As you may be aware, the Hip Hop genre has a non-stop influx of music released each week, and its very difficult to determine what’s worth your precious time. To help you out, The Taste Test is a new series here at TST where our team of experts find the best material released each week in a variety of categories. Our criteria is simple: the music has to be good and/or memorable.
Best Album: Ab-Soul - Control System (purchase on iTunes)
This week was dominated by Maybach Music artist Meek Mill’s Dreamchaser 2 Mixtape. Sadly, Meek can’t be considered best project while up against Top Dog Entertainments Ab-Soul “Control System”. Released last night at the stroke of mid-night, and currently #1 on iTunes, Ab-Soul has presented a project that will flood your ears with amazing lyricism and enticing production. It’s impossible to absorb all in one sitting but it’s the kind of project that compels you to re-listen again and again. Features include Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown, ScHoolboy Q, and Jay Rock, an amazing line up. Nothing against Meek and his tremendous 3 million downloads but even without that accolade “Control System” is on an entire different scale. – Travis Phillips
Honorable Mention: Skewby – Humble Pie EP (listen/download)
Honorable mention goes to Memphis Tennessee Skewby small EP entitled “Humble Pie”. To be honest, I enjoyed the 6 track project more than any pie (no disrespect to moms) with Skewby keeping it entirely honest, while still showing his blatant talent as a lyricist, giving this EP a clever yet relatable vibe and his golden ear for production making the ride through the tracks even more enjoyable. This is one Humble Pie I recommend you digest and even finish the crust because you’ll enjoy each and every bite. – Travis Phillips
Best Single: Ab-Soul – “The Book Of Soul” (listen)
While singles “Illuminate” and “Black Lip Bastard” (Remix) were on the promotional end of Ab-Soul’s Control System album campaign, it is Control System‘s closing song “The Book Of Soul” that proves to be nothing short of the best hip hop track released this week and quite possibly this year. In this painfully honest track, Soul pours his heart out in a single verse dedicated to his girlfriend, singer Alori Joh, who unexpectedly passed away by suicide earlier this year. This was a heartbreaking loss for the Carson, CA emcee, as he details the harsh health conditions he endured as a child, then found meaning and purpose through being with Alori and dealing with the loss of her life. It is truly a song that anyone who has ever lost a loved one can relate to and be inspired by. – Mark Noisiri
Honorable Mention: Meek Mill ft. Kendrick Lamar – “A1 Everything” (listen)
Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group artist Meek Mill and his Dreamchasers 2 mixtape shut down servers upon its release this past Monday, but things really got shut down when listeners got their hands on the single “A1 Everything” featuring Kendrick Lamar. As the track centered around flossing riches of the elite, this was an unconventional track for the two to collaborate on. Not only did it disprove the expected awkwardness, most listeners would consider it as one of the best tracks off the tape. – Mark Noisiri
Best Production: Killer Mike ft. El-P – “Butane (Champion’s Anthem)” (produced by El-P) (listen)
El-P was one of the leading figures of the New York underground sound, and heads turned when it was announced that he was to collaborate on an entire album with prolific Southern emcee, Killer Mike. Released as a single this week, the hard-hitting “Butane (Champion’s Anthem)” features a thunderous beat that would make most emcees jealous. The effectiveness of the production further solidifies the unexpected chemistry between Mike and El-P; building anticipation to their upcoming album R.A.P. Music. The entire album is available for exclusive stream over at SPIN. – Mark Noisiri
Honorable Mention: 9th Wonder – Tutankhamen (listen)
This week, Grammy Award-winning hip hop producer 9th Wonder (in partnership with DJBooth.net) released a 40 track beat tape titled Tutankhamen. While it does feature highlight production from his large catalog over the years, a few unreleased instrumentals were added as well. This is definitely a must listen for all fans of soulful hip hop production. – Mark Noisiri
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