State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Hip Hop Highlights From 2012

Each year, more and more hip hop artists emerge, and each year we get better and better hip hop music to vibe to. 2012 was an incredible year for the genre, and so I thought I would share a few of my highlights with you. It’s hard to pick out a few individual tracks and complete albums that stood out in the past year, but here we go.

Good Kid, m.A.A.d City

Kendrick Lamar put out one of the best albums hip hop has ever seen. Good Kid, m.A.A.d City has so many instant classics, it’s hard to pick out a few. The album was highly anticipated and lived up to the full expectations of hip-hop heads everywhere. The goal of any album is to play it track by track, and for the listener to hear the story and follow along. Kendrick Lamar has an incredible story telling ability, and he showcases that throughout his album. The skits at the end of each song really catch the attention of each listener and only add to the story Lamar is telling. Check out some tracks below.

The Heist

Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis teamed up to create an album that, like Lamar’s, told an incredible story. The Seattle native has been through a lot growing up. He’s fought drug addiction and alcoholism, and it’s clear he has overcome a lot of battles with his album. With hits like “Wing$” and “Thrift Shop”, the album was a huge success. Some of the best tracks on The Heist aren’t even in the mainstream eyes. “Starting Over” and “A Wake” are great songs that every music fan should check out. You can find some tracks below.

Dreamchasers 2

Dreamchasers 2 was easily the best mixtape of 2012. Meek Mill put together a solid 20 track project that took his career to the next level. With “Burn” and “Amen” as the big songs of the project, it’s easy to skip over some great tracks like “Use To Be” and “Big Dreams”. The mixtape should be played from beginning to end, it’s no surprise it was recognized as “mixtape of the year” by several publications.

Life Is Good

Nas has been an incredible rapper for over a decade now, but it never feels like his music gets the credit it deserves. Life Is Good is an awesome album that should be held in the highest of hip hop circles. With tracks like “Bye Baby” and “Daughters,” the album will undoubtly go down as an instant classic. Nas should be looked at as one of the top ten greatest rappers of all time, no questions.

Food and Liquor II : The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1

For those who thought Lasers was a great Lupe album, take a step back and reassess. Lupe Fiasco has always been a rapper who focuses on lyrics and not commercial hits; he would rather attack an issue and tell a story then make mainstream music. Food and Liquor II is solid from top to bottom. Classic Lupe is all over the 18 track compilation, which is always a great thing to hear. The best part of the album is this is only Part 1. Part 2 is expected soon.

Underground Hip Hop

Another great highlight of 2012 is the massive emergence of underground hip hop. Most “up-and-coming” rappers don’t yet have the talent or resources necessary to be successful. Because of this, 2012 has been filled with so much underground music that it’s been incredible to watch. Look at hip hop artists like Ground Up, The Come Up, Tayyib Ali, or even right here at Penn State with artists like Crystal Seth and Mike Wallz. Underground hip hop is alive, well, and better than ever before. 2012 was great for these artists. Here are some videos of the up and comers

Hip hop is an incredible genre, and 2012 was an incredible year for it. Music has always been important to people, now-a-days it’s more important than ever. Hope these songs reflect well on 2012 for you guys. Enjoy.  Also, there are a few albums that just came out that should be listened to. Check out Big Boi’s latest project, as well as Jesus Piece from Game.