1. Schoolboy Q- ‘Collard Greens’ feat Kendrick Lamar
Schoolboy Q follows up the incredible ‘Yay Yay’ by bringing his fellow TDE-er along for the ride… who then decides to rap in Spanish. When your debut album goes platinum in this era you can do stuff like that. If Andre & Big Boi had been born 20 years later this is the music they would be making in 2013.
2. Styles- P ‘Red Eye’ feat Jadakiss
How good does it make you feel to see Styles & Jada still making great music! Scram Jones delivers massively with the beat. Well worth checking out the rest of Styles’ ‘Float’ album too.
3. Gunplay- ‘Bible On The Dash’
Gunplay all too often gets dismissed as one of Rick Ross’ goons. Even just Rick Ross being mentioned will turn people off this, but give it a chance. Whether his potential will be fully realised, who knows, but Gunplay REALLY does have something. It’s that wonderful mix of pain, vulnerability and emotion that makes the best Hip Hop music.
4. A$AP Fer0g ‘Shabba’ feat A$AP Rocky
RZA meets Lex Lugar meets Alfred Hitchcock in this Harlem banger. By sheer force of personality Ferg has stepped out from A$AP Rocky’s shadow. This follow up to the ubiquitous 'Work' is pure, unadulterated, braggadocio music… but that’s why we all love Hip Hop, right?
5. Drake- ‘The Motion’ feat Sampha
With the phenomenon that is the Versace Remix showing no signs of slowing down, it’s easy to forget that Drake released 3 other songs on that day back in June. ‘The Motion’ is one of those Drake songs that even the haters struggle to slate. It’s just great music that transcends the genre and gets better with every listen.
6. Action Bronson- ‘The Rockers’ feat Wiz Khalifa
Harry Fraud. Harry Fraud. Harry Fraud. The best producer around right now? Summer time. Windows down. System up. Perfect.
7. Lil Durk- ‘Dis Ain’t What You Want’
2012 was undoubtedly Chicago’s year. Common, Twista, Lupe & Kanye have all done a stellar job, but never before has Chi Town taken over Hip Hop like Houston, Miami & New Orleans had done in the past. In reality, a lot of the Drill music coming out of Chicago was samey and a little redundant, but this Durk track really cut through by pairing a sing-songy flow with a woozy, menacing sound.
8. Casey Veggies- ‘Everything Wavy’
Ex-OFWGKTA member Casey released his ‘Life Changes’ mixtape back in January and it’s bubbled ever since gaining him more and more attention. The Roc Nation connection doesn’t harm him either. Not sure he’s quite unique enough to be a ‘star’ in this image-based world but this track shows him be more than an average MC. Sick lowkey video too.
9. Wale- ‘Poor Decisions’ feat Rick Ross & Lupe Fiasco
Lupe is one of the most talented MCs ever. You may not like his music, but his wordplay and concepts are near unmatched. Worryingly, for a few years there, he was painting himself into a corner with extreme comments, poor decisions and b*tching about fans. It was like watching Joe Budden, another decent MC, all over again. Yes, he was getting royally screwed by his label but no one wants to hear that 24/7 in interviews. We’re getting closer and closer to a point in music where keeping the machine happy won’t matter, but right now, you HAVE to play the game somewhat if you want to have any sort of career.
What a delight then to see Lupe pop up on an MMG song and do nothing but spit bars. He may finally be starting to understand that you can have depth and meaning to your music without coming across as preachy. Kendrick Lamar and Mary Poppins know… a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
10. Jay Z- ‘Oceans’ feat Frank Ocean
How difficult was it to judge MCHG fairly when it first came out!!! There was the Samsung deal which clouded everything. Depending on whether you agreed with the move or not, it was going to affect how you listened to the album. Then you had all the new Jay fans proclaiming it was the best thing EVER a minute after it leaked. Then there were the Nas fans who still remember Summer Jam 2001. You can pretend all this surround sound doesn’t affect how you listen to music, but when you’re talking about the most famous rapper on the planet it’s impossible not to be affected.
There are many highlights on the album but if there is one song that really really REALLY shows Jay still has something to say and can make epic music… it is this. Huh? Isn’t this just the usual upper-echelon-brand-name-dropping-Euro-Jay music? Nope. Don’t be one of the people he aimed this line at all those years ago… “Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it”.
See you next month
Follow Rory on Twitter- @RoryJumPup