Top 25 tracks of 2002 (By DJ MF)
25) Supervillain – MF
What? You thought I wouldn’t pimp myself out on my OWN show? Go check out the track. Remix coming soon.
24) Suckas – Fresh Pro
It’s not often that a local crew will make a huge impression upon me at first listen. In fact, I can count such crews on one hand. Fresh Pro, out of Hamilton, Ontario, can proudly say they’re one of them. Off of their pre-EP released right at the end of 2002, ‘Suckas’ will have you thinking back to the mid-nineties styles, but with a head bobbing commercial feel.
23) Made You Look – Nas
Remi hooks up Nas with a sparse breakbeat, and Mr. Jones does the rest- dissing the competition, vocally bigging up himself, and with one of the best choruses I’ve heard in a long time. The standout track from “God’s Son” in what was otherwise a letdown.
22) Ova Here – KRS-One
Hmm. Beatminerz on the boards, and KRS-One on the lyrics? A HUNGRY KRS? A KRS that’s dissing the hell out of Nelly? I’ll take that anyday. KRS has slowly built his momentum up again, and this, off of his “Prophets” LP, was the icing on the cake. I mean seriously, can anyone take Nelly seriously after he’s got his card pulled like this? Oh wait, no took him seriously beforehand? My bad.
21) Counselling – MHz
Ok, ok… so the lyrics are rehashes of stuff we’ve heard 3 years ago from the MHz crew. Still, RJD2 conjures up a horn infested beat unlike any hip hop production of the year for the crew to rhyme over, and Jakki’s verse still has the capacity to leave you speechless.
20) T.W.I.N.S. – Infamous Mobb
Off of a criminally overlooked LP last year, the Mobb Deep affiliates rip probably one of the top 3 beats of the year provided by Alchemist with your standard ‘thug’ ish. Thing is… when it’s done right, there’s little else you’ll put above it.
19) Rap Name – Obie Trice
Known in the Detroit underground for a while, the man finally gets some shine as part of Shady’s label, and his first single didn’t disappoint- taking shots at his boss (Em), plus the rest of a fake industry, over one of the few hot beats Eminem has ever laced.
18) P.I.M.P. – J-Zone
Another banner year for the Old Maid Billionaires, with the head honcho dropping yet another gem of a beat, and yet another gem of a misogynistic lyrical showcase. I mean, seriously, how can you go wrong? Funny, brilliant, degrading, and fantastic at the same time.
17) The Sauce – Eminem
Probably THE most controversial of my picks (oh wait, I picked my own track at 25), unlike the putrid “Eminem Show”, ‘The Sauce’ was THE diss track of 2002, a year which saw about 2,567,732 diss tracks recorded. Some would say the Benzino directed ‘Nail In The Coffin’ was better- nope. ‘The Sauce’ had the flow of ‘Lose Yourself’ without the horrible beat.
16) My Block – Scarface
“The Fix” was a problem album for me this year. It was a good album, but on the level that some made it out to be? Nah. However, ‘My Block’ was definitely heat. Sure, we’ve heard the old soul loops a billion times before… the difference this time was the emotion behind the Scarface lyrics. At the very least, one can make an argument that with the praise he got for his LP, Scarface finally cemented his position as one of the best of all time.
15) We Don’t Play – IRS
In an industry where 20 dollar CD’s are the norm, it was refreshing to see T Dot’s own IRS release their EP, “Welcome to Planet IRS” for $8.99. There wasn’t a better deal to be had this year. ‘We Don’t Play’, the lead single, and one of the ‘new’ tracks of the LP was one of those signature Monolith beats of drum clashes, mixes with the always fluid flows of IRS.
14) The Way – Black Moon
Left for dead years ago, Buckshot has been ressurrected, if his work on “The Chosen Few” and the last few Black Moon singles is any indication. First off, Evil Dee provides one of the sickest organ samples EVER for the beat, and second, Buck flows like he grabbed himself from 1994, and dragged himself kicking and screaming into the future.
13) Head Rush – DL Incognito
Toronto needs to pull its head out of its ass. In terms of independent scene, DL and Nine Planets Hip Hop out of Ottawa held it down for 2002. ‘Head Rush’, off of his debut LP served as the perfect followup to last year’s smash ‘Spit Forever’. Incorporating the best elements of the mid-nineties era of hip hop, but with a modern edge, DL is going places.
12) The Watcher 2 – Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Truth Hurts, Rakim
The biggest disappointment of the year in terms of an album (“Blueprint 2”), also yielded the biggest surprise of the year in terms of a verse. Rakim didn’t impress me much on the “8 Mile” soundtrack. On ‘The Watcher 2’ however, DAMN. Classic ish right there. Never mind that Jay dropped one of the few decent verses of the LP here as well, all over a tweaked version of the original Dre beat.
11) The Hurt – Crisis Center
Christ of Rhyme and DJ Concept. Ever heard of them? Probably not. However, they dropped one of the most frantic and headbanging tracks of 2002 with ‘The Hurt’. Fast drums, intricate wordplay, and some good old fashioned turntablism. What more do you want?
10) Ig’nant – Al-Shid
J-Zone was topped in 2002 by his own labelmate, Al-Shid. One of the more ridiculous and abstract beats Zone has concocted… but for one of the few times ever, upstaged by dope punchlines from Shid, including a memorable segue into ‘Ha’ by Juvenile.
9) Sick! – Kardinal Offishall feat. Bounty Killer
Nottz has made plenty of dope beats in the last few years, ranging from Bad Seed, to Busta, to DMP. His growth as a producer showed through with ‘Sick!’, a perfect accompaniment to Kardinal and Bounty. A reggae influenced vibe, with some nice whistles, and Kardi presenting the usual off-kilter flow, this only serves as a reminder of how slept on “Firestarter Volume 1” really was.
8) Fame – GZA
Sure, it’s the same idea as ‘Publicity’ and ‘Labels’. And sure, GZA kinda does the same thing with ‘Animal Planet’ from the same album. Truth be told, I don’t give a shit. This bangs. Period. Whether it’s the sparse but booming beat, the old lines scratched into the chorus, or …oh yeah, the AMAZING wordplay, where GZA uses celebrity names in the course of his storytelling, this is vintage Wu.
7) Hold The Floor – Camu Tao
Paging El-P. THIS is how you do abrasive. Nothing more than a buzzsaw effect and crushing snares, and it shines. Camu is his usual schizo crazy flowing self, and the chorus will get you amped almost as much as ‘Supervillain’.
6) Rock Stars – Non Phixion
Can Primo do wrong? It’s the same old story – he’s sticking to a theme with his beats, but when the theme is so dope, it’ll always hit hard. Never mind that he’s got a trio of MC’s in Non Phixion who manage to upstage his beat, especially Mr. Ill Bill himself. What’s scary is that there are probably 4 other tracks from “The Future Is Now” that could take the place of ‘Rock Stars’.
5) Among The Sleep – Cage
The album of the year, “Movies For The Blind” shows how deep it really is by the fact that ANY of the new tracks off that LP could have made it onto the Top 25. A rarity. However, the selection is ‘Among The Sleep’, solely because it showcases an absolutely stunning atmospheric beat from RJD2, and Cage at his crazy best describing 3 different dream scenarios. A must hear.
4) Satisfied – J-Live
Even with all of the praise thrown at it, “All of the Above” is underappreciated. ‘Satisfied’ is one reason why. Even Sage’s ‘Makeshift Patriot’ doesn’t hit as hard as this, mostly because J can flip lyrics WAY nicer, and the beat is a stunning accompaniment. One of the deepest looks at the aftermath of 9-11.
3) Goldyn Chyld Remix – Ras Kass
Admit it. When you heard Ras was looking to work with Primo, you practically wet yourself. Well, for once, expectations were met. Primo laces a Primo beat, and Ras adds to his already firebreathing ‘Goldyn Chyld’ lyrics to make one of the most flawless Ras Kass songs ever. Now get the freaking album out already.
2) One Life – Poetic feat. Last Emperor
I’m not even quite sure if this was released THIS year. All I do know is that I got my hands on it in the spring of 2002. This is quite simply, one of the most moving tracks I’ve ever heard. The beat is perfect. Last Emp is perfect. Poetic’s verse just might make you cry with the emotion it gives out. Stunning. Hip hop lost a legend when Poetic passed away.
1) And So – Boot Camp Clik
What? You thought I’d pick something else? An instant classic the second that bass drop comes in halfway through the first verse. A beautiful loop, incredible lyrics from Buck and Ruck… enough to make you think it was 1996 again. Along with numbers 2 and 3, the only PERFECT tracks of the year. Seriously, picking number one was like drawing numbers out of a hat. A worthy victor.