by andre briggs

2012 Hip-Hop Retrospective

On my old blog I would provide an annual list of my favorite Hip-Hop song and albums of the past year. I’ve been listening and analyzing the Hip-Hop genre long enough to develop a refined palate without being some asshat that writes for Complex Magazine. Previously I would categorize my lists into best songs and studio albums. These days in the Hip-Hop world your aren’t judged by your albums but by any “project” you release. This definition of project means that if an artist or group releases a mix-tape or collaboration that is not label approved, this can contribute to the newfound criteria.

Since the about 1999 the Hip-Hop taxonomy has expanded and splintered several times over. There’s a huge difference between “Trap Music”, West Cost Indie, and NYC borough specific music. I even have some French, British, and Spanish hip-hop in my library. In my opinion the big bang like expansion has slowed down considerably in the past few years. What’s left are unexplored fringe areas of Hipster Rap like Macklemore, Asher Roth and Lil’ B. It’s a shame really‚Ķ

The criteria I’ve used to determine my choices are based on several objective and subjective attributes such as:

  • iTunes library play count
  • Released in the year 2012
  • Production quality
  • Lyricism
  • Artist flow and presence
  • Project consistency

Let get on with it:

Best Tracks

Fizzyology – Lil Fame & Termanology

“Whips so hot looks like a convertible sauna” — Term Beat is dark, feelings like a cypher around a trashcan bonfire when it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Strictly Business (Pt. 1 & 2) Action Bronson & Statik Selektah

Statik stitches together a handful of 90’s classic hip-hop/rnb beats and breaks interloped bridged with New Jack City dialog. I first heard Action Bronson in 2011. Since then he has been one of my favorite rappers. Out of all the tracks he released in 2012 this is my favorite.

Mercy – Big Sean, Pusha T, Kanye West, & 2 Chainz

The version I have has doesn’t include Big Sean simply because I think he is terrible artist. The stand outs on this track and Pusha T & 2 Chainz verses. It’s a booming track in an era where most singles are afraid to combine bass and lyrics.

My Favorite Song

Wiz Khalifa is an artist that perplexes me. This is what I would like to him from him. The Taylor Allderdice project was much better than his studio album ONIFC.

Livers for Sale

This is a brilliant track. The intro voice sample sounds like Vincent Price from Thriller fame. I love the laughing sample too. The track’s theme stays true the title of stealing livers from dead bodies. Grotesque but how many artists take hip-hop back to horrorcore?

Gladiator Music

Another Gangrene track. This is a hard ass beat. This would be great to hear at a live show.

Six Directions Of Boxing

These days the Wu-Tang Clan doesn’t release much material as a group, but when they do it’s usually awesome. The soulful drums and guitar strings match the seasoned flows of the Clan. This track is from The Man With The Iron Fists Soundtrack and doesn’t disappoint.

Stay Schemin

The beat is pretty awesome and as usual Drakes verse is the one to check for. The hook is homage to an old Nas track by the same name.

Notable Tracks:

  • “Where’s The Love” – Nas
  • “WOH”/“Chandelier”/“Showroom” – Curren$y
  • “Triple Beam Dreams” – Rick Ross & Nas
  • “New Jack” – Smoke DZA
  • “Gateway To Wizardry” – Action Bronson & Styles P

Best Albums

Blue Chips – Action Bronson & Parry Supplies

Best Track: Tapas

The is the album I wish I made. Simple beats and and rhymes, but the fusion is marvelous.

Life Is Good – Nas

Best Track: Black Bond

It’s amazing for an artist to have this much longevity.

Vodka & Ayahuasca – Gangrene

Best Verse: Alchemist on “Due Work”

This album is much for consistent than Oh No & Alchemist’s first effort.

Taylor Allderdice – Wiz Khalifa

Best Track: The Cruise (ft. Frank Ocean)

This is simply an album with many good songs.

Notable Albums:

  • “Respect The Fly Shit” – Meyem Lauren
  • “The Murder Murder Kill Kill Double” – Necro
  • “WRKING.” – Chuck Inglish