Without further ado, and in no particular order, my favorite videos of the past year:
Joey BadA$$ featuring Capital STEEZ - Survival Tactics
It's a shame that we'll never get to see the recently deceased Capital STEEZ develop his craft any further, as his Digable Planets flow and politically aware content combined into a form of emceeing that was both nostalgic and forward-thinking. Joey BadA$$ has been dismissed by more than one critic as a pale imitation of the pre-millenial rap that the 70's and 80's babies grew up with, but Survival Tactics would've fit right into any playlist from that era.
Wiki - Wikispeaks
Any white emcee with even an average talent level is going to be compared to Eminem, and Wiki seems to be no exception to that rule based on the youtube comments to his videos. Yet to me he his style is thoroughly rooted in his home base of NYC, and if you've ever stuck around one of the rainbow coalition of cyphers that invariably break out in Washington Square you've heard similar deliveries. I'm still not sure how I feel about his appropriation of the n-word, but other than that I'm a big fan of what he's doing.
Schoolboy Q featuring A$AP Rocky - Hands on the Wheel
Normally I'm critical of any song that relies so heavily on it's hook to cover up any sort of lyrical deficiencies, but sometimes you just need an ignorant song to cruise the block with, and for 2012 Hands on the Wheel fit the bill. I'm having trouble getting onboard the A$AP Rocky bandwagon, however. His back story seems to have all of the right pieces for an East Coast rapper - New York bred, with the first name of Rakim - yet his music to my ears sounds like a more generic take on the Southern rap that was flooding the airwaves back around 2005.
Kendrick Lamar - The Recipe
It's unlikely that any of us will ever live long enough to hear a completed version of Detox, but I'd like to imagine that if it ever does see the light of day it will be filled with songs that sound fairly similar to The Recipe. I actually thought that the 12 minute long Sing About Me / I'm Dying was the highlight of Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid m.A.A.d. City, a mishmash of storytelling and freeform rapping that fulfilled all of the hype that had built up around the Cali rapper, but The Recipe is the song that I load up first whenever I pop that cd into the stereo.
Ceddy Jay - Reckless
Check back in about five years, and there's a good chance 13 year old Brooklynite Ceddy Jay will be leading the next wave of emcees from the five boroughs. With just one song under his belt, there's an equally good chance we may never hear from him again, yet the raw talent on display in Reckless and his level of comfort in front of the camera leads me to believe that the former scenario is much more likely than the latter.
Roc Marciano - 76
This video doesn't have a particularly deep storyline, but it does feature a blazed up Roc Marciano riding a horse through the streets of New York in broad view of the police, and that's more than enough to make this year end list.
Action Bronson - The Symbol
What the Beasties' Sabotage video did for 70's police procedurals, Bronson's The Symbol does for blaxploitation flicks. I still can't decide if these are the best or the worst action scenes of any video in 2012, but damn if I haven't watched it at least a dozen times since its release.
Bambu featuring Rocky Rivera - Rent Money and Bambu - Sad Life
Bambu remains the most coherent, and most listenable, of the politically vocal rappers out right now, and I had a hard time picking which of his videos deserved to make the cut. Rent Money earns points simply for being the only hip hop video to attempt to jack visual concepts from Wes Anderson, while Sad Life managed to be hip hop's most powerful response to the Trayvon Martin killing.
Chachi featuring Grave Evora - Sabim
Walking through the streets of Cape Verde, Chachi's Sabim is quite an effective bit of tourist promotion for the African island. The weather looks amazing, everyone is friendly, and the music is dope; I'm ready to pack my bags.
12/26/2012 6:30:00 PM posted by Fresh
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