A couple of years back I wrote a post about artists I had discovered or rediscovered that year. This year it seems that I have rediscovered my love of hip hop that had been hibernating for some time. I realized that two professions that focus so much attention on language is that of hip hop artists and stand up comedians. I wonder why there isn’t a lot of crossover between the two… Anyway, what follows is a list of albums and artists that I have rediscovered in 2018.
Aesop Rock- The Impossible Kid
My friend Pat introduced me to Aesop Rock sometime about a decade ago but somehow I had completely forgotten about him until recently. While old gangster rap is fine to listen to and brings back a lot of memories, I found that these days I look for more from my rap artists than hoes, gats, cheese and cars.
Aesop Rock is a nerdy “thinking mans” kind of rap. The lyrics are about everyday life around him, from interactions at an ice cream shop to a situation where a coyote was spotted in the neighborhood, this album he even has a song about his cat Kirby that is well thought out and executed.
Along with songs about everyday things, Aesop Rock also has a good musical taste about him. His songs arent full of various samples of other older songs or the borrowing of choruses but are well pieced together orchestrations that are as interesting as the stories told in the lyrics.
If you have never heard of Aesop Rock he is worth checking out.
Brother Ali-All the Beauty in This World
Keeping on my quest for more positive and content driven hip hop I managed to discover Brother Ali this year. Surfing videos on Youtube can often lead you down roads of rehashing your old musical tastes, but every now and then you discover something new worth checking out.
Ali has a positive message while also talking about the everyday interactions he gets put through which is even more interesting considering he’s an albino. That’s right folks the whitest of the white rappers. He also does not rely on the regurgitation of old songs through sampling, but instead puts together well thought out beats and sounds that help progress the stories along.
Everlast has always been on the back of my mind and I seem to stumble across his stuff while surfing my iTunes library but I haven’t ever really sat down and just listened to his output of music. Thanks to Joe Rogan’s podcast I got to learn a lot about the dude and his life. He’s went through some crazy stuff since the House of Pain days and has managed to produce some great songs.
Slightly dissuaded by the hit songs like “What It’s Like” I never really dived fully into his catalog until this year. There are some great songs in there which cover the hip hop, pop, and acoustic rock genres. Everlast manages to blend a few different styles in his music but it always comes across as genuine and well constructed.
2Pac- Greatest Hits
Back in the day I was never really a big 2Pac fan. Over the years with his legend growing and the hype of his posthumous albums, I kind of veered away from the mans work. However, this year I found myself actually giving his music a listen. It seems that time has not diminished the work as his songs still fare well in today’s world. I’m not sure if that is to credit his social awareness or if that is a detriment to society for not being able to progress and solve the same problems that were around almost 30 years ago.
At any rate, I can see that the hype that I so purposely avoided was well due as the man was great at his art. Not only was he able to flow, he was able to write stories that were meaningful and true. While there are some songs that are of their gangster rap time, they still sound fresh and are well thought out in their wording.
This group I found out about after an interaction with my cousin Gary. We were discussing what music we were currently digging on and he brought up Phantogram. Their music is interesting and fresh and combines a few of my favorite off beat styles such as trip hop and electronica. This duo of musicians manages to produce great songs that are catchy, hypnotic, and poppy without sounding like every other group out there within these genres.
I listen to their album Three a lot at work because it helps me zone in on what I’m doing and helps me focus by having the upbeat tempos and hypnotic dreamy sounds much like trance and some chill step have.
I highly suggest their music if you like any of the previously mentioned genre’s in this post.
Run The Jewels
A group that has been suggested by my cousin Gary as well as my friend Pat. Having been out of listening to hip hop for a while I was also behind on learning about this group on my own. Composed of Killer Mike and El-P, they manage to produce some great hip hop with the slick and skillful producing of El-P. Having sampled a few of their songs on Youtube I got hooked.
While not all of their songs are my favorites, they manage to produce enough good songs that they keep me interested. One of my favorites that I keep going back to is “Close Your Eyes (and Count to F**K)” featuring Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against the Machine.
Original in their music and talented in their hip hop this duo put out enough content to keep people happy and manage to throw out some thought provoking songs along with a steady fare of boastful yet humorously worded tracks.