Yesterday, we looked back at the year’s best R&B albums.
If you missed it, you can peep game here.
While 2013 was a standout year for R&B, hip-hop has enjoyed better years. Many mainstream releases were downright atrocious (hi, Weezy) but if you looked beyond radio stations and cable TV, you were treated to true talent.
Here are the best of the best.
10. Prodigy & The Alchemist, Albert Einstein
Edd said: “This is how rap used to be. Pair an aggressive lyricist with a like-minded producer and you’re guaranteed a hit. The synergy P has with Alchemist is undeniable and the result is one of the rawest albums of the year.”
9. Styles P, Float
Read the review here
Edd said: “Copy my thoughts about Albert Einstein and paste ’em down here. Styles and Scram team to produce compelling street tales that go way beyond the usual thuggin’ and braggin’. Instead of talking about how hood he is, Styles paints pictures of the environment that made him that way. It creates a deeper experience for the listener.”
8. No Malice, Hear Ye Him
Edd said: “When Malice announced that he was leaving Clipse to launch a gospel career, effectively ending one of the best rap groups in the past decade, reactions ranged from confusion to skepticism. But who better to speak on the evils of the drug game than a man who played it best? Malice’s impeccable flow helps him weave tales of redemption that are powerful and rarely preachy. He serves as the yin to his brother’s yang. But more on little brother later…”
7. Goodie Mob, Age Against The Machine
Edd said: “Southern rap pioneers Goodie Mob quietly reunited this year and quickly picked up where they left off. Partying like it’s 1995, MO-b returned with the lyrics that made them famous – poignant, thought-provoking tales on our society’s direction. If you overlooked this one the first time around don’t make the same mistake twice.”
6. Ghostface Killah, 12 Reasons To Die
Edd said: “Who says hip-hop storytelling is a lost art? GFK and Adrian Younge create a B-movie slasher flick on wax, with Ghost’s vivid wordplay bringing the imagery to life. Think Shaft meets Jason over Wu-Tang tracks. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the theater of the mind.”
5. J. Cole, Born Sinner
Edd said: “I’ve seen many fans calling this the album of the year. Granted, those fans are still in middle school but whatever, J. Cole is speaking their language. Cole’s struggles with righteousness and wickedness play out before our ears, showing that doing the right thing isn’t as easy – or natural – as it may seem. It’s instantly relatable for young fans and there’s enough substance to keep us old heads entertained too. It’s by far Cole’s best LP.”
4. Jay Z, Magna Carta, Holy Grail
Edd said: “This album received a lot of unnecessary flak. ‘All Jay talks about is money!’ When has he ever NOT talked about money? Expectations were absurdly high for this album, and when it wasn’t the second coming of Reasonable Doubt, many scoffed. Don’t judge an album for what it’s not, judge it for what it is – a solid collection of material boasting A+ production and tight wordplay, most of the time. It ain’t Reasonable Doubt, after all.”
3. Childish Gambino, because the internet
Edd said: “A late entry but well deserving of this high spot. Gambino took a huge risk with this album, veering from the comfortable soul sounds of his debut to this dark, eclectic collection. But whether he’s harmonizing or rattling off endless punchlines, Gambino proves he’s even more potent behind the mic than in front of TV cameras.”
2. Pusha T, My Name Is My Name
Edd said: “The LOOOOONG delayed solo debut of the other half of Clipse finally emerged this year and, oh yeah, it delivered. You know exactly what you’re gonna get when you listen to King Push – lots of coke boy tales and trap tracks. But the difference between this album and others filled with drug references is that Pusha always shares both sides of the game. One minute he’s bragging about splurging with friends, the next he’s heartbroken when those friends betray him. It’s a deep look into a destructive culture.”
1. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Edd said: “Lyrically and creatively, MMLP2 decimates the competition. More than a mere “comeback” album, this set showcases the maturation of a disturbed young man to an older, wiser (but still kinda disturbed) adult. Em readily admits his mistakes but he’s not gonna change who his is – accept it or go listen to someone else. That kind of frank introspection is what hip-hop needs. Back that up with some of the best punchlines and rhyme schemes Em has ever produced and MMLP2 becomes an undeniable hit.