As we wind down towards the latter half of our lists, Kyle, special guest contributor Johnny5 and I bring you our top albums on the 5th day of the RapDose Wrap Up. Don’t forget to check out our picks for mixtape, producer, artist, and disappointment of the year.

Time Freeman’s Picks

[wptabs mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle]#5 [/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1

Lupe Fiasco is an outstanding artist, but to say his work has suffered over the years is an understatement. Between label disputes, twitter fights and excuses, it becomes more often than not that people hear Fiasco’s name more for the entertainment and less for the talent itself. That said, Food & Liquor 2 isn’t the best effort we’ve received from Wasalu Jaco, but it serves as a very solid album nonetheless. Intriguing, diverse instrumentals mixed with thought provoking content that we can only get in this form from Fiasco comes forward where it matters most to make this project maintain durability. Bangers like “Put Em Up” and the message heavy outro “Hood Now” make this one of my favorites this year.

BuyFood & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#4[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Rick Ross – God Forgives, I Don’t

Grandeur exudes from the quality of God Forgives, I Don’t. The album is powerful in its essence, establishing itself above almost any other studio album you can consider this year. Whether it be the rare, lengthy appearance of Andre 3000 on “Sixteen“, Rozay’s daring solo approach to “Maybach Music IV“, or the sleeper hit “Ice Cold” featuring Omarion, this project goes out of its way to impress the listener. Ross himself calls it “extremely special” and with the aura he’s created through the sounds within this album, It’s impossible to disagree.

Buy: God Forgives, I Don’t [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle] #3 [/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Ab-Soul – Control System

TDE’s secret weapon will look you directly in the eye and tell you he’s better than your favorite rapper and it’d be pretty hard to argue. Soul, melody and cleverly delivered lyricism breathes throughout the illustrious Control System, effortlessly taking different sounds such as the menacing “Track Two” and the untraditional “A Rebellion” and making them coexist on one album surrounding the broad yet vital concept of taking control. With his ability to utilize his talents on instrumentals that may pull emotions from the listener, it’s a given that Ab-Soul belongs with Hip Hop’s elite, next to his Black Hippy ally KDot. It won’t be long, but speaking of Kendrick Lamar

Buy: Control System [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#2[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city 

From the moment the tape starts to play within the album and the prayer begins, Kendrick Lamar immerses you within his realm and refuses to let go. The journey begins and we become more than a listener, we become a part of his story. We start to concern ourselves with Kendrick’s mother’s van and question what will happen as the project nears its end, enchanting until the album ends. Labeled “A short film by Kendrick Lamar”, it’s obvious that the songs come together to be more than a collection for the listener, but a sincere piece of Lamar’s life, detailing his experiences and it’s greatly appreciated. Much more quality than anything else, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Kendrick has a triumph here.

Buy: good kid, m.A.A.d city [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#1[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Life Is Good

If there’s always been one issue I’ve had with Nas, it was his laziness. He’s declared it himself, when it comes to his projects he tends to procrastinate and often his albums come across lackluster and rushed. However, somewhere between the divorce, half his money and assets being taken, and the world looking down on him in the moment, Nas woke up. He pocketed his frustrations and his emotions with his life and refused to let things get him down, pouring it into his work and labeled his musical dedication to his ex-wife Life is Good. The album, loaded with beats that reject the idea of sounding aged or the thought of playing too close to the new crowd, defeats any other project this year off of the strength of each track, both together and on it’s own. The lyrics hold him up on another level, one that we as fans know the legend to belong, whether he is delivering the rudest form of truthful braggadocio or dumping his feelings. It’s frustrating that it takes all this to get Nas to release a quality project we’ll praise for years to come, but I won’t concern myself with that. For now, enjoy the album of the year from the New York native. I’ve never reviewed it, but for what it’s worth? 9/10.

Buy: Life Is Good [/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

Kyle Fall’s Picks

[wptabs mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle]#5[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

The Game – Jesus Piece

The Game‘s 5th studio album Jesus Piece has been on shelves less than a month but that’s long enough for this body of work to sink in. With a three year gap between records, The Game was able to deliver a solid project with support from his #SundayService promo series and a star-studded tracklist that includes features from Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Common, J. Cole, JMSN, King Chip, Trey Songz, Big Sean, Fabolous, Jeremih, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Tank, Jamie Foxx, Elijah Blake, Future & Young Jeezy. This versatile project is a must listen for anyone who considers themselves a rap fan.

Buy: Jesus Piece

 

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#4[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

T.I. – Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head


T.I. has made up for lost time after being released from prison with his eighth studio album Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head. Much like Tip himself, this project has only been out for a little while but it’s been garnering a lot of attention. Early sales totals appear to confirm that T.I. is winning yet again, placing him once more among rap’s elite. It’s hard to pick the best track off this release but I’ll go out on a limb and select “Trap Back Jumpin” which only reminds me of T.I. in his prime.

BuyTrouble Man: Heavy Is The Head

 

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#3[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Currensy – The Stoned Immaculate


Currensy‘s Warner Bros. debut The Stoned Immaculate is by far the most mainstream sounding project he has ever released but it manages somehow to not turn off his original fan base. Although the label played it safe with this album, big name features like Big K.R.I.T., Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz help polish off an album that can appeal to a broad commercial audience while still staying true to Spitta’s style. My song of choice on this is album is without a doubt “Chasin’ Paper” featuring Pharrell.

Buy: The Stoned Immaculate [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#2[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Nas – Life Is Good

It’s been a long time since Nas has released a project that kept people truly excited after a few spins. This year he laid all of the doubt to rest with Life is Good, an album that has been placed by critics among his greatest works. Much like Illmatic you will have a hard time convincing your friends of your rap credibility when you are showing of your music collection if your catalog doesn’t contain this disc.

Buy: Life Is Good

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#1[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city


Kendrick Lamar‘s good kid, m.A.A.d city has been at the top of plenty of lists this year and although I think it was a tad over-hyped during the first few weeks of it’s release it still deservedly crosses the line in first. This meticulously constructed album will never be accused of lacking depth or substance and reveals Kendrick’s work ethic even moreso than his other well known projects Overly Dedicated and Section 80. If you only listen to one rap album from 2012, it should be this one.

Buy: good kid, m.A.A.d city [/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

Johnny 5’s Picks

[wptabs mode=”horizontal”]

[wptabtitle]#5[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Dom Kennedy – Yellow Album

Leimert Park’s own Dom Kennedy has been bubbling underground for almost five years, crafting his art — woozy, smoothed out lifestyle music and on Yellow Album he has finally cultivated his lane. From the bohemian bounce of “So Elastic” to the undeniable party anthem “My Type Of Party,” where Dom Kennedy lacks in noticeable flow or the dreaded “content” label he succeeds in being the ‘everyman’ MC in the vein of other west coast acts like Tone Loc or Too Short (who makes an appearance on the album as well). He takes the everyday happenings of his life and turns them into lessons in how to stay true to yourself. Yellow Album shows the growth we’ve been waiting for from Dom and will surely go down as his best effort ever.

Free Dowload: Yellow Album [/wptabcontent]
[wptabtitle]#4[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

ScHoolboyQ – Habits & Contradictions

TDE’s Kendrick Lamar may have got all the publicity and attention this year, but some would say his Black Hippy teammate ScHoolboy Q had the real breakout year and after listening to Habits & Contradictions its easy to see why. Q represents the grittiness of TDE’s core members, and H&C reflects that — it’s a fully functioned gangsta rap album in the vein of some of the greatest out of the West Coast. Where it differs is in the pure ferocity of Q’s flow, which is never the same twice. “Nightmare of Figg St.” is haunting and headlined by Q’s schizophrenic flow, yet he effortlessly flips the script on songs like “There He Go” utilizing his cadence hand in hand with his nihilistic rhymes. Habits & Contradictions is not only a win for Gangsta Rap going into 2013 but it’s also a statement album for ScHoolboy Q who will surely be an MC to look out for.

Buy: Habits & Contradictions

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#3[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Future – Pluto 3D

It seemed like it would never happen or Future, at least in the critical scope of most social media. Last year he bubbled underground, giving the streets mixtapes like Dirty Sprite and True Story, and this year he set foot to change perceptions about the lukewarm reaction to his half singing/half rapping style, which can only be seen as laissez faire to a large part of MC’s out right now (His only real comparison would probably be 2007-08 Lil Wayne’s flirtation with singing, and he has since abandoned the style). Pluto is Future stepping into territory that is familiar (“Same Damn Time” “Long Live The Pimp” “Jealous“) but also crafting songs that are undeniable to those who largely shunned him as being talentless or ‘weird’ (“Turn On The Lights” “Neva End” “You Deserve It”). He bellows out coke prices with the confidence of Teddy Pendergrass meeting the connect, and he also shows his softer side as if there was such thing as a coke dealing lothario, and it all works. Pluto (and it’s superior re-release Pluto 3D) is original and sonically magnificent, a risk taking LP from an artist that actually pays off.

Buy: Pluto3D  [/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#2[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Nas – Life Is Good

There isn’t much of a surprise that Nas rests at the top of this list, he’s the last of the Mohicans so to speak, as far as the old guard of MC’s that still remain relevant. Life Is Good is his 11th album, a remarkable feat in itself but even more amazing that it is his most personal album to date. Touching on his estrangement from ex-wife Kelis (which is the overarching theme of the album right down to the album cover), Nas is vulnerable throughout the album giving one of his best displays of lyrical dominance since his early 2000’s run.  Nas warns us that he’ll be pointing at himself so we’ll either be “laughing at him, or with him,” but Life Is Good is so damn awesome that you’ll mostly be in awe.

Buy: Life Is Good

[/wptabcontent]

[wptabtitle]#1[/wptabtitle]

[wptabcontent]

Kendrick Lamar – good kid m.A.A.d city

There isn’t much to be said about good kid m.A.A.d city that hasn’t been regurgitated on print and digital over the past two months. Kendrick Lamar not only knocked it out the park on his first try (major label debut), but he created an album that is socially important. Dealing with peer pressure, gang violence and the overall perception of ‘good kids’ trying to survive in a adversity stricken environment — Kendrick flexes his lyrical ability effortlessly across the lengthy LP which plays like a movie. GKMC is thought-provoking, and unafraid of the boundaries of a regular (mostly label dictated) Hip Hop album. Hip Hop in 2012 has been defined to me by albums that defined and their own specific niches to this genre and GKMC stands above and beyond them all this year.

Buy: good kid, m.A.A.d city [/wptabcontent] [/wptabs]

Comments