Hello and welcome to a special holiday version of Tuesdays With Lazerbeak. A few years back I had an opportunity to take a shot at remixing some old standard Christmas songs to be played in the background of several different holiday themed Best Buy commercials. It was one of the stranger musical scenarios I’ve ever been apart of, going back and forth over the phone with some executive about how the track still didn’t sound “hip hop” enough and whatnot. Pretty funny stuff. While three of my submissions made it to the final round, somebody else’s track ended up making the final cut. Overall a very humbling/bizarre experience, and I still get a little salty whenever I have to walk into a Best Buy these days. Oh well. Since it tis the season and all, I figured I’d finally liberate these three Christmas beats and launch them out into the world. You might not be ready for this.
Ha! You could almost say that I single handedly invented the (Best Buy) remix. Now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to get into another list. Last week I took a stab at my top 5 favorite albums of the decade, and man was that hard. This week I’m just gonna go for the top 5 of 2009. I realized that I didn’t really pay attention to as much stuff that came out this year compared to years in the past, so I may have missed out on some awesome records. Either way though, here are the five albums I listened to and enjoyed the most this year.
1.) Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix”
This one was a no brainer. I had never heard of these guys at all until one night they somehow were the musical guest on Saturday Night Live and got to play THREE songs. I just figured they were Lorne Michael’s kids or something, but then I heard this record and it blew my mind. Just really amazingly produced catchy French pop songs from the same town that birthed Air and Daft Punk. Those guys know what they’re doing over there. Plus Phoenix slayed so hard when they came through First Ave.
2.) Kid Cudi – “Man On The Moon: The End Of Day”
When “Day N Nite” started to really bubble up, I was on the fence about this dude. I didn’t think there was anything special about that track and it still is probably one of the worst joints on this record. He is from Cleveland though, and I still root for all semi Midwest rappers, so I decided to pick it up and see what it was all about. Good move. The production on here is fairly incredible (almost groundbreaking to me), and even though Cudi doesn’t say a whole lot, his melodies and delivery make the whole thing work. Plus a lot of the lyrics are about you doing you and persevering through tough times and whatnot, and I am always a sucker for (and true believer in) that sentiment. Never let a mother effer break you dawg.
3.) The Dream – “Love Vs. Money”
I’ve played this album about 300 times in the Camry this year. When current R&B actually gets done right, there is about nothing better sounding to me. And man this one feels so right. Everything is so over the top, from the beats to the vocals. Just a really good, slick, polished radio record. Plus his homage to R. Kelly at the end is pretty endearing.
4.) Wilco – “Wilco (The Album)”
Not sure about this one. Like I said, I didn’t hear a ton of records this year. I am definitely not a crazy Wilco fan by any means, they are super hit or miss to me. For some reason this one just stuck though. It seemed like they actually had fun making this, which I always appreciate hearing. Plus the album cover is classic, and was shot at some German restaurant in Milwaukee called “Mader’s”. Not gonna lie, that might have swayed my decision a little bit.
5.) J. Cole – “The Warm Up”
My man Sims put me on to this mixtape earlier in the year, and it pretty much destroys. I generally can’t handle, nor keep up with, the ludicrous amount of free internet mixtapes that rappers have been dumping out as of late. It’s honestly hurting the game, rappers. Slow down. However, this one is a gem. Between this mixtape and the two guest spots he had on both The Blueprint 3 and Wale’s new record, I really think you gotta crown him Rookie of the Year (plus he made a ton of the beats on here). The first new rapper I have genuinely been extremely excited about in at least a few years. Trying not to get my hopes up too high, but he’s working with No I.D. on his first official album right now and I have a feeling it could be a classic. Time will tell I guess. Oh yeah, and he’s from North Carolina (one of my favorite states ever). Double bonus.
Can’t forget Honorable Mention/Pat On The Back. If you haven’t gotten the following records yet, you are slipping.
P.O.S – “Never Better”
F. Stokes & Lazerbeak – “Death of a Handsome Bride”
Sims – “False Hopes 14”
Doomtree – “FH:XV”
Gonna leave you with my favorite Christmas song ever as a final Bonus Jam. Here’s wishing a most happiest of holidays to you and yours. Brandy cider here I come.