CHAZ’S TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2009! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)
Welcome to the first official list of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza 2009! If you missed the intro, you can find the link magically hidden somewhere in this sentence!
I listen to a lot of rap music. I love the genre and can’t get enough of it. It’s the last great American music that hasn’t become homogenized by our urban sprawl culture, allowing countless different styles of writing, vocals and production to be heard in a constant evolving soundscape. These ten favorites are as diverse and awesome as this great country, and I suggest you give every single one of them a listen.
10) Uncle Murder – “Murderah”
– The first great rap song of 2009 featured rapper Uncle Murder FINALLY releasing a song as awesome as his moniker. In an inspired moment of channeling both “Here Comes the Hotstepper” AND “Heartbeat,” Uncle Murder (a name I never get tired of typing/saying) familiarizes himself with the listener in the most flushed out example of his personality to date.
9) Murs – “Eighteen to Twenty-One”
– From Rhymesayers’ DJ BK-One/Benzilla Radio do Canibal compilation that came out last year comes another shining reason why Murs is my Best Friend. Combining his flare for storytelling and everyman-rap sensibilities, the Legend drops an entertaining three minutes on why nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ fresh from the oven.
8 ) Nocando – “XLR”
Off his FREE internet release The Patient EP, Scribble Jam champion Nocando proves here why he’s the most promising and consistent Project Blowed affiliate recording today. While he shares his peers’ penchant for experimental production and progressive rhyme patterns, Nocando’s bold form and structure gives his work a perfected attention to detail while still maintaining a genuine enjoyable unpredictability from the listener.
7) 8thW1 – “Harlem Hindu”
The centerpiece of production team 2 Hungry Bros.’s “My Crew’s All Thinner” mixtape, “Harlem Hindu” by A-OK Collective’s 8thw1 sounds like the first voice of post-Recession underground rap. While the subject matter seems stream-of-conscuous at first, the crescendos that his voice reaches echo the frustration shared by many. I also like the part at 1:04 when he shouts me out.
6) Freeway – “Freeway’s Beard”
In 2009, FREEWAY MADE A SONG ABOUT EMINEM HIDING IN HIS BEARD. While the only name I like hearing shouted out in a song more than my own is Jean Claude Van-Damme’s, that’s just icing on the cake as FREEWAY MADE A SONG ABOUT EMINEM HIDING IN HIS BEARD. The three verses give you the who, how and why, but why are you even still reading this when, as previously stated, FREEWAY MADE A SONG ABOUT EMINEM HIDING IN HIS BEARD.
5) M.O.P. – “Forever and Always”
It’s an unwritten law in Hip-Hop that, if it’s been more than five years since your group released an album, is has to be titled ‘The Foundation.’ These usually contain a forgettable ‘we were good and we’re still good’ song, but on M.O.P.’s first album in nine years they teamed up with Statik Selektah for a song just as nostalgic and bittersweet as it is skull-crushing.
4) Despot – “Look Alive”
Accompanied by indie-it-beat-boys Ratatat’s production, the most cynical voice in rap returns with a song just as entertaining as it is ominous. Hopefully 2010 will finally see the release of Despot’s Definitive Jux full-length as “Look Alive” further proves sometimes the life of the party is the same one who poops it.
3) D’lo f/ E-40, Tha Jacka & Beeda Weeda – “No Hoe (remix)”
Opening with my favorite verse of the year, E-40 leads the parade of first generation Post-Hyphy MCs over a fluctuating minimalist beat that sounds like it’s either going to fall apart or explode at any time. Between his performance here and rapping AS Carlos Santana, 40 Water’s got me excited for his forthcoming 2010 release.
2) Abstract Rude f/ Myka-9 and Aceyalone – “Thynk Eye Can”
Abstract Rude’s always had moments of brilliance but never seemed to get his personality, charisma and technical proficiency on the same track. That is, until “Thynk Eye Can” where he and fellow first-generation Good Lifers Myka-9 and Aceyalone unleash their best verses in YEARS giving the same call-and-response galvanization and straight-forward no-gimmicks RAPPING THEIR ASS OFF that made their Freestyle Fellowship heydays so astounding. Hearing these greats make a welcome return to form was an incredible moment. I love rap, you guys.
1) DJ Quik & Kurupt – “Hey Playa (Morrocan Blues)”
It’s 2009, there’s no excuse for producers to complain “all the dope samples have been taken already.” Not true. Veteran producer DJ Quik flabbergasted the world when it was revealed that he found the sample for “Hey Playa” (from his tremendous album ‘Blaqout’ with Kurupt) from an episode of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman.” Seriously. Listen to the track above and then go to 2:11 of –
It’s something so bafflingly well done, the beat goes far past the point of gimmick to be legitimate art and the latest great argument for sampling. Complimented by great verses from both DJ Quik and Kurupt, it’s a party I don’t want to leave but will always return to as the best rap song of 2009.
(Psst – Here’s the five awesome songs I cut in order to keep the arbitrary number system:
Esoteric – “Back to the Lab”
Jay Electronica – “Exhibit C”
Lil Boosie – “Mind of a Maniac”
Mac Lethal – “Two Bottles Clacking”
Sage Francis – “Pump”)
Until next time…let’s agree to agree!