THE REAL OF 2015

 By SUNEZ

The #Skillastrator of many papers. Pages of today that letter tomorrow.  This ol’ Bennet Omalu of Hip Hop, these metaphors are text requisites to tell the truth.  Wordplay spilled sillily like scientific similes strewn down Sesame Street.  Through the dumb nigga blocks undetected, collecting righteousness like a broom bristled for building.  All to write a history in advance but lived one word at a time.  Erase, delete, amend, live. Spell, comprise, compose, thrive.  The Real is hell! The Real is an endless set of songs to find that highlight the Art of War my Suns travel through Tzus for.

These are the years where it is accepted that Hip Hop music doesn’t exist at all on the surface.  The commercial stations do not play Hip Hop music.  When they parade a savior lyricist, he pales in comparison (i.e. Kendrick Lamar) with the league of supreme MCs I have been surrounded by this entire decade.  Remember the 00’s were the Dark Ages and this is the Apocalypse, a Nigga States Period where excellence in the Arts is resurrecting itself on charred lands where the GM0s, genetically modified zeros, are the normal aural foods.

This year, the classic contender LPs and supreme works are not as blatant but the quantity of consistency is immense.  While my top 5 I say may certainly all can be argued classic LPs and/or memorable works of the times, the rest are of an expected high peak these artists have continued to share.  The majority of the mentioned LPs these artists show supremacy but flaw slightly that one can only expect an even better work forthcoming. These 2015 Real works are not of artists who’ve scraped their best remains and finish their careers unceremoniously; rather, there are clues to immense promise as in the best EPs of the year.

MIXTAPES/SPECIALTY LPs

6. STR8 PAPER – A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

 A mixtape is noteworthy for reminding us of a talent we lost or putting us onto one we ought to know.  This one reminds us of Str8 Paper, formerly known as Icon outta Gunset Park, who deserved a deal back when it mattered.  Willingly he collects his best concepts to an LP in the future and delivers as wonderfully as he rhymed on Rakim’s “Eric B is President” remix instrumental on “Paid In Full.”

5. THUG ANGELZ – R.I.P. THUG ANGELZ

The greatest duo of the late 00′s, Redhook, Medina’s Hell Razah and Shabazz the Disciple had a supreme militant blend of Razah’s brilliant calm manifestos and Shabazz’s dynamic dexterity darts for a spiritual revolution.  Their ’08 Welcome to Red Hook Houses is a lost classic that never realized their even greater fuller work to come because their unity dissolved under the stress of Razah’s near fatal aneurysm.  R.I.P. Thug Angelz literally are the final recordings unreleased, the b-sides and the shells of future tracks for their next unrealized LP.  What do we miss when brothers that represented righteousness on record cannot represent it together? I know that we move on, we will that they continue to build on their side of the battlefield and we will on ourselves in our trenches in this war but these last songs of battle cries, war chants and fight songs still will be here to keep us in rhythm against all hell fire.


4. METHOD MAN – THE METH LAB

 One of the all-time performers and an MC who rhymes impeccable the more his producer targets his cleverness and witty wordplay. A stylist vital in the history of Hip Hop he glistens the booth for strong performances by Streetlife and a solid introduction to Hanz On.  Method Man is often invigorated here (i.e. “Rain All Day”) and nicely preludes a true solo LP.

3. BLACK THOUGHT – THE LIVE MIXTAPE: JAMES BROWN EDITION

 An absolute GOAT who continued to rhyme on others’ songs and reaffirming it (i.e. on Freddie Gibbs’ “Extradite”) shared a pack of live brillaince over The GOAT’s (aka JB) beats, the major sample foundation of Hip Hop music.


2. CHRIS RIVERS – MEDICATED CONSUMPTION

 BIG PUN’s catalog is too short to easily declare him GOAT but his talent level was on the same and greater level than any and all contenders for it.  His son Chris Rivers has all of his father’s technical gifts and with Medicated Consumption, his 3rd mixtape work, reveals he has his own perceptions and perspectives that are intriguing that he can mold into great songs. While we let him prove it here we still marvel at the talents he’s already established.


1. SEAN PRICE – SONGS IN THE KEY OF PRICE

 Sean Price made us skip great MCs to get to his, listen to corny ones waiting for his turn and reinvigorated the cipher all the real Hip Hop has gone to: the actual underground. An MC that literally reached a second greater prime, Songs in the Key of Price only extended it. With a wealth of work to be released posthumously we will see how a powerful legacy ends and our wonderful memory lasts forever.

 #RememberedInPerfection Always #P! Knowledge my personal ode to my brother HERE


EPS

11.EZEKIEL THA PROPHET – S.T.F.U.

“Must be them skinny pants and Drake on your playlist…Shut the Fuck Up!!!”  An original young brother with a plan for originality. Ezekiel tha Prophet is a refreshing voice of talented non-comprise we need.  Sinister cadence and strong beats from Penflow Da Chemist. This EP reveals his grit and his embrace of true Hip Hop ethos.  As a young Latino brother from Chicago, his untold perspective would be a powerful add on to our culture.  So S.T.F.U., press play cause you’ll want to hear this.

10. AYE WUN x INCREDIBLE CUTTS – GROCERIES

 Broken Home’s Aye Wun became a necessary part of my collector’s eye when I saw him perform live at Spit Gemz’ Fuck The Radio release party.  An MC who can say and deliver any verse, his sincerity, his surroundings filled with one of the strongest crews and the ill associates that they all collect and his continued learning will turn Groceries into a record noting his rise.


9. G.C. (GODZ CHYLD) – DON’T SLEEP ON ME

 An MC with a message of righteousness that is fast developing the ruggedness to reach excellence…

 Knowledge the review HERE

8. GAGE-ONE – SPACE GORILLAS

 We love you Kevlaar 7 and honor your memory.  When my man Gage does it he puts together his illest posse cuts, includes one with the late great Kevlaar 7, his brother Bronze Nazareth and shares with us so all proceeds go to the family. Love and Hip Hop, not that coonery.

 Knowledge the review HERE

7. KASIM ALLAH – STREET POETIC

 The God’s voice can turn the MTA announcements into Illmatic.  When he merges his new ideas with better production his levels with equalize the whole genre.  Street Poetic is a prelude of what that will sound like.


6. ONYX – AGAINST ALL AUTHORITIES

One of Hip Hop’s worst truisms is that Onyx only rhymes wild out bars. Those may fill much of their popular song lists but this AAA EP is blatant proof of what we know: Onyx makes warrior music against the enemies of our life.  Here it’s targeted toward those who target us brutality: them pigs.

5. SHABAAM SAHDEEQ – MODERN ARTILLERY

 The prototype MC, he was constructed in molten samples in the fire of burnt journals through the vocal chants of the most stylish orators.  So his old music are just his artifacts he is unearthing for you…

 Knowledge the review HERE

4. ANTI-LILLY – 91 REGAL

 An ill smooth flowing brother, young in age, yet precocious in flows. 91 Regal is a tight retrospective collection where the beats, primarily Phoniks, match the sentiments perfectly.


3. ZAGNIF NORI – FERRUM

 Noble Scity Crew is still yet to release an group LP and missing LPs from all of the individual members, Zagnif Nori is a leader in anticipation.  Zagnif’s work is ideal hardcore grimy only the realest love. Listen to “Penthrite” on repeat for good measure.

 Knowledge the review HERE

2. SHAZ ILLYORK – BORN VILLAIN (THE LONE GUNMAN)

 Shaz Illyork is the artist’s artist and challenges his verses to success letting them be laid down on these experimental beats after recording them on others.

 Knowledge the review HERE

1. SAV KILLZ – IMMOVABLE KINGS

 The God Sav Killz really made an LP that ends quickly.  It is a perfect capsule of his abilities and his legendary hustle.  Imagine when he releases a full LP…

 Knowledge the review HERE

HONORABLE MENTION LPs:

The ones we mention with honor are those who do have some sidesteps into flaw but filled with overwhelming illness.  It isn’t easy to make music and harder to have it appreciated and all those hear are filled with talent, skill and ought to be sifted through if we love this music and love this art forum that gives us so many sounds and ideas to do knowledge too.

As always when we push back the abnormally overrated (i.e. Dr Dre – Compton, The Game – The Documentary 2.5 or anything Kendrick Lamar – See my understanding HERE) and those getting there on the overhype (Jay Rock 90059).  Lost are the plenty of MCs who released respectable LPs (i.e. 050 Boyz – Everything 050, Rapper Big Pooh’s 2 LPs: Home Sweet Home & Words Paint Pictures, Kev Brown & Hassaan Mackey - That Grit, Ea$y Money – The M.O.N.E.Y., Grand Daddy I.U.’s P.I.M.P.), others had nowhere near their best due to beat selection (i.e. Freddie Gibbs Shadow of A Doubt, Raekwon’s F.I.L.A., Capone-N-Noreaga – Lessons), some surprisingly derivative (i.e. Jedi Mind Tricks The Thief and The Fallen) or just weaker MCing regarding content (MED, Blu & Madlib’s Bad Neighbor) or the technical aspects slightly missing (Constant Deviants – Avant Garde).  Some of these honorable mention LPs could’ve been better for a little of all the said reasons combined (Fashawn’s The Ecology).  Some records as Gangrene’s You Disgust Me suffer as they need to with experimentation and shouldn’t (see the 0:26 mark on “Driving Gloves” where you Bronson lovers can really hear the bitten classic Ghostface inflection).   DJ Ready Cee’s Order 66 and Statik Selektah’s Lucky 7 compilations have some strong beats, great MC spotlights even if the latter have grafted Mimic Cipher talents that need to be re-appropriated and re-aligned before mic distribution (i.e. Your Old Droog, Action Bronson). Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder as Indie 500 self-titled LP, Redman’s Mudface, Erick Sermon’s ESP and Sadat X’s Never Left are strong works by veterans but are missing the consistency of musical highlights they have always powered their best works with.  Czarface’s Every Hero Needs a Villain matches Inspectah Deck’s verses again with the lesser decency of Esoteric.  However, 7L’s work is arranged even greater and the guests (i.e. GZA, Large Professor, MF Doom, etc.) are powerful.  Any Pete Rock instrumental LP (Petestrumentals 2) is worthy though these are all interlude level for the legend. Human is a short LP that suffered from hit and miss beat experiments by !llmind but excelled with some great Joell Ortiz verses.  Billy Wood’s I Wrote Nothing is also a rugged experimentalism with clever ideas and tough beats. Finale’s Odds & Ends is a strong return for Finale, with strong cadence, themes and funky Oddissee beats.  Ransom’s Soul Killa is a passionate journal of the tough stuff  Easy Money’s The Movie of Nearly Everybody is a strong beat work and if his content extends there is much potential with the brother.   Clear Soul Forces’ Fab 5ive is filled with live bars and breaks. 

Oddisee’s The Good Fight is a wide-ranging sonic listen that doesn’t have all the bougie pretentiousness the style brings. Strong arrangements and lots of lyric dexterity.  Scarface’s Deeply Rooted has some mutated beats but his introspection, reflection and perspectives are southern blues. Earl Sweatshirt’s introspective frustrations on I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside has an thick, rugged, slow grimy tempo to match. The great Kool Keith reps oddball abstract nicely on L’Orange’s jazzy tracks on Time? Astonishing! while Malik B returns nicely over the pure Boom Bap of Mr. Green on Unpredictable.  Mention must be made to the late December LP, Nine To Five Hero from Lake Effect Music Group’s Deadmics, produced by Woodenchainz.  The wavering, wobbly vocal idiosyncracies of Deadmics throw the struggles of we 9 to 5 slaves while Woodenchainz mixes great movie clips into his funky hard time blues.

Ras Kass of Semi Hendrix on Breakfast at Banksy’s has a great beat versatility from Jack Splash that Ras needs to make great songs (i.e. the classic “Jesus Pressed Mute”) but Splash’s MCing awkwardly contrasts levels below.  Camp Lo’s Ragtime Hightimes is a great comeback from the last lesser LP as their rhyme synergy is exceptional and Ski Beatz continues to be the perfect producer for them.  G.Huff’s  Royalty For A Lifetime exudes the spirit of We Come Strapped as Huff “aka Rakim meets the DOC” makes a modern G Funk album with insights and supreme sincerity.  All the way on the other side, Paris’s Pistol Politics LP is a rugged G-Funk of yesteryear that is rough and rugged throughout and too long just like the oppression he bombs throughout.  It’s an engaging listen that’s actually relevant the way the Real define it, not the pop rap media.

LPS

30. KING MAGNETIC – TIMING IS EVERYTHING

Timing is Everything by King Magnetic is nothing but hardcore beats and rhymes. Press play and bench press, repeat—the music that really fuels the art. Heavy-duty features and intense MCing.


29. FRANK KNIGHT – FREE LUNCH

With a powerful stage presence, an ability to dive into breakbeat with intensity and a carefree chorus creator, Knight’s Free Lunch shows again why Hip Hop is such a great forum. To hear a sincere brother represent himself with diversity and by default of his realness, represent the culture with power break’d selection from Gonz, and more angles from Medina, Flatbush particularly, is a blessing.


28. CANIBUS & BRONZE NAZARETH – TIME FLYS, LIFE DIES…PHOENIX RISE

Writers need good paper and when the paper is of a stock that’s supreme from the Detroit blocks, Canibus, a long talking MC, has another great album with the Bronzeman.  Bronze Nazareth dominates 2015 as the producer of the year (all four of his produced albums I gotta build on through this humble list) because he is a greater MC (“Visible monuments inside the sound, acknowledge it/Kevlaar halos when I ride we gon’ poli kid/Meanwhile demolishing, disembowelment/Slit ya collagen hologram…” “Matte Blk Rapana”) that knows what MCs need to be ill.  Samples that inspire, diverse drums that provoke the stride and bassline that let an MC line up his menace into meaning, Canibus rhymes with his most consistent focus since his Melatonin Magik LP.  Not needing the bonus cuts, his verses are intense, his autobio bombs up the industry hells and he honors the ethos showing us his battle fiasco was an anomaly.  One of the few MCs with a long, strong catalog, Time Flys… will be one of the 3 LPs that will be mandatory to all in the Canibus collection.

27. HELL RAZAH – EL RAZIEL

Hip Hop’s blessing is the fortitude by which my brother Hell Razah has resurrected himself.  This was a very difficult project for Razah, still recovering from a near fatal brain aneurysm years ago, yet the comeback continues.  Some of these songs are older works while the newest show his skills getting back to his supreme peak.  Musically, El Raziel is as brilliant as any of his classic LPs of the 00’s (Razah was one of the great lights of illness in the 00’s Dark Ages) and his spiritual insights and clever battle bars against the unprincipled are ever potent.

26. ESTEE NACK – 14 FORMS: THE BOOK OF ESTEE NACK

When an MC as Estee Nack accumulates life in ill tender of skill and understanding the payments of bars back to us in a debut LP cover subjects, topics in clever concepts and technical formats that are endlessing endearing.  Receipts for real raps, deposits of rough drums paying forward to listener’s ledgers for years of Hip Hop accounts to charge through.

Knowledge the inter-review HERE

25. AUTOMATIK GREATNESS & SU-PREME – EXODUS: THE AUDIO REVOLUTION

These last two years the secret weapon of the Hell Razah-led Ghetto Government Official (GGO) crew is MC Automatik Greatness and producer Su-Preme.  On this LP, my brother told me he tried to deal with real issues.  Thing is he didn’t try, he succeeded from exposing the crimes de la casa blanca to the dirty streets we are muddied in.  Political hypocrisy, police brutality, street warfare, poverty all told through an MC with his Black fist holding the mic.  The incredible sleeper work of 2015.

24. CHILO & MROMPE BOCA –  STAY ALIVE (BONUS: CHILO & MANE EVENT – MAGICIAN’S REVENGE)

Chilo is a pure stylist with a Boriken freedom fighter independista (Free Puerto Rico!) B-Boy essence who is an exceptional song writer of themes and concepts.  He rhymes nothing without excitement, finishes no bar without inflection and always leaves each verse with a meaning left behind.  Chilo’s two powerful albums this year represents the Hip Hop birthplace’s (Bronx) largest population at its inception (Puerto Ricans) incredibly.  On Stay Alive, MRompe Boca samples brilliantly and eclectically to let Chilo’s charisma shine while Magician’s Revenge offer a more sharp snared, high eq’d high hat soundscape for Chilo’s charismatic battle bars of depth.

23. EFF YOO – PAPA DIOS

A dynamic performer whose cleverest personas and dialect keep signaling profound commentary, his Papa Dios LP is a brief display of one of this era’s most unique MCs today.

Knowledge the review HERE

22. JOEY BADA$$ – B4.DA.$$

Anointed the savior of Boom Bap by the Rudyard Rosenbergs and thrust with the expected mission that only needs one to dig deeper for where the real went, Joey Badass delivers a debut that is the stripped down Boom Bap LP that rewards many listens.  Real music cannot save Hip Hop culture when the denoted definition of saved is a white-jesus styled fantastical crossover “real” MC is supposed to make everyone want a real that isn’t really very real anymore (see the White auctioneer tapes of eminem and the #PrettyHiccup files of Jay-Z for failed attempts at saving).  Badass has a gift for delivering layering verses with character and deserves the mass platforms of illogical and often hypocritical expectations offers him. 

Knowledge the review HERE

21. PUBLIC ENEMY – MAN PLANS GOD LAUGHS

All 14 Public Enemy LPs and those two Chuck D LP are essential to a real collector and lover of Hip Hop music. A legend that changed deepened and extended the content of the music and now a GOAT candidate elder (one of the four of this writer’s recorded Hip Hop’s Mount Rushmore of GOAT MCs with Rakim, KRS and Kool G Rap) who never wavers into crossover pandering (“Black lives matter! Come on now!/No lives matter if we don’t matter! – “Earthizen”) leads PE’s latest very brief power work.  Chuck’s wordplay is as expected in clever aphorisms orated with the baritone’d ruggedness and musically Gary G-Wiz and Carl Ryder produce perfected crisp tracks that build chaos through their sharpness.  A strong LP that would be greater with more verses and tracks.

20. RAZ FRESCO – PABLO FRESCOBAR

Building with the God Raz Fresco at the last annual 5% Nation of Gods and Earths Show & Prove event, it’s clear there is almost too much insightful art he has to share.  After countless original mixtapes showing the diversity of style and precociousness of technique, his debut LP is the proof shown of it.  All produced by him with varying beat styles from the ill Boom Bap to the near trapped sounds he saves with countless stylistic approaches and shifting subject matter.  Raz Fresco’s ideas translated into Art are as intriguing as the works on his LP cover.  

Knowledge the review HERE

19. KILLAH PRIEST – PLANET OF THE GODS

One of the great visual lyricists in the music’s history, he delves deeper and often stays lost  in the verbatim of his created galaxies .  With strong beats he paints his signature epic battle verses (“Use your mind for measurements/I’m about to give you a estimate/Use the scribes for testaments/When I spit its either a polar shift or a solar eclipse that’s it/So when I write/

I breathe the breath of life into the Tree of Life” – “Earth to Walter Reed Come in Please”) and ancient mystical archeological rhymes (“Gods of E.din”). Almost no one is this lyrical so a respectful set of beats, though derivative of his own earlier works, must keep this as one of this year’s best.

18. ILLAH DAYZ – ILLASTRATOR

The most energetic and fiery MC out of The Wisemen, he attacks every track tempo filling stanza space completely almost always ahead of the break.  Yet after the energy subsides and rewinds are for the poetic content, the rewards are still supreme.  Illah Dayz concentrates his lyrics into artful phrases and shows he is more than a revitalizer of the posse cut but a Black man who has trialed through hell and can open his bleeding journal to legible illness to read through.

Knowledge the review HERE

17. AWON & PHONIKS – KNOWLEDGE OF SELF

Phoniks’ sound is a leader in Boom Bap revivalism and no voice attaches to it more supremely than Awon, an MC rooted in the 90’s and wonderfully resurrected in these 10’s.  They are one of this decade’s great duos and when they break and bar it is with principles of Hip Hop  so naturally we can assume it to be so before our digi-needles quantumly hit the post-vinyl wax. Awon knows the knowledge of self is a man of principles in a world without them. Phoniks plays beats that knows beats are drums with deep kicks, strong bassdrums and sharp high hats in a world without them.  Together Knowledge of Self is a plus lesson on integrity looped Boom Bap.

16. BUGSY DA GOD – CAMOUFLAGE DISCIPLE

The militant hardcore music graduates through Killarmy and runs into the Napalm fields and there is where Bugsy Da God’s music Bugsy da God, the powerful apprentice of Killarmy’s Dom Pachino, that form two of the major pieces in the Napalm click, is the ideal high percentage MC.  Nearly every song achieves its purpose of supported the adrenaline increase and the marvel of beats and bar techniques.  For Bugsy’s second LP, the intensity is increased, the flow is confirmed and the family of guests is impeccable.  Camouflage Disciple puts a brother succeeding (“My Life”) and fighting the struggle (“Shots At Midnight”) as a warrior of war drums through deadly doldrums (“One Man Army,” “Combat Engineers”).

15. SALUTE DA KIDD – DIGGSTOWN

When we say #FreeSalute it’s because we #BronzeNation brothers know his story, his trials and the unfair punishment he is laboring through.  When we share the hashtag we need you to know that his wax words are chiseled in sincerity in smoothened styles.  A wonderful Wisemen whose cadence calmness is a chilled counter to Phillie’s cool soul, Bronze’s rugged prose, Illah Dayz live running bars, Jessiah’s layered linguistics, June Mega’s smashing exclamations all honoring the late Kevlaar 7’s glorious passion texts of our betterment.  Diggstown is the first story, a shortened one by circumstance and bitter tragedies, that brings the worthy thoughts of a strong Black man in a struggle fighting honorably.

Knowledge the review HERE

14. SKYZOO – MUSIC FOR MY FRIENDS

An ever growing master of wordplay, particularly with homonyms, with the verbal dexterity to easily deliver through the charismatic inflections, including the greatest righteous upgrade of the heinous #PrettyHiccup (i.e. “FGR, First Generation Rich, Ughh!,” “watch the city fall in love with us EHH!”), Skyzoo exudes the poverty stricken Brooklyn brother dynamically hustling to greater days.  With diverse tracks that offer booming tracks that are beyond the clichéd Boom Bap reproduced today.  Vibrating basslines from MarcNfinit (“The Experience”), the Saba vocals riding through the slowed skip, stutter stop break with near-trap high hat ticking on Black Metaphor’s “Meadow of Trust” or the always loved snapping high hat live drums of “All Day, Always” by Antman Wonder with funk jazz arrangements fluctuating with Skyzoo’s bars are a complete assortment.  The cleverness in the approach to the hustle (“Asking Bodie For A Package”) and the realness of the material (“Women Who Can Cook”) are strong and persistent making Music For My Friends another proof as one of the supreme MCs of this era.

13. J-LIVE – HIS OWN SELF (BONUS: HOW MUCH IS WATER) 

Two stellar albums revealing the true and living God’s gifts as the triple threat.  Musically both His Own Self and How Much Is Water allow us to enjoy that wonderfully clean, thick, hypnotic production sound he first gave in its entirety on the short, strong EP Always Will Be in 2003.  Out of the school of KRS-One in majoring in exceptional clarity and dynamically clever concepts in his song writing, both these LPs are literally of the same immense quality, style and achievement.  Both LPs work as a powerful double album of concepts, flows and expert production.

Knowledge the His Own Self review HERE

12. SLEEP SINATRA – SHAMANIQ (BONUS: EXTENDED WAVES & AS ABOVE SO BELOW EPs)

Lo-fi, analog ruggedness through wildly dissonant eq levels with a consistency of pensively smooth lyricism, Sleep Sinatra, is an MC you sit and listen to with attention.  His beat choices are filled with sinister yet unique musical variations from the musical hooks to the drum work.  Yet his effortless ease to flow makes his work move like well flowed books of a favorite author.

Knowledge the review HERE

11. STARVIN B – 7 TRAIN LUNGS (BONUSES: FOREIGNER & SOUL MUSEUM LPS)

Fuck a list if it doesn’t put context to the totality of illness of the artists that now, as much as any other time, make this music in amazing masses. So these three LPs can individually make this list at different spots but the accumulated mastered ceremonies must put Starvin B as a top ten MC of this year. An indispensable MC great of this era with the deepest catalog that lengthened greatly with 3 powerful productions (Fel Sweetenberg on Soul Museum, Sauce Jacqson on Foreigner & SEASRA23 on 7 Train Lungs).  All worthy yet 7 Train Lungs stands out the most for its focused themes and clever concepts.

Knowledge the PREMIEREHIPHOP.COM RADIO SHOW INTERVIEW HERE

10. THIRSTIN HOWL THE 3RD – SURVIVAL OF THE SKILLEST

No one rhymes like the Skillionaire.  An MC with the most exaggerated inflections and the most control of them.  Able to make illness of tracks that would be a guaranteed terrible record for the average and a weak cut for the GOATs we argue of, it cannot be easy to include all of his ideas, concepts, techniques and styles on one LP.  Yet, he succeeds in showing the range on only fourteen songs.  This year, with the release of the Lo-Life Clothing line, Thirstin incredibly led Hip Hop’s resurgence with this powerful, reaffirming LP and a popular heist of the fashion renaissance of the Lo Lifes.

Knowledge the review HERE

The feature interview HERE

The #LoLifeSeries and Lo-Life clothing coverage HERE

The #LoLife Legacy HERE

9. CONCEALED WEAPONRY – SHOWN & PROVEN

The latest, great entry of 2015 that terrorizes the making of a real list with the delightful dilemma of the fewest listens compared to all these supreme hard works crafted. Still, J-Love (on the mic and the beats), Whyz Ruler, Prince Original and Be Born are the team that makes Concealed Weaponry and thus are an easy placement.  Easy because they are some of the most livest MCs this era with rewarding edutained content listen after listen.  So Shown & Proven is an immediate martial training score/NYC concrete stomping walker LP but has incredible mic techniques (“Armageddon”), wonderful synergy and excitement between the four brothers (“Act Like You Know,” “Moving Chaos”) and their incredible guests (Gee Dubs, Victorious & Thirstin Howl the 3rd), great lyric visuals (“Subway Story”), clever themes (“Heart of A Mexican”) and understanding (“Avoiding Temptations”). J-Love was a great DJ in the 00’s and is now a supreme beatmaker and powerfully cadenced MC in these 10’s.  Whyz, Prince and Be Born are true and living God MCs, three solo stars, that each bring unique top tier techs, lyrics and styles that resurrect Boom Bap lyricism.  Merged as Concealed Weaponry, the camaraderie is lovef rom real brothers, real hells lived, righteous understanding shared and our culture revealed in best hardcore forms.

8. LARGE PROFESSOR – RE: LIVING

A homage to one’s own legacy would be the genius of the largest professor.  The producer that can perfectly produce himself again in a way that emphasizes his best traits.  So Pro emphasizes his vocal cadence through the title track, extends a booming bassline on “Sophia Yo,” salutes his apprentice NaS, who became an official GOAT candidate, glides and reps pure Hip Hop with the ill word choice (“Opulence”), devastates with one of the year’s greatest tracks on  “Industry RMX” where a addictively rumbling bassline and smashed cymbal pile on the break and a supreme lineup (Inspectah Deck, Cormega, Roc Marciano, Sadat X and Lord Jamar) punctuated by Jamar’s build (“Blackman is Allah/understand who you are!”) and bangs instrumentals as “Ndn” with all his trademark elements (vocal ahhs chanting, room filling bassdrums with the crisp and quick and the select horn blares).  A mere 32 minutes where Large Pro concentrates the wonders of his entire career into an incredible re: living.

Bonus understanding: Knowledge this Large Pro LP, then knowledge his own wisdom in this 2part interview. This is the understanding why he is a icon in this music, filled with virtue untold and sincerity supreme. Peace…



7. GHOSTFACE KILLAH – SOUR SOUL (BONUS:  12 REASONS TO DIE II)

2015 Ghostface shot free throws at the Curry percentage.  An easy illness on the brief, dynamic darts of Sour Soul and what amounts to the A-Side level B-Side LP, 12 Reasons to Die II.  There is also the easy destruction of the grafting Action Bronson with the greatest battle skit of all time.  It all exposed how disconnected the supposed rap fan is compared to the true Hip Hop listener as Bronson even lasts this long appropriating an amplified vocal similarity, biting cadence and layering techniques and stylistic inflections that are crucial to the legend of GOAT candidate Ghostface Killah. So with the (diss) song—skit—of the year that equalizes and reaffirms the most essential principle of Hip Hop culture: Original creativity (aka NO BITING), a wonderful live band, with lots of funk jazz’d empty spaces, on Sour Soul LP returning Ghostface to sharing righteous ideals and principles through hard times blues along with the clever continued storytelling of 12 Reasons to Die II with Adrian Younge’s thicker than blood classic bass grooves and thudding drums, Ghostface Killah dominated with the easiest work he’s ever done.  The GOAT candidate with the deepest catalog of over 90% illness through it all, he is this year’s Stephen Curry at the free throw line. Ironman dominating under armour.

Knowledge the Sour Soul review HERE

Sunset Style – The Ghostly Science HERE

6. WILLIAM COOPER – GOD’S WILL

William Cooper’s God’s Will is a master work in creating a work that brings his embrace of William Cooper’s name into a thematically complete production that enlightens on his revolutionary ideals.  The arrangements and segues in these 26 tracks are piece immaculately and Cooper’s lyrical focus invigorates his delivery.

Knowledge the review HERE

5. SPIT GEMZ – GODLY FEATURES

An MC that defines this entire decade, incredible lyricism, challenging insight and absolute honored Hip Hop ethos who would be a great even in the 90’s yet is unknown to too many, Spit Gemz reaches another peak with Godly Features, a near classic one.

Knowledge the review HERE

4. DOM PACHINO & BRONZE NAZARETH – WAR POETRY

The Puerto Rican Terrorist of Killarmy is part of one of the most extreme, relevant and necessary sounds of Hip Hop’s history: the anthems of discipleship of young Black/Brown warriors in this war of oppression.  As a solo MC, over his lengthy catalog of over ten LPs, he’s delved into his life, struggle, triumph and engaging charisma.  On War Poetry, Pachino hand selects some of Bronze’s illest beats and renews the Killarmy sound with classic posse cuts and some of his most thematic songs.  This album absolutely is a Killarmy classic and a Dom Pachino masterpiece.

Knowledge the inter-review HERE

3. KRS-ONE – NOW HEAR THIS

Hip Hop culture is literally completely altered without the way KRS-One has turned MCing into an edutainment platform and graduated into it as a philosopher lecturer and author of merit.  Some of his philosophical ideas (i.e. on history and its perspectives) are so layered that he has yet to share them all through the “simpler” song.  On Now Hear This, he doesn’t seek to lay those philosophies bare as on 2010’s strong Meta-Historical LP but focuses on crucial topics and attaches them to their ideals again (i.e. “Invaders,” “Drugs Won,” “American Flag”) while revealing the life of…The MC.  A pioneer GOAT choice with countless classic LPs (Rakim Allah the only other) who now has released a great LPs in four decades.

Knowledge the review HERE

2. TRIPLE DARKNESS (BONUS: COLD FUSION)

They never have to confirm like “fuck all you cracker corrupting devils!” or compromise like “Brother rhyme with Black love all the way, Hip Hop is 1, 2 to the thoughts we got that they can’t stop!” That’s Triple Darkness, the one they perform you out of, blind, deaf and dumb and the one they lyrically travel in, freedom, justice and equality, through tough breaks, mean snares, ferocious basslines, entrancing melodies and gorgeous vocals.  Darker Than Black is the triumph of global supremacy of Hip Hop, the illest and most dense lyricism of the year and the greatest display of mass MCing since Wu-Tang Forever.  With half of the group still just beginning to reveal their personal and the other half still starting epic careers, the depth of Triple Darkness is yet to fulfill itself. Darker Than Black is their sophomore LP but true full member debut that should, ought and must become a mere opening to a legacy.

Knowledge the review HERE

Knowledge the Cold Fusion (TD members Cyrus Malachi & Ray Vendetta) review HERE