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Top 10 Albums of 2013


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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  • Kevin Holloway

    No Run the Jewels? Yikes.

  • Mugz101

    Thanks for the list guys. Here is my top 10 albums of 2013:

    1. Ugly Heroes – Ugly Heroes
    2. Slum Village – Evolution
    3. Seven Gems – Golden Era Music Sciences
    4. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
    5. Paranom & Purpose – Life Outside the Frame
    6. DJ Skizz – The Brooklyn-Queens Experience
    7. Jermiside & Danny Diggs – Quiet As Kept
    8. Dirt Platoon – War Face
    9. Havoc – 13
    10.Hannibal Stax & Marco Polo – Seize the Day

    Honorable Mentions

    Rapper Big Pooh – Happy Birthday Thomas vol. 3.5
    Marco Polo – PA 2: The Director’s Cut
    DJ Dister – Roll Wit Dis
    Reks – Revolution Cocktail
    Napoleon Da Legend – Awakening

  • JL3001

    Couldn’t include free records/mixtapes on this list Kev, but they are well-represented on the Free Albums top 10 / Best emcees, etc.

    Personally though, RtJ is in my top 3. Ridiculous record and duo.

  • Justin Ivey

    Jeff’s correct, it is featured on our free albums list. If it was a retail release, it obviously would’ve been included here.

  • Kevin Holloway

    I dig, i dig. I missed that list. Good shit.

  • OneEyeIsTheKing

    Ok: Killah Priest The Psychic World Of Walter Reed is INCREDIBLE. Is amazon the only outlet selling this album? I can’t find it anywhere but there: Can someone explain why this is the case?

  • Thomas_76

    RTJ was released via retail. If I remember correctly they put pre-orders up for the CD/Vinyl shorty after releasing it for free. It’s available at Fatbeats, UGHH, Amazon, and other places.

  • Thomas_76

    Uptown XO’s album set the bar for
    me at the beginning of last year. Every album I listened to had to match that
    album. Then RTJ was released…. That was the bar after that.

    Just a list of what I enjoyed
    last year.

    Run the Jewels (El-P & Killer Mike) – Run the Jewels
    Uptown XO – Colour de Grey
    Ka – The Night’s Gambit
    Quelle Chris – Ghost at the Finishline
    Ghostface Killah & Adrain Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die
    Czarface (Inspectah Deck, 7L & Esoteric
    Roc Marciano – Marci Beaucoup
    Oddisee – The Beauty in All/Tangible Dream
    Denmark Vessey & Scud One – Cult Classic
    Pusha T – My Name Is My Name
    Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise
    Durag Dyansty – 360 Waves
    The Dopplegangaz – Hark
    Dâm-Funk & Snoop Dogg – 7 Days of Funk
    Danny Brown – OLD
    J. Cole – Born Sinner
    Gensu Dean & Planet Asia – Abrasions
    Ugly Heroes (Apollo Brown, Verbal Kent, & Red Pill) – Ugly Heroes
    Marco Polo – PA2: The Director’s Cut
    Billy Woods & Blockhead – Dour Candy
    Earl Sweatshirt – Doris
    Esoteric and Stu Bangas – Machete Mode
    R.A. The Rugged Man – Legends Never Die
    Reks – Revolution Cocktail
    Castle – Gasface
    Clear Soul Forces – Gold PP7′s
    Boldy James – M.1.C.s. [My 1st Chemistry Set]
    Tanya Morgan – Rubber Souls
    Prodigy – Alb3rt Einstein
    Drake – Nothing Was the Same
    Ransom & Statik Selektah – The Proposal
    Statik Selektah – #Extended Play
    Demigodz – KILLmatic
    Guitly Simpson & Small Professor – Highway Robbery
    Boog Brown – The Late Bloom
    Jay-Z – Magna Carta Holy Grail
    Alterbeats – Class Struggle
    Jamall Bufford – Victim Of A Modern Age
    Natti – Still Motion
    MidaZ The Beast – AU Another Universe
    P-Money – Gratitude
    Willie The Kid – Aquamarine
    DJ Skizz – Brooklyn-Queens Experience
    Big K.R.I.T. – King Remembered In Time
    Action Bronson & Party Supplies – Blue Chips 2
    Rapsody – She Got Game (No DJ Version)
    Thaione Davis – The Joys Of Life & Pain
    Lloyd Banks – F.N.O. (Failure’s No Option)
    L’Orange & Stik Figa – The City Under the City

  • Justin Ivey

    Not sure where else it’s available, but you should be able to get physical copies directly from Killah Priest via his personal site.

  • Justin Ivey

    Good stuff Thomas.

  • ben

    styles p float! how the fucks that not on here this list is dead!!!!

  • Dave Tarantino

    I’ll just put my 10 albums of 2013 and why below
    10. RA Rugged Man – Legends Never Die (well, it’s new RA)
    9. Stalley – Honest Cowboy (Stalley rapping stepped up and the beats bumped in da whip)
    8. Pusha T – My Name Is My Name – (Pusha finally delivers in his solo career)
    7. Danny Brown – Old (The first half was amazing and the second half was catchy in a stupid way)
    6. Prodigy & The Alchemist – Albert Einstein – (Even though Prodigy is nowhere near the lyrical talent he had around Hell On Earth, Al provides beats that make Prodigy sound threatening)
    5. Big Sean – Hall of Fame (maybe I’m tripping, but this album was highly enjoyable because it is so carefree, which is refreshing in hip hop)
    4. Ka – The Night’s Gambit (Extremely experimental and challenging, but succeeds unlike Yeezus)
    3. Black Milk – No Poison No Paradise (Milk’s production is awesome and his lyrics are highly personal on this album)
    2. Jarren Benton – My Grandma’s Basement (this album is highly overlooked and should be checked out; be warned that Jarren raps over trap beats, but those trap beats are unbelievable, but his rapping style is crazy, but Jarren actually explains his life and stuff throughout the album)
    1. Adrian Younge & Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons To Die (I feel people forgot about this album, but I can never forget it because it was the first time I highly anticipated an album and it actually exceeded my expectations)
    I might have forgot about some albums, but whatever, I’m sleepy.

  • Thomas_76

    Funnyt…I was hatin’ on Pusha’s album at first. I think I called it meh on Twitter….boy was I wrong after several more spins. Same thing with Albert Einstein. P threw me off on a couple of joints, but ALC kilt every track and picked up the slack for him.

  • guest333

    c’mon son really this is a fuckin joke

  • T

    bullshit list no tragic allies?

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