Oh what a year 2012 was! Aren't you glad it's over, even though it was kinda dope while it lasted? Yeah, I feel you. Well as always, I wait after the initial rush of lists-of-shit-from-the-last-year from the press and individuals and present a list of my own. Thankfully, 2012 was a pretty dope year for music. I mean we still didn't get Dr.Dre's Detox but I knew I was on to something when I said back in like '09 that, "...Detox isn't gonna drop till I graduate from college." And I'm graduating this year-c'mon Dre! And there were some really weak projects dropped by some artists-but we just gon' pray that they do better.
With that said, this list of mine is conglomerate of projects from this past year that caught my attention, pleasantly surprised me, and get constant replay in my iTunes. For the descriptions, I will include bits of my review if I reviewed that particular project. If not, I will explain my selection. Please remember, these are MY favorites and they are listed in no particular order. Enjoy!
This was one of the first projects that dropped that year. I was very excited about this release after truly loving the videos and music JMSN had put out thus far. And it's safe to say that I was amazed at this body of work from him. So amazed, that I gave it a 9.5/10 rating. Here's a bit from my review of Priscilla:
The songs are personal to JMSN, to the point that they sound like diary entries or love letters. But they are also intimate enough that you feel like its just you and him in the room, experiencing it all. This album makes you feel, reflect, and see things within yourself. But besides all the ethereal-ness, cause I lowkey sound like I'm high off some LSD laced Mary Jane, -this is a good ass album.
It's a well crafted and thought out audio experience. The combination of the dark, eery, and at times heavy production with JMSN's soft yet powerful voice is nothing less than perfect. He has his very own unique sound and presents it well.
Frank Ocean didn't just drop one of the best albums of 2012, he dropped one of the best albums of the decade. This dude went the fuck in on this project. Everyone... EVERYONE liked (if not LOVED) this album and still play it till this day. Frank is just-I get so speechless talking about him, bruh. He's beyond amazing! Oh, and best believe, he got a 10/10 rating from me! Snippet from original channel ORANGE review:
This album is dope. It's raw, soulful, and gives you chills. All the different vibes of the songs mesh well together. I really enjoy his songwriting on this album. For a R&B album, lyrically it slaps you in the face with reality and raw emotion. And I fucks with that. And he truly showcased his range vocally too. I was listening to the album like, "You better sang boi!" He just killed like every other R&B artists' career with the color orange. He's so damn historic, I tell ya.
One of Delaware's finest, Aris Sparks, drops such a dope conceptual mixtape this past year. He went in on beats from some classic songs of the year 1995. And when I say that he went in, I don't say that lightly. He murdered these instrumentals. And it was just so dope that Aris let me a part of the process of this dope project coming to life. I truly appreciated that. And without too much of a bias, my rating was 9.8/10. Bit of the #95Live review:
This project is pure nostalgia for anyone who fell in love with Hip Hop in the 90s. A lot of the older Hip Hop heads feel like us young ones don't appreciate the culture and music from back in the day but Aris has definitely proved them wrong. Aris didn't just get on the beats and do some rappity rap shit either. He took on the songs as if he was a rapper back in '95 and was given the beat in the studio on a cassette tape. His flow and vibe fit each track perfectly.
Man, do I love me some DeVon Hendryx! He's just so intriguing and his level of uniqueness is on high. He is a true embodiment of "not giving a fuck" and his music is as well. The Rockwood Escape Plan was one epic project. I really wish he could make like a movie based off this 'tape. I constantly listen to this project, especially for some of my favorite tracks like, KING, Blue China, God & Earrings, and MissingNo. DeVon's music may not be your cup of tea but with an Essi rating of 9.5/10, it wouldn't hurt to experience The Rockwood Escape Plan! Review bit time!:
The Rockwood Escape Plan is epic to me! DeVon just took it to a whole new level. I definitely think he has refined his sound more, which is dope! But he didn't perfect it to the point where it sounds manufactured. One thing I love about DeVon is that he is extremely raw, in your face, and doesn't give a single fuck. And with his production, he creates a sound that would be hard for anyone to imitate. While listening to The Rockwood Escape Plan, you will laugh, you will be freaked out, you will cry, and then you will laugh again, starting the cycle all over again. I think this double album of his should be made into movie, like Enter The Void or something.
The rest of Top Releases of 2012, As selected by thegirlEs after the cut!
I've heard some of Levi's work before this project was released and I liked it. Very dope rapper, skill wise and I liked what he had to say in his music. When [Neptune] dropped, I didn't expect it to be as dope as it was. But damn, he killed it! Project got 9.8/10 dope points. Here's the some of the original review:
[Neptune] is one hell of an EP. To have a concept based on a planet and all things outer space and to stick to it for 10 solid tracks is amazing. You literally feel like you're floating in space while playing this EP. This is one of those projects that had work put in it. He didn't just throw some tracks together, that had nothing to do with each other in a zip file. No, this was a well thought and perfected project. And I appreciate that.
It took a while for Nolan The Ninja to drop this LP but I understand he had to make sure it was as dope as it needed to be for the people. This LP was well worth the wait. And Nolan is just a beast, like he's amazing! Rating was 9.5/10 dope points. Review:
He managed to bring a sense of nostalgia with something that is brand new. NinjaTown is laced with that signature energy of Nolan's and true lyricism. This album is a true gem in this day and age of Hip Hop and Nolan is not the kind of artist you want to look over.
We literally just got this gem of an EP from Delaware's finest, K.Rivers and Aris Sparks! They have great chemistry between the two of them when it comes to music and to creates really great music. I'm a fan of both artists and I was so glad that the project come out as good as it did. Rating-9.4/10 dope points. Review:
The title of the project fits the music very well and I thought it was dope that they were able collaborate on each track yet maintain their individuality and tell their personal stories. K. Rivers and Aris Sparks fit well together musically and I love what they create together just as much as I love what they create individually.
Call me bias, but ForteBowie killed it with this remix EP of Iggy Azalea's Ignorant Art EP. He made like 5 of her songs 100x better than before. And I heard a lot of remixes of her songs, especially since she released the acapellas from the project, but none were as dope as Forte's. Some of the best remixes he has done. There was no original rating but I would give it 9.5/10, and not a perfect 10 because I would have liked him to have done her whole EP. She just needs to hit him up for production. Review:
When I say he upgraded these tracks, just know that he upgraded the shit out of these tracks! He made the original production on these tracks seem like trash! Forte put Iggy on some James Blake, he took us to church on the My World remix, and he got Iggy vibing with some screwed R&B-BRUH!
Do I really have to explain why this is here? Like really? But when it comes to Kendrick Lamar, there's one thing that we can pretty much agree on-he knows how to make amazing projects. This is one epic album. It's more like a movie than an album-but there is actually word out that there will be movie based on the album, directed by K.Dot himself. I even got on this album a lot later than most but even before I heard it, I knew it was gonna be dope. Honestly, not a big fan of the tracks with Dr.Dre on them. It's possible I couldn't vibe well to the tracks due to the fact that it's hard for me to vibe with a lot of extremely West Coast music. But that's me. Loved tracks like Backseat Freestyle and M.A.A.D City, where Kendrick just went HAM. But my favorite is probably Real ft. Anna Wise, it's like perfect to me. Kendrick is raising the standard of artistry in Hip Hop and music in general. And as a lover of this art form, all I can do is thank Him. One of the best releases of 2012.
As many know, I love me some dope production. I can't stop playing MVIAB's (now 3rdEyeLover) beat tape based off the late, great angel of music, Aaliyah. I just loved his take on her music and the production he did that was inspired by her presence. I also loved his other projects, Be. and Cafe. Not many beat tapes came my way but this one was one of the more creative and well done projects from a producer out of the few that did. 3rdEyeLover was one of my favorite discoveries last year, his work is ill.
I adore Asaad and I adore this project from him. He was on full beast mode through out the whole 'tape. Out of all the projects he has dropped thus far, NBHM is one of the most played by me. And let me take this time out to say that it was a pleasure meeting Asaad in NYC and seeing him perform for a bit! Probably one of my favorite people I've met in my career so far-he's awesome! Rating was 9.5/10 dope points and here is some of my review:
Asaad's accounts of a young dude from the hood living a luxurious life, rocking expensive threads, and having sexual encounters with foreign models, on some of the most epic production ever, makes every song a moment! Even through all the luxury rap, Asaad is still able to show his heart and share his dreams with us. We're able to see Asaad inside and out through the music.
I was pleasantly surprised that this album from SUBMiT came out as dope and solid as it did. Did I expect anything less? Not necessarily but I was amazed at the work he put into it. He showcased his talent and artistry in an amazing manner. Like I keep telling y'all, there is some truly talented artists coming out the Atlanta (and other cities of GA) with diverse styles-SUBMiT is one of them. Pay attention. Rating: 10/10 dope points. Review:
I love this album! It raised my level of respect and love for SUBMiT to a whole new level. He truly takes you on this ride with him and as literal as the story may be told throughout the project, the meaning behind the story is something we can all relate to.
Anyone who really knows me knows I LOVE me some Ab-Soul. And the place in my heart that is preserved just for him increased in size when he dropped this project. I don't understand people who don't fuck with Ab-Soul-I don't get it! This project was hard, emotional, thought provoking-it was everything! It's his best release to me and I know that it is only going to get even better with his next one. If you haven't listened to this project yet or did and didn't appreciate it, go listen to it again... and again... and again until you get it! Ab-Soul is one of the most prolific emcees out right now and those who choose to ignore that are the ones who are missing out on greatness. #controlsystem.
Criss seems to always give the people what they want and what they need with his projects, and Indian Summer is a perfect example of that. This project was loaded with tracks, but each one was very dope and unique yet together, they all made sense. This was a great soundtrack for the summer season! Rating was 10/10 dope points! Original review:
First off, he didn't just give us some little project to like. He gave us 22 (muthafuckin') tracks to love! It's like an Outkast album or something. Lol And even though each track has it's own feeling and story, all of the tracks together create such an amazing trip through the artistry of Criss Lyric.
I waited a while for a fresh project from Pharoh and when Jungle Fever dropped, I got infected. Infected in a good way of course. Pharoh worked hard on this project and I felt like it paid off. He really was able to show his versatility and overall talent that he has as an artist. Rating: 9/10 dope points. Review:
Dope conceptual EP with unique, ill production and an emcee rapping circles your favorite rapper. Pharoh has worked hard on this project and it shows in the music. The concept was relevant in all of the tracks and I love the movie interludes too, dope touch.
As for as Michigan Autumns goes, I'm really feeling this project. I feel like the title set the vibe for the entire project. It's a really chill project. He truly made a ballad with rap music.
Other projects I loved from 2012 included:
What a year 2012 was! Especially in the entertainment industry. From what I know that being cooked up from artists, especially here in the ATL, we are going to get some true classic albums anf other projects this year. 2013 is going to be epic, I can feel it in my soul!
'Always More, Never Less'-Es