After a couple of recent threads, I said that I would make a post about the current generation of hip-hop and try to change the opinion that hip-hop died in the '90s. Rather than just focus on the young, up-and-comers, I'm going to briefly cover all the guys (that I like, waaaaay more people than I will talk about dropped music that a lot of people really loved) that have released solid music in the last year or two.
Without further ado...
The Current Generation
Kdot is king. Representing TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) and Black Hippy (Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock), Lamar's 2012 album Good Kid Maad City (GKMC) is one of the best concept albums ever. Not only does Lamar have incredible lyrical abilities, he's a phenomenal story teller. GKMC tells the story of a 16 year old Lamar chasing girls and experimenting with drugs and alcohol, as well as coming to terms with the harsh reality of Compton living.
Lamar's songs on their own are all very good, but when listened from front to back, the whole story is revealed and the album becomes incredibly impressive.
Example from GKMC:
Kendrick Lamar ft. Jay Rock - Money Trees
Another example, from Section.80: A must listen
Keisha's Song (Her Pain) - Kendrick Lamar
ScHoolboy Q may be the only man wHo's capable of rocking a bucket Hat. More importantly, He's one of very few guys making gangsta rap. Q is a very good rapper wHose songs rarely sound the same, capable of bangers, introspective songs, and everytHing in between. And wHy are the H's capitalized? ScHoolboy Q is a supporter of the Hiiipower movement, wHicH stands for overcoming racism and reacHing one's full potential, as well as remembering His background as a Hoover Street Crip. Q's tHird studio album, Oxymoron, will be released on February 25th.
A banger by Q:
ScHoolboy Q Ft. A$AP Rocky - Hands On The Wheel
A more introspective song:
SchoolBoy Q - Sacrilegious
A$AP Rocky is the biggest star to come out of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob. Rocky is one of my personal favorites, all because of his flow. Don't try to analyze Rocky's lyrics; that isn't the point. Just ride along with Rocky's great flow and masterful selection of beats. In addition to an incredible mix tape, Live.Love.A$AP, Rocky released Long.Live.A$AP last January, which was also very successful. You may have heard "Fuckin' Problems" on the radio.
Example from Long.Live.A$AP
ASAP Rocky- Goldie LYRICS
Example from Live.Love.A$AP
ASAP Rocky - Kissin Pink Ft. ASAP Ferg
"Short n**** but my dick tall!"
Frankly, A$AP Ferg is just the man. Ferg released his first album, Trap Lord, over the Summer, and it was very successful. Ferg can rap in a variety of ways: he can spit hard over bangers, flow nicely (like Kissin' Pink above), or sing to you in hilariously great fashion. Regardless of what style he is using, Ferg always manages to put in some hilarious lines.
Example: The best song ever, about a Jamaican dancehall musician Shabba Ranks
A$AP Ferg feat. A$AP Rocky - Shabba Lyrics
Example: Ferg sings to us from his high position of Hood Pope
A$AP Ferg - Hood Pope
Tyler, The Creator
I'm tall, dark, skinny, my ears are big as fuck
Drunk white girls the only way I'll get my dick sucked
Tyler, the Creator is a controversial guy. In addition to using the recently banned from mania "F" word, Tyler has been accused of being a shock rapper, relying on violence and misogyny rather than talent.
Tyler is very talented and has been releasing music since he was in high school (he's currently 22). Much of his music focuses on his fatherless childhood and outsider status, as well as his criticisms of the music industry. While still a teenager, Tyler formed OFWGKTA (AKA Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All or Odd Future for short). Some of the more famous members include Earl Sweatshirt (covered next), Frank Ocean, Hodgy beats and domogenesis. Finally, Tyler is an excellent director and will be releasing a short film based on the story of his most recent album (Wolf) soon.
Example: From Wolf, this is basically two songs mixed for one video.
Tyler, The Creator - IFHY
Tyler The Creator - Yonkers
19 year old Earl released his first album, Doris, earlier this year. Earl is a very technically skilled rapper, who relies on intricate rhyme schemes and assonance. He can be rather monotone at times, but his album was still one of the best of the year.
Earl Sweatshirt: Chum
Mac Miller had an incredible year. Formerly known as a "frat rapper," some time in rehab and time spent with TDE and Odd Future changed that. Completely switching up his style, Miller dropped an album (Watching Movies with the Sound Turned Off) and a mixtape (Delusional Thomas), two very well-received works.
Mac Miller - I'm Not Real (feat. Earl Sweatshirt & Vinny Radio)
But in the end I'm just a dirty old man
With a pill in my mouth and my d*ck in my hand
Danny Brown is a wildman, born and raised in Detroit. Known for his, uhh, unique voice and crazy beats, Danny has put out two excellent albums, XXX and Old. The subject matter can range from things like MDMA, weed, going to the store for wonder bread, poverty, and his fear of ODing.
Danny Brown - ODB
Example: From Old
Danny Brown ft. Purity Ring - 25 Bucks
Cole has actually been in the game for a fairly long time. He just dropped his second studio album, Born Sinner, in August, which he largely produced on his own. J Cole is one of the best story tellers in hip-hop and consistently makes good music.
J. Cole - Lost Ones
Older generations still dropping great music
I shouldn't have to tell who you any background info on these guys.
Is Kanye a huge asshole? Yes. Does he have an uncontrollable ego? Absolutely. Is he one of the most talented and influential aritsts of the last decade? Undoubtedly. The very polarizing Yeezus was a completely different direction for Ye, as he switched to a more industrial style of beat, but it was still largely successful.
Example: From Ye's most recent album, Yeezus.
Kanye West - New Slaves ft. Frank Ocean
Run The Jewels
Killer Mike and El-P both had great, but relatively unnoticed, 2012s, then came together in 2013 to create Run The Jewels. RTJ released a self-titled album recently that was shockingly good and topped many "best of" lists.
Run The Jewels - Banana Clipper feat. Big Boi
Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah has always had a very solid discography, and his latest album, Twelve Reasons to Die, is no different. Wu-Tang forever children
Ghostface Killah Murder Spree featuring U-God; Masta Killa; Inspectah Deck; Killa Sin
Hip-hop's GOAT can be rather hit or miss, but his 2012 album "Life is Good" was a solid EP. It was largely about his divorce, as well as other more mature issues for Nasty.
Nas - Cherry Wine ft. Amy Winehouse
If he cries he cries, we don't drink away the pain
When a n**** die we add a link to the chain
Inscribe a n**** name in your flesh
We playing on a higher game of chess
Once you delegate his bills who's gone fuck his bitch the best?
Pusha T has been part of hip-hop for a while, largely as half of hip-hop duo Clipse. Recently, he dropped My Name is My Name, one of the hardest albums this year. Pusha drops bars about dealing coke, plain and simple. Finally, this album had some of the best beats of the year such as Nostalgia, Numbers on the Board, Suicide, and King Push.
Example: A must listen
Pusha T Nosetalgia Feat Kendrick Lamar