Best Limited Edition Vinyl
My Bangin-est Beats of 2013 came from the bi-coastal duo of LA’s Bisquite Powerpoppin and Virginia’s BlakeNine. Their latest effort sounds like nothing I’ve heard. The record has its peaks and valleys but “Bloody Mary,” “Savings,” and “30 Something Love” are all candidates for my Song Of The Year. Play them LOUD.
Best Limited Edition Cassette
Mockingbird Lane, by Magic Trick
Tim Cohen’s a good friend. He’s also a great songwriter and musician. When I went to visit him in November he had a briefcase full of these. He handed me number 76 out of 100 explaining, “that’s the year I was born.” It hasn’t left my walkman since. To paraphrase the icon(oclast)ic YZ, the desert’s been good to Tim.
Best Hometown Release
Southwest Virginia’s got some great home studios. With the first CD released out of his recently remade studio-space, Old Man Kelly’s officially joins the ranks. A nice blend of originals and traditional American rhythms. Pass the Whiskey. Blacksburg Strong!
Best Music to Drive To
According to the Beatrock Music website, this 16-track instrumental CD is an “Extremely limited pressing” (but it looks like they’ve still got some available). Not to be played on country roads. More fitting for urban highways—like driving into Philadelphia to see Michael Carter-Williams play.
Best Not-A-Love Song
“Tennis Court,” by Lorde
When your ten year old cousin (once removed) insists that this goes on your list, you better listen. Thanks Rosie, you were right!
Most Honorable Mention: “West Los” by Substance Abuse
I played this video for a friend of mine and his response was, “I get suspicious any time I see too many men hanging around with no women.” Nevertheless, Eso Tre (who has a law degree) breaks it down better than any hip-hop sociologist could ever hope to.
Anthony Kwame Harrison is associate professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Virginia Tech. He’s author of Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification (Temple University Press, 2009) and a longtime dabbler in the art of rhyming. In 1997 Kwame purchased a Magnivox MAS-300 3CD/Dual Cassette/Radio shelf-unit from a man in Camillus, NY. It recently broke. He’s looking to get a new stereo.