The Year 2005 in Review
Author: Adam Bernard
TOP 10 RECORDS OF THE YEAR
10. (tie) Lil Wayne: Tha Carter II / One Block Radius: Long Story Short
A complete contrast at ten, Lil' Wayne has worked his way up to rank as one
of commercial Hip-Hop's elite while One Block Radius took 2005 to hit listeners
with their full length debut effort. Always strapped with a fantastic flow
and unique voice, Wayne's "The Carter II" was noticeably better than last
year's "The Carter" both lyrically and production-wise. If people don't respect
what this man's doing in rap music now they probably never will.
One the other end of the spectrum, One Block Radius is a newcomer to most.
In 2005 the trio put together an album that is clearly influenced by the days
when Hip-Hop started both in subject matter and sound. Though updated
significantly for the times, one can't help but notice the 80's influences in their
beats as well as all the fun they're having.
9. The Chapter: Us Vs. Them
This Las Vegas duo gives a lot of credit to ?estlove for putting them on the
map and you know what, ?estlove knew what he was doing when he helped put them
on. The Chapter mixes dope production with meaningful lyrics and their debut
LP, "Us vs. Them," has numerous tracks that are worthy of the repeat button.
8. The Game: The Documentary
You'd have to have been in a coma not to have heard at least half of this
album being played on the radio throughout the year. Having Dr. Dre as your
producer never hurts, but The Game's lyrical content is what set him apart from
his former friends over at G-Unit. The Game digs deeper than most mainstream
MC's and it's a safe bet he'll do just fine even without 50 and friends.
7. One Self: Children of Possibility
One Self's "Children of Possibility" is just one of those really dope albums.
Imagine an updated version of Digable Planets with a little more singing and
you have One Self. Everyone I know who's heard this album has liked it.
6. Prince Paul: Itstrumental
Some call him a genius, some call him insane, the truth of the matter is he's
probably a little bit of both. This year Paul gave us "Itstrumental,"
another album filled with fantastic beats and a common theme running through the
entire joint. Some of his individual concept songs can stand alone, but like
most Prince Paul albums, "Itstrumental" should be listened to as a whole.
5. Danger Doom: The Mouse and the Mask
MF Doom and Danger Mouse combined with the cartoon characters of Adult Swim.
What could be bad? The answer is nothing. The DangerDoom combination proved
to be one for the ages and the addition of characters like Master Shake and
Brak to the album make it one both Hip-Hop and cartoon fans can enjoy.
4. J-Live: The Hear After
Now in Philly, Brooklyn's finest came with heat in 2005. "The Hear After"
doesn't have a single track that will have you hitting the skip button as J-Live
brings listeners true reality over fantastic beats. He openly states he
stays on the sidewalks rather than the streets, and that's part of the reason his
views are oftentimes so much more interesting.
3. Atmosphere: You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having
It was really hard to say anything was doper than this album. Atmosphere had
slipped a bit in recent years, but with "You Can't Imagine..." Slug and Ant
launched themselves back into Hip-Hop's VIP section. The lead single, "Watch
Out," is a definite nominee for record of the year.
2. Will Smith: Lost and Found
The Fresh Prince was another artist who made a triumphant return in 2005.
While "Switch" was a good first single the real meat of the album is in tracks
like "Lost and Found," "If You Can't Dance," "Mr. NiceGuy," "I Wish I Made
That" and "Ms. Holy Roller" where he reminds listeners that he is one of rap's all
time greats and should be mentioned along side the likes of KRS-ONE and 2Pac.
Unlike most of today's rappers, however, he does this more so by SHOWING why
he should rank there rather than just saying it.
1. Hot Karl: The Great Escape
No longer saddled with a major label's wants and needs Hot Karl released a
modern day Hip-Hop classic. Never before has someone so precisely pinned down
suburban life in a rap album. "Home Sweet Home" leaves listeners wondering
about every upper / middle class burb in America, while tracks like "Let's Talk
(feat. MC Serch)" prove Karl's no one trick pony. The back to back songs "Just
Like Me & You" and "Dreamin" are easily the best storytelling songs of the
year. If you love Hip-Hop you need to have this album in your collection.
Originally posted: December 20, 2005