Ho, Ho... ho, sit down. It's that time, y'all, whatever time that means to you—just make sure you spend this time letting your loved ones know that you love them. I love y'all for reading my ramblings for these past few.

But fuck all that. It's the end of the year, so it's time for year-end lists and shit. It ain't easy man, 'cause believe the hype: 2007 might have been the highest-yielding year for brilliant local hiphop. This year the local heavyweights, or most of 'em, all dropped heaters, but the most encouraging thing is the new talent that's emerged: not just the cats who'd already been groomed in the wings of established camps, but in some cases, the ones who seemingly came out of nowhere (see: the Physics). The generation gap we used to bitch about has seemingly split again, and a new class has been ushered in, for better or for worse (thankfully, often for the better). That said, here's my always scientific findings...

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Best Solo Album: The Only Forgotten Son by Fatal Lucciauno.

No other album had the flow, the punch lines, the production, and most importantly, the heart of Fatal's debut album. This album not only cemented Fa' as a fuckin' force to be reckoned with, it forever sealed Sportn' Life Records' rep as THE label for street-minded hiphop from the 6. As much acclaim as this record has received, I still think heads are sleeping. Get out soon, Fatal.

Best Group Album: Bloody Radio by Grayskul.

Onry and JFK, on their sophomore Rhymesayers release, have shown mufuckas how it's done, with ill production, a heightened level of lyricism, and sheer chemistry. I know there's been a lot of conjecture on the (non) existence of a local sound, but Grayskul have again and again crafted a suite of music that's affected, gloomy, druggy, and darkly witty—Seattle to a T.

Best Debut Album: Space Music by Dyme Def.

Is there any denying the trajectory of the 3 Bad Brothaz We Know So Well? In seemingly no time, DD became one of the scene's most formidable crews, with a high-energy debut set masterminded by BeanOne, and a quickly honed-to-ill live show. These cats single-handedly made hella critics round here have to start using the word "swagger"!

Anyway, here's my somewhat shortlist of 11 essential local releases. If you don't have all these, you're not graduating to '08. F'real. It'll be like Groundhog Day.

Gabriel Teodros, Lovework

Beyond Reality, A Souls Journey

Blue Scholars, Bayani, Joe Metro EP

The Physics, Future Talk

Dyme Def, Space Music

Cancer Rising, Cancer Rising EP

The Saturday Knights, The Saturday

Knights EP

Grayskul, Bloody Radio

Silas Blak, Silas Sentinel

J.Pinder, Backpack Wax

Fatal Lucciauno, The Only Forgotten Son

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Happy holidays, gang. Be safe and I'll see you next year. SOYGNH. recommended

hiphop@thestranger.com

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