4. Gonjasufi, “A Sufi and A Killer.” Gaslamp Killer produced this trippy, sprawling album that is middle eastern mysticism mixed with a bagfull of psychedelics. It’s sloppy, it’s weird, but I can’t stop listening to it. Key track: “Duets.”
3. Madlib, “Madlib Medicine Show #4: 420 Chalice All-Stars.” I bought half of Madlib’s monthly Medicine Show series. Even months were mixes, and odd months were original music. The mixes explored Brazilian music, jazz, psychedelic rock, and soul, but this reggae mix was by far my favorite. It was also an expensive purchase: this one album caused me to buy ten more albums, catching up with all the amazing dancehall reggae that I missed. Key track: All of ‘em.
2. Madlib, “Madlib Medicine Show #3: Beatkonducta in Africa.” Besides reggae, my new passion this year was African music, and Madlib’s third entry in his Medicine Show series fit the bill. It’s eighty minutes of beats mined from African music, ranging from Zam Rock to highlife to Afrobeat.
Key track: “The Frontline (Liberation)”
1. Danny Brown, “The Hybrid.” This was the funniest, rawest, most insightful release I heard this year, and all by a dude who uses his given name and gave away his music for free. Brown reminds me of Biggie or Ice Cube in their prime: totally offensive and yet deeply intelligent, dropping knowledge with their f-bombs. Key track: “Drinks On Me”