It’s been three months since the start of the year? You’ve got to be kidding me. Damn, time flies when you are….well, it just flies. The three month mark also signifies the end of the first quarter of the year. For those of you not in the “business sector”, the year is broken up into four three-month sections, each being a quarter of the year.
The first quarter is traditionally a little on the slow side, with a couple decent releases that sneak in. That’s kind of what happened this year, with two albums being “WOW”, then a handful after that being “wow”, then some following those that were “aight”. I had a grand vision of having a bunch of different bloggers submitting their picks, but me being busy, only asked two other fellow bloggers, and only one, Dart Adams from Poisonous Paragraphs said “yes”. None the less, we know that you can’t check out every album that drops. And us ourselves can’t do it either, so Dart and I are comparing our lists to see if we are missing anything, which we encourage you all to do the same as well. If it’s good enough to be on our top 20 list, then its good enough to check out. (sorry for being half assed on the album covers, the past two mornings at around 7am MST, fucking blogger doesn’t want to upload pictures and I can’t wait around since I have to be at work. Piece of shit blogger)
Trav’s Top 20 Of Jan 08 – March 08
It seems like this has been out forever, but the fact is it’s only been out since late February on iTunes and late March in retail. I still have some mixed reactions toward this album, but mainly because I’m such a major Ace fan, so my expectations were probably a little higher than the average listener. There are a couple songs I can’t stand and I thought the hooks could have been better on some songs, but all in all, it’s just another classic from Ace and crew. The production is top notch and you can’t say shit about the lyrics they dropped. The whole concept came off without a hitch. I was hoping to get interviews with all four, but didn’t quite happen….still waiting for Punch to get at me….so keep your fingers crossed.
Fav Songs: Who We Be, Leak It Out, Git Some feat Sean Price, We Alright, What It Stand For (THOSE DRUMS!!), Winds Of Change, Borrow U, U Let Me Grow
Songs Disliked: Once More, Feel It
2. Nicolay and Kay – Time Line (Dart #1)
I’ve seen people bitch about Kay’s lyrical performance on this, but that to me is bogus. Sure he is no Rakim, but I think he did a more than adequate job on the mic. Besides, the beats were just outrageous to me. It was some musical type of steez, coming off as more musical than your average hip hop album. The cohesion this album has is top notch with an interesting concept of following a time line. Each song follows through different times and the music fits those times. I honestly had to really wrestle with which album I would put down for number one, all in all though, “The Show” has been getting more play of late.
Fav Songs: Time Line, Blizzard, The Lights, Through The Wind, What We Are, I’ve Seen Rivers, Tight Eyes, Gunshot, When You Die
Songs Disliked: Dancing With The Stars
The more I played this EP, the more I liked it. It actually shot up quite a bit the past month. The five man crew consisting of MC’s Rapsody, Charlie Smarts, Tab-One and producers Foolery and The Sinopsis have a nice chemistry together which adds to the over all cohesiveness of the project. With the overlooking of 9th Wonder involved along with a couple added beats, this crew has a ton of potential and at very least will be the next big thing to come out of the Justus League’s shadow.
Fav Songs: Too Late, Kool With It, There You Go, We Be That, Water
Songs Disliked: none really.
4. Has Lo – Fuck Has Day (Dart Unranked)
This album dropped technically in ’07, but that doesn’t matter to me since I didn’t get my grubby mits on it until the last week of ’07 and played the shit out of it the first two months of the year (it’s still in my iPod now). Has kind of came out of nowhere and sent me this EP and this rest is history. Strong lyricism highlights a the album as Has spits over sparse, but compatible production. Actually, I think the beats add to the album even more, kind of like the Wu’s sparse production added to “36 Chambers…” (I’m not comparing the sounds, just how they meshed with the lyrics). I just spoke to Has last night and dude has a gang of music coming out in the near future, so we are bound to hear more from Has before the week is out.
Fav Songs: Prelude, Calibration, The Usual Way, Unsigned eMCee’s, Hands
Disliked Songs: None
5. Archetype – Unfolding (Dart Unranked)
The fact that basically this same album was my third favorite album last year says what I really feel about the music contained on this album. If this was brand new music that I was hearing for the first time, I wouldn’t be ashamed to say it would be first in this quarter. But, this Japan only release has half the songs found on “Bleed For Them”, and the newer stuff isn’t as good as the older stuff, but its still very good. I can’t hype this group up enough. If you have ignored my rants about them in the past, then you have to stop sleepin’ and check out this album.
Fav Songs: You See, Keep It Coming, I Got Mine, Blocked Up, Prey On the Weak, Anywhere, I’ll Be Honored, Freakin’ Out, When We Were Kids, Unfolding, Live It Up
Disliked Songs: You See DJ Juco Remix
6. Pillowtalk Politiks – Pillowtalk Politiks EP (Dart Unranked)
Another album that was sent to me by the artist to check out. Hailing out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, this group were on some smooth mellow shit, with the beats once again playing a big part in why I liked their self titled EP, “Pillowtalk Politiks”. Made up of Tigre Cole on the mic and Entity behind the boards, this crew shows great potential as this album got a lot of spins from me. Short and sweet and to the point.
Fav Songs: Ezer Iz Never Was, Not Preaching, 5ve, Arial Mosiac
Disliked Songs: none
7. Akrobatik – Absolute Value (Dart #6)
This was one of those surprise albums for me and I’m not sure why. I’ve never disliked anything Ak has done in the past, I just never paid much attention to it. That was until the Perceptionists album that dropped in 2005, which I was all over. I thought this was a very solid album in terms of both beats and rhymes. I can’t knock Ak in the least in terms of rhymes. Sometimes his flow and tone get a little dry, but if you dig his style, it’s all good. The beats are fairly diverse, which might lead to some cohesiveness problems, but not enough to distract from the overall product. Good album.
Fav Songs: A To The K, Soul Glo, Put Ya Stamp On It, Step It Up, Be Prepared, Absolute Value, Black Hell Breaks Loose, Kindred, If We Can’t Build,
Disliked Songs: Rain, Front Steps, Ak B Nimble, Back Home To You
8. Guilty Simpson – Ode To The Ghetto (Dart #17)
I really became a big fan of Guilty after his numerous cameos and his “Stray Bullets” mixtape that dropped toward the end of last year. I was highly anticipating this album, so to have it down this low is somewhat of a disappointment. It just wasn’t as good as I was hoping/expecting. With the negative aside, there are some shining moments on here. Guilty sounds like an underground version of an early Beanie Sigel to me, just raw as fuck on the mic. The beats were….ehhhh, but there was some Madlib joints that did grab me, and that’s saying a lot since I tend to bash Madlib any chance I get. Lots of bare bones type of joints that intends to let Guilty shine, but some of the concepts for songs just end up falling short. It’s not that I really disliked anything on this, it was just not much really stood out for me.
Fav Songs: Footwork, I Must Love You, Pigs, My Moment, Yikes,
Songs Disliked: Kill Em,
9. The Camp – The Campaign (Dart Unranked)
I haven’t heard anyone talk about this album at all, maybe cause it only dropped toward the beginning of this month, but I’ve had a promo copy for a month or so. Eric thinks I’m crazy for liking this, but I dig shit like this. It’s not classic or anything, but just entertaining hip hop music. Solid and dope. I don’t ask for much more than this actually. The MC’s are nothing special, the beats are quirky enough to keep my interest. It sounds like some Demigodz shit, which I find nothing wrong with. That might be because Apathy is associated with the project. It was actually kind of refreshing to hear hip hop like this again. Nothing serious topic wise except brews, blunts and beats (thanks Vimilla)
Fav Songs: The Campaign, Gentlemen Needs, Calm Down, Little Story, Return Of The Boom Bap, Number 1, 1 Million
Disliked Songs: Like Or Not, Lazy As Hell, Why
10. Astonish – From Now Until Forever (Dart Unranked)
Astonish reminds me of Lupe Fiasco, without the nerd crap or the glitzy wannabe radio tracks. What really makes Astonish shine over Lupe is when you put him on top of Molemen beats, there just isn’t much not to like about this project. Already armed with one of my favorite joints of the year (Can U Hear Me), Astonish drops this solid effort that is sure to make any lyric hungry cat happy as well as the beat junkies.
Fav Songs: Can U Hear Me, The Interview, Problems, Panik Attack, No Patience
Disliked Songs: None
11. Solo X – Black September EP (Dart Unranked)
Favorite Songs: Glass House Theory, Just To Let You Know, Move On, Black September
Disliked Songs: None
12. Torae – Daily Conversation (Dart #2)
Favorite Songs: The Journey Pt 1, Click, Fantaztik 4, Switch, Save The Day, Get It Done
Disliked Songs: Callin’ Me
13. Fat Ray & Black Milk – The Set Up (Dart #10)
Fav Songs: Lookout, Bad Man, Take Control, Not U, Get Focus
Disliked Songs: Nothing To Hide
14. Substantial – Sacrifice (Dart #11)
Fav Songs: Chain Reaction, Resurrection of a House Party, 4DozDatDonKno, Sign Language
Disliked Songs: It’s You, The Wake Up Call, QT, Hood Hope
15. Pete Rock – NYs Finest (Dart #9)
Fav Songs: Till I Retire, 914, Best Believe, Bring Y’all Back, The PJ’s
Disliked Songs: We Roll, That’s What I’m Talking About, Made Man,
16. Tha 4rce – Mind The Gap Anthems
Ver 2 (Dart Unranked)
Fav Songs: MTG/4rce’s Anthem, The Musician, Magnificent, Neva Shoulda
Disliked Songs: Nothing glaring
17. Weapon X- Portrait of a Starvin Artist (Dart Unranked)
Fav Songs: Destined for Greatness, Walk Where I Walk, Don’t Dream Of Women, Psychosis, Mentally Unstable, Asshole Syndrome
Disliked Songs: None
18. Baje One – Weightless (Dart Unranked)
Fav Songs: Pan In A Flash, Weightless, I (No) OU, Mission Statement
Disliked Songs: None
19. Amanda Diva – Life Experience (Dart #21)
Fav Songs: 40 MC’s, Windows Over Harlem
Disliked Songs: Bright Lights
20. Oddisee -Good Tree EP (Dart Unranked)
Fav Songs: Holding It Back
Disliked Songs: None
Dart’s Top 24
1. Nicolay & Kay-Time: Line (Trav #2)
2. Torae-Daily Conversation (Trav #12)
Trav’s Take: I probably should listen to this more, it’s a really solid album, but it dropped about the same time eMC leaked, so it got pushed aside unceremoniously.
3. Emc-The Show
4. Tanya Morgan presents IlWil: Beat Thieves 2
Trav’s Take: I loved Tonya Morgan’s first album, but I haven’t given these enough of a listen yet to have included them
Trav’s Take: My biggest disappointment of the quarter. I’ve been looking forward to Chaundon album for at least five years and I just couldn’t stomach this album
6. Akrobatik-Absolute Value
7. Finale & Spier 1200 presents Develop
Trav’s Take: Never heard of this one
8. Tanya Morgan & DJ Soul-Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group
Trav’s Take: See the first Tanya Morgan mixtape
9. Pete Rock-NY’s Finest
10. Black Spade-To Serve With Love
Trav’s Take: Lots of people love this, but I don’t understand that. He had my favorite songs on Nicolay’s “Here” LP, but I can’t deal with this
11. Fat Ray & Black Milk-The Set Up
Trav’s Take: Solid album that might go higher with more spins
Trav’s Take: Stuff that I love on this album and stuff that I hate.
13. Focus presents Dedicated
14. C.R.A.C Knuckles-The Piece Talks
Trav’s Take: Disappointment to me
15. Now On & DJ Houseshoes-Don’t Call It A Mixtape
Trav’s Take: Never heard of it
16. Mighty Joseph-Empire Staters
17. Re Up Gang presents We Got It For Cheap 3: The Spirit Of Competition 18. Guilty Simpson-Ode To The Ghetto
19. LMNO & Kev Brown-Selective Hearing
Trav’s Take: Can’t get past LMNO, he just bugs me on the mic
20. Del-The 11th Hour
Trav’s Take: Still haven’t heard it….
21. Little Vic-Each Dawn I Die
Trav’s Take: Didn’t start listening to it until a couple weeks ago
22. Amanda Diva-Life Experience
23. ST Da Squad-The Album
Trav’s Take: New to me
24. School Of Beats-Lesson 3-The Progress Report
Trav’s Take: Ditto as above
25. M1 Platoon-M1 Invasion Mixtape