Of all the fuckery that occurs in hip-hop, the one anomaly I never understand is when music critics, bloggers and rappers alike claim that “Hip-Hop is Dead.” Sure the landscape has morphed and face of hip-hop is unorthodox, but 2012 has been a damn good year for the genre.
10. Action Bronson and The Alchemist – Rare Chandeliers: I think the only thing missing from this project is a Danny Brown feature. Nonetheless, Bronson is entertaining as ever.
9. Slaughterhouse – On the House: In an interview’ Royce pretty much summed up this mixtape perfectly: “The mixtape is what we do, the album is what people thought we couldn’t do.” What they can do is definitely proven on this mixtape with lyrical genocide on every track; I just wish I could say the same for their album…
8. Brother Ali – Mourning In America And Dreaming In Color: Jake One and Brother Ali really need to do more shit like this.
7. Kids These Days – Traphouse Rock: It really is criminal how slept-on this group is, especially with the album they dropped this year. They’ve got more talent than the entire MMG roster and are barely even adults. If any Chicago native deserves a co-sign from Kanye, it’s Kids These Days.
6. Childish Gambino – Royalty: This was an interesting, if not surprising, project for Childish Gambino. The experimentation with a more aggressive flow and traditional beats made for mixed results. Although this isn’t his best work, I enjoyed the hell out of this mixtape. Oh, and bonus points to anyone who can ride a Brittany Spears sample.
5. Ab-Soul – Control System: “Black Lip Bastard Remix” is still in rotation and will continue to be, along with the rest of this album, for a while.
4. El-P – Cancer 4 Cure: Paranoia, anarchy, dystopian society, reckless behavior, alternate reality, emotional closure; it’s all a good time on Cancer 4 Cure.
3. Aesop Rock – Skelethon: As someone with a very nerdy love for words, Aesop Rock’s ridiculous vocabulary never ceases to continuously blow my mind. This album is as rewarding as it is difficult to decipher.
2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city: Does anything else really need to be said about this album?
1. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – The Heist: If Macklemore’s music is defined by anything, it’s the emotionally brutal honesty he pours into every song. Fortunately The Heist was no different this year as Ryan Lewis crafted production that complimented Macklemore perfectly.
Honorable Mention: Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music: I’m very aware that this album should be on my list but for reasons I really can’t explain, I slept on this album way too long. If I was more familiar with it, it’d be ranked very highly.
Well that’s my list. Leave your comments, criticism and most importantly, your own lists. I want to hear them all!