Showing posts with label jean grae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jean grae. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2019

the top 25 best albums of 2018 (VIDEO)

And that's the last of year-end list promotion...whew.

Next up... honestly, no idea, we'll see - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2018

Normally this is the list that feels like the greatest relief to make - it's the final moment where we can lay a year to rest chronicling the best of the best, the sort of release that comes with it being the last list but also one that feels the most professional, for lack of better words. I'm having fun with the lists of the best and worst hits, I'm getting more personal with the overall songs list - this list for critics is staking claim, drawing our lines in the sand, and as such, it's normally the most professionally rewarding.

But I have to say, in comparison to previous years, this list was not that hard to make. Even though I covered far more albums in 2018 than ever before, it felt like I hit greatness less often on average. Which is probably not completely true, but it sure as hell feels like it, especially given that the cuts weren't that painful this year, or it certainly seemed like there was less of them to make. And while I don't do an Honourable Mentions segment for this list, I will say I'm a little regretful that I have to leave Rolo Tomassi and Against All Logic off this list, and I'm sure I'm going to surprise some folks by saying that Beach House and Kacey Musgraves also missed the cut - sorry, but especially in country, Kacey had stiffer competition. But really, if we're to highlight a genre that turned out in spades in 2018, it was hip-hop - and no jokes here, this is more hip-hop on this albums list than I think there has ever been before... which yes, means that there were two painful cuts in the form of Marlowe and Armand Hammer. But you know, let's start off with hip-hop here...

Saturday, June 30, 2018

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2018

There are years where I struggle with this midyear list, sometimes in years overloaded with quality that force me to make some painful cuts, or years that are a little more scant I'm stuck with what seems like a smaller list... and still have to make painful cuts. 

And thus it feels odd that building this 2018 midyear list is perhaps one of the easiest I've ever assembled, and since I'm not about to assume I'm getting good at this, I'm genuinely curious why that might be. I will say that outside of hip-hop, other genres don't seem to be having an exceptionally strong year - great albums in rock and country and metal but few that really went over the top in terms of quality, and I'd argue pop has had it even worse. But more than that, even the records that just missed the cut - Beach House, Iceage, Parquet Courts, Against All Logic, and especially Phonte - while they were truly terrific releases, I'm not precisely torn up that they had to miss the cut, as they all have a considerable shot for the year-end as my tastes evolve and change. 

So given that this is my fifth list like this, you know the rules: the albums and songs have to have been reviewed in 2018, and while I'm fairly certain you'll all know what's going to top this list, I'll add that there are songs from The Trailing Edge that have a chance to wind up in the individual songs, because there really were some incredible cuts there. So let's not waste any time and start with...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

video review: 'everything's fine' by jean grae & quelle chris

It's a very nice pleasant surprise when you post a very positive review... and then realize that everyone else loves it too! Awesome, because this record will get slept on by entirely too many people, and is a ton of fun.

Next up, some old business before I deal with the avalanche of new releases, so stay tuned!

album review: 'everything's fine' by jean grae & quelle chris

It is very rare when I find a record I can approach for review in so many different ways, but here we are. I could talk about how we've had a pretty damn strong first quarter of 2018 when it comes to underground hip-hop. I could talk about the strong undercurrents of political relevance that are reinvigorated and increasingly refined in this scene thanks much of the nonsense associated with the current U.S. government and a social conscience that seems to at least be getting some critical respect these days. 

Or I could talk about the artists themselves, both underground veterans but for very different reasons, Jean Grae for her critically acclaimed work with 9th Wonder throughout the 2000s spawning a fair few great records, Quelle Chris for his slightly more inconsistent but no less compelling set of work as a rapper and producer, much of which led to his record I reviewed and praised heavily last year Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often. I could talk about their distinctive sensibilities being a fascinating match for each other, or how, when you think about it, I'm not sure I could think of a husband and wife hip-hop duo ever delivering a project together in the history of the genre. Yes, there's Cardi B and Offset's collaborative songs, but they don't remotely feel the same, they're not yet married, I doubt they'll make a project together, and none of that seems like it's going to last. With Jean Grae and Quelle Chris it seems tangible and real, and I was absolutely fascinated how they'd work together on this project, called Everything's Fine - which just by that lets you know it's not going to shy away from the socio-political undercurrents right now and just getting by in these turbulent times. So yeah, I definitely see the appeal and I had a lot of high expectations: what did we find on Everything's Fine?