Amoeblog Hip-Hop Best of 2013

Posted by Billyjam, November 25, 2013 03:30pm | Post a Comment

For me, a lifelong hip-hop fan, 2013 was another great year for both new hip-hop releases and hip-hop in general - a vibrant genre that humbly begun four decades ago and that for much of the first half of its lifespan was considered a passing fad by a large segment of people. Sure some begrudgers today might argue that there are no new hip-hop classics - a la golden era hip-hop circa 88-93 - being made these days and/or that today's hip-hop is lyrically one-dimensional and musically just not exciting. I think I know what they mean but honestly but am guessing that they are simply referencing certain artists among the pop/Top 40 spectrum of today's hip-hop; the hip-hop that dominates the airwaves and popular culture. Simply put they are not looking at the big picture of the endless amazing hip-hop releases (a great many of them on small indie labels) being quietly but steadily released nowadays. The positive reality is that there is a vast and most diverse wealth of hip-hop being made today: so much that it is impossible to keep up with it all. There is hip-hop spanning more musical ground and cross-pollinating with other genres than in any previous time in the genre's forty year history (just peep the list below of 2013 releases from Amoeba hip-hop charts over 2013 that, note, are listed in no particular order).

Speaking of that 40 years of hip-hop, August 11th, 2013 was the officially recognized date of the 40th anniversary of hip-hop music and culture when hip-hop's recognized creator/godfather DJ Kool Herc kickstarted the genre/culture with a party in the rec room of the South Bronx building located at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. back in August 11th, 1973. To celebrate the occasion Herc did two big anniversary shows in New York City - both of which were reported on here on the Amoeblog: one on Saturday August 10th in Manhattan's Central Park with such performers as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, and Grand Wizzard Theodore, and the second the following day on the actual anniversary date, Sunday August 11th, at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens where, along with Marley Marl from nearby Queensbridge, played music all afternoon for dancers and celebrants of the culture. Graffiti artists at 5Pointz did some nice pieces - like the one above - to mark the occasion. Sadly, as reported here more recently, the 5Pointz location has been whitewashed of its art and will soon be bulldozed to become new luxury condo buildings.

Also among the active sales / hip-hop chart entries at Amoeba over the course of 2013 were a number of non 2013 releases. These included some popular 2012 carry over releases that continued to sell well several months into this year such as Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist. Additionally there were such "new" releases as Dead Prez' Information Age which technically was a 2012 release since it was first released as a digital only release then but this year dropped as a physical release for the first time. Then there was the 2013 album release from Blu, No York! via New World Colour/Greenstreets, which was an album from Blu that was originally supposed to be released by Warner but got shelved until this year.Then there were 2013 reissues of bygone era hip-hop albums such as Souls Of Mischief's '93 Til Infinity that was re-released to tie in with the 20 year anniversary of that landmark album. To further celebrate this anniversary the veteran Oakland hip-hop quartet toured performing the album including a set at the hugely successful Hiero Day in Oakland in early September. There was also a documentary made by Oakalnd filmmaker Shomari Smith about the album that was screened on the same weekend as Hiero Day. Read full Amoeblog report here.

Following the list below of 2013 hip-hop releases popular at Amoeba over the year are some videos including one of E-Lit at Amoeba Berkeley mentioning some of his favorite releases in 2013 plus some of the 2014 releases he is looking forward to. There is also a video made by SF rapper Equipto when he was trying to raise funds for his 2013 tour, as well as some accompanying music videos for 2013 album tracks. Again note that the 2013 albums list, which is by no means inclusive of the huge number of hip-hop albums released over the year, is presented in no particular order

Tyler, The Creator Wolf (Columbia)

The Uncluded (Aesop Rock + Kimya Dawson) Hokey Fright (Rhymesayers)

Qwel & Maker Beautiful Raw (Galapagos4 Records)

Gensu Dean & Planet Asia Abrasions (Mello Music Group)

Swollen Members Beautiful Death Machine (Suburban Noize)

The Demigodz KILLMatic (Dirty Version)

Mixed Blood Majority S/T (Mixed Blood Majority)

Murs & 9th Wonder The Final Adventure (It's A Wonderful World Music Group) 

Blu No York! (New World Colour/Greenstreets)

Eric Lau Makin’ Sound (Octave)

Kev Brown Songs Without Words Vols 1 + 2 (Green)

DJ Neil Armstrong Sweet: 10 Year Anniversary Box Set (Turntable Lab)

Tyga Hotel California (Young Money/Cash Money)

Kid Cudi Indicud (Dreamworks)

Trek Life Hometown Foreigner (Mello Music)

R.A. The Rugged Man Legends Never Die (Universal)


Ghostface Killah Twelve Reasons To Die (Soul Temple)

Illogic & Blockhead Capture The Sun (Man Bites Dog)

K-Def The Exhibit (Solid Smoke)

Oh No Disrupted Ads (Cash Rock Entertainment)

Dead Prez Information Age (Krian Music Group)

Moe Pope & Rain Let The Right Ones In (Brick Records)

Joe Budden No Love Lost (Entertainment One)

Sole No Wising Up, No Settling Down (Black Canyon)


Lil’ Wayne I Am Not a Human Being Pt. II (Cash Money)

A$AP Rocky Long.Live. A$AP (RCA)

Fashawn Champagne & Styrofoam Cups (Fat Beats/Dirty Science)

Talib Kweli Prisoner Of Conscious (Blacksmith)

Sunspot Jonz and BOAC Skywalkers (Outhouse Records)

Eve Lip Lock (FTR Music)

French Montana Excuse My French (Bad Boy/Interscope)

J Dilla Anthem/Trust vinyl (Pay Jay)

Ugly Heroes Ugly Heroes (Mello Music/Fat Beats)

The White Mandingos The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me (Ingrooves/Fat Beats)

The Alchemist & Prodigy Albert Einstein (Infamous Records)

Gajah & Mute Speaker On And Offspring (Acid Lab Records)

Gavlyn Habit That You Blame (Broken Complex)

Kanye West Yeezus (Def Jam)

Dessa The Parts of Speech (Doomtree)

Wale The Gifted (Atlantic)

J. Cole Born Sinner (Columbia)

 Mac Miller Watching Movies With The Sound Off (Rostrum Records)

Quasimoto Yessir, Whatever (Stones Throw)

"At Infamous, I'm looking for artists that, #1 have their own movement goin', they got their thing goin' already," the Mobb Deep - See more at:

Crooked I Apex Predator (Empire Dist)

Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)

Diplo & Tripledouble Aeiou Two (no label)

Tech N9ne Something Else (Strange Music)

U-God Keynote Speaker (Soul Temple)

Hieroglyphics The Kitchen (Hiero Imperium)

Slum Village Evolution (Ne'Astra Music)

Radioinactive The Akashic Record (Flying Carpet Studios)

Rich Gang Rich Gang (Cash Money)

Aceyalone Leanin' On Slick (Decon)

Billy Woods & Blockhead Dour Candy  (Backwoodz Studioz)

Myron & E Broadway (Stones Throw)

Opio & Equipto Red X Tapes (Solidarity)


Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)

A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)

JJ Doom Key To The Kuffs (Butter Edition) (Lex Records)

Big Sean Hall Of Fame (Universal)

2 Chainz
B.O.A.T.S. II #METIME (Def Jam)

Damu The Fudgemunk
Spur Momento Trailer (Redefinition/Fat Beats)

Goodie Mob Age Against The Machine (The Right Records)

LMNO After The Fact (Up-Above)

Drake Nothing Was The Same (Cash Money)

Terrace Martin 3ChordFold (Empire Dist.)

RJD2 More Is Than Isn't (RJS Electrical Connection)

Danny Brown Old (Fools Gold)

Grayskul Zenith (Fake Four Inc.)

Deltron 3030 Event II (Bulk Recordings)

Black Milk No Poison, No Paradise (Fat Beats)

Devin The Dude One For The Road (E1 Music)

Quelle Chris  Ghost At The Finish Line (Mello Music/Fat Beats


Greenhouse (Blueprint & Illogic)  Bend But Don't Break (Weightless Recordings)

Jon Wayne Rap Album One (Stones Throw)

Ohmega Watts Pieces of a Dream (Mellow Orange)

Jel Late Pass (Anticon)

Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope)

Marco Polo PA2: The Director's Cut (Soulspazm Records)

Kid Tsunami The Chase (Head Bop)

No Bird Sing Definition Sickness (Strange Famous)


Latyrx The Second Album (Latrymid)

Cage Kill The Architect (Eastern Conference)

Louis Logic Look On The Blight Side (Fake Four Inc.)

Mad Dukez & Fresh Kils gettin gatsby (Deep Thinka)

Factor Wake Up Alone (Fake Four Inc.)

Bun B
Trill O.G.: The Epilogue (Rap-A-Lot)

The Godfathers Once Upon A Crime (Psycho & Logical)

Death Grips No Love Deep Web (Universal)

Yancey Boys Sunset Blvd (Delicious Vinyl)

E-Lit @ Amoeba Berkeley on best of 2013 and upcoming for 2014

Tyler, The Creator "Domo 23" from
Wolf (2013)


Illogic & Blockhead "Capture the Sun (feat Slug)"(title track of their 2013 album)

Equipto's Kickstarter Pitch Video - example of how innovative artists had to be in 2013

Funding via crowd sourcing sites like Kickstarter became even more prevalent in 2013 for struggling indie  artists trying to put out albums or fund tours. Examples included San Francisco emcee Equipto, who came to fame with Bored Stiff but was introduced to more fans via his collaborations with fellow SF artist Andre Nickatina. In early 2013 Equipto said that he had decided to hang up the mic and retire from the rap game for good but before doing so wanted to go out on tour. For that national tour with members of the Hieroglyphics and True Justice as his DJ) he resorted to seeking tour funding via a Kickstarter campaign. as outlined in the video above which included getting (in exchange for certain dollar amounts) such things as backstage access, photo ops with the artists, T-shirts, VIP area passes, etc. This type of innovative funding, as a direct result of both a faltering overall national economy and a money strapped music industry, has become (and no doubt will continue to become more so) common for artists in these times.


Kid Tsunami “Bang Exclusive (feat. Sean Price)”  (from
The Chase)

Relevant Tags

Best Of 2013 (24), Best Of 2013 Hip-hop (1)