What a week. If you missed it, below is the recap of our annual lists.
What a week. If you missed it, below is the recap of our annual lists.
Rick Ross rung in 2012 with a bang. With a release date for God Forgives, I Don’t still a mystery, Rozay unleashed a new collection of tunes, an album before the album. We knew this was serious from the start when Sean Combs talked his shit all over the glorious “Holy Ghost”. The Teflon Don showed his true aggressiveness on “High Definition”, “MMG Untouchable” and “Yellow Diamonds”. But a major part of Mr. Roberts’ success is his ability to bring the best out of his collaborators. Nas sounds re-energized on “Triple Beam Dreams”, Styles P glides on “Keys To The Crib” and we all know what Drake did on “Stay Schemin”. Sorry Lonnie. While most artists wait until the summer to bring the impact, the MMG general took the initiative to take over, early. It was a great time to boss up.
Previously: #10 360 Everywhere & Back l #9 Trouble 431 Days l #8 Mac Miller Macadelic l #7 Fabolous Soul Tape 2 l #6 Big K.R.I.T. 4eva N a Day l #5 Wiz Khalifa Taylor Allderdice l #4 Freddie Gibbs #BFK l #3 Meek Mill Dreamchasers 2 l #2 Big Sean Detroit
Following the success of his Cruel Summer hits (“Mercy”, “Clique”) as well as Meek Mill’s “Burn”, Big Sean cordially invited fans to his hometown with his fourth mixtape, Detroit. The Motor City’s new shining star travels down the road to stardom on the opener “Higher” and depicts his lavish lifestyle over the soulful sounds of Barry White on “How I Feel”. Right on! Sean Don keeps the celebratory tracks intact (“Experimental”, “FFOE”, “Woke Up”) while stacking more than enough bread with French Montana on “Mula”. Things aren’t all boastful though as Big displays his vulnerability and lyrical growth alongside fellow rhyme slingers like Royce Da 5’9″ and Kendrick Lamar (“100″) and J.Cole (“24 Karats Of Gold”). Cohesive and conceptual with skits from Common, Young Jeezy, and Snoop Lion, Detroit feels like a Def Jam album. Take your time with Hall Of Fame cause this collection was heaven sent. Oh God!
Meek Mill continued his quest for more on the second installment of his Dreamchasers mixtape series. He kickstarts the project with The Fugees remake “Ready Or Not”. Then he reflects on his troubled past (“Use To Be”) before turning his fantasies into reality (“Big Dreams”). Even if the District Attorney didn’t approve of “The Ride”, his testimony was sincere. Production was clutch thanks to Jahlil Beats (“Flexing”), Cardiak (“Lean Wit It”) and The Beat Bully (“Intro”). Guests came in bundles (“Face Down”, “Racked Up Shawty”, and “House Party (Remix0″), but it was noteworthy collabos with Big Sean (“Burn”), Drake (“Amen”), and Kendrick (“A1 Everything”) that galvanized the anticipation of his official debut, Dreams & Nightmares. Helluva step up.
Number four should’ve been number one to me. In case there was any doubt, BFK solidifies Freddie Gibbs place as one of the game’s coldest spitters. From the opening bell, he commands our attention with a multi-layered flow (“BFK”). Throughout the tape, Gibbs uses his voice to his advantage. He manipulates his baritone on ”Money, Clothes, Hoes” and gets back to business on cuts like ”Hard” and “Kush Cloud”. He understands melody (“Stay Down”) and the importance of sharing the spotlight alongside a respected artist like Z-Ro (“Boxframe Cadillac (’83)”). On the production front, Statik Selektah supplies Gibbs with the soundbed for “Krazy”. The track is Gibbs at his best with machine gun funk and mind numbing wordplay. As long as the Baby Face Killa’s on the prowl, competition ain’t safe.
When it comes free music on the Internet, Wiz Khalifa sure knows how to package it. Dubbed after his place of higher learning, Cameron turned his tenth mixtape, Taylor Allderdice in and walked away with an A+. In signature fashion, Wiz blows his smoke (“T.A.P.”) and gloats about fame (“Blindfold”) throughout the 18 tracks. TGOD kept his regular beatmakers on-board and he’s rewarded with refreshing production from the likes of Cardo (“California”), ID Labs (“Amber Ice”) and Big Jerm (Smoke DZA-featured “Rowland”). Wiz goes mostly for dolo on Allderdice but there are a few outside guests excluding the Taylor Gang fam (Juicy J, Chevy Woods, Lola Monroe). Wifey Amber Rose and the Bawse Rick Ross help pull off the odd pairing on ”Never Been Pt. 2″. Still in the mood? Light up with the smoker’s anthem “Mary 3x” and mind travel to a place you can only dream about. Sure beats being a nigga sitting in coach.
As you can see, this King is remembered in time more in the mixtape category. Maybe it’s because the Mississippi heavyweight is allowed to remain in his comfort zone. Armed with complete creative control, K.R.I.T. mans his own production and doesn’t hesitate penning his passion. Mr. Scott displays his vocals on the hook of the soothing opener “Wake Up Saxaphone” and joy rides over the UGK influence-sounding “Me & My Old School.” K.R.I.T. kicks it into high gear on the reflectful “1986″ and turns it up until the knob breaks on the soulful title track. On a serious note, the Def Jam artist addresses his label on “Handwritten”, tackles relationships on “Red Eye”, remembers lost loved ones on “Yesterday”, and shares motivation on the inspiring “Boobie Miles”. Southern hospitality at its finest.
Safe to say, New York Rap wasn’t in the greatest state in 2012. But coming through around Thanksgiving was Fabolous, one of our city’s most consistent spitters who surprised us with a strong sequel. Shit, Soul Tape 2 ain’t no turkey. Loso sets the tone and sounds inspired on the intro “Transformation”. He schools the ladies on “For The Love” and smooths things out on the St. Elmo’s Fire theme-sampled smoke break “We Get High”. Along with Pusha T, he explains how “Life Is So Exciting” and rejects the greedy gold diggers with J.Cole on “Louis Vuitton.” But what also really stands out here is Fab’s clever takes on Usher’s “Throwback” (“Want You Back” with more of Joe Budden’s Tahiry raps) and Rick Ross “Diced Pineapples” (featuring Trey Songz and Cassie). Guess the Big Apple still got something to believe in after all.
Apparently being the first indie artist to top Billboard in the 21st century wasn’t enough for Mac Miller. You didn’t like Blue Slide Park? Well he addressed you naysayers on Macadelic. Young Malcom followed his dreams and boasts about his new reality on the funky “Thoughts From A Balcony”. After gettin’ strung out on the trippy “Vitamins”, Mr. Miller sobers up and steps up his wordplay on songs like the nifty “Sunlight” and especially the durable “Desperado”. Make no mistake, Mac has a lot to get off his chest here. Thankfully, he’s got strong production to back it up. ID Labs is behind the hard-hitting “Loud”, Lex Luger laced “Lucky Ass Bitch” and Black Diamond impresses on “1 Threw 8″. On the mic, Mac holds his own alongside Cam’ron (“Ignorant”), Lil Wayne (“The Question”) and Kendrick Lamar (“Fight The Feeling”) and, in the end, comes out on top again.
Despite what his name suggests, Atlanta rapper Trouble found himself on the right side of the fence with Bigga Rankin on his mixtape 431 Days. The title pays homage to the amount of days he was out the bing. Now that he’s walking the right path, Trouble plants his flag on the menacing “It’s Time”. He chronicles his life on the Alley Boy-aided “ATL” but reserves his hustler tales for “Go!!”. Between rapping and trapping, the Duct Tape artist has a low tolerance for anything else. He scolds hood rats on “D.R.A.M.A” and continues his attack on 431′s best song, “U Dont Deserve Dat”. Still and all it’s pulling cards that’s Trouble’s specialty and he does it several times here (“Never Understand”, “Let Them Tell It”, “Characters”). Only time will tell what the next 431 Days brings.