About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Adam’s World Top 25 of 2008 Part I of V
Friday, December 12, 2008

With the incredible popularity of last year’s Top 25 list I've decided to do it again for 2008. This year’s five part series features a little bit of everything, starting off with albums 25-21, which include two brilliant emcees, the brother of a legend, and two fantastic newcomers to the R&B scene.

25) Illa J – Yancey Boys

It’s incredibly appropriate that the artist that can rock the late J Dilla’s tracks best would be his brother, Illa J. A smoothed out ride, Yancey Boys may very well be my favorite Dilla produced album of all-time. Give it a spin. It’s the exact beautiful vibe we all knew Dilla for and Illa J, although not the most accomplished emcee in the world, matches the beats perfectly. Note to all you battle emcees out there, sometimes it’s not all about the lyrics, sometimes it’s about the mood you set. Illa J does just that on Yancey Boys, making it a jazz infused ride and a beautiful final tribute to the work and life of J Dilla.

Song you need to hear: Timeless

Website: illajmusic.com

24) Azeem – Air Cartoons

Azeem is one of the top emcees on the west coast and he oftentimes has Nostradamus-like predictions in his music. Just check back to his previous albums, most notably Craft Classic, for all the evidence you’ll need. After you’ve done that, however, you’ll want to come back to 2008 and Air Cartoons, an album Azeem says he honestly didn’t think was going to be released. This thought process allowed him to be freer in the music he created, making Air Cartoons his most unique release to date. Intelligent, thought provoking, and funky, Azeem never fails to disappoint, and as an added bonus the album comes with the lyrics, which is huge when dealing with a lyricist of Azeem’s caliber. The only warning sticker this album should have is that it may cause intellectual thought processes.

Song you need to hear: What If

Website: myspace.com/mcazeem

23) Chaz Kangas – Knee Jerk Reaction

Chaz Kangas is a very unique entity in Hip-Hop. He’s brilliant to the level where I’m convinced he remembers absolutely everything he reads or hears and he’s not afraid to work it all into his rhymes. He also has a killer sense of humor and an unbelievable knowledge of Hip-Hop’s history, which makes for song titles such as “Drunks Throw Up and then Fall Down” and “Hip-Hop is Dad.” Although there are a few serious moments on Knee Jerk Reaction, including the cover art, for the most part this album is about flipping lyrics and showing off a warped sense of humor. And I know the obvious comparison is to MC Paul Barman, but don’t get it twisted, in Chaz’s own words, “I’m Chaz Kangas and I represent a crew called Chaz Kangas.”

Song you need to hear: Slam Poets

Website: myspace.com/chazraps

22) Maiysha – This Much Is True

When I first heard Maiysha’s This Much Is True my initial reaction was “Wow.” Upon repeated listens that feeling hasn’t wavered one bit. If anything, the more I hear, the more I’m impressed. The combination of her absolutely amazing vocals, which range from sultry to room filling-ly large, and the vast musicality of the album, beautifully illustrate that she can do just about anything in the realm of soul music. Actually, with her sensational interpretation of the Peter Gabriel classic “Sledgehammer,” Maiysha proves she can do just about anything in any genre of music. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who loves Maiysha. She actually holds the title of being the first former Artist Of The Week to earn a Grammy nomination! Don’t forget where you heard about her first!

Song you need to hear: Over My Head

Website: maiysha.com

21) Anthony David – Acey Duecy

Anthony David is a smooth dude and his 2008 album, Acey Duecy, is a modern slice of classic soul. Yeah, I know, that sounds like an oxymoron, but after one listen it’s an oxymoron that’s gonna put you in a great mood. “Words,” which features India.Arie, was a huge success as the lead single, and was one of the few times I’ve actually liked India.Arie. Don’t let the guest appearance fool you, though, the rest of all the album is all Anthony David, from the love songs to the more topical fare. A real throwback to when soul music addressed political issues is “Krooked Kop,” which levies an oftentimes wondered question towards the police when David sings, “you’re protecting us from crime, but who’s protecting us from you?”

Song you need to hear: Cold Turkey

Website: anthonydavidmusic.com

Adam’s World Top 25 of 2008

Part I: Albums 25-21
Part II: Albums 20-16
Part III: Albums 15-11
Part IV: Albums 10-6
Part V: Albums 5-1
posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:35 AM  
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