Holy Christ. I started Hydrant Sippin’ exactly for months like May. I was overwhelmed with good stuff this month. To make matters worse, my laptop finally kicked the bucket. But hopefully I did a decent job of picking the best of the bunch from this month. Oh yeah, hope you like the hip-hop.
Here’s my take on good albums:
- Tanya Morgan – The Bridge EP: This will hold me over quite nicely until Donwil drops Suburban Sprawl in a couple of days.
- Al Green – Lay It Down: ?uestlove and James Poyser bring the Reverend back to that classic sound that made him famous.
- Elzhi – Euro Pass: The master of patterns drops a tour-only release.
- Guilty Simpson – Ode to the Ghetto: Guilty doesn’t cover any new topics on his debut release. He simply sounds like a badass over some weird beats from Madlib, Oh No and Black Milk, among others. Works for me.
- J Dilla – Pay Jay: Dilla’s unreleased MCA album finally leaks. Hopefully it will soon see an official release so Jay (well, his mom at least) can get paid.
- J-Live – Then What Happened: I had given up on J-Live after he started trying to do his own beats. On Then What Happened, he thankfully went back to having real producers do his beats…I couldn’t be happier.
- Plantlife – Time Traveller: Not quite as good as The Return of Jack Splash, but I’m still pretty excited to finally (after 4 years) hear something new from him.
- South Rakkas Crew – Mix Up: These guys (along with 77 Klash) are making me pay attention to dancehall….something I haven’t done since Super Cat dropped “Ghetto Red Hot.”
- The Roots – Rising Down: I don’t think it lived up to Game Theory, but it’s still pretty good.
- Panther – 14kt. God: A slightly less polished, but more interesting MGMT
- White Denim – 11 Songs (Exposion): Geno Petralli’s son chose rock over baseball. We’re all better off for that. I picked this up when they opened for Tapes ‘N Tapes. Supposedly this tour-only CD will actually be the same as their upcoming debut.
- Santogold – Santogold: A poppier version of M.I.A. that doesn’t quite live up to the hype, but is still a fun album.
- Clinic – Do It!: Imagine a weirder, darker, and more interesting (Howl-era) B.R.M.C., possibly being sung by a guy with his jaw wired shut?
As always, let me know if there was something good that I missed.
2) Soul Messengers – Savior In the East
These guys’ story is well worth reading.
3) Al Green – What More Do You Want From Me?
RZA circa 94 or so would have wet himself over the first couple of bars to this song.
4) Plantlife – Your Love
Jack Splash has done production for Alicia Keys and Raheem DeVaughn, and he’s got one of the best falsettos this side of Curtis Mayfield.
5) Santogold – Starstruck
I’m a sucker for fuzzed-out keyboards like this here (see also “Get Busy” below). Consider it Santi’s answer to “$20.”
6) South Rakkas Crew (ft. Sandy Smith & Professor Murder) – Hot Patty
Any Professor Murder song makes it onto my mixes almost by definition. Glad to see P. Murder and South Rakkas Crew hook up officially after P. Murder unofficially made SRC’s Chinkuzi Riddim all their own.
7) 410 Pharoahs – Fresh
My song of the month. Labtekwon and DJ Booman hook up to bring that B’more style to the floor. Check the video.
8) J Dilla – Trucks
This song is silly as hell, but dammit if it doesn’t put a smile on my face every time I hear it. Makes me want to trade in my Civic for an Escalade.
9) Rick Ross (ft. Lil’ Wayne, Red Cafe & Fabolus) – The Boss Remix
Normally I can do without these “all-star” remixes, but this weird, eerie take on the “Paul Revere” break works like none other. Good enough that I’ll gladly sit through verses by Red Cafe, Fabo…and Rick Ross, for that matter.
10) Killer Mike (ft. Shawty Lo) – 2 Sides
Back to someone who can actually rap…probably my favorite right now. What side of Atlanta is T.I. from again? Pledge Allegiance II dropping in July.
11) Bun B (ft. Lil’ Wayne) – Damn I’m Cold
Weezy’s free-association weird-out’s go nicely with Bun B’s grounded, technical flow. With Pimp gone, Bun B needs someone with an out-sized character to bounce off of.
12) Che Grand – Crash
Von Pea on the beat. Che Grand on his airtight.
13) Pharoahe Monch – Broken Heart
Does this new track mean we won’t have to wait 8 years between albums like last time? My fingers are crossed.
14) J-Live (ft. Posdnous & Oddisee) – The Upgrade
OK, this might actually have been my song of the month. “Fresh” might put a hop in my step and a smile on my face, but this one puts goosebumps on my arms. Oddisee on the beat (who impressed me when he opened for Tanya Morgan in April…and that was before I knew he could make beats like this). Toss the perennially underrated Plug Wondah Why on the top, and you’ve got a classic.
15) Elzhi (ft. Royce da 5′ 9″) – Motown 25
Detroit’s Dr. Dre provides the perfect canvas for two of Motown’s finest to show what lyricism is all about.
16) J Dilla – No One Knows
On one hand, hearing Dilla sounding all triumphant and inspirational makes me sad that such a spirit is no longer with us. On the other hand, he left an amazing legacy that will no disease could ever kill.
17) Guilty Simpson – The American Dream
Madlib laced Guilty with some weird beats for his debut.
18) The Roots (ft. Dice Raw & Peedi Peedi) – Get Busy
Black Thought: “My squad half Mandrill, half Mandela / My band about 70 strong just like Fela”
Dice Raw: “I’m kinda like W.E.B. DuBois meets Heavy D and the Boyz”
20) White Denim – Paint Silver Gold
First time I heard this song, I loved it, but I also thought there was a 90% chance it would end up in a commercial for Nissan Xteras, or something. I was close.
21) Clinic – The Witch
Why did these guys have to play Chapel Hill on a Monday? I’m getting too old to start my work week on zero sleep. But, based on this video, I’d of loved to have seen their show.
22) White Denim – Heart From All Around Us
Just to show that not all of their songs sound like Nissan Xtera commercials. Go see them if they come through your town.