Blu- Good to Be Home: probably my number 2 or 3 AOTY. Great album, especially for a double album. I'd say it is the same level of Give Me My Flowers, but with a very cohesive theme throughout- which seems to be a tribute to Blu's "home"- LA. A lot of great guest verses on here too.
Fav Tracks: Summer Time, Can't Stop Won't Stop, Red & Gold, Well Fare
Danny Brown- Old: Actually not a HUGE fan of this album. Side A is just a demonic crazy ride through the dark side of the ghetto. The beats are a little whack and Danny looses some of his humor that i loved on XXX in this deep darkness. Side B is full of plenty of crazy bangers, with trap EDM beats throughout. Relistening recently reminded me why it wasn't one of my top 5 last year.
Fav Tracks: The Return, Dubstep, Dip, Smokin' and Drinkin'
Elzhi- The Preface: One of my favorite albums ever. Always in constant rotation. El kills every verse, the beats are good. The features are good for the most part. What gets me with this are El's lyrical ability. Seriously one of the greatest rappers out right now. Not to mention the concepts he uses on different tracks are mind boggling.
Fav Tracks: Talking In My Sleep, Motown 25 (w/ Royce 5'9), What I Write
Antwon- Heavy Hearted in Doldrums: literally just this song
Apollo Brown & OC- Trophies: Recommended by my gf, and saw it on a lot of people's favorite albums of last year. Honestly wasn't feelin' the boom-bap orchestra sample beats, and OC did have some gems, but his flows and lyrical ability were nothing to write home about. Very cohesive and solid album still, just nothing stood out to me
Favs: Signs, Angels Sing
Quadron- Avalanche: Another one of my favorite albums, always in rotation. Coco O is sooo smooth and the production complements her perfect voice nicely. Very chill neo-soul type of stuff on this. And the track with Kendrick is fantastic.
Favs: LFT, Sea Salt, Better Off (w/ Kendrick Lamar)
Elzhi- Elmatic: my 2nd AOTY for 2012, behind Section80. Once again, El brings it with the lyrics and the beats are great (because they are just remade Illmatic beats, but they're fresh).
Favs: Represent, It Ain't Hard to Tell, Life's a B*tch (w/Royce 5'9)
Ab-Soul- These Days...: Not a big fan of this. This album was a disappointment for me. I loved Control System, but this just felt...off. Soul's lyrics were alright, the production was very questionable on many songs. Some verses were cringeworthy. I also feel like Soul, the guy with the great concept songs, had little to no good concepts on this. He didn't really "say" anything with the album. Still a few good tracks on here.
Favs: Kendrick Lamar's Interlude, Feelin' Us, Just Have Fun
N*E*R*D- In Search Off...: A modern classic and the album that made me a huge fan of Pharrell. Always in rotation.
Fav tracks: Things Are Getting Better, Run to the Sun, Provider