I started this tradition in 2009. I came up with the Top 9 Albums that year and have been adding an album to list every year.
For some reason though, I only posted that list last year on The Word is Bond and not here on Silent Cacophony.
So here is this year’s list. Please add your choices or thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks!
15. Joey Bada$$ – B4.Da.$$
He has dropped a few mixtapes, but this was his first album and it definitely lives up to the hype. The record has the aesthetic of the 90s boom-bap that I love, while at the same time, commenting on problems in the modern age, and intelligent lyrics.
14. John Robinson & Chief – We The Prolific
John Robinson has been dropping albums for years. The last few years have seen him drop projects produced entirely by one producer. This is the latest in the series and features beats by Chief.
13. Myka 9 and Factor – Famous Future Time Travel
Factor is a Canadian producer who got to work with one of the pioneers of West Coast hip-hop, Myka 9. This album gets a little weird, but it really works. I have played several tracks this year on Word is Bond Rap Radio.
12. Moss – Marching to the Sound of My Own Drum
One of Canada’s biggest names in hip-hop is a name you might not even know. He has produced tracks for some very big name artists and been featured on some classic albums. This year, he dropped his debut producer album and it is fire.
11.Random aka Mega Ran – RNDM
Fresh Kils produced one of the tracks on this album. He’s featured a few times in this list. Random also has a great Christmas album you should check for.
10. Wordsworth and Donel Smokes – New Beginning
Wordsworth dropped two albums this year, one with his super-group EMC, and this one with producer Donel Smokes. I have always loved his wordplay and freestyling ability. The lead single F.U. is really good and I spun it regularly this year.
9. Tempomental – Involution
I love supporting local hip-hop. I have seen Tempomental perform several times this year and have been quite impressed with his live show. His new album doesn’t disappoint either.
8. Semi Hendrix – Breakfast At Banksy’s
Ras Kass is one of the most consistent emcees in the game. He has been dropping smart hip-hop for over 20 years now and shows no signs of slowing down. I really love the song on this project that samples the M*A*S*H* theme. It’s brilliant.
7. Apollo Brown – Grandeur
Apollo Brown is one of the best beatsmiths hip-hop has ever seen. He is on par with the likes of DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and the RZA. This is his producer album featuring tracks by some very talented emcees.
6. Lee Reed – The Butcher, The Banker, The Bitumen Tanker
Lee Reed is a veteran in the scene. His intelligent hip-hop is refreshing in a world of dumb-downed lyrics, and catch beats. I got to interview him on the radio show this year too. Very cool guy and this is a great album.
5. Zoetic Minds – Zoetic Minds
I discovered this album completely by accident one day. And it blew me away. The artists noticed that I played their music on the show and reached out to me. We had an amazing interview on the air as well.
4. Taylor Swift – 1989
Taylor Swift evoked the music from the year she was born in a really authentic way. This record sounds like it could have been released in 1989. I used to love listening to Tiffany back then. This has the same aesthetic to it.
The packaging is amazing as well. There are Polaroid style photos and tons of extras in the deluxe edition.
3. Backburner – Eclipse
Backburner is a huge crew consisting of close to 20 rappers and producers including Chokeules, Savilion, and Timbuktu (of Swamp Thing), Fresh Kils, Uncle Fester, and Ghettosocks (of The Extremities), Thesis Sahib and many more.
Each member has put out successful albums either solo or part of their individual rap groups. This Wu-Tang style album hits a lot of high marks. My personal favourite track is In Tha Place and Thesis Sahib’s verse absolutely blows me away. It was my most spun record this year.
2. Blackalicious – Imani: Vol. 1
Severely under-rated, Blackalicious have been dropping quality music since the mid 1990s. Lead emcee Gift of Gab revolutionized alphabet tracks with his 1999 anthem A to G. This new album is funky, lyrical, and a head-nodder.
#1. Relic and Fresh Kils – The 13th Floor
Relic is one of Canada’s best kept secrets. Fresh Kils is one of the most amazing producers this country has ever seen. Together they have crafted the best album of the year. I highly recommend this one.
That’s the list.
What were your favourites this year?