Reader Best of 2009: Kokayi


DC-based Kokayi is a Grammy-nominated producer and rapper, and the mind behind two of this year’s best projects: The Ceasarz and Dastardly.

Name: Kokayi
Location: Washington, DC
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Adrian Champion – Stars and Stripes (White Stripes Mashup)

Adrian Champion’s Stars and Stripes was more than a White Stripes mash-up, in my humble opinion. It was some of the hardest music that I had heard in a while; some of my favorite hip hop records with both hard and obscure White Stripes songs redone and it all made sense.

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

This joint had me riding to Ocean City stuck. I irritated the hell out of my wife and kids for a solid hour, in Bay Bridge traffic, pumping this album like it was a 94 Essence tape. Sonically they went for the wall, odd noises, lush soundscapes and crazy 70’s LSD lyrics. I could hear that it wasn’t a live “rock” album it had beats..which to me is always a plus. This cranks. nuff said.

Jay Electronica – Exhibit C/Kingpen Slim – Fly Sh*t


Kingpen SlimFly Sh*t

I know someone will ask “who the fu*k is that ?” In reference to either artist. Jay Electronia may be too obscure for some and Kingpen Slim not as well know as Jay..but trust these 2 singles merked a grip of “popular” songs. “Exhibit C”, produced by the MegatronDon ne’ Just Blaze, is audio crack. emcees will try and top/emulate.. the Jay/Hanukkah/Yarmulke line. Kingpen Slim’s “Fly Sh*t” off of the Beam Up mixtalbum is hip hop braggadocio, unabashed ego, no skinny jeans, hip hop.

Diamond District – In the Ruff/Yu – Before Taxes

It’s supposed to be the top 5, but i’ve had internal battles in making a single choice.  There were certified bangers on plenty of records this year, but albums, full, push play and walk away albums were scarce, these 2 did not disappoint in nod factor and raw energy. In the Ruff by Diamond District(XO, YU and Oddisee) hit the indie landscape and left a trench in your brain and sore vertebrae. YU’s solo project Before Taxes was honest and graphic in the portrayal of an artist doing this bid we call life.

Dastardly – BrightOutloud EP

This EP is dope. I could get into the finer points of production and how innovative it is and all that, but then i’d come off as bragging or haughty and know what ..who the fu*k’s innovative and produced well and bangs as soon as you turn it on. In my opinion, Sharkey is one of the best producers in the industry. I had a grip of fun working on this record, late nights and long drives but was well worth it.