|Name: Michael Tolle
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Oddisee – Rock Creek Park
One of the most creative instrumental albums I’ve heard in awhile. Beautiful mixture of live instrumentation, samples, and programming. Great theme as well – a breath of fresh air in Hip-Hop.
Has-Lo In Case I Don’t Make It
A really complete bedroom album that delves deeper into an emcees mind and emotions than almost any album I heard in years. Very raw and tense in a revealing way. Great narrative word play as well. The mood of the album to me is stellar – like a novel you can get lost in.
DTMD – Makin’ Dollas
What a smooth debut album from two DMV areas kids who made the record at 20/21 years old. Great guest spots from Kev Brown, Oddisee, etc.
yU – The EARN
My favorite record this year. S perfect continuation of Before Taxes and lyrical content that makes me carry myself a little more upright. yU puts the value back into music and the way he pieces together themes and sound is like Madlib with a philosophical edge and lyrical mastery.
Apollo Brown & Hassaan Mackey – Daily Bread
One of the grittiest, rawest albums all year, with big soulful beats that knock. Hassaan has the kind of grimy emcee ability that takes awhile to digest but is completely unfiltered thought, stream of conscious mixed with rhyme ability. Apollo of course just makes soulful mid to low-tempo beats better than almost anyone in Detroit today. Volume, Something, Tell Me are all huge tracks. This one grows on you!