It's that magic time of year, when we're subjected to endless "best-of" articles compiled by a bunch of underpaid, life-hating freelancers. I loathe lists, and list-think, but I'll give it a try:
A$AP Ferg, Trap Lord: Best BasedGod Tribute; A$AP Rock, Live.Love.A$AP: Best 14th Minute; Big Sean, Hall of Fame: Best Song Wasn't Even on It (P.S. He Got Bodied on It); Eminem, Marshall Mathers LP 2: Best We're Gonna Get at This Point; Flatbush Zombies, Better Off Dead: Best Way to Piss Me Off; J. Cole, Born Sinner: Best Personality; Jay Z, Magna Carta Holy Grail: Best Trick the Devil Ever Pulled; Wale, The Gifted: N/A.
Funny enough, but I don't think I'll do that with the stuff I actually liked. I'll just tell you that this year my life was vastly improved by the time I spent with Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap, Danny Brown's Old, Disclosure's Settle, Drake's Nothing Was the Same, Earl Sweatshirt's Doris, Freddie Gibbs's E$GN, the Internet's Feel Good, Ka's The Night's Gambit, Kanye West's Yeezus, Kelela's Cut 4 Me, Lil' B's Pink Flame, Mac Miller's Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Migos's YRN, Mr. MFN eXquire's Kismet, Run the Jewels, Prodigy & Alchemist's Albert Einstein, Pusha T's My Name Is My Name, Thundercat's Apocalypse, Troy Ave's New York City, Tyler, the Creator's Wolf, Waka Flocka Flame's Duflocka Rant 2—but none of them as much as Young Thug's 1017 Thug, the Best Shit I Ever Heard in My Life (2013).
Local-wise, this year new talent and young old souls sprang up like psilocybe cyanescens. Tough call determining a rookie of the year, what with Porter Ray's exquisitely crafted, reverent town scriptures; the emergence of Cam the Mac as the secret weapon of the already well-armed, talent-wise, Moor Gang; and the rowdy, raw pleasures of Tacoma monsters ILLFIGHTYOU (inevitable conflict alert—I do comanage these guys).
That said, if you're a connoisseur of the local vintage, I'd direct you to spend some time with these albums: Avatar Darko's Boris the Blade, Bolo Nef & Ryan Evans's Croatoan Crimewave, Cam the Mac's 2Hunnidx6, Caz Greez's Misfit, Grayskul's Zenith, Havi's Self-Portrait, ILLFIGHTYOU's ILLFIGHTYOU, Key Nyata's The Shadowed Diamond, Kung Foo Grip's Growing Up in the Future, Malitia Malimob's Idi Amin Project, Nacho Picasso's High & Mighty, Nacho & Avatar's Vampsterdam, the Physics' Digital Wildlife, Porter Ray's BLK GLD, RSE GLD, and WHT GLD, Raz Simone's Solomon Samuel Simone, Romaro Franceswa's Romaro Franceswa, Royce the Choice's Talk Ain't Cheap, Sax G's Tu Me Manques, Sneak Guapo's Suicide Capitol, Sol's Eyes Open, and THEESatisfaction's Loves Erykah Badu and And That's Your Time.
Lastly, Future's "Shit" was the Best Song Ever for my money this year. Its opening bar—"Bought the ho a hunnid pair of red-bottoms"—isn't exactly the first line of "Straight Outta Compton," but it similarly makes me feel like running through a brick wall regardless.