[tps_title]Albums #10 – #6[/tps_title]
10. The Roots: And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
The Roots, a band never afraid to confront the darker side of music, find themselves doing exactly that on And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. Honest and quite brash, lyrically, the album is steeped in remorse and melancholy. Artistically speaking, this is The Roots’ most sonically progressive record in years. Disillusioned with the current state of society, The Roots blatantly ignore any romantic musings, instead opting to criticize and mock anything and everything, from the current hip-hop scene to capitalism.
9. Big K.R.I.T: Cadillactica
Right now, Big K.R.I.T. is the Deep South’s hottest rapper property, and Cadillactica, with its infectious hooks and poignant lyrics, simply establishes this fact. Rather unjustly, K.R.I.T. has found it difficult to solidify himself as a credible heavyweight, often referred to as a one-trick, mixtape pony, but the follow-up to Live From the Underground, his 2012 debut LP, managed to sway even the harshest of critics. A colossus of an album, Mississippi’s finest treats fans to 15 sumptuous tracks, with the likes of ASAP Ferg, E-40 and Bun B lending their lyrical expertise.
A conscientious and truly emotional look into one man’s struggle with fame, Forest Hills Drive is the record that displays J. Cole’s artistic depths. The concept, noble and pure, involves one man’s spiritual journey, an introspective trip that takes him down a path filled with painful memories and uncertain outcomes. Swaying between optimism and disillusion, Cole’s ability to convey such honest truths is rather endearing.
7. Vince Staples: Hell Can Wait
Hell can indeed wait – well, for at least 24 minutes. Fear not, although the record is incredibly short, the seven tracks on offer are all killer, absolutely no filler. A harsh and sometimes brutal emcee, not many can convey apocalyptic actualities like Vince Staples. After stealing the spotlight on Hive, the stunning single from Earl Sweatshirt’s debut Doris, Staples has generated real interest within the realms of rap.
A no frills, painfully honest artist, Staples doesn’t petition for love or respect. Instead, rather admirably, he lets his humbling tales of violence and hardships paint the most striking of pictures possible.
Innovative… most definitely; Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, is a fascinating individual. Hovering on a bed of opulent beats, You’re Dead!, the latest album from the Los Angeles based producer, is as experimental as it is prolific. Picking up from where 2012’s critically acclaimed Until The Quiet Comes left off, the 30-year-old’s latest records merge psychedelic keyboards and eccentric guitars.
A conceptual record, Ellison invites the listener to consider the complexities of life and death. Both Tesla and Cold Dead take us on perilous, prophetic pilgrimages, with the latter flirting with elements of hostility and harmony. Sporadic and schizophrenic, Ellison somehow manages to maintain an equilibrium, never once allowing the album to wander into the realms of sheer absurdity.
An impenetrable offering of ballsy beats and dynamism, this is 39 minutes of g-funk, booming bass and unremitting vision. With appearances from Thundercat and Snoop Dogg, Cali’s coolest cat has created a record that elevates hip-hop to new, exciting heights.