It is a truth universally acknowledged 'round these parts that I am by all accounts a big ole' poopy head who hates everything.
Only mostly true! I hate everything except hip hop. And hip hop as well, if you're Rishi and your definition of hip hop is "Kanye, Jay-Z, and Ludacris" but otherwise just anything else.
As it happens the genre's been putting out a ridiculous amount of primo shit over the last year, and most of it is free from the artists themselves, so I thought I would hammer out a makeshift Best Of list. Cool? Cool.
Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, Ultra: This isn't actually hip hop, but it's dope so the hell with it. Frank Ocean represents the R'nB wing of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and while I could usually give a fuck about R'nB made over the last several decades this album creates an itch and then scratch it. It's all hard, percussive beats or slow, thoughtful guitar melodies and surprisingly earnest lyrics. And I'm not usually a geek for well-mixed albums but there's a certain phase-shift on the hook to We All Try that acts on me like musical catnip.
Frank Ocean - Novacane [Vimeo]
Free/Legal download link.
Curren$y and The Alchemist - Covert Coup
: Not bad for the third of four albums to be released in only 12 months (Pilot Talk I and II, Covert Coup, and the upcoming Weekend at Burnie's to be released this week if I remember correctly). Not as strong as Pilot Talk I and lacking the sublime audio dope of Airborne Aquarium from Pilot Talk II, this suffers a little bit from its proximity to better albums. But that's an essentially spoiled-brat perspective: this is a good album. Better than good. Every track delivers and Curren$y doesn't fuck around. He isn't gangsta or socially conscious, he's just a pretty laid back dude from New Orleans who raps about the things he loves: weed, women, money, clothes, and being awesome. It ain't heavy, but not everything has to be. I like Ski Beatz better than the Alchemist in terms of production but again: album delivers.
Curren$y/Alchemist ft. Freddie Gibbs - Scottie Pippen [Youtube]
Free/Legal download link
Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4Eva:
Look: it would take an act of God to knock this album off the pedestal I've got it set up on as best album of the year. This goes beyond good past great to damn near immaculate: a contemporary album that doesn't stand in the shadows of the early to mid 90s. Pimp C is listening to this while sippin' syrup in heaven as I write this and I'm only a little bit joking.
Deep introspection and social consciousness usually aren't what I'm looking for in hip hop but there's so much in these lyrics that borders on sublime that I can't hate. There's so much to love here. Rotation is a classic cruising track, Highs and Lows has the sweetest hook I can imagine, Chamillionaire and Bun B respectively kill their features on Time Machine and Country Shit, and the back end of the album gets legitimately profound. Look: download this album. Especially you Rishi. Yeah, I said it. (Additional trolling: by virtue of having produced Return of 4Eva as well as rapping on it, KRIT automatically becomes the pre-eminent rapper/producer in hip hop.)
Big K.R.I.T. - Highs and Lows [Youtube]
Free/Legal download link
Freddie Gibbs - Str8 Killa:
This shit is straight gangsta. No bones here: this is about ripping and running and hoping this rap shit works out because you can only survive the streets for so long. Gibbs is a phenom. His flow is impetuous and he double-times like riding a bike, his delivery pops like a firecracker, and he puts everything into his lyrics. He's not as deep as KRIT, but he gets the point across. He raps like he's desperate and listening to his lyrics I guess he is.
Freddie Gibbs - The Coldest [Youtube]
Freddie Gibbs ft. Chuck Inglish, Chip Tha Ripper, Bun B, and Dan Auerbach - Oil Money [Youtube]
Unfortunately Gibbs wants to make money off of Str8 Killa but you guys get the picture.
And of course there's more stuff I could rep but I'm pretty sure Twist's head has already exploded so I'll let y'all be.
The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.