Bon Iver-22, A Million (2016)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 90%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 87%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
  2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
  3. 715 – CRΣΣKS
  4. 33 “GOD”
  5. 29 #Strafford APTS
  6. 666 ʇ
  7. 21 M♢♢N WATER
  8. 8 (circle)
  9. ____45_____
  10. 00000 Million

Label:

Jagjaguwar

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving through a mountain pass.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Absolutely beautiful.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah.

Final Thoughts:

So I’ll give you the truth, this is my least favourite Bon Iver so far, but it still scored 90%, showing that the band can do very little wrong in my mind. 22, A Million is an album that takes time to digest, it’s one of those albums that’s hard to fully comprehend the first few listens, and personally it still hasn’t quite grown on me yet. It’s an album that feels like homework, it demands your attention. From the baffling track names (666 ʇ) to the overly synthy vocody-ness where the vocals sometimes get fuzzy, 22, A Million is nothing if not innovative. This may not be Bon Iver’s greatest offering, but it’s a better album than most artists make in a whole life’s work.

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BJ the Chicago Kid-In My Mind (2016)

My Rating: 57% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 84%

Average Rating: 72% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Intro (Inside My Mind)
  2. Man Down (feat. Buddy & Constantine)
  3. Church (feat. Chance The Rapper & Buddy)
  4. Love Inside (feat. Isabella)
  5. The Resume (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)
  6. Shine
  7. Wait Til The Morning (feat. Isa)
  8. Heart Crush
  9. Jeremiah/World Needs More Love (feat. Eric Ingram)
  10. The New Cupid (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
  11. Woman’s World
  12. Crazy
  13. Home
  14. Falling On My Face
  15. Turnin’ Me Up

Label:

Motown

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Falling asleep with someone you love.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Awesome album cover!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

No.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, I’ll be honest, I think this is more a me problem than an actual problem with the album. At the end of the day I just don’t really like R&B I find it incredibly boring and overly corny. Of course I see the contradiction with being such a hip hop head, because R&B and hip hop are really close friends, but I’ve tried multiple times and it just doesn’t work for me. But aside from that what really got to me on In My Mind was the crazy amount of repetition. There would be times where I’d be sold on a song only to have it repeat the same line like 50 times, just end the song or write more lyrics, don’t make me hang onto the same thing for an extra 3 minutes. BJ the Chicago Kid has an incredible voice, just needs better material.

Blackalicious-The Craft (2005)

My Rating: 89% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 74%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 81% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. World Of Vibrations Feat. Ledisi
  2. Supreme People
  3. Rhythm Sticks
  4. Powers
  5. Your Move Feat. Lifesavas
  6. Lotus Flower Feat. George Clinton
  7. My Pen & Pad
  8. Side To Side Feat. Lateef & Pigeon John
  9. Automatique Feat. Floetry
  10. The Fall & Rise Of Elliot Brown
  11. Black Diamonds & Pearls Feat. Larry Saunders & Ledisi
  12. Give It To You Feat. Kween & Lyrics Born
  13. Egosonic War Drums Feat. Peace
  14. The Craft

Label:

Anti-

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for some funky hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super original and artsy, I love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So bad.

Final Thoughts:

Blackalicious blew me away with Blazing Arrow, I honestly listened to that album so many times during high school. There was something different, I guess it was the pure musicality of it mixed with Gab’s uplifting and deep lyrics. The Craft added to the allure, with songs like The Craft teaching me more about myself and the intelligence of some of the emcees that were in the game at the time, songs like Side to Side helped me party and not take life too seriously and Egosonic War Drums showed me how incredibly talent Gab is. The Craft needs to be in every hip hop heads discography.

Beck-Colors (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 63%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Colors
  2. Seventh Heaven
  3. I’m So Free
  4. Dear Life
  5. No Distraction
  6. Dreams (Colors Mix)
  7. Wow
  8. Up All Night
  9. Square One
  10. Fix Me
  11. Dreams

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Starting off on a fun road trip.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s okay, kinda reminiscent of Sea Change.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Beck continues to be impressive with Colors, honestly, will this dude ever fall off? It’s kind of frustrating really, like dude give some other people the spotlight, stop being such an attention seeker. Colors is enjoyable throughout, there’s weaker tracks than others for sure, but none are bad by any stretch. Beck is one of the few artists I know who can leave the studio for a long time and come back and continue making relevant music. Beck never feels like he’s following someone’s idea of popular music, he makes music and others follow him.

Bell X1-Chop Chop (2013)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 76%

Average Rating: 88%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Starlings Over Brighton Pier
  2. A Thousand Little Downers
  3. Careful What You Wish For
  4. Diorama
  5. I Will Follow You
  6. Drive-By Summer
  7. Motorcades
  8. Feint Praise
  9. The End Is Nigh

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Want something with a little more energy than Damien Rice.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely love this cover!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So bad!

Final Thoughts:

Bell X1 flew under the radar for me for a very long time. I knew their song Flame and mostly just listened to the Flock album (with that track on it). I branched out a few years ago and came across Chop Chop, one of my all time favourite chill albums. Its got a big sound to it, but it still maintains a chill feel. Bell X1 worked brilliantly on Chop Chop, and props to them for not making more tracks than they needed to (9 songs on an album is almost unheard of nowadays). Any Death Cab, Snow Patrol, and/or Arcade Fire fans should feel at home at Chop Chop. Awesome album.

Brett Dennen-Loverboy (2011)

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Surprise, Surprise
  2. Dancing at a Funeral
  3. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
  4. Frozen in Slow Motion
  5. Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
  6. Make You Fall In Love with me
  7. Only Rain
  8. Can’t Stop Thinking
  9. Must Be Losing My Mind
  10. Song For Leaving
  11. Queen of the Westside
  12. Little Cosmic Girl
  13. Walk Away, Watch Me Burn

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling blue, Brett Dennen has a natural way of lifting your spirits.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really really simple, and I like it that way, singer/songwriters usually have great album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, I’ve never seen it for sale though.

Final Thoughts:

Brett Dennen is my homeboy, he hasn’t always been (I’ve been a fan since this album released) but I’ve repeatedly found comfort in his tunes. Loverboy was the album that showed me his diversity as well as helping me through some lonely times when I was still trying to find my way in the world, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. He’s an excellent songwriter and a very warm soul, I got to see him live and I remember how soul soothing it was, just a man, his guitar, and a cup of tea (he was actually sipping tea during his performance). If you haven’t checked him out yet start with Loverboy, you won’t be disappointed.

Blueprint-King No Crown (2015)

My Rating: 70% (C++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 70%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Landing
  2. The Talented Tenth
  3. Unbreakable
  4. Trump Tight
  5. Nothing Like This
  6. Not Afraid of The Dark
  7. They Like Power
  8. Black Intellectual
  9. Persevere
  10. Fist Fight
  11. King No Crown
  12. Live For Today
  13. As Long As It Takes
  14. Maybe My Generation feat. Illogic
  15. Great Eyedeas Never Die

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In the need of some inspiration to keep pushing through.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Yeah it’s alright, it seems familiar, it’s not doing a lot for me but it’s not especially bad either.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, most underground hip hop would be rad to have on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Blueprint is yet another emcee that Rhymesayers Entertainment should be proud to call their own. Although not nearly as renowned or popular as other label mates, Blueprint seems content to do his music for his fans and himself. His albums aren’t ground breaking, they’re all pretty much the same thing honestly, but there’s something comforting about knowing what you’re getting into with Blueprint. I think the ending of the song Persevere really gets to the heart of Blueprint’s attitude when it comes to releasing music: “you don’t have to bend the whole world, you just have to enjoy it, pay your dues and enjoy it.Blueprint isn’t going to break charts, he’s not going to be my favourite emcee, but I’m always happy to tune into his newest work and put him on my shuffle.

Busdriver-Thumbs (2015)

My Rating: 63% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 63%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Hottentot Supercluster feat. Zeroh & Kaveh Rastegar
  2. Black Labor (as understood by Equiano)
  3. Hyperbolic 2
  4. MUCH
  5. Ministry of the Torture Couch feat. Hemlock Ernst
  6. Worlds to Run feat. milo & Anderson .Paak
  7. Skit
  8. Surrounded by Millionaires feat. Daveed Diggs
  9. Great Spooks of Enormous Strength
  10. Del’s Couch feat. Del the Funky Homosapien
  11. Shadows and Victories feat. Jeremiah Jae
  12. NY 03 LIVE feat. Caural
  13. Species of Property
  14. Two Feet in the Layered Cake feat. Kool A.D.
  15. Answering Machinist feat. Jeremiah Jae

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to dig deep into The Good Life emcees.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love this cover, it reminds me of some of the spirit characters on Miyazaki films.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

Busdriver is an impressive emcee, there’s no doubt about that, don’t believe/trust me? Listen to Me – Time and shut your face. The thing that separates Busdriver from other wordy rhymers, such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom, is his inability to make a solid album. He has a few tracks that are fun on each album, but he can’t make one that demands more than one listen. He’s a great artist that seems to be wandering a little aimlessly. This is the time where I think a concept album with a famous beat maker would really help Busdriver make an album of note. Let’s see a Danger Mouse and Busdriver collab, please!

Beastie Boys-Licensed To Ill (1986)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 78%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 89%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rhymin & Stealin
  2. The New Style
  3. She’s Crafty
  4. Posse In Effect
  5. Slow Ride
  6. Girls
  7. Fight For Your Right
  8. No Sleep Till Brooklyn
  9. Paul Revere
  10. Hold It Now, Hit It
  11. Brass Monkey
  12. Slow And Low
  13. Time To Get Ill

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to get Ill (Party)

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Iconic, it’s awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes sir.

Final Thoughts:

Good lord ’86? I couldn’t believe that year when I looked it up for this article, this must’ve been absolutely revolutionary to come out that early. I mean I was raised with damn near every track. We all know these songs, much like Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, you don’t know how well you knew the album until you actually sit down to re-listen to the whole thing. This was THE party album, it never once got old to me. Beastie Boys always meant a lot of beers, a lot of girls, and a lot of cursin’ (The New Style) and I’m just blown away that this was made so early. Hilarious lyrics, bad ass beats, catchy songs. It’s iconic. It’s owed some damn respect and you’d better give it up (you listening you pitchfork A holes?)!

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