From a strictly quantitative view, Starlito owned Nashville hip-hop this year. Five mixtapes, an epic video album and a slew of singles — nobody was working harder than the artist formerly known as All Star Cashville Prince. But if you flip it around and look at the scene from a qualitative standpoint, then ... well, 'Lito still wins — we're still trying to wrap our heads around the emotional and narrative complexity of this May's Mental WARfare mixtape and probably will be for years. Hands down, bar none, Starlito is the best rapper in the city. There are few rappers who can hold our attention for more than a couple of songs, but we find ourselves hanging on every syllable that 'Lito spits. And this year, the dude has spit a lot of syllables.
Gummy Soul ruled the remix roost this year. Their Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to the Pharcyde made a big splash on the national scene, garnering co-signs from heavyweight hip-hop communities and pubs like Okayplayer and Ego Trip. Ducko McFli rolled out of town with Drake's Club Paradise Tour and came back to create Return of the Real, one of the rapper-producer's best works yet. Dee Goodz kicked the year off with the stellar The Introduction of Donald G full-length and made a surprise Bonnaroo appearance with EDM giant MiMOSA. Fyutch — formerly Future the Artist — changed his name and dropped Mr. Flattop, a serious banger of an album. Rio released Good Morning, Dreamer — a sublime piece of modern pop — while the Bohemian Hype Cult and Day Old Records crew kept things weird, pushing the possibilities of local hip-hop into hithertofore unknown realms.
In clubland, The Boom Bap gang brought some serious legends to town — DJ Premier, Rob Swift, Rich Medina — while the Recognize crew kept the old school alive and jumping every Tuesday night, and The Ayevee Show became the spot to catch a great local live performance. Kendrick Lamar popped War Memorial's rap cherry with one of the best performances we've seen in years, and sorta-semi-sometimes-local Yelawolf positively destroyed Bonnaroo before packing out Cannery in November. Arena-rap at the Enormodome became the norm (finally!) with blowout appearances at Bridgestone from Drake, Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross. Basically, the local hip-hop scene's social calendar has been packed to the gills since the get-go, and we don't see 2013 being any different.
10. Kaby, Seasonal Flavors
9. Petty 615, Petty Presley
8. Classic Williams, re(FLEX)tions
7. Fyutch, Mr. Flattop
6. Macro x Treekeeper, Welcome to Bohemia
5. Rio, Good Morning, Dreamer
4. Jota Ese, Who's Pimpin' Who, Jota Ese?
3. Ducko McFli, Return of the Real
2. Gummy Soul, Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde
1. Starlito, Mental WARfare
@Tony Clifton: It only took a week and a half to ring my bell. Funny…
@P. (u) Wilson: I offer information and interesting news, you call me names. Name calling…
You can do it Pete. Feeding the trolls is pointless.
No pics of the thong wedgie? Damn!
Whatever, Gast. I could post stuff that reflects my attitudes all day and you'd never…