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Leah’s Top 5 Hip Hop Albums Of 2012

December 12, 2012

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1. Killer Mike – R.A.P Music

In perhaps the most flawless and listenable album of this year, Killer Mike and El-P team up to make R.A.P. Music, a combination of ferocious lyrics and dirty, hard beats. The tracks tell the story of a young Killer Mike growing up in the south and seeing the world around him change with drugs and the evolution of rap music. It’s emotional without being manipulative, and it’s banging without being trendy. Also, I hate Reagan.

:Killer Mike – Reagan:

2.  P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here

This album is just ridiculous in the best way possible.  Mixing live instrumentation with electro drops and pulses, P.O.S. has produced the most original-sounding hip-hop album I’ve heard in a number of years.  Pair that with exceptional and cutting lyricism and you have yourself a top five album.

:POS – Bumper:

3. Plan B – Ill Manors

Ill Manors, which was written in response to the London riots of March (and effectively putting Plan B on the map), fits so well on this dark album that you’d think the album was built around it.  It likely was.  I love its escalating bitterness, its political bent, and especially its concert violin interaction with the spare and then converging beat.

:Plan B – Ill Manors:

4. El-P – Cancer For Cure

I’ve always loved El-P slightly more as a producer than an MC, but on Cancer For Cure, I think he really steps up his lyrical game to match his amazing shifts in time and rhythm signatures.

:El-P – Drones Over BKLN:

5. Brother Ali – Mourning In America And Dreaming in Color

Honestly, I’m so against the corporate game in hip hop, which I feel censors provocative or anti-establishment MCs, that virtually any truth-telling lyricism is likely to raise an album’s rating in my eyes.  Brother Ali has a long history of railing against the government, and he does a good job of it on this album.  So, while it might not be as sonically pleasing as other albums I listened to this year (i.e. Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Roc Marciano’s Reloaded, Action Bronson and Alchemist’s Rare Chandeliers, etc), the fact that Brother Ali is willing to say the stuff he is makes it worth it to me to elevate the album to top five status in order to support and reinforce the idea that hip hop is about communication, revolution, and community at its essence.

:Brother Ali – Mourning In America:

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Stream This

October 19, 2012

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

POS – We Don’t Even Live Here
GRMLN – Explore EP
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy
Gary Clark Jr – Blak And Blu
Other Lives – Mind The Gap EP
Trail Of Dead – Lost Songs
Diamond Rings – Free Dimensional
Bat For Lashes – The Haunted Man
Titus Andronicus – Local Business
The Man With The Iron Fists – Soundtrack
Paul Banks – Banks

VIDEOS

Why? just released Mumps, etc, and they’re playing Fun Fun Fun Fest next month.

Heartless Bastards released Arrow earlier this year.  They play Stubb’s on November 8.

La Sera’s Sees The Light is out now on Hardly Art.

Autumn Owls will release Between Buildings, Towards The Sea next week.

Wild Belle will release Isles early next year.

FatCat Records will put out the US Girls’ GEM next week.

Mean Creek put out Youth Companion this week via Old Flame Records.

Sorry To Bother You is the name of the new album from The Coup.  It’s due October 30.

Bon Iver put out Bon Iver, Bon Iver last year.

El-P’s Cancer 4 Cure is available now.

The xx recently released Coexist.

Fenster just lined up some East Coast dates in support of Bones.

Social Studies will put out Developer on November 13 via Antenna Farm Records.

The Casket Girls will release their debut on November 6 via Graveface Records.  They play the Mohawk on November 3.

Chris Cohen put out Overgrown Path on Captured Tracks earlier this year.

Gangi just released Gesture Is.

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