01. Mike Will Made-It’s Production
“No producer in any genre stood out, inspired and influenced me more than Mike Will. Already on my radar thanks to his symbiotic relationship with Future and his string of street anthems, this year Mike Will’s output was something to marvel at. The sheer quantity, quality and diversity of his music this year has been something astonishing, and I think the whole world has started to take notice. I still remember being at Fader Fort at SXSW this year when Trae the Truth did a surprise set before Future, and he did ‘Screwed Up,’ a relatively new track at the time. A good portion of the crowd actually cheered when the Mike Will Made It / Eardrummaz tag was heard. Fans getting hype just from hearing a producer’s tag, now that’s something I never thought I’d ever see.”
02. Future & Ciara’s Relationship
“Kanye and Kim may have the monopoly on mainstream American tabloids, and the Royal Couple may have the monopoly on the UK papers, but Ciara and Future are the true ultimate power couple of 2013. Besides being super cute with their matching ring finger tattoos, they have an amazing artistic chemistry, where you can see elements of the two rubbing off on each other. Exhibit A of this would be ‘Body Party’ which also serves as evidence for Mike Will’s top spot on my list, and is definitely one of my top tracks of the year. In summary, Ciara + Future Forever.”
03. Young Chicago’s Rap Scene
B”etween discovering Lil Bibby, Lil Herb, & Young Chop’s 8TMG crew, to getting to work with a number of Chicago’s brightest future stars, Chicago definitely was the regional / city scene that captured my heart and mind this year. I barely scratched the surface of all the talented artists and sounds coming out of Chicago with my Out of Towners tape, which really only offers a small slice of what the new Chicago scene is putting out. There’s a lot going on in Chicago, get on it.”
04. Yeezus’ Production
“Kanye wasn’t going to top My Twisted Dark Fantasy in my eyes and in the eyes of many others, but as he stated in the Zane Lowe interview he’s already shown us he can “do perfect” so he wanted to give us a new experience. While we certainly got a different sonic experience, it’s really the production of the album and those involved that make Yeezus a Best of 2013 item of mine. Bringing talent from the ‘underground,’ and working with artists such as Hudson Mohawke, Evian Christ, Arca, Lunice, Daft Punk, Brodinski (I’m going to stop, ya’ll have read the liner notes), is a somewhat unprecedented move for someone of Kanye’s stature. For all the evidence that Kanye is controlling and egotistical, he certainly shared the creative reigns with a number of far lesser known individuals, and created some truly unique collaborative environments and songs. Yeezus isn’t my favourite LP of the year, but its up there, and it’s different in every best way possible.”
05. Young Scooter – Street Lottery Mixtape
After a year in which I listened to more mixtapes than any other, a tape dropped on New Years Day 2013 was able to hold the top spot the entire year, and ends 2013 as my mixtape of the year. I’ve listened to this tape start to finish more times than any other full length this year, and I’m still not tired of it. I don’t think there’s a better 5 song run on any album this year than ‘Julio’, ‘On It’, ‘Beautiful Day’, ‘Nothing Important Than Money’, and ‘Made it Through The Struggle’. Street Lottery II has already been slated for a 1/1/14 release date, lets see if lightning can strike twice.
06. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
This would be my favorite LP of the year, not counting unofficial releases like mixtapes or Jai Paul’s release. Vampire Weekend has been a favorite band of mine since their debut in 2008, and at the time I had a lot of uncertainty about how they would continue to evolve sonically over the years. Well so far the evolution of VW has been nothing short of amazing. Modern Vampires took a lot of risks, and got pretty experimental for a band that has a pretty established sound off the back of Vampire Weekend and Contra. To me it was exhilirating to see a band I’d grown to love so much over the years really try to push themselves in new directions.
07. Jacques Greene’s Remix of ‘Body Party’
My top remix of the year, as well as my #1 track I enjoyed dropping in sets this year. Mr. Greene was kind enough to give Brendan and I a rough copy of this masterpiece before we went on our West Coast Tour this summer, and it was the one track we played at every party. It worked with every crowd, at nearly any part of the set, and I never got tired of it. Like I said before the original is amongst my favorite tracks of the year, and usually I hate to hear remixes of tracks I really really love. This was 100% not the case with this remix, it takes the song to a whole new level, and always kicks the party into the next gear.
08. L.I.E.S. Records
In terms of putting out 12″ vinyl records, few came close to touching L.I.E.S.’ output this year, and there’s been far too many good releases from the camp to name them all in a few short lines. What really makes them the record label of the year for me, is the fact that their stamp on a record from someone I’ve never heard of before is enough to get me to listen to and buy that record. Greg Beato stands out in particular as someone who I had never heard of before, but saw the L.I.E.S. imprint on his PMA release, and gave it a listen, and man am I glad I did.
09. Ryan Hemsworth
This was my dude’s year! He makes my best of list, due to his constantly inspiring musical output, top level comedic tweeting, and for being an overall swell guy. Truly one of my favourite producers of 2013, which I tell him all the time, but being the humble dude he is I’m sure he doesn’t think I really mean it. Well here it is etched in digital stone: Ryan Hemsworth, one of the best of 2013.
10. Attack on Titan
Sorry FACT, I know this is a music site and all, but the Japanese Anime Attack on Titan definitely makes it on to my top 10 for 2013. I actually haven’t watched much Anime since I was a kid living in Japan, but I kept hearing about this new series, so I started watching the first episode, and was instantly hooked. They have a pretty great soundtrack as well, and it definitely is something I recommend everyone checks out. I’m not going to spoil anything but just watch one episode, and before you know it you’ll have watched the whole season and not slept for a few days.