Thursday, 31 December 2009

End of the Year: 2009

Another year, another round up. As 2009 draws to a close, I thought I'd post up a recap of what's happened this year in terms of music, etc, as well as some of my own experiences.

First up, there was a whole heap of quality Hip Hop releases. Raekwon came back with another classic, Eminem dropped a solid album, as did Jay-Z, Clipse, Tanya Morgan, and Meth & Red. Hip Hop is definitely not dead.

The UK music scene has been thriving this year, with artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Jay Sean, N-Dubz & Chipmunk achieving chart success, and selling well. It's great to see record labels investing in British urban talent. We saw UK Funky blow up, and then become over saturated with skanking tunes; not to mention the sheer amount of DJs who jumped on the bandwagon.

Take Note: No more skanks/chants for 2010, please.

Dubstep broke through to the mainstream with the success of Skream's awesome remix of La Roux's "In For The Kill", earning him a nice gold disc. We also saw some great releases from the likes of Joker, Kryptic Minds, Silkie, my boys Fused Forces, Reso, Crissy Criss, and Joy Orbison to name a few. I have faith that whilst there may be a few tunes that'll break into the charts next year, the scene will still remain healthy. The Grime scene has been in good shape, with artists such as Tempz and P Money, not to mention Boy Better Know dropping some serious heat. "Next Hype" was easily THE Grime banger of the year.

It also meant, however, that people started to use (and have now exhausted) the word "par".

Tragically, we also lost a number of influential people this year; most notably, Michael Jackson. Regardless of the odd behaviour and the scandals, he was a legendary artist whose impact and influence on the music game was undeniable. We also lost two of the greatest DJs of all time - DJ AM & Grandmaster Roc Raida, Baatin from Slum Village, and actors such as Patrick Swayze & Britanny Murphy. 2009 definitely took its toll on both Hollywood and the music game. R.I.P. to all of you.

For me, this year was mainly about deciding where I want to go musically. I'm a fan of many different genres, and whilst I've always played a broad range of music, I've decided it's best for me to mainly concentrate on what I've become known for: a mixture of Hip Hop, Dubstep, Grime, and other forms of bass-heavy club music. I'd like to take the time to thank Discobelle for giving me the opportunity to contribute to their "Mixin It Up" series, Khal for continuing to support my mixes and mashups (THUGSTEP is here to stay), Jenai over at Ego Thieves, and all the other countless blogs and forums who have shown support. I appreciate it.

I also want to thank my team Bionic Stylus for another great year. To represent my country is always a great feeling...but to obtain a top 3 placing in the DMC World Team Championships was an incredible experience, especially with the time constraints we had with finishing our routine!

This year I had the pleasure of working with and supporting some talented DJs and artists, played some of the most enjoyable gigs (Rusty Bucket Bay, Goonies, Bad Intentions, POW!), had the pleasure of DJ-ing abroad again (shouts to Mattias at Vice), and also meeting some great people (shouts to everyone at Hot110). I've also learnt that certain people change, and that your first impressions of someone are not always the right ones.

As I said before in the Top 50 Hip Hop albums post, it's crazy to think that we'll soon be entering the 2nd decade of this millennium. The fact that the past 10 years has gone so quickly is quite frightening. It doesn't seem that long ago that I was in the process of doing my GCSE's, then going to 6th Form, then on to University; and with all the tragic deaths and other shit that has occurred this year (recession, swine flu, etc), it makes you realise that life really is too short. As a result, next year I'll be surrounding myself with positive influences and genuinely good people; allow dealing with cretins.

To all the blog readers, thanks for stopping by, downloading my mixes, and leaving the occasional comment. As we leave the Noughties behind and enter a new decade, I wish all of you a happy and safe New Year. I'll see you all in 2010.

Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

My Top 50 Hip Hop Albums - 2000 to 2009

It's crazy to think that in under 24 hours (GMT), we'll be entering the 2nd decade of this millennium. Whilst I've heard (and bought) hundreds of Hip Hop albums over the past 10 years, I decided to compile a shortlist of 50 albums that I could say were my favourites from this decade.

The following list in my opinion, is a well-rounded selection of all the varying styles of Hip Hop, from the quirkiness of Madlib/Quasimoto, to all-out angry club bangers from the likes of Lil Jon.

There were so many that I wish I could have included from the likes of Dangermouse, Gang Starr, MF Doom/Madvillain, Fabolous, Cage, and even some of the other Ghostface albums; but after a lot of consideration these 50 albums are the ones that have had the biggest effect on me. Not only can I listen to each one all the way through without skipping (okay, so maybe I do skip past Eminem's "Without Me"), I can keep revisiting these albums and never get bored.

So, in chronological order (year only), here are the final 50:

Who do you think should have made it into the final 50? Whatever your opinions, please feel free to share them.