Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 Step On The Scene: Top Rap Albums

1- Nems - Gorilla Monsoon

Coney Island, Brooklyn is represented to the Timberland boot fullest in this grimy, gritty, and whatever else "g" stands for in this boom bap offering.  "200" featuring Spit Gemz is a album standout with the two going back and forth over a nasty beat.

2- Billy Woods and Kenny Segal - Hiding Places

woods, who never met a subject he won't broach, laces up the dark foreboding Segal beats to his standard fullest. In the highlight "Checkpoints" we hear woods "quit my job to kick raps instead, so family meeting everyone got start bring in bread."

3- Your Old Droog - It Wasn't Even Close

Droog came through with three hot albums this year and this first offering set it off.  With Mach Hommy serving as executive producer and also jumping on tracks ("RST" w/ MF Doom) we are treated to guest spots from Wiki and Roc Marciano among others.

4- billy woods - Terror Management

"The world's getting warmer we going the other way" woods bellows on the opening salvo "Marlow." Beats from Preservation, Blockhead, Small Pro and more give us an irreproachable meshing of themes and guests from Elucid, Mach Hommy, and Fielded.

5- Griselda - WWCD

The Shady debut of the Buffalo trio uses the formula that got them the rabid following they enjoy: hard beats and precise lyrics.  Westside Gunn, Benny, and Conway with production from Daringer and Beat Butcha shine with interplay on tracks like "Dr Bird's".

6- Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin?

The Q-Tip executive produced album slows down a bit from previous efforts on songs like "Best Life" and the title track.  "3 Tearz" featuring Killer Mike and El-P is a highlight with Danny rapping gems ("It was written, but not legible").

7- Gang Starr - One Of The Best Yet

Old schoolers understandably got a bit sentimental when this dropped.  It flows from the opener highlighting their older hits to first hearing Guru's voice on the raw energy, MOP driven "Lights Out".  DJ Premier brings in old cohorts Big Shug, Jeru da Damaja, Q-Tip, and Royce to add extra flavor...and nostalgia.

8- Quelle Chris - Guns

Quelle Chris delves into our nation's conscious with a portrait of one of our trigger points. Mach Hommy, Jean Grae, and Denmark Vessey drop in with collabs. "Obamacare" is a hard as nails track ("make a rapper freeze up like I was Zach in Bayside").

9- Wiki - Oofie

Oofie still sees Wiki having a good time ("shave my unibrow, I'd rather shave my balls") but also has some welcome introspective moments ("Way That I Am" featuring Your Old Droog).  Lil Ugly Mane and Denzel Curry stop in on the exceptional track "Grim".

10- Sean Price and Small Professor - 86 Witness

Sean lives on with this collab with producer Small Professor.  In the classic one MC one producer vein, he shines on tracks like "Refrigerator P" and "LaToya Jackson" ("if Kane battled Ra, Kool G Rap would win"), the latter with Quelle Chris and DJ Revolution.

11- The Good People - Good For Nuthin

Emskee and The Saint come with their fourth album: a feel good, no pretenses, throwback, bring a smile type vibe.  The guest list is impressive with DJ Red Alert, Sadat X, Large Professor, and Lil Fame ("Higher") all dropping in.

12- Black Moon - Rise of Da Moon

Bucktown is back for the first time in 16 years with a comeback suggesting they never left.  Buckshot and 5 Ft go with Evil Dee beats on, dare we say, back packer beats.  The second single "Black Moon Rise" catches the Black Moon vibe of the past 25 years.

Others receiving votes:

Sean Price and Lil Fame - The Price of Fame
Your Old Droog - Jewelry
Homeboy Sandman - Dusty
Nigel - Tantrum
Czarface Meets Ghostface - Double Dose of Danger
Westside Gunn - HWH7
Epic Beardmen - This Was Supposed To Be Fun
DopeKnife - Things Got Worse
Zilla Rocca - 96 Mentality
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib - Bandana
Rapsody - Eve
Benny - Plugs I Met

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