Okay, so I’m a bit late…so sue me (actually, please don’t). It was a long and busy year for hip-hop back in 2012. The internet seemingly played an even bigger part in the proliferation of both very good and some very, very bad music. I didn’t review as many albums as I wish I could have and that’s something I hope to remedy in the new year. The following is a list of my favorite albums of the year that I did actually get around to reviewing.

5. Juvenile – Rejuvenation

Aside from one or two missteps, this album showed the world that Terius Gray was still a force to be reckoned with. It doesn’t hurt that the album was heavily laced by Mannie Fresh production as well.

4. Maggz – Soundscapes: [Autumn/Winter/Spring] Selections

I enjoyed these short compilations by the Columbus,Ohio-based emcee/producer. Each project captured the sounds of the season well with hip-hop jazz undertones. I look forward to reviewing the final project in the series soon.

3. Big Fun in the Big Town [DVD]

Okay, so this isn’t an album, but rather an interesting re-release of a documentary from the late 80s that wasn’t commercially available in the United States until now. It features now-legendary artists like LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, Doug E. Fresh, Run DMC and others riding the wave of the increase in popularity of rap. Great watch.

2. Devin the Dude – Seriously Trippin

Hip hop’s elder smokesperson came back with an EP release and true to form, he’s still smoking, drinking and chasing women. Never the one to not have a motivational word, on this outing he’s helping us get our workout on. I’d take The Dude over Richard Simmons any day.

1. Big K.R.I.T. – 4evaNaDay & Live from the Underground

The “4evaNaDay” mixtape preceded the release of LFTU by a few months and to many, it was the better release of the two. Given that there were some sample clearance issues that held up LFTU, I’m not sure if it’s completely the album that KRIT wanted to release, but it hold its own and gets better with repeated listens. At the end of the day, they were both solid releases and on the strength of that, I chose them as the best of the albums I reviewed in 2012.