Published on December 31st, 2013 | by Boman12l0
RCQ’s Best of 2013 List
It’s the end of the year and you know what that means – a list of stuff that happened! Unfortunately this year, there will not be an Album of the Year Podcast discussion series. The RCQ crew has been scattered to the four corners of the Earth. Shay – J and Retro are both in album mode. Dr. Wass is off practicing sports medicine on a far off continent. Pep is trying to find the world’s most dependable food scale and ConQueso has embarked on the spiritual journey to discover Jay Electronica’s long forgotten second album – Act III: The Last Will & Testament of Timothy Elpadaro Thedford (The Prestige). That leaves me – The Boman – to hold you down (shout outs to Champagne Charlie) and I can guarantee you I was not going to be shouting into a mic, arguing with myself for three hours about the merits of Run the Jewels and why it’s best the Hip-Hop album of the year.
No Sir. Instead you will get this list of things with no specific theme. It’s more of a collection of thoughts and general observations of the year disguised as a list to entice you to click on it. After all, on the internet, it’s not valid unless it in a list format. That’s why Complex Media has dedicated most of the editorial direction towards list making. It’s only the second paragraph and things are already starting to get meta. No worries, we’ll keep it metric, this is RCQ after all. We in here 2013 let’s go!
Best Wale Moment of the Year: “He’s no Drake.”
It does not matter what year it is, Wale can’t seem to catch a break. Even though he released a decent to good album (depending on who you ask) during the highly contested July album show down war of 13, Wale’s 2013 is likely be remembered as another year filled with Twitter beef and “on the record off the record threats” to complex. Trouble seems to find Wale. The DC native cannot even ask for movie recommendations on Twitter before someone tries to start a fight with him. No wonder people think he walks around with a chip on his shoulder. However, none of that compares to Wale’s shining jewel of 2013. While attending a Raptor’s vs. Wizards in Toronto, Wale was described by commentator Matt Devlin as “a local DC rapper” and end by saying” He’s not Drake, that’s for sure.” Wale would make his way up to the broadcasting booth and introduced himself to Devlin in a manner he’s grown accustomed too – brash and in his face.
While funny for us, it representative why many people have grown tired of Wale. He puts energy into things that don’t really matter, while shunning other and appearing disinterest at times when they do. (How many times has Wale appeared bored or distracted in interviews about him?) Worst of all, Wale seems to be conscious of this and how it affects people’s perception and reception of him. The only question now is when he’s going to stop? Only then will people be talking about the legitimate dopeness of Folarin or the musically and inspirations behind The Gifted and not “what’s Wale’s beef now.”
Runner up: Folarin mixtape
2013’s 2012 Album of the Year: Twilight Symphony
Plenty of you are most likely thinking “What the hell is that? It’s not even Hip-Hop.” There is a good chance even more of your do not even know what Twilight Symphony is; plus, does not help that its proper release was cancelled (Thanks Nintendo!). Twilight Symphony is the magnum opus and most ambitious release from the ZREO group. It would feature more than three hours of music from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess re-arranged and performed by their full orchestra.
After a successful crowd funding campaign, high demand and subsequent re-pressings, only two thousands physical copies of the glorious three-disc box set were printed. A digital wide release was cancelled after discussions with Nintendo fell apart. It was a damn shame too, as the music here is beautiful, stunning and at times breath taking. More often than not, the music here trumps the original midi heavy compositions. No other release or non-release from last year gotten more spins among Boman and Queso than Twilight Symphony. It’s well worth some dollars, too bad Nintendo made it such that the only way to experience this work is to bootleg it.
Boman’s 2013 Album of the Year: Run The Jewels
What else could it be? Yes, Yeezus challenged your ears and is divisive e as all hell. However, there is no argument Run The Jewels is impossibly great! El-P and Killer once again combine their powers to form Run The Jewels and their self-tilted re-debut is the perfect combination of NSA inspired paranoia, tag team lyrically duals , hard as nails lines and no fucks given threats.
These Jewels will be run and not even the Queen of England is safe. At thirty-two minutes flat, no other album hits harder or is executed sharper than Run The Jewels. There’s no filler, half ass poetics, or new lesser reimagining of Hip-Hop staples, only hard body beats and rhymes. El-P and Mike are masters of their craft (and this is them having “fun”) lesser MCs better take note, Run The Jewels are coming for your everything.
The Winningest Winner of 2013: Pharrell
I don’t know about you, but I hate when I’m watching a game and the commentators keep using the word “winningest.” It’s not really an aesthetically pleasing word to say and often it’s pared next to absurd and ultimately meaningless statics “He’s the winningest coach during third down situations in the snow.” This category is my chance to apply this ridiculous word to one of the best performances in music this year.
There is a good chance many of you engaged in the argument America could not escape this year — what was the true song of the summer: Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” or Draft Punk’s “Get Lucky?” The only correct answer is didn’t matter, Pharrell was involved with both tracks so he was a winner regardless. Both songs were absolutely huge and no one could avoid their sonic dual. Besides that, Mr. Williams once again got high praise for the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2, alongside Heitor Pereira. Add in more winning guest spot for 2 Chainz and Azealia Banks.,new studio deals, artists signings and promotional deals… No one won more than Pharrell in 2013.
Still making award: Jay Electronica/ Yasiin Bey (tie)
Funny story, these two were featured heavy in our artists to watch list from early in the year. Could we have not been more wrong. 2013 saw combined releases and features from Bey and Electronica not breaking double digits. Early in the year, Bey was on a worldwide tour and was treating patrons to unreleased tracks. There were talks of a completed project with dream collaborator Mannie Fresh, multiple documentaries of the recording process and even a single released. There was also talk from longtime collaborator Madlib, who claimed to have about three albums worth of material recorded with Bey, one being a possible jazz album. Then nothing, Bey and collaborators went silent.
Jay Electronica’s appearances are becoming less frequent and rarer. It would seem music is no longer his muse. Jay released no new music this year, not even teasing fans with a snippet, unfinished track or something from his vault, only showing up on select features for other artists. Even his live shows have boiled to tardiness and excessive “Exhibit C” encores. Releases from label mate J. Cole and boss Jay Z tickled an itch, but nothing more. And for the first time, Jay Electronica was the afterthought of a track and not the focus. After being showed up and called out by Kendrick Lamar, Jay Electronica did not response with WWIII, as he once promised, but with slight praise and an explanation of why he was one upped by the Compton MC. While he wasn’t even bringing up the subject, every rare appearing from Jay was accented with whispers of “where’s Act II?” More than other artists in 2013, Yasiin Bey and Jay Electronica left fans wondering when they will deliver the goods.
Runner Up: D’Angelo
You need to play this: Papers, Please
People, Please is a game about checking papers. Papers, Please is a game about separating families. Paper, Please is a game about not having enough money to buy food and medicine for your family, who are cold and staving, while at the same time your son is sickly and dying because the day before you were fined for letting the wrong people in just before the border checkpoint was attack by terrorists, causing it to closed early, only to come home to find out that the government upped your rent, meaning it did not matter what you did it wouldn’t have been enough to make up for the funds you lost. You need to play Paper, Please.
Black Milk – ”Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst”
Kanye West – “New Slaves”
– “Hold My Liquor”
Ghostface Killah & Adrien Younge – “I Declare War”
Tyler, The Creator – “Rusty”
Jay Z – “Beach is Better”
Run The Jewels – “Get It”
Rapsody FT Phonte & Jay Electronica – “Jedi Code”
J. Cole – “Kenny Lofton”
Mac Miller FT. Jay Electronica – “Suplexes inside of Duplexes”
SmCity – “American Sahara”
Game – “Compton”
Action Bronson – “Midget Cough”
Big K.R.I.T. – “Mediate”
We are tired of labeling her a Slept on Artist: Rapsody
We are reasonably confident that Rapsody is in a better position than where she was last year. Still, there is no doubt that she is under recognized and under appreciated next to many of her peers. On a technical level, there is no denying her skill. Her production is consistency excellent and her features never disappoint. Perhaps most importantly, she does not fall for many of the lazy trope that many rappers employ in their music. She Got Game is more a statement of fact than mixtape title. Still, she’s often not included on Best Of list, mostly amended in appendix or honorable mention sections. It time we stop. Next year we do not want to see Rapsody in the Slept On section. Let’s put Rapsody up front with the rest of her peers. Two great releases in back to back years, not many artist can do that in any genre. It’s time we give Rapsody her due.
Year in Wu Review
So 2013 was the 20th anniversary of the Enter the 36 Chambers. Everyone from Drake to Jay Z was showing respect to the Wu. I, along with many others, dubbed it the “year of the Wu.” After a strong start, things got started to get a little shaky near the end. Ghostface continued his trend as the most prolific and consistent of the crew. His Twelve Reasons to Die collaboration with Adrien Younge released to rave reviews and Inspecta Deck also had a hit with his collaboration with 7L & Esoteric, Czarface. It’s possible that because these projects released so early in the year they have being over looked on most year-end lists. One thing for sure, both are excellent projects that any Hip-Hop fans could enjoy. Raekwon announced a new album, but committing to a release date of any time soon seems to escape him the whole year.
Outside of album releases, 2013 was a great year to see the Clan on tour. Besides a few incidents, the whole Clan was packing houses around the world. These sets were jam pack with hits from the entire Wu catalog and filled with high octane energy. There were no shortages of musical festivals and tours to see in 2013 and Wu-Tang Clan had some of the best performances. Unfortunately, all this good will and press could not create enough momentum to complete their supposed last album, A Better Tomorrow. Will it ever be finished? Who know. RZA is campaigning for it and mostly everyone has record for the project; however, we heard that before. Remember, Detox and Madvillainy 2 are just a mix away. Still, even if 8 Diagrams turns out to be their last official album, twenty-thirteen was a good year for the Wu.
Stay safe during the New Year and we’ll see y’all on the flip.