19. “All I Think About” – Apathy f. Action Bronson
Found On: “Honkey Kong” (Dirty Version Records)
Cleverly utilizing the vocal hook from Jodeci’s mid-nineties smash “Freak ‘N U”, producer Vanderslice along with the lyrical gymnastics of Apathy and Action Bronson (damn, do these two have great chemistry, or what!?) created one of the year’s more playful, tongue in cheek anthems.
18. “Blue Sky”-Common
Found On: “The Dreamer/The Believer” (Warner Bros.)
Sampling a track of the similar name/title, Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky”, producer No I.D. breathed new life into Common’s recording career (let it be known, I wasn’t all that gung-ho with the Nas-assisted, “Ghetto Dreams”) with the anthemic “Blue Sky”. Is it just me, but do you recognize a sample once it’s inclusive on a particular/semi-popular track a million times easier nowadays? Shit, I know that I’ve heard “Mr. Blue Sky” a dozen or so times prior to it’s usage by No I.D., but damn….it seems as if every time I venture into the grocery store I hear the O.G. at least once, lol.
17. “Truly Get Yours” – Damu f. Buff 1
Found On: “When The Winter Comes/”Truly Get Yours” 12″
Damu The Fudgemunk & Buff1’s “When The Winter Comes” was first made available for free download in 2009, however, thanks to a hard drive mishap, Buff1’s vocals were erased and Damu never had a chance to do a proper mix. At the time, all we were left with what was a decent quality reference MP3 and none of the seperate tracks that Damu would need to finish the song.
In the meantime, Buff1 hit the studio to re-recorded his original vocals. Damu then went on to add a few elements to the track and perform a final mixdown. However, every record has 2 sides and by now everyone must realize that Damu isn’t one to waste any time. For the B-Side, The Fudgemunk reconnected with Buff1 to birth an instant classic called Truly Get Yours, which features an undeniably dope beat and Buff effortlessly rapping about various motivations and goals. This ‘ish is soo lovely…..
16. “Craft Brewed” – J-57 f. Silent Knight
Found On: “Brown Bag AllStars Present J57: The 2057 EP” (Balanced Records)
“Craft Brewed” found the Brown Bag All-Star card carrying member, J57 conducting double-duty on the mic and behind the boards, chopping an eerie string soul sample into a neck-brace mandatory backdrop for his subtle bars. Plus, the equally potent guest rhymes of Jersey emcee Silent Knight made “Craft Brewed” one of the year’s hardest hitting anthems.
15. “Darkness” – Cunninlynguists f. Anna Wise of Sonnymoon
Found On: “Oneirology” (RBC Records)
Even though Cunnin’s “Oneirology” was one of my more disappointing LPs of the year, I still found a few diamonds in the ruff from the album namely, “Darkness”. Boasting the finest production on the record from Kno, “Darkness” will give you a serious case of the goosebumps as the elegant vocals of Anna Wise elevates “Darkness” to it’s climax.
14. “Stone Valves” – Hus
Found On: “Cognac Fruit” (Digi Crates)
Of course everyone knows what a “Connection” fan boy I am. I honestly feel that Hus is the better emcee of the duo (the other emcee bein’ SmooVth) by a smidgen. Hus has that “Roc Marciano flair” and appeal to him, they both just need to garner that same die hard following. These cats are New York to the core, and it goes without mentioned just what a good “ear” they both posses when it comes down to selecting production. The bassline-less “Stone Valves” is a prime example of just how far Hus will reach for good production, the only problem is..the track is entirely too short. I’ll admit though, this jawn stayed in the Top 25 on my Itunes all damn year!
13. “Nerd English” – Willie Evans Jr.
Found On: “Introducin” (High Water Music)
As I mentioned, Willie who pulls “double duty” on “Introducin” has dropped one of the least heralded LPs of the year. With one of the smoothest deliveries, the Asamov-alumnus effortlessly murders the lyrical and production aspects of this album. On no other track on the LP is this more evident than with “Nerd English”. Somebody toss me my pimp cane, cause “Nerd English” is SWAG, ‘uff all this Lil’ B, Odd Future coined “SWAG”, “Nerd English” is that ‘ol real sh*t!
12. “Fiber Optics” – Has-Lo
Found On: “In Case I Don’t Make It” (Mello Music Group)
“Fiber Optics” was/is straight up empowering and uplifting music. Has’ took it back to the days when Puplic Enemy was churning out bangers such as “Welcome To The Terrordome”/”Fight The Power”/”Brothers Gonna’ Work It Out”, with their Bomb Squad-laced production. This was my favorite track from Has’ this year until “Conversation B” came around. So which Has track will be included in my “Top 10″, you’ll have to wait until this weekend for the answer. Damn, I love this shit! Has spit MEGA bars on “Fiber Optics”, to hell with slowin’ down, speed up your listening!!
11. “Yonkers” – Tyler The Creator
Found On: “Goblin” (XL Records)
With a video that’s so daring it left the collective internets’ mouth agape with the debut from his “Goblin” LP, “Yonkers”, the Odd Future collective took the entertainment world by storm with appearances on and in The Jimmy Fallon Show, MTV, Esquire, etc. Being a married man and father of two darling little girls, “Yonkers” is not something that I should be bumping on a daily basis, yet on the same token, I was completely addicted to Tyler’s gravely delivery and production that’s simplicity at it’s finest a la RZA’s performance on “Liquid Swords”. Speaking of which, did the production for “Yonkers” remind anyone else of the title cut from the classic GZA debut? I’m jus’ sayin…