Friday, December 31, 2010

THE REAL OF 2010



The Hip Hop Writer.
[Sunez & Dasun]



There’s only a few of these brothers, they some niggas to God that give structured opinions that further understanding of the only culture left of people left only with like and dislike. Word, these them brothers that say it so right everyone knows they real like the real they advocate. No, they ain’t them cryogenically urbanized transplanted from the lands of Wanna-be-fuckin-Downama that gimmick Hip Hop as their drama strategy for idolatry, so fuckin Obama. The fans from the suburban know it nots and have it lots to the little girls all adore hardcore with auto-tune might and Lil Tupac lites. But now we gotta read treatises and official declarations from hyped helpers and pop poachers that tell us this bullshit we hear is real. How real?! Not the “i kinda like it” real that gets you fucked up like De La Soul is Dead skit rehashing but that “yo, this really is real, quality Hip Hop music.” But I ain’t with that fucking shit. This is only the realest of 2010...
That Bullshit

The most significant change of this decade is that the complacency and concession of the average ignorant fan is now the accredited insight of the those that write about Hip hop. This reality is expansive not only from the bullshit writings at the best of websites to the littlest of blogs that serve up the confusion as official notice. It’s that Hip Hop is the lane that every fuckin nigga pickaninny picking a niche longs for. If you sell ideas to the youth now you fucking know that Kanye is a musical genius?!! You want to teach the babies by relating to them so now you know that Lil’ Wayne is a fucking mic monsta?!! The only fact of all this bullshit is that Nicki Minaj is teek een dem tings.

Hip Hop is a set of unified cultural expressions of our urban Blackness that has been comodified as a selling musical extravaganza. Yet, in this crazy show, the principles of Realness--Originality, Creativity and No Biting--all should suffice to be the applying requisites that prove all that shit wack. The Writer must be real, tell them the what and how the music is made and grown from the beginning and the beats are breathed in and the rhymes are exhaled like the great Yogis celebrating the arrival of their righteous females as they now rap, cut, scratch and tag love all over Breakbeat Mountain. And the writer is with the rolling pen and traveling papers forgoing Nirvana to tell you muthafuckas whats what. What the Fuck!

Overrating is the way to bliss now. It’s not only that Lil Wayne isn’t just a silly voiced, urban puppet surfing on the froth of his own cliches. It’s that he’s just a sometimey clever punchline and almost always stupid fuckin stream of conscious joke gone wrong rapper that blows the populace up and the boys with forums blow. This is also the case with the entire reality that collapses as one with Drake. Any and everyone giving props is only working to cement their spot on the gullible minded or preserve their small limelight fizzing away. This disease of overrating the next shit is also a sad hope for a future of a genre that that has almost no innovation left in it that can be and will ever be presented on any mass level. It also reveals the enormous confusion of our Black street music that is sold commercially. The product will always have to be exploited after exhaustion to be acceptable like Latina actresses learning to talk white. It’s not only that Nicki Minaj is peddling her beauty, it’s that she blends the Lil Kim vibe with a jacked Ol’ Dirty Bastard palette with alternating voices and off beat staccato verses that are just corny. Then everyone is disappointed that her album is pop fodder. Close your eyes when you listen and you’ll see.

It’s not that he’s white. He deserves his deal. But whoever heard of a white man sellout Black music?! That is, was he real first? The true sellout is no Drake, weak from the start, or Minaj, slutty from the get, but that man with talent, representing the people and then went out for the bucks. Clearly, Eminem don’t fit all the criteria as he has talent but who does he really rep? The white folk? Most likely but when did whites need representation in a countercultural music that was made and is most needed by we Blacks and Latinos?! Do all the whites that own all them masters count or get all of the points on them bled, sweated and teared over records?! Still, Eminem sold his skill for the better bucks and it’s hard to tell cause he was a silly gimmick from jump. You think that collabo with Wayne is ill then you don’t even respect the Hip Hop ethic that still was in the Marshall Mathers Lp or that time he rocked Jay-Z on his own song. Refer to “Ether” verse 3.

It’s not only that Kanye hasn’t helped blur the lines of realness and fakeness in ways that rival the exploits that raised Diddy’s Dirty Money. The legendary trinity of RZA, Primo and Pete Rock aid in his works while the most fraudulent of rap’s gloss from Rick Ross to Kid Cudi defecate on them extravagantly. His content is more of the lyrical genius that Pop flaunts--porno punchline play and his pathetic tormented rich artist shtick. What we’re left with is one of the most overrated albums in the history of Hip Hop. A fucking mess of rock synth overproduction that vindicates itself because of the work on it, the efficacy of his technical sound quality and the few tracks abandoning that whole shit for the roots of his best. The roots like “Devil in a New Dress” reveal the best work getting Bink, a souled out beatmaker, to get there. But here we can see how horrid an MC he is. And Ross there too? Isn’t that like a poor--rather, a poverty stricken man’s version of Raekwon/Biggie mashed up?!! Pathetic. Kanye West is an elevating of Pop standards but certainly not Hip Hop. There is still greater, more progressive works in Hip Hop on all levels.

The principles of Hip Hop reveal an artistic nature that can guide a child’s ethic allowing them to see the depths of creative possibility, the discovery and release of their insights and keep them living real. All we need are a few real niggas to share them with the kids.




Honorable Mention:

The year 2010 can’t just be a list of the best albums as some of the best MCs didn’t release albums but dominated with incredible tracks. Raekwon’s Cuban Linx Part II is a classic of this era and his excellence kept being displayed on his Cocainism Pt.2 mixtape and the countless features including the best verse on Kanye’s album, ill spots on Capone N Noreaga’s [note: Noreaga is the better choice for a thugged out street punchline MC] entertaining War Report 2 and the great prelude to his Shaolin Vs. WuTang LP next year with the Bronze Nazareth produced banger, “Butter Knives.” That’s just some of the punch-you-in-your-face music he promised and the infamous misstep rapping on Kanye’s RZA-jacked track with Justin Bieber. Note the mistake-Justin Bieber. Not just Beanie Sigel or Jus Allah JMT. Justin Bieber.

Many albums we anticipate didn’t get released but we know for a fact that Pharaohe Monch still has a command of extreme dexterity and lyrical presence that is otherworldly. With “Shine” and a few other joints performed from his upcoming W.A.R reveal this just as Sean Price dominated the underground with special performances of Mic Tyson joints. Roc Marciano’s Marcberg is an excellently self-produced beat album with a tightly timed mid pace flow with a more simple stylistic approach to the stream-of-conscious technique. If his focus increases Roc could make superior albums. [2012 note: This is the sleeper album of this year as its strength has increased and I personally delve into it more.]
Yet, its best track, “Snow,” became one of P’s highlights with the incredible verse he dropped on it. But Sean P was all over doing this from “Sabado Gigante,” “Angel Dust,” “Gang Leader,” and that performed freestyle called “King Joffe Joffer” at Brooklyn’s Southpaw was the topper. Sean P’s innovation has it’s revival roots in DOOM and Ghostface’s stream of conscious mastery but add a dynamic ruggedness, a dexterity that rolls smoothly with perfectly precise and deliberate pausing and you have one of the great influences on all the new real and fake today. All of the heralded Lil Wayne, J Cole and Drake “lyricism” is straight filler next to P.

But Brooklyn has more waiting and Joell Ortiz, como todo los Boricuas en la historia de este fukeen pais, got played and they didn’t release his Free Agent album. Irony aside, Ortiz rhymes with a freedom that has developed from more than a battle MC but a great storyteller who really accentuates great images of nostalgia. But if you ain’t lived the real shit it won’t fuckin relate. They say that’s a problem nowadays.

Of the albums deserving note are:

Ras Kass - A.D.I.D.A.S.
Because it’s over 2 hours of Ras Kass bars. Ras Kass is one of the greatest MCs in Hip Hop’s entire history possessing all of the tools--dexterity, character, insight, diverse content, real. His career is impeded by weaker production and endless label holdups. Those holdups justify a double album even if we get some filler. Still, that filler (i.e. “Mr. Right Now) is propelled by his natural charisma, a trait that allows him to be effortlessly non-didactic as he gets into the deepest of builds (i.e. the super savage and too heathen Roman roots of the weekday names and Christmas on “Linguistics”) or thematic insight (i.e. the Black, Brown and Yellow unity on “Hip-Hop Now”). While Razzy is easily the most underrated and unaccounted for MC of merit, he also is a leader of the West Coast MC movement as “Scenario 2012” affirms with Planet Asia, the great B-boy MC, Chino XL, an original root of eminem and any other shocking lyricist and two from the best pure underground hardcore groups, Krondon and Phil Da Agony of Strong Arm Steady. A leader of the movement because he is the greatest MC on the West Coast now, arguably of all time. A.D.I.D.A.S. rewards with all of the mic skills and the add on of Rhettmatic beat skills throughout.

All APOLLO BROWN production (LPs: Boog Brown & Apollo Brown - Brown Study; Apollo Brown - Reset; The Left - Gas Mask)
The newest developing production faction of the Detroit sound is Apollo Brown. Certainly developing for two reasons. The first that the lyrical depth at his disposal is not at the level of the two other major factions (Bronze Nazareth/Kevlaar 7 & Black Milk). Boog Brown is a sister with insight, sentimentality and a strong conviction for integrity. Her flow is in that smooth Jean Grae school and shows the most promise as true female MCs are the greatest rarity, unfortunately. It makes Brown Study a special record that is reminiscent in introspective intimacy as Jean Grae’s superior Attack of the Attacking Things. Boog’s skill is in the midst of growing significantly and that is logical in this rising faction. For The Left, Apollo Brown teams with DJ Soko and Journalist 103 on the mic. While Journalist has a great “keep it real” intensity his content is limited to that with just a respectable wordplay while his dexterity is acceptable. His dexterity is not an overt blemish as the beats are all bangers in the intense upper mid tempo. For the Reset album, Apollo collects a slew of he deepest underground reps and draws great verses from them. All together, the lyricism of the faction is tight but it’s in a Detroit cipher of incredible Mic Controllers.

The second cause for development is Apollo Brown himself. As the Reset album shows, he is a true producer, able to select the right track, that may or may not be his comfort zone, and give a forum that gets the best of the MC’s verses out. Yet as a brother once down with Bronze Nazareth’s Wisemen, the highly touted Gas Mask, at a deeper study, is still ill but absolutely derivative. As Bronze Nazareth noted that he “taught him how to make beats, chop samples, pull out the basslines, etc. I gave him his very first program to make beats with, gave him the cool edit program he still uses to make beats with. I’m pretty sure he made the Gas Mask album with that program.” (http://www.abuildingroam.com/2010/11/interview-building-with-wisemen-bronze.html) With the Gas Mask, there is a great Kobe effect--the tracks are incredible but they are the original moves of Michael Jordan, that is Bronze Nazareth’s classic The Great Migration. The sample diggin on Great Migration is far deeper, Gas Mask’s most signifying samples are Migration rooted (i.e. Bobby Blue Bland sampling on Gas Mask’s “Statistics” vs. Migration’s “Hear What I Say” & "More Than Gold") and the MCing is just an unfair challenge for Journalist. Still, Gas Mask is an album that spends its entire track list addressing pure and real Hip Hop in some way that is reminiscent of All Natural’s No Additives, No Preservatives of 1998. It’s an addictive work and Apollo’s skill with the beats is sharp with great work on the bass drum. In addition, he is not a one styled beatmaker as these three works have wholly different sounds from the more brooding thick snares that let Boog get pensive to the booming soul that lets Journalist vent or the diverse breaks and tempos in the compilation. With this, Apollo Brown’s complete 2010 reveals he can produce a unique album beds for lyricists (Boog Brown) and b-boys (Journalist 103) and for the multitude (Reset). With the great comp around him the inspiration for greater work is imminent.

Gold Chain Military - Chain of Command

A solid group of MCs led by Planet Asia along with Killa Kali and Turbin also from Fresno, CA, Tristate reppin’ LA with Killer Ben and Sav Killz building from Brooklyn. In the spirit of Wu-Tang/Killarmy eithic, the goal is stream of conscious militancy to resurrect Hip Hop quality. The insights are a unified Nation of God and Earth theology, a well unified street spirituality presented with ideas right and exact on ethic and dietary concerns with only the occasional odd add ons of Malachi york references and the worthy ones of Rasta insights. Just as Planet Asia’s career is a reinvigorated homage to Originality in hardcore b-boy lyrics and the alike minds assembled are of the same mentality. The album is 17 deep cuts of hardcore beats that really is filled with great snare work from Masterkraftsmen, who handled about half of the cuts. The other half are by various producers including Large Professor, Alchemist and Evidence that show a consistent selection from the group that really are all upper midtempo snare poppin breaks with wild horns or blues vocals chopped in. Along with PA, Sav Killz and Tristate show great potential with unique voices, intensity and fluidity in pacing. Albums like these were normal, maybe even overdone in the 90’s, yet this is one of the few hardcore non-skip albums to train heavy with.




Black Milk - Album of the Year

Detroit, despite eminem’s selling out, is still the realest and most progressive set of Hip Hop music miles in the world today. It’s because the many factions all keep it real with some of the most Original talent in years. One of those factions is led by Black Milk and his growing production excellence. Musically, the Hip Hop sound of Detroit was given notice with the great work of J-Dilla but only when he died. Unfortunately, until Donuts was released, the greatness of Dilla was not so blatantly bundled. Dilla has wonderfully influenced so many producers with a mastery of the snare to provoke the pop appeal of the b-boy tracks of soul and funk he created. It’s why his tracks could work with Raekwon, a perfect breakbeat MC as RZA noted and also D’Angelo and other Neo-soul acts. Milk’s solos Sound of the City, Vol.1 and Popular Demand showed deep soul and a very digital funk and his production of eLZhi’s incredible The Preface album, it’s clear Milk can produce for the sound of it all and excel in creating beds for the lyricist.With Album of the Year, Milk continues his explorations of the soulful funky snare to new heights. With Album, it’s not that the snare is ill, sharply piercing as ever but that his breakbeats are completely wild and unorthodox. The tempos are upper mid tempo but the excitement of the tracks gives a it all a much faster feel. Black Milk is only a bragaddocio rhymer in a Special Ed/Kane girl getting lane which hampers it considerably. Milk has incredible MCs at his disposal and his growth pace on the mic is so much slower than eLZhi, Royce Da 5’9” or even Guilty Simpson. Still, Album of the Year is a great producer’s album.

All MADLIB work!:

The entire decade of the 00’s needs a Madlib moment of reflection each year. In proper retrospect, without Madlib the entire 00’s become virtually devoid of great evolutions in beatmaking. Madlib has the crown for the deepest crates, so deep he spent the entire year releasing Medicine Shows of his crates from Roots Reggae and Jazz to his pre-Lootpack beat crates (the ill Medicine Show No. 5 - History of the Loop Digga 1999-2000). There are his progressive Jazz records under the psuedonyms Young Jazz Rebels and The Last Electro-Acoustic Space Jazz & Percussion Ensemble. Then there are the fully produced Hip Hop albums for Guilty Simpson (O.J. Simpson) and Strong Arm Steady (In Search of Stoney Jackson) that turn quality MCs, if not spectacular lyricists or amazing dexterous vocalists, into an aural showcase of exploration. S.O.S.’ album is filled with some of the deepest and purely thick basslines of the year (only DJ Muggs’ Kill Devil Hills rivals this) while the skits on O.J. virtually make Madlib an additional lyricist countering Guilty’s rugged bars. There is no prducer in the history of Hip Hop music that has such a complete level of quality amidst abnormal quantity of work. Madlib filled the beat universe with at least half a thousand tracks the last decade and begins 2010 with almost 20 albums worth of material that is filled with treats.

The Roots - How I Got Over
"It's Black Thought, for certain I'ma win eventually/This unsung, underrated, under-appreciated/The one them underachievers had underestimated…" - "Doin It Again"

Shit!?! What the fuck is this!?! How I Got Over is the theme of the ?uestlove-led Roots and I ain’t with that shit. I’m not with having the greatest performance MC of the last 10 plus years, one of the greatest MCs of all time being a merely a consistent feature on Rising Down while it has a majority of weak ass beats and annoying hooks with the classic "75 Bars (Black's Reconstruction)." And being in the Fallon band is a peace hustle only if they ain’t gotta have this superior MC, B-L-A-C-K Thought, singing I-God damned Christmas carols on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. Those are kanye customs on a vintage lyricist that don’t get you over. It ain’t all ?’s fault cause no one can make the MC mc just anything and on a deeper level there is a shift that has developed the entire 00’s decade that saw Thought’s content taper in it’s insight away from a street spirituality-- that is the knowledge of self that builds with mathematics and doesn’t see a mystery god--into just the respectable hard times riffs. No one can judge a man’s deepest choices but the consistent search for a mystery god (“Dear God 2.0”) is in line with the many concessions the Roots have made for palatability and relevance in their wider market. How I Got Over, unlike Rising Down, has much better breaks that are more B-Boy rooted but is filled with a very intense blue-eyed soul for all of its choruses. It's almost as if he's too rugged to sell completely. It means nothing only when you get these Roots albums that aren't bar heavy and where Thought is sparsely featured. Yet, The Roots are still a legendary band, now in theory, where Black Thought has incredible mastery on the mic that is more visible hearing his thicker tone of experience and pacing blatantly compared to the features surrounding him. Beatwise, ?uestlove's drumming is elevated as on "Right OnS," "Radio Daze," and "Now or Never" with polyrhythmic fluidity. Still, this is an album where personal bias must be noted on this brother's part--Black Thought is the Hip Hop of the Roots. I want to listen to fuckin Real Hip Hop!
"Shit, I'm Black Thought, what could be more prolific? For this love I go above and beyond a limit/ I told y'all I'm above and beyond a gimmick" - "Right On"


EP’s & Special Releases:

AZ - Doe or Die 15th Year Anniversary
Seemingly a gimmick record or a promo set up for Doe or Die 2, this 15th Anniversary with its mere 5 new tracks and 4 remakes from 1995's Doe or Die is an incredible showcase of pure dexterous lyricism. Not only do the remakes redeliver the deftness of the lyricism and the expert swagger in precise pacing but the new tracks deliver it equal to, if not better. During the 1990's an MC as AZ was often dismissed, myself at times also erroneously, as a frivolous ghetto caricature -- the lyricist of the ghetto despair triumphing through countless hustles proving his earned righteousness. Yet, after the 00's where every last MC from Jeru to Wu, toned down their lyrical depth, AZ is far more appreciated. This idea of dexterous lyricism where the wordplay itself is so technically complex it affects the actual delivery of the lyric is assumed to be part of the 90's MC. Yet, except for GZA, NaS, Raekwon, Ghost, Monch and a few others it is extremely rare. AZ's troubles have been in the abuse of his swagger to challenge Jigga with pop diddies (i.e. "Undeniable"). While they have often been clever they always dilute the program. What hasn't been diluted is the most impressive of AZ. His content is still the amazing reveling in hustler's success yet it hasn't lost the insight of the knowledge of self that constantly reminds one that the hustle is a struggle against oppression. AZ's message still stays rooted in the streets, the suffering prisons and the greatness in the Original man enlightened as he succeeds. This is easily one of the best albums of the year and matches with 90% of every release on this list.

J-Live - Undivided Attention EP
The third in the career of an artist like J-Live, the EP serves the purpose of reminding the faithful that the skills are still in tact, the integrity is still non-conceding and the beats are still banging. Now J-Live is 3 for 3. J-Live is the epitome of the underrated as he is respected and revered by anyone that hears him. Anyone that has seen him perform "Braggin Rites" live cutting his produced track up as he verses effortlessly over it showing he's indeed the Triple Threat--MC, DJ and Beatmaker. Still, J-Live can only be appreciated as an obscure crate is or a great Thelonious Monk record. It is immediately recognized that it must be good but it takes a deeper listen to appreciate the greatness of it all. There is J-Live's dexterity riding with the silly Homeboy Sandman on "Fitness" or the fluidity of "The Way that I Rhyme" or the building depth of "Calculations." J-Live's strength is in his wordplay and its execution in song concepts. Just as every other EP and album, each Undivided song is a unique idea musically and lyrically. Now with the 00's past us, it can be officially said that J-Live was one of its top 5 MCs and the epitome of the era. Undivided is the primer for the next chapter in masterful MCing from J-Live.

Big L - Return of the Devil’s Son
If you are waiting for Thank Me Later or the canonizing of a Weezy nursery rhyme on this list then you are waiting for the God to make mystery. Instead, the real completist will rock the finality of Big L's career. A lengthy collection of his left over cuts, early works and unreleased tracks, Big L's intensity and rugged bars are amazingly refreshing. Like Chino XL, his shock verses are a father to eminem and every other MC saying whatever the fuck they want. As a note for this list, Celph Titled's album, Nineteen Ninety Now is a great beat work by Buckwild but Celph only really delivers the expected battle rhymes. While that makes for a quality album, one of the worthwhile this year, Return of the Devil's Son is filled with great D.I.T.C. tracks from Buck, Showbiz and even Large Professor. Big L is easily one of the legendary battle MCs of all time and its only sensible as his root is Lord Finesse. On Return, one must marvel at the high level of skill he was at. Today, a rapper learns of a silent letter in a word and he's an iller G all of a sudden. With Big L, his cadence was perfected by equal patterns of syllables in his verses and a penchant for peaking his voice for his punchlines. He also had the dexterity to fit his bars in with G Rap speed. L is the most undeveloped talent returned to the essence and it makes him a most tragic musical loss. With Return, we can revisit those roots with the dignity of a really well put together compilation.

Mohammad Dangerfield - $Free.99 EP
The best freebie of the year, Mohammad Dangerfield is the not-so surprising unification of Hasan Salaam and Rugged N Raw. Two completely unique MCs with all together different styles and focused themes yet they are alike in great dexterity, intensity and realness. They are also alike in having slept on catalogs. Rugged, from the Redman school, has a dynamic voice, great punchlines and only knows heavy bars, an MC's MC. As I've often said, Hasan Salaam is the best young MC of the last 5 years in the Tri-State area. That's alotta fukn rappers but the brother has all the tools. As the superior Children of God album in 2008 or the strong 2005 debut or the precocious verses on the 2005 Reavers album, Terror Firma where I first did the knowledge, Hasan, has guiding themes of knowledge of self, the ghetto strife and trials endeavored against oppression and a strong battle presence. The elevating note is that his vocals are a dexterous baritone that is rare in all of Hip Hop's history. Mohammad Dangerfield as a unit is B-boy excitement led by Rugged with the insightful lyricism guided by Hasan. Performing live for a long time together, they always displayed great synergy and it shows on these 8 tracks, best seen on the ill "Van Gogh" or the unique rhyme patterns on the stuttered break on "Flying Coach." And the shit is free!

Immediate Honorable Mention:
Skyzoo & !llmind - Live From the Tape Deck
Medina. Brooklyn. The place. MCing's history is weak without it. Actual fact. For this to be so it means almost everyone in Medina raps. Funneling them all the last few years, Skyzoo remains of the new. After the 9th Wonder produced LP, Cloud 9 and the tight The Salvation album, he should be better known and much more prized. Skyzoo has the Brooklyn influences that he's supposed to have. He has his own masculine version of the pretty hiccup, the smooth drawl and lethargic conveyance of effortless mastery that is a dose of swagger in hardcore Hip Hop much needed. It all gels beyond frivolousness because he has a lyrical dexterity that has AZ and Kweli components to it. He is not as deep with his content or powerful with his insights as he can become as most of his thoughts focus on the details and technique. Technique is obsessed over to success as "Kitchen Table" metaphors the struggle to provide with getting each place set on the kitchen table. The obsession with wordplay reaches clever levels reminiscent of J-Live as he does on his second verse of "Flow by Numbers" or on the incredible "Frisbees" ("Now or never, I'm around whatever if the call is out/Out of what's considered to be considered considerable/I couldn't find a reason to leave up outta the lyrical/Fuck all of the fuckery, motherfuckers luckily ain't see me with a cosign/I get one of you--clothesline/Pardon how I pardoned it, but don't pardon the part in it/that pointed out the parts that I'm apart from where you parted it…") The details reveal the legitimacy and Skyzoo masters this on the extra slick graf track, "Krylon" and glides through references on "Digital Analog." Skyzoo is a fiend for the playing with words and brings great stuff out of the MCs he works with as he does with Torae on "Barrel Brothers." All of these techniques and details swaggered through are over the very digitally melodic production of !llmind who uses sirens, bleeps and lots of rock synth bass to dress his bass drum heavy breaks. Many of the tracks have a familiarity (i.e. "#allaboutthat") to work he's given to BCC and others but every bed is proper and allows Skyzoo to display the art. This shit really is an Art and Medina brothers remind us of that all the time.

Statik Selektah & Terminology - 1982 [w/1982 EP]

One of the top five debuting MCs since 2005, Termanology is an MC with all the tools that has developed consistently over every record. As most MCs and rappers in the last decade they have diluted the strength of their catalog by releasing countless mixtapes to garner buzz. Term's series of Hood Politics joints is one of the better sets to promote an MC and by the Volume 4 the command of his content, intensity and incredibly dexterous delivery came to fruition. Un Boricua who is a direct disciple of the PUN school, his deadpan monotone breath control is extra ordinary. Unfortunately, the anti-climatic moment in Term's career is the release of his debut album, Politics As Usual, where he really is the first MC since NaS to debut with production from DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Large Professor. The potential to really live up to that was certainly there but the album works too hard to be diverse suggesting a possible PUN route here as Capital Punishment is very diverse. The slight setback led to a great response with the great idea of rhyming over an album's worth of Dilla tracks on If Heaven Was A Mile Away, that exploited his gifts as on "Circulate (100 Bars)" and "Enemies." The unity with Statik Selektah has been present throughout his career and by the Hood Politics VI, featuring tight tracks from "Wild Puerto Ricans" to "Brown Paper Bag" leading to the Statik produced gem, "Nobody's Smilin'."

With 1982, the only flaw is the obsession with diversity again. That is, using the old model that the cliché style of track (i.e. the bitches song, the queen song, the hard times song, etc.) will properly propel the ideas. 1982, the year Term and Statik were born, is a respectful homage to Gang Starr and Pete & CL as Term really shows considerable flows from a smooth paused flow on "Born in 82" to the punny flow on the classic hardcore joint "Thugathon 2010." The sincerity and conveyance of realness through the integrity of the music is a theme revealed throughout and honors Guru greatly. In addition, the many features that hamper other albums aren't here as Xzibit's incredible verse on "Goin Back" is At The Speed of Life worthy. Beatwise, Statik is a proper breakbeat fiend and a great selektah of accompanying sample vocals. He also has the skills to make addictive beats merely by the choice of melodic hook or sounds as on "People are Running" or "Goin Back." Consistent beats allow Term to become the MC that is still developing. He has a great handle and insight of the life he came from but as he literally learns more his work will have even deeper meaning. This music was invented by Blacks of America, the Caribbean and the Latino Caribbean yet the reality of the Puerto Rican is so underrepresented on the MC side that Term's insights are most welcome. With that said he has worked to bring ideas but they also require more study on the part of the writer (MC) as "Freedom" with Reks reveals straight errors on Puerto Rican history. Boricuas have been racially oppressed by the U.S. since being made citizens in 1917 to be official tools of war in World War 1. Yet, the details of our degradation and that reality on the truest micro level Term reveals throughout 1982 with massive dexterity manipulating techniques with Kobe effect only PUN really did. His intensity also has powerful range from the slowly intense "Things I Dream" to amplified live vocals on "Help." When Term and Statik, together or apart, leave every model of "proper" recording behind, they will only give us their best work. For now, 1982 is a strong one and continues the high quantity of quality [1982 also has a free accompanying EP with quality b-sides with the lyrical feature with Chace Infinite ("The Darkest Cloud")].

10 - Meth, Ghost & Rae - Wu Massacre
This list is Wu'd out because they're still the best and the rushed collection of quality b-sides still is an incredible record if it has 2 of the legends and one Great of the Wu, Ghost, Rae and Meth, respectively. With some of the greatest album covers ever dressing the meager ten tracks, the incomplete nature is wildly evident. Ghost, Meth and Rae should be on every song as RZA, himself, gets more verses out of all of them on the entire Wu albums. Nevertheless, the intensity of the work makes this more of a Cuban Linx II Gold than the Gold version. It really plays like a special playlist from a Wu album as Ghost innovates again with an abstract, stream of conscious style of storytelling on "Pimpin Chipp" and Method Man's referential wordplay is at a peak on "Meth Vs. Chef 2" and "Criminology 2.5." Raekwon following up the classic Cuban Linx Part II delivers rhymes that are received with the stature that they deserve--a legendary lyricist with exceptional details with the slow, menacing pace. Beatwise, all the producers are near perfect picks to reproduce the early RZA era/soul Ghost preferences that always work. So certain songs sound like they were released already ("Dangerous" by Allah Math) while others have that special sample unused but wonderfully expected (i.e. Linda Jones sample on "Miranda" by Allah Math). Rushed records like these are done to capitalize on the recent resurgence and CL2 is the reason. Nevertheless, the classic skills and enormous talent of these MCs continues to increase and even the seemingly incomplete sound of tracks as RZA's great Michael Jackson sampling on "Our Dreams" with no breakbeat works like many RZA classics with minimal breaks (i.e. "Tribute to the 5th Brother"). With Wu Massacre, it's more of the Real-- a very short, little more of the Real.

9 - Killah Priest - The 3 Day Theory
The last cd I personally purchased physically from Fat Beats NY and Priest's only album since 2009, one of the most amazing MC performances in Hip Hop history….But no one knows or took notice that last year Priest released 4 albums worth of material (the official Elizabeth and The Exorcist with the "mixtapes" The Untold
Story of Walter Reid and I Killed The Devil Last Night) and two EPs of free material. Over 100 songs that include a near classic Elizabeth and 3 other albums of original material with virtually no filler. Priest is known for the vivid details to his epic storytelling and the brutal and gory battle raps but last year they became something else. With a better mastery of flow and dexterity since 2005's Black Market Militia there is just more command to Priest. There is nothing unexpected but the truth is that the best Wu MCs are literally getting better as they refine their techniques and song writing skill. 3 Day Theory is filled with more with battle rhymes and guest appearances and isn't the intimate journey that Elizabeth or the underrated Behind the Stained Glass are. For Priest, it is a respectable poor man's The Offering that blends his metaphysical cosmic journeys of "Outer Body Experience," "Circles" and "A Priest History," with battle tracks like "Democracy" with an impeccable Canibus verse, "Brolic" or "The Destroyer." After so much work, that this album is so good is amazing. Everything in Killah Priest's catalog after the BMM album is worthy with countless exceptional moments. He is one of the most unique MCs of all time specializing in a lyrical depth no one really can delve into. 3 Day Theory is another essential one.

8 - KRS-One & True Master - Meta-Historical
Hip Hop is a music attached to deeply embedded cultural expressions of Black and Latino urban culture that reinforce originality, creativity and the integrity and principle of not biting but sampling in honor of the past one learns from. After three decades of commercially released music, to dismiss it all and just advocate the new nigga hoping their phoniness will change and he will lead the masses is complete ignorance, stupidity and/or selling out. Those men and women, boys and girls of each era must learn of each other's experience in this and actually have a proper understanding of the united code to create this. KRS-One's Gospel of Hip Hop book is 800 pages worth of that like sentiment with lots of mysterious religiosity to pop it forward and more great understanding to support it. Meta-Historical is no mere uniting with a like mind and great producer of the classic 90's era in True Master of the Wu-Elements producer greats. Instead, Meta-Historical is the offering of KRS' Gospel thoughts and best builds onto wax. The MC stylings have KRS going back to the Boogie Down Production days for his earlier reggae techniques, chorus chants and rhyme cadences. Some have tried to trivialize KRS's ideas and it can be done sincerely by noting he says that our people are supreme controllers of our destiny yet can speak about a god in the sky helping you if you work hard. Still, KRS's presents little mystery as the God True Master truly has an influence as the chorus of "Palm and Fist" suggest ("Knowledge is the foundation/Wisdom is the way/Understanding will show you that you are on your way"--a sampled verse from the Nation of God and Earth's Enlightener anthem). With that KRS' content is not just the regurgitated "Rap is something you do. Hip Hop is something you live" jewel. There are the expected Temple of Hip Hop recruitment songs ("Knowledge Reigns Supreme"). Yet the gem in all this is that the album is designed to use history, the 90's style and ruggedness to bring his newest ideas. It all is led by the title track with a brilliant build on the wholistic nature of history. This is one of the core ideas in the Gospel of Hip Hop and its made into bars and put on wax ill. True Master, as mentioned, is a complete producer that affects the content direction of KRS and the guests to a focus of knowledge of self and the lack of mysterious beings or energies but our own minds creating this "omni event." As on "Street Rhymer," "1-2 Here's What We Gonna Do," (with a great RZA verse) and "Unified Field" the driving tracks with deep bass, crunchy breaks and intense melodies are true 90's Wu while tracks like "Murda Ya" and "Gimme the 90's" are deep and simple minimalist breaks that drove early BDP work. The album is too short and would be better fit with the many skits of good builds translated into verses on new songs instead. Still, for that continuity and reality of a complete unified field of Hip Hop from 1986 to 2010, KRS-One is that MC, most crucial, for that task.

7 - DJ Muggs Vs. Ill Bill - Kill Devil Hills
Easily the best solo production from one of the top 5 producers in Hip Hop history, DJ Muggs. The Cypress Hill albums aren't enough to reveal that. The great producer has to make classics with good MCs (i.e. B-Real) and the legendary (i.e. GZA). After 2005's Grandmasters, an easy classic with GZA, Muggs followed his work with a solid banger with Sick Jacken (Legend of the Mask and the Assassin) and the classic Pain Language with Planet Asia. Muggs ability now is understood by this years Kill Devil Hills. The depth of the MC will be drawn out by his beats (i.e. Pain Language) or the perfected MC will reach greatness again (i.e. GZA). For Ill Bill, a more than respected white MC, a Brooklyn veteran who was crucial in the success of Non Phixion's only album, The Future is Now. All of these are relevant details to his judgment. The judgment of any artist's work, especially the MC is personal and should be as their content is considered. We just need to show and prove why. Kill is a classic production that is designed to let Ill Bill do what he knows best--thugged out soldier fighting against the madness of surrounding conspiracy of devilishment and ensuing Alien domination. It all sounds ridiculous but when one considers that the Gods and Earths, since the 60's, have taught a knowledge of self of personal supremacy as the natural reality of the Original people and sharing the science of a world with no mystery god and righteousness in all of humanity, countless ciphers of exploitation exist in the streets from Nuwaibians to RBG to A Teams telling their tall tales of it all. As a white MC, Ill Bill's ideas show he has built with Gods as he does on wax with the God Chace Infinite on "Secrets Worth Dying For" but is convinced that the heights of humanity are not the Original man but Aliens soon to come as we all are "children of a lesser god." Ultimately that framework is straight bullshit and has a sting of racism to it if it was uttered by another. For Ill Bill, it's more ignorance played out on wax. The latter half of the album overdoses on this and Muggs only keeps the beats poppin for the peculiar pillage. Vocally, Ill Bill is a fluid MC directly influenced by BIG PUN in cadence (i.e. chorus on "Amputated Saint") and fluidity (i.e. opening verse on "Cult Assassin"). Over Muggs beats, one can come to respect his insight because it's true rebellion and often rebellion done well, as here, brings about revolution of truth. That truth may not come from Bill but it may be in the next forum the legendary Muggs offers.



6 - Ghostface Killah - Apollo Kids
Ghost, like Razah, is a perfected MC. They never need shift their way to make great music. However, Ghost is an MC who really can do everything. As his Ghostdeini Wizard of Poetry album reveals, the surprise quality of ideas that are horrible on paper (an album with today's R&B music with B-level and some A-level singers of the genre) have amazing results. Like Ghostdeini, Apollo Kids is an exploration into a chamber of Ghostface. Far more subtle here Ghost is indulging in his superstar 70's inspired Soul brother Pretty Tony, Starkey Love Baby lane. Technically as an MC, Ghost easily can be regarded as the greatest ever just like a few others are. Ghost ranks at extreme peaks on dexterity, flow (manipulation, continuity, etc.), wordplay, word usage and depth, content, storytelling and insight. However, the peak he is exploring here is a special one--the ridiculous swagger. Apollo Kids is only 40 minutes and Ghost shares the mic on 9 of the 12 tracks of which "Street Bullies" only has a chorus from him. Still, Ghost albums begin with the ability to executive produce his own shit. No, post-Russell Def Jam don't sell shit let alone the real but the direction of beat selection and thematic focus on the tracks is always superbly done by Starks. Only Frank Dukes, with 3 tracks, has more than one track to his credit so the aural unity of the record must be commended. Yet, it is an exaggeration that this album is a great rewind to the vintage Wu sound. The Wu albums on this list are as much vintage RZA/Wu as Apollo and if one is really diving into the sound the tracks are extremely clean, a digital treble that is subtle but easily discernible from the work of Bronze Nazareth, Kevlaar 7, True Master, 4th Disciple, DJ Wool, Dev 1 and the many Wu-Elements and preferred stable used by Wu MCs. Lyrically, there is no comeback for Ghost. When he went R&B and showed proper love to the Original woman the skills were there and his raw features on Cuban Linx Pt. II are classic. Here Ghost is fuckin Youngblood Priest where "Starkology" is the peak of that rugged swagger ("Yo, I can do this on crutches black with no legs/Both arms in a sling, push me on stage/Style still linger in the air like Glade..") and then the frivolous glamor of "Superstar" is done with a rhyme that lets you hear the stutter step letting you know the slickness ("This is Theodore, they call me Starkalicious/Cause my tongue game is a likkle vicious…") with a speed to add in observations and suggestions to the beautiful women encountered ("Y’all respect my tour bus/We got whores with no drawers ready to do all four of us/Wildin, bustin big bags of Ruffles..."). The stream of conscious flow is centered on his immensity with constant distractions taking place to acknowledge the lust for the ladies. No one does this but Ghost, an ability to bring mastery to so many personas. If these are the short ill works to get out of his Def Jam contract, what will be the time tailored art work?...


5 - Hell Razah - Heaven Razah Integrity. Sincerity. Perfected lyricism. Hell Razah has always been Heaven Razah. Since that opening Sunz of Man verse where he noted, "What? He sold his soul? Life publishing" ["Cold"], Razah has spent a career effortlessly exposing devilishment and offering a most high spiritual consciousness that only comes from the street roots that help construct his integrity. The entire reality of Sunz of Man led by Priest and Razah helped solidify the depth of consciousness of the entire Wu-Tang cult and movement. Razah's great contribution is the steadfast integrity in that message and the uncanny consistency to lyrical fluidity that never wavers in focus. Just as DOOM was wildly prolific from 2003-2004 with numerous albums, many classic, Razah was that MC from 2007-2008 releasing superior albums Renaissance Child, Razah's Ladder, Ultra Sounds of a Renaissance Child and Welcome to Red Hook Houses as half of the duo T.H.U.G. Angelz and two strong mixtapes in between (Hell Hop Volumes 1 &2). Razah is no experimental MC, shifting into new content that might be hip on the street spiritual scene or making requests for hotter tracks with less drums, more synth and syrupy dressing. RC showed his definition of diversity with hardcore tracks from a slew of underground reps where his lyrical themes are very overt. With one producer, Blue Sky Black Death, RL's lyrical palette went deep on the exaltation of his persona and ghetto trials. Of these two classics, RC is the beat blueprint for Heaven Razah where the diversity of producers offering strong tracks that are what we expect from Razah. Lyrically, Razah's Ladder is extended as he's literally climbed up the ladder. When I had the honor of building with Razah briefly in 2009, he was stern on the idea it was enough to merely recreate success if our understanding has elevated. This work honors that in that he focuses on a spiritual truth that one only has the integrity of one's act and the sharing that one may give their Queen and children. Yes, Razah may speak to the skies far too much but his prayer and lyrical revelation is filled with such endless flow that reaches a calm few attain rhyming. Heaven Razah is not a new Razah. It is Razah remaining at his enormously high peak. As our thoughts are with him for his physical recovery we will his greatest feat will soon come.

4 - Vinnie Paz - Season of the Assassin
Jedi Mind Tricks. The rugged lyrics. The hardbody tracks with incredible sampling and musicianship. That's it. The best group of the 00's. Like Ghost's Apollo Kids, Season has incredible beat selection. With the props to get beats from 4th Disciple, Beatminerz, Madlib, Muggs, Bronze Nazareth and all of them are incredible bangers with even innovative ideas from them. While Bronze's "Role of Life" is the classic example of his illness, Beatminerz' vocal siren throughout "Bad Day" match the daily horror Paz depicts. Madlib gives the expected wild, unorthodox amplified sample of Electric Light Orchestra the perfectly matched dement-ion for "Aristotle's Dilemna." Yet for the lesser known, the beat quality is superb. Some of the modernized choruses by Block McCloud don't always work ("Ain't Shit Changed") but the ability to get Stoupe/JMT worthy tracks is consistent over 20 tracks. C-Lance's work, particularly "Kill Em All" captures the gothic sound and the rare appearances as Beanie Sigel here are precise and great counterparts to Vinnie's gruff. Louie Doggs is the next generation MC that has honored everything great of the hardcore 90's. A vicious battle rapper who has a brutality that is intriguing and uplifting in this world of post-masculine rap. However, the reason Paz is such a vital MC is his Islamic thoughts penned. Paz is an MC that kills everything with a righteous cause. He is the foul living brother that collects the sin of the Jihad ("Run with brothers who's forty guzzlers, Islamic extremists/ Ugly and ignorant is how they perceive us/ I don't care, I'm trying to deal with my personal demons" - "Drag You To Hell"). The core of Vinnie's rage is filled with the street spirituality of the streets. No, it may be warped into conspiracy theories and Alien prophecy at times like Ill Bill but when focused it is rooted in the Islam, the way of life shared by the Nation of Gods and Earths, that is I Self Lord And Master, one that erases religiosity for scientific reality. It's why the muslim that Paz is truly is a young Italian man, who not only has realized hidden Black Moorish roots in his Sicily, but also related the ideas that Hip Hop has taken him through in the Philly streets. If you can't get all that listening then listen to him speak on it as he did in a lecture he gave for Temple University. Paz is a disciple of Hip Hop and really does the knowledge to the insights of the Gods, Earths and, indeed, all the others offering from the many street factions posted. This makes his thoughts sincere as they are rugged. Personally, Vinnie Paz as an MC is a source of real to fall back on and on Season all of the insights he offers from conscious social commentary, Islamic ideas, metaphysical propositions, conspiracy theories (some of which have great truth as the idea that fluoride is a dangerous heavy metal and should not be consumed) and the most brutal battle raps are necessary today.

3 - Canibus - Melatonin Magik [w/ C of Tranquility]
Canibus is part of the long list of actual facts that have been altered for truism. Canibus destroyed LL Cool J. Now as we move on, after Wyclef helped destroy his career, his lyricism became more intense, more convoluted with confused ideas, overload and some really bad beats (i.e. C True Hollywood Stories and Mind Control have some failures). Canibus has kept the popular populace away yet it is completely wrong to say that the lane he thrives in wasn’t where his talent truly deserves to be. A lane where he is recognized as one of the most lyrically dense and intensely rigorous advocates of breath control in endless bars ever. To hear Melatonin Magik is to hear Canibus not only riff lyrically complex over bars (“The Nephilium Pharaoh, the three thousand year old scarecrow/Hang you from your nose on a square pole/The squid faced rock beast with swamp croc teeth/And a two headed parrot with a desert fatigue beak/Step out the depths of Hell, exhale sceptic smells” - “Hip Hop Black Ops”) but also detail his legitimate beefs (“The Danger of Judah”), the incredible build on Hip Hop music (“Only Slaves D.R.E.A.M.”) or the beautifully abstract tales of “Ripperland.” The beats are hard breaks, militant sirens and ill guitar loops. There’s no difficulty understanding shit here but great beats and intelligent rhymes and in 2010 Canibus has mastered it. This album merging with C of Tranquility makes Canibus the rhyme animal he says he is and as the Primo track chorus goes, “I take it back to the golden era of rap/when it was exactly that/not specifically jams in the park/ but when MCs used to talk with advanced thought...” That is literally Melatonin Magik and C of Tranquility. Real boom bap and ill lyrics.

2 - NaS & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives
NaS is one of the greatest MCs of all time yet unlike Ghost he has great limitations in many chambers. Unfortunately, he has thought otherwise and experimented sincerely and also commercially to excellent (i.e. "One Mic") and horrid effect ("You Owe Me"). However with Distant Relatives the complete product is really a great album. Broken down to parts you will hear the conscious content of NaS with the expected tinge of complacency (i.e. “He sides with Black,
White Pride and Mexican...” - “Tribal War”--White pride is what causes all tribal wars as they trickle down...), limited bars overall for NaS, and music that is not a next level blend of Hip Hop and Reggae and is quite familiar to much of the Roots of today. In addition, a point that only the few would make, the African unity expressed to all of us is not and has never really been channeled overtly to Latinos, especially with Jamaica in the Caribbean right by Cuba, DR and Borinquen, who have as much African blood, tradition and culture as any Rasta. Still, the latter issue is far deeper than the lyrical skill and musical acumen of NaS and Damian, respectively. Lyrically, NaS succeeds as his limited bars are all perfectly matched with a content that makes all the tracks unite as an album of unity and revolution in consciousness. NaS, never noticed for his incredible pacing and flow, is a master at the mid to upper mid tempo range. As a result, he thrives at the Roots pacing with the virtual spoken word flows of “Leaders,” “Dispear” and “Friends” which all vary at significant, though slight tempos. Yet, NaS is great on the upper mid tempo trade-offs of “As We Enter,” the energetic bridge he goes in on for “Count Your Blessings” or the straight breaks of “In His Own Words" show. As Damian chants, sings and verses pon tracks throughout he certainly is the star and focal point of the album. Damian has a perfected sound and flow and even when they horribly misstep with Weezy on a track and Joss Stone as the soul component, still the illness of Damian’s flow on this track is patois perfection. Throughout, his verses lend such melody and depth to the music that it certainly is part of the production. A production that is much like the world Reggae sounds we hear original and jacked but the purity of their construction and having NaS verse over them brings the complete package. Released in May, this was the best album for much of the year until the Wisemen arrived again...
1 - Wisemen - Children of a Lesser God

Every last website, every last magazine, every last media source all fucked up (except for Silencer at www.abuildingroam.com). * It’s not that they mention Wisemen’s sophmore album lightly or in passing. Now Cipher! It’s not mentioned at all! The best album of the year and my review in October (http://lavoerevolt.blogspot.com/2010/10/wisemen-children-of-lesser-god-review.html) details why. Everyone take the L and recognize Bronze Nazareth’s next solo album, School for the Blindman and Kevlaar 7’s debut Die Ageless so you won’t screw up two years in a row.

The Wisemen album is a surprise from their first because it’s not a Bronzemen album--each Wisemen from Bronze and Kevlaar to Phillie and Salute to the old members appearing finally Illa Dayz and June Megaladon all destroying significantly. The flows have a mastered unity and the rewind button is broken all day. Musically, the live instrumentation and arrangements all have great synergy and songs like “Corn Liquor Thoughts” and “Thirsty Fish” are two of the classic tracks of the year. I’ve championed this album greatly because this is the best music of 2010 and the direction Bronze and Kevlaar go musically and lyrically is where Hip Hop will reveal the next level shit. With Children, beats propel incredible lyricism from all on this near classic work.
* NOTE: Sa'id at his incredible Beat Tips Manual site recognized with detail Wisemen's C.O.L.G. work classically on January 19th of 2011. (http://www.beattips.com/beattips/2011/01/the-wisemens-children-of-a-lesser-god-classic-street-rap-in-full-effect.html) Peace.
0 - GURU
Returning to the essence was Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal. The essence was and will always be God Universal Ruler Universal. Guru of Gang Starr was more than an incredible MC with an expert cadence, verses composed of complete phrases, effortless calm and exquisite voice. He was a champion of integrity that, in the end, did not realize how powerful his realness was and how de negros fronting solar work to strip them bare for their own luxury. Guru was more than an MC. He was a master controller of integrity, ethics, ideals and righteousness amidst chaos. That truest integrity when men blend the hell of the streets with the righteousness of their nature and build a new cipher. The cipher where the Real is the Real. 2010 lost one of the greatest MCs of all time. An MC that no one can surpass because his words were sincere, his integrity conveyed and still reigning after every trial he went through. Even his post Gang Starr work lyrically is gifted. No one can take that away. No one will. Gang Starr is Forever.
Peace to the God Guru. Peace.


I Self Lord And Master, shall bring disaster to evil factors
Demonic chapters, shall be captured by Kings
Through the storms of days after
Unto the Earth from the Sun through triple darkness to blast ya
with a force that can't be compared
to any firepower, for it's mindpower shared
The brainwake, causes vessels to circulate
like constellations reflect at night off the lake
Word to the father, and Mother Earth
Seeking everlasting life through this Hell for what it's worth
Look listen and observe
and watch another C Cipher pullin my peeps to the curb
Heed the words; it's like ghetto style proverbs
The righteous pay a sacrifice to get what they deserve
Cannot afford to be confined to a cell
Brainwaves swell, turnin a desert to a well
Experience the best teacher; thoughts will spray
like street sweepers Little Daddy street preacher
Illustrious feature, narrator you select
Accompanied by Deck plus the DJ you respect
The 7 ½ combine, over the frontline
The 10 Percenters, promotin slander in the airtime
Bear in mind jewels be the tools of the trade
Sharp veins heavenly praise and dues are paid
-Guru - “Above The Clouds” [1998 Gang Starr Moment of Truth LP]

16 comments:

chris wooley said...

Great list, but did you REALLY listen to that Celph/Buck album? All battle rhymes? What about songs like "Miss Those Days", "I Could Write A Rhyme", "Time Travels On", "Fuckmaster Sex"? Those were all topics or concepts... But me personally, I enjoy the battle rhymes and I think his fans do too and that's why he gives them what they want... But you're buggin by saying it was ALL battle rhymes. Totally untrue statement...

SUNEZ said...

Chris, Thanks for even reading that far. As a preface to understand my answer here refer to what I explain about my thoughts on Ill Bill. I talk about how the judgment of an MC is based on our preference and as a critic analyzing we are putting a lot of technical justification on like and dislike. The Celph/Buck album needs more words than I gave it. As you balance your like/dislike you note the technical error. So, the amendment to that is I personally don't prefer his perspective. This is totally personal but there is no such thing as a Caucasian Cuban unless you're an exile from the devilish paradise Fidel destroyed. Maybe that's the case with Celph. If so, I care for his work even less. Also, the subtext of my Big L review was that the Celp/Buck album is just a reprise of what they did better. "Miss.." is a topical but the expected back in the days, "I Could.." is his come up, "Fuckmaster.." is a sex track I think is just weak and I don't care for those and "Time.." is tight but like all of his topics are just derivative DITC. That was why with Big L's joint the same year makes it irrelevant to me (but not the instrumental though). Celph is a good MC but all together not my preference just yet. Peace, Sunez

Dasun said...

Distant Relatives really spoke to me, but I must agree, it was Damian who was blowing my mental away.

chris wooley said...

Celph is half Cuban and half German I believe, thus the "Caucasian Cuban"...I didn't really think that was hard to grasp. Your opinion is respected, but I'm much more of a fan of the battle rap type of stuff and humor and Celph has been doing that so good for 10+ years now. But not everyone likes that type of hip hop, so it is what it is.

SUNEZ said...

@Dasun...Peace G! One of the few greats left...Nas is more like a specific instrument that Damian was using on this. Using Nas for the anthemic themes in select verses but Damian killed it.
@Chris...That's peace Chris. I had read in more than one place that he was only Cuban. I love the battle raps too (i.e. Paz has grown but essentially that's his great forte) but I like Celph in a group setting better. In fact, that brings up the real truth that I've heard over 80 albums this year and many really good ones I just didn't put like Army of the Pharoahs. Everyone, including Celph, is tight on that but like the Big L vs. Celph concept, the Paz album overrides A.O.T.P. as the best of that kind of work. Again, I really appreciate that question because it's one of the holes I didn't get to fill up right. Peace, Sunez

dtwo said...

Great read. Although he hasn't put out an album yet I had to ask you about Jay Electronica. I think this guy is AMAZING. He can spit and makes all kinds of ref to NGE as well as some FOI. He's got street cats as well as back pack dudes bumpin. I really think he's gonna b a PROBLEM. Plus he signed w/ jay z's roc nation which i think will market him effectively to multiple audiences with a positive message. I've downloaded every mixtape he's put out. Exhibit A and C are bananas in IMO. To your point I’m also feelin joell and sean p.

dg

SUNEZ said...

@DG..THANK YOU!!! Jay Electronica deserves some mention most definitely. That section I probably spent the least time going through everything I've collected. I wanted to focus on albums with some notes on others because so many good albums were expected and didn't get released. Jay has that lyrical dexterity, deep lyrics and complex wordplay, ill voice, flow. Lotta tools but his big track exhibit c is last year so I got technical there too but he has enough good released tracks this year to earn a mention for sure. From what I have heard and know of him, he deals with the knowledge of self and is a surprise on Roc Nation. I expect much of Jay Elec but not Roc Nation's working of him. What has Jay-Z proven as a promotor of artists but failing Ghost and Roots on Def Jam? And Beanie and memphis bleek could be argued that they would've gone farther with better promoting too. I don't count J Cole (overrated average rapper) and rihanna. lol
DG, your props are much appreciated.
Peace, Sunez

dtwo said...

@Sunez I understand your reasoning for not mentioning him. I also feel you on rocnation. Maybe JayZ will get behind this dude. Although I think Jay is a strong I have issue with the bet he made with Nas which IMO (http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/women-writers-go-in-on-jay-electronica-over-his-public-bet-about-sexual-exploits-w-nas/)was sexist but he's talented and he's with an Earth in E Badu.
Cedric Muhammad wrote an intersting articel on him (http://www.cedricmuhammad.com/how-to-market-protect-and-support-jay-electronica-part-i/) early last year.

On another note I recently read knowledge of self and enjoyed the book and your writing specifically. I'm tryin to get at some Gods in da bean.

Enjoyed the post.

dg

Sunez said...

DG, if that bet is true or not, it's not funny, it's not entertaining. It's cheap and corny. I think alotta conscious MCs [MCs that are just aware of things deeper from a Raekwon to Nas to GZA or the expected Common, Kweli (who's Reflection Eternal album was good but i didn't care for too much--too soft)] are always trying to "relate" to the people. To me it can be even more condescending--many of them are great and are listened to for a reason. I didn't know Elec was still wit Badu. I don't follow that. I do know that if Badu sees herself as Earth she did what my Earth and no real Earth does--get naked and walk down a populated strip lol. Everything is real and that was some questionable shit. Thanks for that Cedric link, a great writer with real ideas.
That's peace on looking for Gods out there. If I know of any I will let you know. Anytime you want to build on the knowledge of self, email me (sunez97@gmail.com).
Peace, Sunez

Anonymous said...

Dope list Sunez!I would add Prodigy (even tho hes doing his bid nothing fuckin with hnic2!)AGALLAH should have been on that list, LA The Darkman too among a few others i cant think of right now Damn Termanology really fucked up sayin PRs was brought here in 1950 LMAO that means we came when West Side story dropped damn

Sunez said...

@Anonymous...Peace brother. Appreciate that! Lotta good music in 2010 but I also found lots of flaws in lots of stuff as expected in this commercialized cipher we in. I mentioned some that didn't have albums but ill mixtapes and cuts but that list would've gotten too long. I've always focused on albums as a collector so that's my best lane. Prodigy is tight. Can't front. But I didn't hear much from Agallah and La. I think La had a mixtape but I didn't check that. LMAO@West Side Story. Term's an ill MC but our people don't really know the extent of the oppression we've been through. That's why there is confusion in the history. 1950 really should be remembered for the Jayuya Revolt!
Peace, Sunez

Albert (the cur) said...

Peace Sunez i only copped heaven razah from your list in 2010 i only bought that and dlah from wu-tang and thats because i met him oh and pollen from the wu too. Your thorough review of hip hop is putting me on to cats i never heard before Also i liked the comment you wrote about ill bill being concerned with conspiracies and aliens i'm not gonna lie i do have that same frame of mind that u called bullshit lol you know what they say , they say real hardcore niggas listen to soft music and soft niggas listen to hardcore (don't know or think that is true) but yeah i trust you know good music when you hear it .. oh and the KOS anthology books i purchased i gave out thinking i would save someone's life by doing so ... peace my brother

Sunez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunez said...

PEACE CUR! I only buy a few albums a year myself but i make sure I hear everything. At the end of the year I buy my favorite ones. We shouldn't have to buy music raw when we can do the knowledge and download it.
Hardcore are the real and we listen to the best music whether it's some Vinnie Paz or boleros de Vicente Fernandez. I'd say the quality and the sincerity of the music truly reflects most on the listener.
As far as Ill Bill, I won't accept you self deprecating yourself to that level. Still, see how far it can go. It's not that his ideas don't deserve a thought. It's that with all the references of people and information (including our Nation of God and Earth--it's yours too brother because you are a supreme being regardless to whom or what) there is offensive contradiction to clear teachings that have scientific basis and just allegiance to devilish societies. He will rhyme he's a freedom fighter against the devilish society. That's peace. But he will also say that the pyramids had to be put here by aliens so we literally must be children of a lesser god. Now Wisemen named their album that with a blues vibe that they go through hells and feel that way many times. But Ill Bill is saying it ain't us Original people who built them pyramids in ancient Egypt, Sudan to Guatemala but some aliens. That's hip in the 1940's but the blatant proof exists that we made them. He wants to have the mystery of aliens floating in his music so I only see the disrespect because I know he knows what we show and prove. Still, he is a technically skilled MC and Muggs beats are incredible. The record just has no flaws but his content. If it was Planet Asia or GZA again or a new brother like Black Thought(my personal desire) on Muggs tracks it'd be classic.
Cur, thank you for sharing the KOS books with big heart. I'm willing they help many as well. I'll get you another copy when I know I'll see you my brother.
Peace, Sunez

PQ said...

Peace Sunez, this is an absolutely EPIC effort here man. Been reading this piece by piece for a while and it's ON POINT. A perfect guide to the music of 2010.

Also, many thanks for linking to my blog (A Building Roam) and recognizing my writings on the Wisemen album. I appreciate that very much.

Keep doing ya thing here. PEACE

Sunez said...

@PQ..Peace! The respect is absolutely mutual.