My best tapes list of 2012 is a little late… so what? It was all part of my plan. I had to wait to get your attention.
Now that you’ve had a chance to play with all your new toys, spilled lean on your new crew neck and creased those bred’s, you have a few minutes to skim Shiny Glass Houses for all the gems you need to make your trunk rattle while you wait in line to scoop those McDoubles.
Again, no rhyme or reason here. No ranking order, no honorable mentions or number ones. Just a handful of free projects that kept my attention throughout the past twelve months…
ShowYouSuck- One Man Pizza Party 3: Rest In Pizza. This is the third installment of the Pizza Party saga, and it’s the best of the bunch. Just a dude and his crusty musings. It’s about life, living and the pursuit of cheesiness. Part 3 is trademark Show. His records are windows into his life. Weird and inviting, this dude really is nicer than a suede suit.
Action Bronson- Rare Chandeliers. The rambling wreck did it again. This time he enlisted the ice cold production of The Alchemist to guide the voyage. Action barely has time to put the pen down, and the results are all over the map. The comparisons are getting fewer and farther between, as it should be. There is only one Action Bronson, but plenty to spread around.
Stalley- Savage Journey To The American Dream. This tape hasn’t lost any steam since it’s March release. It’s the sound of a young rapper discovering himself on what would have finished the year on plenty glossy magazine lists if it had been given a proper release. Instead, it hit the web for free and introduced many to the Maybach Music Group member who seems less impressed with the money and chains with each high-profile feature.
Aaron Cohen- Murk. Mishka has their collective ear to the streets, rarely disappointing when picking an artist to get behind. Murk is a dense, angry project that captures Cohen at his rawest. It’s not his masterpiece by any means, but a fantastic first offering and just a sign of what’s to come from the bearded young gun from Queens.
Joey Badass-1999. Only time will tell where this kids star is headed. For now it’s merely speculation, but if 1999 is any indication, he’s destined for a healthy deal. This tape is stuck in the Delorean’s deck and the flux-compactitor is programmed for a trip to the golden era. He studied the classics and wears the influence like unlaced Timbs.
Curren$y- Priest Andretti. There might not be a harder working MC in this game right now than Curren$y. Rap game Ryan Adams, for real. Handfuls of projects and none of them are shit. Consistency is difficult in this fast-food culture we are swept up in, but Priest manages to keep us guessing. Fast cars, sparkling paint jobs and heavy beats from end to end. This one has been on heavy rotation for months.
Flatbush Zombies– D.R.U.G.S. A veritable mindfuck from the stewing brains of a bunch of Brooklyn oddballs. If I listened to it once, I listened twenty times straight through. Haven’t been this impressed with a group persona since the Gravediggaz. Don’t get it twisted…it’s not a gimmick or a joke, just a crew carving out a very unique niche. Well done.
Joe Budden- A Loose Quarter. Joey catches a lot of flack in the social media world for doing what we love the most from celebrities. He’s bold, brash and at times a bit much. Dude tweets pictures of his girlfriend slapping strippers asses twice a day, but it’s all in fun. Right? Who knows. What’s confirmed is his deadpan flow and confessionally-brutal verses. Production on this tape was stellar. Lots and lots of bars too.
Left Leberra- XRAY3D. This record rattled me to the core. It’s a world unto itself that we’re simply spying on. There are a group of musicians in Connecticut making some of the strongest music in the country, and soon we’ll see…as time permits it. Left is searching the depths of four-minute mazes for answers and it’s a pleasure to join him.
AJ Suede-The Holy Pope. The true double-threat if I’ve ever heard one. His rhymes, his production, his world. He’s getting stronger with every release, and this one is just a taste of what the Suede God has in store for us. This dude is going to continue his trajectory upwards bypassing the bullshit we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. Headphones are a must. Plug in and LISTEN up.
Mayhem Lauren-Mandatory Brunch Meetings. No-nonsense rhyming over gritty production. Simple and plain. Reminds me of a really angry Guru sprinkled with a little Freddy Foxx. A must for true fans of hiphop.
Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire-Man In The High Castle. His label said don’t do it. He did it. This project came right around the time of his major EP release, so whether it’s slick publicity or not, we essentially got a double dose of eX, and I couldn’t be more appreciative. This guy’s wordy, manic landscape is cluttered with clever raps and dark production. He’s working hard, and it’s going to pay off. Now if we can only get that interview set up?
Smoke DZA- K.O.N.Y. More than weed raps, and thank God for that. People doubt this Harlem spitter and he continues to prove them wrong. This is DZA’s finest work to date, and well worth the spins. Riiiiiiiight.
Northern Lights- Dear God 3. If you visit here often, you know there are a few new crews that make me happy to have made it this far as a hiphop fan. Northern Lights is one of those crews. They make records that are polished and classic sounding, yet entirely brand new. This tape is meant for repeated listens, preferably with something to light up.
Zachg- Peace Mettle. Impossible to pigeon-hole with labels and one-off comparisons, simply because there aren’t any. Dancing, rapping, doing his Zachg thing, I loved every single second of this project. As prolific as he is zany, Zach’s music is meant to inspire us proving there’s no limit to our creativity.
–So there you have it. Just some thoughts for this lovely Sunday morning. Feel free to comment and thank you for reading, and stay tuned. There are a few surprises coming in 2013.