Sunday, December 17th, 2006

Best Music of 2006

Ten is not enough. Especially this year, which sucked for sales, but has been a well above average year for enjoyment. It’s possible this may even be looked at in the future as a historic year for a few reasons.

1) Dubstep. Check back with me in 2008 to tell me if I was wrong. In the meantime, get Mary Ann Hobbs’ epochal January 2006 Breezeblock set and see what we mean.

2) Youth movement. Lupe Fiasco, The Pack, Skream, JME, Cassie, Pigeon John, Arctic Monkeys, the list goes on. It’s true that for old gunz like us everything gets younger every year. Still it seemed like young artists this year sounded very new. 30 isn’t the new 20, as much as many of us would like it to be. But maybe 19 is. See what happens by the time they all hit their mid-20s.

3) The ongoing disintegration of the album as a profit center and as an artistic end. Soon, if not already, the only folks who will care about albums will be thirty-plus-somethings and critics. (Guilty of both, but please note that I didn’t say mixtapes or DJ sets.) Some of my favorite records this year–like the homie Shadow’s misunderstood “The Outsider”–were less great high-concept albums than great works of taste and craft and passion and concision.

You can find me Tuesday on WNYC’s Soundcheck talking about all this, if you’re interested. (Podcast will be here.)

So here we go. I don’t rank, I just list. Post or link yours or comment, too, fam.

Toppa Di Top

Albums Extended Mix

Matt Africa & B-Cause :: Soul Boulders
Aloe Blacc :: Shine Through
Arctic Monkeys :: I Do Not Want Whatever You Say I Am If I Wasn’t Then Why Would You Call Me That You (or whatever it’s called…)
The Bamboos :: Step It Up
Burial :: Burial
Cham :: Ghetto Story
The Coup :: Pick A Bigger Weapon
Cut Chemist :: The Audience’s Listening
DJ Shadow :: The Outsider
E-40 :: My Ghetto Report Card
Ghostface Killah :: Fishscale
Honeycut :: The Day I Turned To Glass
Kode9 + Spaceape :: Memories Of The Future
Lupe Fiasco :: Food and Liquor
Pigeon John :: …And The Summertime Pool Party
Scritti Politti :: White Bread Black Beer
Skream :: Skream!
Youngsta & Hatcha :: Dubstep Allstars, Volume 4


Alaine :: “Deeper”
The Bamboos feat. Alice Russell :: “Step It Up”
Buju Banton :: “Driver A”
Cassie :: “Me & U”
Clearlake :: “You Can’t Have Me”
The Clipse :: “Mr. Me Too”
Digital Mystikz (Coki) vs. Richie Spice :: “Burnin'” remix
Digital Mystikz (Coki) :: “Tortured”
Digital Mystikz (Mala) :: “Anti-War Dub”
DJ Zinc, Makoto + Stamina :: “Thinking Back”
Fat Freddy’s Drop :: “Cays Crays” (Digital Mystikz remix)
The Federation :: “18 Dummy”
Lady Sovereign :: “Love Me Or Hate Me”
Lupe Fiasco :: “Kick Push”
Jay-Z :: “Show Me Whatcha Got”
JME :: “Serious”
Juvenile :: “Get Ya Hustle On”
The Pack :: “Vans”
Pearl Jam :: “Worldwide Suicide”
Perfect :: “No Badda Mi”
Redeyes :: “Pusherman”
George Rrumbarru + Birdwave :: “Gating”
The Team :: “Just Go”


Ammunition & Blackdown Present :: The Roots of Dubstep
Big Apple Rappin’
The Celluloid Years
DJ Spooky Presents :: In Fine Style 50,000 Volts of Trojan
The Fania Catalog!
History of Hip-Hop Radio, Volume 1: 1986-1991
Incredible Bongo Band :: Bongo Rock
Jackie Mittoo :: Wishbone
Jamaica To Toronto, 1967-1974
Soul Sides, Volume 1
Tortoise :: A Lazarus Taxon
What It Is!
Greg Wilson :: Credit To The Edit

Also Nice

Long and Short and Mixed, Players

4 Hero Presents Brasilika
120 Days :: 120 Days
Beck :: The Nymphormation
Benji B :: T5 Soul Sessions No. 5
Black Milk :: Broken Wax
Blue Scholars :: The Long March EP
Booka Shade :: Movements
Boxcutter :: Oneiric
Buju Banton :: Too Bad
The Clipse :: Heaven Hath No Bloggers
Congotronics 2
Dabrye :: Two/Three
The Decemberists :: The Crane Wife
J Dilla :: Donuts
J Dilla :: The Shining
The Eternals :: Heavy International
Los Abandoned :: Mixtape
Lyrics Born :: Overnight Encore
Nas :: Hip-Hop Used To Be Dead
Public Enemy :: Bring That Beat Back
Quantic :: Announcement To An Answer
Rhymefest :: Blue Collar
Spank Rock :: YoYoYoYoYoYoYoYoYoYo Yes!
Tommy Guerrero :: From The Soil To The Soul
Traxamillion :: The Slapp Addict
TV On The Radio :: Me Want Cooookie Mountain Ahhmnumnumnumnum!
Vex’D :: DeGenerate
Mary Anne Hobbs Presents Warrior Dubz

posted by @ 2:23 pm | 6 Comments

6 Responses to “Best Music of 2006”

  1. Kuma says:

    I’m super curious because admittedly, as much as I am familiar with your work, dubstep at number one from you comes as a big surprise. So, from your perspective, what is it about dubstep?

  2. Jeff says:

    hey…you like it! it must be good, huh? one thing i’m finding interesting is the critical reaction to skream, tho. lots of folks are downing the album when it moves away from the dark sounds.

    but i think it’s as if the burial and kode9 records make more sense to many critics–there are the obvious referents to the bristol sound and in the case of kode9 to the convergence of linton kwesi johnson and tricky. while i have really enjoyed the hyperdub releases, and think they are brilliant, they can also be rather cold and detached.

    i much prefer skream and digital mystikz, who may lean more steppers related, in the tradition of folks from jah shaka to steel pulse to dub funk association. at least they are more romanticist than empiricist, more melodic than ambient. thinking, say, “tortured” and “dutch flowerz”. they certainly work better on the dancefloor…i’ve seen it.

    anyway, interesting critical dichotomy to be forming so early in the genre’s development.

  3. CHINAWHITE says:



    IRIE DOLE (jah warrior shelter-hi-fi)
    ROSS HOGG(ital selection)
    B.CAUSE (4Onefunk)

    1840 HAIGHT
    $5 10-11PM
    $10 AFTER

  4. Anonymous says:

    definite favorite this year: Visionaries – We’re the ones we’ve been waiting for

  5. Anonymous says:

    My fav. reissue this Year is
    Slum Village – Fantastic Vol. 1

    No doubt, one of Jay Dees best work.

    Also worth checkin it out:
    Murs & 9th Wonder – Murrays Revenge
    Aim – Flight 602

  6. Sherree112 says:

    I love the fact that your giving Lupe a shout out! I know that he’s been trying to get into the music game for a long time, but he had the business sense enough not to enter something he couldn’t control. I admire that in him and I’m glad to see that someone who has been in the music game as long as you have can respect the man’s craft as well.

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