Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 High Fives - Rap Traxx

There is a risk with every year that passes, of becoming the old guy who thinks all new rap is terrible. You hear old guys say it, and they sound like old guys. I never want to sound like an old guy about anything, but especially music. That said, I have always had a reasonably narrow sweet spot for rap that resonates well with me. Probably because I'm a music nerd, and I benchmark good rap to other good music rather than other rap. I still prefer technique, consciousness and underground alternative  rap I suppose, which is likely evident in these five rap tracks from 2016 I thought were really fantastic.

It's worth noting, these are five I could put my hands on easily, but there was a bunch of other cool stuff released in the vein of alternative and underground hip-hop this year. The one caveat is that the new Run The Jewels album will probably drop this year, and I can't see a reality where those guys wouldn't be in here. Conversely, there is a new album by A Tribe Called Quest landing next week, and under normal circumstance, it should be in there too I suppose. However, no matter how pleased I am to see those guys looking after unfinished business, I feel it's business that might be best left alone. No Phife, means no Tribe for me. Plus, I just don't see it doing anything to improve on their relative flawless legacy and influence. If it makes people happy though, then fair game. I just don't see how it will be anything other than disappointing.

These songs, from these artists and their albums this year, were not disappointing.

Swet Shop Boys - "T5"

Kendrick Lamar - "untitled 8"

Apollo Brown - "A Couple Dollars"

Ka - "Just"

DJ Shadow ft. Run The Jewels - "Nobody Speak"