We’re back again for the third installment of the Top 25 Rap Albums & Mixtapes of 2012.
24. Big Boi’s Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors
23. Chief Keef’s Back From The Dead/Finally Rich
Childish Gambino’s Royalty
21. Rockie Fresh’s Driving 88
Now as we enter into a new part of The Pinnacle we will see even better albums and mixtapes.
Here’s the criteria to be in the High Rises:
This a place where a mixtape could’ve been an album and if it was an album, it was worth your money. The project had limited skippable tracks, met or passed expectations, made a slight impact upon release and has a high replay value.
15. Wiz Khalifa’s ONIFC
Album Rank: 8
Wiz had a pretty swell 2012. Impending baby with fiancée Amber Rose, incredible masterpiece with Taylor Allderdice mixtape and even this super swagged out album cover to cause an uproar (pictured above). Wiz won. ONIFC is surely an improvement from Wiz’s debut album (Deal or No Deal doesn’t count to me), Rolling Papers, but still has songs that you will skip for forever (i.e. “Got Everything”) but it rides throughout for the most part. From the Pharrell produced “Rise Above” to the sexual innuendo of “Up In It”, Wiz shows what his “first” album should’ve sounded like. Great year and wish nothing but more weed-infused tunes from Pittsburgh’s star of a son.
14. T.I.’s Trouble Man
Album Rank: 7
Honestly, I wasn’t expecting nothing from T.I. really. His latest album, No Mercy, was beyond a disappointment and I saw him weekly on VH1 being the best father he could be to his kids. That’s not really what you expect to see or hear from one of the 2000’s best down south “gangsta” rappers. Surprisingly, Tip Harris delivers with his eighth (?!) studio album. Maybe it was the fact he was off of probation for the first time since Paper Trail and could actually get back to the real Tip. Along with classic Tip-adrenaline rush songs like “Trap Back Jumping” and “Addresses”, T.I. is back. Another defining part is the skits. Yes, I said it, skits. Those haven’t been a significant part of albums since the 90’s if you ask me. In the skits, T.I. makes an audio replay of the car ride when his best friend dies, the event when purchasing guns goes wrong and even a wild car chase with cops. Very entertaining. In my opinion, the back half doesn’t match the same intensity and song structure as the front. Nonetheless, this a very good project. Welcome back, King.
13. Joe Budden’s A Loose Quarter & Fabolous’ Soul Tape 2 (tie)
Mixtape Rank: 7
Another tie! Joe Budden gave his fans, listeners and haters a preview of his upcoming album, No Love Lost, with his latest mixtape, A Loose Quarter. You can say the New Jersey rapper had a tumultuous year, but hey what’s new? From him “killing Eddie Murphy” on Twitter, forever engaging in word warfare with Budden haters to the ultra seductive pictures of him and girlfriend, Kaylin Garcia, it was just a typical year for Joe. With Slaughterhouse’s very underwhelming album, Welcome to OUR House, being a blunder, Budden had to give his fans something new to listen to. ALQ provides a deep and introspective journey as Joe openly talks about his father on “Momma Said” and Kaylin Garcia’s tumultuous life before him on “More of Me.” Along with that, his SLV partner, Emmany, laces his R&B vocals on a numerous amount of songs to produce some sultry tracks to say the least. Very solid project through and through.
Since 2009’s successful Loso’s Way, Fabolous has yet to release an album to follow it. Mixtapes, Soul Tape and There Is No Competition 3, were okay, but not enough to get the Brooklyn rapper back on the right track. In 2012, he gives listeners the Soul Tape 2 and gets back to what he does; Rapping. With a slew of Grade A features from Joe Budden, Wale, J. Cole and Pusha T, Soul Tape 2 is smooth throughout. I definitely expect an album from Loso in 2013.
Sidenote: Why the tie between the two you might ask? Both are 30+ year old rappers from an era of heavy rap lyricism that both gave a solid project around the same time just to set up for an album later down the road. Let’s call it even for now.
12. Big Sean’s Detroit
Mixtape Rank: 6
Clearly the most improved rapper in the game took a leap forward this year with his latest mixtape, Detroit. After being one of the shining moments on G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer, Sean took the music scene on its own and gave his fans more music to play. Whether it was the bass-rattling “Mula” with French Montana or the life perspective record “24K of Gold” featuring J. Cole, Detroit stands out from the pack. Another dope part to Sean’s mixtape was the beloved testimonials he received from Common, Jeezy and Snoop. All spoke on their undeniable love for the city is from and memories from the past. Expect his second album, Hall of Fame from Big Sean in early 2013. I’m pretty sure it won’t be nothing short of G.O.O.D. BOI!
11. Game’s Jesus Piece
Album Rank: 6
I have a problem with Game. If the music industry consisted of nothing but music, Game would be a household name, have plenty of endorsements and have more than a few platinum plaques. But he doesn’t. His outside the studio antics, controversial album cover and consistent diss records keep California’s own in the semi-popular corridor of the rap world. In Jesus Piece, Game calls on 23 features (Lil Wayne 2x) on 13 songs to give us a Chronic 2001-like project. Of course it’s not a classic like Dr. Dre’s 1999 masterpiece, but Game surely knows how to get the best out of an artist and mesh others together. Along with Kevin Hart’s hysterical skits, Jesus Piece flows effortlessly. From the storytelling track with J. Cole “Pray” to the D’Angelo-sampled “All That” (with a slew of artists), Game (and company) delivers. Honestly, this album should be higher on this list but I can’t get past the amount of features. My main question is, how does Game perform this album while doing a show? Eh. Nonetheless, this is a great piece of work and worth your money.
Well, that’s it for today. Should Game or Sean be higher? Does Wale, KRIT, Ross, 2Chainz or Future to be in the Hise Rises? Let me know!
Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part III of the Top 25 Rap Albums & Mixtapes of 2012. Peace.
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