No order, just a list…
• Jay-Z – 4:44
○ The album no one expected Jay-Z to record. Honest, personal, revealing, this is a long way from the ‘So Ghetto’ jigga. I’m older so I can appreciate this personal side. To be honest, we all should. Black excellence, excellence, family, loyalty, sexuality and parenthood, all in 10 songs over unorthodpx No I.D. production, what more could you ask for? This album is pushing the culture forward. Worth every penny.
§ Favorite Track: Legacy
• Oddisee – The IceBerg
○ If you knew Oddisee from 10 years ago, you knew of a producer/rapper with a whole different style. Sample based beats and rapidy rap. His style and transformed band is now much more polished. The iceberg is like a breath of fresh air, so different then today’s rap norms from the lyrics to production. Live, minimalistic instrumentation, blue collar progressive lyrics. Listening to this album triggers introspection, gratitude and hustle. This one got plenty of plays from me this year
§ Favorite Track: Built from Pictures
• Action Bronson – Blue Chips 7000
○ I’ve been on Bronson since Dr. Lector and he’s still as entertaining as can be while rapping better than your favorite rapper. Bronson reminds me to live life to the fullest and enjoy the quirky things, passions and desires that come with it. Most of all, be you and have fun. Blue Chips 7000 shows Bronson returning to mixtape form like fan like him. Though the official albums were good, the mixtapes are his classics. I can let this album go from top to bottom and most of the time, I’m starting it over again. This is the Bronson you want.
§ Favorite Track: La Luna
• Kendrick Lamar: DAMN Collector’s Edition
○ Who knew reversing the track order would make a big difference? For me, it made a noticable one. Flows much better and strangely ties the story together better. I have been listening to this much more than the original. Whatever version you listen to, Kendrick continues to dig into the DNA of culture, race, and generational differences. Another great body of work.
§ Favorite Track: FEAR/2nd part of DNA
• Big KRIT – 4eva Is A Mighty Long Time
○ I was personally excited when krit got off Def Jam as i knew we would get more of that mixtape KRIT that made. Like Bronson, the major label albums were ‘good’, not great like the mixtapes. KRIT came back to the roots plus grew as an artist as well. The production here is stepping outside the zone KRIT is usually in, adding acute live instrumentation all over the album. Lyrically he is sharp as ever. Great album.
§ Favorite Track: Price of Fame
• Rapsody – Laila’s Wisdom
○ The growth here is apparent, project by project she has been getting better at putting together complete pieces of work. laila’s Wisdom sewn together perfect and is the album that shows Rapsody from every angle possible and shares interesting concepts. Pure instrumentation and perfect features that mesh so well together and wordplay of course puts this album amongst my top 5. I haven’t felt like this about a full female MC project since Jean Grae and Eve back in the day.
§ Favorite Track: Black & Ugly
• Drake – More Life
Can’t say I expected this, I’m not a huge Drake fan but I did like some songs up to this point. I gave More Life a shot after hearing that two birds one stone track. Quite frankly, Drake delivers on this album. It’s some of his best music I’ve heard to date. Less singing more rapping which I prefer, slick wordplay and personal insight.
§ Favorite Track: Lose You