I work in music and on movie sets which allows me to listen to a ton of music on the constant, especially 14 hour days on movie sets and needing music to simply get me through the dead time. This list is compromised of recent & THE BEST mainstream releases from the guys forging their path to be the best since Jay Z. People often tweet or debate my opinion on music as If my preference matters over theirs. However, since we’re all here and we all care, Why Not?!
**Note** I didn’t rank To Pimp A Butterfly due to Conflict of Interest. So YOU get to Pick where it Lands. Either way it goes, These 5 Albums made it a great time for Hip Hop.
1 . ‘The Album About Nothing’ – Wale
Wale has always been a talented artist. It has been sometimes outshined by tantrums, antics or just overall emotion. I can’t really say some of it wasn’t deserved. I also feel much of it was overblown. What you can’t take away from Wale is an almost perfectly put together album. I would venture as far to say; The best MMG album from MMG as we know it now. When everyone was debating Kendrick/Cole/Drake, Wale dropped the Royal Flush of albums on the Table and walked away smiling. I can’t really find a flaw on this album. As much as I respect Wale musically, even I’m shocked. The Intro About Nothing took us to church in a sense.. and the sermon ended up being perfect.
Standouts: The Intro About Nothing, The Helium Balloon (MAN when the beat on this changes?! My Lord!), The Matrimony.. man, the whole fuckin album. Shit.
2. Cadillactica (Deluxe) – Big K.R.I.T.
Big K.R.I.T was “Hit Or Miss” with me for a little while. Then I heard ‘King Of The South’ and I heard a different type of confidence in the guy. Especially with what comes with aiming for/snatching that label. Cadillactica would be number one on this list if not for Wale. K.R.I.T really put in work. The album should have been called Soulfood, because it is indeed as nourishing as the food that is a staple from his very region. The A&R’n and Production on this album was perfect for each song. Very Good album.
Standouts: Life, Soulfood, Pay Attention, Saturday’s, Mind Control, Mt. Olympus.
3. 2014 Forest Hills Drive – J.Cole
I recently told a music executive; “J.Cole is the Tim Duncan of Hip Hop. It wont be pretty and he wont have the gaudy highlight reels, but he’s going to bring home the trophies. I kind of prefer Born Sinner over this album, but this album is pretty damn good. Cole engulfed himself in the community and will always be the peoples champ. Combine that with quality music and you have a platinum album.
Standouts: Fire Squad, G.O.M.D., A Tale Of 2 Citiez, Wet Dreamz
4. Ohio – Stalley
This very well may be the most slept on album of the last 12 months. In a way it’s a combo of Stalley’s personality vs. the current mentality of rap fans. Stalley can at times, blend into the proverbial wallpaper of Hip Hop. However, musically he’s pretty nice. His album was a pleasant surprise and I didn’t mind the purchase at all. If it was bad, I was going to run up on Sam Sneak, Ross or Lex for my $10 back. Stalley need more awareness brought to his movement. However this album could easily move up or down on the list, depending on preference.
Standouts: Problems, Boomin, What It Be Like, One More Shot, Navajo Rugs,
*You Pick It* – To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
On first listen for many people, even based off singles released, people wrote off To Pimp A Butterfly. To the point that when many people heard the album version of “I” they stated “Oh, I like It now”. To Pimp A Butterfly isn’t an album you can digest in 1, 2 or 5 listens. The album is laced with the sounds of funk music, which is embedded in our DNA as a people. It is that album and that sound that you will appreciate over time, if not at the moment. My little siblings love the album as does my mom. However, I did hint them in on what to expect. I personally enjoy the journey of the artist regarding conflicts of his heart and mind. The struggle of his community locally as well as nationally. To Pimp A Butterfly invites the youth to embrace the sounds and style of their roots. The question is: Were they ready and willing?
Standouts: King Kunta, These Walls, U, I, Alright.. Like Wale, The Whole Damn Album. It was an experience for me. You can’t separate some without potentially diminishing their values. As in the case of “I” when you listen to “U”.