Murray’s Best of ’09

So I think we are all in agreement: 2009 has been quite a year for hip-hop. It has seen the return of Em, Jay has completed his Blueprint trilogy and 50 has had so much beef you would think he will be full up for Xmas (*cringes*. Yeah that was bad).

Aside from the big names dropping their albums, we have also seen some highly anticipated underground acts dropping LP’s too. This is my Best Of ’09 list and contains some real gems so don’t let the year go past before getting your hands on these.


Hilltop Hoods – State of the Art

Only listen to American hip-hop? Slap yourself in the face now. I only stumbled across Hilltop Hoods early this year so I’ve just slapped myself for sleeping on them this long too. They are the largest hip-hop act in Australia and although its noticeable from their dialect, not in any way does it make them lesser artists. State of the Art is their sixth full release (although two were on indie labels) and, for me, it’s up their with their best (After hearing this I got their whole back catalogue). It’s intelligent, light-hearted and the production is derived from a range of genres so there is something for everyone. Fifty in Five is the centrepiece of this album. Yep, you guessed it; it covers the last fifty years in five minutes and covers some real powerful issues. Australian rap rocks!

Murray’s Pick: Fifty in Five
Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II

I feel really sorry for Rae. I mean, which bright spark at his label thought it was a good idea to release one of the most anticipated hip hop sequels of all time on the SAME DAY as Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3? Rae had been waiting around 4 years for OB4CL2 to drop so I guess he wanted it to hit the streets as much as us. After all, his audience is slightly different than Jay’s is now. Being a 90’s Head, it goes without saying I was ‘excited’ when OB4CL2 dropped. And it didn’t disappoint. I can hand on heart say this was the first time in a long time my faith was restored that the grimy East Coast style still existed. Rae, like the rest of the Wu who feature, is consistently at the top of his game and although OB4CL2 is nothing groundbreaking on the lyrical front, you can comfortably shuffle all your Wu tracks in a playlist and this won’t feel out of place.
(It got better reviews then Blueprint 3 too).

Murray’s Pick: Cold Outside (with Ghostface)
Large Professor – The LP

You thought Rae’s OB4CL2 was long anticipated? The LP was recorded between ’95 and ’96 but due to issues with Geffen got shelved and Pro only got to release it this year. So admittedly it does sound a little dated and where you might have heard some of the joints on the radio back in ’95, Westwood won’t be spinning this anytime soon. If you’re into your Illmatic Nas or Pete Rock then you will love this or more importantly, if you’re a real 90’s head and, like me, clutch at anything which sounds remotely old school, then be sure to pick this up.

Murray’s Pick: Ijustwannachill
East Coast Avengers – Prison Planet

OK, I’m cheating a little bit as this album was actually released at the tail end of ’08. I only got my hands on it in January this year though and it’s one of those albums you simply have to hear.

ECA are a real underground act. They don’t even have a wikipedia page! Esoteric carved his trade in the formidable partnership with underground legendary producer 7L. Some of you may know Tha Trademarc through his WWE links and cousin John Cena (Ajay I’m looking at you) and DC the Midi Alien I know literally nothing about. The album features underground kings such as Termanology, Apathy and his Demigodz, La Coka Nostra, Army of the Pharaohs and Slaine who all keep this album far too confusing for Lil’ Wayne fans. The production is absolutely on point; it’s crisp and clean. Samples tie it all together and then you just have to add the political content for a perfect bubbling pot. Prison Planet mixes aggression with intelligence and it’s the kind of album that makes you want to punch someone in the face then clamber back up to safety on your high horse.

Murray’s Pick: Show & Prove
Snowgoons – A Fist In The Thought

Snowgoons are a German production powerhouse. They produce for the underground elite and chances are if you’ve been listening to any of the underground cats and thought ‘fuck me, where did that beat come from?!’ it’s a Snowgoon beat. They have been prominent on the scene since ’07 and since then have churned out 4 albums worth of quality material. 2 of those came this year! The lyrical content depends entirely on which MC they put on the track, but the beats are second to none and if you like this, you are guaranteed to like all their shit.

Murray’s Pick: Been Fighting Devilz

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