Something 2 Ride 2: What You Might Have Missed in 2012
So, 2013 has started, and you may well be starved for new music. The first quarter of the year is historically slow in terms of new releases, as many record companies try to squeeze in many of their high-releases for the fourth quarter/holiday season. Which means you may have to wait until early spring before record label decide they want to grace you with new quality music.
But fear not, there’s no reason you can’t explore the literally dozens of albums that you might have missed in the past calendar year. And you’re in luck: the year 2012 was an excellent year for hip-hop music, as rappers and crews from all types of regions flexing all different types of styles dropped absolute heat, making it the best year for hip-hop since the early ’00s. Here are just three albums that deserve your attention.
First up is Sean Born’s Behind the Scale (Mello Music Group), about as good of a straight up “street rap” album as there’s been in the last few years. Sean Born, a Maryland native and Low Budget Crew affiliate, spits straight-forward, visually-arresting rhymes about struggling to make it in the streets, selling drugs, and doing what you need to do to survive. All well-trod territory, but Born makes it all sound fresh and sincere. Fellow Maryland native Kev Brown handles the majority of the album’s production, providing a perfect soulful, yet raw backdrop for the album. Some stand-out tracks include the horn heavy “Steez,” the hard-hitting “Drugsmoneysex,” and the melancholy “Pour Out Liquor.”
Alchemist’s Russian Roulette (Decon Records) is next up. Alchemist spent 2012 splitting time both rapping and producing. He recorded his second full album as a member of the group Gangrene, and provided beats for artists like Prodigy, Slaughterhouse, Domo Genesis, and a host of others. Alchemist stays behind the boards for Russian Roulette, a concept album where all of the samples sources for the beats are from Russian records. The album seems to center around: the Russian Mob, the Russian Space Program, and Rocky IV. Russian Roulette features a mix of instrumentals and short vocal tracks; while the album features 30 tracks, it clocks in at a relatively brisk, yet trippy 45 minutes in length. Alchemist enlists a whole slew of MCs (mostly spotlighting lesser known talents like Guilty Simpson, Action Bronson, Midaz, and Mr. Mother F-In Exsquire) to quick their hot 16 bars of the keep it moving.
A third slept-on album to check is DVS’s DVS For Alderman (Windimoto Records). DVS is a unique lyrical talent; he has remained a vet on the low, coming more from the Common and Rhymefest-school than the Chief Keef one. After recording a trio of EPs with frequent production collaborator tREBLEFREE, releases his first “solo” album. DVS proves himself apt at covering a wide range topics, from straight battle shit on “MF Basics” and “Ferris Wheel,” to reveling in alcohol-fueled debauchery on “Drunken Nights,” to reflecting on making his own way on “Wastin’”. The result is well-balanced album that harken back to the mid-‘90s era while maintaining a fresh sound.
Behind the Scale can be bought digitally at http://mellomusicgroup.bandcamp.com and most major online retailers.
Russian Roulette is available digitally through most major online retailers.
DVS 4 Alderman can be purchased digitally at http://windimoto.bandcamp.com/ and most major online retailers.
And these are just three examples of heat you may have missed the first time around. Coming up next are slept-on bangers by Golden and Silver Age era artists who haven’t missed a step with their latest offerings.