Top 200 Hip-Hop Songs of 2013

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Article by Alloyius Mcilwaine

Welcome to Cultures Clothing’s “Best of Hip-Hop in 2013” wrap-up article – featuring the Top 200 Hip-Hop Songs of 2013!  I received a lot of positive feedback when I published my 2012 wrap-up piece, so I decided to do this article annually!  I tried to sift through as much music as humanly possible to present you with the best that this year had to offer.  However, before we get to the list, I have a couple of disclaimers:

I LOVE Hip-Hop, but I’m also very critical of it.  If I’m going to be honest, I tend to dislike the majority of the commercial rap currently on the market (for legitimate reasons that I’ll expound on later).  So, outside of a few exceptions, you’re not going to find a lot of that kind of music on this list.  Having said that, I’m not one of those underground Hip-Hop fans that just hates all commercial artists regardless of the quality of their music.  I believe that line of thinking is extremely closed-minded and asinine.  The only way to truly have an informed opinion about the music is to judge everything on a song by song basis.  For example, I’m not a fan of Rick Ross AT ALL.  I think he’s a fraud with a good taste in production and limited talent.  In spite of that, “Poor Decisions” by Rick Ross ft. Lupe Fiasco & Wale made this list.  It’s a solid Hip-Hop song, and Rick Ross actually had (somewhat of) a positive message.  Furthermore, I think that the “Started From The Bottom” song by Drake is terrible.  However, “From Time” by Drake ft Jhene Aiko ALMOST made the list because it’s a relatable song that has a lot of honesty in it (despite some of Drake’s false bravado).  At the end of the day, I just thought that there were better songs that deserved more recognition.

In general, the reason why I dislike a lot of the commercial music is because of the dumbed down content.  I have this crazy conspiracy theory where I believe that the record companies decided to gradually dumb down mass-marketed music over time.  By doing this, they wouldn’t have to work as hard to create a hit record.  It makes sense from a business perspective.  If the consumer is willing to accept anything that you give them, then your business will have an easier time pushing off products with lower standards of quality.  Whether on not my theory is true, it is a fact that we’ve now gotten to the point where we (as a culture) celebrate mediocrity.  The Grammy committee nominated 2Chainz (formerly known as “Tity Boi”) for one of the highest accolades given in music last year.  And recently, record companies were fighting over the right to sign Trinidad James after he created one of the most ignorant songs in the history of mankind (“All Gold Everything“).  Yes, the song has a catchy beat…but it’s borderline minstrel show (especially if you watch the video).  The song is so bad that my sister and I thought that it was a funny parody track.  I was laughing hysterically until someone told us that it was a real song *CRINGE*.  Seeing these things frustrates me to no end, because I see all of this high-quality music being ignored to champion sub-par nursery rhyme music.

But fear not Hip-Hop fans.  I’ve pain-stakingly comprised one of the most legitimate Hip-Hop lists that you’ll find anywhere on the internet.  I refuse to celebrate mediocrity in my publication.  I take pride in that fact that I’m providing a platform for fans to be able to discover high quality music (with incredible lyricism and amazing production).  I realize that there are some of you out there that flip through lists like this and completely dismiss them if you don’t see your favorite artist on there.  However, if you do that, then there’s a chance that you’ll miss out on something that you might actually like.  So here’s the Hip-Hop Litmus Test.  Listen to the three songs posted below:

“Own Appeal” – Oddisee

“Unbreakable Me” – Reks

“A Christmas F**king Miracle” – Run the Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike)

These are but a few of the dope Hip-Hop songs released in 2013.  I would definitely recommend checking out this list if you liked at least one of the tracks posted above.  If you didn’t like any of those songs, then we probably have vastly different opinions about what Hip-Hop is.  Either way, I hope that the majority of you enjoy this article.  Apologies in advance if I omitted any songs that legitimately deserve to be on this list.  It’s next to impossible to hear everything that came out this year, so there are bound to be some tracks that I over-looked.  Please leave me a comment if you can think of any songs that I left out.  I’m looking forward to checking out your suggestions.  So, with that said, enjoy the list below.  Hopefully this article will introduce readers to some dope artists that aren’t getting nearly enough recognition:

Top 200 Hip-Hop SONGS of 2013 (In No Particular Order)

1) “One Life” – Epidemic

2) “If I Could Sing” – Qwel & Maker – BEST HIP-HOP LOVE SONG OF 2013

3) “The Quest(ion)” – ScienZe – BEST HIP-HOP MUSIC VIDEO OF 2013

4) “HOPE” – Phora

5) “A Christmas Fucking Miracle” – Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike)

6) “Own Appeal” – Oddisee

7) “Unbreakable Me (Live Acoustic)” – REKS – Best Acoustic Hip-Hop Track of 2013

8) “BURGUNDY WHIP” – MED, BLU & MADLIB ft. Jimetta Rose

9) “Nite & Day” – Marco Polo ft. Big Daddy Kane

10) “Black Diamonds” – Natti (of CunninLynguists) ft. Jason Coffey

11) “Titanic” – Jazz Addixx

12) “The Process” – Oxygen ft. Dr. Becket & Emskee

13) “Don’t Run From Me” – Jarell Perry & Locksmith – BEST HIP-HOP & R&B COLLAB OF 2013

14) “Eulogy” – Tanya Morgan

15) “Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst” – Black Milk

16) “Hip-Hop Head Count” – Biologic

18) “So High” – Paranom & Purpose

19) “Could It Be”  – Co$$ ft. Blu, Denmark Vessey and Sene – BEST POSSE CUT OF 2013

20) “Best Worst Day” – Supastition – BEST STORY-TELLING HIP-HOP TRACK OF 2013

21) “We Will Make It” P.R. ft. Cise Star (CYNE) & Blu

22) “Quicksand” – Yancey Boys (Illa J + Frank Nitty) & J. Dilla feat. Common & Dezi Paige

23) “Thumper aka Caped Crusader aka The King James Diversion” – Binary Star

24) “3 O-Clock” Marco Polo feat. Organized Konfusion (Pharoahe Monch & Prince Po)

25) “Time To Ponder” – 7 G.E.M.S. (Tragic Allies + Tragedy Khadafi)

26) “Sun Shine” – Doppelgangaz

27) “What You Need” – Moe Pope & Rain

28) “Tears For Uriah” – CYNE

29) “A Rainy Day” – Raekwon

30) “Tender Greens” – Durag Dynasty

31) “Push Thru (Marco Polo Remix)” – Talib Kweli ft. Curren$y & Kendrick Lamar

32) “Lake Effect” – Qwel & Maker

33) “They Don’t Know”  – Blame One & J57 ft Akie Bermiss

34) “LIFE” – Thomas Prime & Tiff The Gift ft Akin Yai (CYNE), Awon & Dicap17

35) “Love Is Blind” – Co$$

36) “Built Pyramids” – NORE aka PAPI feat. Large Professor

37) “Unorthodox” – Joey Bada$$

38) “Deep” – FATNICE

39) “Old School Love” – Lupe Fiasco ft Ed Sheeran – BEST FEEL GOOD HIP-HOP SONG of 2013

40) “The Ocean” – Epidemic

41) “Savagely Attack” – Czarface ft. Ghostface

42) “Charlie Brown” – ScienZe ft. Blu

43) “The Banana Clip Theory” – Big K.R.I.T.

44) “Jason Statham” – Has-Lo

45) “Barbituates” – Doppelgangaz

46) “Excursions” – Lewis Parker ft. John Robinson

47) “You Were The Shit (In High School)” – Cage

48) “Good Things Die” – Ugly Heroes

49) “Acid Rain” – Chance The Rapper

50) “SLRIII (Round of Applause)” – Lupe Fiasco

51) “The Mahdi” – The Underachievers

52) ”Watercolors” – Fatnice ft. Charlie K

53) “Another Galaxy” – Natti (Prod. by Kno of CunninLynguists) – Best Hip-Hop Beat of 2013

54) “The Last Stop” Fate feat. Blu

55) “Divine People” – Shing Shing Regime

56) “Chai Latte” – Shirosky ft. Awon, Thomas Prime, White Rain and Mini Lee

57) ”Monochrome” – L’Orange & Stik Figa

58) “Jedi Code” [Prod. by 9th Wonder] – Rapsody f. Phonte & Jay Electronica

59) “Microphone Phenomenal” – Paranom & Purpose

60) “Learn Truth” – R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Talib Kweli

61) “Masterful” – John Robinson & Kyo Itachi

62) “Michael” – Sadistik – BEST HIP-HOP DEDICATION TRACK OF 2013

63) “Catch The Beat” – Man of BOOOM

64) “Yeezus Was A Mortal Man” – Oddisee

65) “Alone” – L’Orange ft. Blu – 2013 Hip-Hop Producer of the Year (L’Orange)

66)  “Love Again” – Co$$

67) “Broken Pendulum” – Qwel & Maker

68) “Life Is A Gamble” – Big K.R.I.T.

69) “The Apple & The Asp” – Has-Lo

70) “Congratulations” – Common ft Cocaine 80’s

71) “Critical Thinking” – Meyhem Lauren

72) “Stone Like Me” – L’Orange & Stik Figa feat. Has-Lo – 2013’s Rising Star of the Year 2013 (Stik Figa)

73) “Human Mic” – Talib Kweli

74) “Dyslexic” – LMNO (produced by Evidence)

75) “Holy Visions” – Zion I ft. Fashawn

76) “Rolling Thunder” – Action Bronson

77) “The Healing” – Thomas Prime ft. Landon Wordswell

78) “No Waves” – The WHOevers ft. The Netherfriends

79) “Pressure” – Elzhi

80) “Dayz Go By” – Paranom & Purpose

81) “Come Here” – Talib Kweli ft. Miguel

82) “Authentic” – Kid Tsunami Feat. Bahamadia

83) “Men Of Honor” – 7 G.E.M.S. (Tragic Allies + Tragedy Khadafi) feat. Relentless

84) “Power of Thought” – Denmark Vessey

85) “The Fear” – Mantra

86) “Not For Nothing” – Koncept

87) “Dwindlen Books” – Raw Poetic – Best Experimental Hip-Hop Song of 2013

88) “He Say She Say” – Clear Soul Forces

89) “On & On” – SoulChef ft. Landon Wordswell

90) “What’s Love” – Torae ft. Pharoahe Monch

91) “Nina” – ANTHM

92) “Be Yourself” – Shuko ft. Blu

93) “Gauteng” – Asheru ft. Raheem Devaughn

94) “Midget Cough” – Action Bronson x Party Supplies

95) “Monday To Sunday” – Epidemic

96) “Different Kind Of High” – Benny Freestyles

97) “Summer Breeze” – Slum Village

98) “Day In The Life” – Joey Bada$$

99) ”Prey” – Epidemic & Dreamtek

100) ”Whole Life” – A-Alikes ft. M-1 (of Dead Prez)

 

101) “Lesson Iz Done” – uMang

102) “Spraying My Pen” – K-Os ft. Saukrates & Shad

103) “Get It” – Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike)

104) “Woodwalker” – RA Scion ft. Mark Shirtz

105) “Long Walkers” – Qwel & Maker

106) “We Movin” – AZ

107) “Dancin In The Rain” – A.G.

108) “Bird’s Eye View” – Statik Selectah ft. Raekwon, Joey Badass & Black Thought

109) “Super Ninjas” – The Almighty (Canibus, Planet Asia, Cappadonna, & Nino Graye)

110) “Day In My Decade” – Has-Lo

111) “They Die by Dawn” – The Bullitts Ft. Yasiin Bey, Jay Electronica & Lucy Liu

112) “Nuff Said” – Raw Poetic (of Panacea)

113) “Rise of the Black Suits” – Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge

114) “Love Me” – Koncept f. Lollybone

115) “Make Up Sex” – Substantial ft. Deacon the Villain

116) “Abracadabra” – Qwel & Maker

117) “Men Are Mortal” – Homeboy Sandman

118) “Champion Of The Block” – MidaZ the Beast

119) “Summer Madness” – Phora

120) “When It Rains” – Dag Savage ft. Aloe Blacc

121) “Animal Pharm” – Lupe Fiasco

122) “What’s Wrong” – Rakim

123) “Rhyme of the Year” – Nino Bless

124) “Visionz” – Killah Priest

125) “All For Sale” – Masta Ace

126) “Long Drive Home” – Ugly Heroes

127) “Death Sentence” – Prodigy ft. Roc Marciano

128) “B. Dawk” – Reef the Lost Cause

129) “Loud Enough” – Moe Pope & John Robinson

130) “Give Em Eff” – Julian Malone

131) “On One” – Qwel & Maker

132) “Nosetalgia” – Pusha T & Kendrick Lamar

133) “Ladies & Gentlemen” – Pete Rock & Camp Lo ft. Talib Kweli

134) “Gettysburg” – Willie the Kid & Alchemist

135) “Art Imitates Life” – Talib Kweli ft. Black Thought & Rah Digga

136) “Dag, Philly Too” – Homeboy Sandman w/ El RTNC (formerly Rthentic RTNC)

137) “Stay Focused” – uMang

138) “The Maven” – K-Rino

139) “Before The Sunset” Blame One & J57 Ft Exile

140) “Smoke Rings” – L’Orange and Stik Figa

141) “Don’t Front” – Eminem

142) “Illest In Charge” – Klaus Layer ft. Blu

143) “Iwantweback” – Jean Grae

144) “90’s Baby” – Phora ft. InDJnous

145) “How You Livin” – Kenji The Wise

146) “Babies” – Fatnice ft. Charlie K

147) “City in Amber” – Sadistik Feat. Lotte Kestner

148) “EL ESTUDIANTE” – Spit Gemz

149) “F.A.M.E.” – Freddie Gibbs ft. Daz Dillinger & Spice 1

150) “Job Well Done” –  Run The Jewels (EL-P & Killer Mike)

151) “Take It There” – The WHOevers

152) “For The People” – Spectac & Shakim

153) “The Beginning” – Fashawn

154) “Kill the King”  Sadistik Ft. Deacon the Villain (of CunninLynguists)

155) “G.U.R.U.” – Marco Polo ft. Talib Kweli, DJ Premier

156) “City Rising from the Ashes” – Deltron 3030 ft. Mike Patton

157) “Jambalaya” – Rapper Big Pooh (Prod. by 9th Wonder)

158) “Is Happiness Just A Word?” Vinnie Paz (of Jedi Mind Tricks) feat. Yes Alexander

159) “Truth” – Ill Bill (Prod. By Pete Rock)

160) “Open Letter Remix” – Jay-Z ft. Common

161) “Thought Process” – Black Thought (of The Roots)

162) “Give It Up” – Koncept ft. Reks

163) “Catchin’ The Vibe” – Quasimoto

164) “My First White Girl” – The White Mandingos – Funniest Hip-Hop Song of 2013

165) “30 Pieces of Silver” – Ka

166) “Crisis Music” – Canibus

167) “Invincible” – Ghettosocks ft El Da Sensei

168) “Rap God” – Eminem

169) “Control” – Big Sean ft. Kendrick Lamar & Jay Electronica

170) “Thank You” – Busta Rhymes ft. Q-Tip, Kanye West, Lil Wayne

171) “Poor Decisions” – Wale ft. Lupe Fiasco & Rick Ross

172) “Favela Love” – Talib Kweli Featuring Seu Jorge

173) “Continue” – Clear Soul Forces

174) Sadistik (Feat. Cage & Yes Alexander) – Russian Roulette

175) “Space Mountain” – Koncept ft. Tanya Morgan

176) ”Cage Ish” – Epidemic & Dreamtek

177) “Run” – Dice Raw

178) ”Money Matters” – J-Live

179) “Reflections From The Porch” – Qwazaar

180) “The Dangerous Three” – R.A. The Rugged Man ft. Brother Ali & Masta Ace

181) “The System Gotcha” – KRS ONE

182) “Where’s the Exit?” – Illogic & Blockhead

183) “Human In Disguise” – Mr. Green & Benefit

184) “What Is This Loneliness” – Deltron 3030

185) “Savages” – Marco Polo ft. Slaine, Celph Titled, and Ill Bill

186) “Chiseled Masterpiece” – Illogic & Blockhead ft Lionesque

187) Peroxide” – MED (aka Medaphoar) & Blu w/ Madlib feat. Dam-Funk

188) “Bad Guy” – Eminem

189) K-Def ft. Insight, Has Lo & Kaimbr – Riot Material

190) ”Global” – Bahamadia ft. Neb Luv & Spontaneous

191) Before Midnight (RMX)” –  L’Orange & Stik Figa ft. Rapsody & Castle

192) “Lyrical Fitness” – Fatnice

193) “I Stand Alone” – Robert Glasper Experiment ft Common

194) “How We Do” – Epidemic (HexOne + Tek-Nition) & Dreamtek

195) “Ring The Alarm” – Divine ScienZe ft. Blu

196) “Expectations (Croup Remix)” – Supastition ft. Shylow

197) “Life We Chose (Mobb Deep Remix)” – Havoc (of Mobb Deep) feat. Prodigy (of Mobb Deep)

198) “Piece of Peace” – Illogic & Blockhead

199) “Seven Series Triplets” – Action Bronson & Harry Fraud feat. Prodigy (of Mobb Deep); Raekwon (of Wu-Tang Clan)

200) “Mass Hysteria” – Rapsody

 

And just in case you’re wondering, here are my “Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2013” (in No Particular Order):

  • Qwel & Maker – Beautiful Raw
  • Epidemic – “Somethin’ For Tha Listeners”
  • Paranom & Purpose – Life Outside The Frame
  • L’Orange & Stik Figa – The City Under The City
  • Blame One & J57 – Walk In The Sun
  • The Doppelgangaz – HARK!
  • Oddisee – The Beauty in All / Tangible Dream
  • 7 G.E.M.S. – “Golden Era Music Sciences”
  • “Run The Jewels” – Killer Mike & EL-P
  • Sadistik – Flowers For My Father

Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of 2013 (At The Halfway Point) – by Alloyius Mcilwaine

Every December, I do a “Hip-Hop Year in Review” article showcasing the Top 100 Hip-Hop songs of the year.
Every December, I do a “Hip-Hop Year in Review” article showcasing the Top 100 songs of the year.  June 15th (my birthday 8) ) has come and gone, marking the halfway point in the year…so I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to look at what Hip-Hop had to offer so far.  I decided to create a “Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs Of The Year” list to showcase the best singles created in the first half of the 2013.  Truth be told, this has not been a great year for Hip-Hop up to this point.  Things may pick up as the year progresses, but as of June 2013, there are only a few albums that have stood out to me (including “Beautiful Raw” by Qwel & Maker…my current front-runner for “Hip-Hop Album of the Year”).   However, after doing some digging, I have come up with enough songs to create a legitimately solid Top 50 list…featuring artists ranging from Big Daddy Kane & Rakim to Joey BadA$$.

 

Before I present this list to you, I have to do a bit of a disclaimer.  Some of you might come across a list like this and get upset because you don’t see songs from some of your favorite commercial rap artists like A$AP Rocky, Drake, and Kanye West.  I have friends that legitimately hate all artists that get radio airplay and won’t even give their music a chance (because the majority of commercial rap is terrible).   I’m not that kind of person.  I DO think that the majority of commercial rap is terrible, but I try to judge everything on a song by song basis so that I can develop a more informed opinion.  Case in point, a song featuring Rick Ross made it onto this list, and I usually cannot stand Rick Ross.  However, after listening to the “Poor Decisions” track (that he did with Lupe Fiasco & Wale), I thought that he actually had something relevant to say.  I try to create these lists without any bias.  My only real requirement for making my “Best Of” lists is that you impress me.  I love creative, soulful, thoughtful Hip-Hop with solid production & great lyricism.  The songs that made the list are the songs that exemplified this and impressed me the most up to this point in the year. So, without further adieu:

At The Halfway Point – Top 50 Hip-Hop Songs of 2013 (In No Particular Order)

1) “Long Walkers” – Qwel & Maker:

2) “Nite & Day” – Marco Polo ft. Big Daddy Kane: http://youtu.be/EJ-N4Xj9_2I
3) “What You Need” – Moe Pope & Rain: http://youtu.be/0r3MO-nzGjg
4) “Love Is Blind” – Co$$: http://youtu.be/GB0mPcxUEoY
5) “Push Thru (Marco Polo Remix)” – Talib Kweli ft. Curren$y & Kendrick Lamar: http://youtu.be/1NYoCiEwq-8
6) “Charlie Brown” – ScienZe ft. Blu:  http://youtu.be/naw5VjcUQeo
7) “Sun Shine” – Doppelgangaz: http://youtu.be/GRa5Zsd6Sos
8 ) “Built Pyramids” – NORE aka PAPI feat. Large Professor: http://youtu.be/2527Zr_1kxM
9 ) “Savagely Attack” – Czarface (7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck) ft. Ghostface: http://youtu.be/eTqPP2rSU7g 
10) “Life Is A Gamble” – Big K.R.I.T. ft. B.J. the Chicago Kid:   http://youtu.be/YFQutM2w5h8
11) “Congratulations” – Common ft Cocaine 80’s: http://youtu.be/eWIH_oPUZWM
12) “Acid Rain” – Chance The Rapper: http://youtu.be/jN1aj_godWE
13) “LIFE” – Thomas Prime & Tiff The Gift ft Akin Yai (CYNE), Awon & Dicap: http://youtu.be/hyRUnNnE4Mc
14) “Good Things Die” – Ugly Heroes (Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent, Red Pill): http://youtu.be/rh9uYtHdltg
15) “Summer Breeze” – Slum Village: 

16) “Dag, Philly Too” – Homeboy Sandman w/ El RTNC (formerly Rthentic RTNC): http://youtu.be/Jddq6jHgJ1k
17) “Without You” – 7 G.E.M.S. (Tragic Allies & Tragedy Khadafi): http://youtu.be/Q05PqL9Ybu0
18) “Learn Truth” – R.A. the Rugged Man ft. Talib Kweli: http://youtu.be/HWzYIpUZCk8
19) “Unorthodox” – Joey Bada$$: http://youtu.be/fVE6WF0wFa0
20) “Rise of the Black Suits” – Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge: http://youtu.be/q2ZJBzAHidQ
21) “Divine People” – Shing Shing Regime: http://youtu.be/WRDGT4CfFNA
22) “Masterful” – John Robinson & Kyo Itachi: http://youtu.be/jdGwckssm_E
23) “Holy Visions” – Zion I ft. Fashawn: http://youtu.be/oE9jIrHLjNo
24) “Nina” – ANTHM: http://youtu.be/CYpg0DlaCzE
25) “Be Yourself” – Shuko ft. Blu: 

26) “Spraying My Pen” – K-Os ft. Saukrates & Shad: http://youtu.be/htpFsfzMXyQ
27) “Poor Decisions” – Wale ft. Lupe Fiasco & Rick Ross: http://youtu.be/dOvLZ4PTu0I
28) “Mandingo Rally” – The White Mandingos: http://youtu.be/Orsymh-jqj8
29) “Open Letter Pt II” – Jay-Z ft. Common:  http://youtu.be/9rSIl2VOixs
30) “Lake Effect” – Qwel & Maker: http://youtu.be/_pfOqrglNDQ
31) “Barbituates” – Doppelgangaz: http://youtu.be/wvsfjcnuE2c
32) “Love Again” – Co$$: http://youtu.be/cog0KfvbpUQ
33) “Long Drive Home” – Ugly Heroes (Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent, Red Pill):  http://youtu.be/wuxysQ-qCAI
34) “Loud Enough” – Moe Pope & Rain ft. John Robinson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRZ4-A0t2f0
35) “Bird’s Eye View” – Statik Selektah ft. Raekwon, Joey Badass & Black Thought: http://youtu.be/zl9NC_vQiIc
36) “Banana Clip Theory” – Big K.R.I.T.: http://youtu.be/zb6TyDRCJRI
37) “If I Could Sing” – Qwel & Maker: http://youtu.be/_X23fuQd-i0
38) “Come Here” – Talib Kweli ft. Miguel: http://youtu.be/o6Ne66HC1a0
39) “What’s Wrong” – Rakim: http://youtu.be/-XZ_hQ0sCXc
40) “Space Mountain” – Koncept ft. Tanya Morgan: http://youtu.be/6Uqnu3GOtRw
41) “Visionz” – Killah Priest: http://youtu.be/IbRaLBLe9dY
42) “Expectations” – Supastition ft. Shylow: http://youtu.be/l6J2lHteEXo
43) “Ring The Alarm” – Divine ScinZe ft. Blu: http://ughh.com/audio/detail.asp?t=divine-scienze-ring-the-alarm&ID=16708
44) “Make Up Sex” – Substantial ft. Deacon the Villain: http://youtu.be/_e1w1DNsjno
45) “Animal Pharm” – Lupe Fiasco ft. Thom Yorke: http://youtu.be/WNGk3xeHL8Y
46) “Day In The Life” – Joey Bada$$: http://youtu.be/5N0n7hQSgH0
47)  “When It Rains” – Dag Savage ft. Aloe Blacc: http://youtu.be/pAsBnuf3q5o
48) “Men Of Honor” – 7 G.E.M.S. (Tragic Allies + Tragedy Khadafi) feat. Relentless:  http://youtu.be/L25PNlji_ac
49) “Hip-Hop” – Wyclef: http://youtu.be/dNtnq07rGpU
50) “Art Imitates Life” – Talib Kweli ft. Black Thought & Rah Digga: http://youtu.be/Jox24R-uvjY

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Honorable Mention

“Canarsie High” – Ill Bill
“360 Waves” – Durag Dynasty
“The Maven” – K-Rino
“BBQ (Family Reunion Remix)” – Substantial
“Best Worst Day” – Supastition
“New School, Old School” – Classified
“My First White Girl” – The White Mandingos
“Give Em Eff” – Julian Malone
“We Movin” – AZ

“Meet Craig Robinson” By Kharisma McIlwaine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there anything better than a day filled with laughter? If you ask me the answer is no! Laughter is a gift, and some people just have a knack for it.

One of those people is actor, comedian and musician Craig Robinson.  Recently, I had the chance to sit down with Craig to discuss his role as leading man Wade Walker in the film “The Peeples”.

“The Peeples”, directed by Tina Gordon Chism in partnership with Tyler Perry, tells the story of Wade a fun loving non licensed children’s counselor who teaches children through song to “Speak It Don’t Leak It”.  Yes that’s right Craig uses his musical ability in the film to teach children about the importance of “speaking their problems instead of internalizing them which in turn can turn into unexpected urine”.  If that made you giggle you are not alone but the laughs don’t stop there!  “The Peeples” takes you for quite the roller coaster ride when Wade  surprises his live-in girlfriend Grace Peeples (played by Kerry Washington) and her family, with a unexpected visit only to discover they know nothing about him or his relationship with Grace!  The all star cast which includes David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Diahana Carrol, and Melvin Van Peebles really makes you feel like you’re experiencing all the ups and downs  with your own dysfunctionally funny family.  Craig and I had a pretty hilarious conversation:

Q: How did you get your start in comedy?

A: “In college I felt like comedy chose me. I had bought a keyboard, I said I’m gonna do music, and wrote these songs and then all of a sudden people would say to me “Craig I was trying to tell people your bit, What were you saying yesterday?” Stuff I would create people would try to repeat it and I started going down this path…
Comedy was the first thing I was actually serious about.”

Q:  What was your early career like?

A:  ” I was auditioning and I’d get a bite here and there and I did this movie called Played, it was my first movie.  They shot it for VH1 and
I was reminiscing with a buddy today how I had no idea what I was doing. I’d learned how to audition a little bit but I never made it to the set.  I had no idea what I was doing, It was so bad!  They’d yell action and I’d just be sitting there like what we doing? It’s a wonder that I stayed in that movie, it’s a wonder that I kept going in this career but some kind of way I made it through”.

Q:  What was it like playing the only sane character in “The Peeples”?

A:  “To watch it and see that and realize this guy… this Counselor with a K and he owns it. He owns his own truth and nobody else does. They are afraid of not being loved.  You can tell he (Wade) came from a loving, sharing, giving family… Hey “Peeples 2″ (said with a laugh)! And to watch it I can’t remember what it was like when I did it but to see it… I’ve fallen in love with the movie! I watch it and every time I see it I see a little something different.”

Q:  What was it like working with Kerry Washington?

A: “We met when we started rehearsing, about a week before we shot. We did things like go to dinner, we’d have these little dinner dates and try to see who these characters were to each other. And you know it’s not hard to fall in love with Kerry Washington!”

Q:  David Alan Grier is amazing and one of the best there is… What was it like being on set with him?

A:  “I’m a huge fan! He’s a legend and a huge part of my comedy history. I love him to death, he’s awesome! He’s trying to crack you, trying to break you, break the takes, trying to mess you up (said with a laugh). He’s this super trained actor and just layered. The way he was with me, the way he was with his wife, the way he was with Kerry, the way he was with his other children… He was the father of the set and he couldn’t be a more awesome human being.”

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your career thus far and what is the biggest challenge in pushing forward?

A:  “When I first came out to LA I had to learn how to audition so I was in the learning how to audition lane, then move over to getting the audition, so then move over to getting the call back, then the part, then it starts all over.  The challenge is always to stay hungry because once you get some success, you don’t have to do certain things or hit the road like you did… You get a little spoiled at times. That’s the challenge, to keep the fire burning and remember why you got into it in the first place!”

Q:  How do you go about choosing roles at this point… Do you ever feel drawn to certain roles or characters?

A:  The Cash (said with a laugh) ! No it’s like the lanes.  Things seem to make sense and I have a strong team around me that looks out…  This script, this writer, this project is a good look.  But if it’s something I feel like I can service and I see what I can bring to it to lift it up  and see what I can infuse into it.”

Q:  What would you like people to know about The Peeples?

A:  “That it was a labor of love. It’s Tina Gordon Chism’s first directing effort, it’s my first leading man effort, it’s Kerry’s first leading comedy, it might be Epatha’s first comedy I’m not sure so we all had each other’s back! We loved bringing this movie to fruition if only for Tina. It was awesome to band together and be there for each other. The laughs… We had so much fun making it! I would like people to just feel that while they are in there and let it infuse you with the goodness.”

Q:  What are you working on next?

A:  “I have the NBC pilot “Mr. Robinson“. We are in the bubble of hope and I feel good about it.  I’m doing Hot Tub Time Machine Part II in June and July in New Orleans and I gotta get the band (The Nasty Delicious) together and do some recording?

Q:  How did you come up with the name of your band?

A:  “I don’t know how I came up with it. I don’t know it’s just what it is… They so nasty but yet they so delicious, like chitterlings or something.”

Q:  What do you want people to know about you?

A:   “I wish the world could get together and do a big collective group hug and as soon as we get through hugging, everyone should just tickle the person next to you. That’s Craig in a nutshell”

A worldwide group hug sounds like a fantastic idea to me and if you enjoy a good comedy as much as I do you will definitely want to go see “The Peeples” which hits theaters nation wide on Friday May, 10th. Be sure to also keep an eye out for Mr. Craig Robinson he has a lot more to show the world!

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Cultures Clothing – 2012 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone!  Wow…it’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Welcome to Cultures Clothing’s 2012 Year End Wrap-Up! 2012 has been the most successful year for Cultures Clothing by far, so I wanted to take the time to recap some of the highlights of the year!
My first major accomplishment of the year was getting the brand new culturesclothing.com up and running!  Just to give you a little backstory, my mother originally purchased my domain name and hosting for the site in May 2004 as a graduation present.  At this time, I couldn’t afford to pay someone to design a website for me, so I tried to teach myself web design…which was a long and strenuous process.   I eventually got a functioning website onto the internet, but it was filled with flaws and bugs…and I wasn’t really happy with the overall layout.  I wanted to create a sleek new website that incorporated my online magazine, so I knew that I had to change the whole set-up of the site.   The only issue was that I was just entirely too busy to work on a new website, so I hired my oldest friend in the world, Jason Barbour of Advertise It Media to build it for me.  Three weeks later (in late January of 2012), I had a functioning website that I could be proud of.  Here’s a collage of screenshots of the site:
I was really proud of the new features that we added onto the site.  I have a brand new section called “Cultures Facts”, where people can click on a flag, and learn facts about the culture associated with that flag.  I also installed a forum, where people can come and discuss topics such as art, fashion, sports, music, politics, and more.  Finally, I added a new section onto the site called “Customers Wearing Cultures Clothing“.  This is a gallery that I added that features all of the pictures that people have sent me of them wearing their Cultures Clothing purchases.  Your support means so much to me, so I created this gallery as a way to show my appreciation to all of you. Here’s a link to the gallery:
Customers Wearing Cultures Clothing Gallery

Soon after I got the new website up, I recorded a video where I did a live painting!  I had the song “Wings” by The Union ft. Elzhi stuck in my head during the process, so I painted while I listened to the song on repeat and recorded the whole process!  Check it out!  The people that made the song retweeted this video and gave me props for it!

Next up was perhaps the most important thing that I did all year. I was trying to think of a way to raise money to get Cultures Clothing mass produced, and I found out about a site called Kickstarter.  Kickstarter is a site that gives you a platform to raise funds for your various projects and creations.  I decided that I would use this platform to take my clothing line to the next level:



Here’s a video and summary of what the campaign was all about:

Cultures Clothing Kickstarter Campaign Video:

So my goal was to raise $5,000 to get my clothing mass produced. The only problem was, I had 8 weeks to raise the money.  If I didn’t reach my goal by the end of the campaign, the money would be refunded to all of the donators.  Kickstarter does this so that people don’t raise a portion of the campaign money, and then spend what they got on things like groceries because they didn’t reach their goal.  It makes sense, but it made my life a little hectic for those 8 weeks. So I went out and did some major campaigning. I felt like such a politician, because I started handing out flyers on the street…striking up conversations with random passers by to try to raise more money.  All of my hard work paid off though…because I reached my goal with one week still left to go in the campaign!


As a way to thank all of the people that supported the campaign, I did a celebration dance and lip syncing video with my college roommates to “5 Minutes of Funk” by Whodini.  I then showed pics and video clips of the people that supported me over the years, and shouted out all of the donators at the end of the video.  People seemed to really enjoy it!
So now that I raised the money from the Kickstarter campaign, I had to go about getting the clothing mass produced.  I designed the tags, labels, and taping for all of the clothing, and gave the manufacturer samples as a guide for how to produce the T-shirts.  Originally, I was going to try to get everything from T-shirts to dresses to polos produced with the money from the campaign.  However, I underestimated some of the production costs for making these items.  So I decided that I would produce the T-shirts first (since they are the easiest product to move), and then use the proceeds from the sales to get the rest of the clothing produced.  That way, I would be flipping product, spreading the brand name, and raising production funds for the more expensive items all at once.  I decided to start out with 5 T-shirt designs for the men, and 5 for the women…and I put them into production.
As I waited for the products to come back from the manufacturer, I was contacted by Gerald Lawson of Dhengi Brand about participating in a Philly Clothing Brand Cypher on July 12th.  The purpose of this shoot was to show unity between all of the talented independent clothing brands in Philadelphia.  As soon as I heard about the shoot, I put out an open invitation on Facebook and Twitter…asking people to come out and wear Cultures Clothing for some solo and group shots.  It was great, because a ton of people came out to support! A special shout out goes to my mom, my sister KharismaKristinAlessandra, my cousin StanleyDora (and her mom), my aunt AngieTali, Matt, Angel, Bill, Christie, Barry, Jaleel and Marcel!  Here are some of my favorite Cultures Clothing shots from this shoot:

 

Left to Right: Dora, Stanley, Kristin, Christie, Bill, Alloyius (me), Alessandra, Angel, and Matt 

Left to Right: Alessandra, Alloyius (me) and Kristin
Left to Right: Kristin, Alessandra, Alloyius (me), Dora, and Christie
Left to Right: Mom, Stanley (cousin), Kharisma (sister), and Alloyius (me)

After I finished taking shots with the Cultures Clothing crew, it was time for all of the label owners to shoot together, so I went and joined the group.  Here is a list of all of the brands that participated in the Philly brand cypher (in alphabetical order):

-Bellargo Piargé
-Cultures Clothing
-Dhengi Band
-Draccir & Crew
-Friqi Fashions
-IbnMajid Clothing Co.
-In2Mind
-Ingenious Clothing
-IbnJeans
-Kings Rule Together
-Neo Daviso
-Unarmed Apparel

And here are some of the group shots with all of the designers:

Photo by Julian White Photography

It was awesome to see this kind of unity in Philadelphia. This was the first of the Philly Brand Cyphers, but we did another one later on in the year to showcase our fall/winter fashion.

Soon after the Philly Brand Cypher, I came across an image from the post-production of the SADIE WEB SERIES by Nicole Agostino, where Zigg Harris (accompanied by Alyssa Kempinski) is wearing the “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” shirt!
I provided some wardrobe and art for the series, and even had a cameo appearance on the first episode!  I saw an update that Nicole just posted, saying that the web series would be up within the first half of 2013.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

To See More From The Sadie Web Series Please Check Out The Links Below:
Then, I got what was undoubtedly my biggest shock of the year.  One day, I was trying to take a nap…but I couldn’t go to sleep because of the constant buzzes coming from my cell phone.  After the buzzes didn’t stop for an entire hour, I decided to try to pry my eyes open to see what all of the hubbub was about.  As I turn on my phone screen, I see about 1,000 text messages telling me that I was Tosh.0 (Comedy Central).  My first thoughts were “why in the BLUE HELL was I on Tosh.0? Oh no…did Daniel Tosh make fun of me about something?” LOL! As it turns out, Tosh was doing a piece about Kickstarter for his show, and he used a clip from my Kickstarter campaign to show what it was.  He kind of makes fun of Kickstarter in general for a bit (and makes a few snide remarks about the people that use it lol), but then he goes on to say that Kickstarter does work, so he decides that he’s going to start his own campaign (to become the world’s first trillionaire).  It was a pretty funny piece.  The great thing about this was that this episode has played at least a few times a week since it first premiered!  The clip itself was only about 10 seconds, but my logo has been seen by millions of viewers since the episode started running!  Here’s a snapshot that my aunt took on her phone of my brief cameo.  If you guys want to check out the episode itself, it’s Episode 12 of Season 4.  You can probably find it online, but I bought it on iTunes for my collection haha:
The exposure from the Tosh.0 cameo was great!  Because of the cameo, the costume designer from an up-coming movie called “Charlie, Trevor, And A Girl Named Savannah” requested some items for the characters to wear in the movie!  There are some big-name actors in the movie, and I have some pictures of the actors wearing the clothing, but I’m not allowed to post the pictures until after the movie premieres lol.
Ok so I finally got my clothing in from the manufacturer, and it came at just the right time…because I was invited to sell my clothing in a store called Impact Boutique (located at 644 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147).  Impact had it’s grand opening on September 14th, and I was there to personally sell my items to the customers. I took a picture of myself in the mirror before the store opened because I was wearing one of the brand new Cultures Clothing “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” T-Shirts:
And here’s what the clothing looked like on the shelves…complete with the tags and labels!
Cultures Clothing’s “Guy Fawkes: Revolution” Shirt on the Shelves
Cultures Clothing & Dhengi Brand on the Shelves

It was really heart-warming, because a lot of familiar faces came down to the store to support me.  I have to give a special shout out to Tali, Steve, Kenny, Erin, Turquoise, Chris, & Ike for coming to the event and showing love!  Here’s a picture of Tali playing window mannequin while wearing of the Cultures Clothing “I Love Hip-Hop” T-shirts:

Tali Playing “Cultures Clothing Mannequin” in the Window

Comedian Michael Blackson (of “Next Friday” fame) also came down to the store that day!  He was a really cool, down to Earth guy…and he supported Cultures Clothing by showing off his brand new “I Love Hip-Hop” shirt!

Some of the customers that bought T-shirts wanted me to autograph the shirts!  One of them said, “it’s not often that we get to buy a shirt in a store from the actual designer”.  I was so honored!

Photography by Brian Hunt
I had another big event the very next month after the store opened.  I decided at have my first art show on October 26th!  I was just sitting in my office one day, looking at the pile of my completed canvases, and I said to myself, “why don’t I showcase these things instead of just piling them in the corner”?
Art is something that I’m compelled to do, so I created about 30 new paintings just because I had to get the creativity out of my system. I had all of these new paintings available, so I figured that it was the perfect time to put on a showcase!  I called it “Spraypaint & Ink Pens: Alloyius Mcilwaine’s 1st Art Showcase”, and I held the show at the same boutique where I was selling my clothing.  Here’s a picture of me looking exhausted after I finished setting up for the show:
And here is some video footage of the art show, courtesy of David Bey & Bey Filmz:
Looking back on this year, I created a lot of new artwork…
So I figured that I should highlight my top 5 favorite painting that I created in 2012:
1) “Orlando Shrooms” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I called this painting “Orlando Shrooms”, because after I looked down at my finished product, it looked like I had taken some drugs before I started painting it (which I DID NOT LOL):
2) “Party All Year/Month/Week/Night” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I like this painting a lot because after I finished it, it reminded me of an abstract version of “Where The Wild Things Are“.
3) “I’m Sorry Dorothy, But This Is Not Kansas” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – This is one of my favorite paintings because it was one of the first pieces that I did while experimenting with a tan base and using a more minimalist style.


4) “All At Once I Stepped Out Of A Dream” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – It wasn’t intentional when I first started to paint (especially since I freestyle the majority of my paintings), but it seemed like I was channeling Picasso a bit for this piece.

5) “Lost In The Maize” by Alloyius Mcilwaine – I just thought that the colors came out brilliantly in this piece.
Ok now on to the last of the big events that I participated in this year.  I can’t remember whether it took place in late October or Early November, but we had another Philly Brand Clothing Cypher featuring fall and winter wear.  Here are a few of the pictures from that event:
L to R: Dhengi Brand, Cultures Clothing, IbnMajid Clothing Co., G.E.E.K. Clothing Inc., and IbnMajid Clothing Co. 
Me and Khaleel (Nerdleel) of G.E.E.K. Clothing Inc.
And between November and December, I did two Cultures Clothing Photoshoots with two lovely ladies, Elizabeth Chang and Noel Monzo.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from those shoots:
Elizabeth Chang – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine:


Noel Monzo – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine


Before I wrap-up this article, I’d be remiss if I didn’t count down my Top 5 Favorite Photography Captures of 2012.  After all, I did do 20+ photoshoots this year lol. So without further adieu, here they are:
1) Ginger Coyle Magazine Shoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine:  I absolutely love this shot.  I did a photoshoot and interview with signer/songwriter Ginger Coyle for this magazine about 4 or 5 months ago.  We did the photoshoot on the top floor of Tattooed Mom on South St., which is completely covered in graffiti.  It gave the photo a really nice texture.

2) Ginger Coyle Magazine Shoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: Man, I was really on for this shoot lol.  This is another one of the shots from my shoot with Ginger Coyle.  What I love about this photo is that it has the softness of a Marilyn Monroe pin-up photo…and it has an edginess as well because of Ginger’s tattoos and the background graffiti:

3) Angelina DiFrancesco’ Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: I love this picture because Angelina is gorgeous, and the background colors are vibrant and complimentary of the outfit

4) Angelina DiFrancesco’ Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: This is one of my favorite pictures because it combines three of my talents: I did the photography, the graffiti in the background, and of course I created the outfit as well.
5) Alyssa Everk’s Cultures Clothing Photoshoot – Photography by Alloyius Mcilwaine: This is probably my favorite color headshot that I’ve taken.  Her eyes are so crisp that you can actually see me taking her picture in them.  I also love the warm tone of this pic.
 
That’s it for this 2012 wrap-up edition of “What’s New With Cultures Clothing”.  Thank you so much for riding with me for another year.  I hope that you guys are with me for the long haul!  2013 promises to be an even better year than this one!  Until next time!
by Alloyius Mcilwaine, Cultures Clothing Co.

BEST Of HIP-HOP in 2012! by Alloyius Mcilwaine

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:
-Artist Of The Year
-Group Of The Year
-Producer Of The Year
-Rookie Of The Year
-Verse Of The Year
-Album Cover Of The Year
-Slept On Album Of The Year
-Disappointment Of The Year
-Top 101 Songs Of The 2012
-Video Of The Year

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Artist of the Year (2012): Homeboy Sandman


-I’m sure that many of you are surprised by my choice for “Hip-Hop Artist of the Year (2012)”.   Your surprise is justifiable.  After all, Homeboy Sandman IS a bit of a dark horse pick.  He doesn’t have the biggest name or the biggest industry buzz.  In all actuality, your average Hip-Hop fan has probably never heard any of Homeboy Sandman’s music.  On the flip side of the coin, you have a talented young artist named Kendrick Lamar who has gained major mainstream success over the past few years.  The majority of the Hip-Hop sites and magazines are going to give this year’s title to Kendrick, because of the tremendous hype behind his hit singles (“Cartoons & Cereal”“Swimming Pools”, & “The Recipe”) and his popular major label debut album, “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City”.   
However, while Kendrick Lamar is a legitimate contender for “Hip-Hop Artist of the Year”, I couldn’t think of anyone who produced more high quality music this year than Homeboy Sandman.  And that’s what this accolade is all about.  It’s not about the hype or the popularity of the artist.  It’s about who consistently put out the highest quality of music in the calendar year.  As I was putting together my list for the “Top 100 Hip-Hop Songs of the Year”, I noticed that Homeboy Sandman had more songs on the list than any other MC or group.  In my humble opinion, “Couple Bars” & “Rated Ours” were two of the top ten hip-hop songs released in 2012.  He also released a solid “B” grade album “, “First Of A Living Breed“, two EPs (“Subject: Matter” & “Chimera“), and had guest appearances on several dope tracks…including “The Great Escape” by Blu & Exile,  & “Reloaded” by Substantial (also featuring Javier Sparks).
Here are some of my favorite tracks that Homeboy Sandman released this year:
-“Couple Bars”:

  
-“Rated Ours”:
  

-“Watchu Want From Me”:


-“Mine All Mine”:

-“Not Really”:


-“The Miracle”:


-“Illuminati”: http://youtu.be/EsNfgRrtzos                                                                       -“4 Corners”: http://www.allmusic.com/song/4-corners-mt0045262554                     -“Sputnik”: http://youtu.be/cLqiRXg6X1U                                                                         -“Unforgettable”: http://youtu.be/02yvtMVdm3k                                                            -“Brown”: http://youtu.be/YGd_Sw6_WIY

I’m sure that many of you will disagree with my choice, but if you objectively listen to the tracks that I posted above, I believe that most of you will agree that he was a legitimate choice. His music may not be for everybody.  He’s a “think outside of the box” type of artist.  He won’t always rap in the cadence that you expect him to.  He won’t always say the things that you expect him to say.  However, he will consistently supply you with thought-provoking music and layered metaphors.  He’s carved out his own little niche in Hip-Hop, and I think that he’s comfortable doing his own thing outside of the major spotlight…but he does deserve attention and recognition for what he has accomplished.

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Group of the Year (2012): The Doppelgangaz

2012 has been a slow year for Hip-Hop groups in general…especially when compared to 2011.  Panacea’s album “Midnight Morning Africa” was originally supposed to come out this year, but the release was pushed back to 2013.  CYNE and Cunninlynguists only released one song a piece in 2012.  People Under The Stairs didn’t release any new music (that I heard about), and neither did Ugly Duckling, Blue Scholars, Common Market, orGiant Panda.  The Chicharones released an album, but I was disappointed by the overall product (even though it had a few really dope songs on it). We were halfway through the year, and the only dope group release that I came across was the “Detroit Revolutions” album by Clear Soul Forces (released in March).  And then someone introduced me to The Doppelgangaz…a relatively new Hip-Hop group based out of Orange County, NY.   The first song that I heard was “NY Bushmen” off of 2011’s “Lone Sharks”album.  Soon after hearing this song, I learned that these guys produced all of the beats that they were rapping over.    I was immediately impressed.  It’s one thing to produce a dope beat.  That in itself is impressive.  It’s another thing to produce a dope beat, and they proceed to create a dope Hip-Hop song back rapping over it.
After purchasing the “Lone Sharks” album, I searched around the internet to see what else these guys produced, and discovered that they released an album called  “Beats For Brothels Vol. 2” on June 19th, 2012.  The press release for the project described the album perfectly:
Beats For Brothels, Vol. 2 is an enigma of sorts. A unique structure comprised heavily of instrumentals and decorated with the Ghastly Duo’s vocals interspersed throughout the project.”

Towards the end of the year, The Whoevers put out a dope album called “The Red Tape”, Typical Cats put out their album entitled “3”, and Wu-Tang Clan & The Lox collaborated to release the surprisingly solid “Wu-Block” album.  And of course, Clear Soul Forces were in the running for their album that they released earlier in the year.  What separated The Doppelgangaz from the rest of the pack was the fact that they made music videos for a good majority of the songs from the album.  Here are a few of those videos:

A poster on the ughh.com Hip-Hop forum said it best when he said that these guys have “whimsicle personalities”.  Seeing these guys act silly on their videos really added to the experience of the album…and it gave them a leg up on the competition.   I’m really looking forward to seeing and hearing more from the Doppelgangaz in the near future.

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Producer of the Year (2012): Alchemist

The “Producer of the Year” title was basically a three-way race between Apollo BrownEL-P, and Alchemist.  Apollo Brown produced the sleeper hit of the year, “Trophies” (a collaboration with OC), as well as some notable singles from artists like Has-Lo & 7even:Thirty.  EL-P produced two albums that garnered a lot of high praise in 2012, includingKiller Mike’s “R.A.P. Music” album and his own fourth solo album, “Cancer 4 Cure”. And then there’s Alchemist.  Alchemist wins the title this year because of the sheer number of quality instrumentals that he produced in 2012.   He produced 5 tracks on “Vodka & Ayahuasca”, the sophomore album from hip-hop duo Gangrene (a collaboration between Alchemist & rapper/producer Oh No).  Alchemist also did a joint project with Action Bronsonentitled “Rare Chandeliers“, a concept album called “Russian Roulette” (where he used samples from Russian songs for every track), and two fully produced mixtapes.   It’s a feat in itself to produce that much music in a year, but he was also amazingly consistent.  There’s a saying that says “quality over quantity”, but Alchemist gave us both this year…and that’s why he takes the title of “Producer Of The Year (2012)”.

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Rookie of the Year (2012)/Mixtape Of The Year (2012): Joey BadA$$ – “1999”

Joey BadA$$ is one of those cats from this new generation of MCs that eases my mind when I contemplate the future of the Hip-Hop genre.  In a time where talentless, minstrel show clowns like Chief Keef have gained major mainstream success, Joey BadA$$ made a name for himself by creating nostalgic,  Golden Era-esque Hip-Hop. It seemed as if the 17-year old Brooklyn native came out of nowhere with the video for his hard-hitting  single “Survival Tactics” (from his debut project, “1999″).  

After the video went viral (it now has over 1,500,000 views) Joey BadA$$ became the embodiment of the resurrection of 90’s era NY Boom Bap.  While “Survival Tactics” was the track that brought Joey BadA$$ mainstream attention, I believe that he shines brightest on a song called “Waves”.  On this track, the Progressive Era MC displays an amazing amount of maturity (especially for his age), and showcases his stellar story-telling ability.  The “1999”mixtape as a whole really does harken back to the 90’s…even using throwback samples from artists like J Dilla (R.I.P.) and Lord Finesse. Although there are a couple of filler tracks on the album where the braggadocious rhymes can get a little tiring, the project as a whole is a very impressive.  Hopefully, more up and coming young MC’s will follow Joey’s lead, and use advanced lyricism as a platform to gain major success.

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Verse Of The Year (2012) – Verse 1 of “Lamborghini Angels” by Lupe Fiasco

“With a circle on the floor he compels them to be pure
Pulls the beast out of his heart then impales it on a sword
Writes a prayer on some paper and then he nails it to the door
Just the good of you may enter by the mercy of the lord
Listen not to what he speaks, that’s been the cursing of his cause
A seduction of his senses by the devils he adores
The unholy has him hostage and his soul is now at war
Follow not his secret knowledge it will bring you no reward
Shun him while in public disallow him from your stores
Have no part in his affairs ‘less his pestilence be yours
Make scoundrels of the righteous and virgins into whores
But we must still pray that his colour will be cured”

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Album Cover of the Year: “Magna Carta” by Melanin 9

 

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Slept on Album of the Year (2012) – “The Idea of Beautiful” by Rapsody


I considered “Trophies” by Apollo Brown and OC for this title, but if you look across the internet at the various underground hip-hop forums (and even on huge sites likeHipHopDX.com), you’ll see that most people have this given this album a lot of high praise.  It’s sad to say, but you really don’t see as many people talking about “The Idea of Beautiful” by Rapsody.   In fact, when I posted about this album on ughh.com, there were more than a few misogynistic responses to the post.  To give you PC versions of some of the responses, some of the posters were saying things like “women can’t rap”, and “there aren’t any talented female MCs”.  It really showed me that even in 2012, Hip-Hop still has some major gender issues to get over.  Rapsody tackles many of these issues on this album.  She also touches on subjects like the loss of innocence in today’s youth, and her personal experiences in past relationships.   “The Idea of Beautiful” really is an amazing piece of work from start to finish.  The future looks bright for 9th Wonder’s newest protege.  Hopefully in the future, people will stop judging her as a “Femcee”, and respect her for what she’s doing as simply a “Dope MC”.

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Disappointment of the Year (2012): The Canibus vs. Dizaster Battle:


Most of you reading this article already know about the Canibus vs. Dizaster battle, but let me just give a quick summary for those of you that didn’t hear about it or see it.  Basically, battle rap champion Dizaster challenges battle rap legend Canibus to a battle.  Canibus accepts the challenge, and they set a date for a live pay-per-view event.  The hype machine basically bills the battle as the Hip-Hop version of The Rock vs. John Cena…so it becomesTHE Hip-Hop event of the year.  So the battle gets here, and Canibus comes in with his arm in a sling…which itself was puzzling.  Dizaster spits some sharp, but predictable lines, and Canibus spits a couple of rounds full of sub-par bars…before conceding the match in the third round. After conceding the battle, Canibus whips out a notebook (saying that he wrote all of these battle rhymes, but didn’t have time to memorize them), and then famously begins to read battle rhymes out of the notebook.  The whole thing was just absolutely embarrassing and really confusing.  Honestly, as a fan of Canibus, I was kind of heart broken.  I didn’t mind him losing…it was the way that it happened that really bothered me.

Canibus is undoubtedly, in my mind, one of the greatest lyricists of all time.  However, like many people with genius level talent, I think that he might be a little off (or maybe bi-polar).  I think that Canibus’ main problem is that he just doesn’t have a strong support system.  It seems as if he has had many chances over the year to blow up, and every time he gets one of these chances, he does something to shoot himself in the foot.  Mind you, I’m not talking about the LL Cool J beef.  What he did there was 100% justified.  I’m talking about the random squabbles that he gotten into over the years, and the various decisions that he’s made that hurt his career.  For example, this battle with Dizaster could have been a HUGE boost for his career…and it could have put him back into the spotlight.  After conceding the battle, Canibus said that he had been trying to memorize his rhymes for three whole weeks, and that he just couldn’t remember them all.  This automatically raised an eye brow for me.  I said to myself “you had FOUR MONTHS to prepare for this battle…why did you start preparing for it just three weeks ago?”.   And it’s not as if he had gotten to the point where he couldn’t write battle rhymes anymore.  Just a year prior to the battle, he had some scathing words forJoe Budden and Royce Da 5’9 on a track called “Joey Cupcakes”.  He also wrote a dope track called “The Art of Yo”, with some incredibly aggressive lines that I assume were directed at Math Hoffa.  So it’s not as if Canibus was incapable of battling…he just wasn’t prepared.  He hadn’t done live battle rapping in about 15 years, and apparently he thought that 3 weeks was enough time to prepare for someone who had been battling live consistently for at least the past few years.  And he had no one in his corner to say, “look man…maybe you should focus on this battle for the next few months instead of recording and touring”.  The whole thing is just…sad.

And now, Canibus announced that his next album, Rip the Jacker II, will be his last.  I can only hope that he goes out with a bang.  I’ll always be a fan of his music, and I would still put his Top 25 best songs up against the majority of MCs out there, but this battle definitely left a bad taste in my mouth.

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My Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of 2012 (In No Particular Order):

1) “Home Is Where The Art Is” – Substantial
2) “First Of A Living Breed” – Homeboy Sandman
3) “3” – Typical Cats
4) “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them” – Blu & Exile
5) “Skelethon” – Aesop Rock
6) -“The Idea of Beautiful” – Rapsody

7) “Detroit Revolutions” – Clear Soul Forces

8) “Trophies” – O.C. & Apollo Brown
9) -“Magna Carta” – Melanin 9
10) “Control System” – Ab-Soul
Honorable Mention:

-“The Red Tape” – The Whoevers

-“A Dream Deferred” – Skyzoo
-“Cancer 4 Cure” – EL-P
-“Beats For Brothels Vol. 2” – The Doppelgangaz
-“Good Kid Maad City” – Kendrick Lamar
-“Black Boy Radio” – Actual Proof
-“The Final Adventure” – MURS & 9th Wonder

-“Monochrome Skies” – Epidemic

-“Concrete Soul” – Beneficence

-“Fillin’ In The Potholes” – Robust
-“Reporting Live” – Journalist 103
-“Self Sacrifice” – Mello Music Group
-“The Purpose Of Confidence” – Purpose & Confidence
-“NY2BE” – Reap ‘n Chillow

-“Rare Chandeliers” –  Action Bronson & Alchemist

-“MA-DOOM: Son Of Yvonne” – Masta Ace & DOOM
– “Quarter Life Crisis” – Quatermaine
-“Straight, No Chaser” Reks & Statik Selektah
-“Lasting Impressions” – uMaNg
-“Wu Block” – “Wu Block
-“Exalted” – Blue Sky Black Death & Nacho Picasso
-“Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album by Lupe Fiasco

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Top 101 Hip-Hop Songs of 2012 (In No Particular Order)
1) “Couple Bars” – Homeboy Sandman
2) “Umoja” – Substantial
3) “The Book of Soul” – Ab-Soul
4) “Get No Better” – Clear Soul Forces <–Vid of the Year Nominee

5) “Cartoons and Cereal” – Kendrick Lamar
6) “Puzzling Thing” – Typical Cats
7) “Rendezvous” – The Whoevers
8 ) “Scandalous” – J.R. & PH7, Brokn Englsh & St. Joe Louis
9) “Don’t Be Jelly” – Blu & Exile
10) “Happiness Is” – ScienZe & King I Divine ft. Sene, Blu, & Britain Parker <–Collaboration of the Year (2012)
11) “Grown Up” – Danny Brown <– 2012 Hip-Hop Video of the Year
12) “Waves” – Joey Bada$$ <–Vid of the year nominee


13) “Rated Ours” – Homeboy Sandman
14) “What’s The Hurry?” – Stann Smith ft. P3
15) “Anotha One” – Apollo Brown & O.C.
16) “What Am I” – The Doppelgangaz
17) “Ready to Roll” – Oddissee
18) “Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free)” – Lupe Fiasco
19) “Daughters” – Nas
20) “Dunky Fividends” – Styles of Beyond ft. Apathy
21) “Blue Window” – Elzhi
22) “Make The Money” – Macklemore
23) “Black Jesus” – The Game ft. Cool & Dre
24) “Jakob Ladder” – CYNE ft. Substantial
25) “Rear Window” – Dice Raw
26) “Check My Resume” – Substantial
27) “Kind Of Love” – Rapsody ft. Nomsa Mazwai
28) “Stars Shine Brightest (Remix)” – CunninLynguists ft. ST
29) “Congregation” – Talib Kweli ft. Black Thought & Ab-Soul
30) “Swimming Pools” – Kendrick Lamar
31) “9-24-11” – Action Bronson & Party Supplies
32) “God” – 7even:Thirty ft. Laurie Walker
33) “Cherry Wine” – Nas feat. Amy Winehouse
34) “Stay Golden” – Epidemic

35) “The Formula” – Apollo Brown & OC

36) “Bitch Bad” – Lupe Fiasco
37) “For Lack Of A Better Word” – Theory Hazit
38) “Goodbye” – J.R. & PH7 ft. Phonte & Median
39) “Me And My Old School” – Big K.R.I.T.
40) “Get Together” – MURS & 9th Wonder ft. Rapsody
41) “The Full Retard” – EL-P
42) “Zero Dark Thirty” – Aesop Rock
43) “Day One: A Song About Nothing” – Mac Miller
44) “NonFiction” – Rapsody ft. Raheem Devaughn & Ab-Soul
45) “A Few Of My Favorite Demons” – JR & PH7, Brokn Englsh & St. Joe Louis
46) “When The Last Leaf Falls” – Small Pro ft. Has-Lo
47) “Vision of Excellence” – Purpose & Confidence ft. Cormega & Estee Nack
48) “Church Rmx – Slum Village f. Skyzoo & Focus
49) “Survival Tactics” – Joey Bada$$ x Capital STEEZ
50) “Satisfaction” – MHz (Copywrite + Camu Tao + Jakki Da Motamouth + Tage + RJD2) feat. Slug (of Atmosphere)
51) “Way Out Way In” – Oddisee
52) “Take Me Back” – Pac Div
53) “We Don’t” – Zion I ft. The Grouch & Eligh
54) “The Pain” – KnowMads
55) “A Man” – Blu and Exile
56) “Burn It Down” – The Chicharones
57) “Mourning in America” – Brother Ali
58) “Woman” – Children of the Night
59) “ZZZ Top” – Aesop Rock
60) “The Crown” – Typical Cats
61) “Never Break Me” – AWAR ft. Evidence

62) “Look What We Have Here” – Skyzoo

63) “Form Follows Function” – Lupe Fiasco
64) “Secretary” – Mello Music Group Ft. Has-Lo & Oddisee
65) “Whatchu Want From Me” – Homeboy Sandman
66) “The NoteB.O.O.K.” – D-sisive
67) “Slash Gordon” – MURS & Fashawn
68) “My Window” – Wax Tailor ft. Elzhi & Aku Naru
69) “Footprints” – Sene
70) “Funeral For A Killer” – MURS & 9th Wonder
71) “Mine All Mine” – Homeboy Sandman
72) “Streamline” – Damu the Fudgemunk ft. Raw Poetic
73)  “Whole Wide World (Remix)” – The Dopplegangaz ft. Apathy
74) “All Real” – Beneficence ft. A.G. & DJ Kaos
75) “Manhattan” – ANTHM
76) “Re-Load” – Zion I
77) “Backboards” – Sene ft. Blu
78) “Apply It & See” – Del the Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought
79)  “Drivin’ Round” – Wu Block ft. Masta Killa, Gza & Erykah Badu
80) “Chum” – Earl Sweatshirt

81) “Vodka & Ayahuasca” – Gangrene (Alchemist + Oh No)

82) “Black Out” – Ghostface Killah (of Wu-Tang Clan), M.O.P. (Lil’ Fame + Billy Danze), Pharoahe Monch (of Organized Konfusion)

83) “Mighty Morphin’ Foreskin” – Captain Murphy
84) “Drones Over Brooklyn” – EL-P

85) “The Miracle” – Homeboy Sandman

86) “Stop The Press” – Brother Ali
87) “The Game Changer” – Saigon ft. Marsha Ambrosius

88)”Black Boy Radio” – Actual Proof

89) “Weightless” – The Illz
90) “Decisions” – Ka
91) “This Generation” – MURS & Fashawn
92) “A Queen’s Story” – Nas
93) “Fly Away” – Talib Kweli ft. Jessica Care Moore
94) “M.A.R.S.” – Cormega, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano, and Saigon

95) “Gold Soul Theory” – The Underachievers

96) “Mach One” – Planet Asia

97) “Lines” – Big Boi ft. A$AP Rocky & Phantogram

98) “Red Eye” – Unfukwitable f. Ruste Juxx, Reks, Reef The Lost Cauze, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Nutso, Midaz

99) “Rivers of Blood” – Wu-Tang Clan and Kool G. Rap

100) “Free The Robots” – Capital Steez (R.I.P.)
101) “Lamborghini Angels” – Lupe Fiasco
by Alloyius Mcilwaine, Cultures Clothing Co.
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Alloyius Mcilwaine, Cultures Clothing Co.