1. J-Zone & Pablo Martin - The Du-Rites LP (Old Maid Entertainment/Ilegalia Records)
"Can you dig it? If so, get a plate of neckbones, beans, and rice and put on your Old Spice. The Du-Rites are here to pour some fried fish grease on your kale salad. They’ll out-Funk you so bad, you’ll give up the Funk and start making ballads. Rollin' with Soul like a 1979 Cadillac when you step on the gas. Groovin' so hard, they’ll knock the boogie man on his a**,” writes Neighborhood Wino & Music Connoisseur Pimpin' Polyester Pete on the LP's reverse sleeve. The Du-Rites LP is currently available digitally, with politically-charged bonus track "Moving to The Moon," on either J-Zone's personal or The Du-Rites Bandcamp profiles or on sunset orange wax from Old Maid Entertainment/Ilegalia Records in conjunction with Redefinition Records. "Ever order a kale salad and discover a neckbone in it? That’s Funk! Ever write a love letter on a chicken grease-stained napkin? That’s Funk!..."
2. Childish Gambino - Awaken, My Love! (Glassnote Records)
3. The Men - Devil Music (We Are The Men Records)
4. Júníus Meyvant - Floating Harmonies (Record Records)
5. Run The Jewels - RTJ3 * (Mass Appeal Records)
6. Smoove & Turrell - Crown Posada (Jalapeno Records)
7. Sulu & Excelsior - Eddie Romero (self-released)
8. ECHO BEDS - NEW ICONS OF A VILE FAITH (Temporal Decompression/Black Box Tapes)
9. my trippin' mojo - Edda's Garden (Resistant Mindz)
10. Leonard Charles - Basement Donuts (HIT+RUN)
11. Jenova 7 & Eddie Shinn - A Cosmic Safari (Cold Busted)
12. Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered. (Top Dawg Ent.)
13. Hayden Calnin - Cut Love Pt. I-II (Woodlyn Records)
14. The Mobbs - PIFFLE! (Dirty Water Records)
15. The Olympians - The Olympians (Daptone Records)
* which honestly, sits at #5 simply because I haven't really had enough time to sit with RTJ3 since Christmas Eve... Jaime & Mike at their absolute best!
EP's (EXTENDED PLAYS)
1. Jaubi - The Deconstructed Ego (Astigmatic Records)
"Jaubi is a collective of musicians hailing from Lahore, Pakistan who aim to create whatever sounds good and whatever feels good. The emphasis is on amalgamating different musical styles such as Indian Classical music, Jazz, and Hip-Hop into short musical pieces," guitar and kalimba player Ali Riaz Baqar wrote within a recent emailed statement. Jaubi (جو بھی) is an urdu word, which roughly translates to "whatever;" a sentiment that has directly influenced their band mantra of "creating whatever sounds good and whatever feels good." I recently stumbled upon Jaubi while researching for a then as-yet-unpublished interview with Basement Donuts mastermind and She's So Rad frotnman Jeremy Toy...
2. Jumbled - I wish it was longer & Action Shots (Harford & Reckord)
3. Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman - Lice 2: Still Buggin' (Stones Throw)
4. EMANON (Aloe Blacc & Exile) - Dystopia Double EP (Dirty Science)
5. Paternoster - Remixes & Versions (Heart Working Class/HHV.DE)
6. Pat Van Dyke - RE: Crates 001 (Open Crates)
7. JOHNNY! - JOHNNY! 3x7" Collection (Now-Again)
8. HARAM - شو بتشوف؟ "What Do You See?" (TOXIC STATE RECORDS)
9. Jackson Whalan - Souled Out (Adapted Records)
10. Satin Cowboy & The Seven Deadly Sins - Love & Loss (self-released)
1. Me2 - STEAL THIS MIXTAPE (Fool's Gold Records)
"What I love about [STEAL] THIS MIXTAPE is that it's a bridge from the mash-ups that we all loved 10 years ago to the modern style of production. Josh [Young] basically grabbed ANY genre of music an threw it all into his blender and what came out is all consistent," Fool's Gold Records founder @atrak ecstatically wrote about self-described "beast known as @yehme2" during a lengthy Monday afternoon Instagram post. One half of Chicago-based Hip-Hop and EDM-influenced DJ duo FLOSSTRADAMUS supposedly challenged himself to staggering "beat-a-day challenge that would quickly morph into Me2," which eventually morphed into the 33-track of a genre-less mega-album that is his System of a Down-referencing STEAL THIS MIXTAPE...
2. Darko The Super - Put Down The Candy & Let The Little Boy Go! (U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART)
3. Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions - PUZZLE (Astigmatic Records)
4. Mahatma Crowley - iLLMAGIC [PROJECT 2] (Akashic Vibrations Records)
5. BLKrKRT - Okinato Black (U DONT DESERVE THIS BEAUTIFUL ART)
While all of the 30 albums, EP's, and mixtapes contained within this very list are all worthy of repeated listens, I kinda just figured in an effort to keep this streamline and brief... I wouldn't clutter the body of the aforementioned lists with a bunch of links for each release; however, I would like to make it a point to remind you within this very space that I've published countless features, write-ups, profiles, and oftentimes, even in-depth interviews with many of the ranked artists including (get ready for some serious links): anti-rapper, producer, and The Du-Rites drummer J-Zone, The Men frontman Mark Perro, Smoove & Turrell melody-maker John Turrell, Sulu & Excelsior multi-instrumentalist and emcee Steve Mallorca, Space Funk revivalists Jenova 7 & Eddie Shinn, The Mobbs frontman Joe B. Humbled, The Olympians mastermind Toby Pazner, Dilla-interpolating Basement Funk pioneer Leonard Charles, "teacher, husband, beat-maker, and dish washer" John "Jumbled" Bachman, Paternoster re-issue "cultural and business liaison" Stephan Szillus, Frank Zappa-esque rapper-producer Darko The Super, Electro-Acoustic Beat Sessions pianist and emcee Marek Pędziwiatr, Occult Rap pioneer Mahatma Crowley, Jersey City drummer and producer Pat Van Dyke, and Chamber Rap-evoking producer BLKrKRT. I would additionally like to send a special thanks to my friend, colleague, and Flea Market Funk Founder DJ Presige for exposing me to tons of Soulful, downright Funky music this past year! Happy holidays, have a safe and Happy New Year, and I'll see all of you in 2017! Thanks for yet another great year here at The Witzard!