Found On: “The Wonder Years” (It’s A Wonderful World Music Group)
As uneven as 9th’s long-delayed, 0ft-pushed back “The Wonder Years” was/is, one of the more surprising and unexpectedly stronger tracks to appear on the compilation of sorts, found the lyrically deficient (depending on your “measuring stick”) 9th Wonder posing as his emcee alter ego, “9thmatic” over a funky, sporadic and bouncy self-produced heater alongside 9th’s equivalent on the production tip, Khrysis, whom also makes an unexpected lyrical cameo.
Found On: “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me..” (Soulspazm Records)
I’ll be the first one to admit that I dicked up when i didn’t include the DJ Revolution “finds” Malcom & Martin‘ s (a.k.a. Syliztic Jones & KB iMean) “solid as a rock”, “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” in my most slept on LPs of 2011 earlier in the week. With production handled solely by Revolution himself, the LP is void of any single weakness. You know an album is extremely solid when it’s a chore to select just one favorite from the LP, not saying that “Against The Wall” is that cut, but it’s damn close…
Found On: “Bang Ya’ Head 3″ (N/A)
As I mentioned earlier in the week, MED‘s “CLASSIC” was surprisingly solid, as I know that most of my peeps have a “love/hate” relationship with the Oxnard, CA representative’s delivery/flow. However, just as efficient and possibly even better than “CLASSIC” was the 3rd installment of MED’s “Bang Ya Head” series. With “Your Life” we find MED linking up with fellow West-Coaster and underground favorite, Blu, atop a love almost “Below The Heavens” -ish production, courtesy of the beloved Exile.
Found On: “Master Of Ceremonies” (eOne Music)
Perhaps the only card carrying member of one time underground favorites, The Lox, with a “decent” ear for beats, Styles P selected a funky thumper from one of Hip Hop’s well revered beatsmiths, Pete Rock. ”Children” proves to things: 1. Pete Rock is still one of the most consistent producers in Hip Hop, you just know this cat still has some goodness in store (the mythical Pete & C.L. reunion album, anyone?). 2. Styles P could possibly craft a helluva’ album with an “even”, not sporadic production line-up. Dude’s still undeniably enjoyable, lyrically. Also, I wouldn’t be mad at a Styles P/ Pharoahe Monch album, anyone agree with me?
Found On: “Native Lungs” (Humble Beast)
Yet another LP that boasted a hefty production line-up, to include: Khrysis, S1, Evidence, Xperiment, Ohmega Watts, etc, “Native Lungs” slipped through the cracks and eventually, if not mistaken, Braille ended up dropping as a free LP. I could very well have it twisted, as I just noticed that the album is sold out on UGHH.com. Nevertheless, “Step It Up”, produced by the always funky Dave Notti, is mandatory listening music for all the Dad’s in the music industry. Even if your day job is hoisting your tail on some leather cushions all day in the office, “Step It Up” truly put things in perspective and references the joys of being a father. Plus, a filtered drum kick and smooth guitar lick make this track an instant neck-snapper.
Found On: “Rock Creek Park” (Mello Music Group)
Really, what’s messin’ with yU? Seriously, there aren’t too many cats in the game who are up to par with one of the DMV’s finest, lyrically or otherwise. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the stellar production found not only on “Still Doing It”, but for the remainder of Oddisee’s most recent “instrumental” outing, “Rock Creek Park”. Just as fresh as fulfilling as “Rock Creek Park” was/is, “Still Doing It” only increased my anticipation for yU’s recent solo outing, “The Earn. There’s no denying that “Before Taxes” has already achieved classic status, with “The Earn”, while a totally different vibe, is still one of the year’s best.
Found On: The “yet to be released” Marcberg: Reloaded
R.A.W…Roc Marciano, while an acquired taste for some is walking the fine line between Nas-like stardom or be confined to AZ-underachievement. No doubt, dude is one of Hip Hop’s brightest talents, but he’s been brewing in the underground for quite sometime already and is on the lips of many as a legend in the making. I mean, dude is popping up on everything lately and while Roc Marc may be happy where he’s at, I’d love to see dude explode to the level of say a Kendrick Lamar or Big K.R.I.T. And while consistency like “Emeralds” is a given, Roc Marc could land 5 tracks in your Top 100, but none in the Top 10, if you see where I’m goin’ with this…
93. “The Invitation” – Saigon f. Q-Tip & Fatman Scoop
Found On: “The Greatest Story Never Told” (Suburban Noize Records)
I’m not gonna’ front, yeah, I downloaded this sh*t when it leaked. My sentiment was: “ahh sh*t, finally, lemme’ pop this on the BlackBerry (at the time, I’ve since re-graduated to the Iphone, LOL) and just see how this jawn has held up over the last few years”. Realistically, the album was somewhat of an afterthought, and who could blame me? However, what I found was a potent collection of material that showcased Saigon’s different personas to the fullest. Sadly though, while I bumped the Just Blaze-produced, “The Invitation” like gang busters when it first dropped earlier this year (I honestly thought the track was an instant Top 10 track of the year), you can tell that this one one was sitting in the hopper for quite sometime and does come off a bit dated nowadays. Still, worthy of a spot on the top cuts of 2011.
Found On: “W.A.R.” (We Are Renegades)
What? Exile produced “Evolve”!? Yeah, don’t feel bad, it took me quite some time to gather that helpful tidbit as well. ”Evolve” just isn’t quite what you’d expect from Exile, as the majority of his production has a more dusty/ distorted feel. However, what you can expect is strong showing of lyrical dexterity from one of the brightest, most complex emcee in the annals of Hip Hop history, P. Monch. Honestly, I felt that “W.A.R.” was somewhat of a letdown (listened to it about a dozen times, but nothing really hooked me in), especially when paired with “Desire”, however “Evolve” takes you back to the days of Organized Konfusion‘s self-titled debut or “Stress: The Extinction Agenda”.
Found On: The Real Frequency’s “The New North” (Self-Released via Bandcamp)
A track that appeared on the Real Frequencey‘s overlooked compilation LP, “The New North”, was the Shad and Frank Dukes-laced, “Flawless”. Shad, who is known for spitting atop “less aggressive” production at times, “Flawless” is more along the lines of Shad’s smash from 2010, “Yaa I Get It”. Over a mumbled bass line, and prodding horns, “Flawless”, at just short of 2 minutes 30 seconds is a refreshing, yet simple listen that truly showcases Shad’s clever rhyme schemes. I’d love to hear a whole Shad album with this quality of production in 2012!
Found On: Statik’s “Population Control” (Duck Down Records)
Hate on Statik all you want, but dude had one helluva’ year. Remaining on your radar for the better part of 2011, Statik laced, not only his “Population Control” with some quality production, but also his collaborative effort with Ghostface Kill….err..Action Bronson, “Well Done”. Featuring two of the year’s more hyped artists, Freddie Gibbs and Big K.R.I.T. (who’s mixtape/album “Return of 4Eva” is one of the best releases of 2011), “Play The Game” is as smooth a track as you’ll hear. Wouldn’t be mad at a Gibbs/K.R.I.T. LP, either…jus’ sayin.