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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 II of V
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Albums 20-16 of my year end look at the best of 2008 features two independent emcees, a veteran R&B crooner, one of the best groups of producers on the planet, and a band that knows no musical boundaries.

20) Rugged N Raw – Truth Serum

Rugged N Raw has been one of the most entertaining emcees in New York City’s underground scene for quite a while, the best dressed, too, with his trademark tie and suspenders. With Truth Serum Rugged N Raw not only shows his humorous side, but on tracks like “Life’s Purpose” he also shows an incredible serious side, telling personal stories and doing so in such a way that really affect the listener. “Love Man,” on the other hand, is an ode to the ladies that is sure to make a listener laugh, and I challenge anyone to listen to “I’m Broke & Proud” and not crack a smile. Now clearly a complete emcee, Rugged N Raw is a force to be reckoned with and Truth Serum is a fantastic example of this.

Song you need to hear: I’m Broke & Proud

Website: ruggednraw.com

19) Sonic Boom Six – The Ruff Guide to Genre-Terrorism

I know there’s a chance some overseas folks are going to look at this listing and say “didn’t this album come out a while ago?” Well, yes, but it didn’t have its US release until 2008. Sonic Boom Six is the Manchester ska, punk, reggae, Hip-Hop hybrid band that has a high energy frontwoman and features a bevy of topical lyrics. Their latest album, The Ruff Guide to Genre-Terrorism, is a shining example of the fact that there’s no need to wall in music with boundaries regarding what a band can and can’t play. Sonic Boom Six can rock out, they can play a reggae tune, and they can even spit a rhyme or two, so why not do it all? If you like your music with an edge, you’ll want to give Sonic Boom Six a listen.

Song you need to hear: Apathy Begins At Home

Website: sonicboomsix.co.uk

18) NERD – Seeing Sounds

For years I have talked about how underrated, yes underrated, I feel The Neptunes are. As a production team they are, simply put, ahead of their time. Seeing Sounds, their 2008 NERD effort, is an album that people will probably be biting from years from now. The material, despite spanning only 12 tracks and one remix, ranges greatly, which is something we’ve all come to expect from The Neptunes as they can produce NORE one minute and Gwen Stefani the next. Lyrically the album is lacking a bit, but that’s not why I’m listening to The Neptunes, I’m listening to them because they’re musicians, and whether I’m in the mood for something bouncy or something smooth, Seeing Sounds is some really dope music.

Song you need to hear: Anti-Matter

Website: n-e-r-d.com

17) Tech N9ne – Killer

Not many emcees can pull off a double album, but the legendary Tech N9ne, who has now sold over one million albums independently, proves he’s one of the few that can with Killer. Tech N9ne uses the double album format to cover as much ground as possible, with songs ranging from the sexual “Wheaties,” to the political “Blackboy,” which also features Brother J from X-Clan, Ice Cube and Krizz Kaliko, to the self-reflective “Happy Ending.” He also gives everyone a sequel to the outstanding “Psycho Bitch” with “Psycho Bitch II.” Another personal fave is “Crybaby” where Tech N9ne rips all the people whining that Hip-Hop is dead. When it comes to pure, unadulterated, Hip-Hop, you can’t do much better than Tech N9ne.

Song you need to hear – Disc 1: Crybaby
Song you need to hear – Disc 2: Happy Ending

Website: therealtechn9ne.com

16) Dwele - Sketches of a Man

Dwele has always been one of the top, and quite possibly one of the most slept on, R&B artists around. While others make news for being in various page sixes for their romantic exploits Dwele has avoided that scene and stuck to making great music. Sketches of a Man shows the full range of what Dwele can do, from his fantastic vocals to his impressive songwriting ability. Overall the album is a laid back ride with plenty of emotions on display. It’s a throwback to when R&B songs didn’t have to have Hip-Hop beats to them. There are definitely some “booty album” elements to Sketches of a Man, but hey, when was the last time we heard a good one of those?

Song you need to hear: Open Your Eyes

Website: dwele.net

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 @ 7:32 AM  
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