30. “The Graveyard”-Illogic f. Ill Poetic
A late addition, so to speak, “The Graveyard” was just unveiled to the public last week via an email blast from the track’s producer Ill Poetic. Ill stated that “The Graveyard” was left off the album simply because the track’s mood was a bit too somber. Quite contrary, I found “The Graveyard” to be my favorite track, from one of the year’s finest albums, “Diabolical Fun”. Ill Poetic’s production on this joint is simply awe inspiring, can’t wait to hear what dude has up his sleeve for 2010!! C’mon man! (c) Uncle L.
29. “I Mean Business”-Diamond District
2009 will go down as the year that my man Oddisee finally got his due, linking up with cohorts yU and XO to form one of the fiercest trios in Hip Hop, Diamond District. Released as a free download mid-way through the year, “In The Ruff” was perhaps the most successful “free-up” amongst a year that saw an unheard of amount of “free-leases” (don’t stop me know, I’m on a roll here!). Sampling the familiar Vic Juris’ classic “Horizon Drive”, Diamond District’s successful take mirrored a track that dropped nearly 17 years ago, one of the all-time classics of our era, GangStarr’s “Mass Appeal”.
28. “On Our Way”-Tanya Morgan
What a better way to start off “Brooklynati” than the robust, sonically-infused, “On Our Way”? Quite possibly the best track on Tanya Morgan’s follow-up to the potent, underground-favorite 2006′s “Moonlighting” (not taking into account “The Bridge” EP), “On Our Way” established “Brooklynati” as an early front-runner for album of the year.
Yet another album that I discovered within the last month or so, Sleep’s “Hesitation Wounds” was blessed with one of the most honest, emotionally-driven tracks of the year, “Day Dreamer”. The unmistakable highlight of “Hesitation Wounds”, the Zavala-produced ”Day Dreamer” found Sleep unveiling his most notable characteristic as an emcee, his near legendary mastery of diction, enunciation, and rapid-fire delivery over one of the album’s more up-tempo, airy compositions. I’ve passed up much of Sleep’s prior work with Old Dominion, simply on the basis of under-produced beats when compared to Sleep’s lyricism. However, “Day Dreamer” proved me to be dead-wrong, at least this time.
Yet another late addition to my “top tracks of ’09″, had I heard Macklemore’s “The Town”, say…back in July for instance, there’s no doubt in my mind that this one would have easily cracked the Top 10 before it was all said and done. A track birthed in the same vein as Blue Scholars’ “Loyalty” (W.T.R.’s “Top Track of 2008″) and Jake One’s “Home”, Macklemore reps his “Town” correctly, all the while “wearin’ that Seattle blue”.
25. “The Opener”-Skyzoo
So, ummm…Skyzoo’s “official” debut “The Salvation” has dropped, have you copped it in store or on Itunes yet? By the time this blog gets “posted”, “The Salvation” will be the only album in recent memory that I’ve went to cop as soon as Best Buy opens it’s doors this morning. Yes people, Skyzoo has officially dropped an album that is just that good. One of my favorite mixtape rappers of all-time, it’s good to see that ‘Zoo didn’t fall into the trap that Uncle Murda, Corey Gunz, Red Cafe, etc. have seemed to found themselves tangled in. “The Salvation” was filled to the rim with bangers, this album reeks of consistency..solid from start to finish. One listen to the cinematic “The Opener” and you’ll soon see why. Produced by Cyrus The Great this fittingly titled gem set the tone for the remainder of the album as Skyzoo stamps the track with his signature delivery and confidence. Cop this album ASAP!!
Even though many of us are familiar with the backdrop to Kooley High’s bouncy, feel-good anthem “Kooley Is High” via Dela’s clever play on the Dilla-classic “Stakes Is High” from Dela’s compilation LP, “Atmosphere Airlines”, Kooley High made the best usage of this instrumental opus blessing the track clever lyrics and a good ol’ fashion “pass-the-mic”, throwback feel.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denyin’ that half of “The Blueprint 3″ stomped the hell outta’ half of Hip Hop in 2009. Yet, for every “Run This Town” there was a “Off That”, for every “D.O.A” there was a “Venus Vs. Mars”, for every “A Star Is Born” there’s a “On To The Next One”, so you catch my drift, right? Take it as you will, but “Run This Town” boasted perhaps the top production of the year not named “Paid Homage”, so good in fact, not even Rihanna could kill the vibe of this anthemic classic.
Produced by one of Hip Hop’s torch bearers that will (book it!) lead us into the next decade, 14KT, Marv Won’s “The Way It Goes” found Marv, simply put, telling it the way it is and the way it has been for him. Over an uncharacteristic KT gem, Marv’s aggressive flow is toned down for a moment to pair effortlessly with a track that appears as if it was custom built for this emcee on the rapid rise.
21. “Don’t Sleep”-Invincible & Finale
Yo!! This beat is..damn, I’m almost speechless, Black Milk just…I mean…you gotta’ hear it for yourself! Plus, Finale & Invincible together again? Perhaps a full-length album on the horizon? Again, am I the only one who missed the bus on this one? This track was virtually an automatic “Top 20″ track of 2009 for me, even after just one listen! Finale and Invincible go good together like PB & J! Damn, you need to cop the single via Itunes, like yesterday!!