Monday, February 2, 2009

...And That Right Soon: The Best of 2008

So better later than never, right?

Please forgive my infrequent blogging as of late -- life has gotten in the way of the time/motivation to flex my creative headbone. But as I've done every year for the past half-decade or so, I want to present my compendium of best hip-hop songs of the year.

While 2007 was a boon year for the genre, 2008 left a bit more to be desired. At the end of '07, I had to sit down and make some serious choices regarding what would make it on an 80-minute CD-R. This time, I had to go back and really think hard about what actually made it out last year, and what was worthy of actually making a CD full of my favorite stuff.

It seemed that there was a bit of a dearth in the year's midsection in terms of quality music; the first quarter was uncharacteristically decent (The Roots, Elzhi) and the fourth also provided a few gemstars (Black Milk). But the summer of 2008 was a period in which I truly immersed myself in the world of alternative rock music for the first time in my life. Playing Radiohead all day, every day made up for the lack of good hip-hop to round out my mix CDs.

Royce Da 5'9" and Black Milk both continued their supremacy from 2007, and by extension made it on more than a few cuts on the best-0f mix. Somehow, Kweli made it on this bastard twice, which is interesting considering he's such a fallen star in my estimation, despite being one of my favorite emcees. Skyzoo probably made it on the mix for the last time, as he's getting exceedingly uninteresting and worthy of checking out only for beat choice.

Speaking of beat choice, just as is the case every year, a couple of these cuts are here for no other reason than stellar, infectious production (The Jake One, Nicolay and Kidz In The Hall joints). I'll never claim to be more righteous than the next listener for appreciating shit with empty lyrical content that either bangs in the whip or has fantastic musical quality. The difference is, I just don't make it a habit.

A few more thoughts:

- There are a lot of mixtape tracks on here with cats rhyming over other folks' beats. Every year someone else does far more justice to a beat than the original artist. See Royce and his decimation of every Lil' Wayne beat he goes over.

- Where the fuck is Saigon's album?!?!?!?!?

- This mix features what will probably be the best flipping of a song from a Corey Feldman movie (#10)

- The Foreign Exchange should have been on this mix. But Phonte wanted to make the sophomore album all about substandard crooning, so...

-Nas is still a fucking monster on the mic, but his beat selection has probably faltered forever.

- Termanology basically blew an album full of the best production lineup in like 13 years. But "The Chosen" has a Havoc beat that takes me back to the old Queensbridge days. And Term blacks out over it.

- Elzhi's solo album was a bit disappointing overall, but Detroit hip-hop still trumps everything else.

1. "The Leak" - Slaughterhouse (Royce Da 5'9", Joe Budden, Crooked I, Joell Ortiz)
2. "Done Talkin'" - Royce Da 5'9"
3. "Believe It" - Saigon
4. "Momma Can You Hear Me?" - Talib Kweli
5. "The Necessary Evils" - Skyzoo
6. "What We Live" - Nicolay and Kay
7. "A Billi" - Jay-Z
8. "Let Your Hair Down" - Kidz In The Hall (feat. Skyzoo & Lil' Eddie)
9. "Home" - Jake One (feat. Vitamin D, C-Note, Maine & Ish)
10. "Thou Shall Not Fall" - Joe Budden
11. "America" - Nas
12. "Long Story Short" - Black Milk
13. "Hot Thing" (Remix) - Talib Kweli (feat. Jean Grae)
14. "Royal Flush" - Outkast and Raekwon
15. "Motown 25" - Elzhi (feat. Royce Da 5'9")
16. "Heart Breakers" - Son of Ran and The Messengers
17. "Criminal" - The Roots (feat. Truck Turner and Saigon)
18. "The Chosen" - Termanology
19. "What If We Cry?" - Jay-Z and Coldplay

1 comment:

DocBoone said...

Cool list. Check out Buff1 from AML (Athletic Mic League)...

Vaughan T could be a up and coming producer too.