2012 Year End Best Of Hip-Hop: Part III

Posted by Billyjam, December 31, 2012 05:07am | Post a Comment

This is the third and final part in the 2012 Year End Best of Hip-Hop Amoeblogs in which I do my personal top ten albums of the year, plus some other highlights of the past twelve months in hip-hop music and culture. This is all from one person's perspective and includes some losses of 2012 like Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys who had been battling cancer since 2009 and passed on at the young age of 47. MCA joined the ranks of such other hip-hoppers as Camu Tao who also died from cancer. Coincidentally, 2012 was the year that Bay Area graffiti fan Sonae Ponce produced the Graffiti Against Cancer event. Within a week of MCA's passing, BK rapper Tone Tank recorded a great tribute to the Beatie Boy (with cool accompanying logo - left) based on the Beasties' "Shake your Rump."

Overall in 2012, we gained much more than we lost with such things as a resurgence in the art of the skratch DJ. Best evidence of the Return of the DJ in 2012? The return of the DMC DJ battle to San Francisco and releases such turntablists as DJ Needlz and DJ Moschops (who also raps). Also in 2012 artists began to specialize more in their own respective niches. These included Oh No's guest heavy tribute album to Dolemite, Ohnomite (Traffic Entertainment). In 2012 some of the best labels making music included Mello Music and Stones Throw.


1) El-P Cancer 4 Cure (Fat Possum)

2) Kid Koala  12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune)

3) Aesop Rock Skelethon (Rhymesayers Ent)

4) Homeboy Sandman  First Of A Living Breed (Stones Throw)

5) JJ Doom  Keys To The Kuffs (Lex Records)

6) Casual & J-Rawls Respect Game or Expect Flames (Nature Sounds)

7) Lushlife Plateau Vision (Western Vinyl)

8) Killer Mike' R.A.P. Music (Williams Street)

9) Serengeti C.A.R. (Anticon)

10) E-40 & Too $hort History: Mob Music (Heavy On the Grind)

The above top ten includes the long-awaited History Channel series from Bay Area veterans E-40 and Too $hort. Due to copyright name issues of a certain TV channel, they shortened the name to just "History" and released not one but two albums in the series that has been promised for many years. In addition to these two albums (plus all of the guest spots 40 and $hort made), they also released other individual albums: E-40's Block Brochure: Welcome to the Soil 1, 2 & 3 (Heavy On Grind) and Too $hort's No Trespassing (Dangerous Music). There seems to be no slowing down these two ever prolific Bay Area living legends.  Another album recorded in the Bay in this top ten is Chicago emcee (perhaps the most slept on artist in hip-hop today) Serengeti who hooked up with the cats from Anticon for this latest (recommended) release C.A.R. from the clever wordsmith that he recorded in the East Bay.

Doomtree "Beacon" off No Kings on Doomtree label

2012 was the year that proved how unity is one of the best ways to thrive with collectives like the Minneapolis-based Doomtree crew and the Bay Area's Hieroglyphics as prime examples that there is strength in numbers - when those numbers are made up of talented artists.  Doomtree featuring such talents as emcee P.O.S. (who had to cancel his tour in late 2012 due to illness in support of his album We Don't Even Live Here), vocalist Dessa, and producer Lazerbeak (who released the kick ass Lava Bangers in 2012) toured as a collective and won more fans in 2012 in their slow but steady rise to hip-hop domination. Meantime the two-decade strong East Bay Hieroglyphics collective released a slew of albums in 2012 and in September kicked off the premiere of what will soon become an Oakland institution - Hiero Day. The long list of individual Hiero artist releases in 2012 included Pep Love's Rigmarole (Hieroglyphics Imperium /Clear Label), Casual with J-Rawls Respect Game Or Expect Flames (Nature Sounds), Tajai Machine Language CD (Hieroglyphics Imperium), Opio Vultures Wisdom Vol 2 (Hieroglyphics Imperium /Clear Label), Phesto Dee Background Check (Hieroglyphics Imperium /Clear Label  Del & Parallel Thought Attractive Sins (Parallel Thoughts), and Casual He Still Think He Raw (Hieroglyphics Imperium)


Relevant Tags

Dj Moschops (1), Meta P (2), Cue's Records (3), Tone Tank (2), Krip Hop Nation (3), Creative Music (1), Creative Music San Francisco (1), Best Of 2012 (31), Doomtree (9), Hip-hop (217), Hieros (17), Leroy Moore (23)