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Top 10 Albums of 2013

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Justin Ivey:

I clearly tipped my hand with the selection Rittz as my top emcee of 2013, so it should come as no surprise that The Life And Times Of Johnny Valiant is my selection for album of the year. rittz-coverThe Georgia emcee found that perfect balance of diverse content with a cohesive sound on his Strange Music debut. Rittz used this album to display his talent as songwriter and storyteller, proving he was more than just a skilled lyricist with a rapid flow. While it may have flown under the radar this past year, I predict The Life And Times Of Johnny Valiant will eventual become a landmark album in the career of Rittz. The Wu-Tang Clan may not have delivered a new LP in time for their 20th anniversary, but their presence was felt this year. Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck and affiliate Killah Priest all earned spots in the top ten with their respective albums. Kno and Deacon The Villain were heavily involved in the creation of Still Motion, but Natti’s debut proved he could be a captivating orator without his CunninLynguists cohorts beside him. Don Trip & Starlito showed exactly why they should collaborate more often as their Step Brothers sequel did what few do: outdo the original. And I must mention the dual threats of Ka and Black Milk. Both men are equally as impressive on the mic as they are behind the boards and showed that once again in 2013.

  1. Rittz – The Life And Times Of Johnny Valiant
  2. Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die
  3. Natti – Still Motion
  4. Don Trip & Starlito - Step Brothers Two
  5. Ka – The Night’s Gambit
  6. Killah Priest – The Psychic World Of Walter Reed
  7. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
  8. Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric – Czarface
  9. Denzel Curry – Nostalgic 64
  10. Illogic & Blockhead – Capture The Sun

Honorable Mentions

  • Danny Brown – Old
  • Planet Asia & Gensu Dean – Abrasions
  • Juicy J – Stay Trippy
  • Goodie Mob – Age Against The Machine
  • R.A. The Rugged Man – Legends Never Die

Jeff Leon:

Too much good music in 2013, it’s tough to keep up! glaciersParticularly amazing is that there were many artists this year simply dedicated to making the best music they can and upping their game substantially. That rings true for Blue Sky Black Death, whose latest record Glaciers is far and away one of the best listens I’ve heard in a very long time. There may not be a rap anywhere on the record, but the moods, the soundscapes and the raw emotion on this listen is damn near life-changing. Excellent work from Kingston and Young God. Brownsville emcee Ka dropped the cerebral The Night’s Gambit, the go-to soundtrack to the harshest winter. Oddisee continues to put out amazing projects, and the one-two combo of the instrumental record The Beauty in All and the rap record Tangible Dream provides some of 2013’s most brilliant and soulful listens. Rounding out the top five is the Michigan group Clear Soul Forces, whose Gold PP7s record is a potent mix of video games, comic books, deft mic-passing and great camaraderie and fun.

  1. Blue Sky Black Death – Glaciers
  2. Ka – The Night’s Gambit
  3. Oddisee – The Beauty In All / Tangible Dream
  4. Clear Soul Forces – Gold PP7s
  5. ST 2 Lettaz: The G… The Growth & Development
  6. R.A. The Rugged Man - Legends Never Die
  7. Shad – Flying Colours
  8. Prodigy & The Alchemist – Albert Einstein
  9. J-Zone – Peter Pan Syndrome
  10. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

Honorable Mentions

  • Uptown XO – Colour de Grey
  • Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die
  • Billy Woods & Blockhead – Dour Candy
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