Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 CREAM: Top Rap Albums

1 - billy woods – Known Unknowns – All billy woods releases brutally engage the listener with a varied and frenzied worldview, supreme wordplay, geopolitical invectives, and off kilter subject matter.  But Known Unknowns takes it to the proverbial next level with astonishing Blockhead production, picking up where 2013’s Dour Candy last left us frothing.  CHECK OUT: “Police Came to My Show”

2 - Meyhem Lauren and DJ MuggsGems from the Equinox – When this was released there was some consternation this record was labeled a “throwback.”  If dirty, grimey raps with likewise hard hitting beats are “throwback” then let’s all embrace this here “throwback.” Both Hologram and Action Bronson tremendously lend some spitfire lyrics to the record throughout.  CHECK OUT: “Szechuan Peppercorns”

3 - Wiki – No Mountains in Manhattan – Wiki has managed to capture New York City’s living essence, coupling them with some complimentary beats and give us a de facto tour guide for the Big Apple.  Bagels and lox, gazing from the subway trains, the skyscrapers, blunts (lots of blunts), Chinese food, his crew, his love, partying, it all oozes from this record.  CHECK OUT: “Pretty Bull” and “Stick Ball”

4 - Your Old Droog – Packs – Coney Island’s Droog comes hard again with his punchline heavy raps and stellar, crisp production from the likes of Alchemist, Edan, and RTNC.  Comedian Anthony Jeselnik laces together the lucid song collection with humorous skits throughout (shouting out Gangstarr’s “The Mall.”)  Wiki, Danny Brown, and Heems come through on guest shots.  CHECK OUT: “You Can Do It (Give Up!)”

5 - Sean Price – Imperius Rex – Posthumous records sometimes sound hurried and clunky, not so with Imperius Rex.  It's as if Sean is still here threatening rappers, boasting and big upping Brownsville.  Collabs are a rugged and rough strong point;“Negus” with MF DOOM and Ike Eyez will smack the smile from your face.  CHECK OUT: “The 3 Lyrical Ps” f/ Prodigy and Styles P

6 - Mach Hommy – Haitian Body Odor – The mercurial Newark MC finally released an album for less than big dollars this year and HBO is big bank.  With August Fanon on most of the beats, the former Griselda rapper weaves his bars and tales interspersed with old news and show snippets.  The collab with Conway, “ Midnight Xpress” is a worthy highlight banger.  CHECK OUT: “Ti Geralde”

7 - Action Bronson – Blue Chips 7000 – Bam Bam, fresh off Vice fame and notoriety comes back with more fire on the latest Blue Chips installment.  “You don’t even know me,” he bellows on the “The Chairmen’s Intent” but we do know this Bronson music.  Funny (he raps over on-hold music) and at times hard (Durag v Headband) Bronson gives us on-point bars throughout.  CHECK OUT: "Chop Chop Chop"

8 - Armand Hammer - ROME - The forces known as Elucid and billy woods join forces again on an album that sees them casting aspersions on the masses. "Carnies" featuring Mach Hommy will make even the most seasoned listener freeze and deadpan into space. Stellar production work and perfectly placed collabos with Quelle Chris and others make this one of the year's deeper records.  CHECK OUT: "Shammgod" f/ Denmark Vessey.

9 - Wu-Tang - The Saga Continues - Mixtape or album?  Official Wu release or not?  The answer is who the fuck cares because this goes hard.  Longtime contributor Mathematics heads up the all the songs, with strong guest appearances from Sean Price and Chris Rivers. The biggest assists come from Redman, who is featured on three tracks including the savvy "Hood Go Bang" with Method Man.  CHECK OUT: "Pearl Harbor" f/ Sean Price

10 - Conway - G.O.A.T - This arrived in mid December and checked in at 10 tracks; but that's all it took to serve notice that The Machine is in fact the grimiest.  Griselda beatmeister Daringer does nine joints (the exception is Alchmeist laced "Trump") with the hallmark gritty stripped down boom bap.  A standout verse from Royce Da 5-9 on "Mandatory," with Benny, Raekwon and Styles P making appearances too. CHECK OUT: "Rodney Little" f/ Prodigy

11 - Jonwayne - Rap Album Number Two - The Cali-based MC and producer returns after a brief hiatus to give us this record, a complex tale of his downfall and ultimate redemption. He's not afraid to explore addiction on songs like "City Lights."  Lending to the overall vibe is his own produced beats, a slower, less is more instrumentals, and a seamless transition of the candid tracks.  CHECK OUT: "Live From Fuck You"

12 - Career Crooks - Good Luck With That - The duo, Zilla Rocca and Small Professor, give us a vivid journey through their Philadelphia life.  Storytelling abound about aging ("Clock's Ticking") and relationships ("Lipstick Itch") and more life situations adorn the record.  For those fiending for the throwback aspect can live it on a legit posse cut, "Mike Milligan," which goes five MCs deep. CHECK OUT: "Corrupt Novelist"

Others Receiving Votes:

Big Ghost Ltd and Hus Kingpin - Cocaine Beach

DopeKnife - NineteenEightyFour

KRS One - The World is Mind

Kendrick Lamar - Damn 

M-Dot - Ego and the Enemy

OC and Apathy- Perestroika

Onry Ozzborn - C V P II D

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