My Favorite Music Thangs In 2012…
Here are my favorite albums of 2012. I’d write some clever intro, but I’m getting too old for that shit and the oxycodone I took will kick in by the time I hit the 15th entry or so. That means we gotta jump right in. Enjoy. Bitches.
- Nas - Life Is Good: Yep, you guessed it. Kendrick Lamar and I have the same pick for album of the year. Who woulda thunk? Nas’ best work since ‘God’s Son’ - maybe my favorite since ‘It Was Written’. Yep, I dug/dig it that much and it has stayed in rotation since it dropped whenever the fuck when. A really mature and accomplished mainstream rap album from the guy that we still hope will furnish us with the gritty “underground” shit he’s still infinitely capable of making. Thanks Kelis. And IRS.
- Roc Marciano - Reloaded: Speaking of gritty underground shit, Roc Marci is essentially raps’s Usain Bolt; an expert at the lost art of New York sounding ass shit. He somehow managed to improve on what I thought was a pretty close to perfect effort in ‘Marcberg’ by inviting a few selected guests and producers and adding more humorous bravado to the mix. I love this shit.
- Freddie Gibbs - BFK: And while I’m being generous with the analogies, Gibbs is rap’s decathlete and Swiss Army knife and ketchup. He can do everything and he makes everything better. He’s also my favorite rapper working in 2012. BFK is Gibbs displaying his dizzying array of song-making (read: singles) abilities to impressive effect. In a fair world (i.e., with label support and payola), at least 9 songs on this set are worthy of single support. And ain’t a single weak song among the other songs either. But I’m biased like that.
- Grande Marshall - 800: Newcomer outta Philly. I hope he’s around for a long while. It took me a fair minute to get into this, but once I did I was pleased with my choice. Very rewarding listen from a young cat with a prenaturally developed aesthetic. Just wait till he finds some coffee.
- Kendrick Lamar - good kid, MAAD city: Most folks’ album of the year and rightly so. Just not mine. After all, he went for the Nas album as his #1 too, humility be damned. As things stand, he still made one of my favorite albums of the year. This is definitely nitpicking, but methinks a lot of the corny and preachy aspects of GKMC are getting ignored for whatever reason (I pin it on the concept/story), but it’s still an amazing album.
- Tame Impala - Lonerism: I’m predisposed towards psychedelic sounding shit. This Kevin Parker guy is the best muthafucka doing it today - even if Lonerism represents a slight drop off from the debut album. Very slight though. Music for lonely niggas for real.
- Action Bronson & The Alchemist - Rare Chandeliers: The Ghostface comparisons are long gone, Bronsonlinio is a fully formed character now and the Alchemist is damn near bulletproof. I mean, between this and Blue Chips, Action had one helluva year, but it still wasn’t as good as Alchemist’s. This shit was guaranteed piffery. Alchemist makes lesser MCs sound awesome everyday.
- Domo Genesis & The Alchemist - No Idols: Speaking of which, Alchemist had this Odd Future affiliate sounding like a rapper I actually want to listen to. That’s a neat fucking trick. It also helped that Domo invited folks like Tyler, Gibbs, Bronson and Prodigy along for the ride.
- Future - Pluto: You either loved or hated this shit. I loved it. Upon initial listens, I wasn’t fucking with it too heavy, but the combination of Future’s robotic wailing and Mike Will’s imaginative use of space and synths forced me to yield in no time. At this point, my only complaint is that Future didn’t get weirder on this shit. Fuck rap, get ya Future Vandross on my nigga!
- Curren$y - The Stoned Immaculate: You know the drill at this point. Nothing new to see here - the only question is how well Mr. Franklin executes. Well, he did just fine - yet again. This is the usual Curren$y shit on a higher budget. And guess what? He didn’t waste Warner’s money at all. Except for paying for a Wale feature and putting that shit at the beginning of the album. But playas fuck up too.
- Rochelle Jordan - Pressure: This Canadian songstress is going to receive alimony checks from me someday. She’s lovely. And so is her music, which strikes me as heavily a mid-2000s/occasionally tripled snared update on Aaliyah’s darkest shit.
- Sean Price - Mic Tyson: Definitely worth the wait. Anti-social, violent, bully nigga rap. P is like the Curren$y of that shit. He’s comfort food for niggas that subscribe to the Timberland catalog and still get excited about anything Prodigy and Havoc do.
- Game - Jesus Piece: When I saw the track list for this shit, I fully expected a shit sandwich of gargantuan proportions. Guests everywhere, a vaguely misguided and blasphemous theme and the pre-album song leaks (i.e., throwaways) all sounded like wasted opportunties as they were all pretty good in their own rights. Then I listened to the album. Wow. Somehow, this shit is good. I’d rank it below his first two, but it’s comfortably third and who knows - it may gain stature as the years roll by. Good job Jayceon.
- BJ The Chicago Kid - Pineapple Now-Laters: There was no way I wasn’t going to like this shit. BJ, with his pause-worthy name and all, has helmed hooks on some of my favorite records of the past 3 years and I figured I’d love his album. It just took me forever to get around to listening to it. Like an idiot. Anyway, I was right. The production is some on some hip-hop nerd pastiche shit and when he really goes in over a real groove, you just know you’re listening to the future.
- T.I. - Trouble Man: This spot originally held T.I.’s January mixtape ‘Fuck Da City Up’, but upon listening to the retail album, I’m more than comfortable subbing this shit in. There’s isn’t a whole lotta similarity between both projects, but T.I. is in inspired form on both - regardless of what anyone says. If you think this album isn’t up to par, it’s probably because YOU moved on - not because T.I. fell off or anything. Could still have done without Pink, Akon and the last song on this shit. Oh and shouts to DJ Toomp.
- Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson - Dice Game: The beats mane. The beats. I spent years politely ignoring Guilty Simpson, but these Apollo Brown beats got me thinking Guilty is the next Nas. Kidding. But you get the idea. I enjoyed this shit so much that I just copped Apollo and O.C.’s ‘Trophies’ - I suspect I may enjoy that even more than this, but bloggerists gotta blog.
- Action Bronson - Blue Chips: A truer representation of Action’s persona over inferior, yet still good production from Party Supplies. Combine these verses with the Alchemist beats from the other project and the hyperbole would probably be justified. It would still be annoying though. Hyperbole is THE WORST!
- Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music: If I wasn’t so apathetic and nonchalant about everything, this would rank higher. But I am, so we’re here. I’m sure Killer Kill will get his just due elsewhere for this shit. It would be awesome if Ice Cube still made albums that sounded like this.
- El-P - Cancer 4 Cure: And the guy responsible for that sound? Yeah, this guy. I generally don’t fux with El-P, but I respect what he does. He did it well on this project, as always. I only ranked it after its sister album of sorts because I prefer listening to Killer Mike, if given the choice between Mike and El-P.
- Ka - Grief Pedigree: Like BJ the Chicago Kid’s album, I knew I’d like this shit once I found the time to listen to it. I wasn’t wrong. Doesn’t quite register with me like his brother in rhyme Roc Marciano does, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. That’s a distinction based on personal idiosyncracies n’shit. LOL. Pause? I don’t even know what that shit meant. Felt good to type though. Pause.
- Azaelia Banks - 1991 EP: I love this dramatic bitch. Even though she kinda scares my dick. Once I’m off crutches though? Finna knock the stuffin out dat pussy at the 3rd chance. I’m usually kinda gentle on the first two chances. Dunno why. And yeah, I dig the music - glitter and all. She can really rap - with personality and attitude - and that makes up for any other complaints or concerns.
- Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel: Bougie ass title aside, Fiona makes this kinda list on GP. She’s that interesting. And good. I should probably listen to this a bunch more. Might help me nab those smart snowbunnies I used to fuck all the time years ago when I was younger and handsomer.
- Menahan Street Band - The Crossing: These guys are guaranteed to be on all my year end lists forever. I just really fuck with the shit they make. Someone should consider getting them to produce more rap though. Or rappers should rap over live horns that sound this good more often.
- Wiz Khalifa - Taylor Allderdice: This was actually on my list of near-misses for 2012 over at PassionWeiss, but that was wrong. I really like this mixtape. Wiz ain’t about shit, but this shit is really smooth and of his 3 efforts this year, it’s the only one I’ll listen to consistenly in the future. Play counts (and Juicy J) don’t lie.
- Dom Kennedy - Yellow Album: It took a LOOOOOOOOOONG minute for me to fuck with this, but I think I finally understand what Dom was doing on this shit. I just can’t articulate it at the moment. Or ever. Call it “Jiggy Minimalist Poetry Raps.” Or whatever. I dig enough of this for it to bring up the rear on my list for 2012.
So there you have it. My favorite albums in 2012. Don’t forget to check out the lists over at PassionWeiss. I contribute a bit to those as well. I’ll have 50 singles up later - if you’re into that kinda thing. Spoiler alert: like 5 of dem singles be ‘Love Sosa’. Again and again mane.
Thanks for reading…