Top 15 Albums/Mixtapes Of 2012
Another year down, another solid year for hip hop and R&B. It’s always great to be able to go into your iTunes, hit the “Date Added” tab and just relive your year through music from January-December. Memories being brought up with each mixtape and album you listen to. Well, we all have our personal favorites that we preferred over the other. I started this whole Top Albums/Mixtapes thing last year, and of course it stirred controversy. It’s expected anytime you broadcast your opinion all over the world. Somebody I never heard of on your list? Cool, leave it in the comment section and enlighten me. Other than that, I enjoy giving my opinion and see who agrees/disagrees. A lot of good projects this year, but here is what I ended up with for my top 15 projects of the year.
15. Les Is More – Ryan Leslie
R-Les has always been a maestro and extremely talented musically. This comes to no surprise and doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. We know of his world class production, musically inclined skills in multiple instruments, and even has a voice to boot. One thing we weren’t so aware of was his ability to…rap? R-Les definitely held his own on this album, standing out on songs like “Glory,” “5 Minute Freshen Up,” and “Joan of Arc.” He brings the lyrics of an R&B song to life as he takes his first dip into a full rap album, and I was slightly impressed. Were there some cheesy lines and times where you just didn’t believe him? Sure. But it’s an overall solid project from a guy who mostly sings or produces songs.
P.S. I was fortunate to see him live a couple of months ago and this dude puts on a show. Plays his own instruments, has a live band, energy was great. If he tours near you, be sure to go see him.
14. Based On A T.R.U. Story – 2 Chainz
You’d be hard pressed to find a rapper that had a better year than Tity Boi. Unless you want to factor in Kanye wifing up Kim K, but that’s beside the point. This GRAMMY NOMINATED (yes, that’s right) album was just the icing on the cake. If you’re an open-minded person then you’ll understand that you can like an album like “good kid, M.A.A.D. city” and still like “Based On A T.R.U. Story.” Sure one is far more lyrical than the other, (I’ll let you figure out which one) but Deuce Necklaces mastered the art of ignorant rap. I can only take so much of it, so this doesn’t have the most replay value for me, but definitely a solid album. I wonder if he ever got his birthday wish. TRUUUU!
13. On the House – Slaughterhouse
I actually enjoyed this mixtape more than I enjoyed the album. I thought the album was overproduced and they tried TOO hard to be commercial. I understand that bars aren’t for everyone, but that’s Slaughterhouse claim to fame. The mixtape is where we got those bars. Standouts like “Juggernauts,” “Weight Scale,” and the deep “Truth or Truth Part 1” gives you that raw lyrical slaughter we’ve grown to love from these dudes.
12. Dedication 4 – Lil Wayne
I must say, as much as I believe Lil Wayne to be played out, I can’t help but be excited about the “Dedication” series. It certainly wasn’t on the same level as “Dedication 2,” and I definitely hate this new scream like an idiot thing that he does now. I also must mention that I like all of the original songs on this tape better besides maybe “Cashin’ Out.” My man J. Cole also had the best verse on the whole tape. Sounds like a lot of negative, but the tape does play all the way through pretty well. The beats are all from huge songs, and Tunechi coasts right over them. Let’s just hope he takes a little hiatus and tries to help figure out what the hell Nicki is doing with her career right now.
11. God Forgives, I Don’t – Rick Ross
The album should be called, “God Forgives, I Don’t, But Forgive Me For Pushing This Back So Many Times.” Rozay definitely had a lot to live up to with so much anticipation built up. He did for the most part. With the all the waiting
10. Royalty- Childish Gambino
I was very, very impressed by the growth of Gambino on this tape. There’s no denying his debut, “Camp” was a solid overall project, but “Royalty” showed his growth in confidence. The features were on point with appearances by Bun B, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Ghostface Killah, RZA, and Nipsey Hussle. I would say he stood toe to toe with all of them with the exception of Bun B and Ab-Soul. Crazy how much play this mixtape had during my summer this year. Just listening to it now brings me back to playing some beer pong by my pool. Ahh…summer nights.
9. A Loose Quarter – Joe Budden
Let’s be honest, Joe’s relationships are what makes his music so dope. I can do without the constant pictures of him and his girl, but the music is still on point. Budden has always made music we can relate to, and his passionate delivery has always helped embed those lyrics into our minds and souls. “A Loose Quarter” doesn’t fall short of that. Off topic, but if you don’t follow him on Twitter, I suggest you do so. His live BlogTv streams he does are always good for some entertainment.
PS: I think Joe Budden “Stan’s” are the most die hard Stan’s there is. I’m just saying that if this dude started a cult? Nevermind…
8. Soul Tape 2 – Fabolous
I can’t even remember the last time Loso disappointed me on a project. I guess the closest would be the original “Soul Tape,” but I even enjoyed most of that. The punch lines were back, the beats were cold, the features were hot, and the mixtape plays all the way through on this one. For those who don’t know me, I’m a sucker for soulful music and beats. So naturally, a tape that has the word “soul” in the title is quite fitting for me. I must also mention that the word play with my favorite NBA player Derrick Rose was dope too. NICE!
7. Detroit – Big Sean
A relatively quiet beginning to 2012 for Big Sean picked up quite a bit towards the end of the summer. I love this tape. I really feel as if it showed Sean’s growth as a rapper and confidence. The “Supa Dupa” flow was back and better than ever as he cruised over beats like “RWT,” “Mula,” and “How It Feel.” Big Sean has really taken over as the lead of “G.O.O.D. Music” behind head honcho Kanye West, of course. This tape sounded like it could have been an album though. Not to mention I got to hear him perform a few of these songs in concert and they definitely hit live too. Oh god!
6. Cruel Summer – G.O.O.D. Music
5. Kaleidoscope Dream – Miguel
I’ll admit, I was sleeping on Miguel for a while. I’ve always enjoyed his features, but never really looked into his solo career that much. KD changed that completely. All it took was a couple of co-signs on Twitter, a download of the album, and boom. I have one of my favorite albums of the year. “Adorn” very well might be the song of the year, whether some of you will like to admit it or not. Also, “P*ssy Is Mine” might be the most ridiculous thing to have in your repertoire when trying to swoon women. If I could sing though? You better believe that song is in my arsenal.
4. Dreamchasers 2 – Meek Mill
The highly anticipated mixtape dropped just in time for the summer, and it sure as hell didn’t let me down. I actually prefer this mixtape over his album. There actually was a point that I listened to this mixtape from start to finish for 3 weeks straight. It had that typical Meek Mill upbeat, loud, hype feel to it and was a great transition from spring to summer. “Burn,” and “Flexing” are still two of my favorite songs to drop at a party. Mean mugs come out everywhere when I put that on. And in case you wondering, these songs transition well in concert as well. Got a chance to go to the MMG show and Meek brings the energy levels to a hundred, thousand, trillion. Now let’s just see if he has the endurance to last this Cassidy beef. Hmm…
3. good kid m.A.A.d. City – Kendrick Lamar
Arguably the hottest rapper in the game right now, and going into 2013 right here. Not that he needed it, but Kendrick took that co-sign from Dr. Dre and ran with it with this one. I think this gave us our first TRUE west coast album since “The Documentary.” I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when I heard “Swimming Pools.” A dope song, but a little bit different (perhaps a tad commercial) for Kendrick. Regardless, the album had that classic K-Dot feel to it from start to finish. The story telling, the flow, the lyrics, and how easy he makes it sound are what makes this album a Top 3 album of ’12. Ya bish.
2. Life Is Good – Nas
I guess Nas took that whole Kelis thing pretty serious. Dude came out and gave us a FIRE album. This album had such an old school feel to it, and reminded me of classic Esco. The lyrical slaughter, vintage Nasir on the song “Nasty.” The somewhat eerie, yet beautiful posthumous collaboration with Amy Winehouse on “Cherry Wine.” Definitely my favorite piece of work Nas has put out since “Hip Hop Is Dead,” which I thought was a great album as well. But hey Nas, since we’re talking about some of your best work, would you mind dropping another album with Damian Marley. Thanks.
1. channel ORANGE – Frank Ocean
Yeah, I said it. Frank Ocean’s “channel ORANGE” is album of the year. This dude has been a breath of fresh air in the R&B game with the personality of Andre 3000. Insanely talented, but chooses to take the back seat with the press. I still have this album on heavy rotation, and I think from the day it came out and all the way to the end of the summer I listened to it once a day. The timing of his big announcement this summer was a little suspect near the album, but that pain that he brought into some of these songs confirmed it was real. Put your ignorance aside, accept the facts, and appreciate when someone pours their heart out into their music. Who releases an almost 10 minute single? Frank. The combination of “Bad Religion” and “Pink Matter on the album is genius. It doesn’t get nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Grammy’s for nothing. Thank you, Mr. Ocean.
Written by @TheMikeDaSilva.
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