These are a Few of my Favorite Things
City of the Year
New York City
If you thought this wasn’t going to be the case, then you’re not really paying attention. Not only is the vast majority of the good new hip-hop coming out hailing from NYC (see Flatbush Zombies, Progressive Era, Phony Ppl, The Underachievers, A$AP Mob, Black Dave, the list goes the fuck on) but all the good old rappers that are left are NYC natives.
Honorable Mention: Chicago
If it wasn’t from New York, it was from Chicago.
Sub-genre of the Year
Sure this may not be a genre per se but in the year of unbearable trap and even worse pop rap, the understated genius of hip-hop shined. With releases like KA’s The Night’s Gambit, Young Father’s Tape Two, or Ghostpoet’s Some Say So I Say Light it was clear that less truly was more. Even Kanye hopped on the train with an album as short and nearly as sweet as Illmatic.
Honorable Mention: Noise Hop/Cloud Rap
I love these. They’re so different from what I’m used to being bored by, It’s nice to hear some really original shit come out.
Music Website/Blog of the Year
Yes, a few of their contributors write as well as high school drop outs from the 50s. But if you can overlook the occasional hard-to-read article, there is really no website better. The design is matched by none and the featured artist and tracks are even better. This is one of the last sites left where I can go to hear about artists I haven’t heard of yet– and that’s always a plus.
Honorable Mention: The Needledrop
Sometimes I’ll pass over an album like Da Mafia 6ix’s 6ix Commandments and it’s always good to check the Needledrop’s review in case it was worth listening to because the guy really knows his shit.
My Top 10
My ten favorite things of the year in hip-hop, be it an artist, an album, or really just about anything.
Honorable Mention: Miley Cyrus
You all hated her, and while yes, she has talent equivalent to that of a 6 year old’s tap recital, I’m definitely a fan– of her and the mute button.
10. The Producer-Rapper duo/trio
If you don’t love the idea of a bunch of friends that got together to make great music, you’re a sad, angry person and I would have you removed from my presence.
9. Grime/UK rap
There’s just something about that English accent and that electro/jungle influence that’s just so goddamn purrty.
See above, the site is just the tits. Don’t take my word for it? If you’ve heard of every artist on the first two pages, I’ll eat my hat. Earmilk
7. Kanye West
Did everything that come out of his mouth this year make everyone happy? No. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s nothing in the world I care about less than what those people like. The man is a genius and I’m a convert. I’m in the middle of writing the bible for my new religion– Westonianism.
6. Donald Glover
I’m black, smart, and from the suburbs. He’s basically my messiah. No he’s not the greatest rapper of all time, and yes my taste in music would suggest I shouldn’t be a fan. But he just speaks to me like no other, and I choose never to get sick of him. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s on my favorite sitcom (at least for the time being).
Bumped it for a solid two months. The whole thing is amazing.
4. Atheist rappers and other such blasphemy
Listening to all the Jesus stuff and living in this Christian society gets to you after a while. It’s good to hear someone you can relate to every once and a while.
3. Discovering/Rediscovering ScienZe
I bumped Hall Pass a while ago. I can’t believe I put this nigga down. I heard Divine Scienze this year (a little late sadly) and the shit changed my goddamn life. So I went back and caught up on the MC’s catalog.
2. Beast Coast
If I have to explain to you why a young, black, male hip-hop head is geekin’ over the return of 90’s boom-bap and the revitalization of the greatest hip-hop city in the world, you might be better off going somewhere else.
1. The Because the Internet Project
Not just the album, which was great, but the screenplay, which was just greater. Check them both out if you haven’t because they remain my favorite part of 2013.