I knew I wanted to do some kind of retrospective on the year in music. I know that there are probably more of these than there is porn on the Internet this time of year, but whatever. I wanted to do this for admittedly selfish reasons – it would be an excuse to do some fun research and remembrance and help me organize my thoughts around what felt like a pretty solid year.
And then I got totally overwhelmed. There’s too much music out there and I’ve consumed it all in too many different and fragmented ways to do that properly. I had to pick a favorite, and I picked hip-hop. Because even though I might have spent more time this year listening to Iceage or Flume, hip-hop is still the best. And that’s that.
Ranking music when I change my opinion about a lot of it every time I listen seemed disingenuous, so instead I’ve created a weird awards-style format in which I basically get to call out every record for whatever I want. Again, I did this for admittedly selfish reasons.
But, I altruistically insist, that if you like hip-hop you’ll find this useful.
Most Turnt: Old by Danny Brown
I must admit that when this album came out I raved and raved and expected I’d have it on repeat for the rest of the year. Then I realized after a few spins it didn’t draw me in quite as much as XXX and I got sad. Then I had a few drinks and put on “Dip” or “Dubstep” and realized that all it takes is booze for Danny Brown to become the best rapper on earth again.
Most Not For Me: Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper
I suspect this will be topping a lot of year-end lists from ballsier journalists who actually rank things in order, but I choose to believe that I’m the only one ballsy enough to admit that Chance the Rapper just isn’t that fun to listen to. Yeah, he nails the sound of the surprisingly competent live band-backed MC at the random open mic night you went to that one time but sorry I’m not sorry I’ll take Chief Keef any day.
Most Hilariously Disgusting Lyrics I Text to My Friends: Blue Chips 2 by Action Bronsons & Party Supplies
Don’t get me wrong. This is also a phenomenal mixtape – maybe my favorite record out of NYC this year. But it’s defined by the creative ways Bronson is able to combine food, sex and shit. I see nothing wrong with this. Also my nomination for album cover of the year.
Most Hit or Miss: Trap Lord by A$AP Ferg
Half the record is completely skipable. The other half might be the strongest rap that’s come out this year. “Shabba” may be a perfect party song, and “Hood Pope” might be my most played song of the year.
Most Improved When Being Yelled At You: Yeezus by Kanye West
Blah blah blah blah the constantly shifting narrative around this album is completely fucking exhausting. I will just say one thing – I understood it way better after hearing Kanye scream it at me while also being lifted in the air by nude models and getting daps from “White Jesus” before rapping on top of the Agrocrag in front of 15,000 people. It’s a record you don’t really get until you listen to it while you’re in the same room as the guy.
Most Fun: Beach House 2 by Ty Dolla $ign
Not technically a rap record, but fuck is this a fun listen. Probably because it’s all about fucking and he reminds me melodically of both R. Kelly (but seriously listen to “These Hoes”) and Nate Dogg (seriously listen to “Paranoid”) and that’d be blasphemous but fuck this is a fun listen.
Featured image courtesy of Pretty Much Amazing