Top 5 Albums of 2009
FIVE: Kid Cudi-Man on the Moon: The End of Day
The debut album by Scott Mescudi can best be described as “Anti-Swagger.” The young rapper debuted at the end of 2008 with the bangin’ “Day-N-Night” and after taking almost 10 months to produce an official debut he emerged with an album so different, so innovative,so plain good, that it pushed “Emo Hip-Hop” out of the underground and to the forefront of the industry. The album is trip into the young MC’s mind and deals with such issues as alienation, trouble with women, family struggle and even hints at a chemical imbalance...this takes “keeping it real” to the next level.
Four: Slaughterhouse-Self Titled
4 of the “best to never do it” got together and released a full-length LP full of hard beats and relentless lyrics that made even the most disgruntled, “Hip Hop Is Dead” backpackers admit there was still some life left in the genre. Every verse on this record is an event, as Royce, Joey, Joell and Crook rhyme like their very life depends on every syllable they spit, and in an industry where second chances are rare, they just may have saved their careers and lyrical Hip-Hop at the same time.
Three: Raekwon-Only Built For Cuban Linx...Pt. 2
Released a full 14 years after the original, the sequel to The Chef’s seminal debut was worth every second of the loooooooong wait. Vivid imagery, detailed story telling, guest appearances by nearly every Wu-Tang affiliate and beats by a wide array of producers culminated in another cinematic masterpiece for the Shoalin Masters. NOTE: Ghostface Killah’s “Ghostdini: The Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City” was released less than a month after OB4CL2, if these two albums were released simultaneously (e.g. OUTKAST’s “Speakerbox/The Love Below”) this would have undoubtedly been the best album of the year and the best Wu album in well over a decade.
Marshall Mathers took a full five years between albums and while the majority of Soulja Boy Tell’em fans and the “106 & Park” crowd didn’t seem to appreciate this release, real heads knew...Slim Shady was Back! “Relapse” did have a few misfires, but highlights like “My Mom,” “Deja Vu,” “Beautiful,” and “Underground” were so far beyond the capabilities of the average rapper that this album in easily in the top few releases of the year.
One: Jay-Z-Blueprint 3
At this point in his career, arguing that anybody else is on Shawn Carter’s level is flat out silly. This album was a entertainment industry event and by all measures it lived up to the hype. Jay’s typically dazzling lyrics combined with inventive beats and just the right amount of pop sensibility to form THE album of 2009. Between dominating radio and video outlets from September to December, nearly every song getting radio play, completely obliterating the “Autotune/Ringtone” aesthetic dominating Hip-Hop for the last several years and releasing this generation’s New York anthem, there was simply nobody in Jay-Z’s category in 2009.
Best Independant/Underground Albums of 2009
La Coka Nostra: A Brand You Can Trust
All three original members of House of Pain, Non-Phixion/Solo MC Ill Bill and newcomer Slaine released arguably the best album of the year. This filled the void of white-trash hooligan music that has been pretty vacant since HOP’s last album in ’96 and is by far the best workout CD of the last several years as the aggressive beats and relentless lyrics from three of the most slept-on MC’s of all-time combine to form, what Danny Boy calls “that old 90’s swinging from the chandelier music.”
R.A. The Rugged Man: Legendary Classics Vol. 1
“Legendary Classics Vol. 1” chronicles the unreleased and hard-to-find classics from one of the best rappers to never blow up. The collection spans 15 years and contains mid-90’s cult classics like “Every Record Label Sucks D**k” and the Biggie assisted “C*nt. Renaissance” all the way up to more recent classics like the awe-inspiring “Uncommon Valor (A Vietnam Story)” and “Renaissance” This collection should be mandatory listening for longtime Rugged Man fans and newcomers alike.
Cage: Depart From Me
In 2009 Chris Palko walked out of “Against All Odds” and into “Hot Topic” as “Depart From Me” was awash in fuzzy guitars, sung chorus’ and screamed/mumbled lyrics. The album was a definite departure (get it?) from Cage’s normal shock-value lyrics and NYC inspired beats, but taken as a complete statement it unquestionably paints a vivid picture of an artist and man at a crossroads in his life and music, where Cage’s career goes in the next few years should interesting to say the least.
Mic Savvy: Freshman Year Flashbacks
“Freshmen Year Flashbacks” is the best album to come of North Carolina since Little Brother’s 2005 opus “The Minstrel Show.” Soulful production, thoughtful lyrics and a laid back delivery combine to form an organic sound that perfectly bridges the gap between the dirty south, backpackers and radio accessibility.
Del The Funkee Homosapien & Tame One: Parallel UNI-Verses
Oakland’s Del and Newark NJ’s Tame-UNO produced a solid album of underground heat in 2009. The MC’s divergent but similar vocal styles and producer Parallel Thought’s spaced out soundscapes produced one of the most unique and pleasurable listening experiences of the year.
Rick Mujerus’s Instant O-Fense 2009
Shakira: She Wolf-This should have been the song of the summer, it was not and we are all worse because of it.
Lady Gaga: Entire Catalog- Despite her bizarre fashion sense, Lady Gaga brought the New York club scene to the masses, and whether you want to admit it or not, you liked it.
Black Eyed Peas: I Got a Feeling & Meet Me Half Way-Considering how bad most BEP music is, these two masterpieces are actually fun party records and not just 3 min. of unbridled buffoonery.
Tre Songs feat. Fabolous: Say Ahh-Not much to say about the best ode to oral sex this year.
The Dream feat. Kanye West: Walking on the Moon-The best “Michael Jackson Song” not made by the King of Pop.