December 29, 2013

The Wind-Down

As we come to the end of yet another year, it's time to reflect on how far our chosen genre was been able to progress, and also on how many steps back it was forced to take thanks to the quality of the output this year. 2013 wasn't a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, but it had its fair share of disappointments, and I want you to discuss both your favorite and most hated moments of the year, in addition to you rfavorite and least favorite posts, in the comments below. Here, I'll even start.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR, BASED ON THE ALBUMS I ACTUALLY REVIEWED IN 2013: Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge – Twelve Reasons To Die

Younge's instrumentals are even outstanding on their own. Still haven't listened to Apollo Brown's version, though. (I know, I know.)

Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels

Yeah, I know, not very creative with this choice, but fuck it, Killer Mike and El-P's collaboration grew on me significantly.

Birdman, on Drake's “The Language” 

A masterwork of minimalism. You have to listen to the words he's not saying. Which, given the laziness of the writing, are an awful fucking lot of words.

Wu-Tang Clan

The year began with Czarface, proof positive that Inspectah Deck should postpone his planned retirement (looking forward to the sequel, too) and the aforementioned Twelve Reasons To Die, cycled through a U-God album that was actually pretty entertaining, and ended with Method Man destroying something called an A$AP Nast's performance on the A$AP Mob's enjoyable “Trillmatic” (a made-up word that combines two other words, “trill” and “illmatic”, that also do not exist). Masta Killa fucked up the flow with his insistence on sucking all of the air out of the room with Selling My Soul, and that Raekwon album didn't quite happen, but hey, the Wu can still bring it when they want to.

Black Hippy

Kendrick Lamar's “Control” verse, his Grammy nomination for Album Of The Year, the crew's BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, and ScHoolboy Q's “Collard Greens”? As long as they don't fumble the ball, 2014 could be their year.

J-Zone – Peter Pan Syndrome

Yet. Did not actually review yet.

Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip – The Abstract & The Dragon

Whoever created that cover art, since I can't seem to find a name after a three-second Google search, should be commended, as it is pretty goddamn amazing. Which is why it's too bad that the actual project consists mostly of previously-released collaborations. Sigh. It's still pretty entertaining, though.

Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

You know when you meet one of your favorite (insert an expert in whatever field of your choice here) and praise his or her work, and they come across not only as bored of the subject matter, but bored by you as well, and you leave the conversation feeling foolish for ever caring that much in the first place? That. Especially if that person's entourage comes across as much more friendly, inviting, and interesting (*cough* Vince Staples *cough*).

Kanye West – Yeezus 

Mostly because people putting together their year-end lists are still pretending that it's a good album instead of embracing their gut and dismissing it like any sane person should. Seriously, Yeezus is the worst: its experimentation is condescending at best and esoteric to a fault; at ten tracks, it's at least eight tracks too long; he sure as shit rushed a single to radio after that drop-off in sales during the second week of release, which doesn't help his cause; and 'Ye isn't doing himself any favors with that “Bound 2” video, either. Also, it's difficult to take the man's anti-sellout message seriously when you can fucking hear “Black Skinhead” during a commercial for Motorola.


Magna Carta...Holy Grail isn't that great (although it is much better than Kingdom Come, and you know it), but “Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit” eats pieces of shit like Yeezus for breakfast, and that's even with a goddamn Rick Ross cameo.


One For All was the recipient of the most page hits of all the Reader Reviews this year. That isn't a fair statement, considering that I just ran a bunch of other submissions in December and there's no way they've been around long enough to rack up the same kind of numbers, especially as the One For All post ran in May, but it is what it is. The comments section got a little bit heated, thanks to an attempt at levelheaded critique of homophobic content in our chosen genre, but that's what I like to see: passionate people defending their opinions. Although Brand Nubian and their gay-bashing most definitely came down on the losing side of that battle, which is a statement that is not open to interpretation: if you feel that much hatred in your heart for the gay and lesbian community, then you're just an asshole at this point. What are they doing that affects your own personal life so goddamn much? And you know I'm right: fuck, I'm willing to bet that Sadat X and Grand Puba don't even really have much of an opinion on the matter anymore, especially today. Lord Jamar, though, yeah, he probably still feels the same.

The fact that it doesn't include a shit-ton of underground or lesser-known artists. 

Sorry, folks, but I attempted to keep it limited to the projects I actually wrote about this year, except for when I didn't. And I didn't get to listen to nearly as many albums as I had hoped this year, mainstream or underground, due to personal issues and a complete lack of time in my day, so I can't promise that 2014 will be any different. But I'm still here, which should count for something.

Happy New Year from HHID. I'm going to take a short break, and I'll be back with new content fairly soon.



  1. Album of The Year: Twelve Reasons To Die (Adrian Younge Version)
    Second Favorite Album Of The Year: Czarface
    Best Guest Verse: Big Krit on Asap Rocky's "1 Train" (that shit was crazy.)
    Rap Group Of 2013: Wu Tang Clan
    Best Mixtape Artwork: Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip (The Abstract and The Dragon).
    Most Disappointing Album: Kanye West Yeezus (Kanye can do so much better than just ripping off Death Grips).
    Most Infuriating Album: Jay-Z MCHG (Somewhere In America had one of the best beats of 2013 and he fucked it up, still entertaining though, just don't go too deep into Jay's lyrics.)
    Do I Think Magna Carta (he should have named it Carter) is better than Yeezus: Fuck Yes (Yeezus was a disaster).

  2. The most funniest comment on this blog of the year goes to my man kormega on the Brand Nubian Reader Review. That shit still has me breathing laughter right now. Everything about it was perfect. The second most funniest goes to Meezus on the Drake joint, and the third funniest goes to the anonymous commenter on the Jigga review who reviews the album pretending to be Max from 2007. Ya'll need to step yo commenting game up!

  3. Happy New Year Max

  4. Just read those comments over from the Brand Nubian review -- yikes!

    2013 was an absolutely awful year for hip-hop, but incredible for other genres. I found myself listening to tons of electronic and black metal. Four Tet, OPN and Deafheaven in particular. I found myself really digging the Government Plates album from Death Grips. It grew on me. Run the Jewels also grew on me, but I still don't think it's as good as everyone says. And, yes, Yeezus is fucking terrible -- perhaps even more so now than then. I actually died for 5 seconds when Pitchfork compared that abomination to Kid A -- FUCKING KID A: arguably the best album ever made! Yeezus never comes close to achieving jack shit. It's garbage: hot garbage. Just... fuck that album.

    Anyway, I should probably write some new reviews... my old ones suck. Just can't seem to find the time.

    Keep up the good work, Max.

  5. Oh yeah,

    Jay Z is a corporate shill (Kanye, too).

    But more importantly,


    1. Michael, do tell about Killa Sin. What's the rascal done now?

    2. Sounds like some trivial shit that escalated quite swiftly.

    3. Huh thanks. So why'd you want him freed then?

  6. what the song you really enjoyed that u talked about on the das racist review

  7. I don't understand the point of yeezus.worst album of the year . girlfriend gave it to me for xmas and made me play it.xmas was ruined.i cried.head hurts thinking of it.goin lie down

  8. 2013 for me:
    Childish Gambino Because the Internet is my album of the year
    Jay-Z will probably never be Jay-Z again, which makes me sad.

  9. Album of the year: Yancey boys Sunset blvd.Hey max why the lack of j dilla reviews. Also maybe a review of a u.k hip hop album.

  10. I tried to bite my tongue but fuck it. Groups like Brand Nubian, DeadPrez or PE should never ever be thought about being reviewed on this site. EVER.People complain about the homophobic shit but yet they praise the Wu and their affiliates who have plenty of anti gay lyrics. Or Eminems who still saya homophobic lyrics on his new album.Where was the outrage? See people pick and choose what they hate. I came to the conlusion that blog is for spoiled ass suburban kids who think they know what real hip hop is, Smh. No need to respond because I'm out. Let me get to my fake mainstream hip hop. Peace!

    1. I actually bit my tongue, too, when you made the exact same complaints on a different post (but you then asked me to remove your comments, so I let it pass). But your stance is questionable. All you did was leave out the phrase "pro-Black" this time around, which, by the way, if you really think that all pro-Black hip hop is limited to the three acts you named, nearly every single other act in the sidebar would want a word with you. The general consensus in hip hop now is that the rampant homophobia isn't the classiest move, and I've decried many fucking times the examples where my favorite artists (the Wu, yes, and plenty of others) have succumbed to that foolishness. But your comment doesn't seem to take any particular position, other than "fuck this blog, they never write about what I want them to write but I'm too busy bitching about shit to help solve the problem".

      Nobody here is picking and choosing what they don't like: hate is hate, but art is art, and I think most of us are mature enough to distinguish between the two even if we don't agree with the message, which is why there are a lot of film scholars that appreciate Birth Of A Nation with multiple disclaimers.

      If that's all it took to weed out the people that I don't need to read my stuff, than I would have published that a long time ago.

      Also, EVERYONE complained about Eminem's gay-bashing lyrics on the new album. Where have you been?

      Thanks for reading! We'll miss you!

    2. I truly detest the insinuation that you must embrace ignorance to fully enjoy hip-hop. What a fucking stupid standpoint.

      Turning a blind-eye to social issues has never been okay. Criticizing bigotry is incredibly important, even with the things we enjoy. And to the philistine fucks who argue that if we take issue with an artist, we shouldn't listen to the genre at all, FUCK OFF. It is -- gasp! actually possible to enjoy something and criticize certain aspects of it at the same time. The world isn't fucking black and white. For example, I love the Wu-Tang Clan, but hearing RZA shout "You fag!" on "It's Yourz" like an insecure adolescent turns me off entirely. Musically, the track is fantastic; however, I cannot condone the fucking bigotry.

      As for Lord Jamar and others of his ilk, they appear to go entirely out of their way just to make some disgusting condemnation of homosexuality. This is why it's so hard to stomach. I'd look past it if they didn't try so goddamn hard to get their juvenile point across.

      Also, the point that we must embrace ignorance suggests that hip-hop is an intrinsically ignorant art-form (it is not). This point is self-defeating and pathetic.

    3. @Max I told you to remove that other comment because I felt like I went to far on the shit. I can name a million pro-black artist, I was using them as example, but thats another topic. People bitched about Brand Nubian because they were calling White people devils and shit. Lets be honest. And stop it Max, out of all those comments on the Em or Wu reviews how many complained about gay bashing? Gay bashing is gay bashing, aint no fucking exceptions of that shit. Necro agreed with Lord Jamar and called Macklemores music "faggot shit". Wheres the outrage? Lol like I said man people pick and choose shit. Very few site complained about Ems shit, cause it damn sure wasn't the "popular" ones. Im tryna end the year off right, this is my last message. Happy Holiday people ! Im out

    4. @Michael You're the hypocrite, ignorance is ignorance. I see you like the justify shit. The funny part you got called out before on the another but your disappeared LOL . People are just sensitive nowadays, go listen to other some shit. Pop music or Rock music doesn't have some ignorance, no artist from other genres never gay bashed before? I can easily pull up the shit. I noticed mutherfuckas just like talk down on Hip-Hop all the time. Yall aint real fans of this anyway. People always over analyzing things. Always talking about "I grew out rap music". And Of course you did because you were never a true fan. Shout-out to all the real fans of the genre! The fakes ones stay away! Peace world!

  11. for me 2013 was really decent because I paid way more attention to the underground than mainstream. Discovering Beast Coast has made this year real interesting. Props on another year of keeping this site running!

  12. Eh...

    Brushing the pro-black/homophobic arguments aside here, my views on this year in hip hop are (In no particular order) *deep breath*

    Although people have found 2013 to be mildly disappointing in this chosen genre we love to listen to I disagree entirely. When releases such as "Beautiful Death Machine" "CZARFACE" "Killmatic" "Something Else" "Marshall Mathers LP 2" "Magna Carta... Holy Grail" "Wolf" & a whole bunch of others I can't think of from the top of my head right now, have come out this year alone I can not see how people think this was a bad year in hip hop.

    Granted. Yeezus had a good start. I got 4 tracks in & was pretty impressed & then from track 5 onward I cringed & decided as a whole the album blowed big time.
    As for Magna Carta (Which is latin for "High Charter" for those wondering why he named the album this) had great beats & a particular inspired flow from the Jiggaman but I felt the actual lyrics were a little weak at times. & the fact that I heard JT for well over a good minute & something of the first track almost made me stop listening to it until Jay FINALLY came onto his own track. Truly a bizarre moment for the opening for an album in my humble opinion.

    Papoose finally arrived with The Nacirema Dream & while sounding pretty dated it was also clear he struggled to make a good impact on an album. A shame really when he showed so much promise years ago.

    R.A. The Rugged Man, Swollen Members, The Demigodz, The Strange Music label in general (In particular Tech N9ne & Krizz Kaliko), Tyler The Creator, Eminem, Killah Priest, Hieroglyphics, Inspectah Deck & 7L/Esoteric all released quality like albums this year.

    Also Deltron 3030 came out of nowhere with a new album which was almost too good a dream to be true but it was worth the bloody wait (Next up is Detox I hear? Yeah na not funny, I know). & waddya know Binary Star are back on the scene again. Huh?

    2013 is probably 1 of, if the most exciting years in recent memory for hip hop music (again in my humble opinion). You just need to know where to look.

    Oh by the way... Hi Max :) I'd read a couple of reviews prior to 2013 but spent a good chunk of this year reading review after review, getting to know your blog because well... Although I sometimes don't agree with your opinions I find your reviews entertaining & I like your style of revision. It's a little different type of style & humour than I'm used to. Keep up the good work!!

  13. My favourite album you didn't review was Black Milk's No Poison No Paradise

  14. Just enjoy the music the same way we should take the best out of an invention made by a racist scientist for example or a work of art made by a misogynistic artist. It is what it is. Ignorance will always be here.

  15. skip to 3:18. Necro speaks on it.

    1. No Reply for this video Max, Michael or anyone who complains about homophobic people? Just wondering..all homophobic should be criticized, right?

  16. Do you think you're going to review Boss Hog Barbarians eventually?

  17. Nice list. Glad you feel the same way I do about Yeezus, I thought I'd gone deaf when all these music sites proclaimed it to be album of the year.

  18. I loved Yeezus, but I understand why hip hop heads might not like it.

    1. Because it's shit?

    2. this quote from yeezus proves it isn't shit "careless whispers eye fucking biting ass, neck ears hair legs eating ass, your pussy's too good i need to crash, your titties let em out free at last."

  19. The Clipse are making another album! Let us rejoice! And look forward to the awkwardness of an album with Pusha T and a born again Malice

    1. clipse is good, but outkast is for the children

    2. Sure, but has anyone confirmed an actual Outkast reunion ALBUM? Coachella is one thing, but...

  20. Happy Holidays Max, here's too yet another year of HHID! Peace.

  21. Album of the year: Born Sinner
    Second favorite: Long.Live.A$AP
    Best guest verse: Big K.R.I.T. on "1 Train"/ (to be different, J. Cole on JT's "TKO Remix")
    Rap Group of 2013: Black Hippy
    Most disappointing/ infuriating album: Yeezus, no question
    Magna Carta>Yeezus? Hell yes

    Looking forward to another year of HHID! Happy Holidays everyone

  22. His next review is going to be the 7 year anniversary the way this blog is lagging

    1. I have no plans on waiting quite that long.

    2. Whatever you say, Maxodus

  23. Honest question here,

    Is the idea of homosexuality natural?

    I really wanna know

    PS: I do NOT condone ANY form of hatred whatsoever against ANYONE.

    1. This is gonna start the Brand Nubian conflict yet again, Well at least maybe kormega will leave a funny comment. To be completly personal though, I think homosexuals can do whatever they want, but I just want them to stay away from me because it makes me uncomfortable. (I'm being completly honest)

  24. Someone needs to review Umang and kickback's first impression LP PLEASE!

  25. Max, your favourite rapper Chris Brown is making an album this year! And he's naming it after the third letter of your forename.

  26. favorite song/verse of the year: Lil Ugly Mane - Uneven Compromise (the beat/story starting at 5:00 into the song is insanely good)

    album(s) of the year: Yeezus, Danny Brown's Old, or Roc Marciano's mixtape The Pimpire Strikes Back.

    most overhyped piece of shit album of the year: Drakes (although I liked a few tracks).

    looking forward to in 2014: Schoolboy Q's Oxymoron.. based on the singles released so far (Collard Greens, Banger, Man of The Year, Yay Yay) all 5 star tracks

    1. I heard that Q's album won't include any of the previously-released songs, though. If that means no "Collard Greens", I'm officially skeptical again.

    2. i never heard that bit of news.. hmm. well if Q is that cocky about his album to not include all of those releases, then maybe he really is going to live up to his word that his album is better than kendricks. not that he can compete lyrically, but good kid maad city had a few meh songs

  27. this is not the blog you're looking for

  28. Max does come off as a spoiled suburbanite thats stuck in the 90s trying to impress his buddies! Be the real you and go listen to Nickelback dude you poser

  29. Why nobody mentioned Chance on their lists? :(