3:42 AM Pacific
3:42 AM Pacific
12:13 AM Pacific
by Jay Dee
4:00 PM Pacific
My Top 5 Albums Of 2012
1. Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid M.A.A.D City
Simply put, ground breaking material. Kendrick delivers his best work to date, putting together a collage of stories, images, glimpses into his life growing up in Compton. A story that symbolizes the trouble of youth all across america, especially in ghettos. Tracks like “Money Trees” & “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” stand out with flare and style to show the dreamer in Kendrick as well as the more solitary side in these tracks. Others serve more a purpose to explain his story, and struggle. A beautifully selected production of laid back synths, heavy drum kicks, and trap snares plays the back drop with more traditional west coast beats from comptons own, Dr. Dre. This project is sure to stand the tests of time as a break through in mainstream hip hop music, where the listener finally won receiving content over flash and catchy hooks. This album has it all, so it’s my clear cut number one.
2. Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE
Frank Ocean was another one of the biggest surprises of 2012, with his debut album “channel ORANGE” what Frank Ocean lacks in overly clean, and dynamic range with his voice, he makes up for ten fold in pure soul and delivery, as well as creativity and diverse choice of music to accompany him. It’s hard to put a label on this type of sound, RnB lyrics and style at some points, with more flare of a rapper in other areas, but the story telling of a indie rock/electronic singer. All of this comes together to create this outstanding album. Frank is someone who thinks very deeply, with each song describing emotions and stories of a troubled youth, finding himself, and his love life, in a very superficial world he’s surrounded by like in the track “Super Rich Kids” and more trouble in figuring out love in tracks like “Forest Gump.” Beautiful songs like “Sweet Life” paint a picture of where Frank sees himself, and what he finds the most peaceful. Where Frank truly shines is on tracks like “Pink Matter” and “Thinkin’ Bout You” which had the whole world on repeat playing Andre 3000’s verse and Thinkin’ Bout You’s catchy lyrics and beat, with clear heart felt intent with each message, this album ends up changing the face of RnB and Pop music too a much more raw, and real picture of what todays kids go through. Highly re-playable, beautifully written music from a break out artists, once again pushing music forward.
3. Oddisee - People Hear What They See
The DC born producer and rapper returns in 2012 with a rap album this time to follow up his instrumental cd “Rock Creek Park” which was full of incredibly made, live soul and jazz inspired hip hop beats pushing Oddisee’s production to the next level. That same production level appears throughout “People Hear What They See” on the rappers latest endeavor into hip hop. This time we get to hear about the man behind the keys for a change, and even when producers (like Kanye and Pete Rock) seem so complex behind the scenes, Oddisee comes off more related to everyday people than ever. This album shows the true will power of someone with immense talent and a pure message he’s trying to convey to the world. With instrumentals any rapper would kill to be on in 2012, the flows, lyrics, topics, and messages hold up just as well as the beats. That’s truly impressive for someone as gifted as Oddisee is on the beats. The lyrics and sharp wit with metaphors galore boast a smooth and appealing, as well as very relatable style Oddisee has with his raps. One of the only rappers you can put on, and be truly impressed by the amount of skill it takes to deliver each track. “All Real” talks about how much people crave for real music and messages instead of being watered down and sheltered by money and women references, where Oddisee explains his hope to remain loyal to himself and make the exact music he wishes to, and have the world approve. ”Let It Go” tells his tales of hardship while flexing lyrical speed and passion. “Thinkin’ Maybes” feels like a letter to a ex-girlfriend or a recent love, explain all his thoughts about what could be or what could have been with vivid pictures and rhodes piano playing in the back. All together this is solid, classic style hip hop music, with powerful relatable human messages we could all learn from, enduring tough times, makes a greater man seems to be the underlying message all the way though. I applaud Oddisee on this one.
4. Big K.R.I.T - 4Eva N A Day
Big K.R.I.T is a newer artist who had released serval highly recieved mixtapes before dropping his debut album in 2012 called “Live From The Underground” but before the CD released, he dropped a mixtape that was not to be overlooked in the least. “4Eva N A Day” is a special release. It has numerous tracks that exceed even his latest album in content and creativity, as well as provide a soundtrack to a Mississippi raised man, striving to get by in hard times, and dedicated to stay true and achieve greatness through telling his story. Everything K.R.I.T speaks about from his past as his dreams seem to be coming true, as he shined thoroughly in 2012 with these 2 releases. The optimism and wisdom is very evident for Big K.R.I.T from the very intro telling you “What a difference a day makes” showing you that, just one day everything can change for the better if you put yourself in position to achieve. 4eva N A Day explains what a day in the life of sounds like for a guy like K.R.I.T starting with “Wake Up” telling himself over and over “I know today is gonna be the best day. Gotta keep my head out the clouds and my feet on the ground.” Inspiring stuff from a kid growing up in tough conditions as he’s describe through his short career. The soul music samples and choices are impeccable the entire way through, idea after idea lands with perfectly executed sample flips. Once again his rhyme skills shine right on par with the music he himself created. “Boobie Miles” is a Friday Night Lights inspired track talking about the will and strength of a competitor, and why he does what he does. Dreams and visions of the good life. Powerful morals and messages consistently appear evident on a southern rap music inspired album, which can only truly be compared to Outkast. The title track gives us exactly what listeners look for when they hear Big K.R.I.T catchy southern hooks with fierce bars and bright, tasteful samples and dirty south drums. What brings this album to #4 though more importantly is the passion and wisdom K.R.I.T so eloquently displays throughout which seems to be missing on most southern hip hop. The last half with more of a night feel that talks more of a person struggling between, doing things for the good of the people or should he give up and turn to the bottle like on “Down & Out” but K.R.I.T proves that even the hard times are exactly what you need to grow. ”Yesterday” is an incredibly well done song telling you detail for detail what being a kid was like for him and the church and family values he shared so closely with his grandma, the imagery is near perfection.
5. Captain Murphy - Duality
The mysterious rapper and producer shows up at the end of the year with a project that is the definition of surprising, when the first track was released on Adult Swim Singles, it featured Flying Lotus and Earl Sweatshirt, and it was not known who the rapper Captain Murphy truly was, after an appearance in California, his true identity was revealed as Flying Lotus’s rap personality. This did take away from the luster of the album only a few weeks after being introduced to the world but did not take away from how refreshing and well thought out this mixtape truly was. With artwork for each track and instrumentals included this, highly creative, acid trip of a rap cd brings a change to indie hip hop releases with hidden identity’s, fresh new beat ideas and mixing with voice changers and angelic overdubs. Throughout the project it gives you an erie vibe that you aren’t dealing with any ordinary hero, but in fact the most evil and vile of all the villains you encounter in comics and video games. Track after track with extremely tasteful features from brainfeeder and odd future, Flying Lotus, Madlib and others portray villain that has nothing more than intentions of world domination in which you can completely relate to an emcee. The topics prove to help deliver the epic kinds of things Murphy talks about, with matching equally as inventive beats. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone approach production the way they did on this project. As if they all had a vision of this dirty, soul, funk break beat looped villain who can brag about doing and destroying just about anything.