With Deen on-board, Passion of the Weiss will stomp out Richard E. Gordon for Best Webmaster.
Decent humans would call these “honorable mentions.” But I’m neither human nor decent. I don’t believe in labels – when applied to me, myself, I and personally. They definitely work for everybody and everything else though. Not that I judge people or things or anything like that. In short, here’s my list:
Kirko Bangz – The Progression 2 (Young Texas Playa):
This project dropped early this year. Really early. And it stayed in the rotation throughout the year. Shockingly. Brief and enjoyable slice of Houston pop-rap. And Kirko is getting bigger looks – good for him. But I can’t argue that this is one the best projects I’ve heard in good conscience when I have to spend way too much time defending the kid from Drake-lite accusations while he continues freestyling over Drake beats. That said, he makes one hell of a tape. This is his best in 2012.
Jigg – Spittaduction
I suspect that this skilled Miamian may be doomed to a Willie The Kid-esque fate. That’s to say he has the back of DJ Drama and Don Cannon, but it just won’t happen for him. But that won’t be because he isn’t talented enough. The wordplay suggests that he went to really good schools and he has a good ear for beats to match his pop instincts – the latter is some shit Willie The Kid lacks. I tried to write about this project several times this year, but I’m lazy. I hope he sticks around.
Robb Bank$ – Calendars
I wrote a thing or two about this guy and was hoping to hear more from him before the year ended, but that probably won’t happen. As things stand, Calendars is a decent effort that hints at a talented rapper on the cusp of bending a lotta ears soon.
Young Roddy – Good Sense
I think I’ve passed the stage where I fuck with just about anything and everything that comes outta Curren$y’s crew, but I fucked with this heavy throughout the year, so its gotta be some kinda good. Roderick still has his pause-worthy moniker and light ass voice, but he makes a decent project.
ZIP: Young Roddy – Good Sense (Left-Click)
Wiz Khalifa – Taylor Allderdice
Let’s just say, for artistic license, that I do drugs. Assuming this “fact” to be “true,” then I did most of my drugs to this mixtape. The nigga Wiz ain’t really bout shit (and never really was), but he makes some dope sounding shit. Sounds even better when Juicy J is around.
Sharon Van Etten – Tramp
Affirmative action pick. I don’t fuck with the indie/Pitchforky rock shit too heavy anymore, but I’ll occasionally dabble and come away impressed. I kept reading this shit described as folky, but if it was folky, then I’d probably hate it. I like this shit. Go Sharon.
Zilla – Zilla Shit 2
I’ll always have space in my iPhone for Block Beattaz production — unless Stalley is rapping over that shit. Thankfully, Zilla is infinitely more interesting and talented than that bearded snooze merchant. Mere competence married to Block Beattaz production is usually enough to get the job done and Zilla easily surpasses that threshold.
Chinx Drugz – Cocaine Riot 2
Other than God’s verb, i.e., “Fanute,” the only good thing to result from French Montana’s 2012 ascendance was Chinx Drugz. Whatever the fuck that means. For a long minute, I’ve thought that New York rap should sound like this mixtape. Skilled rapping (mostly) and fun hooks combined with those sampling and newish drums. I don’t know how many Harry Fraud tracks are on this, but I’d argue he did his best work of the year here. Hopefully, Chinx and French will replicate the Waka/Gucci dynamic in which the crew head gets overtaken by one of his acolytes, because French is just awful. But that won’t happen. Ever.
Killa Kyleon & Mouse – The Fish Fry
Bamma party music. I wonder why Mouse on da Track doesn’t get more placements. It’s a fucking mystery to me. His production is imaginative and busy and kinda reminds me of Mannie Fresh at his most insane. Kyleon is powerful rapping-ass rapper and sounds like he’s having fun for the first time. I slipped more than a few of the tracks on this on to party mixes throughout the year.
Justin Bieber – Believe
This only falls down to this list because I don’t have the time or lack of shame to listen to a Justin Bieber album more than twice. That said, this is a dope pop album. Once the Bieber starts getting raunchy for real, we’ll forget about that other Justin nigga. I promise.
Someone, somewhere is dropping the ball on this gentleman. He’s a bit of a rap marketer’s dream if you ask me. Think Mase for these times. But I’ll stop right there. I don’t want to argue about this. Just go listen.
Keyshia Cole – Woman to Woman
From what I understand, Keyshia is actually happy now – with a child and an NBA player. Not that you’d be able to tell from the music. Everything’s still pretty dramatic in her studio life and that’s a wise fucking choice. Like Mary J. Blige, we only fuck with Miss Cole for the angst and drama. No one wants to hear your angsty ass voice singing about happy shit. Keep it dramatic and we’ll keep listening. That’s what she did here.
It’s a cliched complaint by now, but this is only here by virtue of the fact that it’s so much better than Meek’s retail effort. In any case, I still find all that yelping difficult to listen to, but returning to this after being disappointed by Dreams & Nightmares revealed a solid mixtape with some excellent peaks.
Ray Cash – Don King
Lord knows what happened to this guy. I’m guessing he did some time. His debut album with the minor hit “Bumpin My Music” was a favorite back in 2006 – then he disappeared. Tragic. He’s still a clever rapper and I suppose it might still be a compliment to state that a mixtape is album quality. That statement applies here.
Big KRIT – 4Eva N A Day
More mixtape > album shit here. KRIT gave us so much, actually, waaaaaay too much on his mixtapes. The album never stood a chance. The man was outta gas by the time he got a barcode. This shit probably has 8 songs better than the best song on the album. We’ll just call this his best work of 2012 and hope he comes back stronger on his next retail effort.