Monday, January 16, 2006

Albums of 2005




It seems to be obligatory for music blogs to come up with some sort of end of year list and despite it taking over 2 months to somewhat complete we've managed it. Out of the four of us who submitted only one album got a vote from all of us the rest vary in their levels of support and are in no particular order.

In 2005 Hip Hop remained at the forefront of popular culture, think about it, even a natural disaster couldn't stop the extremely modest Kanye West from getting some publicity for his album by stating the obvious. His outburst led to a few tracks condemning the American Governments response to the disaster, none of which charted or made it onto anyone's regular playlist although K-Otix will probably sell a couple more albums as a result.

Flavor Flav played the crackhead in many 'reality' TV shows, including British TV's 'The Farm' on which he befriended a ventriloquists dummy... Chuck just tried to ignore it or come up with lame excuses, to be fair to him though he was busy recording at least 20 albums all of which were slated for release sometime in '05 but only one actually made it onto the shelves. Even being dead didn't stop 2Pac from beating that level of output Chuck!

Not to break with tradition many in the industry had run-ins with the law, including Lil Kim who got a sentenced to a spell of rug munching for lieing, her ex-sparring partner Foxy Brown went deaf and got a telling off for sticking her tongue out at a Judge and the INC somehow managed to beat the US Government in a shock result that was only eclipsed by Mickey J's escape from kiddie fiddling charges...

Lil Kim also made the headlines for apparently recording an album the Source thought was worthy of it's once revered 5 mic rating... Everyone else thought it was average at best but then most of us weren't banging her at the time of listening, that's surely gotta influence your opinion, although after all that surgery I'm not sure it would be a positive influence...

Gangstarr un-officially officially broke-up... I don't think anyone knows the truth behind this due the news apparently breaking on Guru's own website but as everyone fears the site will automatically start playing his last solo album no one dare check...

50 Cent had beef with everyone including members of his own crew, it had nothing to do with promoting a new album of course... As a result he sold shitloads of records and forgot about the beef with Game, Game on the other hand didn't sell as many and is apparently somewhere writing his 200th 'mixtape' full of G-Unit disses... Jada and Fat Joe got called out for being foolish enough to appear on a Ja Rule record, they both hit back but they forgot nobody really cared and it was a waste of time...

On a more friendly note, Jay-Z declared war by bringing long time 'enemy' Nas on stage with him... This only led to rumours that the whole beef actually started because Nas spurned one of Jigga's advances in the past. Now they only have token R'n'B bitches as their public partners while in private they're really going through more KY Jelly than Eddie Murphy... Only rumours though and if anyone has proof please keep it to yourself...

There was much more that happend but I can't remember and you don't want to read it so time for you to see the list. Feel free to diss us...

- Wasteland Drifter


Common - Be

"This had me nervous as fuck. Was this going to be the Common 'sell-out' album? Was Kanye going to influence him so much he would be talking about Diamonds and all that shit? Thankfully no, instead Kanye blessed him with some incredible beats and Common dropped the most mature album of the year (possibly of the new millennium so far.)" - Wasteland Drifter

"As far as I'm concerned the only other time that Common has sounded this focused and his music this soulful; is on 'Resurrection'. Kanye goes to show that the art of sampling is far from dead, and that using vocal samples (when done well) is far from saturated. The beat to 'Testify' and 'Go' are two of the finest pieces of music you will hear in years to come. Dope beats, dope rhymes, what the fuck else you want?" - Propaganda Life

"When I heard that Kanye was intending on signing Common to his GOOD music imprint, my immediate response was 'Helter Skelter' all over again. Yet, true to his word, Kanye signed Common and dedicated a couple of months to producing what could simply be called the closest thing to perfect in a long time. My only issue was that we weren't provided a studio version of 'The Food'." - Kwaj

AZ - AWOL

"For years AZ has tried to release that classic album that we all know he has in him and for years he has consistently fell short. In my opinion, this has probably been due to the fact that he hasn't ever really tried to get out of Nas' shadow, which usually results in him being unfairly compared to Nas lyrically (an unfair comparison, they are very different MC's) or AZ simply relying on guest appearances from Nas to lift the quality of his albums. With the release though, AZ steps out of Nas' shadow (most evident in the fact that he hardly mentions Nas' name save perhaps on 'Bedtime' story) and finally delivers what I've been waiting nearly 15 years for, a classic. AZ delivers without doubt 2006 best lyrically performance. This albums is a good mix of radio friendly joints and classic NY club bangers. The stand out track is undoubtedly the Primo produced 'The Come Up'. With the right sort of promotion, this album would have been multi-platinum." - Kwaj

Cage - Hells Winter

"I'll admit, I'm in a minority of liking most things Def Jux release. The signing of Cage was something that genuinely excited me as he was made to be over the dark atmospheric beats I've come to expect from Def Jux, that excitement wasn't proved wrong. Gone with the lyrics spit purely for shock value and in came the more honest and self-analytical (although still quite disturbing) Cage. This is a 'coming of age' type album that I'm surprised hasn't had more crossover success in the rock market." - Wasteland Drifter

Dangerdoom - Mouse & The Mask

"Dangermouse shows that he's more than just a novelty producer by providing Doom with dope and original beats to rhyme over. There is nothing you can say about Doom apart from the fact that right now he's probably the best MC around (alongside Ghost). Dope album all the way through, and I even enjoy the Kweli verse." - Propaganda Life

"There's very little I can say about this without going over the top
with plaudits, maybe it's not DOOM's best album, maybe Dangermouse is
overrated... Who cares? It's a dope album" - Wasteland Drifter

DJ Skully & Klashnekoff - Focus Mode

"Whoa, why the hell have you got a mixtape in there? A UK mixtape at that? Well to put it simply; this is some of the finest music I have heard this year. On this mixtape Klash shows that he has the flow and the lyrical ability to challenge the upper tier of MC's, not only in the UK but stateside as well. 'Focus Mode' sees Klash dropping rhymes over a slew of well known instrumentals; from 'Mic Check' to 'Get Down', and he kills everyone. It's worth checking out the 'International Lover' remix of 'You' which, although clocking in at only about a minute and a half long, is one of my favourite tracks of the year." - Propaganda Life

Kanye West - Late Registration

"Kanye over the last 36 months has undoubtedly been hip-hop's IT man... capable of producing from everyone from Ludacris to Dilated to Janet Jackson. Any which way you flip this album...it's pure genius (well the rapping leaves a little to be desired but he's sense of humour makes up for it). Then there's the fact that he choose to use a co-producer Jon Brion (who had up until 'Late Registration' been known as Fiona Apple's producer) to infuse the album with just enough pop to make it commercial palatable will remaining true to the fans he made with 'College Dropout'. Genius." - Kwaj

"It seems like the net were building him up after 'College Dropout' and then just waiting for him to fall on this one, he didn't but they still wanted to rip a few shreds out of him anyway. As expected it's the beats that carry this, while they're not quite as consistently good as on his debut, they are still solid, soulful and feel a lot more organic than a lot of the usual sterile stuff we're fed through MTV and the radio... If Ol' Big Head has to be the poster boy for this style of Hip Hop then so be it at least it's getting some praise and the likes of Little Brother and Common can ride on his coat tails." - Wasteland Drifter

Little Brother - The Minstrel Show

"'The Minstrel Show' is one of the most soulful Hip Hop albums of the last few years. 9th stepped his game up to the point where he might be the most soulful dude out there right now. Each track is brimming with feeling and soul. This album isn't all about beats though, Phonte shows us that right now he's one of the most exciting MC's around and on 'The Minstrel Show' he finds his rhythm and has the confidence to address the most emotional of subjects." - Propaganda Life

"Arguably the internet's most hyped album of 2005. On the strength of 9th Wonders ever improving production profile, the new millena's answer to the Native Tongues was expected to justify all the hype. Although this album is not an instant classic, they did deliver a strong concept album with 'The Minstrel Show'. 9th Wonder shows why he has quickly become recognized as one the best producers in the game. As a an album, 'The Minstrel Show' is Little Brother's 'Low End Theory', the coming of age album of a soon to be classic group." - Kwaj

The Perceptionists - Black Dialogue

"There are very few duo's out today who's voices, flows and understanding of each other matches Akrobatik and Lif's. While expecting a good album and they provided an excellent album, Fakts 1 having to get credit for that as well due to him delivering with the beats. Conscious in a way Kanye could only ever dream of being and just plain dope. Definitely one for the backpack wearing brigade but at the same time there should be enough here for any Hip Hop fan to enjoy it, except violence, boasts of material wealth and sexual conquests... Hip Hop's about more than that though... Right?" - Wasteland Drifter

Atmosphere -
You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having

"There aren't words to describe how this album shook me on the first listen, the rhymes, the beats, the emotions...it's all there. Slug drops the bitter self hating and manages to hold down the whole album with shit that makes you sit back and take a look at your own life, yet makes you feel oddly good about yourself. Don't get it twisted; there is some powerful ish on here including his feelings towards the monster who raped and killed a girl at one of their shows. As emotive and powerful as the rhymes as, the beats manage to somehow better it. Ant has stepped up and staked his claim to being the best producer on the underground, and not by shooting his mouth off but by proving possibly the most sonically impressive album of the year next to the Kanye laced "BE". The beats are packed with soulful samples and the dopest drum patterns I've heard in a hell of a long time, and he merges the two together perfectly. If you haven't heard this album then stop reading, get the fuck up and get it." - Propaganda Life

Big Boi Presents... Got Purp? Vol. 2

"As a sampler for Big Boi's new Purple Ribbon imprint, 'Got Purp Vol. 2' presents a decent mix of southern rap, bass and RB tunes. This is less of a rap album and more a decent mix CD of all things southern, which is probably it's strongest selling point. You can put this album and just listen to decent rapping, for example "Kryptonite" and the reunited Goodie Mobb on "Hold On" or try for R'n'B Atlanta style in the form of "U Got Me", "My Cadillac" or "Time Will Reveal". Despite the sometimes huge disparities in genre's, the album flows well. It would be hard to find a weak track. " - Kwaj

Personal Top 5's

Propaganda Life

  1. Atmosphere - You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having
  2. Common - BE
  3. DangerDoom - The Mouse & The Mask
  4. Little Brother - The Minstrel Show
  5. DJ Skully & Klashnekoff - Focus Mode

Kwaj

  1. Common - Be
  2. AZ - AWOL
  3. Kanye West - Late Registration
  4. Purple Ribbon - Got Purp? Vol. 2
  5. Paul Wall - People's Champ

Scouse In Da House

  1. Common - Be
  2. Ghostface & Trife - Put It On The Line
  3. AZ - AWOL
  4. The Jacka - Jack Artist
  5. DJ Skully & Klashnekoff - Focus Mode

Wasteland Drifter

  1. Atmosphere - You Can't Believe How Much Fun We're Having
  2. DangerDOOM - The Mouse & The Mask
  3. Common - Be
  4. The Perceptionists - Black Dialogue
  5. Ohmega Watts - The Find



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