I’m sure everyone is ready for more lists, so here are my 11-15 of 2009:
15) Ace & Edo – Arts and Entertainment
Masta Ace is my all-time favorite rapper and he’s joined by another old-school MC, Edo G. to form A&E. The production is spotty, but there are some real nice songs on this collab, as heard by songs, such as Little Young, Ei8ht Is Enough, Here I Go Again (w/ the exception of the R&B verse) and Over There.
Upon my first listen, I was extremely impressed with the production by Aesop Rock. However, it faded a bit to me after repeated listening. Overall though, it’s another real nice collaboration from Slug and Murs. If you haven’t picked up any of the 3 Felt albums, I’d recommend going back and buying them.
Here’s an admission that you might be surprised to hear, I have never bought a Jay-Z album in my life. The main reason is that Jay came along at a time where I was very disillusioned with hip-hop, the late 90’s. I heard some early stuff and wasn’t really that impressed and was annoyed that this dude came along and was considered the greatest rapper alive. He started releasing some songs that I likes, but I just never copped any of his stuff. I guess I just was annoyed with the hype and annoyed with major label hip-hop. Anyway, I’ve warmed to Jay because of his genuine love of hip-hop, along with his solid catalog of music. BPIII is a solid album and some people that have been down with Jay for years didn’t really like the album, but the fact that I didn’t own previous works by Jay, I feel like I am pretty objective (I understand the reactions, because I am like that every time a new Outkast LP comes out, but then I listen a few more times and realize the greatness). With songs like “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”, “Run This Town” and “Empire State of Mind”, this LP has some of the year’s best songs.
Kno is one of the game’s best producers and Deacon is one of my favorite MC’s (Natti’s no slouch either). This album, as well as Volume Two, is more of a guest driven album and not necessarily a true CL album. Vol. 1 features other indie artists, such as Looptroop Rockers, Substantial, PackFM, Mr. SOS, Tonedeff and Mac Lethal. It also contains one of my favorite songs of the year, “Never Come Down (The Brownie Song)”, and other nice tracks like Don’t Leave feat. Slug, and Nothing But Strangeness feat. Looptroop Rockers and Hilltop Hoods (if you can get past the stupid verse about a girl using the bathroom).
I could have easily put this in the top 10, so it was hard to leave this on the outside looking in on the top 10. The Ecstatic was a nice return to form musically for Mos Def after a couple of clunkers since his debut solo LP. It’s a bit of an alternative hip-hop album, meaning that the beats aren’t your typical hip-hop beats and some of the emceeing is a little different than your straight up hip-hop. You can really hear this on songs like “Casa Bey” with it’s horn laced/elevator music beat and “Roses”, which sounds a bit like something Andre 3000 would do. It may take some getting used to if you’re looking for something reminiscent of Black On Both Sides or Black Star, but if you give it a chance, you’ll dig it. Nice to see Mos Def giving a damn about music again.