Milan’s Aquadrop is crazy sick with it. Yenom is his futuristic trap explorations, an inventive and catchy take on the sound. I played the fuck out of the title track and “Look” in my DJ sets early in the year, and the whole LP is dope. This guy has music coursing in his blood and you need to hear it.
2. Raider Klan
Tales From the Underground (Raider Klan)
Urgent, raw and vital are the words that come to mind. This young Florida rap crew, led by SpaceGhostPurrrp and Yung Simmie, dropped a very nice debut group album. While not every track feels fully realized, much of the material shines. I’m excited to see what’s to come when these artists mature a bit more.
3. Mumdance & Logos
This long-awaited collaborative EP from these two U.K. bass-music staples is an exciting ride through dark and icy-cold beats. Taking influence from grime, minimal techno and break-beat hardcore, they are pushing boundaries and daring you not to like it.
4. Rockie Fresh
(Maybach Music Group)
I really felt Rockie’s vibe as soon as I heard him; the young Chicago rapper is cool and collected in his swagger. The beat choices on this release are fresh and the spitting is radio-friendly without trying or compromising. Appearances by Lunice, The Gift and Nipsey Hussle are icing.
5. DJ Rashad
Double Cup (Hyperdub)
With a number of guests — including DJ Spinn and Addison Groove — Rashad has crafted a collection of next-level footwork bangers. More exploratory and soulful than much of Rashad’s previous work, Double Cup has an added level of depth that makes the juke sound far more engaging.
6. Rome Fortune
Beautiful Pimp (DJ Scream, DJ Spinz, Gianni Lee presents)
Here’s a really well-produced mixtape from Atlanta: Beats from Childish Major, C4 and others come to life with Rome Fortune’s vivid storytelling and dexterous flows. When I listen to this tape, my shoulders start grooving and I can’t help but smile.
Full disclosure: Koncepts came out on one of my labels, so take this with a boulder of salt if you like. But it really stuck with me as a favorite this year. Unique and catchy tracks like “Shawty Moon” linger with you in a pop way without the pop clichés. A strong debut from the Las Vegas producer.
Long Live the Jazz (Deep Medi Musik)
U.K. badbwoy Swindle really flipped the grime game with big synth licks with jazz overtones. This album runs the gamut of grime and garage vibes — all stitched together with funky and exciting melodies that are sure to grab you.
9. Valentino Khan
Trap Thursdays (Valentino Khan/Do Androids Dance)
Trap was an undeniable force in the U.S. (and global) EDM scene in 2013. Mr. Khan is a top-notch L.A. producer/DJ who has been controlling dancefloors with his own sick productions — including these nine which he gave away for free on Thursdays early in the year.
Home Dancers (Car Crash Set Ice Rink)
Damn, it’s so hard to narrow it down to just 10 releases. Deech edged his way in ’cause I’m hype on the feel-good track “4 U.” Overall, this four-song EP is a very melodic excursion into quirky future garage with a hint of eski influence.
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