While I have never disliked Panacea, I never understood some of my fellow underground heads fascination with the group. However, I did enjoy the remix album that “Epiphany” remix by DJ Nu-Mark appeared on. There is an added energy that is a welcomed element to their music. The chorus is filled with triumphant horns that reverberate through ones ears. During the verses, it’s slows down a beat to a calm melody. It’s a nice contrast that can really get the head noddin’.
79. Blaq Poet - Too Strong (From: B-Side only from “Ain’t Nuthin’ Changed” Vinyl Single)
Coming in at barely a minute and a half, Blaq Poet brings his Queensbridge heritage on “Too Strong”. It’s strictly Poet spitting his thugged out, hardrock rhymes. It’s rough and the way hip hop used to be. Taking no shorts over the Primo supplied beat, Poet drops the verbal jewels. As he said, he’s here to eat the whole pie and spit on your slice. Punks jump up to get beat down.
78. E The Real & Paul Mighty – Key To Success (From: The Digital Single “Social Light Sounds & Butcher Block)**FREE DOWNLOAD
My man E The Real went solo toward the end of the year and released some quality joints before the final ball dropped on the year 2009. “Key To Success” was one of those tracks and it features a dope beat from Paul Mighty. I’m all about using unorthodox sounds in production and Paul Mighty does just that. A funky horn stab warps its way through the track, as E spits about making it. Nice collabo that I hope we get to see more of in the future.
Driven by a funky guitar lick, Finale’s “Pay Attention” is one of the great songs from his A Pipe Dream and a Promise LP. It’s that guitar lick really sucks me in then the thick rolling bass line smacks the listener right in the face. Produced by Slimkat78, who did some work with Diamond District and a large chunk of yU’s “Before Taxes”. Once you start getting into Finale’s lyrics, you realize that the cat is nice on the mic. It’s a track that makes you pay attention.
Ancient Tongue jumped on the scene in the early fourth quarter. Eric and I both took noticed as this is a rather talented group of cats. The single, “The Hard Road”, was the first track I heard from them. It’s a different track to be sure. It’s got some alternative type of sounds to it, like it could get some play on a college radio station really easy. It almost reminds me of an MC 900 Ft Jesus track from back in the day. So what I’m really trying to say here is that it’s got it’s own sound and flavor, something that isn’t always found in today’s hip hop music.
I don’t think I’ve seen or heard anyone mention this duo from Detroit, Michigan at all, which is mighty unfortunate. Stoopz N’ Breeze dropped Turn Up The Smooth, which is the best concept album of the year. The good dudes at Hip Hop Connection put me onto the album, and I really should have given it more shine, as it’s a dope project. The listener follows the duo through a 1985 like Miami on some Miami Vice shit. Think Price Paul’s opus, but set in Miami. The track “Honey Smacks”, is part of that whole story, but can be enjoyed standing on it’s own merits. The soulful horns give it that mack type feeling as Breeze and Stoopz talk about the ladies. Just a little sample of a heavily slept on album.
74. Cunninlynguists - Die For You (From: Strange Journey Vol 1)
More Cunninlynguists for the 09. “Die For You,” is what we have come to expect from Cunninlynguists, the soulful loops, strong musical presence and Kno’s own flavor on the production. We even get a blast from the past as Mr SOS joins the crew again.
73. LoveJones & Phys Edison - Downtime (From: Sunday Drive)
Sometimes music provides soundtracks for moments in your life. I remember this summer, I sat down with my favorite alcoholic beverage, some good green, turned on LoveJones & Phys Edison’s Sunday Drive LP and let the good times roll. I was so into the music, it was like I was almost taken to another land. The track “Downtime” really vibed with me and I kept hitting repeat on it. It’s great smoking music, with the mellow, yet hazy beat that just takes you on a journey, in the right mind state.
72. Poorly Drawn People - Motion Not Emotion (From: Motion Not Emotion)
The somber ending of Motion Not Emotion EP is perfected by the title track in all it’s darkness and despair. It’s probably as close to emo as Poorly Drawn People will get, but for some reason, any hip hop that evokes emotion gets that label. In all it’s somberness, Storm Davis sums it up perfectly with the line, “We make party rap records for when the party is over.” Dox executes a piano sample over the slow strumming of strings. It’s perfect mood setting music. It allows Reason and Storm to drop kernels of truth and wisdom. Something different from the four man crew from Rhode Island, but a good look for them.
The first of a few songs from Paten Locke aka Therapy. “Brava”, contains a funky track, with a thick bass line over tambourine type shakers, and other interesting percussion. It’s actually a mellow track that allows Paten to kick knowledge and truths about the state of society. It’s probably as preachy as Paten will be on record, but it’s a heartfelt track that brings the masses both knowledge and a funky beat.
70. Damu The Fudgemunk - Day By Day feat Raw Poetic (From: Kilawatt Vol 1)
Damu is quickly becoming one of my favorite producers currently doing his things. Tracks like “Day By Day” are prime examples of why that is so. The powerful beat, that incorporates all kinds of sounds and samples, is one of straight up hip hop goodness. To me, this is classic straight up boom bap hip hop music. Raw Poetic from Panacea laces the vocals and doesn’t let the hot beat go unused. This is how hip hop should be done.
69. CL Smooth, Brother Ali, & Sadat X - Nuthin’ (From: Ground Original 2: No Sell Out)
Another track from DJ JS-1′s Ground Original 2 project. On “Nuthin’” we find the trio of CL Smooth, Brother Ali, and Sadat X blessing the m-i-c. This is a rather straight forward hip hop track, with a nice sax sample that runs throughout the track over a rather familiar sample. All three MCs do a nice job with their verses, good to hear that CL Smooth still has it, as he has the most memorable verse. Quality hip hop for the year 2009.
Being a sucker for a good string sample, maybe that’s why I had “The Touch” on repeat for a good portion of last year. Sci Fi (who has worked with Tha Connection) blesses the Washington D.C. trio, Ill Poetix, with brilliant hip hop track that has a string sample to kill for. Not to be outdone by the heavenly arrangement, The 4th, 808 (Stop 1) and Ivisuai weave a nice concept that fits the beat to a T. Waiting for a full length project from this crew.
Now why wasn’t “Authentic” on Ace and Ed’s “Arts & Entertainment” album? This would have been one of the better tracks on the album. Produced by WYDU’s own DJ SoulClap, this was the type of beat I was looking for on the album. Clap hooks up an *ahem* authentic hip hop beat that hooks up some fly string samples that drives the listener into an automatic head noddin’ session. Of course you aren’t disappointed by Ed or Ace on the mic. Lot’s of punchlines, but that’s what we come to expect from this duo and Ace delivers with a vigor.
If I ever wanted a project on wax, Blueprint’s Sign Language would be that album. Filled with some great instrumentals, such as “Numb”, it would be sure to get some spins. It’s hard to describe this track, which contains a collage of sounds and instruments. The subdued feeling it emits lives up to the track’s title of “Numb”, as it’s kind of the feeling the listener gets.
65. BLCTXT - Fred E. Hubbard (From: The Acknowledgment EP)**Free Download
I had been checking some of BLCTXT’s music (I’m not even sure how to pronounce that) over the past few months and could see the talent, but “Fred E. Hubbard” is what really grabbed my attention. The track is from his Acknowledgment EP/project, a nice little introduction to the masses of who he is. The track in question though is banging as it possess an ill horn sample that is straight headnod fire. Lot’s of energy is packed into the beat. The south is showing a new breed of MC, as BLCTXT is as lyrical as any of his northern cohorts, but he still uses his southern twang and it works really well over this Just Blaze like track. Banging!
I could be wrong, but this might be the first appearance of a Primo produced track on this year’s list. Trust me, it won’t be the last though. Rhymefest has moved his way into my list of top 5 current favorite MCs and “RNQ” is a good example of why that is. In a classic battle between beat and MC, Primo drops one of his beat beats I heard this year with loud, hard hitting drums over dope chops. Classic Primo material. Rhymefest drops “state of the union” type of topics on how fucked up this country still really is. Not one to hold back, ‘Fest drops how it is and how it should be.
63. Diz Gibran - City Lights (From: Soon You’ll Understand)
Muneshine, who produced Diz Gibran’s Soon You’ll See project this past year, did an excellent job at incorporating some non traditional sample sources into the music and it worked wonders. “City Light’s” is one such example of that. I’m not sure where the sample is from, but it sounds like some kind of neo-alternative girl group music (just guessing here). None the less it works wonders as it comes off as something you might want to hear on the radio (but never will).
62. Rapper Big Pooh, Sha Stimuli & Kurupt - Homage To Pete Rock (Special Release)
Producer Focus had a series of tracks paying homage to some of the great producers before him. Obviously “Homage To Pete Rock”, is just that, an homage to the Chocolate Boy Wonder. And what a homage it is. This tracks sounds like circa 1992 Pete Rock, with horns and all thrown into the mix. Almost as good as the originator. And interesting line up in Pooh, Sha Stimuli (who I found out this year was Kid Dynamite from the Masta Ace “Saturday Night Live” days) and Kurupt. Three different regions, three different styles, but they all do the beat and Pete Rock justice.
61. Poorly Drawn People - Stress Filled Days (From: Motion Not Emotion)
It’s hard to describe the sound found on “Stress Filed Days” and the whole Motion Not Emotion EP for that matter. It’s like someone shook up a bunch of psychedelic music and threw it at a canvas, or in this case, an MPC. Dox utilizes an Biggie vocal sample quite well. The energy is here and it makes for a great lead off track for the Motion Not Emotion EP.