Major Lazer – Free the Universe
Dirty beats from Diplo and friends, you’re getting the same filthy beats you first heard back when Major Lazer first dropped in 09 – just dirtier. We didn’t think that was possible either, but hearing is believing here. It’s nasty, grindable beats, that pretty much instantly turns any room into a dancehall. Free the Universe swings back and forth from smooth tracks like Get Free, to the utterly unstoppable Watch Out for This (Bumeye).
Wale – The Gifted
People love to hate Wale. That’s alright. We’re not too troubled, because those in the know, know this guy still hypes a crowd like nobody else, and can pull together rhymes like nobody else. It’s a trim album like you wouldn’t believe – no fat here – we’re talking sixteen singles in 70 minutes, that turns Wale from reliable MMG b-lister, to MMG’s big name, alongside Ross.
The definitive boom bap hip hop album of the year, CZARFACE needs a mention. 7L’s production digs deep for classic samples, and rocks loud out of the speakers, while Esoteric matches Inspectah Deck beat for beat – no easy feat. Special guest spots from Ghostface, Action Bronson and Roc Marciano make this an instant classic.
The-Dream – IV Play
Everyone needs an album to make love to. The album you put on to put yourself, and anyone you might be with, in the right mood. The-Dream has been holding it down in that regard. Usher and R. Kelly are only getting older, and one day they’ll enter the true twilight of their careers, playing packed casinos to 40-something women. Once that day comes, it’s good to know The-Dream is fully schooled on how to make an album that is effectively lovemaking in aural form.
Kanye West – Yeezus
This is your end of the night jam. It’s about 3 or 4AM. Everyone’s a bit drunk and disorderly, and maybe a bit messy. Nobody’s clear about what’s going on, and you don’t know the names of about 80% of the people you’re talking to. This is when you need to hear Black Skinhead. This is when you want to hear Kanye talking about people Instagraming their watches. Yeezus is always a great listen, but even better at the end of the night.