The Lowdown, 1/1/11
Some favorite albums from 2010:
1) Dessa "A Badly Broken Code" (Doomtree)
Ani Difranco meets Jean Grae? Lauryn Hill meets Sage Francis? One of Doomtree's strongest releases to date, and arguably the strongest full length by a female MC I've ever heard.
2) Dark Time Sunshine "Vessel" (Fake Four)
Onry Ozzborn has been killing it on the vocal tip lately, and Zavala is one of the top producers of the moment. Together, they went and made some magic. Probably the best-produced album of 2010.
3) Qwel & Maker "Owl" (Galapagos4)
Some of the strongest work to date by all parties involved, which is no joke coming from a long-time Qwel fan. Gritty, heavy-hitting funk production vs. creative and relentlessly intelligent rapping.
4) Homeboy Sandman "The Good Sun" (High Water Music)
One of the most original voices to emerge from NY's underground in years. Fun, playful, highly stylized boom bap greatness. Super impressive body of work.
5) Dr. Oop "The Grateful Dread" (Blacklovemusic)
Hands down one of the most slept on rap releases of 2010. Oop Capone is an LA vet with years of experience under his belt, and he's perfected his mellow style of rapping here while keeping things extra sharp in the lyrics and content departments.
6) Factor "Lawson Graham" (Fake Four)
The sound of a skilled producer running with a concept and improving the sound of his music in the process. An excellent blend of folk and hip hop, with great contributions from a number of talented guest musicians.
7) Xperience "William the VIII" (Oldominion)
Another contender for "most slept on" from last year, this album has Xperience really showing off his talents as a rapper, singer, and producer. Self-released with next to zero promotion, distribution or marketing, this album is never the less a shining example of Xperience's talent and versatility. One of the most soulful Oldominion releases to date.
8) Broken Complex "Broken Complex" (Broken Complex)
The strongest rap group debut of 2010. Though many of the MCs have been touring and putting out solo albums under the radar for years, BC's collective debut really emphasizes the strengths of every artist in the crew. Rarely do so many unknown rappers stand out so distinctly on an album.
9) Soulcrate Music "The Heartland Panic" (Black Clover)
Some really fun, energetic, upbeat rap music from Sioux, South Dakota. The sound of this album brings to mind images of enthusiastic fans like me jumping up and down at live shows.
10) The Opus "Praying Mantis - Plus" (Indus)
Deserves a mention for being the strongest instrumental hip hop release of 2010, though it lacked much competition. A meditative, intricate and impressive return to music by this talented duo from Chicago.
Lots of other really dope releases this year as well:
Blue Sky Black Death "Third Party"
2Mex "My Fanbase Will Destroy You"
Junk Science "A Miraculous Kind of Machine"
JFK "Building Wings on the Way Down"
Awol One & Ecid "Are..."
Thavius Beck "Dialogue"
Lazerbeak "Legend Recognize Legend"
A.R.M "Two Africans and a Jew"
Damu the Fudgemunk "How It Should Sound vol. 1 & 2"
The Let Go "Morning Comes"
Paper Tiger "Made Like Us"
Just to name a few. :) Was a great year for music.