Oh hi! It is the month of June, so what better time than now to aware yourself of some tight rap releases that have come out this year. I should probably preface this by saying that I have strong regional biases when it comes to rap music (via growing up in Northern California and East Coast rap not being good since ’05), so sorry if ASAP Rocky is not on here, or whoever the fuck that one rapper is at the moment that people who don’t like rap music listen to:
Joe Blow- Real Recognize Real
Joe Blow is an Oakland rapper who came out with an extremely impressive debut album last year titled You Should Be Paying Me, that was filled with dope introspective gangster rap songs such as this one. As great as his debut was, his new album is a big step up, with a lot more diverse production (the song above is produced by Young L) and songs that display Joe Blow working outside of his comfort zone of melancholy gangster rap. The beats go hard, the features are great, and there is nothing bad I have to say about this album. It represents everything that is good and lovely about Bay Area rap in 2012.
Lil Stu & Lil Levi- Real Recognize Real
Two albums titled Real Recognize Real? Is this a fucking joke?!? Nope. Rappers are definitely not ones to shy away from cliches within their genre, but neither are most artists of other types of music we all love and adore (e.g. all hardcore and metal). While the album title is nothing original, Lil Stu and Lil Levi from Kansas City deliver an album that sets itself apart with a tangible morose atmosphere. The album is chalk full of melancholy raps reflecting on how shitty their lives have been/are and all the regrets they have accumulated in their lifetime, backed up by a laid back, lo-fi production that sounds really warm and comfortable. Great album to kick back to and ponder how sometimes, life is rly hard. I guess Lil Levi just died this past April, which is really sad to hear. I have no idea what happened to him and cannot find shit about it on the internet, but RIP Lil Levi for sure.
E-40- Block Brochure: Welcome to The Soil Vol. 1,2 & 3
E-40′s new triple album is way too long and its intimidating length definitely made it difficult for people to easily digest and appreciate. E-40 has been rapping for over two decades now and having switched up his style many times over the years, he is many things to many different people. This mega release sounds like he is trying to please all those different fans with a sampling of every type of rap music he has made in the past 20 years. For first time listeners it might sound kind of messy, but if you grew up listening to E-40, such as myself, then it sounds like a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Props to E-40 for continuing to make rap songs about shooting someone’s face off well into his 40s.
Laroo & Turf Talk- Sick-Wid-It: Block Ops
Hey speaking of E-40, his label, Sick Wid It Records, put out another album this year by 40′s cousin Turf Talk and Laroo that is pretty damn great. The album is definitely the catchiest rap album I’ve heard all year and is chalk full of hooks that will work themselves into the deep crevices of your brain. Along with entertaining beats and memorable hooks, what makes this album stand out is how well Turf Talk and Laroo play off each other with their rhymes. Turf Talk is the Zany Bro of the two, with a rap flow that can get pretty ridiculous at times and Laroo balances him out with more straightforward raps. On top of all that the album is under 50 minutes long, so it never wears out its welcome in your ears.
Feva- Pay Da Fee
Feva is a rapper from Kansas City who came out of nowhere this year with this enormous debut double album that features guest appearances from just about every prominent rapper from the Bay Area and Kansas City (it’s kind of a long story, but the Kansas City and Bay Area rap scenes have been closely connected since the early 90′s). Some guy I met who knows Feva said that he started working on this album like seven years ago, but had to go to jail for a couple years and was finally able to finish it up recently. I don’t think Feva will ever admit that though, because rap is like the antithesis of death metal; you want it to seem like you put as little effort as possible into making music as a rapper so you can drown in pussy with your nonchalance, while metal bands spend six years composing complicated riff salads that only IMN will ever appreciate. Advantage: Rap Music. I wrote about this album more extensively on my blog if you are interested in hearing/reading more.
So those are the best rap albums of 2012 so far that you are probably not too familiar with; hopefully you like what you hear and they will have you dancing like this: