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.
1. Tenacity x Fratello Beatz – ABnormal 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.
2. Stryfe x Marc Byrd – The 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.
3. Jermiside x Danny Diggs – Quiet As Kept Jermiside and Diggs personify smooth introspection with this release. It is simultaneously laid back and engaging. Review.
4. The Aztext – Four 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.
5. Demigodz – KiLLmatic 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.
6. One Dae – Daes & 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.
7. Mayday – Believers 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).
8. Natti – Still 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!
9. Swollen Members – Beautiful 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.
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.