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Best Rap 2012

Best Rap 2012

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Published by Matthew Schonfeld

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Published by: Matthew Schonfeld on Jan 05, 2013
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01/06/2013

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The Next Decade Is Going To Be A Golden Era In Hip-Hop, I Pinky Swear
2012 was just a taste of what’s to come for hip
-hop. This culture has grown,matured, expanded and is now in the hands of some incredibly talented, intelligent,and ambitious young guys. These up-and-
comers are a new generation. They’re
influenced by progressive artists that span across multiple genres and several
decades. They’re savvy with technology and know how to use the internet and it’s
resources to their utmost advantage through social media, video sharing sites,personal blogs, and more. This class of rappers has begun to rise with crews.Collectives that support, encourage, and help them succeed; Kendrick has TDE, Joeyhas ProEra, and A$AP has the A$AP Mob. Hip-hop is back in the hands of the artistsand out of the corporate. Creativity is flowing, collaborations are conducive, andprojects are exciting. Some of these guys have one or two albums, some havemultiple mixtapes, but for the most part they are all up-and-coming, save for El-P,but they are rising quickly, you better start watching them,
cause they’re
reinventing hip-hop right before our eyes and it 
s damn fucking thrilling to watch.2012 was a good year in hip-
hop, but it’s just the start.
1.
 
Good Kid m.A.A.d City,
 
Kendrick Lamar
 No Shit. He was at the top last year, and he defended his crown. UndoubtedlyKendrick Lamar produced the greatest hip-hop album of this year, arguablythis decade. This is one of the most impressive debut albums since Nas
’s
illmatic.
GKMC is what I started listening to hip-ho
p for. It’s story telling. It 
has a potent and pressing messaging and is not preachy about it (Cough*NiceTryLupe*Cough). Kendrick draws you into his life. He drives youaround Compton and shows you the gritty shit he and his crew get into. Ibegan listening to hip-hop so that I could escape the drear of suburbia. It gave me a window into a foreign world that was so distant from everything Ihad every known: a world of tension, violence, struggle, and intrigue. Theworld that was depicted in the hip-hop I began listening to was surely lost inthe mid 2000s, but Kendrick has brought it back, kept it captivating, andallowed audiences to experience a journey through his city: both a homage
and a brilliant critique. As he said in Section.80, he’s talking about “money,
hoes, clothes, god, and history
all in the same sentence.” And many won’
t get it.
2.
 
1999
 
Joey Bada$$
Joey Bada$$ is the freshman of the year. He hopped on the scene, seeminglyout of nowhere, with his crew of Progressive Era Brooklyn misfits all doingear-catching, ambitious big things. 1999 is raw, creative, hard hitting, andyoung. Bada$$ is overt with his influences, spitting over beats from MF
 
Doom, J Dilla, and Lord Finesse, as well as impressive in-house productionfrom Chuck Strangers. This tape is faux-
vintage done perfectly. It’s
reminiscent of the 90s in
it’s sound, image, and inspiration.
The 90s were the
golden era,
filled with fun-loving rhymes, intricate samples, give-and-gocollabs, and much more. Bada$$ is ready to bring hip-hop back 
. It’s
ambitious, but the kids got mad chops, not to mention a crew of kids who can
surely hold their own weight. Peep the posse release, “PEEP: theaPROcalypse.” And RIP, Rhyme In Peace to Capital Steeze, gone way t 
o early,on the verge of success.3.
 
Cancer 4 Cure
El-P
El- Producto revisits the mic after his six year hiatus harder, sharper, andmore intricate than ever. El-P has always been a genius with his beats; theproduction on C4C remains abrasive, loud and elaborate. El-P flaunts hisdrum machine mastery, with deep sequenced beats laced in gritty synths. Onthe mic he stays tough, primal, and quick with it. The album talks us throughdark stories of torture, greed, and corruption, from the skewed, unique mindof a 37-year-old underground hip-hop veteran. With his years of experienceEl makes way for young bloods to shine giving guest spots to Danny Brown,
Mr. Mothafuckin’ Exquire, and close compandre Despot. The
album is
nostalgic of Def Jux’s golden days: it’s very rough and grainy,
yet calculated
and pointed. It’s nice to see an underground leader still in the game, staying
true to himself and his music, and yet making room for the next generation tobreak out.4.
 
No Idols
Domo Genesis and The Alchemist 
The Odd Future buzz has died down considerably from where we were last year salivating over Tyler and his troops. For a while the crew kept it all in-house, sticking tightly and inclusively with one another. But in 2012, theybegan dispersing, collaborating with other artist and producers, and DomoGenesis linked up with The Alchemist to produce one of the moresurprisingly notable mixtapes of the year. No Idols is tight, live, and wellcalculated. Domo sounds more confident solo than ever before on posse cuts.
It’s refreshing to
hear OF-style verses over non-Tyler beats. The Alchemist isa careered, veteran producer, his obvious history and experience allowsDomo to sound mature and seasoned on the beat. The tape also offers a slewof dope features. The title track is a vibrant toe-to-toe between Tyler andDomo. Earl comes through, eager to hit the mic, heavy, deep, and expressive.
Action Bronson’s on here, Freddie Gibbs, Prodigy, Smoke DZA, Vince Staples.
 
 
It’s great to see OF cats jumping out their comfort zone, their family, and
shining through with other artists, producers, and MCs.5.
 
Control System
 Ab Soul
TDE killed it this year. Undoubtedly Kendrick was the one who shined themost, but that is not to take away from the entire team at all. Ab-
Soul’s
Control System is an incredible mix of political, social criticism with angst and frustration, produced with his utmost creativity and style. Mine, as wellas many others, first introduction to Soul was on
the “Ab
-
Soul Outro” onSection.80, and he blew my fucking mind. Hell, he blew Kendrick’s fuckingmind. “Can you repeat yourself Soul?” Kendrick asks, as if the listeners didn’t fully get it the first time. Well, Control System is Soul’s reiteration. It’s h
isdebut masterpiece: imaginative, unique, and versatile. Ab-Soul is known tosprint, jog, and stroll all over the beat, drastically changing his cadence andflow in a
matter of bars, but what’s so amazing about this album is that the
variety of beats mimic his flexibility so well. Control System ranges from the
airy, coked out “Terrorist Threats,” featuring Danny Brown, to the hype
-
driven “Sopa” with guest spot from TDE right 
-hand-man Schoolboy Q, to jazz-infused, piano-
laden “The Book of Soul.” Ab
-Soul is incredibly talented on the
mic, and Control System is very well crafting. It’s wide
-eyed, yet tight andpermeable. TDE is the most impressive hip-hop collective to watch right now.
They’re mature, smart, young, and having fun; that’s what hip
-hop should beabout.
Schoolboy Q’s “Habits and Contradictions” is supposedly
a great 
album as well. I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to it. Mostly because I
bought Control System on Itunes and then had no more money on my Itunes
account to buy it. But I hear it’s dope. Q’s really impressive. I saw him live. He
likes bucket hats.
He has face tats. Someone please send it to me…?
6.
 
Traphouse Rock 
 
Kids These Days
 Seeing live jazz elements resurge back into hip-hop is really reallyappreciated. For too long hip-hop has been muddled by generic, processed,digitally manipulated beats.
It wasn’t organic, fresh, or even musical. Kids
These Days has reinvented what it means to be hip-hop artists, evocative of The Roots, they are a full-fledged hip-hop/ jazz fusion band. Equipped with 8pieces, Kids These Days is able to create a full, dynamic, and truly unique
sound. This album, with the production help of Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, is
whollyimpressive. It is tight, practiced, and yet raw. These kids, 20s and younger,are classically trained jazz musicians with an affinity for hip-hop. In terms of their MC, lyricism, energy, and flow, Vic Mensa is up there with any newcomer in the hip-hop game. Using the mic as his instrument, Mensa brings arough hip-
hop edge to the band. He’s incredibly agile and poetic with his pen.

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