Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dart Adams presents Indie Hip Hop's Surge (The Real Version)

Yesterday I wrote a blog responding to another writer who wrote an article stating that the first eight months of 2008 were uneventful as not one indie/underground Hip Hop album with any real replay value past two or three weeks was released in their opinion. That same writer then stated that the first great album of the year was Koushik's "Out My Window" (which wasn't released until September 30th). I found his whole article to be insulting to all of the indie and underground Hip Hop acts that made solid material this year and were just completely dismissed.

This year did start out slow I will admit, but it started picking up in the second week of March and by April things were in full swing. That's when one of my blogging brethren Travis Glave of the widely respected Hip Hop blog Wake Your Daughter Up asked me to team up with him to do a special blog highlighting our Top 25 albums of the first quarter of 2008.

In early May 2008, Sach Orenstein of Oh Word made a post where he essentially shit on the first quarter Hip Hop releases and he said that there was nothing worth listening to. Since he was off in Southeast Asia and I was hear knee deep in new shit with about 20+ promising albums coming up on the horizon including Invincible's "Shapeshifters" which had just arrived in my mailbox.

I responded by telling Sach that I disagreed with him (meaning that I called "bullshit") and that I could easily list 50 worthwhile LP's, EP's and mixtapes that came out in the first 5 months of the year so far. No one believed I could do it but I came right back with a list. Sach wasn't impressed but I didn't expect him to be. I just wanted him (and everyone in the comments box) to know that I don't fuck around.

It ended becoming the talk of the bloggerverse and Jeff Weiss even did a piece about it a short time later. Once things began jumping off more and more excellent Hip Hop albums began coming out but things were really going to start rolling when the Summer came. Halfway through June, I decided to further hammer home a point by posting up a list of my 75 favorite releases of the year so far. Shortly after I made that list the new releases started coming out at such a furious pace that I haven't even had the opportunity to get all of my information together and make another list since.

Albums like Vast Aire's "Dueces Wild", Green Lantern & Immortal Technique's "The 3rd World", Opio's "Vulture's Wisdom Vol. 1", Snowgoons "Black Snow", Shawn Jackson's "First Of All...", Killer Mike's "I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II", Reks' "Grey Hairs", Madlib's "Madvillainy 2", Skillz "Million Dollar Backpack", Tame One's "Da Ol' Jersey Bastard", Vordul Mega's "Megagraphitti", Elzhi's "The Preface", Buff1's "There's Only One", GZA's "Protools" and Common Market's "Tobacco Road" were among some of the releases that dropped through August. The real surge wouldn't start until September rolled around.

Releases starting coming rapid fire from acts as varied as DJ Muggs and Planet Asia, Ill Bill, DJ Revolution, Jake One, Madlib, Royce Da 5'9", DJ K.O., Termanology, Murs, Hell Razah, Heltah Skeltah, Now On, People Under The Stairs and Dela. That steady string of good underground Hip Hop albums continued throughout October as Devin The Dude, Blue Sky Black Death & Jean Grae, Diamond D, Ayatollah, The Foreign Exchange, 14KT, Black Milk, DJ Babu, Count Bass D and New Jack Hustle all dropped in October and Q-Tip, Illa J and Reef The Lost Cauze's all came out yesterday. Now that's what I would consider a legitimate "indie Hip Hop surge".

I have listened to slightly more than 400 LP's, EP's and mixtapes mostly of the indie/underground Hip Hop genre so far this year and I expect to hear a lot more before this year is up. To illustrate just how much material I've heard this year I'd like to post my 200 "favorite" releases and downloads from 2008 so far. I'll whittle it down to my Top 50 at the end of 2008. If you think that there is NO WAY that this much material could've been floating around the internet just check my blog archives going back to January 2008 and check each of my What's New In Dart's iPods and my For Doz Dat Slept section for proof.

Stop crying about how nothing worth listening to came out in underground Hip Hop in 2008. It's probably because you really weren't trying to hear or listen for anything in the first place. Now check this list below and ask yourself how many of these albums have you even heard of? If you didn't know they existed and you haven't heard them then how can you automatically say that it's all garbage?

Top 200 LP's, EP's & mixtapes (no order) of 2008 so far according to Dart Adams (as of November 5th, 2008):

Nicolay & Kay-Time: Line
Elzhi-The Preface
Torae-Daily Conversation
Torae-Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself
Emc-The Show
Wale-The Mixtape About Nothing
Atmosphere-When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold
9th Wonder & Jean Grae-Jeanius
Tanya Morgan presents IlWil: Beat Thieves 2
Tanya Morgan-The Bridge EP
J-Live-Then What Happened?
J Dilla-Pay Jay (Unreleased MCA LP)
Reks-Grey Hairs
Vast Aire-Deuces Wild
Vordul Mega-Megagraphitti
Akrobatik-Absolute Value
Finale & Spier 1200 presents Develop
Icon The Mic King-The Reintroduction
Tanya Morgan & DJ Soul-Tanya Morgan Is A Rap Group
Ayatollah-Drum Machine
Pete Rock-NY's Finest
9th Wonder & Buckshot-The Formula
9th Wonder & Murs present Sweet Lord
Black Spade-To Serve With Love
The Roots-Rising Down
Fat Ray & Black Milk-The Set Up
Rhymefest-The Man In The Mirror
Braille-The IV Edition
Kids In The Hall-The In Crowd
Donwill & SuhBURB-Suburban Sprawl
Random-Patches & Glue
Random-The 8th Day
Danny!-And I Love Her (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Carlos Nino & Lil’ Sci present What’s The Science?-Elevation
Nieve & Cook-Away With Words
Focus presents Dedicated
Focus & Fokis-20/20
Presto-State Of The Art
AZ- Undeniable
AZ & DJ Absolut-N.4.L
Koushik-Out My Window
Ghostly International-Ghostly Swim
Analogic & Rashid Hadee (A & R)-Serenade For The Moment
Re Up Gang presents We Got It For Cheap 3: The Spirit Of Competition
Blu & Mainframe-Johnson & Jonson
C.R.A.C Knuckles (Ta’Raach & Blu)-The Piece Talks
Now On & DJ Houseshoes-Don't Call It A Mixtape
Now On-Tomorrow Already
Blue Sky Black Death-Late Night Cinema
Blue Sky Black Death & Jean Grae-The Evil Jeanius
Little Brother-And Justus For All...
Rapper Big Pooh-Rapper’s Delight
Guilty Simpson-Ode To The Ghetto
Looptroop Rockers-Good Things
LMNO & Kev Brown-Selective Hearing
LMNO-Let ‘Em Know
Del-The 11th Hour
Custom Made-Original Dynasty
45-Hello Friends
Mickey Factz-The Leak Vol. 2: The Inspiration
Muja Messiah-Thee Adventures Of A B-Boy D-Boy
Don Cannon & DJ Drama present Asher Roth-The Greenhouse Effect
Kooley High-Summer Sessions EP
Kaze-Block 2 The Basement
Kollabo Brothers-For My Peoples
Cyne-Starship Utopia
Cyne-Pretty Dark Things
DL Incognito-A Captured Moment In Time
The Camp-The Campaign
Living Legends-The Gathering
Muneshine-Status Symbol
Damu The Fudgemunk-Spare Time
Damu The Fudgemunk-Overtime
Freddie Joachim-Tiger Beats
Freddie Joachim-In With Time
Baje One-The Weightless EP
El-P-Weareallgoingtoburninhell Megamix 1 & 2
Nico The Beast-No Beast So Fierce
Amanda Diva-Life Experience
ST Da Squad-The Album
Qwel & Kip Killagain-The New Wine
Common Market-Black Patch War
Common Market-Tobacco Road
School Of Beats-Lesson 3-The Progress Report
M1 Platoon-M1 Invasion Mixtape
Access Immortal-Last Summer In Brooklyn
Omer Saar-The Green Album
Lil’ Wayne-The Carter III
DJ Whoo Kid & Bishop Lamont-The Confessional
Prolyfic & Reanimator-The Ugly Truth
Astonish-From Now Until Forever
Mighty Joseph-Empire State
Brooklyn Academy-Bored Of Education
DJ Green Lantern & Nas-The Nigger Tape
Nas-Nigger (Untitled)
Little Vic-Each Dawn I Die
Fel Sweetenberg-Sweets’ Day Off
J Boogie's Dubtronic Science-Sole Vibrations
Roddy Rod-Blunt Park Sessions
K-Otix-The Reason
Rashid Hadee-A Change Gonna Come
Esoteric vs. Japan-Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo
East Coast Avengers-Prison Planet
All Natural-Elements (Fire)
Lone Catalysts-Square Biznizz
Time Machine-Life Is Expensive
88 Keys-Adam’s Case Files
Pace Won & Mr. Green-The Only Color That Matters Is Green
The CAEN Project-Caesar’s Vengeance
Cadence Weapon-Afterparty Babies
DJ Green Lantern & Charles Hamilton-Outside Looking
Charles Hamilton-And Then They Played Dilla
S.O.U.L. Purpose-The Construction
Jazz Liberatorz-Clin d'oeil
Kaze-Block 2 The Basement
Snowgoons-Black Snow
Immortal Technique & DJ Green Lantern-The 3rd World
Outerspace-God's Fury
T.H.U.G. Angelz-Welcome To Red Hook Houses
Killer Mike-I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind II
Short Bus Alumni-Mr. T’s Revenge
Effect-Fine Tuned Tantrum
Tame One-Da Ol’ Jersey Bastard
Opio-Vulture’s Wisdom Vol. 1
Ras Kass-Institutionalized Vol. 2
DJ Muggs & Planet Asia-Pain Language
Supastition-Leave Of Absence EP
Kam Moye-Self Centered EP
Dave Ghetto & Tha S Ence-Hustle Simmons
Strange Music Project presents S1’s Music Box
Ill Bill-The Hour Of Reprisal
King Syze-The Labor Union
Decay-The Unlikely Hour
Hell Razah-Ultra Sounds Of A Renaissance Child
Theo-The Birth
Crooked I-The Block Obama
Zilla Rocca-Bring Me The Head Of Zilla Rocca
Murs-Murs For President
Madlib-Beat Konducta Vol. 5: Dil Cosby Suite
Madlib-Beat Konducta Vol. 6: Dil Withers Suite
Madlib- Remixes 2: Saturday Morning Edition
Madlib The Beat Konducta-WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip
Madlib (Madvillain)-Madvillainy 2
Heltah Skeltah-D.I.R.T.
Skillz-The Million Dollar Backpack
El Da Sensei-Unheard Of…
El Da Sensei & The Returners-Global Takeover
Theory Hazit-Lord Fire
Has Lo-Small Metal Objects
Danny Brown-Hot Soup
Sene-Elevator Music
Jedi Mind Tricks presents Doap Nixon-Sour Diesel
Plain Pat & Emile presents A Kid Named Cudi
C Rayz Walz & Kosha Dillz-Freestyle vs. Written
Kardinal Offishall-Not 4 Sale
Termanology-Politics As Usual
Kano-140 Grime St.
K-Salaam & Beatnick-Whose World Is This?
DJ Revolution-King Of The Decks
DJ K.O. presents Picture This...
Jake One-White Van Music
Statik Selektah-Stick 2 The Script
Strange Music Project presents S1’s Music Box
The P Brothers-The Gas
Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician-Repaint Tomorrow
Diamond D-The Huge Hefner Chronicles
Count Bass D-L7
Joe Budden-Halfway House
Foreign Exchange-Leave It All Behind
Black Milk-Tronic
DJ Babu-Duck Season Vol. 3
Dela-Changes Of Atmosphere
Q-Tip-The Renaissance
Edgar Allen Floe-The Streetwise LP
Illa J-Yancey Boys
Royce Da 5’9”-The Bar Exam 2
Royce Da 5’9”-The Album
Reef The Lost Cauze-A Vicious Cycle
14KT-The Golden Hour
Buff1-There’s Only One
Shawn Jackson-First Of All…
New Jack Hustle (Shawn Jackson & Newman)-Sound Check
Samon Kawamura-Unfold
Small Professor-Slowbus
Pumpkinhead-Picture That: The Negative
Peter Rosenberg presents A Rosenberg Oddisee EP
John Robinson-I Am Not For Sale
Jedi Mind Tricks-A History Of Violence



Small Pro said...

got damn thats a lot of albums!

JNOTA said...

hey thanks for including damu on your list. good to know youre feeling the music. a lot of people sleep on em, so the mention is appreciated.

Anonymous said...

its seriously been a great year for hip-hop in 08.. i think alot of it stems from the fact that we've all been dealing with alot of issues as a country and its bringing out the creativity..

Mr. Johnson said...

Damn Dart.

I'm with you 100% on 2008 so far and have heard of - if not listened to - a lot of those albums BUT, how the hell do you have the time to run through all these projects??

Do you ever sleep?

Keep publicizing that good hip-hop.

Dart Adams said...

@ Big Rils:

I was up until 5 AM this morning listening to new music and I just posted the new What New In Dart's iPod after spending the last 5 hours putting it all together.

I was simultaneously working on my Thursday post about the Top 50 Non Hip Hop albums of 2008 (So Far). I do sleep but not a lot.


Mad Static said...

I only wish I could listen to THAT many albums in a short time period, in which i been trying to lately. But school, work, music, and a girlfriend, will fuck that system entirely up. Thank God I got an iPod now.

Anonymous said...

hey thanks for this post. i agree with you that the amount of quality hip hop released this year has overlooked (and this comes from an elitist 90s hip hop listener.) for the past few weeks i feel i've been overwhelmed with new hip hop i've enjoyed i.e. the new black milk, puts, jake-1, q-tip, statik selektah, heltah skeltah, etc...

Dart Adams said...

@ anonymous:

Thanks for that comment. You have no idea how much I appreciated it.


Anonymous said...

I can't claim to have heard even half of these recordings, but I will say that in spite of a glut of good-quality hiphop albums this year (like almost every year since '87), there doesn't seem to be one definite masterpiece; I know that's subjective, but recent years have given us at least one per year.

Dart Adams said...

@ anonymous:

Everyone's entitled to their opinion but I just don't believe that only one album came out this year that years down the line we'll be considering "a classic" or "a masterpiece". One? I don't buy it but I DO understand where you're coming from.


torrio said...

wow--good info on here and I love all of the classic album covers on the right hand side.
Many of these artists are played at