1 - Billy Woods – History Will Absolve Me
Last: #5 in 2010 (Super Chron Flight Bros)
Notes: Billy Woods may be today’s greatest MC at painting a world of vivid imagery filled with obscure pop culture references, historical footnotes, and conscious level lyrics.
2 - Sean Price – Mic Tyson
Last: #2 in 2007
Notes: The Alchemist produced “STFU Part 2” on continuous loop would be the perfect theme music for a post- midnight session of mailbox baseball.
3 - Dinosaur Burps – Mother Nature Wants You Dead
Notes: West Virginia based crew blends hard hitting beats with lyrics about “beating off all in my Snuggie” and other gems. Rappers who don’t take themselves too serious, a novel concept in 2012.
4 - Masterminds – Giant Antlers
Notes: Alfred’s “some men just want to watch the world burn” quote from The Dark Knight perfectly sets off this gritty NYC crew’s offering, seamlessly blending into “The Invisible World.”
5 - Aesop Rock – Skelethon
Last: #1 in 2007
Notes: Hip Hop isn’t dead when you can make a track about a “Homemade Mummy.” “Take the brain out, leave the heart in, major take down, eat the porridge, take the brain out, leave the carcass.”
6 - Dark Time Sunshine – ANX
Last: #1 in 2010
Notes: I copped a signed physical copy of this release direct from front man (and one of the most underrated MCs in the game) Onry Ozzborn at their Boulder show. An added plus? He’s a Broncos fan.
7 - Oh No – Ohnomite
Notes: Oh No again comes correct both behind the boards (where the samples from Dolemite set the album’s tone) and in front of the mic. Collabos with MF Doom, Erick Sermon, and more.
8 - Homeboy Sandman – First Of A Living Breed
Last: #2 in 2010
Notes: “Not Really” is the anti-swag of 2012: “It occurred to me one show/I’m on stage while used to be in the front row/That’s like a ten foot distance/It’s not a real big difference…”
9 - Gangrene – Vodka And Ayahuasca
Notes: Oh No and Alchemist team up and get a bit trippy on their second release, featuring heavy guitar loops and heavy beats. Prodigy, Roc Marciano, and Kool G Rap give up solid collabos.
10 - Typical Cats – 3
Video: The Crown
Notes: The Chicago based group returns with their trio of MCs: Qwel, Denizen Kane, and Qwazaar, who flip their tracks in the fashion of the multi-member crews of yesteryear.
Others Receiving Votes:
El-P – Cancer For Cure
Last: #6 in 2007
Notes: The rat/squirrel puppet on “The Full Retard” video may be the most creative and out the box puppet since the UMC’s Blue Cheese blob. A banner year for El-P headlined by this joint.
Odd Future – The OF Tape Vol 2
Notes: Strip away all the hipster, frat boy, and random weirdo fans, and Odd Future puts out quality and on point Hip Hop. Not to be fronted on is Earl Sweatshirt’s epic verse on “Oldie.”
DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles - Kolexxxion
Notes: Combined 50 years in rap, Primo and Foxxx give exactly what you would expect: straight rhymes and boom bap beats. Bump is out for fake ass rhyming pus*ies, and he ain’t afraid to let em know.
Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
Notes: A meticulous mix of El-P’s trademarked production and Killer Mike’s southern flow, this record serves to remind us that the South ain’t all about trap houses and candy paint…but still is.
Roc Marciano – Reloaded
Last: #6 in 2010
Notes: Roc doesn’t need elaborate production or superstar cameos or even over the top marketing. He just gives the listener on point street driven rhymes.
GOING BACK: 2006 Best, 2007 Tops, 2008 Greats, 2009 Bangers
, 2010 Damn That's Fresh
, 2011 Dayuuuuuum
Labels: Hip Hop, Yearly wrap up