Sometimes I wonder what kind of recommendation it takes to get the average visitor to pick up an album. Surely there are various factors involved, such as if you’ve come to trust a certain writer’s judgment, whether you are already familiar with an artist or not, or how difficult it is to obtain the record. But to be honest, sometimes I am rather pessimistic about our mission, thinking that most readers are hung up on ratings and that we dedicate way too much time to obscure releases no one’s ever gonna bother hunting down. But then I remind myself that I don’t do this to be some kind of influential figure with enough clout to have any indie cat’s phone ringing off the hook once he’s covered by us. Neither is this website in any way part of my livelihood. The reason I write for is simple – free records.

That seems an odd motivation in this day and age of widespread music piracy, so there must be something special about these free records. Promo CD’s these days can be crammed with annoying anti-piracy messages to the point that they’re impossible to review, so it’s not like anybody will envy me for them in twenty years. No, it’s the thrill of not knowing what you’re going to get. It’s the fact that I get to hear music I almost certainly wouldn’t catch if I didn’t write for And that means that you probably wouldn’t hear of it either, at least in the case of cats who can barely hope to sell a hundred copies. Whatever your excuse may be for not being able to fully grasp the depth and diversity of hip-hop, don’t say that made you assume the only rappers that ever existed were the ones marketed by the handful of majors. We didn’t tell you about everything, and what we had to say may not have always been to your satisfaction, but once again we tried to keep track of hip-hop music in the past twelve months.

If in 2005 I got just one person to check out an album, I would consider that a major accomplishment, but even in such an unlikely case, it is not me who has to convince the public of how good, bad or mediocre a release is, because the music will always speak for itself. Sometimes it will get misinterpreted, sometimes it will reach only a certain group of people, whether here in this publication or out there in the market. That’s okay because the music that’s worth caring about exists without outside approval. However, it sometimes has a better chance of existing with outside approval. So to honor the kind of hip-hop that tends to fall through the cracks here and especially elsewhere, our staff has compiled a CD’s worth of tracks that we learned to appreciate while working for this website, songs that stood out among many, many others. Without further ado I give you…

The Virtual Year End Compilation

“The Ghetto” – Likwit Junkies – from “The L.J.’s”
“The Carryout” – Priest Da Nomad – from “Mr. Moov Sumthin'”
“Masked Man” – Eddie Haskill – from “The College Graduate”
“Your Mans and Them” – Murs & Slug – from “Felt 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet”
“Mince Meat” – Danger Doom – from “The Mouse and the Mask”
“Proof” – DL Incognito – from “Life’s a Collection of Experiences”
“You Betta Recognize” – YoungOne – from “Let Me Live”
“The Treatment” – Ohmega Watts – from “The Find”
“Good Money” – Move.meant – from “The Good Money EP”
“How You Lose Your Mind” – Reef the Lost Cauze – from “Feast or Famine”
“Gunz Yo” – Sage Francis – from “A Healthy Distrust”
“Dumb” – The High & Mighty – from “The 12th Man”
“Drop That” – LMNO feat. Supernatural – from “P’s & Q’s”
“I See Colours” – Edan – from “Beauty and the Beat”
“The Maritimes” – Classified – from “Boy-Cott-In the Industry”
“Hurricane George” – Looptroop f. Timbuktu, Chords – from “Fort Europa”