2012. The border between genres got murkier than ever, and craft and originality slipped into a fancy dress of sorts. Everything was getting more squeezed, in a post-pitchfork, post-ADD, post-everything landscape where even Aubrey was dissing the empty affectations of a tumblr-bent Generation Y.
But strangely, it also felt like things were beginning to come full circle, and the contrived pretenses with which the worldwideweb tended to foil things, were slowly peeling off. Beyond the haze, music happened to be strong as ever. After all, it was the year that Kendrick Lamar laid down a classic (some said) and Madteo ran circles around the establishment (fact). In the same spirit, there were more than a few lists which managed to piece through the fog.
And this list, we hope, is proof, paradox and parody at the same time.
Will Bankhead giving it to you raw. And what’s at #1? Good music.
An incredible year for an incredible producer. In 2012, Mike Will was everything right about hiphop: banging out hard without losing its brains. If you study his work closely, it’s that otherworldly synth/filter undercurrent that make them… glisten like that. Very much left of center, but his greatest trick of all, was making them sound so big, so Mannie Fresh.
Boomkat seem to possess the best kind of heads. And they don’t take themselves too seriously over there, capturing the nuances of records with short blurbs that are as hilarious as accurate, often times putting you in a buy-or-die! seizure. And accurate, these two lists surely were.
It’s hard to devise diverse, genre-spanning list without coming off as a total fraud, but this one pulls it off.
If you gently sidestep the inclusion of Joy Orbison, who the jury is still on the fence about, this list was on point like a dot, with that lovable oddball Matteo Ruzzon finally getting the shine, which in 2012, was rightfully his.
It’s not always easy to agree with his choices (which feel like they deliberately champion style over substance sometimes), but everyone’s grandmother’s and her brother knows that Noz knows. That odd (but curious) mix of encyclopedic knowledge, eclectic taste in rhymes and eccentric ear for beats (who else would (rightfully) have that Future/Mike Will track at #2?) is a rare balance in modern hiphop journalism that has been impossible to come by elsewhere. In the last couple of years, so have his blunts, so savour them while they last.
Google Translate: In an year we blew all our cashmoney on records (and not tapes), this list flew across the windshield like a bat out of heaven, and somehow managed to do the impossible: capturing that toe-tingle of discovery, packing a diverse, prophetic (DJ Stringray) top 15, and casting a true original at the helm — Opal Tapes of Basic House — the hardest working man in showbiz. Perhaps a timely reminder of that fleeting thing that makes life and art all worth it: progress.