It’s been a year full of new music from heavy hitters such as Kanye, Nas, Lupe Fiasco and many more, and as the end approaches, so begins #MuLa’s year end lists! First up is our 10 most disappointing albums of the year; not necessarily bad albums, just ones that didn’t meet up to high hopes we had for them. Check back regularly as we will be releasing our top 20 singles, 10 worst singles and the coveted top 20 albums (as well as a few others).
Maybach Music Group – Self Made 2
After the incredible success of Self Made 1, which propelled Wale’s career to new heights, kick started Meek Mill’s and cemented Rozay’s place as being the Bawse, hopes were high when an announcement of a sequel was made. It was to introduce underground favourite Stalley to the mainstream, and announce the arrival of R&B veteran Omarion to MMG.
Unfortunatley, what we actually got was an album seemingly consisting mostly of filler material, and there was no stand out gem like Volume 1’s “Ima Boss” or “Tupac Back”.
However, there were a few good songs, such as the Ross and French Montana duet “All Birds”, which is a trap smash and “I Be Puttin’ On”, featuring the robotic crooning of Roscoe Dash. The standout song however was “M.I.A.”, a collaboration between Omarion and Wale, and it sounds nothing like MMG have made before. An arthouse-y type R&B song really shines on a gangsta rap album, and it goes to show if MMG stepped out of their comfort zone more, this could of been special.
Here’s our pick from Self Made 2: Omarion – M.I.A. (ft. Wale)
The xx – Coexist
Despite what the critics (and indie kids) are saying, we genuinely didn’t think this was all that special. With a critically acclaimed debut album already under their cap, there was great expectations for the bands follow up effort.
Audiences were promised with a more Jamie xx influenced sophomore album… instead it was more of the same chilled out nu-R&B/indie music. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, because the album did have its highs, but the first album had such a pleasant shock factor; it was so new and fresh. This album doesn’t have that kind of shock. It would of been interesting to see The xx take a more garage route like Jamie on his solo stuff. But then again, I suppose that’s why he does solo records, to distance himself from The xx. Oh well, I was disappointed.
Here’s our pick from Coexist: The xx – Angels
Example – The Evolution Of Man
Now no matter what hipsters will try to tell you, Example was not a better artist when he was making grime tunes. It just didn’t suit. When he released Won’t Go Quietly back in 2010 he seemed to of found his niche; combining dubstep/dance/and rap to make a colourful album full of bounce and party songs. Move to 2011 and E.G. released Playing In The Shadows a darker album; not quite as profound as it’s predecessor but a good album nonetheless.
Now we have his newest release. Evolution has just confused me, and by the sounds of it confused Example. Most of the songs have taken a grunge sounding route with heavy guitars (often sounding awful) and very little of the previous optimism in older songs. Also, he’s becoming a miserable little dick and basically every song is a tribute to an ex-girlfriend… gayyy.
Here’s our pick from The Evolution Of Man: Example – Close Enemies
OFWGKTA – The Odd Future Tape Volume 2
2010 and 2011 were massive years for the Californian collective, with hipsters, then bloggers and finally just about everyone hyping them up as the biggest thing since Wu-Tang or Eminem (ludicrous, I know). Lead man Tyler, The Creator’s major debut Goblin was released to critical acclaim , one of their members was kidnapped and taken to Samoa by their own mother and they had the most talked about singer in recent memory providing hooks. It seemed like they couldn’t lose.
However, the groups last effort did not quite reach the critical or commercial heights they had hoped for. Although a good album (not great, but good), it’s a bit all over the place and Frank Ocean wasn’t as prominent as we would of hoped. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one expecting a little more from them.
Here’s our pick from The Odd Future Tape Volume 2: OFWGKTA – Oldie
Lupe Fiasco – Food And Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1
Lupe had disowned his last radio friendly effort Lasers. He returned to his classic debuts title of Food And Liquor. He had pissed off Hip-Hop legend Pete Rock. He had taken an “arty” plain black cover. The stage was set for Wasalu to return to the dizzying heights he had once experienced, and prove to all the skeptics that he hadn’t fallen off and was still one of the most lyrical rappers in the game.
He did not.
F&L2 was mostly forgettable, suffered from severe personality disorder, with a pop song here, a conscious song there. Unfortunatley he did not deliver. I really wanted to see you win Lu.
Here’s our pick from Food And Liquor 2: Lupe Fiasco – Lamborghini Angels
B.o.B. – Strange Clouds
Bobby Ray has always been slightly pop, and anyone who tells you different is a liar. It’s what set him apart from other rappers in the first place; he had a great ear for melody, could sing, rap and play guitar. His debut had massive hits like “Nothing On You” and “Airplanes” which were huge commercial successes, without selling his soul (cough Nicki Minaj cough).
He takes a similar route on Strange Clouds with a very radio-friendly record. However, it just doesn’t have the magic of this previous effort. This album has no “Nothing On You”, it has no “Airplanes”, and without any recognisable backbone, it fell flat.
Here’s our pick from Strange Clouds: B.o.B. – Ray Bands
WZRD – WZRD
A collaboration project between KiD CuDi and Dot Da Genius, many heads were scratched when Cudi announced he would be releasing a rock album. Rappers and rock don’t mix (see: Lil Wayne).
However Cudi has never really been just a rapper, and is renown for his boundary crossing and unorthodox sound. Songs like Pursuit Of Happiness and Erase Me from his “rap” albums already sound partially like rock songs, so hell why not Cudder? Give it a shot.
Disappointingly Cudi couldn’t quite deliver a solid album, although it has created debate. Critics have either praised it or panned it, and unfortunately at #MuLa we didn’t like it. It lacked replay-ability, and was perhaps something Cudi should of released for free as a mixtape instead of a full project. It definitely isn’t quite on Cobain level as he professed.
Despite this, there are two very strong moments on the LP; Teleport 2 Me Jamie and Love Hard. You should listen to them.
Here’s our pick from WZRD: WZRD – Teleport 2 Me, Jamie (ft. Desire)
Chiddy Bang – Breakfast
I have been a massive fan of Chiddy Bang since i first heard Opposite Of Adults and Truth a few years ago. With the production of Xaphoon Jones the duo were unique, flipping samples unheard of in the hip-hop world and creating something completely individual.
However, I think their time came and went before the album was released. Critics absolutely loved their mixtapes The Swelly Express and Air Swell and they had massive cosigns from Pharell and Q-Tip. However, the next few projects lacked the inspiration the others had and fell on mostly deaf ears.
By the time Breakfast was released, most had unfortunately forgotten the hype behind Chiddy Bang. Luckily “Ray Charles” was a relative hit in the UK, but sadly their first album failed to make the splash they (and we) had hoped for.
Here’s our pick from Breakfast: Chiddy Bang – Out 2 Space (ft. Gordon Voidwell)
(well we can’t find it on the internet, so just buy the album or something…)
DJ Khaled – Kiss The Ring
Ok. DJ Khaled may be a fat Palestinian man. He may do fuck all work on his own albums. He may claim everything he releases is a fucking “movie”. He may have Khaled as a surname and a forename (no, seriously, his name is Khaled bin Abdul Khaled). But one thing you have to give him, is that his albums are usually events in the hip-hop community.
Enlisting just about everybody who is hot in rap right now is the usual formula for his albums, and Kiss The Ring is no different. Last years effort We The Best Forever blew up incredibly, mostly because of the Drake-assisted smash “I’m On One”. Kiss The Ring unfortunately does not have that kind of hit. Although “Take It To The Head” tried to recapture it’s magic it wasn’t quite as big a success, and it did produce some hilarious irony after Drake allegedly bottled Chris Brown.
Once again with Khaled, it’s a collection of street records, with no real cohesion, and unfortunately doesn’t have any records which stand out immensely. Better luck next year.
Here’s our pick from Kiss The Ring: DJ Khaled – I Wish You Would (ft. Kanye West & Rick Ross)
G.O.O.D. Music – Cruel Summer
I really like this album. I regret marking it so lowly in my review. It is a good album. However, when Kanye is at the helm of a project you expect greatness. Like real greatness.
Cruel Summer is probably one of my favourite albums of the year, but also one that disappointed me the most. Similarly to Kanye’s project last year with Jay-Z (Watch The Throne) I was expecting an instant classic. When you have Kanye West, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Common, Mr Hudson, Q-Tip, Mos Def, Cyhi The Prynce, D’Banj, Teyana Taylor and Pusha T all working on the same album, you expect the best. This was good, but not the best. Sorry.
Here’s our pick from Cruel Summer: Big Sean – Clique (ft. Jay Z & Kanye West)
10: MMG – Self Made 2
9: The xx – Coexist
8: Example – The Evolution Of Man
7: OFWGKTA – The OF Tape 2
6: Lupe Fiasco – Food and Liquor 2
5: B.o.B. – Strange Clouds
4: WZRD – WZRD
3: Chiddy Bang – Breakfast
2: DJ Khaled – Kiss The Ring
1: G.O.O.D. Music: Cruel Summer