19. Mick Jenkins – The Water[s]
The critically acclaimed concept record from Chicago emcee Mick Jenkins has found its way onto my list. Mick can rhyme and he’s a very intelligent guy and he knows how to make an album. But I knew that already from his last project Trees & Truths. With this album, he and his team did a great job of really getting him buzzing and this record was a highly anticipated one and an acclaimed one. The album takes on the odd concept of water. It’s interesting an interesting concept but it’s not gripping. Yes, water is a vital need to life but his use of it on this album didn’t impress me. In the end though, the music is pleasing. The brilliant execution of the Yael Naim sample of “Jazz”, the melodic hook on “Healer” and so on are just some of the highlights on this album. It’s a very good listen from an artist with potential to do even better with the next one.
18. Step Brothers – Lord Steppington
Reaching back to January was this album from Evidence and Alchemist. Alc and Evidence felt indebted to the fans to make this album but they really did it because it would be fun. They’re long time collaborators and friends. Shit, Evidence was rolling with Alchemist when he was a kid rapper slangin’ rhymes with Scott Caan, who’s now a main actor on Hawaii 5-0. This album was a bit more experimental production wise for Alchemist. He’s still all about the samples but songs like “Step Masters” and “Banging Sound” really take us on a trip that hip hop isn’t used to. Bolstered by some great features from the likes of Action Bronson, Styles P, Fashawn, Roc Marciano and more, this was a very good album that still gets plays when I roll around in my Nissan Sentra to this day.