After some computer issues this weekend and a monstrosity of a hangover yesterday, we continue on our way down the path of my 100 favorite songs of 2009. I hope to wrap this up before the weekend, and get the fourth annual WYDU/Bloggerhouse Awards up as well.
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I love tracks packed with energy, adrenaline, and straight up passion. That’s exactly what “Get Down” from Jern Eye delivers. Keelay & Zaire hook up a wicked drum track, full of snares, kicks and bangin’ drums. It’s this drum track that provides the back bone for the rest of the sirens and straight up funky shit that is going on in the beat. Jern Eye, who is somewhat of a new comer in my book, doesn’t fuck with the energy of the track, in fact, he just adds to it. This has a throwback vibe to it, with it’s roots going back to the hardcore drum based tracks of the late 80′s, good shit.
Whoa, where the hell did this come from? Every now and then, I get a video and/or song that makes me drop what I’m doing and just stop and listen. That’s what happened when I started playing the video for Clavius Crates’ “Classically Trained”. I’m kind of a sucka for that “Paparazzi” (Xzibit song) sound, that classical music samples and ish. Then you throw that over the top of the drums from Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks” and yourself a banging track. Clavius Crates and his cohort, Silas Green are from the group Tree City, who had a nice little project over Black Milk instrumentals. Where are they from you ask? Ann Arbor, which is basically Detroit, which means that Detroit is STILL that place right now. Amazing.
Fashawn came bursting on the scene this year and turned a lot of people’s heads. As he should have, his album Boy Meets World was great, and the production from Exile was top notch. In what is somewhat an updated version of Slick Rick’s 1988 song by the same name, “Hey Young World”, is a straight up beautiful track, with it’s sparkling of keys and a light sax sample. Fashawn does a great job of painting a picture for the youngsters coming up in the world. One of the better “lighter side” tracks that came out this year.
Yet another track from Diego Bernal’s For Corners free instrumental LP. If it seems that I was really into his music this past year, its’ because I was. “Damn You” was a collection of strings, harps, and piano keys all over a straight up dope drum track.
Aarophat & Illastrate dropped the Black Noise LP, and it was a hard album to really choose any tracks that I liked more than the others. They were all great, but none really made me like it more than the others. “Midwest Kids” was one of their first tracks I heard, since it was the single or an EP before the actual album. I actually didn’t like it as much at first, but it grew on me over the my times listening to the album. Illastrate hooks a boom bap track that when it comes down to it is nothing short of magnificent. Aarophat is a dope MC as well, as he runs through his region, that really gives it some life.
I’m shocked that “Kill Too Hard” didn’t get more shine than it did among the Wu stans and even the rest of us underground heads than jam this type of thing. Yes, Masta Ace is on the track, but the track would have made the list even without Ace on it. The beat is straight up Wu vintage material and Deck shows why he is the best MC in the Wu not named Ghostface.
Before about two years ago, I was never the biggest Brother Ali fan. His voice just grated on me after about two songs and I’d have to move onto something else. I’m not sure where that changed, but then his EP that he dropped early last year The Truth Is Here and I was digging it. Us quickly became a favorite of mine
Maybe it was the fact that the first three months of the year are always so slow music wise, but I played Kid Hum’s Fossil Fuels non stop for the first half of the year. And it was these three songs, “Prayer”, “Church” and “Bells”, that would always stick out in my mind. I would wake up in the middle of the night with one of these three songs playing in my head. Yeah, crazy, I know. None the less, that to me is a sign of a good song. So I had to include all three of these together, because to me, they were like a one continuous song that just switches up every couple of minutes. They are like Lays potato chips, I can’t just listen to one.
Blueprint brings another instrumental jammie, although “Untitled” has vocals that gives it a rather eerie vibe. The aforementioned vocal piece is somewhat haunting and dismal, which is backed by a dark and gloomy music. Very moving piece, that’s what it feels like, some “other shit”, like a musical piece that people will be studying in 100 years.
This is the most Wu sounding track I’ve heard in a minute. After turning my noise up at “Wu Ohh” originally, it was saved by the iPod shuffle. It’s another track using the vocal sample as a major part of the song which gives it that Wu like flavor. It’s great to hear Meth do his thing over the track, as he provides a nice hook.
In what is a tribute to J Dilla, “Diego’s Donut” does a rather nice job of mimicking that J Dilla sound, and not in a corny way, but a nice tribute way. Diego Bernal does a nice job of chopping horns and sprinkling them over the snares ala Dilla.
Over a moving violin strings, Buckshot and KRS deliver the type of song I was expecting the album to be with “Murder 1″. Straight up boom bap, slammin’ hip hop. For me, the Survival Skills was good, but it was lacking something. It was lacking the hip hop attitude found on this track. It contains a bass line that could rattle a the walls of a house a mile away, now that’s the good stuff.
If there was a ever a case of a song living up to it’s title, P. Locke’s “Funky Hit Record” would be that track. Over a bluesy sax stab, Paten gets funky over the track. I miss funk, the type of funk that made you scrunch your face when the first note hit your ears. The type of funk you found on early Redman album. That stinkin’, dirty, nasty funk. This has that sound. And to top it off, Paten Locke drops some great lines that had me hitting rewind.
Who said New York was laggin’ behind? “Hold Up” from Marco Polo and Torae bring three of the best of NYC has to offer. Masta Ace kicks off the jam, and he does it in typical Ace fashion, dropping a memorable verse. Sean Price of course comes in typical Sean Price fashion and Torae doesn’t get left behind rhyming next to two legends. Marco provides a great back drop as well, with triumphant horn stabs over a bluesy guitar rift.
One of the things I like about Blame One is that he is personal. He’s not going to feed you a line of bullshit about shit he doesn’t do. On “Days Chasing Days,” he brings a somber mood to the listener’s ears. In some ways it sounds like an old Emanon track (Aloe Blacc & Exile group)
I was wondering how long it would take someone to make a song like this. “Little Young” has multiple meanings that you can take it from it. Of course, there is the fact that half of the rappers in the game are named Lil, Little, Young, or Yung which they point out. I’m almost to the point if you aren’t creative enough to come up with something different for your name, I really don’t want to even check you. There is also that fact that both Edo and Ace are elder statesmen in the hip hop scene. They are older than me, so you know they’ve been around a bit. Letting the young cats know that some things about how hip hop culture they just don’t understand because “you a little young”.
The somberness of OK Cobra’s “I Quit” is one that is rare in hip hop. Utilizing a Edie Brickell sample (never thought I’d say that), Recordface crafts a beat that screams “alternative” hip hop, but since I hate using labels, we’ll just call it a great hip hop song.
I’m not always the biggest C Rayz Walz fan. Every now and then, he’ll drop something that will blow my socks off and “In Your Soul” is such a track. The hook is simply the type of stuff that says “Top 40 Hit”, and I’m not talking of the WYDU variety neither. It’s simple, yet extremely catchy. It has the over used chipmunk sample in the song, but it’s more of an added piece than trying to build the song around it, so it makes everything all alright. I like C Rayz as an MC, when he isn’t getting all Def Juxed out (read: weird as shit). It’s when it he just stands up and spits is when he is at his best in my opinion. That’s what he does on “In Your Soul”. Everyone knows that I dig Slug as an MC, but while he does nothing to tarnish his image or rep, it’s not him that makes this song. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t hurt it in the least and he drops a great verse, but he’s not the focal point. I can see this song being in the top 5 for quite awhile, so you might as well check it out now.
I’ll admit it, I didn’t care for Skyzoo much before his LP The Salvation dropped. Now I can’t get enough of the cat. The slow jam, “Dear Whoever” is dominated by a grave sax sample, on that quiet storm type of steez. What’s impressive here though is how Skyzoo rides the beat and drops heartfelt lyrics.
I wasn’t big on the latest Clipse album, but how can you not like “Popular Demand”. Of course, Clipse emcees Pusha T and Malice have their own flavor on the mic, and you won’t mistake them with anyone else. But it’s the vibe of the beat (surprise) that did it the most for me. Just straight up cruisin’ music, “Popular Demand” provides some dope drums and a jazzy sax sample, sounding almost like something OutKast would rhyme over.