EDITOR’S NOTE: Regretfully, we are saying “goodbye for now” to Shane Danaher, who has been our correspondent in the hip-hop category almost since MIMO began. We’re grateful for his contributions to this site, and we wish him well in his new adventure.–Jeff McQ
Though I’d like to say that I’m moving to Thailand for reasons far sexier (say, to escape a life of counterfeit microwave sales), I’m in fact flying out next week to take an editorial job writing for this fine blog/expat news site. Having lived all of my adult life on the West Coast of the United States, I am both totally stoked about this opportunity, and a little bit worried that regular exposure to 75% humidity will shrivel me into dehydration like a pasty raisin.
In case that latter scenario comes to pass, I feel like now is a good time for some long-in-coming real talk: First off, I’ve had a fantastic time writing for MIMO. I’d like to offer a big, “Thank you,” to my editors, fellow writers and to those of you who have taken the time both to wade through my run-on sentences, and to join in on the conversation.
Since I’ll be abandoning my duties here before the end of the year, I’m going to miss out on a chance to participate in that most beloved of music journalist tropes: the Year-End List.
We’re still a few weeks shy of 2013, but this year has already provided an oversupply of A-grade hip-hop and R&B releases. I feel like so long as I have access to this fantastic mouthpiece, it behooves me to offer just one more piece of boosterism for my favorite artists, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the best albums I’ve reviewed this past year, which I hope will provide a fitting denouement for my time with MIMO.
Cheers, everyone. It’s been a blast.
Killer Mike, R.A.P. Music – Hip-hop’s essential theme is survival, while democracy’s is fairness. Killer Mike gets away with airing his grievances, owing to the fact that those grievances comprise a significant part of a worldview for which he makes no apologies whatsoever. Mike has spent the past decade fine-tuning his combative, personal Gestalt, and R.A.P. Music, his sixth album, forms the finest testament yet to his pugnacious talents.
Curren$y, The Stoned Immaculate – A series of blown release dates, record label squabbles and unfortunate forestallments of momentum may have scuppered Curren$y’s previous releases, but at the end of this lengthy wait, Curren$y has produced an album of greater cohesion and maturity than his talent would have allowed for back in 2002.
Frank Ocean, channelORANGE – Especially in the wake of Chris Brown’s lackluster Fortune, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange serves as a welcome reminder of how modern R&B can go toe-to-toe with any other genre in terms of its capacities for innovation and thematic scope.
Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.D. city – good kid, m.A.A.d. city does so many things right that it’s hard to cram them all into the space of one review. The LP takes risks without sounding desperate, bears unmistakable marks of its Los Angeles origins without sounding constrained, and has the good sense to pack every one of its perfectly executed maneuvers into a temperate twelve tracks.
There’s enough grist in good kid, m.A.A.d. city to go on talking about for at least another month, which means that both in terms of scope and style, Kendrick Lamar has created one of the finest albums of the year.