Now that I’m out of hibernation aka used to being employed, I figured what time better than any to start up going into too much detail about hip-hop again. Then I thought about it some more and, what really did come out since I last posted?
Oddly enough, my last music-related post was trying to predict what 2013’s album of the year will be, so let’s see how that has turned out?
- Long.Live.A$AP by A$AP Rocky – Really solid album, definitely a candidate.
- Cruel Winter by G.O.O.D. Music – Delayed.
- Street King Immortal by 50 cent – Delayed.
- Hall of Fame by Big Sean – Delayed.
- Indicud by Kid Cudi – Delayed. BUT THEN…ehhhh…
- The Life and Times of Johnny Valiant by Rittz – Delayed, but only slightly, and coming soon!
So who’s winning the game out of that list. Well, it’s pretty obvious that it’s Long.Live-WOLF BY TYLER, THE CREATOR. Seriously though, this album is fantastic and shows that Tyler has really progressed as a rapper, producer, and overall musician. The storytelling on Wolf is phenomenal and extends the legacy left behind by Bastard and Goblin. Here’s some of the top tracks off what I consider to be a top contender for AOTY.
“IFHY” – Tyler, the Creator (feat. Pharrell)
Sweet Pharrell feature, pretty intense subject, and let’s face it: an amazing video. The video was so highly regarded, that KanyeWest.com featured it on its homepage for a while. It’s probably not top 3 on the album, but the video is great that it really warrants a share.
“Rusty” – Tyler, the Creator (feat. Domo Genesis & Earl Sweatshirt)
Domo Genesis, Tyler, and Earl Sweatshirt all crush this song. It’s just an unbelievable display of raw talent for these three, who bring their own style to what is a pretty simple beat. While Domo keeps getting better and better with each song he gets on and Earl continues to make up for his unfortunate absence from the game, I really think it’s Tyler who puts this song on an elite level. His commentary on the genre and his perception really drives the meat of this song, and it’s him at his best lyrically.
“Answer” – Tyler, the Creator
Problems with his father has always been a prominent theme in his music – I mean, he did release an album called Bastard – but “Answer” may be his best effort on the topic yet. While I’m a huge fan of the song “Bastard,” this song off Wolf might be easier for passive fans to stomach. It’s an incredibly revealing song and the line “Frank is out the closet, Hodgy’s an alcoholic, Sid might be bipolar, but fuck it, I couldn’t call it” gets me every time.
Best of the Rest
Let’s just get Odd Future out of the way…
“MellowHigh” – Hodgy Beats & Domo Genesis (prod. Larry Fisherman aka Mac Miller)
I include the producer credit here because Mac Miller’s beat here is incredible. Though, him and Domo should be thanking each other for this song, because they complement each other perfectly. When “MellowHigh” picks up about 2/3 of the way through, well…damn. It’s just a fantastic song. (Hodgy did great too!)
“Woah” – Earl Sweatshirt (feat. Tyler, the Creator)
I’m trying desperately to not kill the singles off Earl’s upcoming Doris, but it’s difficult when he’s releasing incredibly tight singles like “Woah.” The song also makes a lot of Odd Future fans long for an inevitable collaboration between Tyler and Earl, as they weave through their verses on this one. While the chorus is weak and the production is nothing special, Doris‘ second single has fantastic, twisting verses that make this song impossible to pass on.
“Girls Love Beyonce” – Drake (feat. James Fauntleroy)
Drake is solid when he’s all sad ‘n’ shit. But seriously, the more subdued drake could be the best Drake (see: “Marvin’s Room” or “Paris Morton Music”) and that’s exactly what “Girls Love Beyonce” is. But let’s face it, the use of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” is the best part of this song. Because “Say My Name” is such a fantastic song, I sort of love any random allusion or tribute to it. In this case James Fauntleroy caught my attention with his autotune-esque mopey version of it. And that’s a compliment.
“The Banana Clip Theory” – Big K.R.I.T.
This is a really mellow, thoughtful song from the Big K.R.I.T., off of his recent mixtape, King Remembered In Time. The jazzy riff is a great touch to the live drums, but otherwise it’s Big K.R.I.T. who dominates this song, with very little production overall to go along with his verses and chorus. A great example of what this former XXL Freshman can do.
“Brothers” – Kid Cudi (feat. King Chip & A$AP Rocky)
My favorite song of the year so far goes to “Brothers” off of Kid Cudi’s middling Indicud. It’s certainly a highlight in the album, matched with last year’s single “Just What I Am.” The beat is less spaceship-y then the rest of the album, and everyone does a great job on the song. However, I’d definitely give A$AP the title for best rapper on the track. But don’t let that take away from Chip and Cudi’s performances.
“Take a Fall for Me” – James Blake (feat. RZA)
Though this is on James Blake’s electronica-fueled album, it’s more hip-hop than anything. The brooding synths and James Blakes high-pitched interjections blend well with RZAs calm choruses. There’s something particularly somber about this song, which one can expect from Blake, and RZA certainly sells this atmosphere well.
“Catfish Billy” – Yelawolf
Yelawolf’s latest efforts have been pretty disappointing, but it’s nothing that a little Trunk Muzik can’t fix. The most notable song off this album is “Catfish Billy,” which is an absolute knocker. While the first verse might be a little too aggressive, it perfectly encapsulates what’s great about Yelawolf. The beat on the track is awesome, with that dry, sliding bow and the intro is incredibly creepy. I love the chorus and the second verse, too. It’s a pretty wild song and definitely a sign of good things to come for Yelawolf.
Based on that 2013 prediction post, there’s still a ton to get to this year, so a somewhat disappointing first quarter isn’t too troublesome. Things should be heating up soon…