This is not an end-of-the year list. This is an annal. The annal is an interesting way of chronicling events because it explicitly shows the interests of the writer. I chose to make this annal just to highlight how one’s knowledge of a field is overwhelming influenced by one’s personal interests and tastes. It’s an obvious point, but in world of music writing, people often use descriptive terms like “timeless” and “classic” to mask how the things they praise are essentially just the things they like. The other benefit of the annal is that is helps to illustrate how one can amass significant knowledge of something (in this case, a genre) and still have a very limited perspective. In short, this is my 2012 hip-hop experience, y’all!
Date Unknown/irrelevant: XXL releases its annual 2012 Freshman Class List, further demonstrating the unreliability and silliness of the list. In retrospect, Angel Haze, Joey Bad@$$, Nitty Scott, MC., Azealia Banks, Gunplay and other artists with significant buzz, are noticeably absent.
January 20: On the third anniversary of Obama’s historic inauguration, Red Tails is released, showing the world that Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry aren’t alone in their inability to make shitty movies for black people.
Feb 8: Earl comes home.
February 24: Kevin Hart throws J. Cole an alley oop.
February 26: Travyon Martin is murdered.
March 7: I become an intern for RESPECT.
April 6: Danny Brown and Ab-Soul team up for a potentially hard-hitting song and Ab-Soul nearly ruins it with his stupid hippie bullshit.
Good Friday: “Mercy” by G.O.O.D. Music is released, unleashing 2 Chainz to the world that now wants to give him back.
June 17: Haleek Maul shows us the dark side of Barbados.
June 21: I enter the Peter Rosenberg vs Lil’ Wayne debate, then renege in the comments a few days later.
June 27: Google introduces hip-hop to Kafka.
July 4: Frank Ocean is beautifully frank.
July 9: Nitty Scott, MC calls for interviewers to ask tougher questions.
July 10: Frank Ocean releases an album that’s also beautiful, but I don’t want contradict the entry above, so…
July 15: I Heart NPR Interns.
July 25: Lupe Fiasco reminds hip-hop of the pain that gives it life.
August 3: Kendrick Lamar readies the world for his upcoming album. Months later, this song is played at college parties.
August 19: Slaughterhouse releases their mixtape On the House. It is better than their album, welcome to: OUR HOUSE.
August 20: DOOM releases Key to the Kuffs, a collaborative effort with Jneiro Jarel, a producer who’s name is way easier to pronounce than it looks.
August 23: Lupe Fiasco casually and arrogantly addresses the word “bitch,” confirming his decline.
September 3: Talib Kweli unimaginatively and wastefully appropriates the best movie of 2011.
September 14: Kreayshawn releases her debut album; it sells less than J.R. Writer’s debut album.
November 2: The RZA takes killer bee swag to Jungle Village. The soundtrack is the best collaborative release of the year.
November 29: I regret reneging in the comments on the Peter Rosenberg vs Lil’ Wayne piece I wrote in June.