“Acid Rap” by Chance The Rapper (A) 2013
Decidedly the breakout rapper of the year, one of Chance The Rapper’s most remarkable talents is his ability to really use his voice as an instrument. Whether it’s his endearingly shaky singing voice or the harsh squawks with which he punctuates the rhythm tracks, his vocal quirks brings an amazing liveliness to his memorable, unhinged flow. Even when he’s not hitting real notes, he somehow manages to make it all sound so musical. His strange lyrical outbursts can seem whimsical and almost frivolous until he suddenly gets serious on the topics of gang violence and love (to which he adds a unique perspective, I promise). Great features and production, too!
“Nothing Was The Same” by Drake (O) 2013
More, er, “deep” musings from the guy who feels the line “N*ggas talk more than bitches these days” requires a pause following it to “let that shit sink in”.
+ “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
+ “Pound Cake/Paris Morton Music 2”
“Foo Fighters” by The Foo Fighters (A-) 1995
The Great Grunge Hangover may open with a burst of fuzzy rage directed at Courtney Love and God-knows-what-else, but three songs in, Dave Grohl can’t help but flex his pop muscle. Though “Big Me” is indeed the great Beatles/Costello-aping triumph it aims to be, the darker album that follows cuts through the static distortion with punk energy and a couple more endearing melodies here and there. It’s a tired-sounding energy, though, which is probably why a sense of melancholy pervades even fast ones like “Good Grief” and why the album ends with the washed-out dirge “Exhausted”. Grohl’s not dead yet, despite suffering major setbacks, and this album is his surprisingly articulate way of communicating that.