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.

Top 50 Songs (2012)

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. Megatron MindstateSpit Gemz, Shaz Illyork, and DJ Brans brought the banger of the year early on in 2012. For me this track just set a standard that could not be surpassed. The beat was epic and the rhymes intermingled the streets with theology to provide a brief but concentrated delivery of dope.

2. Tragedy TextRP from the Loyalty Digital game me the chills literally with this track about texting and driving and anyone who can provoke that type of response deserves to be acknowledged.  One of the great conceptual songs in the last five years.

3. The Greatest Mother EverRashid Hadee provides one of the great sarcastic songs of our lifetime with this joint.

4. Little Bunny RabbitLocksmith does angst so well.  He raps with a chip on his shoulder and delivers devastation to and and all in his path, in part to his little buddy.

5. Lo Siento AmigoDub Sonata x Double AB brought a lot of flavor and context to this joint.   Dub Sonata conjures a little latin boom bap and Double AB continues to be one of the best story telling emcees in the game, narrating a tale of romance, deception, and karma.

6. Local Artist – I could have honestly used any on the cuts off of The 17ths FREE EP.  It’s a damn great EP and you can listen to it through and through.   But this cut puts the listener in the shoes of your “local artist” and his life.

7. Under Their Radar, Over Their HeadsIllmaculate has always delivered dope bars but the production on this joint combined with the lyricism made this a sure shot for out Top 10.

8. Heaven – While this is not on any particular album, Mike Beatz provides an amazing banger for the fans and the visuals from the video give you that serial killer feel.  I can’t wait to hear more from this man in 2013.

9. How Do I SurviveEmilio Lopez and Falside link up for another banger that just makes the listener get out of the seat and get amped.

10. Dirt In The GroundPremrock’s reworking of Tom Waits music is impressive and this joint is the closing cut.  It’s very innovative and poignant.

11. Rare FlowSerge Severe and Jon Belz bring you that rare Portland air with this ‘rare flow’ over Terminill production.

12. J.O.Y.Copywrite features Torae and Jason Rose for this outstandingly soulful song.

13. My CondolencesSnake Hollywood released this beast of a track towards the end of the year and it instantly bypassed 95% of the other tracks out there.  Really dope rhymes.

14. Yesterday’s GoneSwerve and Co$$ define soul in hip hop with this track.  Just something to put you at ease.

15. 3AMJournalist 103 is prone to drop a gem on em’ and this is one of my favorite tracks from his most recent album.

16. Burn It DownGotham Green and Quickiemart bring you a track to tear the club up.  A 1940s club that is because this joint bumps with a nostalgic vibe.  Very unique.

17. Waiting In VeinMayhem drops one of the best storytelling joints this year.   You will just have to listen to this one and follow along.

18. Problem SolverVinnie Paz brings in the legend, Scarface for this song off of his most recent album.

19.  Futuristic – When is ‘The Wolves’ project going to drop because this collaborative deal between Shabaam Sahdeeq, Eddie B., and Harry Fraud is type ill.

20. Check My ResumeSubstantial rocking over some Oddisee beats is the sure shot.

21. Don’t HateOf Mice and Musicians are trying to convince the listener they are doing it for their benefit…so don’t hate.  Also, this is off of a great album so make sure you cop that!

22. Big BroFatal Lucciauno dropped a real raw ass album and this song is the crem de la crem.

23. Sorry Alias & Fakts One apologize for the vicious cycle on this joint but not their dope music.

24. Mr. Governor – The duo of Soul Khan and Akie Bermiss again deliver a dope song with this conscious cut.

25. Drowning ManCas Metah and Wonder Brown  offer a Christian message in the form of dope hip hop rhythm accompanied by Copywrite and Elias.

26. Digi Box – C-Rayz Walz pays homage to the hip hop internet scene.

27. Rock To The RhythmRuste Juxx and The Arcitype drop thisself explanatory joint but in the illest, and most high energy way possible.

28. Price & Shining Armor – When Sean Price and Ruste Juxx combine, it’s nothing but a win for everybody.

29. UnfukwitableRed Eye and company rock over a DJ Bless beat making this the best posse cut of the year.  Hands down.

30. SushiRas Kass is my all-time favorite emcee and he shows and proves his place in history once again with this track.

31. Monte CarloKing Mez and producer Commissioner Gordon once again combine for this audio masterpiece.

32. Jansport StringsSkyzoo and the horns are a formidable combination.

33.  Above The SkyApollo The Great is one of the best surprises this year to me.  His album is immaculate and this track is one of my favorites.

34. Terminate On Site – CF drops another tough joint.  Last year he brought ‘that fire’, and this year he ‘terminates on site’.

35.  Humid NightsJR&PH7 link up with The Kid Daytona for a soulful joint off their most recent project.

36.  SuccessThe Audible Doctor  and Chaundon showcase their verbals over the former’s tightest productions.

37. Walk With The Lions – When Swedish producer Pause Beats comes out with his album in 2013 you will recognize.  A lot of talent on this track.

38. Knob CreekJustMe, Marcus Wilkerson, and Sheisty Khrist give you a spiritual, soulful and bluesy vibe that this liste needed.

39.  Rabbit Season – Craig G is an OG.  He deosn’t care about end of the year accolades but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve them.  He once again shows these youngsters how it is done…proper.  Kids….go get your shine box!

40.  the Last Great – This is the title track off of MaLLy & The Sundance Kid’s album from this year.  It’s such a different sound and the two work great together.

41. Blame The LabelThe Narcicyst asks you to take a leap of faith with him which is easy when he drops an infectious track like this!

42.  UnlearnReks and Numonics kill the game with this track.  These are two of my favorites in their selected fields.  You can’t listen to this without stopping what you are doing and paying attention to the music,.

43.  Appreciation – Speaking of ill combinations, Donnie Darko  and DJ Bless continue their run with one of the best track this year.  Darko has a lot of power in his voice and Bless in his beats.

44. Sandstorms – This list needed another ill posse cut and who better to deliver than Blacastan, Emilio Lopez, Outerspace, and V-Zilla?  No One.

45. Holy Smokes – You don’t remember Mr. Complex do you?  Well, I personally think he is one of the most interesting emcees in the game.  A great talent with a great sense of humor.

46. People  – Falside ain’t right for this as he asserts his force on this Juan Deuce track featuring Romen Rok.  Real ill!

47. The First 48Apollo Brown and OC brought you one of the illest albums this year and this song typifies that release.  Dope beats and rhymes.

48.  You Know Who You AreOddisee is a unique talent with an old soul.  A producer extraordinaire with great lyrical ability.

49.  Balcony – Are you down with the Mission? The Black Opera.  You are either with us or against us.

50.  Time 2 Roll – The Red Giants are not only smooth but also extremely dope and don’t tell me Jermiside can’t flow.  This is ill lyricism and ability!

Top 5 Mixtapes (2012)

Here are my Top 5  Mixtapes from 2012.  Click the pics to be taken to the appropriate download links.

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Spit Gemz – Welcome To Hellzgate

If war came in your headphones, this is what it would sound like.   Spit Gemz is the quintessential street poet of our generation.  This man combines  the highest level of intelligence and wordplay making this the best street album/mixtape this year.

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Red Eye – St. Fatrick’s Day

Red Eye definitely has an argument for the best mixtape of 2012.  This mixtape is tough.  Really tough.  The beats are big and the rhymes are raw.  There are also tons of dope guest shots on this project as well. Lots of replay value on this joint.

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Juan Deuce – No Sweat

Juan Deuce’s first project, No Sweat, is a winner.   Juan Deuce is an artist all unto himself and can not be duplicated.  This project is absolutely unique.  And ‘unique’ in this instance means…fresh.

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DMP – Live From Early Street

DMP offers the most traditional of mixtapes in this year’s awards.   Lots of short but dope cuts on this project from a group of Virginia emcees back by Nottz behind the boards.  Good music to saturate your eardrums in.

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OnlyOne – Cult Classic

Do you want a mixtape to bang and knock in the whip?  Our Sandpeople brethren brought you some ill music in 2012 and perhaps none more sick than OnlyOne’s Cult Classic.

Top 5 EPs (2012)

This was a tough category.  There were so many dope, short projects that were offered up this year that it was really hard to narrow it down to my favorites.  I just kept the one ruling principle in mind as to who made the dopes music.  With that being kept in mind there were some dope artists left off…most notably The Brown Bag AllStars.  That crew put out a ton of dope EPs this year and surely some of them would have made a Top 10, just not the Top 5.  I simply couldn’t let got of these joints.

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#1 -The 17th – Free Music EP

The 17th gave us ‘FREE Music’ but not only that, he gave us some remarkable music.  This EP is close to flawless as they come.  You get eight tracks jam packed with flavor, great concept, flows, production, and delivery.  Another remarkable aspect is that much of the EP is his from beginning to end.  He of course is the lead emcee, but also the producer for the bulk of the tracks as well.

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#2 – Serge Severe x Terminill – Service Without A Smile

Serge Severe and Terminilllinked up for  a superlative effort on Service Without A Smile.  The two really played off of each other’s strengths and this proved to be one of the illest producer/emcee combos of 2012.

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#3 – Nefew x Shakes x Nottz – For Hip Hop

Speaking of ill producer/emcee combos, how about this one?  Swiss-American hip-hop group, Nefew, Virginia emcee Shakes, and super producer Nottz link up for for this five track EP.   You can’t go wrong with this joint!

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#4 – Mayday – Thrift Store Halos

MayDay has a sound all unto themselves.  They have have great production to back them up on Thrift Store Halos and their melodies, rhymes, and guest shots throughout make this one a clear winner for 2012.

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#5 – The Narcicyst – Leap Of Faith

The Narcicyst comes back in 2012 with a lyrical fury from Dubai.  Ok, a lyrical fury may be a bit extreme but his world observations set to rhythm set him apart from the pack this year.