As of now my Thursday posts will always be a throwback Thursday, it could be the best album of a year or songs of the year, so long as it’s from a previous time in music, this time round I’ve decided to travel back in time 5 years and rank the best albums of 2012. Some honorable mentions have got to include Mac Demarco, Rick Ross and Death Grips.
10. G.O.O.D Music: Cruel Summer
The first compilation album on this top 10 comes from Mr Kanye West and the men at G.O.O.D Music. This a STAR STUDDED album, filled with strong flows from the likes of Kanye, Pusha T, 2 Chainz, Cheef Keef, Jay Z, Big Sean and many more. This album felt a little disjointed at times and occasionally I was just left waiting for another Kanye verse, but on the whole this album banged, the obvious stand out songs that every rap fan knows are ‘Clique’ ‘Mercy’ and ‘New God Flow’, and with the exception of a few filler tracks this a really solid album. Saying that I feel the eventual release of Cruel Winter will smash this album out of the water.
9. Schoolboy Q: Habits & Contradictions
This might be Q’s forgotten album but boy did it bang, long before ‘Oxymoron’ led Schoolboy Q to superstardom, his album ‘Habits & Contradictions’ was making waves in the rap world. The Black Hippy member showed off an often aggressive style of rap as he established himself as the number two man in Black Hippy. Black Hippy members Kendrick, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul all featured on the album along with a brilliant feature of A$AP Rocky. ‘Oxy Music’ stands out on this as some of Q’s best work ever, this album gave Q the platform to become one of the biggest names in the new school of rap.
8. Macklemore And Ryan Lewis: The Heist
Macklemore is underrated. Yes he’s white so people don’t like him as much, yes he doesn’t say N***a so people don’t like him as much, but if you just sit back and listen he’s actually pretty good, and this album had so much content and so many themes. Anyone who can make an album and discuss, racism, materialism, homophobia and freedom, whilst maintaining a good sound should be listened to. People need to give credit to Ryan Lewis as well for his production on this album and how important he is to Macklemore. This album was self produced and self promoted which makes it all the sweeter. With tracks like ‘Same Love’, ‘Jimmy Lovine’, ‘Wings’ and ‘Thrift Store’ all telling vastly different stories it’s hard not to listen carefully to the lyrics, which sometimes is something you wouldn’t do to the stereotypical trap song about bitches and money.
8. Flying Lotus: Until The Quiet Comes
I love this man mad amounts, he simply don’t get nearly enough credit he deserves for his brilliant work in music. This was FlyLo’s fourth studio album, with the first coming 6 years prior in 2006 the man has evolved massively. The production and arrangements on this album were his best to that date, the ever unique FlyLo managed to create a true album in every sense, it stuck to a theme, it flowed from track to track, and it had all round brilliant production. Any album that features Erykah Badu is bound to have at least one good song of course, and cool features aside this album really pulled it out of the bag track after track, hopefully another album is on the way in 2017.
6. Odd Future: The OF Tape Vol. 2
The second of two compilation albums on this list. Odd Future AKA Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All dropped ‘The OF Tape Vol. 2’ early in 2012, and the nostalgia of this album still brings deep feels whenever I listen. I love all of these guys as solo artists but it just hurts that this isn’t a thing anymore. I get strong memories of my last year of school and my college days and it always feels kind of weird, but anyway, each and everyone of these guys are super talented, from the amazing work of The Internet and Frank Ocean, to the hard rap of Tyler, Earl and the rest of the guys. ‘Rella’, ‘Sam (Is Dead)’ and ‘Oldie’ are old school Odd Future at their very best and it’s hard to not love for someone who grew up in that time. ‘Oldie’ is just one of my favourite songs ever, not only the immense nostalgia I’ve mentioned, but that 10 out of 10 music video, Frank being a really good rapper, Jasper dropping a 9 bar, Earl’s never ending fire verse and Tyler’s strong ending lyrics, everything is perfect.
5. The XX: Coexist
The second studio album from The XX was always going to struggle to match the brilliance of the first album but ‘Coexist’ gave it it’s best shot, and The XX delivered big. With fantastic songwriting from the Oliver Sim and Romy Croft and the ever amazing production of Jamie XX, this album managed to blend everything together to make an album that when in the mood for the genre, is perfect. This is no different to any XX album before or after this one and no different to Jamie XX’s ‘In Colour’. The heartfelt lyrics are apparent throughout the album, the opener to the album ‘Angels’ was a song that personified this, matching anything to debut XX album which was always going to be a tough job to achieve with such a good album.
4. Tame Impala: Lonerism
Some might put this higher than 4th because Tame Impala have to be one of the most loved bands of the decade, and with good reason, everything they’ve done has been gold and this album was no different. Receiving widespread critical acclaim, ‘Lonerism’ won numerous awards for album of the year from many rock outlets and it’s easy to see why. This album brought a fresh sound to Tame Impala, bringing a more of a pop sound to the group, it was a welcome sight and it was something new brought to the table. ‘Elephant’ is not just the best thing on this album but it’s one of Tame Impala’s greatest pieces. This album was only to be topped by ‘Currents’, Tame Impala are a group that have gotten better with every album.
3. Jake Bugg: Jake Bugg
The self titled debut album of Jake Bugg often goes unnoticed on a large scale, as does Jake Bugg himself in recent times, but do not forget how good this album really was. Bugg is a super talented guitarist who was only 18 when this album came out, with no features and at often times just Bugg and an acoustic guitar, this album was a bold and gutsy move, it all paid off. ‘Lighting Bolt’ ended up becoming a gigantic song and was played constantly through the summer of 2012 for Usain Bolt at the Olympics, this would only help the albums eventual success when it was released 2 months later. ‘Broken’ has got to be in Jake Bugg’s top 3 songs of all time, a phenomenal piece of music which highlighted his talent for somebody so young, this track along with the well known ‘Two Fingers’ and the previously mentioned ‘Lightning Bolt’ brought Jake Bugg huge commercial success. This album was easy to like, and so is the Jake Bugg story so many people can relate to. He was just a young lad on an estate who loved music, if he can make it big on his drive and talent alone why can’t anyone else?
2. Frank Ocean: Channel Orange
Missing out on the top spot is a man I got big love for in Frank Ocean with ‘Channel Orange’ which was an absolute masterpiece. For me this comes very very close to his most recent project ‘Blonde’ with there being so many simply stunning tracks. Each song has a deep story to it, the main themes of course being sex and love. The strange yet stunning production more than matches Frank’s second to none vocals. Aside from Frank’s sheer brilliance, we get the treat to one of the best Andre 3000 features ever and one of the best Earl Sweatshirt features ever. Those two feature tracks along with ‘Thinkin Bout You’, ‘Crack Rock’ and ‘Forrest Gump’ are the best of the best for me, ‘Forrest Gump’ in particular has a brilliant story to it which keeps me engaged in a big way. It’s hard to find a fault in this album, an album that would top most lists any other year, but this year was a different year in music because of number 1.
PS. Frank would then disappear for 4 years making me extremely sad in life.
1. Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D City
This album is one of the albums I give the 11 out of 10 rating, an album that is so good it is in the elite group of one of the best albums of all time. Personally for me this is Kendrick Lamar’s best album ever, and is one of the best rap albums of all time. Kendrick Lamar was thrown into super stardom with this album, projects before this were great, but this was truly something special. Reaching critical acclaim, ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’ received heaps of praise from every big media group, and was the number one album of the year on near enough every forum. The album has no weakness, every single song was a treat and many of the songs have since gone on to become rap anthems. This man is truly the best rapper Compton has ever produced which is a huge thing when you look at Kendrick’s idols. When I witnessed the drop to the song ‘m.A.A.d City’ live at Leeds Festival in 2015 I had goosebumps from head to toe. The released songs on this album have become household rap songs with ‘Swimming Pools’ ‘Poetic Justice’ ‘Money Trees’ and ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’ all becoming massive bangers. Despite being over 12 minutes long, ‘Sing About Me I’m Dying Of Thirst’ manages to keep me gripped throughout as one of my personal favourites on the album, every other song that hasn’t been mentioned by myself are absolutely amazing songs. The whole theme to this album was great and it felt like an album that had been produced for 10 years it was that perfect, the flow from song to song, the production, the star studded features, just everything. If I was to do a top 10 albums of all time this would certainly be in it.