The Ten Best New York City Rap Albums of 2012

Categories: Lists

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Sean Price

There's been a repetition about year-end New York rap round-ups for a while now. They usually involve noting how the city isn't the commercial powerhouse of hip-hop it once was (shocker!), and then speculating on whether a few artists might be somehow bringing it back (from precisely which era is never quite specified). Tradition dictates there's also some fleeting talk about Nas's one customary moment of excellence (this year: "The Don") before he adds another installment to his stockpile of bat-shit crazy long-players. (Disclaimer: Nas stans, this might not be the list for you.)

In truth, the industry's changed to the point where it shouldn't be about musing on New York's place in some fictional rap league of influence, but celebrating the music that's being proudly created on the doorstep. Which is what we've done here, by rounding up the ten greatest albums of the year from hometown artists. Salute!

See also:
- Meat Guns, Weed Brownies, and Riesling: Our Conversation With Roc Marciano
- Every Food Reference on Action Bronson's New Album Rare Chandeliers
- Sean Price: "Cornell West Is the Devil"

10. Children Of The Night, Queens... Revisited

When "Kids From Queens" dropped it hit home as some sort of lost Rawkus recording that you wouldn't have been surprised to hear Black Attack pop up on. The song's become the calling card for the trio of Nasty Nigel, Lansky Jones and Remy Banks, but their full-length mixtape hints at future moves in a broader direction: There are collaborations with some of the lower echelons of the Odd Future rabble ("Trust" and "Higher Learning"), while "'86 Mets" is gloriously gratifying outer-borough rap. In other hirsute news, Nasty Nigel is a contender to mount a challenge to Action Bronson's Respect The Mustache movement.

9. Joey Bada$$, 1999

Flatbush teenager Joey Bada$$ sparked the year off with his incendiary underground "Survival Tactics" video and closed things out by performing a rendition of "Waves" on the Jimmy Fallon Show backed by the Roots. He might never again experience another year that escalates quite so rapidly, but his long-awaited (for a mixtape) 1999 project proves his talent as the leader of the oversized Pro Era clique. Now he just needs to shake off the unfair shackles that want to define him as a solely retro-obsessed rapper.

8. Sean Price, Mic Tyson

The promotional stickers plastered around the city put it best: Sean Price can fuckin' rap.



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