Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top Hip Hop Albums of 2008 (according to Nolan)

1) Nas – Untitled
Although many felt that Nasir Jones did not deliver on this, this turned out to be lyrically the best album of the year. 14 years after Illmatic, Nas still brings brute passion in his rhymes. The wide array of smooth beats ("Queens Get the Money", "You Can't Stop Us Now") to bangers ("Hero") doesn't hurt either.

2) Elzhi – The Preface
Elzhi is quickly becoming one of the most respected MCs in hip hop. This album came out of nowhere, but impressed many, even reaching some more mainstream clientele. Elzhi has an amazing flow and incredible original rhyme schemes (check out "Guessing Game"). "Motown 25", which features Elzhi's Detroit buddy Royce da 5'9, is an absolute gem. The two MCs trade fantastic verses over another fantastic Black Milk beat. Definitely one of the best tracks of the year. Elzhi, Royce, and Black Milk will appear later in this list too.

3) Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that S*** Gold
The album was finished at the end of 2006, but Atmosphere couldn't get a release date until April '08. While there are a few weak tracks (I cannot stand "Dreamer"), Atmosphere delivers another superb album. Producer Ant lays down some incredible non-sampled instrumental beats, a first for him. There are some AMAZING songs on this album. Don't sleep on the last track "In Her Music Box".

4) Jake One – White Van Music
While this album also has some losers ("Dead Wrong" with Young Buck is awful). The winners more than make up for this. The MF Doom tracks are unreal, enough said. Brother Ali lays down one of his best on "The Truth" with Freeway. "Oh Really" is a fantastic short song with Posdonous AND Slug. Both deliver quality verses. "Soil Raps" with Keak da Sneak proves why he is not just a hyphy MC, his lyrics and swagger are fantastic. The gem of the album to me is "Glow" with our friends Elzhi and Royce da 5'9. Another incredible track with two of the most exciting MCs out.

5) Common Market – Tobacco Road
MC RA Scion and DJ/Producer Sabzi (Blue Scholars) turn out another incredible album with a whole new sound. Smooth beats and intense rhymes make catch new listeners attention and please old ones. There are fast songs and slow songs, something for everyone. The one problem with the album is that at times it gets boring and you lose track of what's going on.

6) Black Milk – Tronic
Black Milk is a superb producer from Detroit, mainstream or underground. He's gonna blow soon. The underground already loves him. He's Fatbeats' prodigy. While there are some so-so tracks, the bangers are incredible. "Losing Out" with Royce Da 5'9 is a SICK, SICK track. "The Matrix" is also incredible.

7) Q-Tip – The Renaissance
ATCQ frontman Q-Tip does not dissapoint with his new album. It's damn good. Quality the whole way through. Make sure you check out the Dilla produced "Move", the beat is sick nastay!

8) Murs – Murs For President
Underground warrior Murs makes is major label debut. While I was somewhat dissapointed, it's definitely a quality album (fortunately "Dreadlocks" didn't make it on the album). "Everything" is an amazing introspective song and their are a bunch of other excellent tracks.

9) 9th Wonder & Buckshot – The Formula
While definitely not a great complete album, there are some sweet tracks on this. Buckshot's rhyming skills have vastly improved since the Enta da Stage days.

10) PaceWon & Mr. Green – The Only Color That Matters Is Green
I literally discovered this album two days ago, but there are some AMAZING tracks. PaceWon was featured on the Fugees "The Score" and delivers a nice flow on some great beats. "Four Quarters" and "Children Sing" are tracks worth purchasing.


Blogger Geoff said...

Posdnuos needs a haircut.

12:02 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

i didn't hear all of "untitled", but felt that rza/bobby digital's "you can't stop me now"--which really obviously uses the same sample as nas' "you can't stop us now"--was a lot better (even though inspectah deck drops maybe his all time worst verse on the track)

4:49 PM  

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