For the first time I decided to post short reviews of some of the Hip Hop albums I listened to last year. I divided the reviews into three categories Solidly Superb, Worth A Listen, Wack albums for easier reading.
First up the Solidly Superb albums in alphabetical order:
Ali Massive - M.I.C (My Inspiration Creates)
I never heard of Ali Massive before this album so I didn't know what to expect. Grimey hardcore Hip Hop ala La Coka Nostra or jazzy Hip Hop ala Soulsik Society? Well a delightful surprise is a lot of heads will notice a lot similarities in terms of voice signature and over all style between LA's Destruct and Slovenia's Ali Massive. I would describe Ali Massive as Destruct combined with a touch of Imagine This.
Atmosphere - Fishing Blues
Classic Atomsphere! Unlike the earlier album "When Life Gives You Lemons Paint that Sh*t Gold" Ant reverts to classic soulful boom bap with this gem of an album. Fans of Atmosphere's previous effort “Southhsiders” might disappointed with melancholy midtempo nature of album. However, true heads will love this fantastic album.
Destruct & Brother Beatbox - Dank Soul
A wicked good album featuring a collaboration between Destruct and Brother Beatbox. Don't sleep on this one.
DJ Duke - Time To Shine EP
Only 5 tracks plus instrumentals but dope, gritty and funky as can be.
Ill Bill - Septagram
Ill Bill is one artist who always gives his fans exactly what they want, nothing more, nothing less. Only 2 lackluster tracks out of 12 joints on the album. Another solid Ill Bill album.
Junior Makhno - Clandestinity
An album/mixtape featuring Vinnie Paz and Ill Bill...there's no way this could be wack. Grimey, gritty Hip Hop at it's finest.
La Coka Nostra - To Thine Own Self Be True
La Coka always comes hardcore and superb. Dopeness all around. To Thine Own Self Be True is a definitely a step above their debut album. However, I wish Everlast would have blessed a few tracks. LCN without Mr White is like De La Soul without Pos still Slaine and Ill Bill hold it down.
Sicknature - Bangers From The Beatcave
Hardcore,cinematic and dope. Sicknature's instrumental album is hands down a superb project.
Sicknature - Nature Of The Contaminated (Remix EP)
Exactly what you would expect from Sicknature....fantastic hard hitting underground Hip Hop.
MindsOne And DJ Iron - Phaseology
I am definitely biased when it comes to MindsOne and DJ Iron. I'm been a fan both artists for awhile now. 12 joints with two interludes the album should go down in history as one the best Hip Hop albums of 2016 you slept on.
Powerrule: The Anomaly
With tracks featuring Large Professor, Psycho Les, Tragedy Khadafi, Kurious and scratches by DJ Eclipse the album has a nice boom bap style. Out the 13 tracks on the album 11 tracks are crateworthy.
Now next up are albums in the Worth A Listen category:
Craig G: I Rap And Go Home
With tracks featuring Jarobi, Canibus, and Kool Keith the Juice Crew veteran MC delivers an album that retains greatness of past without sounding dated. Out the 11 tracks on the album only 6 tracks are crateworthy however.
De La Soul - And The Anonymous Nobody
Definitely did not meet the high expectations of highly awaited release. The album is nowhere as good as the bonus track released months before the album was released "God It" featuring Nas. However, there are still plenty of gems present on the album. The album has some weird moments such as the track "Drawn" featuring Little Dragon. The track clocks in at 5 minutes and 33 seconds yet De La Soul is heard only at 4 minute 57 seconds mark. As well as the track “Sexy Bitch”, which is only 1 minute and 31 seconds. All in all the “And The Anonymous Nobody” feels unfinished and unpolished.
Destruct - Deadly Kid (The Digi Collection)
I've been long time fan of Destruct and although this album is not his best work it's definitely worth a listen. With tracks featuring Reverie, Felicia Ray, Ideology and others fans of the LA Underground Hip Hop scene should appreciate album more so than those not keen on LA's Hip Hop culture.
MathMan & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - Hyp Hop
8 tracks total with 2 tracks being interludes and one track “Navigator” being an instrumental. Although there only 1 lackluster track on the album the overall sound of the album is definitely “New School” and true school heads may not appreciate the lack of the traditional boom bap sound they love.
Pawz One - F.U.C.K. (Featured Unreleased Collab Kollection)
A decent collection of unreleased material. Not spectacular but certainly not wack.
Psycho Les - Dank God Vol 1
I didn't know what to expect from this as the collaboration between the The Beatnuts and Tha Alkaholiks turned into a fiasco of two weak tracks and no forth coming album. Fortunately Psycho Les still knows how to bring that funky, grimy Hip Hop. With joints featuring Inspektah Deck, Pete Rock, Jeru The Damaja , Vinnie Paz, Agallah, Jus Allah, Kool Keith, B Real, Sean Price and others the album is definitely worth your money and your time.
Rahsheed And Ill-Advised - Born To Use Mics
Only 11 good songs out of 17 tracks. Very surprisingly two tracks featuring The High & Mighty (Born To Use Mics) and The Roots (1986) respectively are lackluster.
Relentless - 100 Eyes Pesci
This album is a tad lackluster, not wack by any means but not too exciting either. Within the 12 tracks on the album no songs stand out as superb joints.
Sadat X - Agua
6 lacklusters tracks out of 18 tracks on the album. Although there are some superb joints on the album the fact that the two tracks featuring Dres from Black Sheep were very forgettable was a major disappointment.
Soulsik Society - The Refill EP
Some nice downtempo and jazzy Hip Hop. Very reminiscent of Pete Rock production style. Only nine tracks with two lackluster tracks. Disappointing that a track entitled "B-Boys Return" is a weak track.
Tiff The Gift - It Get's Greater Later
Although I enjoyed Tiff the Gift's earlier work more her 2016 effort has it's moments. I can't say I'm a fan of Linkrust's, JR Swiftz nor F Draper's beats but the production work by Phoniks and Kameleon Beats saves the album from being a lackluster project.
Now finally for the Wack albums:
Apollo Ali & 9th Wonder - Apollo Ali Verses 9th Wonder
In a word lackluster. In another word boring. Only five tracks yet only one track is worth a listen (Life Is A Gamble).
A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here. Thank You 4 Your Service
Out of the 17 tracks only 3 solid tracks in a word ....wack. This album goes on the list of wack album by great artists. Along with Rakim's “Seventh Seal” , Dr Dre's "Compton" and James Brown's disco album this collection will soon be forgotten.
Awol One - Feo
Tha God Fahim - TGIF
Boring, lackluster and wack.
Well that concludes my 2016 album reviews. I'm sure there were plenty of fabulous albums that I missed but with so many releases each year one is bound to overlook a host of great work by great artists.