, as I have the final say, my personal preferences were involved more than I would have liked. Lesson learned though.

Without further ado….The 2nd Annual WYDU Awards.

It’s In The Mix: Best Mixtape of 2007

Mick Boogie & Little Brother – And Justus For All

Mixtapes have become the new rage. Who needs a first single to promote an album when you can put out a whole mixtape? I have a love/hate relationship with mixtapes. A lot of them are half assed songs put together to make a half assed project, just so their name stays in people’s mouthes. On the other side of the fence though, artists have more artistic freedom. They don’t have a label standing over their should telling them will and will not sell. The production also could be more daring. The use of samples are often more liberal with a lot of these mixtapes being given away for free.

Dropping in the middle of February of last year, “And Justus For All”, as a free mixtape, was good enough to stick in everyones consciousness for the whole year and claim the best mixtape award. Little Brother has always dropped the hottest mixtapes, as they have proven with the Chitlin Ciruit’s and when they recruited THE man of the year when it comes to putting out mixtapes in Mick Boogie, this was a great mixtape and all for free. The Commissioner always puts out quality products with no screaming all over the music and well mixed. He also works with a wide variety of artists, most being of high quality and well respected in their particular scheme of hip hop music.

Little Brother once again put out a mixtape that was quite possibly better than their actual retail album (at least in my eyes). For me, they always seemed more “loose” and more like “themselves” on the mixtapes. They take more risks and keep it more wide open. Clearly this was an example of what’s good with mixtapes.

Honorable Mentions: Stricklin – The Resume, Eternia – Where I Am At, Poorly Drawn People – Nothing Stays Gold

Where The Hell Did That Come From???: The Most Pleasant Surprise Album of 2007

Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass

This goes to the most surprising album. I tend to think of it as liking something you wouldn’t particularly like. Some of the voters went more with some newer artists that kind of came out of no where. The meaning is le
ft open to debate and we actually had a tie that I was left to break. I had two albums that had been released by artists who in the past I had nothing good to say about them. One album which was in the tie, so it won out. That album would be Aesop Rock’s “None Shall Pass”.

Aesop was truly one of those artists that along with the majority of the Def Jux and Anitcon rosters that I had no liking for. I found his lyrics to be a bunch of mumbo jumbo and his flow sleep inducing. While his beats were usually within my tastes, nothing could make up for the most of the crap I have heard in his discography. So when Eric told me I had to listen to the new Aesop Rock, trust me, I took my time. Over my twenty plus years of listening to hip hop, there have been groups that I originally didn’t like, or at least care for all that much. A Tribe Called Quest, De La and even Masta Ace are all artists that I didn’t originally care for. It doesn’t happen all that often though. Earlier in the year, El-P happen to shock me with his “I’ll Sleep When Your Dead” album, so I figured there wasn’t much of a chance that Aesop’s album would also make do a double take. I was wrong. My first listen through I think I sent an email to Scholar saying, “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with me, but I like this new Aesop Rock“. Then I told Eric, “Damn, I like that new Aesop“. I listened to it again. It was almost like I didn’t want to like it, but I did. Even when Eric and I did a review for the album, songs like the title track “None Shall Pass” just boggled my mind. I finally gave into my desires and started listening to this album quite often through out the year. I don’t know if I’m just more open minded to listen to Aesop or if he just toned it down a notch, or maybe even a bit of both, but it was a pleasant surprise none the less.

Honorable Mentions: Blue Scholars – Bayani, Archetype – Bleed For Them

The Last Beer In The Fridge: Biggest Disappointment Album of 2007

Wu-Tang Clan – 8 Diagrams
People my age have seen it all before. In the mid 80′s, Run DMC was the super group that could do no wrong. They had movies, world tours and platinum albums times over. Then it all crumbled out from underneath them. Now we are witnessing another legendary hip hop crew fall from grace. The Wu-Tang Clan, once considered the greatest group in hip hop as fallen on hard times. Everyone seems to be shunning the RZA. Before the album was released, interviews with RZA and the GZA showed a clearly irritated GZA rolling his eyes and give those “what the fuck are you saying” looks while RZA rambled on about the album. Two of their own members called “8 Diagrams” wack, which is exactly what Raekwon and Ghostface Killah said in an interview. GZA’s performance seemed uninspired on the album. Only Method Man and U-God seemed to really give a fuck.

For me personally, this wasn’t the most disappointing album, but I can see where people have been saying that. Wu-Tang is still held in high regards in the hip hop circle and hadn’t released an album since 2001. There was a lot of pressure for them to come correct with this album. Both “The W” and “Iron Flags” received luke warm responses from the Wu brethren. Needless to say, this album is exactly what people were expecting. RZA’s production has been called into question, way too much singing for some people to handle and lackadaisical performances from the MC’s all led up to many people being unhappy with this release.

Dishonorable Mentions: Redman – Red Gone Wild: Thee Album

Rip Van Winkle: Slept On Album of 2007

Buff1 – Pure
Who? Unless you read WYDU or WTR much this past summer, that’s probably what you are saying to yourself. To me, that’s exactly why Buff1′s album “Pure” won the tie breaker.

Another talented artist coming out of Detroit, Buff1 was part of the seven man “Athletic Mic League” crew. His debut solo effort quickly fell into my “most spins” list for a good portion of the summer. With production from his own Lab Technicians crew along with fellow D-Town producers, Wajeed and Mr. Porter, the production on this album is one of amazing strings and lofting melodies. Mix in Buff1′s tenacity on the mic and this album was due more praise than it received.

The album also showcased some other fine talent from the Midwest with Slum Village’s Elzhi, Guilty Simpson and Flint, Michigan’s One Be Lo all making appearances on “Pure”. While I’m usually one to complain about the increasing number of guest appearances in hip hop, all the artists had a place and made the album better overall. This is the wake up call.

Honorable Mentions: Brother Ali - The Undisputed Truth, Educated Consumers – Write Here, Blu & Exile – Below The Heavens, Blue Scholars – Bayni

What The Hell Do They Hear In That?: The Overrated or Why Does Everyone Like That Album of 2007.

Talib Kweli – Ear Drum

As I’ve mentioned, asking 10 different people for their opinions and often I got 10 different opinions. Some peoples slept on albums were other peoples disappointments. With so much variety out there in hip hop, there is less “That’s The Shit” type of albums out there. Everyone has different opinions in what is dope. That being said, this album was a perfect example of that. You either loved Talib Kweli’s “Eardrum” or you hated it. A lot of us didn’t quite understand why the others liked it.

My boy Dino told me when he first heard “Eardrum”, that he thought it was the best album he heard all year. We have already be exposed to WYDU’s DJ SoulClap opinion of this album. I’ve kept my thoughts about this album to myself for the most part, but I’m sure if you are a regular reader, you have noticed I haven’t said a whole lot about it. While I might be speaking for the others, I personally found the project, like his last couple to be uneven and his flow to be on the verge of sounding “lazy”. To be fair to both myself and Talib, I have never been the biggest Talib fan in the world, so I’m probably more objective than some of the fans that might have been a fan previously calling him out for this album.

Honorable Mentions: Common – Finding Forever, UGK – Underground Kingz

Don’t Call It A Comeback: Best Comeback Of 2007

KRS-One & Marley Marl – Hip Hop Lives

Two hip hop legends came together to produce a well received album from the masses, old heads and new heads. In all honesty, I voted for this album in a less flattering category, “The Blandest”, but the others felt that it was a strong effort from the two former rivals.

They combined to make a solid album that schools the youngsters in the art of making boom bap hip hop music. No gimmicks are found here, just traditional hip hop music that sounds like it could have came out in the mid 90′s and fit in just fine. KRS hasn’t lost his penchant for being one of the top MC’s the game has ever seen, if not the best. While the subject matter doesn’t venture off of his norm, it’s still pure unadulterated, in your face hip hop. Marley still has it behind the boards, but I swear if he should be forbidden to use that damn horn sample that he has used at nausea (Musika).

Honorable Mentions: DJ Jazzy Jeff – The Magnificent, Scarface – Made

Pass The Hot Sauce: Blandest Album of 2007

Pharoahe Monch – Desire
I never thought I’d be writing about Pharoahe Monch having the blandest release of the year, but here I am. I’m not completely sure if bland is an adequate description of Monch’s “Desire” LP, more like a big disappointment.

Myself personally, I never could totally get into “Desire” all that much, although I really wanted to. I think a combination of things make this album fail to live up to its potential. I’ve heard many heads complain that its just too much like those Andre 3000 and Mos Def cuts that try to be some alternative hip hop or something. I think that has a lot to do with this album coming off as totally unfocused and with no real flow or direction. Of course there are some good cuts on this and Pharoahe comes off as the MC we all know and love, but this isn’t what people had been waiting eight years for.

Honorable Mentions: Common – Finding Forever

Better Late Than Never: Best “Lost & Found” aka Unreleased Album of 2007

Ultimate Force – I’m Not Playin’

One of the finer things about the internet is that albums that were thought to be long lost occasionally show up. With the demand that people have for these type of projects, artists are willing to open the vaults and put old material out. We saw it with Wascalz, Bee Why, Kwest and others. The best out of the bunch might have been the Diamond D pre Diggin’ In The Crates effort as Ultimate Force and the LP “I’m Not Playin’”

Originally, this album was supposed to drop in ’89/’90 but never saw the light of day (like so many other quality albums of those days). It features some early Diamond D production and Master Rob is more than adequate o
n the mic. I won’t go out on a limb and call this a lot classic, but it would have easily made it in the top albums of whatever year it was supposed to come out.

Honorable Mention: Wascalz – Class Clown, Godfather Don – The 90′s Sessions

The Best Things In Life Are Free: Best Free Download Album of 2007

TIE: Atmosphere – Strictly Leakage & Small Professor & Jay-Z – Crooklyn Gangster

Another blessing of the internet is the new trend of free albums by download. It’s cheap marketing and gets your name out there. I’m sure there was more free albums this year than ever before and these two were both relatively late comers, but seemed to be fresh in people’s minds and ended up winning in a tie. I hadn’t heard “Crooklyn Gangster” at the time and didn’t want to lose out on my ignorance, so we went the tie.

I’ve never hid the fact that I’ve been a fan of Atmosphere and they dropped a freebie album that is better than a lot of the retail albums out there. Ant once again showed why he is a producer that has grown in leaps and bounds musically as he crafts some incredibly in depth beats for Sluggo to tell his tales of his livelihood over.

While I’ve only had one complete listen of the Small Professor Remix of Jay-Z’s “American Gangster”, its clear why Eric from WTR is proclaiming it the best of the efforts (although he is not as sick as I am with hording these AG remixes like a fat man with cup cakes). Equipped with that Crooklyn flavor, this AG remix is bound to be a favorite of old fogey’s such as Eric and myself.

Honorable Mention: Mick Boogie and Little Brother – And Justus For All; Mick Boogie, Busta Rhymes and J Dilla – Dillagence

The Old To The New, The New To The Old: The Best Re Released Album of 2007

Intelligent Hoodlum – Intelligent Hoodlum/Tragedy: Saga Of A Hoodlum

Classic albums being re released were a common thing this past year as well. Traffic Entertainment was making a killing off of re-releasing hard to find jewels.

While this Intelligent Hoodlum double album re release wasn’t released by Traffic, it got the most votes out of any other category in our polls. Consisting of his long out of print and hard as hell to find debut and sophomore LP’s, it also contained some nice little gems at the end of each disk and all for the low price of one CD in general. Finding originals for either one of these disks is a choir and you better be coming up with some loot, because they are not cheap. If you can’t get the originals, there is nothing wrong with the reprints.

Honorable Mentions: Masta Ace – Take A Look Around; O.C. – Word Life….; Kurious – Constipated Monkey

The Hefty Sack Album: Worst Album of 2007

Styles P – Super Gangster Extraordinary Gentleman

Just like picking a “Best Album” of any particular year, it’s just as hard picking a “Worst Album” of any particular year. Everyone has different tastes and those tastes lead to different opinions of what is good and what is bad. You also actually have to listen to the album enough or even want to listen to an album enough to judge it as the worse. I’m sure there are some pretty horrible albums out there, but luckily for us, they are lost in the mud and muck that is the internet.

While I personally wouldn’t call “Super Gangster” by Styles P the worst album I heard all year, it wasn’t from from it either. Too many radio gangster songs littered this LP, in an effort to cash in on the 50 Cent formula for success that has seemed to be drying up any way. “Let’s Go” was about the only song I even remotely liked, but with guest apperances showing up on almost every song and the token Akon guest spot, this album is a big disappointment to fans wanting a return of New York hip hop.

Dishonorable Mentions: Sage Francis – Human By Death Dance; Lords Of The Underground – House of the Lords

The Greatest of the Great, Grandest of the Grand: WYDU’s Album of the Year for 2007 (previously known as the Salma Hayek award)

Marco Polo – Port Authority

Sometimes being the most consistent release pays off. While, personally not my favorite and it wasn’t named the best on anyone’s list, it did appear on more lists than anyone else, good enough to receive the “Salma Hayek” award.

Marco Polo crafted some of the greatest beats heard this year and also produced my “Track of the Year” in Masta Ace’s “Nostalgia”. Schooled in that old fashioned hip hop, Marco has been around, honing his craft for long while now. After relocating from Toronto, Candada, Marco did some production for the Brooklyn Academy members such as Pumpkin Head and also featured on Masta Ace’s “A Long Hot Summer” LP as well. Earlier this year, he dropped the obviously well received “Port Authority”, which combined the boom bap aesthetics of hip hop with some of the top goldenage/underground MC’s that could be found. It all equals up to a very consistent and certified dope album.

Honorable Mentions: Blu & Exile – Below The Heavens; Blue Scholars – Bayani; Talib Kweli – Eardrum

Other Awards by Voters…..

Trav’s Top 5 Instrumental Albums

1. Large Professor – Beatz Vol 2

2. Oh No – Oxperiment

3. Thes One – Lifestyle Marketing

4.Grant P – Add About As Abstract As Always

5. Roddy Rod – Cuba After Market

Trav’s: The “What The Fuck” Moment in Hip Hop:
The X-Clan tours with the Insane Clown Posse

Hip-hop legends X-Clan have announced their participation in Insane Clown Posse’s “The Tempest” Tour featuring Twiztid. The tour brings together three of the biggest acts in underground hip-hop for one unbelievable tour. The tour will kick off April 26, 2007 in Grand Rapids, MI and stretch through June 8th in Fargo.

“This tour is a perfect proof that real hip-hop reaches all barriers. ICP and X-Clan would have been the furthest thing from anybody’s mind as a tour combination,” says X-Clan front man Brother J. “I am excited to make history with one of the wildest crews in the game. I’ve seen some of the Juggalos at our previous tours, and now we are stepping into their house as a guest of ICP. We are looking forward to tearing it down.”

X-Clan, one of hip-hop’s most influential hip-hop crews, is currently touring in support of their recently released album “Return From Mecca.” The highly anticipated album finds the group reforming their groundbreaking tradition of ancestral wisdom, culture and a signature lyrical style that appeals to all generations of hip-hop.

Joining X-Clan on their celebrated return are a bevy of high-profile collaborators; among them Damian Marley, Jurassic 5’s Chali 2NA, KRS-One, Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach, RBX, Abstract Rude, YZ, DJ Quik, DJ Khalil, Jake One and Bean One.

“I think the fans will be excited to see a different side of X-Clan. We are planning an exciting show for this specific sub-culture of hip-hop. We understand ICP’s crowd enjoys freedom of speech to the fullest, and that is what X-Clan has always been about,” says Brother J. “A lot of the icon groups in hip-hop have done this tour before, Ice Cube, Bone Thugs, Tech N9ne, and Kottonmouth Kings, so we are honored to travel that same path. We appreciate ICP’s invitation to be the special guest on their tour, and it’s gonna be dope.”

The tour announcement comes on the heels of X-Clan’s back-to-back sold out tours supporting Public Enemy, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Jurassic 5. The band’s highly conscious hip-hop has won them a barrage of critical acclaim from MTV, Source, Scratch, Murder Dog and prompted Spin Magazine to proclaim, “Brother J’s voice remains a forceful instrument,” while said, “The resurrection of X-Clan has come back with fierceness.”

Say what?!?! I can’t stand the Insane Clown Posse, so there is NO WAY IN HELL I would ever go see ANYONE in hip hop tour with them. All I got to say is I hope X-Clan got a shit load of money, because that is just not right. Honorable Mention: X-Clan signs to another of my favorite groups (not) Kotton Mouth Kings Label

Trav’s Late Pass Award: Favorite Albums From the Past Couple Years That I Discovered This Year

1. Juggaknots – Use Your Confusion (released in 2006)

Honestly, this would have had a chance as my personal album of the year if it was released later in December of last year or it could have easily been in the running for top three albums of the year last year (I don’t think it would have beaten out Cunninlynguists). None the less, “Use Your Confusion” from NY’s Juggaknots got ALOT of play from me throughout the year from me. Banging beats for the most part and Breeze Brewin’ is just an incredibly dope MC in my book all led to a great album that will stay in my rotation for a long time to come.

2. Storm Davis – Kegstand Poetry for the Recovering Alcoholic

I downloaded this earlier in the year strictly off the fact the dude took his name from an old 80′s Major League Baseball pitcher I used to like. I also think Krooked from HHB gave it the seal of approval as well. I ended up liking it so much that I tracked it down as a used copy at a local CD store (sorry Storm, hopefully the press this year made up for it…haha). Armed with a cool voice and subject matter that was easy for me to relate to, Storm Davis dropped the soundtrack of my summer with the track “Kegstand Poetry” along with other quality tracks. Now I’m just waiting for the new album…dammit!

3. Junk Science – Feeding Einstein

It’s the Junk, it’s the Junk! I had heard a single off of this back when it dropped in ’05, and liked it, but I never got a chance to hear the album. Until this year. Junk Science have settled in as one of my favorite groups with both this release and their ’07 “GranDad’s Nerve Tonic” LP. Nothing flashy from these two, just some “lo-fi” dusty beats and mellow on point lyrics. Listening to either one of their albums is like sitting down with an old friend and shooting the shit over a cold frosty one.

Trav’s Most Anticipated Producer for 2008

Jake One: This Seattle producer has been on the scene just simmering for the past couple years, dropping the banger “Rock Ko Kane Flow” for De La Soul back in ’05. This past year he produced quality joints from artists such as underground Blue Scholars to the mainstream flashy pop rap of 50 Cent. I think dude will explode the scene and collect the pocket full of green.

Trav (& SoulClap’s & Chris’) Most Anticipated Album for 2008

eMC – The Show: This is probably no surprise as I’ve been pumping up this release since I first heard of this crew coming together, when they originally known as GMC. SoulClap probably has all the juicy details to this that I don’t know of as of yet, but I’m sure this will have some excellent surprises and will no doubt have high hopes from the other Ace “stans” out there besides myself. Look out for the mixtape dropping soon, mixed by our own SoulClap, then the album, which I heard to be slated for a March release.

Trav’s Verse Of The Year

She used to call me late at night
Didn’t take long to see that we were a-alikes

On the same page, just couldn’t get it right

McIntosh of my eye, let me take a mega bite

I cordially invite you to come take a ride in my thoughts
Switch memory lanes while we dreamin, wanderin

And in return I’ll strip my inhibitions

And go skinny dipping in your stream of consciousness

She said it sounds tempting

And I don’t want to catch feelings

But this urge is calling me bad
I said well suga, if ya worried bout catching feelings

Chances are you already have
And there’s no need to deny ourselves

I mean, lie to each other and deprive ourselves
Denial’s not a game I’m prepared to play

So I express things most niggas scared to say

Put a spell on ‘em,
Forgive me Lord but I’m hell on ‘em

Baby we grown folk,
So let me longstroke

And send em back
to they man with my smell on ‘em

Let me be quiet before I tell on ‘em

Phonte“Yellow Lines” from the Cunninlynguists LP, “Dirty Acres”

SoulClap’s Top 20 Albums of 2007
20. Superstar Quamallah – Godfood – The Break-Fast
I think I already explained how much I like this guy, so I will keep it short. This album contains many track bit is very short. Mostly short instrumentals and a few real tracks like “Love has made us” and “Microphone Doctor” that I already posted inmy top singles list. The fact that it’s mostly an instrumental album is the reason why it’s just on no. 20, but it’s a great piece of music and I can’t wait for the real album in 2008!

I think I already explained how much I like this guy, so I will keep it short. This album contains many track bit is very short. Mostly short instrumentals and a few real tracks like “Love has made us” and “Microphone Doctor” that I already posted inmy top singles list. The fact that it’s mostly an instrumental album is the reason why it’s just on no. 20, but it’s a great piece of music and I can’t wait for the real album in 2008!

19. Raheem Jamal – Boombox

I found this in the online mailorder where I always order my records. Never heard of him before. The album is entirely produced by Raydar Ellis, I just realize that I didn’t listen to it often enough, cause it’s really dope, might be much better than place 19… You should check him on myspace! I’m sure many of y’all will feel it! Damn, I really didn’t listen to it enough, haha.

18. J Dilla – Ruff Draft

I’m a huge Dilla fan! I copped Ruff Draft and J Love Japan this year. Both albums are pretty short. I love em both, you could replace Ruff Draft with J love Japan, they are equally dope. Dilla Beats just make me feel good. Wild was my favorite joint on Ruff Draft, like I already told in my singles list, on J Love Japan is a track that was one of my favorites last year: Sun in my face. I Looove that jammy! If you have a chance to cop J love Japan on wax, do it, it’s really rare!

17. Consequence – Don’t quit your day job

This album was highly anticipated by me! I was a little disappointed, but it is still dope, it has some bangers like “Don’t forget em”, “Callin me” or “The Good, the bad, the ugly” which is already a couple of years old, and some tracks that are a little boring… But I just like this guy, he got a unique voice, a dope flow and writes good lyrics. With some better production on the next album, he can create a classic…

16. Theory Hazit – Extra Credit

I always had in mind that he is affiliated with Hi-Tek or something, but the truth was, Hi-Tek just said Theory Hazit is dope. He didn’t have anything to do with him. So I checked it out in a local record store and directly loved it. So I copped it. It really has some crazy tracks, and some that I didn’t care about that much, but it is an album that everybody should have in his collection. The beats came from different producers I never heard of. One Beat came from the ARE and one from Lostmind. Those were the names that I heard before. If you don’t know the album you should give it a listen!

15. Gym Class Heroes – As cruel as school children

The first thing I ever heard of em was Cupid’s Chokehold. I saw the video and I thought it was really dope. The video was hilarious. So I found the CD at a store (wasn’t searching for it) and it was pretty cheap, so I copped it I know it originally came out in 06, but in Germany in 07. It’s positive music, and I really like that. They got their own flava and don’t copy anybody, which is dope too. I really enjoyed the album and listened to it a lot in my car!

14. Freeway – Free at last

I really liked the first Freeway album, dope beats by Just Blaze and Kanye, some bangers, some relaxed stuff, party stuff, a little something of everything. This album doesn’t deature a lot of well known producers, the only one I was excited about is Jake One, who made some classic tracks in the last 2 years! He made the best track on the album, It’s over. The rest is a good balance again, just like the llast one. I’m glad I copped it! Some people have a problem with his voice, but I love it, it’s unique!

13. DJ Jazzy Jeff – The Return of the Magnificent

This album has NO SKIPPERS! No crazy bangers either, but every single track is kinda dope. I mean, side C, with BDK, Kardinal Offishall, Method Man and CL Smooth, that’s some of the best ish you have heard from those MC’s in the last years. I like Jeff’s flava and I like that he used samples that already have been used before, cause it was a good selection of beats, that really fit together. I think it’s even a little better than vol 1. although vol 1 had 4 da love of da game, which is one of my all time favs…

12. Hocus Pocus – Place 54

French hip Hop. I didn’t listen to a lot of french rap in the last couple of years, but I had to cop this. It’s a real musical album, live instrumentation, samples, singing, rapping, just good music. The best track is vocab with The Procussions and T-Love. Another fav is Normal, without drums, just an acoustic guitar…
You should check his myspace, he got some cool videos up!

11. Kanye West – Graduation

I really anticipated this album, after the disappointment with Late Registration. College Dropout was a classic in my eyes. So first off, I loved this album in the beginning, crazy beats (Champion, Good Morning, Stronger, Flashing Lights, Everything I am, Goodlife) and his rapping sounded good, but when I started to pay attention to the lyrics, it was over. I don’t know, he really fell off, he’s talking about irrelevant stuff and his rhymes are pretty wack from time to time… Now imagine Kweli or Mos Def on those beats, it might have been a classic, but not like that…

10. T.I vs T.I.P

OK, never was a South rap fan and I’m still not, but King was classic, no doubt, I love that album! This one ain’t as good as King, i love it too, but the bangers are missing. No skippers, but no bangers. Just a bunch of good tracks. It had to be in the Top 10, cause I listened to it more than most of the other stuff. Objectively Theory Hazi or Jazzy Jeff might have been better, but for some reason i didn’t listen to them as much…

09. Blue Scholars – Bayani

I think it was Travis who told me about this album! I was just about to order some records but didn’t wanna cop it on cd, so i convinced my brother of buying it, lol. So I put it on my laptop and listened to it from time to time, then, like 2 months ago I found out it was finally released on wax. Damnit I was happy, plus the vinyl came with a free bonus instrumental version. Reeeeally cool deal! Anyway, the album is hot. Dope beats, dope lyrics. Can’t ask for more! Really solid!

08. Brother Ali – The Undisputed Truth

Damn, it’s been a really long time since Shadows on the sun came out. I loved that album. And this one is just equally good. I mean, when was the last time you could say, I heard 2 albums of the same artists without one skipper on em. That is crazy. The beats by ant are crazy as usual and Brother Ali raps about everything that’s possible. If you haven’t copped this album, do it. I think it comes on CD with a free DVD with live footage and some other stuff. Plus a nice paper case.

07. Black Milk – Popular Demand

Black Milk might be my favorite Up-and coming producer (besides myself,haha) That’s why I can’t wait for the next Slum Village album. I never heard him rap before, and I really like how he raps, he got a cool voice, he flows well and he got some good lyrics. Most of the beats on this album were nice. Really hard drums, kinda reminded me of dilla, and nice melodies. I mean, many beats sound pretty simple, but they are just dope. It’s really difficult to make a simple beat sound hot. Belive me!

06. Sean Price – Jesus Price Superstar

Sean Price has developed to be one of the best MC’s out there. Everybody wants him as a feature guest on thir albums. Monkey Barz showed that he is back on the scene and Jesus price established him at the top. Dope beats by Khrysis, 9th Wonder & Co. Crazy lyrics and a lot of charisma. Plus all those little Low Budget videos like Look at the mess you made, where he is cutting hair at the barber shop and kinda ruins it. Really funny.

05. Alicia Keys – As i am

The woman of my dreams! i just realize i never really dreamed of her, damn I want to have a hot dream about her! But anyway, i love her, she is perfect. Nobody got a voice as perfect as hers. she doesn’t need crazy melodies to make a hot track. just give her some drums, and a bongo, and she will make it a hit. I love the album (that it came out on red wax was a plus too, haha) My favorite is Tell you something. it gives me creeps whem i got my headphones on, turn it up and just relax, her voice kinda makes me feel comfortable.

04. Common – Finding Forever

The first thing I remember about this album was the discussion on about the cover, which was pretty gay, cause the hoody kinda looks like an Islamic headscarf… I liked the colours though. The album has just dope tracks, I can’t complain about anything. Kanye did a great job on the beats again, but now, after BE and FF had the same sound floor, I hope they will do something else on his next album… now as i look back I liked BE more, but FF is a great album, no doubt.

03. Marco Polo – Port Authority

I was looking forward to this album. The feature list looked promising. Some of my heroes like Masta Ace, Edo.G, Kool G Rap, Buckshot, OC and many more and I wasn’t disappointed. Banger after banger, dope sample selection chopped up nice, hard drums, Marco is a monster on the MPC! Plus he is a nice guy, I’m really sad I can’t meet him. He is on tour with sadat x and Supastition next week, they were supposed to come to Berlin, which is in my reach, like 3 1/2 hours with the car, but they cancelled it and the other shows are in Southern Germany, which aren’t in my reach. I was totally looking forward to meeting him and Supa, but… maybe next time

02. Little Brother – Get Back

I know Travis hates the album, but I totally love it. Each and every track. I was really pissed in the beginning cause the vinyl release was pushed back, thankfully Little Brother uploaded the album on sendspace to sabotage the label, so I got it early enough. The LP just arrived last week, finally. Good that they parted ways with 9th Wonder, I love the new LB sound. The Lyrics are on point and funny too. Some ill punchlines.

01. Talib Kweli – Eardrum

He came back, my most anticipated album besides eMC (who would have beaten him) and he came back hard, with his f**** you album. He did what he wanted to do and sounded fresh as always, great lyrics, a dope and versatile beat selection and his unique voice. The album ain’t as fresh as Train of thought back when it came out, but it is just hot. I love the cover, i love the blue and red wax, I love the artwork, I love everything about it. They pushed back the vinyl release too, which made me really mad, so I had to go to the city and cop the cd first, the feeling i had when I drove back home listening to the cd was incredible. Thank you Talib, for this beautiful memory!

Trav’s Top 40 Albums of 2007

Needless to say, I’m tired of typing, your tired of reading this….so we’ll just cut to the chance and I’ll list them.

1. Blu and Exile – Below The Heavens
2. Cunninlynguists – Dirty Acres
3. Archetype – Bleed For Them
4. Blue Scholars – Bayani
5. El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
6. Kanye West – Graduation
7. Smile Rays – Party Place
8. Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass
9. Evidence – The Weatherman LP
10. Joell Ortiz – The Brick Bodega Chronicles
11. Top Shelf 8-8-88
12. Smile Rays – Smilin’ On You
13. Marco Polo – Port Authority
14. Scarface – Made
15. 9th Wonder-The Dream Merchant 2
16. Atmosphere – Sad Clown Bad Summer 9
17. Royce Da 5’9, DJ Premier & Statik Selektah – Bar Exam
18. Jay-Z – American Gangster
19. Black Milk – Popular Demand
20. Special Teamz – Stereotypez
21. Ghostface Killah – The Big Doe Rehab
22. Atmosphere – Sad Clown Bad Fall 10
23. Senim Silla – The Name, The Motto, The Outcome
24 .Sean Price – Jesus Price Supastar
25. Junk Science – Gran’dad’s Nerve Tonic
26. Camp Lo – In Black Hollywood
27. Buff1 – Pure
28. Little Brother – And Justus For All
29. Ill Poetic – The World Is Ours
30. DJ Jazzy Jeff – The Return Of The Magnificent
31. Wu-Tang – 8th Diagram
32. Educated Consumers – Write Hear
33. Talib Kweli & Madlib – Liberation
34. Snowgoons – German Luggers Deluxe
35. Phat Kat – Carte Blanche
36. Brother Ali -The Undisputed Truth
37. Median – Medians Relief
38. Charon Don And DJ Huggy (Hands Down) -Art Of Life
39. J-Ro – Rare Earth B Boy Funk Vol. 2
40. Galactic – From The Corner To The Block
Alright, that is it….finale, finished, done. No more year end lists. Looking forward to 2008

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