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Vital Albums – 2012 Free Mixtapes

By Craig McManus. Posted in Free Music, R&B, Rap, Vital Albums | No Comments »

Thus far, 2012 has been a fantastic year for free mixtapes and LPs.  While there hasn’t been anything with the widespread impact of The Weeknd’s 2011 trilogy, the depth and breadth of free releases demonstrates that artists across genres are taking advantage of the internet to get their music into people’s hands like never before.  In furtherance of our goal at Music is Good to highlight some lesser known, but no less important music, below are three that should be a part of any music collection:

Domo Genesis & Alchemist – No Idols

Odd Future member Domo Genesis and Dilated Peoples associate and all around top notch producer Alchemist hooked up on what is a fantastic showcase of one of the lesser known Odd Future MCs.  Alchemist’s production provides a perfect compliment to Domo’s lyrics as he mixes up the speed, style, and flow of the album from track to track.  In fact, the beats and samples used here would form a top notch beat tape on their own, but they never overwhelm Domo or otherwise steal focus from Domo’s technical flow (that thankfully avoids the shock therapy for which Odd Future first became famous).  In addition to Domo, there are several guests MCs on the album, Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, and Action Bronson among them, but there is no question that No Idols is Domo Genesis’ coming out party.

I/O – Isolation

Isolation is New York R&B artist of Nigerian descent Ayo Olatunji’s latest release under the I/O moniker (after 2011’s 8 Bit Love), and the title is apt.  The album’s use of space and volume evoke a feeling of loneliness by creating an illusion of distance between the music and listener that can be felt even on headphones.  Somehow, however, this feeling never crosses over into brooding.  Instead, the mix and Olatunji’s silky vocals simply create a meditative mood that is perfect for quiet thought, while the often bouncy synths and low end propel the music to a hopeful place.  This album is highly recommended for fans of The Weeknd and Frank Ocean.

Joey Bada$$ – 1999

Joey Bada$$ is a 17 year old hip hop prodigy and member of The Progressive Era (Pro Era) collective.  With production from other Pro Era Members, as well as J Dilla and MF Doom beats, Joey has created a true throwback to golden era east coast hip hop, which is odd since Joey was born after A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory, Nas’ Illmatic, and most of the other albums that clearly influenced him were released.  Nonetheless, 1999 is old school New York boom-bap at its absolute best.  In fact, this album is so well done that it almost certainly will be included on my year end ‘best of 2012’ list.  Any fans of golden era hip hop that haven’t already done so must immediately download 1999, as well as its follow up, Rejex, consisting of tracks that didn’t quite make the cut for 1999.

An author and editor at MiG, Craig lives in Minnesota with his wife and son and is an attorney in his real life. Once upon a time Craig played the trumpet and spent four years in the Hawkeye Marching Band and pep band. These days Craig finds himself most often listening to experimental rock, hip hop, and post punk, but you can see everything he's listening to at: Craig is not ashamed to admit the first concert he ever attended was New Kids on the Block.
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