I can’t even begin to describe how much time and effort went into sorting out my 100 favorite songs from the folder that contained some 1200 plus songs. These were all songs that somewhere, some time during the year 2009, I said, “I like that song,” and put it into said folder. When it came down to it, I could have easily done a top 400. There was that many songs that left me saying, “Dammit, I wish I could get that song onto the list”. I think it’s just a snapshot of the game right now. There are that many artists out there doing their thing. While their albums may not always be quality, there is always a couple songs on every album that is good enough to want to listen to again, usually. Obviously, I’m probably missing some. Seeing some of the top lists on the blogosphere, I saw a bunch of songs that I have never heard. Mine will obviously be different from Eric’s, and it’ll be different from most everyone else, there is just that much music out there.
That being said, these next few days are all songs that really capture my ear and had me playing on an consistent basis. A few late stragglers from 2008 may pop up here and there (whether they were late releases, or I was just late discovering them), but the majority are all fresh for 2009…..
Kickin’ off our celebration of the greatest music of the year 2009 (in my humble opinion of course) is the Youngstown, Ohio duo of Aarophat & Illastrate, better known as Black Noise. Quite possibly the surprise album of the year, The Black Noise LP supplied many of a dope song this past year and “Y a M” is one of those. Consisting of dreamy strings, Aarophat kicks stories of the late night parties during a studio session, traveling across country for shows and the basic life of a cat making music for a living. It’s all about the bitches, blunts and brews, but never has it been done so right. The beat Illastrate hooked is nothing but top notch, with a slow rumbling bass line and previously mentioned strings combined light percussion and wood winds serve as perfect backdrop for Aarophat’s deep, but precise and descriptive lyrics. It might song like a song full of hip hop stereotypes, and maybe it is, but the way the duo presents is nothing short of great music and great hip hop.
Illastrate myspace: http://www.myspace.com/dirtydrumz
Illastrate Twitter: http://twitter.com/Illastrate8
Aarophat myspace: http://www.myspace.com/aarophat7
Aarophat Twitter: http://twitter.com/AAROPHAT
99. The Physics – I Just Wanna Beat (From: High Society EP) *Free Download
I always try to support groups coming out of the Pacific Northwest, since it’s my “home region” of sorts, but The Physics made it easy to do. The Seattle group dropped High Society as a free download early in the summer and it was one of my favorite EPs of the year, easily. A b-boy love song, “I Just Wanna Beat,” starts off with:
I just wanna smash, cuz I’m lovin’ that ass
And I just wanna f*ck, don’t want to fall in love
I just wanna beat…..
The sing-songy chorus fits over the light acoustic guitar sample, vocal samples and synths. When the actual song kicks in, it’s straight up mackin’ and we all know girls dig the smooth quiet storm shit, even if the words are revealing that you “just want to smash”. The laid back and light hearted song is just a fun game spittin’ track that is sure to work on that special lady in your life. Or maybe there is more to it than what it’s saying? Nah, it’s about the ladies, has to be. I love a song that spits game to the honeys, and if it works, that’s even better.
The Cunninlynguists always manage to have a handful of songs on these year end lists when they drop and album. Well this year they dropped two projects, so I guess you know what to expect. The last song on Strange Journey Volume One, “Broken Van (Thinking of You)”, is a typical CL song. Consisting of standard Kno beat, with a wicked vocal soul loop over some lazy piano keys, the beat is what you expect and love form Kno and Cunninlynguists. Deacon keeps getting better on the mic, bringing his southern drawl that sounds like it belongs over Kno’s melodic tracks. Natti has become a nice accompaniment to the group as well. Nothing mind blowing, but quality CL music.
My man Thad Reid has really come into his own this past year, especially with his latest EP, Paid Time Off. The whole EP is on point, and “Something New,” is my favorite track from it. It should, since one of my best friends, Protege, produced the track. I was the first person to hear the beat, and helped him shop it around. It contains a simple guitar lick, a deep bass line, and some swaying strings/synths that gives Thad hypnotic back drop for him to kick his reflective lyrics. It’s a personal track, as Thad goes through the hurdles in his life and how he is going to overcome them. While it maybe personal reflection, it’s a great thing we all get to present, since “Something New” offers the best of both worlds, dope lyrics and a dope beat.
Quite Nyce was a busy cat this past year, releasing no less than four different projects, two group projects (RADIx and a project with Raydar Ellis) a mixtape, and a solo project. If you thought that might drain on his creative juices, have no fear. The “Jazzolution” was found on his mixtape, “Hello, My Name is Quite Nyce” as well as his sophomore venture, Through My Eyes. Living up to it’s name, the track contains a heavy dose of jazz flavor. Utilizing a subtle sax sample to give it that jazz flair, the laid back tracks gives the listeners an image of a smokey jazz room back in the fifties. Quite Nyce is quite accomplished as well (pardon the pun) on the mic as he gives the listener a ride through his mind and subconscious.
Quite Nyce Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/quitenycethroughmyeyes
Quite Nyce Twitter: http://twitter.com/quitenycethedon
Quite Nyce - “Hello, My Name Is Quite Nyce” Mixtape: http://sharebee.com/c8defc61
This bay area was one of the pleasant discoveries I found in my inbox. The DJ Eons One and Luke Sick got at me and sent me their CD and a 12 inch vinyl single (always a good way to get on my good side) and the dusted out, golden age production sound caught my ear. Then toss in Luke’s gruff rhymes that sounds like it’s straight out of ’93 itself, life is good. That’s exactly what you can expect from their single, “Purse Thieves”. Over a hard drum track, an incredible guitar loop, horn blasts, and a handful of other interesting sounds going on, the beat is nothing short of spectacular. Who care’s if it actually dropped in ’08, this was dominating my summer rotation this past year, so here it is, in all of it’s glory. A perfect example of why real hip hop isn’t dead.
Grand Invincible Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/grandinvincible
Buy “Purse Snatchers” 12 inch vinyl single: http://grandinvincible.bigcartel.com/product/purse-thieves-12
Eons One Old School Hip Hop Blog (EXCELLENT): rippedopenbymetalexplosions.blogspot.com
94. Ox – Death of a Salesman feat DJ SoulClap (From: Upcoming “Death of A Salesman” LP)
You gotta love any tracks that starts off with “The Homeboy Shopping Network” skit from In Living Color (my 70′s and early 80′s babies will know what I’m talking about). Big Ox, the Midwest Bully, comes with one of the more creative “save hip hop” type of tracks in “Death of a Salesman”. Ox isn’t short on concepts or lyrics and it all comes together with his rather unique, deep and raspy voice. This is all over a serious head nod inducing track crafted by a one Mr. DJ SoulClap, who might be familiar to WYDU readers as a long time contributor. Lots of chops, scratches, of a wick vocal hum sample and a bluesy guitar loop give this song an upbeat groove while Ox starts the cleansing process.
93. OC & Pharoah Monch – Ridiculous (From: DJ JS-1 – Ground Original 2: No Sell Out)
Didn’t hear much about DJ JS-1′s album, Ground Original 2: No Sell Out, but it was one of my favorite producer type albums of the year. He got together a lot of the artists I grew up listening to such as O.C. and Pharoah Monch and their “Ridiculous” track. The beat is something rather familiar, but I’m having a hard time placing where I’ve heard the sample before, whether it’s the source song I’m thinking of or another song that has used the sample before, I don’t know. It’s a catchy loop, that is bright and bouncy. Of course, coming from DJ JS-1, he provides the cuts to go with it. Both O.C. and Monch do the track right as they both just spit and do what they are good at.
Zilla Rocca and Blurry Drones aka Douglas Martin came together via this lovely thing we call the internet and it’s a good thing for us, because as the duo 5 O’Clock Shadowboxers, they make some of the more creative hip hop music out in the year 2009. Their description on myspace adequately describes them, hip hop and psychedelic. Maybe because I’ve been listening to a lot of old 70′s psychedelic albums this year, but I love when producers sample the old records or make music that sounds like it came from that area. That’s exactly what Douglas Martin does on “Rabbit Season”. The driving electric guitar sample sounds like it came from a Hendrix album (not going to pretend like I really know), but it gives the track that alter state feel. Zilla and his Clean Guns partner, Nico The Beast, both are aggressive on the mic and they don’t change it up here. It’s a perfect match to the beat as they dare anyone to step to them as they drop one liners that could make Satan pee his pants just a little bit.
5 O’Clock Shadowboxers Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/5pmshadowboxers
Zilla Rocca Twitter: http://twitter.com/FlowGodZilla
91. Exile - Your Summer Song (From: Radio)
I would almost call the year 2009 “The Year Of the Instrumental”. Not sure if their were more of them, better ones, or I just happen to notice them more where I wouldn’t in the past, but there were some excellent instrumental albums. Exile released his excellent instrumental based album, Radio was up among the best. The rather simple track, “Your Summer Song”, had me hitting the repeat button in my car while bumping the CD. I driving bass line over a bunch of odd sounds, which is basically Exile playing with radio broadcasts (check the video of Exile making beats from a radio). Not sure why I favored this over most of the other songs found on Radio, but I did.