The Year In Hip Hop : 2012

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-2012 was supposed to be the end of the world as we know it. Instead, the fateful date passed by and nothing happened. What did happen however, was the hip hop community going through more changes and seeing the rise of a certain West Coast MC. We also saw one of the greatest ever prove he's still viable and drop one of his best albums, an arguable classic. We witnessed a ton of solid mixtapes throughout the year, but there were also a lot of underwhelming releases or disappointments.

Still, regardless of this, the biggest releases of the year for me remain Nas' Life Is Good and Kendrick with his Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City release. GKMC is a great album, and while I personally don't hold it as a classic or Kendrick’s best release, it's one of the best albums of the year, 2nd only to the aforementioned Life Is Good, in my opinion. Kendrick weaved through his concept and brought forth some immaculate rhyming and stories in his music, with my favorite songs being "Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst" and "Money Trees". If there was ever an album that hit you hard and reminded you of what West Coast living was like, this was the one.

Nas and his album was absolutely masterful IMO. Life Is Good was an album that I truly related to at the time and despite the personal issues in my life at that time, I would truly learn to enjoy the music as a story and a collection of his most personal thoughts. Some of his greatest songs like "Bye Baby", "Stay", and "Daughters" reside on this album, truly putting it up there with his top albums in the catalog. I'd crown Nas and Kendrick as the top two MCs of 2012, but there were more albums and projects to speak of, including the soul stirring second album from yours truly, D.O.A. (DAR Business, ya know?).

However, Rick Ross would have a solid year with God Forgives, I Don't and his critically acclaimed mixtape Rich Forever, while Big KRIT would drop one of my favorite projects of his 4eva N A Day, with the amazing songs of "Boobie Miles", "Wake Up", and "Handwriting", among many others. It was one of the best releases of the year as well, ranking in my top 5 for sure. However, the most slept on release has to be the follow up to the classic Below The Heavens by Blu and Exile titled "Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them", which isn't as classic as the first, but is still an amazing album. It was originally released in December 2011, but was repackage and mastered for a September 2012 release.

As for the rest of the year, the underrated Jesus Piece from Game dropped, Joey Badass dropped his classic 1999, Ab-Soul's Control System dropped, Schoolboy Q's album dropped, and a host of other solid projects. While 2012 wasn't necessarily the best, it had its share of good music. Let's see what the team has to say about the year.

2012 was kind of a shitty year for hip hop fans, but then again, it wasn't. I mean, other than that garbage Nicki Minaj released, Macklemore's project, and the sort of disappointing Cruel Summer, there's really not TOO many negatives this year. Let's start off with the positives instead. Let's start off the right way with Life Is Good. Arguably another classic dropped by Nasty Nas himself. This album talks about Nasir's marriage and how the divorce all went down and other family issues, explained in songs like "Daughters". It was easily the album of the year to me.

Dreams & Nightmares, Meek Mill's debut album, was also pretty good. Not what I expected to hear after hearing Dreamchasers 2, but not bad either. Based On A T.R.U Story, O.N.I.F.C, and God Forgives, I Don't were also all solid projects that year. Then, we got the groundbreaking classic Good Kid M.A.A.D City, which I feel is Kendrick Lamar's best album to date. It was excellence from top to bottom.

There was also Habits & Contradictions, Pluto, Triple F Life: Friends, Fans & Family, V.6: The Gift, Jesus Piece, Finally Rich, Back From The Dead, Don't Like, Life Of A Savage, It's A Scary Site, Baby Faced Killa, 1999, Trap God, Detroit, Rich Forever, The Soul Tape 2, Taylor Allderdice... overall, a VERY solid year in fact for 2012.

In summary, 2012 was an awful year. It’s my least favorite year since 2000. I have to give credit to my favorite projects in this year. Frank Ocean’s experimental “Channel Orange” is just a bizarre album with sporadic sounds that explore the carousel mind of Frank Ocean. Songs like “Thinking Bout You” , “Lost”, “Pyramids” and “Super Rich Kids” are some of the highlights, but this album was a great listen.

Kendrick’s Good Kid M.A.A.D City was insane when it dropped. I still remember in my sophomore year of high school when everyone was in sync to the chorus of “M.A.A.D City” or chilling with songs like “Backseat Freestyle”, “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” or “Poetic Justice”. However, for me “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” was my song. I love everything about the song. “Rich Forever” by Rick Ross is another notable album that took 2012. El-P's “Cancer For Cure” and Ab-Soul’s “Control System” were my dark horses for the year. These projects were lyrically dope. “The Book of Soul” will remain as one of my favorite songs on the album and in the 2000s. Such an emotional, beautiful track that actually feels like it brings tears to the eyes. The schizo rap in Soul’s voice is very dark and significant to mention about his work. Joey BadA$$ with prophetic bars in 1999 put his indie self on a big mainstream stage with his single “Waves”. Slick vernacular and smooth lyrical delivery was a surprise to many listeners.

The worst album that could have been a top five album was definitely Cruel Summer. This album was cohesively warm garbage in Miami. Don’t get me wrong, as singles such as “Mercy”, “Clique”, “Cold” and “New God Flow” sound interesting as singles only. As an album, it’s overall terrible and I expected better. 2012 was just disappointing aside from a few highlights.

2012 was a great year for music to me. My favorite release that year would definitely be Big K.R.I.T's Live From The Underground. I loved the production and while K.R.I.T. had only released KRIT Wuz Here two years before, it was amazing to hear how polished his sound already was. Aside from that, I remember there being so many big name projects coming out that year that it was hard to keep up. There was the Kendrick album, the G.O.O.D Music album, Meek Mill's mixtape followed by his debut album, Schoolboy Q's debut album, Killer Mike's R.A.P Music came out, Ab-Soul's Control System as well… honestly just too many to mention. The reason why I feel it was such a good year isn't because of the number of projects that were released, though, it was because so many of those albums and mixtapes were so well done. The quality of music that came out that year was impressive. Yes, there were many releases to forget, but that's the case every year. Just an all-round good year in hip-hop to me.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-When 2012 is reflected on musically, the highlights will forever stand as Kendrick, Nas, and perhaps KRIT and Ross, with Meek thrown in there as well. The underrated releases of the year piled up, and being a big time Outkast fan, I think Big Boi actually put out an album that was BETTER than his solo album. Production wise and cohesion wise, his album was a top 5 release as well to be honest. Those would be my top 5 releases of the year: Nas, Kendrick, KRIT (4eva N A Day, not Live From The Underground), Blu and Exile, and Big Boi. Not a bad list at all. Cheers to you 2012, and all the dope music you brought along with the world not ending, but that goes without saying.



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