Seattle’s hip-hop community continued to evolve and progress in 2012. Last year’s local hip-hop offerings included full-length records from the mystically beautiful Shabazz Palaces and the return of hometown hip-hop heroes Blue Scholars. This year the heavy hip-hop hitters were the self-proclaimed “black weirdos” of THEESatisfaction and the juggernaut that is Macklemore & Ryan Lewis‘ The Heist.
Of course there was plenty of excellent ear-worthy hip-hop produced in The Town this year that didn’t come from those two critical darlings. This was the year Sol came into his own as a performer and MC, The King of Ballard proved he can do more than rap about rapping and Out For Stardom’s best group came blazing back onto the scene. There was lots to like coming from Seattle’s fine array of MCs, DJs and producers this year and here, in no particular order, are the 10 best local hip-hop releases from 2012.
Fly Moon Royalty Dimensions
This brief EP from one of Sportin’ Life’s finest perfectly captures the duo’s essence while successfully building on the electro-soul sound they established with their self-titled debut.
Review: Fly Moon Royalty’s Dimensions
The Physics Tomorrow People
The Physics are one of the best hip-hop groups in Seattle and this album is proof that it’s just a matter of time before they’re a part of the next class of local rappers who become a part of the national hip-hop conversation.
Brothers From Another Taco Tuesday
BFA are the youngest group on this list and one of the most promising. This EP is well worth the asking price of $1 simply for “Molly Moons” which is an essential song for Seattle in the summertime.
Don’t Talk to the Cops Let’s Quit
The evolution of DJ/producer/MC/b-boy blesOne continues with Don’t Talk to the Cops’ second full-length album. It’s filled with witty pop culture jabs, speaker-warping beats and plenty of humor. Oh, and don’t listen to this record if your name is Rachel because, well, Rachel isn’t well liked by the DtttC clan.
Sol Yours Truly
Sol started making his mark a few years ago with his trio of Dear Friends EPs. On this year’s full-length follow-up to those releases he makes it clear he’s come of age and is ready for his time spotlight.
THEESatisfaction awE naturalE
Sub Pop knocked it out of the park last year with Shabazz Palaces’ debut record and this year they released another winner with THEESat’s first SP record.
Sol wasn’t the only local MC to come into his own this year. Grynch, the closely shaved King of Ballard, showed that he is more than just the guy with that Volvo song with his excellent third full-length record.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis The Heist
And the award for most inescapable hip-hop record of the year goes to … The Heist was a well-deserved smash hit for Ryan Lewis a Macklemore and it featured a combination of socially aware, witty and dance-friendly rhymes with killer beats to match.
Gabriel Teodros Colored People’s Time Machine
Gabe Teodros has been a local fixture in Seattle’s hip-hop scene for years and he’s never really quite gotten his due. This album, like the rest of his catalog, is filled with intelligent rhymes and solid production. It’s a great entry point into both Teodros’s catalog and local hip-hop for anyone who is looking to get some depth beyond Macklemore and Blue Scholars.
Fresh Espresso Bossalona
Rik Rude and P Smoov released one of the best local hip-hop records of the past decade in 2009′s Glamour and this year’s follow-up, Bossalona, proves their debut album was not a fluke. P Smoov is on top of his production and rhyming game throughout the record (“Benihana” is a highlight) and Rik Rude, as always, comes off as one of the smoothest MCs to pick up a microphone.
Review: Fresh Espresso’s Bossalona
Honorable mentions: Fatal Lucciauno The Message, Kung Foo Grip Indigo Children: Tales From the Other Side, OC Notes Pre Future Post Modern Love Songs: AKA Alien Booty Bass