(Written in December of 2003)
Finally, I am gonna get my ass in gear and start trying to spray the BP walls with my cerebral Krylon. I eventually plan to attempt to spread my love of the culture known as hip hop to the masses that have been force fed the medias bastard creation called rap music. But for now since we are nearing the end of another 365 days on this rock, I am gonna do a top 5 albums of the year. Don’t be shocked by the fact you have probably never heard of the artists, because the music industry no longer focuses on talent or originality, they focus more on the money making formula that “rap” has created. Sex, drugs, guns, genocide, and mass disrespect of all culture unfortunately have become the status quo for any emcee who actually wants to make a living lacing poetry over beats. I digress.. The Vagabond top 5 for 2003 is popping off with…
5. 7L & Esoteric Dangerous Connection
Esoteric really showed his ass on this album, versatility was the only flaw I had seen prior to this album. Eso is a notorious punch line emcee, which is usually the sign of a monotonous album. (which is why Copywrite’s album didn’t even come close to my top 5) But on Dangerous Connection the Esoterydactle shows that not only can he flip words to shred an opponent or make you laugh, he can also tell amazing stories. “Terrorist Cell” is a bone chilling account of the moments prior to impact that the terrorists who struck the WTC centers may have been experiencing written as one of the terrorists. “Stalker” is a humorous tale of obsession that must be heard to truly grasp the genius behind it. Esoteric innovates an entire back and forth style (similar to early Run DMC or Fat Boys) performed solo for “Word Association” that is set is in a therapists office. Overall, the album is more that enough for a fan of Esoteric and can easily persuade new listeners with Eso’s delivery and 7L’s constantly growing production.
4. MURS The End of the Beginning
MURS has been around quite some time on the indy circuit. This album was the first release of his since he signed to DEFJUX. It is an incredible album with topics ranging from nearly being shot for no reason by the PO PO, to a tribute to his second love done in a tribute form to Tupace “Ima Ryder” The song talks about the love he has for skateboarding and is something anyone who killed their shins as a kid trying to land a kickflip would relate to.. The album even has everyones favorite misfit Humpty from Digital Underground fame. Definitely worth peeping out.
3. Brother Ali Shadows on the Sun
Brother Ali pours his soul onto wax on this album from the intro to the last track. “Forest Whitiker” is a amazing track that explain his appearance (he is an overweight albino black man with red eyes and white hair) and how he still loves himself regardless of what others think. He touches on several subjects including his religion, his upbringing, and his love of his family. Plus he has a few braggadocios tracks just to show he can wreck in a battle as well. Phenominally done album with production from ANT of the rhymesayers crew.
2. Louis Logic Sin-a-Matic
This was definitely a sleeper album. His persona of a fun loving alcoholic might make you think there is no substance to the album, yet he takes some pretty stiff shots at politicians, and the hypocrisy of our society on Ugly Truth (I recommend anyone with any interest in politics peep it). He still keeps it light hearted on his ode to every mans true best friend “Coochie” A twisted ode to his woman will bring you to tears of laughter on the track entitled “Doo Doo” I highly recommend everyone checks this out. It has acquired much praise from the underground scene and has been called the album of the year by many underground aficionados.
1. The Last Emperor Music, Magic, Myth
The Last Emperor has been my favorite emcee for a long time now. This is his first official release. He was once signed to aftermath but his project got put on hold when a certain blonde haired phenom was found by Dr Dre. Last Emp has so much substance its ridiculous and his subject matter varies more than any Emcee I have ever heard. “One Life” is an absolutely touching track done with the hook sung by Esthero and a cameo by Poet from Gravediggaz. The song was recorded just weeks before Poet died of colon and liver cancer and while Emp analyzes his thoughts on death, Poet gives you chills by taking you blow by blow through his first encounter with his illness. My wife literally cried when she heard his verse. Last Emp also lays emotion into a track entitled “karma” which is 3 short stories about a man, a woman, and a elderly couple. Amazing. If you have any respect for poetry, spoken word, or creativity in general, this album should be on heavy rotation. It is by far my favorite album of the year and one of my favorites of all time.
Krs-One The Kristyle (re-release as Kristyles)
Gangstarr The Owners
Mr Lif I Phantom
Vakill The Darkest Cloud