Friday, December 29, 2006

2006


Now I know many people post their 'Best Albums Of The Year' lists, but to me I'd rather call this my favourite albums of the year post because, as with most people, I only get a chance of hearing a portion of the albums that get dropped each 12 months, so it's impossible to post a definite list. A lot of people will probably look at my selections and wonder why this album or that album isn't there. This, more than likely, is because I either didn't get around (or bother) checking it out, or maybe because I didn't see in it what a lot of other people did, honestly, a lot of the albums that draw raving reviews are ones that I don't even bother listening to twice. Here is the list of the 10 albums that I was fortunate enough to hear, and loved the most in 2006.

10. Thirstin Howl III - La Cura (Spanglish LP)
From the moment I first heard a Thirstin Howl III track I was addicted to his music, his voice is distinctive and his style is distinguishingly original. This Brownsville (Brooklyn) emcee is the most notable artist on the Lo Life roster, as well as the most prolific. Thirstin Howl alternates between spitting in Spanish and English throughout the album, and although a huge portion of it is in Spanish (a language that I can’t speak), it still ranks as one of my favourite releases I’ve heard this year. ‘La Cura’ boasts a combination of dope hard hitters and some more lighthearted tracks with a fiesta feel as well as quality production care of Anger Bangers. Although this isn’t my favourite Thirstin Howl III release to date, it showcases him bringing something different to the table and I look forward to hearing more from him in the near future.

9. Grimm - Suckerpunch
Although this album, ‘Suckerpunch’, is marked as a 2005 drop on the back of the cover, it was actually released within the first few months of 2006. Grimm, a pioneer in the Texas rap scene and a member of the legendary South Park Coalition, has already dropped a host of solo and group albums, although for whatever reason he doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves. It has to be said that this was a rather low key release, but that doesn’t take anything away from it’s quality. Grimm’s impeccable flow technique enables him to ride beats with ease, and when you combine this with impressive lyrics and a voice that is easy on the ears, the chances are anything this guy does is going to be sick. My personal highlights on this album are ‘Our Show’ and ‘The Sounds of Death’ (part 1 and 2), this is greatly owing to the dope production work by Filero and Slip respectively.

8. Army Of The Pharaohs - The Torture Papers
It’s no secret who AOTP are, the super-group put together by Philadelphia’s Jedi Mind Tricks and featuring Apathy, Chief Kamachi, Crypt The Warchild, Faez One, Des Devious, Esoteric, Planetary, Reef The Lost Cauze, King Syze, 7L, Celph Titled and Vinnie Paz. Admittedly, I’d never heard of a bunch of the aforementioned artists before I got this album, but each and everyone of them left a positive impression on me. Although most of the highlights on this album come when Celph Titled is in control, the track that sticks in my mind the most is the highly emotional ‘Into The Arms Of Angels’ where Faez One, Crypt and Vinnie P each supply moving verses on different personal topics. When you bring together as many artists as JMT have done on this project, you’d imagine cohesion would be minimal, however this is far from the case.

7. The Funkoars - The Greatest Hits
Honestly, the majority of Australian releases I listen to don’t even register on my radar, however there are a few that can hold their own to anything else out there in the hip hop world, this is the case for the Funkoars’ sophomore release ‘The Greatest Hits’. The Adelaide outfit consists of rappers Trials, Hons and Sesta along with DJ Reflux on the turntables and it has to be said that they sound like no other group I’ve come across. Without being caught up with trying to push any significant messages, the Funkoars deliver dope high-octane humorous hip hop. The production on this album is also a level above most Aussie stuff I’ve heard and when it comes to lyrics all three emcees drop numerous crazy quotables. If you’re not in Australia then chances are you haven’t come across this release, if that is the case then I strongly recommend you check it out, although going by past experiences, a lot of American’s can’t look past the Australian accent.

6. KB Da Kidnappa - Spitting Venom
Hailing from Trinity Garden (Houston), KB Da Kidnappa represents Street Military, Tha Killa Klan and the South Park Coalition. 2006 was a highly productive year for the Texan veteran who came down to do shows in Australia and subsequently released a freestyle album as well as featuring on a BattleHoggs Mixtape, KB then returned to the U.S. and dropped his highly anticipated ‘Spitting Venom’ album. On this album, as with all his previous material, KB’s bellowing voice commands the listener’s attention and allows him to drive his ghetto and gangster lyrics home with overwhelming effect. The beats on this album are distinctively southern and the hooks fit the tracks to perfection. Adding to the positive aspects I’ve already highlighted, the selection of guest appearances on this album, such as Street Military K Rino and Z-Ro, further enhance the quality of this release and make it one of the best albums I checked out in 2006.

5. T Kash - Turf War Syndrome
Coming straight out of the bay area under the watchful guidance of Paris, T Kash arose at the start of 2006 with his debut album, ‘Turf War Syndrome’, on Guerrilla Funk Recordings. Prior to this release I had only heard Tommy Kash’s work on The Coup’s album and his submission to the ‘Straight Outta Hunters Point’ soundtrack, both of which were quality efforts. With an incredibly powerful voice reminiscent of his mentor, T Kash also exhibits similar messages in his music as P-Dog the Bush Killa. T Kash’s socially and politically conscious lyrics serve as education as well as entertainment, and with a range of diverse deliveries displayed throughout the album, this has to go down as one of the most surprisingly under-appreciated albums to come out in the past 12 months. ‘Turf War Syndrome’ was entirely produced by Paris, and as a huge fan of Paris’ production this is another reason as to why I rate this album so highly.

4. Ice T - Gangsta Rap
A lot of people diss Ice T nowadays, claiming that he’s past it, he shouldn’t be a gangsta rapper and play a cop on TV etc. To me his music speaks for itself, he’s been in the game longer than most and hasn’t dropped a substandard release yet. After a seven-year break between solo albums, Ice T came back in 06 with ‘Gangsta Rap’ on Melee Records, an album that may not be the best in his discography, although it clearly illustrates that Ice T is still one of the best in the game. Aside from Ice T’s own attributes, the superior standard of this album also has to be put down to the fact that features were kept to a minimum and reserved only for his tight knit circle. With impressive production from underground figures such as Rhyme Poetic Mafia’s DJ Ace, GrandDaddy IU and Marc Live, this album shows what we all know already, Ice T has no intention of selling out musically for mainstream appeal.

3. Tech N9ne - Everready (The Religion)
The self proclaimed Kansas City King, Tech N9ne, finally got around to dropping the long awaited ‘Everready’ release at the end of 2006 on his own label, ‘Strange Music’, and although the wait was long, it was well worth it. As you’d expect from a Tecca Nina release, this album didn’t lack in originality or quality, with incredible production throughout that is utilized to perfection by Tech N9ne and the guest appearances, this is an album I could have on repeat all day long. With an assortment of up-tempo gems such as ‘Bout Ta Bubble’ and ‘Jellysickle’ featuring Vallejo legend E-40, combined with the serious and reflective ‘The Rain’, Tech N9ne shows off his ability to record a diverse range of tracks while still managing to ensure they are all of top shelf standard. There are things that Tech N9ne does on this album (and his others), that, for most rappers, would end up in embarrassment, but somehow Tech not only makes them work, but he turns his bizarre ideas into incredible music.

2. K Rino - Time Traveler
In recent times there hasn’t been a year go by without a K Rino release featuring in my list of favourite albums, and 2006 was no different. The South Park Coalition’s leader and founder unleashed another extraordinary release into the hip hop world, this time in the form of ‘Time Traveler’. When it comes to lyricism people often laugh at the south, but K Rino is amongst the best in the game, on this album alone K Rino spits more jaw dropping lines than most rappers have written in their entire careers. Aside from being the king of quotables, K Rino also nails it when it comes to thought provoking tracks, and he is also a master storyteller. ‘Valley of Decision’ sees his story telling abilities employed to tell the story of his own spiritual battle with Satan and God, playing the roles of both contrasting spiritual figures as well as himself, this track is not only incredibly well conceived but also executed to perfection. For anyone not familiar with K Rino then you’re missing out big time, if you already know the deal then I’m sure you’re as anxious as me for his upcoming projects.

1. South Park Mexican - When Devils Strike
My favourite album of the year is one that I’ve been fiending on for over three years, after being pushed back on numerous occasions, the Dope House finally were able to release South Park Mexican’s ‘When Devils Strike’ in October 2006. After being sentenced to 45 years in a Texas penitentiary, where recording is strictly prohibited, many thought SPM would never be heard from again, but against all odds Carlos did the unthinkable. Due to his current circumstances, it is no surprise that ‘When Devils Strike’ is SPM’s most intimate and honest release to date. Although his last few albums have also seen ‘Los take a more mature approach to life, it is notable that now he is incarcerated his music has become even more sincere. With SPM’s emotive lyricism rapped over top draw production by Pain and with guest appearances on this album reserved for the highly talented members of the Dope House family, this album is a flawless release and my highlight of the year gone by. Free SPM!

Honorable Mentions:
Filero - Million Dollar Mexican
CWB - The South-West Connection
Paris Presents: Hard Truth Soldiers (Vol. 1)
Murder One Presents: Southern Foundation (Vol.2)
The Dayton Family - Back On Dayton Ave

Now, like I said at the start, the albums mentioned above are the albums I heard from 2006 that I liked best, the list would probably look a bit different if I had heard ever release that came out, however obviously that wasn’t possible. There have been a few albums that were released in the past year that I wanted to check out and heard good things about but didn’t get around to such as: Def Wish Cast ‘The Legacy Continues’, Jedi Mind Tricks ‘Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell’, Suga Free ‘Just Add Water’, Too Short ‘Blow The Whistle’, Mellow Man Ace & Sen Dog 'The Reyes Brothers’, Motion Man 'Pablito's Way', Equipto ‘Behind the Rhyme’ and Rhyme Poetic Mafia finally dropped an album recently.

In a time when it is cool to claim hip hop is dead, I have to strongly disagree, it isn’t in the best state it has been in, but the number of underground artists around the world dropping quality products is extensive. If you think hip hop’s dead, you ain’t diggin’ deep enough. Although 2006 won’t go down as one of the most memorable years for the culture, it did see some quality albums hit the shelves. Aside from the albums, I will remember 2006 for Three Six Mafia winning an Oscar, the release of one of my favourite hip hop movies of all time ‘Hustle & Flow’, and being able to watch the likes of KB Da Kidnappa, Boo Yaa Tribe, Cage, Yak Ballz, Mr Lif, Yukmouth, Pretty Black, Supernatural, Q Bert, Roc Raida, Lord Finesse, Q Unique, DJ Eclipse and Tha Alkaholiks perform live in my city.

R.I.P. to all the hip hop figures/ inspirations that lost their lives in 2006:
Big H.A.W.K. (S.U.C.)
Big Boss (OG Style / 4 Deep)
Professor X (X Clan)
Bone Skanless (Skanbino Mob)
Young Kee (Skanbino Mob)
Proof (D12)
J Dilla
James Brown

10 comments:

travis said...

I'm an end of the year list junkie, so I like reading other peoples opinions, especially when they have tastes different than the masses.

Honestly, I've only heard one album on your list, the Army of Pharaohs, which I liked, which actually kind of suprised me, since I tend to shy away from anything Vinnie Paz breaths on.

You have me curious about that Ice T joint now, although that's still a fucked up cover...hahaha.

You are going to have school me on some K Rino. The only things I have heard from him are the stuff you have posted up over the year.

Have a safe and Happy New Year

Anonymous said...

just wanna give thanks for all the good posts keep it up in 07 & have a good new year

BULLANT said...

Thanks, Sometimes we feel like outsiders with the hip hop we put up but... fuck it, thats what we're into. Glad you like it, we appreciate the feed back.

Travis, If you get a sec maybe you (or anybody else who gives a fuck) could post up a your top albums of 06. I'm a little curious.

All the best for 07 to everyone who checks us out.

pimp said...

WOW! Ice-T's album made #4. Don't get me wrong I have hard it, and its a good album However, that just show how few people are doing anything good. I have only hard 3 albums from this year, and I would never thought that this album would be that high on the list.

Fuck the Ice-T haters!!! The only reason he is still in the game is beacuse almost no one is doing anything. Then they have the guts to talk shit about him, even though he has been in the Rap game before these new Rappers were even born yet.

EMVEE1 said...

Actually the reason it's in #4 is because in my opinion it was the fourth best album I heard. I'd have to disagree that no one else is making good music, there are countless dope artists still releasing albums, it's just you have to look alot harder to find them now.

Happy New Year pimp, thanks for all your support over the past 12 months.

pimp said...

You are right I should of not of said no one is doing anything good. It just feels that way to me at times.

I wish only the best to you guys. I can't wait to see hope dope 2007 is going to be for Streets On Beats. Keep up the good work guys. I can't thank guys enough for telling me about all those dope albums I was missing out on.

travis said...

yeah, I'm working on my list still, lack of computer time lately

Krooked1 said...

holy sweet mother of jesus

ive looked everywere 4 that t-kash album u dont happen 2 have a link 4 it do u?

sweeneykovar said...

free a child molester? ...... ok.

BULLANT said...

No, Kill child molesters......
FREE THE INNOCENT!!!

There's more to a story than the headlines in the paper.

PEACE