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July 30, 2012 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Hippity Hoppity Give ‘Em The Zoppity

THE BEST HIP-HOP ALBUMS OF 2012 (SO FAR)

 

 

It wouldn’t be hyperbolic to make the claim that 2012 has been a truly tremendous year for the Hip-Hop art form; so much so that
the casual listener may find themselves a little too spoilt for choice. I had the pleasure of discussing the subject with the delightful Nat Newton, manager of the HumanFm Radio Station and a hip-hop fanatic with a freestyle so dope you could roll it up with some tobacco and smoke it—if you were so inclined.

Oddisee: People Hear What They See

Nat’s verdict: Oddisee keeps with the
live instrumentation styled production he perfected on last year’s sublime Rock Creek Park, incorporating soul samples in a distinct but familiar style. Lyrically, the content is great. Oddisee takes many subject avenues (relationships, personal aspirations, the American financial crisis) and delivers them all with serious but unpretentious rhymes. Pure and gimmick-free hip-hop.

El-P: Cancer For Cure

Nat’s verdict: HARD. That’s really the only way to describe this album. El-P’s beats assault your senses (in a good way), utilising oddball drum patterns, dark, rich synths, (even horns) and they refuse to let up for the entire album. The rhymes are more than equal to the task the beats gave them and in addition to the clever wordplay the album goes beyond “tough-guy” posturing to touch on social issues. Mr Muthafuckin’ eXquire makes the best guest appearance of the year on Oh Hail No.

Sene: Brooklyknight

Nat’s verdict: Sene is possibly the most slept- on MC in the business. Often thought of as a West Coaster, the Puerto Rican is actually a Brooklyn native attempting to revive a socially conscious hip-hop scene. Sene’s debut solo album not only features his usual display of sharp lyricism but more experimental beats than previous releases. Sene rides the beats fairly well, although is sometimes undone by his laid-back flow and relaxed tones.

Joey Bada$$: 1999

Nat’s verdict: At 17(!), Bada$$ already sounds like a 90s vet. His maturity bears the marks of heavy influences from East Coast favourites Nas and MF DOOM. And that’s okay— Bada$$’s throwback style, lyrical dexterity and ear for solid production (amongst the credits are MF DOOM, Lord Finesse and Knxwledge) are enough to pull this above many tired attempts at re-creating the ‘90s.

Robert Glasper Experiment: Black Radio

Nat’s verdict: Live instrumentation hip-hop albums (as The Roots have proven again and again) are great. Glasper’s Black Radio is no different. Taking some of the biggest names
in hip-hop (Erykah Badu, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def/Yasiin Bey) and bringing them together provides plenty of variety in terms of vocal delivery. What truly shines here, though, is the production. Glasper is an excellent jazz pianist and directs his band to perfection. This album is a truly effective fusion of jazz and hip-hop.

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