by Leile One
I’m not going to lie to you. 2008 was as wack as any other years in recent memory as far as the normal Clear Channel rap records are concerned. Sure, sure, we had some mainstream gems like Lil Weezy’s rhyme wizardry extravaganza Tha Carter III, and some funny rad viral video shit like Hot Stylz “Lookin’ Boy” type of shit, which I obsessed over for a good couple of months (major props to all y’all who did some great homemade versions). But despite these beacons of glory in a mainstream sea of robot voices and puke-worthy style bitings, most of the good shit this year was heard far, far away from the FM dial. No big surprise. But I thought I’d take a minute to mention a few of my favorite records from this year that were probably too dope to even graze the MTV2 3am jackoff hour. In no particular order:
Siah and Yeshua DapoED: The Visualz Deluxe Edition CD
There was a time when I was the coolest kid on the block for owning the original issue of the Fondle ‘Em Records vinyl EP of this criminally over-slept-on classic from the 1996 era of supreme college radio late night classics. Now it’s everyone’s to grab, thanks to a definitive reissue from Traffic Entertainment that dropped in April of this year. The production is on some absolute classic jazz-digger gold nugget styles (think: everything that was coming out in the mid-90’s times ten), and the emcee duo of Siah and Yesh sound fresh as ever on some real live chemistry that will bring you right back to the times of listening to rhymes in an alley while ignoring your math homework. The eleven-minute opus “A Day Like No Other” alone is worth the price of admission to the magical circus, and if you enjoy twenty pages of liner notes along with flyer images explaining exactly what the fuck was going on for these dudes back then, they’ve included that, too.
This one’s already gotten a lot of love from Pitchfork and such, and many may argue that this isn’t even hip hop. But you’re wrong. Nothing is more hip hop than rhyming about how you “got sick and blew chunks” in the parking lot behind Whole Foods. As this record proves once and for all, hip hop can also sometimes be about doing wet coke in a Starbucks bathroom, with the door locked, hella ashamed of yourself. To put it simply, this is the most hardcore shit that came out this year. Alopecia makes all the other records sound like Disneyland, even when they’re on some murder shit. Why’s new shit is on some murder yourself shit, which can at times be the tastiest murder of all, if you‘re in the right mood.
C.R.A.C.: The Piece Talks
These guys are kinda hard to pin down. That’s why this record is so good. Sometimes these dudes are on some pop sensational magic loveliness vibe, like on “Buy Me Lunch”, Exhibit A. Later they may hit you with some real rugged stuff, like, “Don’t make me have to POP THEM BOYS!!” They are not afraid to threaten you. I think what I like about this record is that it’s so diverse. More specifically, it’s nonchalant. It’s like one of those classic albums where some dudes just hit the studio and were like, “Fuck it, let’s just have fun with this, even if it sounds really crazy and doesn‘t sell.” Like Digital Underground’s Body Hat Syndrome, or The Pharcyde’s first record. This is one of those bravery type of albums that remind you that 2008 was actually pretty cool. And, in retrospect, it was.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
by Leile One