Hip Hop Dependency: Best Albums Of 2018

Well, here we are!   Our Top 10 albums from 2018.   I literally listened to hundreds of projects this year so giving you a top ten was no easy task considering not only the number of albums but also the quality.  And these lists are always prone to spark debate and conversation, but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?  I simply wanted to shine a light on my favorite joints this year and in part give my definitive salute as a fan to these artists and their body of work.   Here we go…Enjoy!!

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2018 Hip Hop Dependency Artist Of The Year: Recognize Ali

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It’s been five years since we actually did and end of the year segment where we lauded particular artists and albums for their efforts.   2018 has felt like the right time and place to bring that back our Artist Of The Year accolade.  Recognize Ali embodies the dope movement we saw this past year.  He put out five albums, all of which are dope, none of which are identical.  They are distinctive in sound and all offer something great to hip-hop fans of all walks.  He was also probably featured more times than anyone else this year on projects from others.   In short, his immense talent matched an unrelenting work ethic that was matched by few others this year.

It is when talent and work ethic reach such high levels that we feel compelled to do something special to share that unique gift with our audience.  So please listen to the man’s music…pass the word along to others and read this interview he so graciously granted us.  It’s a great read! We’ve also included a few of our favorite Recognize Ali cutz for your listening pleasure at the end.  Enjoy!

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2018: Best EPs

So here is a list of my favorite EPs from 2018.   I easily could have extended this list to 25 projects and been really comfortable about that.  However, I really wanted to showcase what I consider to be the best projects in a year where there was so much greatness to consider.  In the end, there were no votes, judges, or etcetera.  This was simply a matter of personal preference.  I hope you enjoy these projects as much as I did.

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Top 50 Songs (2013)

Disclaimer:  It is hard and challenging to pick 50 tracks from the thousands upon thousands that dropped this year.  It is merely an attempt to list my favorite cuts of 2012.  Click the links to listen to the song!  I think it’s a great list.  There were a lot of great songs crafted this year and I know I left off some good ones.  I listened to 5,000+ tracks from 2012 alone this year, so as an artist, if you made this list you know you are on the forefront of my iTunes!

1. Said BeforeGoldini Bagwell

2. Rhyme Of The YearNino Bless

3. BelieversMayday

4. Outlive, Outshine Theo3

5.  WarStryfe and Marc Byrd

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Artist Of The Year: Nutso (2013)

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It is an honor and a privilege to present to you the Hip Hop Dependency Artist Of The Year for 2013: Nutso (Twitter, Facebook, Website, YouTube).   I have been a huge fan of Nutso for a long time but this was a banner year for him. He really went above and beyond what the rest of the pack is doing.  There are A LOT of talented artists, but very few have the work ethic and the drive that Nutso does.  In 2013, he released dope project after dope project and he has no intentions of stopping that pace in 2014.

It’s one thing to be dope.  It’s entirely another thing to be relentless.  Nutso is both.   He is constantly creating with a slew of different producers and finding new avenues to push the envelope of his music.  All the while he builds on the foundation that is New York Boom-Bap.

So without further ado, I bring you words from the man himself, as he graciously agreed to answer a few questions from HHD.  Be sure to check his older projects along with his current ones, and prepare for the future!:

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Producer Of The Year: Alterbeats (2013)

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HHD has never done  a Producer Of The Year accolade in our previous two years of existence but this award is warranted in 2013.  No one is responsible for more ill beats in my iTunes collection from this past year than producer extraordinaire, Alterbeats (Twitter, Website, Facebook, YouTube).  He has made bangers for some of my favorite artists along with crafting his album, Class Struggle.   He is one of the hardest working producers in the game, and emcees know that if they need some heat, they can check in with this Parisian Producer.   Be sure to check out Alterbeats’ projects and song credits.  You can check many of them by checking this LINK.  So please congratulate Alterbeats on this inaugural award on any of his social networks and be sure to check some of his favorite hand picked tracks below:

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Top 10 Albums (2013)

More than any year previous, I have toiled and contemplated this list.  In particular, deciding on a pecking order proved to be most difficult but this is what I have come up with.  Feel free to disagree.  The list was assembled based upon the usual criteria of production, lyricism, flow, song arrangement, and the ever popular, but lost ingredient…CREATIVITY.

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1. Tenacity x Fratello BeatzABnormal Deciding on the number one album of the year was really difficult but ABnormal kept on coming up in the discussion and I could not diminish it’s value.  This album oozes creativity and is loaded with great tracks.  Tenacity’s lyricism and songwriting ability prove to be impeccable, while Fratello Beatz creates the perfect soundscape. Review.

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2. Stryfe x Marc ByrdThe Last Resorts Producer Marc Byrd really outdid himself on this album.  The rock infused production made this album knock.  Stryfe continues to make a name for himself with his sharp lyricism and witty wordplay.   There are a grip of tracks that absolutely bang.  The fact that I didn’t give this a full review was a big mistake.  Awesome album.

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3. Jermiside x Danny DiggsQuiet As Kept Jermiside and Diggs personify smooth introspection with this release.  It is simultaneously laid back and engaging.  Review.

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4. The AztextFour The Aztext keep a record of making great music and they consistently make these end of the year lists.  Four is a remarkable album for it’s creative concepts and flavor.  These guys just get it.  And if you give this album a listen, you too may here it. Review.

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5. DemigodzKiLLmatic  This is the one album on the list that made it for it’s pure ‘knockability’.   When I first heard this album, I was blown away with Apathy’s production.  I think it’s one of the best produced albums of the year.  There are too many dope tracks on this album to ignore. Review.

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6. One DaeDaes & Times This was just released last month  but I have given it enough listens to consider it one of this year’s best releases. One Dae has a lost of microphone charisma and the production on the album is vastly superior to a far number of albums released this year. Review.

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7. MaydayBelievers Many people have a hard time categorizing (or pigeon holing) Mayday.  Sometimes they wear that ominous tag of ‘alternative hip hop’.  Bull shit.   This album is hip hop heavy that is layered in soul and funk elements with a dash of rock.  But it’s still hip hop to me and really good hip hop.  I wore out the front half of this album it was so good (not to detract from the latter half).

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8.  NattiStill Motion Here’s another album that I never gave it’s due.  Natti’s Still Motion is comprised of some really good music.  It is heavily produced by Deacon The Villain and KNO of Cunninlynguists and those guys know how to make albums.   After I heard track #2, Another Galaxy, I was sold.  Great album!

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9. Swollen MembersBeautiful Death Machine Go ahead and remain incredulous, but this is the best Swollen Members’ album since Balance.   And nobody can turn a phrase like Previal and Madchild.  They are on their own shit.   The production is on point and unlike many of their previous albums, there is a certain level of focus in the tracks and arrangement.  There was no deviation.  I appreciated that. Review.

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10. Jus Daze – Walk Twice As Hard Jus Daze is the most introspective artist on the list.  Walk Twice As Hard is a not only a musical journey, but also an extremely personal one.  You can really appreciate the care that Daze took in creating the album.  Review.

Top 5 EPs (2013)

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1) Theo 3Enticement I always agonize over the best EPs, because I think the shorter releases are always going to be more tightly construed then longer releases.   Thusly there are doper, more potent releases, in this format.  But there are was not a doper five songs put together for an EP than Enticement.  It features production from Psycho Les and The Audible Doctor, and some really great lyricism.

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2) SupastitionThe Blackboard Don’t call it a comeback!  When Supastition decided to re-enter the realm of making music, I felt uplifted.  He’s simply one of my favorite emcees.  With The Blackboard,  he came back in rare form with some great production, lyricism, and concepts.  The release it the total package and a forbearance of what’s to come.

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3) Grey Sky AppealOccam’s Razor  Grey Sky Appeal have such a unique and clever sound and although this EP was crafted on a tour back in 2011, it didn’t see the light of day until 2013.  You can check out our full review of the project HERE.

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4) SkeezoFace Value In terms of sheer knockability (yes, that’s a word), no EP hit harder than this one.  This is EP is chocked full of bangers with superlative production on raw rhymes.  There’s also a lot of replayability in this short project.  Skeezo is one of those names that should be at the forefront when it comes to emcees to watch for 2014.

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5) Nutso x 5th SealI Plead The 5th – In the end, this EP was impossible to leave off the list even with the stiff competition.   It has one of the best tracks of the year in PAIN and also contains the certified bangers, Blood & Bones and Planet Of the Apes.  5th Seal and Nutso prove to be one of the best producer/emcee collaborations in 2013.

Artist Of The Year: Ruste Juxx (2012)

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Well, the cat’s out of the bag.  Ruste Juxx is the Hip Hop Dependency Artist Of The Year For 2012!  Ruste Juxx really upped his game for 2012.  He dropped two different stellar projects.  One project was was with French producer Kyo Itachi entitled Hardbodie Hip Hop. The other, more recent project, was with a new favorite of mine, The Arcitype entitled simple, V.I.C.

Ruste Juxx wasn’t just about putting out a couple of great albums, he was on at least a dozen other cuts from other artists, always dropping solid bars. He was by far the most prolific artist of 2012.

One of the most compelling things about Ruste Juxx in 2012 was his flexing his verbal dexterity on the V.I.C. album.  He broadened his content and really stepped out in my mind.

So Ruste Juxx, Hip Hop Dependency salutes you!  Your accolades are way overdue.

(Below are ten videos Ruste Juxx found himself on in 2012.  Just to give you a sample of what he’s been up to.)

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Top 10 Albums (2012)

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#1 – (Apollo The GreatHennessy Diaries) –  I know what you are saying right now…”What is he thinking?”   But you probably haven’t even heard this album.  I have listened to it at least 10 times in preparation for this list and I have come to the same conclusion every single time.  It is the best.  Now I haven’t even had the time to review the album in it’s entirety but I hope this accolade prompts you to listen to it.  This is going to sound like large praise indeed, but listening to this was similar to listening to Illmatic.  Now before you get your panties in a bunch…I said like.

This is a great album.  The beats are incredible and Apollo the Great is a superb lyricist.  There is not one skippable track on the entire project.  It is great from the alpha to the omega.  Above The Sky, Liquor Talk, and Bad Ones are all some of my personal favorites off of this joint.  Each joint is well done but the flow of this album is on point as well,   It’s an extremely fluid release

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#2 – (OddiseePeople Hear What They See) – This album dropped in June and for no apparent reason I listened to it and moved on.  But upon revisiting this project, I too can see it’s brilliance.  Many people know Oddisee as the producer but people are getting more and more exposure to his lyricism.  He’s very introspective and delivers powerful performance after powerful performance.

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#3 (PremRockMark’s Wild Years) – Man, for two years running Premrock has cracked this list.  I guess that should come as not surprise as he is probably the most innovative artist on this list.   I mean combining Tom Waits and Hip Hop is no easy feat in my mind but he brought so much life and vibrancy to hip hop with this release.  I hope people will give this album a chance in their rotation.  I think you will enjoy.  Premrock gives the term ‘artist’ all the more credibility in hip hop culture.

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#4 (Ruste Juxx x The Arcitype –  VIC) –  I had never heard of The Arcitype prior to this release and for shame on me.  This gentleman gave Ruste Juxx the perfect auditory canvas for his verbals.   VIC not only knocks to a higher rhythm, but Ruste Juxx showed incredible versatility making this joint shine bright for 2012.

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#5 (SwerveThe Barrelhouse)  Here’s another one you all might be shaking your heads at, but I will not back down from this choice.  The Barrelhouse is silky smooth and Swerve just has “it”.  His lyricism, flow, and the ability to morph a turn of phrase really separates him from the pack to me.  I am determined to get this man’s name more shine in 2013 because his 2012 was criminally slept upon.   The highest caliber of emcee.

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#6 (Apollo Brown x OC – Trophies) – I know the majority will have this higher on their lists.  It’s a great album.  Everything Apollo Brown is touching these days appears to be golden.  But truthfully, when was the last time you heard OC come off like this? He sounds tight on the mic device.  This album is loaded with dope tracks and a must have in your stash.

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#7 (MaLLy x The Sundance KidThe Last Great) –  This is a great emcee and producer combo!  I felt like this project took forever to come out.  I was asking and anticipating and it finally arrived.  When it did, it did not disappoint in the least.  MaLLy doesn’t just rock mics…he commands them!  He just has incredible presence.  The Sundance Kid also is gifted behind the boards creating interesting blends of boom-bap and synth.  Check this!

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#8 (LocksmithLabyrinth) –  Some of you forgot about this one, didn’t you?  Locksmith is tenacious with his spit game and filled with angst.  This is another album that is loaded with great tracks. My two favorites are Illuminati and Little Bunny Rabbit.

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#9 (Reks x NumonicsRebelutionary) – This is an artistic union that any fan or blog should be able to get behind.  Reks (in my mind) already has one classic album under his belt with, Grey Hairs.  Numonics has been cranking out some of the dopest production in the last couple of years.  The two sound really great together.   This album knocks hard and has edgy lyricism for the masses.

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#10 (LRoneousLgorithms) – LRoneous has been the epitome of consistency.  Last years’ Notes Of The Righteous Outlaw really caught my attention and Lgorithms just holds that captive audience and builds upon it.  He is one of the finest wordsmiths doing it right now and deserved to be recognized as much.  Lots of great cuts on this but perhaps none greater than his dedication to Mike Dream.