Current hiphop
December 18, 2012 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Re-introduce me to hip-hop!

I used to be a huge hip-hop fan but have found it hard to keep up. I don't have friends anymore who listen to it and I can't seem to find the time to dig around. The last time I was really up on anything new was the probably the late 90s, early 2000s and my favorites were Outkast, the Solesides crew (Blackalicious and Laytrx), RJD2, Atmosphere's earlier stuff, Cannibal Ox, Eminem.

I have managed to keep up on more mainstream acts like Kanye, Jay-Z, Cee-Lo, Ghostface etc. but otherwise have been out of the loop.

What am I missing out on? I am aware that my old faves are still doing stuff for the most part, but what about newer efforts? Who is the best rapper alive right now? The best underground producer?
posted by shotgunbooty to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
posted by empath at 3:09 PM on December 18, 2012

Aesop Rock
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:10 PM on December 18, 2012

Kendrick Lamar.
posted by TG_Plackenfatz at 3:13 PM on December 18, 2012 [6 favorites]

Childish Gambino
posted by livinglearning at 3:16 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Plan B too.
posted by livinglearning at 3:23 PM on December 18, 2012

Hilltop Hoods
(Aussie Hip Hop artists)
posted by Youremyworld at 3:25 PM on December 18, 2012

You can't go wrong with Lil Wayne mixtapes (not his studio albums). Da Drought 3 is a good place to start.

Newer stuff? 2nding Kendrick Lamar. If you like Southern rap, try Bun B or Big Krit. I also hear good things about ASAP Rocky and Danny Brown although I haven't listened to them enough to personally vouch for them :) You can also get some good ideas from browsing the Top 20 lists at DJBooth for artists on the rise.
posted by stellaluna at 3:27 PM on December 18, 2012

Killer Mike
Kendrick Lamar
A$AP Rocky
Danny Brown
Action Bronson
posted by ndfine at 3:27 PM on December 18, 2012

Seconding Kendrick Lamar. His writing and rapping are impeccable. The kid's a powerhouse. I really enjoy Heems, formerly of Das Rascist. His two solo mixtaples, Nehru Jackets and Wild Water Kingdom, especially. Killer Mike's album from this year is a thing you gotta have. Shabazz Palaces.
posted by chrchr at 3:29 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

BBU's bell hooks mixtape is probably my favorite thing to come out this year outside of Killer Mike's newest.
posted by ndfine at 3:31 PM on December 18, 2012

A lot of the early 2000s Def Jux artists are still putting out material, and there's an endless wealth of good stuff by looking through that label's back catalog.

I'm not good for anything super-recent either, but depending on how early in the 2000s you stopped keeping up with things you may have missed artists like Mr Lif (perceptionists), Madlib, MF Doom, Aesop Rock (mentioned above), Sole, the enormous J Dilla catalogue...
posted by homotopy at 3:37 PM on December 18, 2012

Just coming back to recommend Theophilus London too.

Also, a relatively easy option for sorting through new rap and hip-hop songs is to use Hype Machine. Here's the link for the Hip Hop genre page and Rap genre page.

The website is updated regularly and you can tell how often a song has been liked based on the number of hearts it has received. That way, you can scan through the site for popular rap and hip-hop songs if you don't have time to search other websites for new music more thoroughly.
posted by livinglearning at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2012

Ohmega Watts. And if you're interested in African hip hop at all, I'm quite fond of Baloji.
posted by Fiorentina97 at 3:53 PM on December 18, 2012

Kendrick Lamar put out the best album of 2012 so you absolutely need to go check out good kid maad city. His previous album Section 80 is also excellent although not as cohesive as an album. He's introspective, but he possesses such a tremendous dynamic range and his lyricism is top notch. Amazing production too. Just a perfect storm of rap qualities.

Danny Brown is great. His voice takes some getting used to, but his lyrics are warped and explicit and fun. I sorta liken him to Kool Keith.

I like Big K.R.I.T. a lot. Very smooth well produced southern rap. Not quite as lyrically adept as the above two but fun to listen to.

Some other names I will drop: Schoolboy Q, Killer Mike, El-P, Death Grips (maybe), the Roots, DJ Quik. The new Nas is ok, the best he's released in awhile but kinda pales in comparison to the above artists.

And I'm not sure how interested you are in R&B but this was a phenomenal year for it. Frank Ocean released another Album of the Year contender with Channel Orange, and Miguel released a solid one as well.
posted by rq at 4:04 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Action Bronson - Blue Chips and Rare Chandeliers mixtapes. You'll like him if you love Ghostface.
Joey Bada$$ - 1999 mixtape

/r/hiphopheads on Reddit is great for finding and discussing new stuff.
posted by Blue Meanie at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2012

Going off your Cannibal Ox tip, El-P is still going strong. His latest album made a lot of lists this year.
posted by carsonb at 5:21 PM on December 18, 2012

I just went shopping for stuff yesterday, and I picked up a few of the albums already recommended here:

Kendrick Lamar Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Action Bronson & Party Supplies Blue Chips
Death Grips The Money Store (No Love Deep Web is also excellent.)

I haven't listened to all of them yet, let alone really digested them, but what I have heard of these has been excellent.
posted by carsonb at 5:23 PM on December 18, 2012

If you haven't yet, check out Big Boi's new album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. His previous solo one, Sir Lucious Left Foot is also very good.
posted by Fig at 6:13 PM on December 18, 2012

The mixtape is both more important and typically higher quality than ever before. For example, I've been playing The Soul Tape 2 (yep, totally free to download) in my car for the last week and it's as good as any major release. They're a great way to find some more interesting acts too, even commercial ones because even folks like Kanye turn on mix tapes doing stuff you wouldn't discover otherwise.
posted by wackybrit at 6:42 PM on December 18, 2012

Killer Mike, EL-P, and Kendrick Lamar have already been said, but I'll nth them - those were the three best hip hop albums I heard in 2012.

Big Boi (from Outkast) put out a great solo album a couple years ago. He has a new one just released, but I haven't heard it yet.

oh, and for more avant-garde: Death Grips.
posted by mannequito at 6:51 PM on December 18, 2012

nthing most of the above, but also:
Meek Mill
House Shoes (producer)
2 Chainz, Pusha T, French Montana
posted by acidic at 6:58 PM on December 18, 2012

You're in luck - Noz from Cocaine Blunts just released his best of 2012.

For me, this was the year I discovered vogue chants and ballroom beats and would listen to anything that sampled the Ha song. Lots of DJ MikeQ, Byrell the Great, Jay Boogie, House of Ladosha. Le1f's mix tape was the best thing I heard this year. See also Mykki Blanco, Angel Haze.

Also, DRILL! Katie Got Bandz and Sasha Go Hard.
posted by nerdfish at 10:10 PM on December 18, 2012

I also have a baffling obsession with Riff Raff, fwiw.
posted by nerdfish at 10:10 PM on December 18, 2012

Also: Lil B. Waka Flocka. I saw Waka Flocka a few weeks ago and it was easily one of the best rap shows I've ever been to, the man just radiates charisma.

This was also a tremendous year for rnb. Everyone will point to Frank Ocean, but for me it was all about Miguel resurrecting Prince's sexy. Diddy Dirty Money are a little older but just tremendous, real heartbreak music. And be sure to check out The Weeknd while you're in the smoke-weed-listen-to-Sade mindset.
posted by nerdfish at 10:26 PM on December 18, 2012

Here are some mixes/tracks while I'm on a posting frenzy:
Byrell the Great, 12 Minute Vogue Workout
Action Bronson + Riff Raff, Bird on a Wire
Sasha Go Hard, Tatted
Le1f, Wut
Mykki Blanco, Wavvy
Katie Got Bandz, I Need a Hitta
Roach Gigz, Goin Off
Zebra Katz, Ima Read

And this is a really great rap song about the Internet

Nerdfish (finally) out.
posted by nerdfish at 10:42 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Macklemore is very much like early atmosphere. Check out his amazing song about gay marriage, Same Love.
posted by lunasol at 11:45 PM on December 18, 2012

The Cool Kids
Angel Haze
Zebra Katz
posted by ellieBOA at 12:50 AM on December 19, 2012

posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 3:54 AM on December 19, 2012

I'm a casual hip-hop fan and these are my favorites from the last few years:

A$AP Rocky - Live. Love. A$AP
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Danny Brown - XXX
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Das Racist - Relax
Kendrick Lamar - good kid, M.A.A.D city
posted by wolfnote at 7:41 AM on December 19, 2012

This list is modern hip hop for old people. Generally speaking, few or no n--, f--, bitches, or talk about shooting people. It's not that I'm a prude about this stuff. It's just been done over and over and over. I want something different.

* The Roots Undun is the best hip hop album ever, as far as I'm concerned. Those guys keep getting better.
* Blackroc is a collaboration between the Black Keys and several people - including guys from Wu Tang and Q-Tip.
* Macklemore - is great and super fun.
* Blue Scholars is a positive-oriented group from Seattle.
* Common Market has the same DJ as Blue Scholars, though they haven't made an album together in a few years. Victor Shade is the same rapper.
* Mos Def has put out several good albums in the last several years.
* Crown City Rockers use a lot of live instruments in their music, which is really refreshing.
* De La Soul's Plug 1 and Plug 2 put out an album called First Serve last year that's as good as the stuff they did way back when they first started. It does include a lot of silly humor that gets OLD after a few listens.
* The Flobots are hip hop oriented (in a Rage Against the Machine sort of way) and have made two excellent albums.
* The Mighty Underdogs made a great collaboration album a few years back. Gift of Gab and Lateef are on this album. Great and really fun. Gift of Gab has made some good solo albums as well.
* Q-Tip's The Renaissance sounds like a classic A Tribe Called Quest album. Great stuff.
* Atmosphere is still making good albums.
posted by cnc at 12:47 PM on December 19, 2012

Chamillionaire has actually been working with Kanye West's producer, so that's pretty good stuff.
posted by herbaliser at 2:47 PM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by monkeys with typewriters at 7:29 PM on December 19, 2012

South Africa: Die Antwoord

Brazil: Racionais MCs, Criolo, RAPadura, Black Alien, BNeg√£o, MV Bill

Portugal: Kova M

Czech Republic:
posted by Tom-B at 8:33 AM on December 25, 2012

Pitchfork's Hall of Game column is generally a pretty good read (the one linked to features a bunch of end-of-year stuff which is probably worthwhile).
posted by cybertaur1 at 3:28 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like "Paralyzed" by Oddisee, which borrows a beat from "I Say a Little Prayer" and a hook from Bon Iver.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:12 PM on January 4, 2013

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