BlockCulture Presents: The Top 5 Albums of 2012

5.Landing On A Hundred – Cody ChesnuTT

The proper followup to the critically acclaimed ‘Headphone Masterpiece’, ‘Landing on a Hundred’ picks up where Masterpiece left off, venturing deeper into a soul sound that ChesnuTT has seemingly mastered.  It should come as no surprise, then, that much of the album was recorded in Al Green’s former studio in Memphis, often times using the very same microphones Green once sang life into.  Truly a gem of an album that should resonate easily with any music lover.

 

 

4.Until The Quiet Comes – Flying Lotus

In a day and age where electronic music has a firm grasp of the music business, it is not a stretch to suggest Los Angeles based producer/DJ Flying Lotus might be our generation’s Mingus.  In context, Lotus is steadily redefining the way we think music can be composed.  The infusion of electronic jazz in a hip hop structure is a revelation, where one often wonders how a human being is capable of such arrangements.  Alas, it is executed marvelously, a feat within itself for a project based very much in experimentation.  ‘Until The Quiet Comes’ is truly special and triumphs as a beacon of originality in a world of money hungry copycats

 

 

3.Channel Orange – Frank Ocean

Despite his best efforts, Frank Ocean could not overshadow his creations.  Indeed his admission of bi-sexuality threatened Ocean’s credibility and support base, amongst a community not known for tolerance.  The resulting aftermath was actually an afterthought; it served as annotation to the album itself and only strengthened the notion that Ocean is capable of anything.  When considered as a body of  work, ‘Channel Orange’ shines.  Apparent is Ocean’s vocal talent and songwriting capabilities but what will surprise many is his insistence to challenge the boundries of R&B.  The best is yet to come from Frank Ocean, but Orange will forever serve as the cornerstone to a potentially platinum catalog

2.Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City – Kendrick Lamar

It is now very well documented how nuanced Good Kid is (don’t take my word for it, Google it.)  Kendrick Lamar’s debut album has been hailed as an instant classic because of Lamar’s refusal to comprise his sound.  Succinctly West Coast, right down to the mixing by Dr. Dre and MC Eiht feature.
Untainted out the other side comes Lamar’s thoughtful warning to a generation he suggests is lost, and his best attempt to have you vibe unknowingly to his disapproval.  I believe it to be in the highest degree of art  an MC can achieve: Real hip hop.

 

1.Cruel Summer – G.O.O.D. Music Group

In the end, the choice for best album of 2012 was easy.  No other album is honestly close.  From the earth stopping singles, to the roster of legends and those-who-came-to-lay-claim, Cruel Summer presents itself as a compilation album but performs as a showcase.  The songs are as enjoyable as they are exhaustive.  Label head Kanye West said of Summer it was to be a sonic snapshot of the musical landscape of its time.  Quite simply, Summer is ahead of its time.   Its impact is yet to be truly felt in a music industry that sees declining sales in the post-megastar era.  Summer proves again a collective effort will always outshine an individual, a lesson that should open many doors in the form of future collective collaborations.

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