The great one may be gone, but his music still lives with us, thankfully. I was a big fan of this year’s Jay Stay Paid for many reasons, but “Blood Sport” from Lil Fame was an integral reason why I liked the album so much. The song consists of essentially two different beats. The first being more “M.O.Pish” in nature, with lots of craziness and brashness going down. This is the perfect for Lil Fame, as he brings is gruff and rugged voice and delivery to the party and it’s all about muthafuckas kickin’ down doors. The second half of the song is a little more “Jaylib” in nature, more mellow and “electronic” sounding. This doesn’t stop Lil Fame and his anger on the mic though as he makes it work and it’s great to hear the trademark snares again from Dilla.
LINK TO ALL THE TRACKS: http://usershare.net/iiyrmv8lszz0
I can’t front and say I wasn’t a bit disappointed in the Nike/De La release this past year. Yes, I understand it’s not really an album and was made with a specific purpose in mind, but it just wasn’t up to De La standards. It was still decent, but not what I wanted to hear after five years of waiting. The strong spot though was the Young RJ produced “Forever”. This was classic De La Soul, with a mellow (for a running joint? Okay…) vocal sample and some well placed hand claps. It shows that Young RJ was a disciple of J Dilla, you can hear the influence in the beat. “Forever” would be on any De La “Greatest Hits” compilation.
Two favorites of mine join forces to bring one of the better tracks I’ve heard this year. The Detroit MC teams up with Damu The Fudgemunk, who is 1/2 of indie/ungerground favs Y Society . The two come together to release the song “When Winter Comes,” which combines great rhymes over a great beat. Damu brings a beat that incorporates a funky drum break, they hit hard and often, providing a funky backbone for Damu to layer more flavors. Then he hooks up shrill piano sample and intertwines that with a vocal sample that just adds to the whole flavor of the track. Buff is one that is always paints vivid pictures with his rhymes, adding complex lines and making it all seem so effortless, much like he does on “When Winter Comes”.
Chicago MC, Pugs Atomz, has long been a solid contributor to the hip hop underground scene. While we didn’t get a solo album from Pugs that I was hoping and expecting, we did get the excellent Stormy with fellow Chi-town producer/MC Rashid Hadee. We also had “Roof Top”, which Pugs released late last December. Produced by DJ Vadim, that combines some unorthodox sounds and samples, but that’s partly what makes this song so great. DJ Vadim has never had a traditional sound, and Pugs works well with the beat, constructing rhymes that go together perfectly with the sounds of Vadim.
Diego Bernal has popped up often on our top 100 tracks so far. Not to be left out is Diego’s best track from the impressive For Corners release. “Armor All’d Out” uses some great Latin sounds that conjures up images of rollin’ down the block in the drop top. Some great uses of samples are found in this piece. Diego works some great guitar loops in here that give it that salsa/Latin flava.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m a big Paten Locke fan. To me, the cat emanates hip hop from his very exsistence. His music is pure, full of soul and done with a love for the culture. That’s all I really want in my music. Paten has done that over and over with his crew The ABs (aka Asamov), with The Smile Rays, and he did this year with his solo album, Super Ramen Rocketship. The single, “Break Thru,” is a good example of Paten’s originality and his madness behind the boards. Armed with an almost dreamlike beat, Paten rides the beat with ease. The horns, which Paten seems fond of using in his production, blare from the opening. There is also a nice bluesy guitar that runs through the verses. Paten is no slouch on the mic. I’ve always loved his passion the mic along with his mic presence. He comes off aggressive without sounding aggressive.
Sounding like a cross between Buckwild and K-Def beatwise, this is one of the best I’ve heard come from the Washington DC Damu The Fudgemunk ever, and that is saying a lot. Coupled some familiar sounds, it just makes those sounds that much better in Damu’s elicit mix of boom-bap and smooth jams. I was really at a loss for words when I first heard this and after a couple weeks of jamming “Prosper”, it’s gotta go under one of my favorite beats of the year. Blessing this wondrous beat is Raw Poetic, who many of you will no doubt know is the MC for Panacea. Dude does a great job handling the beat, giving it the right sound, tone and delivery. This is featured on the Kilawatt Vol 1. Project, a vinyl only import that you can pick up now. Or if you are not down for the vinyl, iTunes has it as well. Easily one of the top songs of the year.
A popular soul blogger and I once had a discussion that Jay-Z is kind of the McDonald’s of hip hop. His music might not offer much in the form of nutrition or be made with the best ingrediants, but damn it’s fun to over indulge yourself from time to time on the cheap food/music. Hungry now? Good, now Jay can create some of the best hip hop, but much like his former advisory, Nas, can release some horrible junk as well. That’s what the deal was with Blueprint 3 for me. The first half of the album was nothing short of exceptional. The last half? Not so much. Thankfully, we had “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)” at the first half of the album. No ID did his damn thing with a bangin’ beat that is surely on that “classic” tip. Of course there is the debate of the song’s subject matter (personally, I can do without ever hearing another autotune song not done by Roger Troutman). But anytime Jay-Z speaks, a lot of cats are going to listen, and that’s what happened.
Nothing like a smokers anthem to get yourself a hit song. “Never Come Down” from Cunninlynguists is right on mark with hitting it’s audience. Armed with a beat that sounds like it was created during a weed induced trip, Kno gives the audience a ride of a weed high via music. The hazy strings that wisp around like the endo smoke from a bong, then of course those sped up vocal samples that are sure to get some giggles while listening to it with your favorite greenery. The vocals from Natti and Deacon only add to the whole vibe as they contribute a sort of goofiness that gives the song the hazy yet light hearted charm found through out the whole song.
We are finally here, the number one song of my personal favorites. What song is it? My vote goes out to Arablak, of the Social Light Sounds crew and his hip hop opus “The Deed”. The amount of times I played this song the past year was on par with any classic cut I’ve played in the past. For me, it’s a song like “The Deed” that keeps me listening to hip hop. I like my “emo hip hop” and I like hip hop that switches it up and tries to be different, but I still LOVE hip hop that just breathes the element of a dope hip hop song, like the blueprint says it should be. Dope lyrics, a bangin’ beat and lots of energy. It’s all found here. DJ Manipulator produced a track that sparks that fire in the listener’s gut, especially with the horn stabs that lace the hard drum tracks. Arablak has a presence on the mic that reminds me of many of the great MCs of the past. He commands the listener’s attention. And he gets it. “The Deed” contains it all, and it’s why I keep listening to hip hop.