90. “Know What I Mean” – Freeway & Jake One
Lemme’ just say this: it’s not as if Philly ever left, but Freeway and Jake One’s “The Stimulus Package” along with the Roots “H.I.G.O.” pushed Philly to the forefront of Hip Hop as this album is hands-down one of the better pieces of material that I’d experienced this year. Again, you see how the simplistic formula of one emcee and one DJ works wonders, right? Freeway, whom I’m not quite sure if he topped the lyrical performance displayed on his debut “Philadelphia Freeway” (man, that album was ALL cats played while deployed in Iraq, as well as Young Gunz’ debut), does his best on the “Stimulus Package” to make you all but forget his 2009 mishap, “Philadelphia Freeway 2″. Free’s often-deemed “annoying” voice is unnoticeable on this extremely well crafted collaborative effort that pairs East Coast lyricism with one of the best producers from the West, Jake One. ” -Radix
I just knew that after first seeing the “in-studio” video of Radix (Quite Nyce & SEEK) crafting the lead single “The Return” from their forthcoming LP along with one of the most in-demand producers in the game Statik Selektah, that this cut, even though we only heard bits and pieces of it in the video, would be a sure-fire smash! “The Return” is what I can only hope is just a small piece of the puzzle that we’ll find on Radix’ new effort, which we’re still awaiting, will be produced solely by Statik Selektah. Just as the cover-art denotes, “The Return” surely get a “thumbs up”. Also if you’re still sleepin’ by sure to peep Raydar Ellis and Quite Nyce’s “Champs vs. The League” which included on of the best tracks of 2009, “Build Up”.
Nottz is one of the most under-rated artists is Hip-Hop, as he has produced for some of the genre’s biggest and brightest names–including Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, The Game, Scarface, J Dilla, G-Unit, Asher Roth, Royce 5’9, Ghostface, Bilal, Kardinal Offishal, R.Kelly, M.O.P., Rah Digga, Big Pooh, Drake, Bishop Lamont, T.I., Ne-Yo, Xzibit, 50 Cent, Little Brother, Boot Camp Clik, Swizz Beatz, AZ, Murs, Termanology, Slaughter House, Finale, Skyzoo, Buckshot & KRS-One, Cormega and Rakim. While some have deemed Nottz’ official solo debut to be somewhat of a disappointment, I personally felt it was an extremely solid LP and I loved hearing Nottz deliver as well as his Quasimotoish’ persona all by his lonesome.
However, the real head scratcher for me was just as to how in the hell “Shine So Brite” the lead single, as well as it’s follow up, “Cars”, to of the best tracks of the year where not included on “You Need This Music”?
With the recently released, “How Is Your Soul,” from IMAKEMADBEATS’ dual-EP concept album Daylight/Nightlight, the beat-maker enlists rapper Butta Verses to lend his emcee-skills. The EP, which was the first music the producer had released since 2009′s HIGHLY SLEPT-ON The Transcontinental, his collaborative project with Roc C, is in preparation for his self-titled debut on Doxside Music Group, set for release in early 2011. Though the nature of the collaborations may differ, still present is IMAKEMADBEATS’ scientific approach to music, especially with “How Is Your Soul”, with every detail and nuance carefully thought out and in its rightful place.
Though the song featured a relatively lighthearted cameo from TzariZM as “Reverend TZ,” the subject matter is decidedly more introspective. Oh, and wait till you peep the Midaz The Beast EP, “Nightlight”..GOOD LAWD!!!
Yo, why did Madlib’s “Medicine Show: Before The Verdict” receive so many negative reviews? No Diggedy, Madlib is an obvious talent, and is somewhat of an acquired taste, yet the first installment of “Medicine..” banged, for real so I can’t quite comprehend what all the fuss is about. “Before The Verdict” was the first release of a one-a-month, twelve-CD series from Madlib on his own imprint, Madlib Invazion, with odd numbers in the series being original albums by Madlib, even numbers are mixtapes.
Just when you think you’ve got a “one-of-a-kind” sample, then you realize ‘Lib already implemented it someway, somehow. Good luck finding a leak of any one of the “Medicine..” series, Stones Throw is one label I gotta’ give it up to, they do a helluva’ job shutting down “loose links” with a quickness!
85. “Panic“-Roc Marciano
Here’s just one more reason (aside from The Left’s “Gas Mask”) that all was well for underground Hip Hop in 2010, Roc Marciano’s long-awaited solo debut “Marcberg”. An album that garnered rave reviews, with some going as far as stating this album is a “game changer”, “Marcberg” took a page outta’ Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” (or even Ghost’s debut, for sake of comparisons), with vivid lyricism and raw (with a particular emphasis on RAW), stripped-down, gritty production (handled by Marc, himself), it’s hard to find anything wrong with “Marcberg” as a whole.
Now, for “Panic”, I have yet to hear anything that quite resembles this track production-wise this year. Not necessarily something you can categorize (although, oddly enough I do hear some “electronic/Flying Lotus” qualities floating around in there), “Panic” possesses that extra “IT” factor that’s bound to put that extra jerk in your neck. Couple those addictive factors with Roc’s gravely, “raw-to-the core/raw like reservoir dogs” delivery and this album feels like it was preserved in a time capsule from 1993.
Taken From: “A Story Never Told: “F#$% A Mixtape” (get it HERE)
The first quarter of each year is usually slow, but with the release of the Clan Destined mixtape things started to heat up quickly. Hailing from East Point, the duo has hooked up with fellow ATLien Floyd The Locsmif (stop sleepin’, ak’ like you know!) for a bouncy, neck-breaker in the form of “Bone Gristle”, a track that evokes memories of the Blahzay Blahzay classic “Danger” (of course, without all the anthemic qualities). DO NOT SLEEP on this mixtape, had it not been for a random Illastrate (Aarophat & Illastrate) “tweet” I would have been left out in the cold on this one as well. ATL continues to churn out more good, quality Hip Hop with the likes of the aforementioned Clan Destined, Aaro & Illa, Senor Kaos & Boog Brown.
“Live Sh!t” from the highly acclaimed The Heart & Brain MBODIMENT album was nothing less than a certified banger! TzariZM produced a crazy anthem reminding heads that really dope hardcore Hip-hop is still heavily appreciated. The brain, Vis Major rides the track with a fresh confident flow and amazing wordplay. Tzar’s brother/ partner IMAKEMADBEATS makes his appearance on the tables providing killer cuts that compliment the track superbly. Amazing that cats are still sleepin’ on this LP!!
This cat Ollie Ox Grill is most definitely on some otha’ sh*t! His debut LP, “Sleezeville” can now be found on Itunes, but be prepared this album isn’t for those expecting some ol’ “Hip Hop smoothed out on the R & B tip”. Ollie Ox Grill GOT BARS, no other song is that more evident, than on the track that I’ve been killin’ since Saturday morn., “Blood Shot Skies”.
Produced by Choppy Chop-E, “Blood Shot Skies” finds Ollie Ox at his lyrical apex over an eerie backdrop that sports an undeniable MF Doom influence. But what really pushes “Blood Shot Skies” over the top is when the hook commences, the bass drops out and it’s replaced by echoing cuts and an eerie violin sample. Not normally the type of sh*t that I can sit down with and bump in succession, but “Blood Shot Skies” took me back to the days of “Madvilliany” for an instant.
You know how every once in a while you stumble upon a cut that has those certain “unforgettable” qualities? Well, “I Need A Break” is just that; a sure-fire, neck-snapping instrumental cut from a “sophisticated” instrumental LP, “I Need A Break” is laced with an extra crisp bassline, one helluva’ catchy sample and brilliant sequencing. While “I Need A Break” stands tall amongst the other noteworthy cuts that can be found on “The Gin Diaries”, tracks such as “4 My Holiks” and “Hospital” aren’t lagging too far behind in terms of quality and playability. Be sure to peep “The Gin Diaries” as you can count on “I Need A Break” holding down a definite spot on the next Bloggerhouse “year end” mixtape.