I had a hard time coming up with 10 hip-hop albums I really enjoyed this year. But when it comes to songs, I had to stop myself at 50. Yep, songs (and mixtapes) murdered albums in 2009.
50. Dolla - "Georgia Nights"
ATLien Dolla recorded this slow cooker just days before he was murdered in L.A.
Once in a while, alt-rap specialists like Blackalicious and various members of the Hiero clan pop up to remind us that the west coast isn't all hyphy and big basslines. Case in point: this slice of slaphappy hip-hop anthem courtesy of The Grouch & Eligh (both members of Living Legends).
Hip-hop posse cuts have become a way to demonstrate clout and drum up publicity for an album, as opposed to a lyrical showcase. This jawn by L.E.G.A.C.Y. doesn't conform to that standard. It finds like-minded MCs Sean Price and Phonte pummeling a rather tough beat into submission.
Mibbs & crew are having an Ice Cube-style good day. In fact, they're bubbling with so much excitement that a run for mayor suddenly seems feasible. Or is that Grey Goose in action? The group expects to drop its first official full-length via Universal Motown Records in 2010.
Brassy, slap-happy southern rap encouraging all personages in the streets of H-Town to please recognize his royal Thuggness.
Dr. Dre's haunting beat collides with 50's ruthless rhymes to yield one of the best the cuts on Before I Self Destruct.
The self-introspective, starkly honest "Shades," off Attention Deficit, reaffirms Wale's narrative skills and his ability to summon internal rhymes at will ("Man, I hate black/ Skin tone, I wish I could take it back/ But rearrange my status, maybe if I was khaki/ Associating light-skinned with classy").
Snoop Dogg hasn't had a good album since 1993, but he's dropped enough hits to fill an entire disc. Add "I Wanna Rock (Remix)" to the ever growing list of great songs from bad albums.
Wordy but never preachy. Fierce but never chaotic. P.O.S. uncorks a sunny hip-hop jam sure to get your head bobbing. "And we all save face in the face of our friends/And we all bend backwards to make amends," rhymes P.O.S. on the first single from Never Better, arguably the most underrated hip-hop album of 2009.