27 December 2013


If you think about it, every year we get 1000s of audio releases. Be it a proper studio albums, mixtapes (official and homemade) or EPs. That being said, there is no way on earth that our 5 man crew could comb through this gargantuan list, let alone yours truly. With that being said, I will try. For your viewing pleasure (and criticism), the Most Slept On album/mixtape of 2013. [Most reviews have album streams updated if you click on links below]


Marco Polo - PA2: The Director's Cut

I am not going to say much about Marco Polo's PA2: The Director's Cut since I reviewed it recently. What I will say is do your homework. As mentioned in the review, I was not too familiar with the Toronto producer, even though I was familiar with some of his work. And as part of my hip hop New Year's resolution I will cop Port Authority and make sure that I keep my ear to the streets to make sure I stay up to date with upcoming MP productions. I suggest you do the same.

Skyzoo & Antman Wonder - An Ode to Reasonable Doubt

Another recently reviewed gem is Skyzoo and Antman Wonder's An Ode to Reasonable Doubt. Skyzoo has been a lyrical monster for most of the 00s. But with little commercial success, I feel 2014 will be his year. With a smooth flow and cadence, Skyzoo is able flip his style at the drop of a dime. The lyrical skill it takes to pull off a project like this is enough to garner respect alone. But to Barry Bonds it out the park is nothing less than amazing. After Elzhi did his thing on Elmatic, the hip hop community wondered if he (or if anyone else for that matter ) should take on another classic. I wanted to believe that Elmatic was a stars aligning event and wouldn't happened until my grandkids have grandkids. I was happy to be surprised by Skyzoo and his reimagining of Reasonable Doubt.

Joey Bada$$ - Summer Knights

One of the great things about being part of BITM family is the diversity in the hip hop that we listen to. It was here that I was introduced to the Pro Era crew and the incredibly young for his skill level lyricist, Joey Bada$$. The Pro Era movement is all about the golden era essence. Even though most where born in the 90s, the collective has a style that is reminiscent of the decade that solidified the hip hop culture as a permanent influence in the states and eventually the globe. Even though I feel 1999 was his best tape so far, Summer Knights is still a great listen. Joey has mastered the layed back flow, but is also able to pour deep emotions in his intricate rhyme patterns. Joey Bada$$ is not for hip hop beginners, you need to do your hip hop history homework to fully appreciate this dude.

Action Bronson - Saaab Stories

Speaking of dudes who take you back to pager and Starter pullover era, Action Bronson blessed us with his debut EP Saaab Stories, entirely produced by Harry Fraud. Action has been dropping mixtapes heavy for only a couple of years. But his buzz picked up after his 2012 mixtapes, Blue Chips and the Alchemist assisted Rare Chandeliers. Action Bronson went with quality over quantity on this one, only giving us a 7 track studio album. But I ain't mad at him. As mentioned in my review, many 90s emcees dropped albums that were more or less EPs. Even though there were those LPs that hit the upper teens digits. I recently upgraded Mr.Bronson to Four and Half Tape status after giving it a few more spins. Peep Saaab Stories, and you will know why. 

Statik Selektah - Extended Play

Another Four and Half Tape worthy review was Statik Selektah's Extended Play. Statik has had a busy 2013, working with every emcee under the sun. But he took some time to craft his fifth studio album. His lineup alone is enough to peek any hip hop fans interest. But the intrigue is justified once you play the first track. Not only that, but the way he chose to group emcees together on each track is insane. Since his 1982 days, I have been hooked on Statik productions. And even though it has been a few years since we've had a "Statik album", this dude has been making sure we don't forget his name or his sound. If you a fan of album quality production and mixtape raw style flows, definitely throw this one on.


Rapsody - She Got Game

We at BITM have had many milestones since the collective came together like Voltron  over a year ago. But when it comes to hip hop sites and magazines, the eternal question is: What is the criterion for a perfect rating for an album/mixtape? And with 2013 in the rear view, we can say as a group that we have answered that question. Our resident young gun Ra'Z Al Ghoul stamped our first 5 Tape album/mixtape, She Got Game. It is no secret that I am a huge Rapsody fan, and if we had our rating system last year I would have given her studio debut album The Idea of Beautiful a 4.5 or 5 Tape review. DJ Drama's Gangsta Grillz mixtape series have featured a plethora of emcees, mostly commercial rappers, but a few true lyricists as well. Rapsody adds to that lyricist emcee list with the latest installment. With a wide range of producers, Rapsody is able to weave her impeccable flow to fit any style. Her poetic mastery and lyrical strength are in full effect from the first track all the way to the end. Her previous mixtapes have always been of album caliber (Thank H.E.R. Now would have DEFINITELY copped a 5 Tape review from me) and you can see the growth in her subject matter and as well as lyrics in general. Of course if you haven't peeped anything on the list, do so immediately. But if you just have one choice, hands down, take She Got Game for a spin.

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