Hiphop Ain't Dead Here

    1. Blu and Exile — Below the Heavens

    So how does a debut album by a rookie from LA beat out
    Kanye, Jay and Curtis with the best hip-hop LP of the year? Simple: Where the
    others substitute flash for substance, Blu does the exact opposite. His lyrics
    are both honest and insightful yet never losing MC intensity. Note that this is
    a dual effort, with Exile excellently crafting beats that knock, but retain an
    original, soulful quality. Tracks like “No Greater Love” and “Blu Collar Worker” are highlights, with
    no disappointing filler. This is a landmark album that will surely be
    remembered fondly decades from now.

    2. Little Brother — Getback

    Just when most critics and fans were ready to count out
    Little Brother, especially after producer 9th Wonder left the group last year,
    Rapper Big Pooh and Phonte dropped their best album yet. Each MC sounds hungry
    and determined on the 11-track LP; it’s quality over quantity with LB, as not a
    track goes to waste. Plus, the producer lineup also reads like a who’s who of
    the underrated: Mr. Porter, Nottz, Illmind, Khrysis and Zo.

    3. Jay Electronica — Style Wars EP + assorted songs

    This isn’t exactly an album per se, but New Orleans native
    Jay Electronica (pictured) began to shake up hip-hop in early 2007 when he
    leaked tracks online. His relentless delivery and top-notch lyricism set him
    apart from almost every other MC, mainstream or underground, but it is his
    creative songwriting that really distinguishes Jay, like his 15-minute track
    sampling of the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” soundtrack.

    4. Black Milk — Popular Demand

    Detroit’s Black Milk is one the best beatsmith MCs in the
    game, and his debut LP Popular Demand does nothing but reiterate that. Check
    the monster “Sound the Alarm” (with the equally monstrous Guilty Simpson) for
    proof.

    5. Styles P — Super Gangster, Extraordinary Gentleman

    While every rapper from New York not named Ghostface is
    stuck in the past, Styles P manages to push forward with his newest LP by
    simply staying true to his very intelligent, very street and very raw identity;
    don’t sleep.

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