Rapture & Verse #30: The 2014 Hangover

The best of what was, with The Herbaliser, DJ Format and more...
The Herbaliser

Still tucking into the turkey with relish, here’s another sitting of hip-hop’s high court appraising and dismantling the previous 12 months to set you up for the year ahead.

(Read the first batch of these in R&V #29.)

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Jake Wherry and Ollie Teeba of The Herbaliser (pictured) (@theherbaliser)                                         

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...

Jake Wherry: Showing, more than ever, a huge contrast between the iTunes hip-hop chart and any other chart worth its salt. For me, some of the tracks you see in the iTunes chart don't even come close to what I would consider to be hip-hop.

Ollie Teeba: A distinct improvement on 2011 into 2012. In the mainstream, it was just as bad as it's been in the last five years or more, maybe worse. However, on an indie/underground level there was a dramatic shift back towards the boom-bap sound. In my opinion, up until late 2012, the underground was stuck in a swamp of second-rate Dilla imitators and that raw sample sound was rarely seen. This past year or so, a lot of dudes not seen in a minute decided to step back into the game. Bringing back that ol’ boom-bap sound but moving it along into the 21st century. Some really interesting new sampling trends emerged in the process.

Hip-hop's best release in 2013 was...

JW: DJ Format and Phil Most Chill’s ‘The Foremost’ – an album of rocking, up-tempo, hip-hop floor fillers.

OT: Soundsci! Just kidding, although we are dope and you need to check us (!). I’m not one for narrowing things down to one release but I really liked ‘360 Waves’ by Durag Dynasty.

Hip-hop's best video in 2013 was...

JW: ‘Beat Smashers’ by Life MC, produced by Nappa – gritty UK hip-hop.

OT: I'm gonna plump for Action Bronson’s ‘Strictly 4 My Jeeps’. I like a bit of comedy in my hip-hop.

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Joker Starr (@jokerstarr)                                                                                                  

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...
All about party records and a little less about the content in the mainstream, but it also saw the resurgence of the independent movement.

Hip-hop’s best release in 2013 was...
Roc Marciano – ‘The Pimpire Strikes Back’.

Hip-hop’s best video in 2013 was...
Verb T – ‘Old And Grumpy’.

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Dr Syntax (@realdrsyntax)                                                                                                

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...
Hit and miss. Music wise, I don’t bother checking out stuff I know I’m not going to like and complaining about the state of hip-hop, but there were some good releases out from old and new artists. The underground hip-hop scene in the UK has had a bit of a resurgence – it’s found a new audience in the last few years and continues to grow, and I remember when it wasn't like that, so that's a very positive thing.

Hip-hop's best release in 2013 was...
Probably Devin The Dude’s ‘One For The Road’ – a lot more sombre than his older albums, but I've always got time for new Devin stuff. That or Danny Brown's album, ‘Old’ (review) – it showed a bit more versatility than what I’d heard before from him. Very bleak and cynical, but done very well. 

Hip-hop's best video in 2013 was...
The Dead Players’ video, ‘Winning’. Perfect example of how to smash it with a simple but really well shot video.

The best monthly online hip-hop column is...
Well, I wouldn't like to put anyone’s nose out of joint by picking favourites...

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Old Mantis of Aspects (@aspects_hq)                                                                              

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...

A curdled mix of pop-rap and underground innovation. The good stuff went back underground, while mainstream channels dealt with the corporate nonsense.


Hip-hop's best release in 2013 was...

Ka – ‘The Night’s Gambit’.

Hip-hop's best video in 2013 was...

A tough call. For a controversial top five: Seth Rogen & James Franco – ‘Bound 3’. Blue Daisy presents Dahlia Black – ‘F*ck A Rap Song’. All of the ones from The White Mandingos. Action Bronson – ‘Strictly 4 My Jeeps’. Chance The Rapper – ‘Everybody’s Something’.

The best monthly online hip-hop column is...

Rapture & Verse, by a country mile!

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DJ Format (@DJFormat4)                                                                                                  

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...
Showing signs of improvement. A lot more artists have seen the importance of releasing vinyl and, in a lot of cases, put their own money into it.

Hip-hop’s best release of 2013 was...
Jorun-PMC – ‘Magic Disco Machine’ EP. Legendary Philadelphia veteran MC Phill Most Chill joined forces with Canadian super-producer Jorun Bombay and basically did what they do best: genuine, authentic, old school, party-rockin’ hip-hop beats, rhymes & cuts.

Hip-hop’s best video of 2013 was...
I don't really watch hip-hop videos because the type of hip-hop I listen to doesn't usually have the budget to have an accompanying video!

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Donwill of Tanya Morgan (@donwill)                                                                              

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...
Sadly forgettable. Not in terms of the quality of the releases – a lot of great albums dropped – but just in terms of how fast people seemed to move on from each one overall. A lot of heavy hitters dropped highly anticipated albums this year, only to be met with a week’s worth of spins and cold shoulders from people constantly looking for the next big thing.

Hip-hop's best release in 2013 was...
Tanya Morgan – ‘Rubber Souls’. I also found myself playing “’Yeezus’ (review) a lot. 

Hip-hop’s best video in 2013 was...
I don’t really remember a singular video standing out. I’ll go with Lil Debbie’s ‘Ratchets’ just because. Also, Tanya Morgan's ‘The Vehicle’ was dope.

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Mayor of Associated Minds (@AssociatedMinds)                                             

Hip-hop in 2013, in my opinion, was...
An incredible year. Hip-hop is in some new age renaissance right now and our ears are loving a whole load of music out there.

Hip-hop's best release in 2013, was...
Probably Quelle Chris’ ‘N*ggas Is Men’ LP or ‘Ghost At The Finish Line’ LP. To have two full length albums out that can challenge for a top 10 spot in the same year deserves an award in itself.

Hip-hop's best video in 2013 was...
‘Super F*ck’ by Quelle Chris or Metabeats’ ‘Music Pt.1 (Summer Version)’ – both are some newness for hip-hop music video styles.

The best monthly online hip-hop column is...

Rapture & Verse - for having the most “crammed-in, bang-for-your-buck info to the face” ratio!

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Words: Matt Oliver + guests

Rapture and Verse, more of it. 

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