28 December 2013


   Honestly, 2013 was a pretty decent year where hip hop is concerned. There were hits and misses, like every year, but this year has definitely had some incredible highs. The BITM crew you know and love has decided to go beyond the typical Top Ten Of The Year lists to hit you with something special. Each of us has been dropping our own takes on the the year end lists to give you the Best In The Mix in different areas. My gift to you is the Best Collaborations in 2013.

       Now, when I say collaborations (collabs for the rest of the post, I'm not going to be typing that long name every time) I mean more than the typical producer and emcee getting together for one or two tracks on an album. For me, a bona fide collab is when 2 or more well established in their own careers decide to unite and create something as one force. There were quite a few crazy drops this year, but the stand outs are definitely worth the mention. Before I get to my Best Collab of 2013, here are some honorable mentions:


 Czarface (7L & Esoteric and Inspectah Deck): Indie mainstays 7L & Esoteric found a partner in crhyme in Wu-Tang's one and only Inspectah Deck and became the supergroup Czarface. Both Deck and Eso have very unique sounds and with 7L at the production helm, this album could have easily passed off as a Wu-Tang spin off. While some of songs seem to drag, when these dudes were on it, it more than made up for the misses.

Notable Tracks:
Air 'em Out
Poisonous Thoughts

Durag Dynasty (Planet Asia, Killa Ben & TriState) - 360 Waves  (Produced by Alchemist): Real talk, the only emcee I really recognize is Planet Asia, but the fact that Alchemist was handling all the production meant these two would be working together was enough for me to cop the entire album. Now, Alchemist did his thing this year, handling production for both Prodigy and Action Bronson, but this Durag album was the best collab he did this year from what I heard. West Coast was definitely in the building with this one.                                                             

Notable Tracks:
Luxury Whip
Tender Greens

Ugly Heroes (Verbal Kent, Red Pill, Apollo Brown): Since dropping his first release on the Mello Music Group's roster back in 2010, this Detroit native has worked with a slew of artists. 2013 saw his 2nd outing in another full fledged group alongside emcees Verbal Kent and Red Pill. In a time where a lot of hip hop focuses on decadence and over-indulgence, these three came together and became the poster children for blue collar rap; proving not all your rap has to be wrapped in chinchilla and bathed in diamonds to be beautiful.

Notable Tracks:
Take It or Leave It
Hero's Theme

Demigodz - Killmatic: The roster of emcees that came together to form this supergroup reads like a checklist of emcees you'd be wise to keep out of your rhymes. Apathy Motive, Esoteric, Blacastan, Ryu, and Celph Titled came together like Voltron and dropped a sophomore album over a decade in the making. Although not all the members of this Demigodz crew are original members, the heat this crew brought was nothing short of bar setting. All of you you hip hop heads in love with the 90's era of rap have no excuse for not having this one.

Notable Tracks:
Demigodz Is Back
Dead In The Middle

MED, Blu, & Madlib - The Burgundy EP: This joint right here did in 4 songs what most cats try to do over entire albums. The chemistry between these three is almost magical. The flows were effortless, the production Madlib laid out was smooth and undoubtedly West Coast, and this release saw no need for fillers. They dropped 4 tracks, some instrumentals and acapellas, and that was it. If you didn't cruise somewhere this summer with Burgundy Whip playing in the ride then you definitely missed out.

Notable Tracks:
Burgundy Whip
Belly Full


       Those collabs were definitely fire, but they weren't the best. For reason or another they just didn't capture my ear quite like my pick for Best Collab for 2013.  Without further delay, my pick for the Best Collaboration of 2013 goes to:

Killer Mike and El-P as Run The Jewels


     This album right here? Fire, period. Killer Mike and El-P proved that there first outing was no fluke. Although the two had worked together previously on Killer Mike's critically acclaimed R.A.P. Music, 2013 marked their first outing as a full fledged duo. I don't know if anyone could have predicted that this is what the combination of the Dirty South and Indie East Coast would have sounded like. There is something about El-P's futuristic boom bap production and the way Killer Mike and El-P trade rhymes that makes their chemistry unstoppable. These two have once again created a release that a lot of camps have put in their respective top releases of 2013. When I say camps, I'm talking about: Pitchfork, NPR, Okayplayer, and Stereogum for starters. I'm sure there's more, but we aren't here to talk about them. For the record while there are countless outlets naming these guys as one of the best in 2013, we here at Best In The Mix told you back in September that come this time there would be a lot of praise for this one. We wouldn't steer you

Notable Tracks:
Banana Clipper
Sea Legs

        And there you have it. Maybe you caught all these, maybe you didn't, maybe you totally disagree with this list. Either way, hit us up and let us know. See you on the other side.

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