The Best of 2009 by Patrick Taylor

There were so many good albums that came out this year that I didn’t have time to listen to them all. There are only so many hours in the day, and I only have so much money in my bank account to indulge in my music obsession. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the RR crew’s best-ofs so I can see what I missed, and what I need to go out and buy. Here were my favorites of the year, in alphabetical order:

Brother Ali, “Us

I’ll own up to be a Rhymesayers fanboy, but it’s because they put out albums like this, full of fierce rhymes, insightful lyrics, and funky beats. Ali has truly come into his own on this one.

Danny!, “Where Is Danny?

The most talented rapper you never heard of because his albums never come out. This one was leaked, and is only available as a free download despite the fact that the beats are stellar, and Danny! raps like Weezy meets DOOM meets Kanye.

Del and Tame One, “Parallel Uni-Verses

This is an underachieving record that’s basically Del and Tame One trading old man raps. It works because they both have unique and complimentary flows, and they are backed by solid beats by Parallel Thoughts. It has a loose, stoned charm, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it.

DOOM, “Born Like This

After falling off of the face of the planet for the past few years, DOOM comes back, minus the MF, for some of his darkest, most curmudgeonly rhymes yet. Any hip hop album that features Charles Bukowski reciting poetry is worth your time. DOOM is nobody’s fool, and there is a lot going on behind the metal face.

Madlib, “Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6

Alright, Madlib could release an album remixing Barry Manilow and I’d probably still like it. The fifth and six entry in his Beatkonducta series is not only further proof that he is one of the best beatmakers around, it’s a moving tribute to the late J Dilla.

Mos Def, “The Ecstatic

Mos Def’s albums are always confused and half-assed, but even with his mumbly, sleepy rapping, this is still one of the best albums of the year. It doesn’t hurt that he raps over Oh No and Madlib beats, spars with Slick Rick, and reunites with Talib Kweli.

Oh No, “Dr. No’s Ethiopium

Oh No + Ethiopian jazz and funk = awesome.

P.O.S., “Never Better

I never thought I’d be championing an artist that toured with the Warped Tour, but dammnit, this is a fantastic album. P.O.S. mixes punk, emo, and hip hop and hurls it off of a bridge. Not for everybody, but brilliant anyways.

Raekwon, “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II

I’m not sure if I like this because it is actually great, or because it sounds like classic Wu. At the end of the day, though, having the Chef and Ghostface trade crack raps over banging beats is like coming home. Provided your home is a crack den.

Skyzoo, “The Salvation

No tricks, no frills, no bullshit. Skyzoo shows how it’s done, and proves that the younger generation understands real hip hop.