Top 10 albums of 2002 (By DJ MF)
10) The Fix – Scarface
From the gangstaisms to the consciousness, the perfect example of what Scarface really is. Leading off with one of the better singles of the year, and packed full of solid tracks, with no filler, quite deserving of it’s spot on here, if not the ‘classic’ status that some have given it.
9) The High Exhaulted – Copywrite
Strictly a punchline/battle album…but damn, can Mr. Nelson spit punchline/battle lyrics well. I don’t care that he’s not ‘complex’ or that he’s not ‘technically’ as good as other rappers. On “The High Exhaulted” you’ll find one of the best blends of beats and lyricism anywhere. Sometimes you just need to be entertained, and this album is perfectly equipped to do so.
8) Dead Ringer – RJD2
Leading the charge in 2002 to reclaim the spot of the DJ in the hip hop culture, RJ dropped the fantastic ‘Dead Ringer’, which echoed the past works of DJ Shadow, while firmly establishing a style of his own, and entrenching himself as THE indie producer of the moment, apologies to J-Zone. People are looking forward to a MHz album because of Tage/Copy/Jakki/Camu…well, the real reason to look forward to it is this man.
7) Power In Numbers – Jurassic 5
Their major label debut did little to shoot down the criticisms of J5 being little more than a ‘gimmick’ outfit, with no substance, and only a fond nostalgia for the golden age of hip hop. All the critics probably shut their mouths right quick with “Power In Numbers” which overall sported a more serious demeanor, and more focused beats AND lyricism. Chali 2na is officially back on the ‘I want to hear a solo from him’ bandwagon.
6) Paid Tha Cost To Be Tha Boss – Snoop
I’m serious here. This is almost as dope as “Doggystyle”. If you had asked me if a bunch of different producers could make a dope Snoop record, I’d have laughed, but they not only manage to pull it off, but they pull it off while keeping the ‘signature’ Snoop sound. And the Premo track is ridiculous.
5) Special Edition – Infamous Mobb
Overlooked. Terribly overlooked. This has the beats you WISHED were on the last Mobb Deep LP, but unfortunately weren’t. Brilliantly produced throughout, with more than adequate lyrical performances. This is one of those albums you’ll listen to for the beats however, and they’re THAT good.
4) The Chosen Few – Boot Camp Clik
Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve been better. A few too many missteps to be considered a GREAT album, but still a really good one. ‘And So’ is the track of the year, and tracks like ‘Had It Up 2 Here’ and ‘W.B.T.U.S.A.’ will have you reminiscing on the past. A great stepping stone for the crew.
3) All Of The Above- J-Live
Of artists who are actively releasing material today, you’ve gotta put J-Live in the top 5 in terms of skills. He can flip the storytelling rhymes, the battle rhymes, the conscious rhymes…whatever you want. Combine his KRS-Onesque ability to spit with some better than average beatmaking, and you get “All Of The Above”, the album Mos Def wishes ‘Black On Both Sides’ could have been.
2) The Future Is Now- Non Phixion
The Holy Trinity of Beatmakers on an album together again. Necro producing large chunks of the albums and managing to upstage the Holy Trinity of Beatmakers. Non Phixion spitting like men possessed. Quite simply, this was the best combination of beats and rhymes of the year, with a few spots where it faltered… which opens up the door for…
1) Movies For The Blind – Cage
Except for ONE song, a perfect album from start to finish. Too many albums are ‘formula’ in hip hop nowadays. “Movies For The Blind” takes on a theme, embraces it, and revels in it. Sure, the theme comes from the ‘insane’ mind of Cage, but get past that, and you find an album that flows beautifully, features production from a host of people, but manages to sound cohesive, and manages to keep Cage’s admittedly sometimes irritating flow sound dope for the duration of the LP. A classic album that 10 years from now will be looked at as such.