Top 5 Albums of 2012

The last day of the year, 2012 has come to an end. I would say this year has been a pretty decent year for Music in general as well.

My Friend decided to ask me an incredibly difficult question: ‘What are your top 5 Albums of the past year?’

This post will see me try and attempt to name my top 5 in NO particular order. Just because I can, I will be bending the rules and add some Mixtapes & EP’s to the list if I deem fit.

Here goes:

1. Azaelia Banks – 1991 

Azealia Banks - 1991 Album Cover

Azaelia has had one hell of a 2012 leveraging the huge success of her hit 212 to give us 1991, a 90’s house inspired four track EP which proved she wasn’t just a one hit wonder. To me this was the most original female hip hop body of work since the Missy Elliott’s debut Supa Dupa Fly in 1997 and that is extremely lofty a comparison but such was the quality of the beats and the fact that she can rap and sing to a decent level only compounds the comparison further.  The best track on the Album is Liquorice, when I first heard it, it was literally on repeat for the entire day.  The beat for that tune is just ridiculous and so different from what is out there today. If Azaelia can parlay the strengths of 1991 into her full debut album, 2013 will be an even better year for Ms Banks.

2. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d city [Deluxe Edition] Album Cover

The kid from Compton could do absolutely no wrong this past year, he blessed us with Section.80 in 2011 and this year he set about making his first full length Album and the result was good kid, m.A.A.d city. A beautifully crafted Album from start to finish. The thing I like about this album the most was the conscious decision to limit the amount of guest appearances throughout, he was determined to hold his own and not share. Only one TDE member made the cut [Jay Rock]. My favourite track and pretty much everybody else’s is Money Trees featuring the aforementioned Jay Rock. It pretty much has everybody calling each other Bish (Bitch). Soulful beats, trademark Kendrick Lamar lyricism and a Dr. Dre co-sign what more could you ask for in album?

3. Ab-Soul – Control System 

Ab-Soul - Control System Album Cover

Ab-Soul pushes Kendrick very close for the best MC in the collective TDE, his Album Control System has given fans much food for thought when arguing as to who is the best. I feel this is one of the more slept on Independent Albums of the year and probably didn’t get the fan fare and credit it should have because this is a very very solid body of work. A deeply personal and introspective effort especially on the track Book Of Soul which details his relationship with the late Alori Joh who tragically committed suicide. My favourite tracks are Terrorist Threats, Illuminate & Pineal Gland.

4. Schoolboy Q – Habits & Contradictions 

Schoolboy  Q - Habits & Contradictions Album Cover

Rounding off the TDE Hat-trick is the ever so energetic renegade member of the group Schoolboy Q, the main themes throughout this Album is Weed, Bitches & Alcohol, the quintessential West Coast topics! While not the most lyrically gifted in the group he makes up for that with his aggressive heartfelt delivery, however that doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own with the best of them when it comes to lyricism, punchlines and witty wordplay.  This is probably the most West Coast Album through and through out of the three, in especially in how it sounds. However he has got the ability to go deep especially on the track Blessed but at the same time he still sounds raw and rugged which is his deal anyways. My favourite tracks are of course Blessed, Niggas Already Know Davers Flow, Hands on the Wheel, There He Go & Druggys Wit Hoes Again. 

5. Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream

Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

Now rounding off the 5 top Albums of 2012, but not actually coming in at 5th is Miguel’s Kaleidoscope Dream Album. I’m glad he has managed to gain some commercial success with this LP as well the customary critical acclaim because he actually deserves it, he is that talented not to sell. He struck gold with the tune Adorn written and composed by himself and as a result gained a new legion of fans and followers. The Album is as eclectic as he himself, drawing on his ever so apparent influences from Prince to Jimi Hendrix on the effort. All in all the best R&B Album of 2012 if you can call it that as it breaks away from the formulaic and simply tired genre. My favourite tracks are Adorn, How Many Drinks & the title track Kaleidoscope Dream which uses the Libbi Saffre sample to perfection.

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