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Top 10 Smaller/Slept-On Albums of 2013

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Justin Ivey:

There’s so much music being put out these days, it’s understandable that some great LPs will get overlooked or not given their just due. quelle_ghosts_at_the_finishOne album that certainly deserves more praise and recognition is Quelle Chris’ Ghost At The Finish Line. The Detroit emcee has put out some quality projects before, but he hit it out the park with Ghost At The Finish Line. Chris’ twisted humor and outstanding beat selection resulted in one of the most entertaining albums of 2013. Smart Ass Black Boy was Houston’s Fat Tony’s growth as he finally found the right mix of sincerity to pair with his comedic sensibilities. While it may not have gotten as much attention as his free mixtapes tend to receive, Starlito was in vintage form on Cold Turkey. Lito pulls no punches on the LP as his heartfelt rhymes make you feel his frustration and pain. A few other slept-on albums cracking the top ten include excellent efforts by Detroit group Clear Soul Forces, the ghastly duo of The Doppelgangaz and G-Side member ST 2 Lettaz.

  1. Quelle Chris – Ghost At The Finish Line
  2. Fat Tony – Smart Ass Black Boy
  3. Starlito – Cold Turkey
  4. Clear Soul Forces – Gold PP7s
  5. ST 2 Lettaz – G: The Growth & Development
  6. The Doppelgangaz – HARK
  7. CASTLE – Gasface
  8. Kevin Gates – Stranger Than Fiction
  9. Shady Blaze – The 5th Chapter
  10. K-Rino – The Maven

Honorable Mentions

  • Lyriqs Da Lyraciss – D.A.I.L.Y.F.
  • Greenhouse – Bend But Don’t Break
  • Aceyalone – Leanin’ On Slick
  • Max Minelli – Gunpowder For Breakfast
  • MidaZ The Beast – AU: Another Universe
  • Truth Universal – Invent The Future

Michael Stover:

This is easily my favorite category to write because there have been some great LPs that dropped that have been passed up by listeners.StatikExtended Some seem to have forgot that Tanya Morgan made the Brooklynati record a couple years back and their full length return Rubber Souls is a fantastic follow up. Evidence showed us why he’s a great producer on LMNO’s lyrically diverse record After the Fact. My number one slept on record though has to go to Statik Selektah’s Extended Play. Now I can almost give you guys a pass because a bunch of albums came out on that day, but this record literally has a song for everyone and with everyone. Statik’s production is top-notch and the scratches on the album will make a Hip Hop fan cry tears of joy. Lastly, we saw respected groups return as well with the Demigodz, Hieroglyphics and The Procussions each releasing great records. Wake up fam; I wrote this because I care.

  1. Statik Selektah – Extended Play
  2. Tanya Morgan – Rubber Souls
  3. LMNO & Evidence – After The Fact
  4. JGivens – El vs. Envy
  5. Wonder Brown – J.A.W.S.
  6. Hieroglyphics – The Kitchen
  7. The Procussions – The Procussions
  8. The Remnant – Indian Summer
  9. Demigodz – Killmatic
  10. GQ – Death Threats And Love Notes

Bruce King:

Cubbiebear’s Force Back to Sleep’s lack of a label to support meant there was no powerhouse push behind it, which is mildly tragic because it’s catharsis needs to be received and internalized.cubbiebear It’s that rare record that manages to authentically leave the listener both uncomfortable and empathetic. Sage Francis’ Rhode Island based Strange Famous Records manages to bookend the year, starting it off with Prolyphic’s confrontational and socially aware Working Man while November brought us Minnesota based No Bird Sing’s ominous Definition Sickness. Factor’s Woke Up Alone may be the first time that a producer has managed to compile emcees in such a cohesive way as to tell an aesthetically compelling album spanning musical tale that honestly rivals other forms of storytelling. Spose’s Peter Sparker Mixtape had to be included thanks to the single “I’m Starving” which combines an infectious beat with the comedic ramblings of an MC forced back into moderate obscurity after being dropped from his major. Esh the Monolith and Eyenine round out the list with a couple of EPs that prove that “concise” is a quality to be celebrated. In truth my best of wouldn’t look much different from this one. Leaves me a bit sad that these records don’t find a larger audience, but I’m in turn also excited by the wealth of quality releases I may be yet to discover.

  1. Cubbiebear – Force Back To Sleep
  2. No Bird Sing – Definition Sickness
  3. Prolyphic – Working Man
  4. F. Stokes – Fearless Beauty
  5. Spose – The Peter Sparker Mixtape
  6. Mixed Blood Majority – Mixed Blood Majority
  7. Factor – Woke Up Alone
  8. Swordplay & Pierre The Motionless – Tap Water
  9. Eyenine – Dissembler
  10. Esh The Monolith & ARC – Nightworks

Honorable Mentions

  • Ka – The Night’s Gambit
  • Dessa – Parts Of Speech
  • Grayskul – Zenith
  • ECID – Post Euphoria Vol. 1 & 2
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