I’d like to shout out Travis for the amount of material he puts on WYDU. Man, I don’t know how you do it. Keep up the good work. Here’s my controversial top 5 of 2009:
5) Kid Cudi – Man On the Moon: The End of Day
Feel free to savage me on this one. I know there’s a lot of hate for Cudi, and not being a mixtape guy, I never really heard much besides hype before this LP came out. I took a shot and just bought it and ended up digging the hell out of it. It’s a mellow and melodic album and although Cudi isn‘t the greatest lyricist (he has followed the style of Mike D from “Pass the Mic“ and often rhymes words with the same words, hey I rhymed!?), he does have a unique style. I know this LP isn’t for everyone, but I listened to it over and over for a good month and it’s still in my rotation.
Brother Ali is fast becoming one of the best MC’s in hip-hop, rivaling his label mate Slug (Atmosphere). What you have with Us is another superbly produced album from Ant and, of course, some dope mic work from Ali.
3) B.o.B – Should Have Been the First Album
I still don’t know what the deal is with this leak from B.o.B’s MySpace page, but what I do know is that I downloaded it and ran that stuff into the ground. I checked a couple months after I downloaded it and it wasn’t available anymore, so I don’t know if he finally resolved his label issues, but it looks like he might have. This download includes “I’ll Be In the Sky”, “Left Field”, “Generation Lost” and “Mellow Fellow”, among other solid tracks. There are some real good songs on here and I’m pretty damn hyped for the future of music from Bobby Ray.
This is one of the albums that I got later in the year on this list, so it may have benefited from being fresh in my mind, but this album is really great. Produced by Exile and featuring the more than capable Fashawn on the mic, this was a serious contender for my personal album of the year. Given more time, I may have moved it up, but #2 ain’t bad. It might by the Exile connection, but Fashawn reminds me of Blu with his life inspired rhymes and dope flow. If he keeps this up, Van Damme! (Anyone said Van Damme in a minute?)
1) Zion I – The Takeover
Zion I has always been one of those groups that I’ve liked, but they always made inconsistent albums in my opinion. They’d have 5-6 real dope songs and a bunch of experimental stuff that I really didn’t get into. Well, on The Takeover, they didn’t abandon their experimentation, but I feel like they perfected it. Songs like “Geek To the Beat”, “Juicy Juice” and “Country Baked Yams” aren’t your typical straight up hip-hop songs, but I don’t have a problem with that. When I was unemployed this summer, I bumped this album on a regular basis and when I was working on this list, I really thought about how much I listened to this album and how much I enjoyed it. Maybe it was the time that was afforded to me, but I listened again and I just dig it.