by JAY EVANS
For hip-hop fans like myself, 2013 seemed like such a promising year.
Jay-Z announced early in the year that he release his long-awaited new album. The ensuing result was “Magna Carta…Holy Grail.” More like “Holy Flop.”
Kanye West’s critically-acclaimed but painful-to-listen-to album “Yeezus” is one of the consensus’ top albums of the year, but to the average listener like myself, it sounds like a mashup of Iron Maiden and dubstep music gone horribly wrong.
Cult favorite J.Cole released his album “Born Sinner,” which was so boring it came with an accompanying bottle of NyQuil.
Finally, Drake released an album that made me send about 25 text messages to the girl in third grade who passed me an obligatory Valentine’s Day card back in 2000.
For the most part, 2013 has become the year of rap albums with tremendous hype that they couldn’t quite reach.
Meanwhile, fortunately, there have been some gems, and none of them came from major rap stars.
One of my favorite rap albums of the year was Denzel Curry’s “Nostalgic 64,” and Killer Mike and EL-P’s “Run the Jewels”.
Pusha T’s long-awaited debut album, “My Name is My Name” was worth a few listens, and Atlanta artist ForteBowie rounds out my top five with “ViceHaus.”
As the end of 2013 draws nearer, no album has come close to the excellence that is A$AP Ferg’s “Trap Lord.”
Released on Aug. 20 to moderate hype, “Trap Lord” has easily become my favorite album of the year. The album features production from mostly little known producers, but the beats are phenomenal.
It opens with the heavy-hitting “Let It Go,” a song which has forced me to replace my subwoofers three times in the past month.
From there, the album progresses into its second single, the easily-quotable “Shabba,” a brilliant ode to Jamaican dancehall musician Shabba Ranks.
Track three, “Lord,” features 90s legend Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and then turns dramatic quickly as Ferg mostly sings on “Hood Pope,” and “Fergivicious.” Soon, though, the album retraces itself to its “trap” genre, with “Dump Dump.”
Track eight was the album’s first single, ironically a remix of a 2012 Ferg single, released to minimal fanfare. The star-studded “Work (Remix)” features verses from ScHooLBoy Q, Trinidad Jame$, French Montana, and A$AP Mob partner A$AP Rocky.
“Work (Remix)” has become a sleeper for “Rap Song of the Year,” as it showcases Ferg’s lyrics and rapping ability at it’s finest, in addition to crafting numerous catchy hooks within the song itself.
The remaining few songs keep the pace going, including “Murda Something,” which features Waka Flocka Flame, and the album’s ending, a bizarre but beautiful closer called “Cocaine
A$AP Ferg’s “Trap Lord” is, in my opinion, miles ahead of any other rap album released this year. Despite its moderate simplicity, the excellent production, catchy hooks, solid lyricism and overall flow of the album make “Trap Lord” my vote for album of the year.