Home Brew – Home Brew
New Zealand’s finest hip hop act released a massive 21-track album full of ridiculously dope rhymes from Tom Scott and guests. Productions from this crew are always on point. There are huge tracks all over this self-titled LP and it includes quite possibly my favorite rap intro track of all time.
The hip hop mystery of the year was Flying Lotus with his rap alter ego Captain Murphy. Why has it taken so long for FlyLo to drop a full rap project? His rhyme schemes are excellent and the lyrics tackle all manner of geekery and obscure references. Of course the beats are incredible, coming from the likes of Lotus himself, Samiyam, Teebs, Madlib and Jeremiah Jae.
Melodiesinfonie – J a $ $
Immaculate dusty jazz-influenced beats from a Swiss beatmaker. The instrumentals have a great jazzy air as well as a gritty boom bap feel. All of his work this year has been fantastic and I can’t wait to hear more from him and the new label Boyoom Connective.
One of my favourite soulful beatmakers released the follow-up to his 2011 album High Life. These beats are oh so tasty and just great to bump at all times. Heavy soul and funk all over this.
Brous One – Un Momento En El Tiempo
I like to call Brous the Chilean Pete Rock. This was his debut full-length and he came correct. Laid back jazzy beats and some excellent features from Chilean and German emcees. Super ill and a great limited edition vinyl release that sold out really quickly. I’m very stoked to have a few copies of this one.
Song Of The Year 2012: XXYYXX – About You (above). This kid exploded in 2012 and the track and video for “About You” are a big part of that. XXYYXX is crazy talented and this song is just nasty, catchier than the flu, and sensual like a threesome with Aphrodite and Athena.
Best (independent) labels of 2012:
Cult Classic Records. Bob42jh and Thomas Prime put together a label late last year and have released crazy heat this year. This is one of the best labels in underground jazz-influenced hip hop and a true hip hop lover start-up. I like to think of CCR as a label for the people. The style is distinct and constantly on point like a mechanical pencil. Definitely go raid their Bandcamp and support the movement!
Huh, Whut, & Where Recordings. The label dropped many fantastic instrumental LPs and EPs by Ta-Ku, Ackryte, Ohbliv, Evil Needle, Bugseed, Bahwee and Al Patron.
Redefinition Records. Definitely one of the best labels around for hip hop. They don’t oversaturate their listeners with release after release: everything is well thought out and impeccably delivered. Damu the Fudgemunk is an incredible force of music and all the artists from this camp are of the highest calibre. Top notch hip hop artistry.
Best mix of 2012: Mukatsuku – Mostly Brazil Mix Vol. 1 (Strictly Crackly Vinyl Only Edition)
I can’t get enough of Brazilian music. Definitely my favourite country for music, and Mukatsuku put together a ridiculous mix of amazing Brazilian tunes topped off with some groovy additions from outside Brazil. The mix is quite simply a sublime selection. Long live crackly vinyl.
Biggest surprise: Flying Lotus has had crazy rap skills hidden in his back pocket.
Biggest disappointment: That this song by Chief Keef is super popular.
Most promising young talents: XXYYXX, Flume, Catching Flies, Brous One, BEAR//FACE, Maloon The Boom, Shag and Earl Sweatshirt.
Best artwork of 2012: Himuro Yoshiteru – Our Turn, Anytime (above)
Best physical projects:
fLaKo – Eclosure on limited edition clear vinyl. Absolutely incredible music and a beautiful vinyl release with excellent artwork. That clear vinyl is a must for any futurebeat head!
Anticipating in 2013: More releases from Lex (of Kalhex), Earl Sweatshirt, Juj, Boyoom Connective, Ackryte, Joey Bada$$, Damu The Fudgemunk and L’Orange. And in general, I’m really looking forward to getting dusty and diggin’ for old records in Japan, and then in Europe, and then back in the US after 5 years of not being in the US.