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.

Jus Daze – Walk Twice As Hard (2013)

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Artist: Jus Daze

Album: Walk Twice As Hard

Tracklisting:

1. Walk Twice As Hard (Prologue)
2. First Step
3. Here For A Reason
5. Bob (Interlude)
6. Same Struggle
7. Comfort The Comforters
8. 365 Daze Love Letters
9. Superman’s Dead
10. Zombie
11. Fallen Star
12. To Die For
13. Know I Would (ft. Lenore)
14. Andy Dufresne (Ambition)
15. I Made It (ft. MVP & Devo)
16. Whatever Happens Happens
17. Reflection

Note:

What first drew me to Jus Daze was not his victories on the battle circuit. It wasn’t an appearance on a late night talk show. Nor was it because he was the “bow legged bandit”.   I rarely even look at the attached pictures of emcees that are sent in submissions.   I listen to Jus Daze’s music because he is relate-able to his audience and I connect with his lyricism, his stories, and his message.  It’s intelligent and tangible music.

Walk Twice As Hard is loaded with powerful lines and stories but it also lends itself to shear artistry.   We have talked about the track Superman Is Dead previously but I can’t discuss the album without revisiting this song. It’s a track that puts a more mortal twist on the supernatural story of Superman and the characters associated with him.   It’s a story of love, jealousy, and betrayal.   It’s an extremely creative track.  I am really not sure how the writing process develops for a song like this.  When listening to a track of this nature, it begs the question: What other tales and concepts lie in the confines of the mind of Jus Daze?

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Single You Out: Jus Daze – I Made It (ft. MVP and Devo D)

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Now this usually ain’t my steez.  It’s a little too uptempo and optimistic and I am just not that kind of guy.   But the song is too well put together not to share it.  The chorus by Devo D really completes the cut in between sixteens from Jus Daze and MVP (from WWE fame, who knew?).  It’s the type of joint that definitely could rock a club and steal some commercial success. I Made It, is just the tip of the iceberg from the Walk Twice As Hard album.  One of the things I like about Jus Daze is that he is one of the more substantive emcees I feature here.  He’s always dropping material that gets you thinking and while  I Made It is not exactly in that lane, make sure you give the album a deserved listen.

Single You Out: Jus Daze – Comfort The Comforters

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Jus Daze is cranking out the singles for his upcoming project, Walk Twice As Hard.  He’s one of the most poignant rhyme writers at the moment.  He brings ‘real people’ music to the forefront.   The song brings to light many emotions and thoughts.  He gets you thinking and that’s to be sure.  I can’t wait to cop the album.   The beat comes courtesy of Larry Legend.

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Friday Feature: Jus Daze – Superman Is Dead

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Jus Daze string of releases have become more and more compelling with every track.  I’ve talked about it before, but Jus Daze is becoming a master of connecting with the audience.  Even if he narrates a tale through metaphor and imagery, the potency of the message he imparts remains the same.  Here you have a Rod Stewart infused boom-bap produced by Clipsmoke, while Jus Daze uses the story of Superman to weave a tale of love, lies, and deception.   This is really good stuff people! I can’t wait for the album, Walk Twice As Hard.

Friday Feature: Jus Daze – Andy Dufresne

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Jus Daze makes it easy to feature him on Fridays because he is always putting out good, quality hip hop.  This time he goes all Shawshank Redemption over the rhythm.   This joint is dark, yet hypnotic.  The beat is perfect.  It captivates you while Daze drives home point after point.  I also like the fact that he changes his cadence and speaks in hush tones in parts.  It gives you the feel that he’s just holding a discussion with you.   Dopest track I have heard this first couple of weeks in 2013…

This track is the lead single for his forthcoming album, Walk Twice As Hard.