Here are my 10 favorite music things this year in no particular order.
Mr. Muthafuckin Exquire: Kismet: This is probably my fav shit this year and it has managed to stay completely in my rotation since it dropped in June. Don’t know why it has been slept on to this extent. Exquire has been quietly killing shit since at least 2011 and actually improves and grows on this album. For one, he’s not just rapping over old El-p beats (which was actually really dope). The beats on this shit are dope in a similar vibe with a few surprises like Exquire rapping over Curtis Mayfield. The subject matter is similar to his old shit, but expanded. Paper hearts, my personal favorite song on Kismet Exquire opens with “Only God can judge me he’s the only one that knows me” and he then proceeds to bleed all over the rest of the track. I relate to him a lot, which is part of reason I’m a fan but Exquire’s passion is so strong I can’t imagine other listeners not getting sucked in. There’s also illest nigga Breathin which is just dope as fuck, Never running again where Exquire vows not to run away from his fears again (I should try that) and Danny Brown is on this shit. Ex even dropped dope videos for this shit. Peep Cherry Raindrops.
HellFyre Club: Dorner Vs. tookie: Probably my second fav release. The lead track dvt is one of my fav posse cuts of all time which each dude dropping a distinctive verse. I can’t do them justice really. I knew Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, Milo and Nocando before this dropped. But Verbs, Kail and Rhetic Ramirez are really good too. You really should peep it yourself. I wrote a review up on here when it dropped. Here’s the link: Dorner vs. Tookie.
Danny brown Old: This was easy. I knew this shit would be on my list before 2013 even started. Basically Danny Brown is the best rapper on the planet or al least in the top 2 or 3. I mean, Old is great, but so is XXX and so is the Hybrid. And really if you want to dig deeper so are his older mix tapes years before he became popular with hipster white ppl and got his dick sucked onstage. I wrote a review of Old on my site too. It’s incredible.
Queens of the Stone Age: Like Clockwork: I just started listening to this a couple days ago but its already one of my favorites. Funny thing is I’ve never fully appreciated QOTSA until recently. They got big when I was in high school and while I bumped Songs for the Deaf and Rated R a bit they were never my shit. 5 years or so ago I became a big fan of the song In the Fade off Rated R and I only relistened to the rest of the album this year. There’s something there that I missed as a teenager. Sure they rock hard, but they have a vulnerability and soft side right there, not underneath the rock. And unlike every rock band since the 1970s they can groove. This new one is expands of that aspect of their sound even more. Josh home sings his ass off on this one. The Lyrics concern his battle with depression but are very real and honest and yet some how still groove and manage to be sexy (no homo). I find the themes explored on this album true to life (mine at least) and strangely uplifting.
Action Bronson: blue chips 2: Bronson is getting a good amount of love. The best sign for me is that hipster white people don’t always like him. He was accused of being sexist cuz he had Asian women on one of his album covers. Yeah he probably is but hipsters act like they wouldn’t celebrate (or more accurately laugh while feeling superior) if a black rapper did the same shit. Blue chips 2 is the shit tho.
Run the jewels: El-p and killer mike are one of my fav combinations ever and the idea of them rapping an entire album together got me hyped. Initially I was a bit disappointed because they didn’t top Tougher, colder, killer (what can match that tho?). But yo, they have Big Boi on this shit. El-p, killer Mike, and Big Boi on a song that El-p produced PERIOD…
2MEX/MAISELPH: I like the vibe on this shit. It sounds mad Mexican-American to me. Like the singing on here reminds of KROCK bands that Mexicans fuck with. I feel 14% more Mexican after every listen. The songs here are good it’s not just good rapping over a good beat, which is fine too BTW.
Kevin gates: I guess I'm talking about the Luci Brasi story but Stranger than Fiction was tight too. Kevin bleeds over all his tracks. Dude has passion, he has rapping ability and he has an alluring singing voice. He’s like a hard version of Drake or something. His songs for the ladies are even good.
Mack Wilds: In some ways this is stupid list because I notice I’m including a lot of shit that is recent. There was probably great shit earlier in the year that I forgot. Sorry. I like the song Henny a lot and I feel like a G while listening to it. This reminds me of Bobby Brown who also was the shit. His best song is either don’t be cruel or the song he did for Ghostbusters 2, which was my favorite movie when I was 3.
Chicano Batman: Magma
This are only 3 songs but they’re all great. Cycles of Essential Rhyme is one of my favorite songs of this year. They have a lot of what I look for even when I’m not actively looking for it: soul, guitar playing and validation of my ethnic identity.
This is really good. Drake is good at rapping and his song where he just sings is really good too.
Thundercat: I like this but I’d be lying if I said I bumped it a lot.
Open Mike Eagle: I listened to more mike eagle than any one this year, but I already named The DvT release so here he is. Mef’s Lament, Qualifiers, and Degrassi Picture Day all knock.
Toro and Moi: Been listening to this recently, its good.
Black Milk: best producer (along with El-p) of the last 15 years?
Janelle monae: I did fuck with this in the summer. Not so much since then. I like the emerging sexuality of this album, mainly cuz I find Janelle monae sexy as fuck.
Schooboy Q: he dropped some heat this year. Still looking for that album.