Never forget the largest systematic genocide in human history. America hasn’t had its hands clean since the beginning, and people wonder why greed still runs politics.
My all time favorite band is Modest Mouse. I even love them more than anything hip-hop related.
Atmosphere - Bird Sings Why The Caged I Know
If you didn’t know, Slug has had a lot of relationship problems throughout his life. Consequently, many of his songs that reference women are specifically directed at his ex-lovers, and are inherently emotionally and lyrically aggressive. This is off of Slug and Ant’s solid 2003 album Seven’s Travels. My favorite song off this album is their classic Always Coming Back Home To You, which I feel is one of their all time best songs.
"Get the bird, bring her down to the ground from out the air. Gotta tear her apart, let me at her first. Sink her to the level of the rest of us that inherit the earth."
My Song Rating: 8.3 out of 10
Asher Roth - The World Is Not Enough
Asher Roth has unarguably become one of the most consistent hip-hop artists in the game. Everything he’s released within the last couple years is absolutely phenomenal; however, his fame has unfortunately dwindled due to his firm stance on only making music with substance and avoiding making another watered down song like I Love College. His fan base would be much much bigger if he went the sellout rout and only rapped about simplistic concepts over poppy beats, such as how much weed he smokes and how hard he balls. He’s no cookie cutter rapper. He a unique entity in hip-hop with many intelligent things to say to the world, and for this I have the utmost respect for him.
My Song Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Afroman - Palmdale
Chances are you heard about Afroman way back in the day, and then forgot about him. He actually has almost a dozen albums out now, and I’m guessing you never listened to anything that came out after his classic 2001 album The Good Times. This is ok, since none of them are actually all that great. Regardless though, there are a few songs on The Good Times that I still play to this day, which includes Palmdale. Afroman has played in my hometown three different times within the last few years, but I’ve always had something else to do that conflicted with the concert. I’m going to see him one of these days though…one of these days.
"I still get depressed, walkin’ through the wind with a cup full of gin, thinkin’ ‘bout things I coulda, woulda, shoulda been."
My Song Rating: 8.9 out of 10
Sage Francis - The Best Of Times
This is my favorite song off of Sage Francis’s outstanding 2011 album Li(f)e, and it’s one of my all time favorite songs by him, which is definitely saying something. The music video is also extremely well put together, and effectively amplifies the complicated emotions he beautifully illustrates.
We all enjoy hearing songs that depict an artist’s extreme physical and emotional struggles in their previously fucked up life, such as songs by Biggie, Cage, K’naan, and countless others; however, most of my favorite hip-hop songs which depict the artist’s own life are by artists who have fairly “ordinary” backgrounds. Just because someone didn’t grow up in a horribly depraved environment with constant external struggles doesn’t mean they didn’t grow up with a lot of emotional baggadge…because universally we ALL have problems. It comes down to the fact that artists like Slug, Brother Ali, Tonedeff, and Sage Francis are poets that have the distinct ability to take the “every day problems” they grew up with, and paint a beautiful picture so emotionally vivid you can’t help but feel (possibly relate) to the exact emotions they felt. Look at my definition of “truly outstanding hip-hop” at the top of my blog…yeah…you get my point.
"Technology made it easy for us to stay in touch while keeping a distance, so we just stayed distant and never touched. Now all we do is text too much. I don’t remember much from my youth. Maybe my memory is repressed, or I just spent too much time wondering if I’ll ever live to have sex."
My Song Rating: 9.9 out of 10
Kanye West - Home
This is Kanye’s original version of Homecoming, which is off his album Graduation. I really like Homecoming, but I absolutely love Home. It’s one of my favorite songs by Kanye, and I feel it’s one of his all time best works. He beautifully depicts his complicated love for Chicago as if it was a relationship with a woman. The first time I heard this, like most people, his clever metaphors and wording tricked me into thinking he was actually talking about a real woman…until his last line of course. Regardless of Kanye’s occasionally subpar works and assholeness, he’s a fuckin genius with numerous hip-hop classics under his belt.
My Song Rating: 10 out out of 10
Yancey Boys – Quicksand (ft. Common & Dezi Paige) (Prod. by J Dilla)
The Detroit hip-hop duo Yancey Boys consists of Illa J and Frank Nitt. They released their debut LP Sunset Blvd. October 2013. All of its tracks were made from recently unearthed instrumentals produced by none other than Illa J’s legendary elder brother James “J Dilla” Yancey. As a side note, Joey Bada$$ also got one of these unrleased beats for his new song Two Lips. On paper Sunset Blvd. should have been one of the best albums of the year, but as enjoyable as it is, I wouldn’t put it in my top 20. On the other hand, you’ll find its epic single Quicksand towards the very top of my “best hip-hop songs of 2013” list. The buttery instrumental is one of my new favorites by J Dilla, which is really saying something. All of the verses posses a clean, stripped down style that works beautifully with the absolutely perfect production. The chorus is also flawless and really brings the whole song together.
"The dream manifesto, to get it and don’t let go. Praises to the most high, eyes are kinda set low. A man of many faces. I rock the crooked smile since they took off my braces."
My Song Rating: 10 out of 10
Black Milk - Monday’s Worst
I’ve been a fan of Black Milk for a very long time at this point, so when I say his new album No Poison No Paradise, which just dropped two days ago, is now my favorite album by him, I mean that shit. Additionally, Monday’s Worst is not only the best song on it, but is currently my 2nd favorite hip-hop song to come out this year (J. Cole’s Can I Holla At Ya being #1).
The track right before this on the album is titled Sunday’s Best, and it sets the first of the three scenes for this tragic story that sadly happens all too often, especially in cities like Detroit where Black Milk is from. In it he vividly portrays the perceptions of a young child being raised by moral church-going parents. The second scene, which is the first verse of Monday’s Worst, takes place years later. You learn this individual has fully rejected the wholesome lifestyle he was raised with, and now lives the gritty street life of a two-bit thug. The last verse sets the final scene where a club goer, who possesses his own issues of greed and selfishness, falls victim to the corrupted stickup kid.
This is honesty one of the best story based hip-hop songs I’ve ever heard. It possesses an extremely real and heavy message that inevitably digs deep at your emotions. Unlike most radio rappers, Black Milk points out the fact that a person who defines themselves through guns, money, and how they choose to utilize these things to achieve what they value in life (easy women, expensive alcohol/weed, and appearing fly) is a weak minded fool that only manages to undermine their own potentials and further perpetuates their caustic lifestyle throughout the city they call home. There is also a gorgeous music video that encompasses both of these songs that you definitely need to check out if you want to appreciate this incredible hip-hop story to the fullest. Just remember, it’s “never too late” to change the direction of your life…unless your dead.
My Song Rating: 10 out of 10
I saw Black Milk in concert soon after this album released, and when I met him afterwords and talked with him briefly I asked if he wanted to read this review, which he did, and then promptly stated with a grin that he was “really impressed” by my writing abilities and “thankful” I’m such a big fan of his work. I also gave him one of my limited edition Hip-Hop Fights Back shirts, which he most likely has never put on.
"I don’t drink too much, I know the bud wiser."
I’m a HUGE fan of Dan Carlin. His introspective insights concerning world events are the most informed talks I’ve ever heard…ever.
If you’re versed in American foreign policy you’ll know why I’m highly considering moving out of America before the 0.01% starts another unnecessary war.
This is very well stated, and exemplifies why blogs like Hip-Hop Fights Back need to exist. Remember to help hip-hop fight back, turn off the radio.