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best music of 07

what does this guy even do

I wasn’t gonna do one of these this year. I haven’t been watching release dates as closely, and I haven’t done as much cross-genre listening as usual. Consequently, I’m sure there’s a lot I’ve missed. That being said, you know I can never resist making a good list. I can also never resist blogging about my favorite music. Here’s the Best of 07.

Best Albums of the Year
In no particular order:

Graduation – Kanye West
Dude stepped up his game and made an elegiac record that sounds like nostalgia for the future. (can’t believe I just bit from Simon Reynolds, sorry everybody)

Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem
James Murphy got tired of making dancefloor anthems and decided to write some songs. The result is danceable as fuck, but also moving and affecting.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Spoon
With each new record Spoon is getting tauter and tighter. They’re getting better too, and this is their best yet.

American Gangster – Jay-Z
After the mess that was Kingdom Come I thought the King was dead. Surprise surprise: on the new record, Easter eggs abound, the beats manage to be more soulful than The Blueprint somehow, and he even raps double-time on the title track! Long Live the King.

In Rainbows – Radiohead
blah blah blah blah blah LOL THE INTERNET. This is a good album.

Untrue – Burial
The real surprise here is that this actually manages to be better than the mysterious Londoner’s debut.

Kala – M.I.A.
This is the dark side to the sunburst glow of Arular. If Arular was perfect for parties, this is perfect for driving at night with the windows down. And parties.

M.A.D.E. – Scarface
Not his best album (not even his best this decade), but the OG is still going strong and is just as incredible as ever.

The Big Doe Rehab – Ghostface Killah
Dude is on a roll. First Fishscale, then More Fish, and now a third incredible record in a row. This is the best of the three: vivid storytelling, thick absurdism, and beats that knock serious.

Mirrored – Battles
When the robots take over, this will be their favorite album. Battles are so ahead of the curve it’s not even funny.

Best “Underground” Hip-Hop Albums

Below The Heavens – Blu and Exile
The debut from this talented team is what I wanted the new Common album to sound like. It’s not hard to imagine this album getting called “classic” in a few years.

Popular Demand – Black Milk
A worthy successor to J Dilla’s title of King of Detroit.

The Undisputed Truth – Brother Ali
An above-average lyricist, some beats that really knock, and delivery that makes dude sound like your older cousin giving you advice. Like early Ice Cube without the misogyny or anti-Korean sentiment. Or the Bomb Squad.

I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead – El-P
Like Trent Reznor stole the Bomb Squad’s playbook, then stuck a microphone in front of some pissed off slam poet. Dude is pretensious as fuck and wears his “I AM MORE UNDERGROUND THAN YOU” patch on his sleeve , but this is his best record.

Best Mixtape

Da Drought 3 – Lil Wayne
Dude put the zeitgeist in a blender and came up with the weirdest, funniest, most half-baked project of the year. He’ll probably never get his act together and record the classic album everybody wants out of him, and there are already plenty of signs of diminishing returns, but we’ll always have this overblown monster to remind us of what could have been.

Video of the Year
“International Players Anthem” – UGK f/Outkast

“Sensual Seduction” – Snoop Dogg

Song of the Year
“What a Job” – Devin the Dude f/Andre 3000 & Snoop Dogg

Pour Out A Little Liquor
Pimp C
Ike Turner
Alice Coltrane
Billy Henderson
Oscar Peterson
Victims at Virginia Tech
Victims in the Minneapolis Bridge collapse
Soldiers & victims in conflicts around the world
And anyone you lost this year: rest in peace.

About Justin Jacoby Smith

I’m Justin Jacoby Smith. Some people call me “hoosteen.” I live just outside Washington, DC. I like punk rock & country songs. I’m a data monkey. I Occupy DC, because a better world is possible. I’m a cohost & contributor for Voices of the 99%. I’ve served on the editorial board of the DC Mic Check. I briefly developed digital strategy for The Parley. I write poems. Sometimes I get published. Dig it.

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