Posted tagged ‘C.A.T.T.L.E.’

THE TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2012! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 31, 2013

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You know, it’s funny. Typically, we at Popular Opinions used to post all of our year-end Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza retrospective pieces in January because, let’s face it, the month is largely a cultural dead zone where absolutely nothing happened. But this month, we’ve already had major album releases, hot singles and dis records. It’s been an unusually eventful January, but to deny the past year in wake of such events wouldn’t be fair to the year’s biggest songs. While 2012 was the first year in a long time that there were probably more memorable rap albums than memorable rap singles, a handful of absolute gems made the choice cuts some of the best tracks in recent memory. It is with them in mind we look back at the ten best rap songs 2012 gave us!

10 ) T.I. featuring Lil Wayne – “Ball”

Easily the best T.I. song in about five years, “Ball” is not only a “Triggerman Break”-based throwback to traditional bounce music, but the most energized both T.I. and Wayne have sounded in quite some time. As seen in the Marc Klasfeld directed video, both T.I. and Wayne seem to genuinely be having a blast, lending itself to one of the year’s most enjoyable party records.

9 ) Kristoff Krane – “Birthday Song”

Twin Cities hip-hop artist Kristoff Krane has been most known for his more experimental outings, making his surprisingly conventional Fanfaronade album one of the year’s most welcome surprises. The lead single, “Birthday Song” using the metaphor a lamenting a lonely birthday party for the frustration found in the under-supported moments of being an independent artist.

8 ) Aesop Rock – “Zero Dark Thirty (Blockhead Remix)”

As great as it was to hear Aesop Rock return with his entirely self-produced Rhymesayers album Skelethon, contributions of his frequent collaborator Blockhead were missed. Fortunately, the album’s bonus tracks included a remix by the cult hero producer that not only recaptures the classic Aesop-Blockhead vibe, but flushes out different elements of the lyrics, allowing the song to be appreciated in a wholly new spectrum.

7 ) Nikki Minaj – “Stupid Hoe”

A lot of people hate this song for the dreaded one-two punch of being the worst video of Hype Williams’ career and its obnoxious chorus, but once you divorce the uninspired unfitting visual component, you’re left with a tribute to numerous regional dance musics all masterfully combined into one unrelenting machine gun of a single. More avant garde than most of her contemporaries are willing to give her credit for, “Stupid Hoe” is pulse-pounding razor-sharp fun.

6 ) Odd Future – “Oldie”

The Odd Future movement took an interesting turn in 2012. Still wildly successful, the crew’s projects have become successful enough to turn their devoted fanbase somewhat insular, allowing themselves further freedom to do whatever they want. Also, their television show is great. But their biggest contribution to the year was “Oldie,” an extended posse cut playing to the absolute strengths of the entire rosters and capturing the fun and inventiveness of their movement in a single track, punctuated by an absolutely excellent homecoming verse by the returning Earl Sweatshirt.

5 ) Future f/ Diddy & Ludacris – “Same Damn Time (Remix)”

Probably the most fiercely debated hip-hop artist of the year, Atlanta’s Future’s persona/abilites/talent were all the subject to a polarizing, intense divide over the course of 2012. But if there’s one aspect of him that can’t be denied, it’s his incredible ability to write hooks. “Same Damn Time” is not only the year’s most infectious catchphrase, but the remix brought us the single greatest moment Diddy’s ever had behind the mic.

4 ) The Underachievers – “Gold Soul Theory”

The most promising new rap group of 2012, The Underachievers’ “Gold Soul Theory” was poignant, catchy, well constructed and everything one could hope for in a breakthrough rap single. With a production that uniquely heightens the exotic otherworldly elements of the lyrics, both members’ deliveries slice through the soundscape with an undeniable charisma, making their forthcoming 2013 debut mixtape among the year’s most anticipated.

3 ) A$AP Rocky – “Goldie”

Diverting slightly from the spacey Clams Casino soundscape that helped him first breakthrough, A$AP Rocky’s “Goldie” simply added more layers of his favorite influences to create an entirely new sound uniquely his own. Sleek, thunderous and brimming with cool rooted in the Harlem hip-hop tradition, “Goldie” helped bring the A$AP vision to the next level.

2 ) Mystikal – “Hit Me”

While 2012 gave us the James Brown biography The One, among the greatest music books ever written, it also gave us Mystikal channeling the “Godfather of Soul” for his single “Hit Me.” While Mystikal’s had a few songs since his return from prison in 2010, “Hit Me” has been far-and-away his most blistering. Wildly fun, “Hit Me” is proof Mystikal’s not only still got it, but he remains the man right ‘chea.

1 ) Kendrick Lamar – “Swimming Pools”

As I wrote here, Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” is special because it’s not just a song that mentions drinking, but rather uses the social activity as a deeper exploration of peer pressure. Along with presenting a social message in a way that respects its audience’s intelligence enough without having to painfully spell it out, every single other aspect of the song is executed in a manner of absolute mastery. With Lamar’s tight narrative and wonderfully varied arsenal of flows, his performance alone would make for one of the top songs of the year. Fortunately, the track’s production courtesy of T-Minus  is every bit as nuanced and painstakingly lavish as Kendrick’s rhymes.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

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MY TOP TEN TOP FIVE LISTS OF THE REST OF 2010! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 31, 2011

Goodbye 'Miracle' Year!

Well, it’s the end of January and that means it’s time for one last look back at everything else that happened in 2010. These ten lists should fill you in on everything else that happened in the past calendar year so now that all the interesting things they’ve influenced will begin getting released in February, you’ll have some frame of reference. Let’s just jump right in!

Top 5 Rap Albums

5) Shad – T.S.O.L.
4) Danny Brown – The Hybrid
3) Curren$y – Pilot Talk
2) Earl Sweatshirt – Earl
1) Dez & Nobs – Rocky Dennis

Top 5 Non-Rap Songs

5) Vampire Weekend – “Taxi Cab”
4) Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
3) Camu Tao – “Intervention”
2) Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
1) Make Out – “I Don’t Want Anybody That Wants Me”

Top 5 Lil B Tweets

5) Lil B on Fine Art.
4) Lil B on Outreach.
3) Lil B on Christmas
2) Lil B on Depression.
1) Lil B on Working with Peers.

Top 5 Tumblrs

5) Hungover Owls
4) Fake Criterions
3) Album Tacos
2) Best Roof Talk Ever
1) RealN*ggaTumblr

Top 5 Movies I Actually Saw

5) Toy Story 3
4) Inception
3) True Grit
2) The Fighter
1) The Expendables

FIVE FINGERS ON EACH HAND! TEN FINGERS TOTAL! TEN LISTS OF FIVE! COINCIDENCE?

Top 5 Best New Fast Food Items

5) Burger King’s Fire-Grilled Ribs
4) Subway’s Steak & Bacon Melt
3) New Domino’s Pizza
2) KFC’s Double Down
1) Pizza Hut’s Cheesy Bites Pizza

Top 5 Best New Rap Catchphrases

5) “Check”
4) “F*** Steve Harvey”
3) “H*es On My D*ck cause I look like…”
2) “Flocka”
1) “Swag” (as in #Swag 2010, the word took on a whole new meaning this year)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for Other Places

5) Rediscover: The Outsidaz, ‘The Night Life EP’ (Spectrum Culture)
4) Guilty Pleasures: Mortal Kombat (Spectrum Culture)
3) Fatbeats’ Final Friday (HHLO)
2) Top 5 Rhymes Proving Rick Ross is a Psychopath (FunnyorDie)
1) SinSin Lounge Was Source of Solace (New York Times East Village)

Top 5 Favorite Articles I Wrote for PopularOpinions

5) Female Rappers in 2010: The Reality of Equality
4) ABC News – “Music + Children = MURDER!”
3) Hey Guys, Great News! ‘Avatar’ isn’t racist! (or Anti-American!)
2) Dear Caucasoids: Please Stop Using the N-Word, Especially When Ironically Covering Rap Songs.
1) Drake’s Letter to Aaliyah

Top 5 Videos

5) Celph Titled f/ RA the Rugged Man & FT – “Mad Ammo”
4) B. Dolan – “Earthmovers”
3) Homeboy Sandman – “The Carpenter”
2) Earl Sweatshirt – “Earl”
1) Insane Clown Posse – “Miracles” (Yeah, I know, but honestly no single music video has brought me as much joy in years. Plant a little seed, and nature grows)

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

The Top Ten BET Un:Cut Videos (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

July 6, 2010

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.

It’s hard to believe it has been only four years since the demise of the hour of programming known as BET Un:Cut. The last block of exclusively “underground” and “independent” music on a major basic cable network, its absence has left a booty-shaped hole in the hearts of Hip-Hop and female anatomy aficionados everywhere. Since RapReviews just re:uped the BET UN:CUT SYMPOSIUM PODCAST I did with Adam Bernard two years ago (FREE DOWNLOAD! A MUST HEAR! RING THE ALARM!) I’ve decided to offer a little extra credit with my countdown of the top 10 BET Un:Cut videos of all time.

Be warned, this is the first post in the history of this site I have to declare a state of NSFW in order to do the subject matter justice. Welcome to the land of a thousand asses.

10 ) Lil Jon & the East Side Boys – “Bia Bia”

The original incarnation of BET UN:CUT was to allow the more explicit major label videos that had to be toned down for prime time to air completely unedited. Back in 2001, this was among the show’s first staples. Resembling a David Fincher film, Jon conducts a carnival of urban macabre while controversially wearing a Confederate flag t-shirt. I remember this video being the topic of choice of Ms. Pfeiffer’s sixth period Spanish Class as Amy Johnson would reference it all the time.

9 ) Waxamillion – “No Panties on the Dancefloor”

Sometimes these videos speak for themselves, which is perfect for moments like this were I am at a complete loss for words.

8 ) Crazy Al Cayne – “T&A”

“T&A” is an interesting entry in the Un:Cut canon as it’s among the first fully self-aware videos that aired in the 3-4 AM time-slot. After a string of successful parodies, popular radio personality Crazy Al Cayne decided in 2004 to finally shoot a video for one of his original compositions “T&A.” I remember Cayne himself posting teaser clips of the video for several weeks before it finally aired and having the final product far exceed my seventeen-year-old expectations.

7 ) Murs f/ Shock G & Humpty Hump – “Risky Business”

The heyday of BET Un:Cut occurred simultaneously with that of the modern indie-rap movement, so it’s only natural that the two worlds finally collided. Along with the Dilla-Madlib collaboration “McNasty Filth” shocking a nation of rap-apologist “conscious” coffee house college freshmen, the most successful of all these crossovers was Murs’ “Risky Business.” While Aesop Rock’s “Easy” was the first video from independent powerhouse Definitive Jux getting regular play during the channel’s standard rap video hours, Murs teamed with the Digital Underground frontman to crash parties across all camps and campuses.

6 ) Top Secret – “Dollie”

When I say BET Un:Cut would play a rap video of ANYONE from ANYWHERE regardless of quality, I really really really meant it. Case-in-point, Top Secret’s video for “Dollie,” a tribute to breasts that looks like it was shot on scotch tape through a Game Gear. Following the success of the song, the group attached a disclaimer to the front claiming it was a comedy video. Unfortunately for these Tommy Wiseaus of rap, it’s a notice that would never air.

5 ) TIE – Joker the Bailbondsman f/ Bizzy Bone – “Uh-Huh”

Labtekwon – “Uhnnn Huhnnn”

While I find putting “ties” in Top Ten lists to be cheating most of the time, I just couldn’t justify this as the definitive Un:Cut list without including both of these videos for no other reason than that they share the same name. First, Alaska’s favorite son Joker the Bailbondsman’s follow up to his original Un:Cut classic that has the most obvious use of stock footage in music video history that was propelled by the charisma of the then almost-completely insane Bizzy Bone. This was right when music video censorship started to get extreme, so the catchiness of “money in a ziploc bag” got relegated to after hours enjoyment.

The latter, from Baltimore rapper Labtekwon is another case of local icon striking national exposure through a veritable buffet of ass.

4 ) The Team Uncut – “Time For Freakin”

At the height of my 14-year-old “I only like lyrical rappers” phase, I used to loathe this video for every reason I love it now. I remember playing some Tony Hawk Dreamcast and always pausing to scowl at the TV when I heard that “bau-ba-bau-baup” bassline kick in. Another one of the early staples, it boggles my mind to this day that something this obscenely amateur got national television time several nights a week for five years. From the “I just got this camera, check out the cool stuff I can do”-esqe cleavage zoom-in to the “check out how funny my crazy friend is” edits to the “I really mean it!” facial expressions of the artists to the “BON-GOOOOOOOOS!” there’s an insane level of so-bad-it’s-so- good-it’s-back-to-bad-again-to-back-to-good-to-great at play that in a pre-YouTube world gave us the all exactly what we needed.

3 ) Mighty Casey – “White Girls”

2 ) Black Jesus – “What That Smell Like”

Game got real. If you ever channel-surfed past an episode of Un:Cut, chances are you’ve seen both of these videos. Adam and I go super in-depth on both of these on our Free BET Un:Cut Symposium Podcast (which you should download) so I’ll just add here that when the story of humanity is written and it’s time for the next great species to write the chapter on BET Un:Cut, these will be the two videos given as shining examples of human triumph. Those two and…

1 ) Nelly – “Tip Drill”

Yes folks, chances are the reason you’re reading this right now and the absolute pinnacle of mankind’s achievements can be found at 5:37 and 5:56 when a credit card gets run through a girl’s buttcheeks. I’m sure some of you out there are deconstructing that as some sort of allegory for the Bush Administration or what Hip-Hop went through over the past decade. I don’t care. What I do care about is how at once point there was a programming block set aside to where such things could be aired on television. It was a nightly magical moment during my formative years that to-this-day shapes my perceptions of women and the world around me. Thank you Mom & Dad for bringing me into this world. Thank you BET for bringing this program into my life. Thank you God for the divine touch that made it all come together.

We give BET Un:Cut a Five out of Five.

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

CHAZ’S TOP TEN RAP ALBUMS OF THE DECADE NOT NAMED “SUPREME CLIENTELE!” (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 30, 2010

RAP MUSIC!

It’s a little known fact that everybody knows and agrees on “SUPREME CLIENTELE” by Ghostface Killah being the absolute best rap album of the decade. It came out within the first quarter of the first year and stood for the entire stretch without being topped. You’ve had ten years to listen to it and chances are if you’re reading this you’re either nodding and going “Why yes, I agree with this statement” or you’re buying the album off Amazon.com for $6.99 here or you’re a lame. Regardless, putting this album at the top of another list is masturbatory at best and auto-erotically asphyxiating at worst. So, how about we talk about the ten best rap albums that aren’t this album, eh? Alright, let’s make with the rap-rap!

Also, I’ve deliberately chosen to share songs that weren’t singles because #1 these entire albums are awesome and #2 I’m awesome.

10) Turf Talk – “West Coast Vaccine” (2007)
The magnum opus of the exciting, innovating and defiantly ‘Hip-Hop’ Hyphy movement, Turf Talk and producer Rick Rock teamed up for record that, even after multiple listens, surprises and stuns while keeping the party moving. An acquired taste if there ever was one, “West Coast Vaccine” stands the pinnacle of a moment that ended before its time.

9) Non-Prophets – “Hope” (2003)
While the latter half of the decade featured rappers attempting to make music that sounded like eras they were born too late to be a part of, Sage Francis and producer Joe Beats beat them to the punchline by making a traditionalist boom-bap record that plays more like historical fiction than a love letter. By using subtlety where others used nostalgia, Sage and Joey made what was once old new again and, dare I say, fresh!

8 ) Cannibal Ox – “The Cold Vein” (2001)
Following the fallout of his group Company Flow, El-P channeled his cold outlook on life in New York City through the warmth of his ASR-10 for his label’s landmark album “The Cold Vein.” More than a beatmaker, El-P showed what makes him a truly great producer by using MCs Vast Aire and Vordul Mega as tools in his soundscape, accentuating their positives and hiding their negatives for an experience countless others have failed to duplicate since.


7) M.O.P. – “Warriorz” (2000)

While M.O.P. spent most of the decade in record label limbo, they remained on the Hip-Hop audience’s radar for nine years with what CBRap’s Andrew Noz refers to as “the last boom bap record.” A brutal swan song for Loud Records, “Warriorz” features Brownsville’s finest cracking skulls and snapping necks with such fervor that you can’t help but yell along with them.

6) TI – “King” (2006)
While you could make the argument that he was a better rapper on “Trap Muzik” or had better production on “I’m Serious,” the soundscape TI created on his 2006 masterpiece “King” is as complete a statement as albums get. The only rap album released that year that went platinum, TI represented the genre at its all-time lowpoint with not only a fantastic performance all his own, but defining a sound by bringing the best out of his in-house production team* and getting the likes of B.G. and Common to drop their best verses of the decade on their cameos.

5) Clipse – “Lord Willin” (2002)
In the post-9/11 post-shiny suit era, the Neptunes’ minimalist production on “Grindin” by the Clipse proved sometimes skeletons cast the largest shadows. While the album frequently faced the “they only rhyme about coke” critique, Pusha T and Malice didn’t use the subject as a crutch, rather a launching pad for how intertwined and trickled-down the hustlers’ profession affected their lives as well as a unifying theme that made it an incredibly entertaining and cohesive album.

4) Brother Ali – “Shadows on the Sun” (2003)
Some lives are so eventful, their memoirs read like textbooks. In the case of Brother Ali’s 2003 debut “Shadows on the Sun,” sometimes they’re just as enlightening. Ali’s brutal honestly and bombastic delivery makes his vulnerable juggernaut persona one of rap’s most compelling characters, and with producer Ant at the helm he was guided to start his career off with a masterpiece.

3) Sean Price – “Monkey Bars” (2005)
The buzz surrounding the man once known as “the other half of Heltah Skeltah” has been arguably the most surprising comeback of the past ten years. Reinventing himself as “the brokest rapper you know,” Sean Price let his charisma stream-of-consciously wander through his apathy over a hodgepodge of beats ranging from the Boot Camp aggression of “Boom Bye Yeah” to the 9th Wonder-laced “Heartburn” bringing new meaning to the term ‘hopeless romantic.’ Price’s ridiculously subtle and complex writing catches both the listeners who appreciate the face value thug tales, as well as rewards repeat listeners who catch the numerous double and triple entendres.

2) Masta Ace – “Disposable Arts” (2001)
The Juice Crew’s Masta Ace returned to the rap world with “Disposable Arts,” alerting an entire generation of backpackers that #1 ‘this is how it should be done’ and #2 ‘Masta Ace is lightyears ahead of you.’ The first honest documentation of a long-silent Golden Age rapper in the twilight of his career, Ace’s “Disposable Arts” was both life-affirming and effortlessly relevant. The number of rap concept albums that actually work is very low** but Ace pulls it off with this required listening for every rapper, listener, or person with even a passing interest in the genre.


1) Scarface – “The Fix” (2002)

Wow, where to begin. It’s daunting to even think about how much Scarface accomplishes over this 47:16 running time. From the best ‘back in the day’ song ever recorded (“On My Block”) to outshining two frequently argued ‘greatests of all time’ without breaking a sweat (Jay-Z on “Guess Who’s Back” and Nas on “In Between Us” who both still turn in two of their all-time best performances) all the way through “Heaven” a track that explains Face’s relationship with God foresaking heavy-handedness in favor of testifying with more genuine sincerity than the entire genre of “Christian rap” it is without peer. In a genre where most careers end after two albums***, Scarface’s seventh solo album stands as a shining example of what happens when an artist grows with their audience. Incredible.

So those are my favorite favorites.**** Pretty good decade for rap. Remember, these albums are all available at your nearest internet collection.

Drake (rapper)

(RUNNER UP BUTTERCUPS:
UGK – “Underground Kingz”
Madvillain – “Madvillainy”
El-P – “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead”
semi.oFFICIAL – “The Anti-Album”
Big Moe – “City of Syrup”
Atmosphere – “Strictly Leakage”
Paul Wall & Chamillionaire – “Get Ya Mind Correct”
Murs & 9th Wonder – “Murray’s Revenge”
Three-6 Mafia – “Most Known Unknowns”
Z-Ro – “Let the Truth Be Told”)

*Grand Hustle: The World’s Most Talented Weed-Carriers.

**A whopping ‘one.’

***if that.

****To be honest, I’ve probably listened to The Outsidaz “The Nightlife EP” more than anything else this decade, but alas it’s an EP so it’s disqualified. Fear not my boy, it will be a treasured subject for another day.

Until next time let’s agree to agree!

CHAZ’S TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2009! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 28, 2010

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!

RAPPIN

Rappin: This Movie Had to Happen!

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.

Rap!

(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!