Baron Samedi’s Best of ’13
So after a couple of days contemplation, I thought I’d post my hip-hop LPs of the year. These aren’t the ONLY LPs I’ve been feeling this year, just the ones I’ve enjoyed the most. Plus, if something isn’t in here, it might just be because I haven’t actually checked it yet, or I have checked it but only once or twice so it wouldn’t be fair to judge it on that. So no fights, alright? Safe. Oh, and these aren’t in any order whatsoever. Anyway, hopefully you might hear some shit you hadn’t before, enjoy the list.
1. Quelle Chris – Ghost At The Finish Line
Detroit seems to consistently churn out dope and original hip hop. Quelle Chris is the latest in that line, and Ghost At The Finish Line was a sick, consistent and fresh album from a rapper/producer destined for bigger things. One for the Black Milk/Oh No/Madlib fans
2. Phora – One Life To Live
2012 and 2013 were the years when it became acceptable to make old-school classic boombap music again. What goes around comes around, as witnessed by the success of Pro Era and producers such as Apollo Brown. Phora is the latest artist in that vein, dropping slick laid-back rhymes over headnod golden-age sounding beats. One of the sleeper LPs of the year.
3. Czarface – Czarface
I’m not a massive fan of Esoteric, but he trades rhymes well with Inspectah Deck on this collaborative album, and 7L brings that dirty Wu-vibe throughout on a banging collection of beats. Definitely worth spins.
4. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
In my head, Chance and Action Bronson are having their own personal competition for feel-good release of the year. Chance probably just takes the edge. Every song is like summer in a blender. Sure, his voice is marmite to some, but this is a GREAT release to chill out to (translation: smoke weed in a park on a sunny day to). Which leads nicely into…
5. Action Bronson & Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2
Bronson? Rapping over Sledgehammer? I’ll just leave that there. AB is slowly approaching GOAT status.
6. Telemachus – In The Evening
The perfect way to make a producer album. Apart from Tennis Season, which made my brain hurt slightly, every track on here is both sick and different to the last, while maintaining a consistency of sound. And although the track itself is a couple of years old, The Sheltering Sky featuring Jehst makes the whole thing worthwhile by itself.
7. Flatbush Zombies – Better Off Dead
Definitely over-long at 21 tracks (as much as I love hearing raps about taking acid, smoking weed, and fucking girls, there’s only so much I can take in one go), but this is still a worthy follow up to DRUGS, and in Meech they might just have the new ODB. All together now, what you gonna do when them zombies come for you???
8. Billy Woods – Dour Candy
A smart and thought-provoking collection of Def-Jux styled tracks over Blockhead’s atmospheric production. I only heard this recently and was surprised that nobody else seemed to be mentioning it.
9. Natti – Still Motion
There wasn’t much chance of this NOT making my top albums, to be fair. I’m a massive Cunninlynguists fan, and this solo album from one third of the group carries on where their other material left off. Not all southern hip hop is double-time, you know…
10. Lee Scott – Stupid Poignant Shit
Lee Scott doesn’t give a fuck. Illinformed’s beats are dirty funk butter on toast. This is probably my favourite UK release of the year. Spark up a fat one, laa
11. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
The king of Detroit is back! No, not that blonde guy that makes soft rock these days, the other one. Featuring the usual dope collection of guests, Black’s head-spazzing production is so ridiculously good you don’t even notice he’s a pretty average MC at times
12. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
After the sonic triumph which was last year’s Rap Music LP by Killer Mike, El-P steps out from behind the boards on this collaborative project which, once again, sounded about 10 years ahead of the rest. El-P could even make Nicky Minaj sound avant-garde. Although this list isn’t in order, if it was, this would be very close to the top.
13. Ka – The Night’s Gambit
Grown man shit right here. Introspective street raps over a smoky soundtrack of dusky loops and shuffling drums. See also:
14. Roc Marciano – Marci Beaucoup
See above. Basically, if you dig Ka, you’ll dig Roc, and if you dig Roc, you’ll dig Ka. Got it? Get it.
15. YC The Cynic – GNK
An MC’s MC. One of the most promising new MCs I’ve heard this year. GNK is a solidly consistent LP and hasn’t left my mp3 player since I copped it a few weeks ago.
16. Taskforce – MFTC 5
The Brothers McBain are back! And guess what? They’re still dope. If you like Taskforce, you’ll like MFTC 5. What else is there to say really?
17. The Mouse Outfit – Escape Music
Feel-good jazzy classic hip hop from this Manchester collective of producers and musicians, ably supported by the triple verbal gymnastics of Dr Syntax, Sparkz, and Dubbul O. Again, possibly over-long, but packed full of highlights.
18. Prodigy & Alchemist – Albert Einstein
Alc could probably just loop up a Madonna song and he’d still be my one of my favourite producers. Once again, he serves up a moody collection of off-key slow-burners for New York legend Prodigy to do his usual thing over.
While I’m here, I’d like to award my Turkey Of The Year prize, hand-made by myself out of old loo roll tubes and spunky tissue, to RA The Rugged Man for Legends Never Die. Christ on a Suzuki, what a pile of disappointing excrement that was.