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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 III of V
Friday, December 19, 2008

Albums 15-11 on my year end Top 25 are filled with artists that are sure to get you moving, including a veteran emcee that infuses plenty of reggae into his work, Minnesota’s finest rap collective, a danceable duo from Brooklyn, a group that sets the vibe like Sublime and 311 used to, and a rap/rock band we all know and love.

15) Kardinal Offishall – Not 4 Sale

I was seriously worried about the sell out possibilities as soon as I heard Kardinal Offishall had been signed by Akon’s Konvict label. Thankfully, despite numerous high profile (see – commercial) guest appearances Kardinal still comes as his hardcore fans have come to expect and that is, well, hardcore. He didn’t change his style, he’s still the reggae infused Hip-Hop artist we all know him to be, and he’s not suddenly talking about BS, he just changed his notoriety and possibly added a few people to company he keeps. I know, it seems a bit strange to hear it, but in Not 4 Sale Kardinal Offishall managed to create an album that had a commercially viable single, the wildly successful “Dangerous,” while not losing one ounce of his soul.

Song you need to hear: Family Tree

Website: kardinaloffishall.com

14) Gym Class Heroes – The Quilt

When I spoke with Travis McCoy earlier this year his excitement over The Quilt was palpable. He told me the idea was to make each song an individual patch in the musical quilt of the album. In doing this the band picked out the best musical ideas they had on their previous records and then included some new ones. The Quilt ended up being quite the warm comforter for music fans. Each song on the album is extremely lush musically and defy categorization as anything other than “good music.” From the 80’s synth inspired “Cookie Jar” to the familial tale “Like Father, Like Son” to the decidedly pop-rock “No Place To Run” to the hater anthem “Don’t Tell Me It’s Over,” Gym Class Heroes covers all the bases with this release and they cover them well.

Song you need to hear: Guilty As Charged

Website: gymclassheroes.com

13) The Dirty Heads – Any Port In A Storm

If it were possible for 311 to have children with the Beastie Boys and Sublime those offspring would probably sound a lot like The Dirty Heads. They are part a reggae-rock, part Hip-Hop band, and underneath it all many of their songs have a really positive vibe that’s incredibly infectious. Just imagine is Schwayze had actual music talent and something worth saying. OK, that was a little mean. Any Port In A Storm is a perfect summer album to cruise around the block to, or just to have on while sippin on a brew at a chilled out BBQ. The tempo does rang a bit, at times getting downright amped, but for the most part The Dirty Heads keep things relatively chill and beautiful throughout.

Song you need to hear: Knows That I

Website: myspace.com/dirtyheads

12)pH10 – Well Connected

pH10’s Well Connected was a late arrival for me, showing up on my desk in late November after most of this list had already been compiled. Upon hearing the album, however, it was clear I had to make room for it as the incredible mixing of Hip-Hop and electronica that pH10 creates actually had me dancing in my seat while I was attempting to work along to it. Anything that grabs my attention in such a physical way has to be considered great. Just imagine The Prodigy with a Hip-Hop vibe. Aggressive, funky and rhythmic, pH10’s Well Connected grabs a listener and doesn’t let go until you’re in serious need of electrolytes. I’m not one to normally hit the dance floor, but if you see me at a pH10 show you just might catch me shaking my ass.

Song you need to hear: Enter The Underground

Website: helmutplex.com

11) Doomtree – Doomtree

Most of the time when a Hip-Hop crew that has a number of solo artist that have shined on their own decides to come together for a crew album it produces more groans than hits. Doomtree, however, is not your typical Hip-Hop crew, which makes their team effort, Doomtree, not your typical Hip-Hop crew album. To put it succinctly, they found a way to get everything, and I mean everything right. From production to lyrics to knowing which artists work best together, the Doomtree clique has put together the perfect example of hot to make a crew album. Of course, it helps that all the members are dope. Every song is a winner, but you definitely should check out “The Wren,” “Last Call,” and the tremendous “Game Over.”

Song you need to hear: Game Over

Website: doomtree.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 @ 7:34 AM  
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