It’s that time again where every music magazine, blog and website publishes their end-of-year lists, and Province is no exception! First came ‘2013’s Most Innovative Releases’ (which featured the likes of Arcade Fire, Metronomy and Kanye West) and now we present to you Province’ Top Ten Albums of 2013. This list is not based on album sales or anyone else’s end of year lists, it is purely a list of Province’ favourite albums of this year in order of preference, enjoy…
A$AP Rocky’s long-awaited debut finally dropped at the very beginning of this year, and didn’t disappoint. ‘Long.Live.A$AP’ was dripping with his trademark style, as well as shimmering production (esp. Clams Casino’s ‘LVL’) and electric features (Kendrick Lamar, Gunplay, A$AP Ferg, Joey Bada$$ etc.). The album also includes one of Hip Hop’s most epic cyphers in 2013: ‘1 Train‘.
Last we heard, A$AP Rocky is planning to release a self-produced album in the near future, so we can look forward to more from the mob in 2014.
9. SOME SAY I SO I SAY LIGHT – GHOSTPOET
London’s Ghostpoet pushes boundaries not to make a point, but simply because he doesn’t feel comfortable making music within them. The follow-up to his brilliant debut ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam’ was released in May, and saw GP (real name Obaro Ejimiwe) explore his experimental sound even further. His track-by-track album also allowed fans to explore it with him, which was a nice touch. Both the title and MSIMUSDIM came to the artist in a dream, so it is rather fitting that the whole album has this other-worldly, tranquil quality.
El-P and Killer Mike’s collaborative album, ‘Run The Jewels’ was easily the most fun of 2013. El-P’s hard-hitting beats and Killer Mike’s heavyweight, larger-than-life flow combine brilliantly throughout, making the album a must for any end-of-year list. Run The Jewels recently re-released a bonus edition of the album, which included a Dave Sitek remix of ‘Sea Legs’. They also recently treated us to a festive new track in the shape of ‘A Christmas F**king Miracle’, so it looks like the pair are still collaborating – excellent news.
Willis Earl Beal’s raw, gutteral voice and enigmatic persona drew attention from music fans long before the release of his debut album ‘Acousmatic Sorcery’. His follow-up, ‘Nobody Knows’, was released back in September and saw Beal progress to a much more polished, ambitious sound. Rodaidh McDonald (The xx, Savages, How to Dress Well), Roofeeo (TV On The Radio), Ray Suen (The Killers) and Cat Power all lent a hand in the production, and it’s safe to say they nailed it.
6. WOLF – TYLER, THE CREATOR
Tyler, The Creator’s third solo album, ‘Wolf” felt like the first on which he felt truly comfortable to do exactly what he wanted. For large parts of the album he leaves Hip Hop well alone and wanders into Shoegaze and Jazz, he also collaborated with two of his heroes, Erykah Badu and Pharrell Williams – this album must have been a real triumph for Tyler.
Ace/Wolf/Tyler is currently working on a motion picture, for which it’s rumoured ‘Wolf’ will provide at least part of the soundtrack.
Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover) released his second album ‘Because The Internet’ as part of an interactive screenplay, earning him a spot on our list of 2013’s Most Innovative Releases. Sonically, the album was a solid effort: tracks like ‘3005’ and ‘Worldstar’ were standard enough to provide continuity, but more experimental tracks like ‘Zealots of Stockholm’ made for real progression. However good the music was, it’s the world that Glover created surrounding it that made this album really special.
Edinburgh duo Young Fathers released two albums this year of an equally exceptional standard. Simply titled ‘Tape One’ and ‘Tape Two’ they lie somewhere between Hip Hop, Spoken Word and Rock – but don’t really sound like any of the aforementioned.
Their new album, ‘Dead’ will be released February 4, and will feature their latest release ‘War‘.
Mac Miller has had an excellent 2013, releasing a whole host of great music and honing a sound that has really matured since he first appeared on the scene. WMWTSO is nineteen tracks of Mac’s witty raps, up-to-the-minute beats and brilliantly chosen features (Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, The Creator & Schoolboy Q to name a few).
Mac has also put out some excellent music this year under his aliases Larry Fisherman and Delusional Thomas, as well as putting out his live album ‘Live From Outer Space’.
‘Doris’ was easily Province’ most anticipated release of 2013. After his return from Samoa, Earl put in a fair few features, and even released a few tracks of his own, letting us know that he still had that style that earned him his celebrity. The album itself delivered in spades, that moody production style that couples so well with earls drawling loquacity. This year has seen Earl cement his position in the game, working with Action Bronson, Mac Miller, RZA and countless others. 2014 will (hopefully) see him release the long-awaited ‘EarlWolf’ with Tyler, The Creator.
1. YEEZUS – KANYE WEST
The top spot can only go to Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’. The album was one of 2013’s most controversial: the jarring soundscape alone was enough to spark outrage in the hearts of Yeezy fans worldwide. Then of course is there’s the title, subject matter, the rants surrounding it, the lawsuit, and of course THAT video. All that aside this was an incredibly brave album, an uncensored foray into Kanye’s psyche at that particular time. This is by no means a perfect album: it’s full of awkward transitions and stylistic clashes. However, this is what makes it stand out from his other work: it is the most immediate translation of Kanye’s frustration and emotion possible – which is something that any fan will appreciate.
So there it is, Province’ top ten albums of 2013. It’s just worth noting at this point how many exceptional mixtapes were released this year which would undoubtedly have made the list: Blue Chips 2 – Action Bronson, Acid Raps – Chance The Rapper, Innanetape – Vic Mensa
Honourable mention also goes to My Name Is My Name – Pusha T, SAAAB Stories – Action Bronson, Hall Of Fame – Big Sean, No Poison No Paradise – Black Milk, The Knight’s Gambit – Ka, Old – Danny Brown, More Is Than Isn’t – RJD2, Government Plates – Death Grips, Flying Colours – Shad