What a year it has been for hip hop. I must say, though, that there were a lot of hip hop albums that came out this year that really did not do a thing for me. Nothing Was The Same put me to sleep with Drake’s ever-so-obvious multiple personality disorder and repetitive lyrics. Big Sean put out another laughable pretentious LP. Jay-Z put out another lazy, effortless, and isolated release. And I also really couldn’t stand Kayne’s ever-so-subtle cry of “LOOK AT ME!!” on Yeezus. But despite the lack of content from the so called “heavy weights” in hip hop, I could still find five albums that over-trumped the rest I had heard. So without further adieu, my top five albums of the year are:
#5 Action Bronson – Blue Chips 2
Action Bronson released another schizophrenic mixtape with Party Supplies putting together some more crazy unorthodox, but somehow very catchy, beats for Action to rap over. Not a lot can be said about this mixtape, but the most attractive thing about it to me is that Action Bronson put together a really fun mixtape, and that’s what it’s supposed to be. Action went over these very energetic and unpredictable beats made by Party Supplies and just raps about whatever he wants to, and has a blast doing it. Spitting rhymes that make you laugh, having weird commercials in between songs, and beat changes when you least expect it.
The thing that puts Blue Chips 2 on this list is how not serious it is, and how great it is at keeping you on your toes. Plus Action Bronson’s delivery is undeniably excellent. Such an excellent voice for rap.
#4 Eminem – The Marshal Mathers LP 2
Two squeals on my top five lists haha… Upon first listen I thought this album was exactly what I feared it would be: a horrible visit to the past with the same female pop hooks, and Eminem rhyming words with each other very well but never actually trying to rap about something important or interesting. But like many people have said before, this album takes several listens to get past some of the lack luster production and appreciate the bars Eminem spits, because he DOES SPIT. I love the hilarious, almost cartoon-like, persona he’s so famous for on “So Far…”, “Evil Twin”, and “Love Game”. The more serious songs like “Bad Guy”, “Headlights”, and “Rhyme or Reason” just gave me chills with the amount of passion and effort he put into the lyrics and delivery. Even his lyrical attacking and braggadocios songs like “Brainless” and “Survival” sound very proficient and convincing.
The only reason this isn’t any higher on my list is because of the horrific hooks and lack luster production. Some of the hooks on this album are tremendously bad, which is the main reason I couldn’t find anything I liked about it the first time around. Also, the horrible stadium rock beat to “Survival”, the boring march beat to the disaster “Stronger Than I Was”, and the David Guetta throw away beat on “Monster” featuring the mindless verse from Rihanna. I know I sound super harsh right now, but all of this is a testament to how great the bars Eminem provides us with are, and the flow, delivery, and lyrics are enough to put this at number four.
#3 Danny Brown – Old
I don’t know what it is with me this year and loving albums despite something. I really did not care for the club tracks on the back of this thing. In fact, I really disliked “Kush Coma” and “Handstand.” I thought they were full of effortless and mindless lyrics that I’ve just been so tired of hearing, because it seems like every radio rapper has to recycle the same ideas over and over again. But the concept of this album is what makes me like it so much. I loved the first half of this LP a lot. “25 Bucks” was one of my favorites from this year, “Wonderbread” had an awesome twist-to-a-fairy-tale feel to it, “Clean Up” had an unique story line to it, and, overall, the whole first half of this thing had amazing and heartbreaking story telling. The second half of it was Danny’s “high.” If you looked deep into the lyrics you could actually find some hidden meaning in like the line “I’m numb like a mortician” in “Kush Coma.” Then ending this side with “Float On”, which I felt was like Danny coming back down from his high, and coming back to his senses.
This album had amazing story telling, amazing production by A-Trak, Corin Roddick, and Paul White, and amazing imagery painted by Brown’s lyrics.
#2 Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels
What more can be said about this LP that hasn’t already been said? Killer Mike and El-P have proven, once more, that they are two of the most lyrical, technically proficient, and fluent emcees in the game. El-P came out with some mind blowing, heart pumping production, and, on top of that, killed the beats he made with some of the most insane lyrics which take an insane amount of listens to fully understand. Killer Mike also destroyed every beat with lyrics about the current state of hip hop, the way the media changes the way we perceive things, and of course, how much of a boss he is.
The whole LP has incredible production, mind blowing lines, and impeccable delivery. The only thing I would have liked more of is more themes and more of a message from some of these tracks because the songs with a message (“DDFH” and “Sea Legs”) were my favorites.
#1 Mac Miller – Watching Movies With the Sound Off
Track for track this was absolutely my favorite hip hop album from this year. Mac Miller stepped up his flow, lyrics, production, delivery, features, and everything else. The beats from Clams Casino, Chuck English, Earl Sweatshirt, and even the production Mac did himself were all incredible and very atmospheric, keeping the same hazy/trippy vibe throughout. On this album, Mac Miller writes songs about topics like losing a friend on “REMember”, growing up on “Matches”, and “I Am Who I Am” when he spits about his life and personal thoughts. He actually has many tracks about his inner thoughts and personal life including “Aquarium”, “I’m Not Real”, “SDS” and “Red Dot Music”. I thought Mac put together these tracks, as well as many others, about the way he perceives the world in a very tasteful and relatable way. Also, the features on this LP were all top notch. Earl Sweatshirt had a great hook for “I’m Not Real”, Ab-Soul had a great verse on “Matches”, and Action Bronson had a very notable verse on “Red Dot Music”.
Overall the feel of this album was there. Mac’s lyrics were funny, introspective, and thought provoking, and the themes of the album were very consistent throughout. This album had such a great dark hip hop feel to it, and it’s awesome seeing a dude like Mac become what he is today.
And that is it for my top five hip hop albums of the year. Let me know what you think. Were my picks awesome? Did they suck? Did I get something completely wrong? Let me know.
The opinions and views expressed here are the opinions of the designated author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or views of any of the individual members of Dead End Hip Hop.