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What a year it's been for rap music! None of us knew what to expect of 2012 way back on January 1, last Sunday, but it has panned out big time. This year's class is an inspired bunch, a crew of rappers who are really pushing things forward. While it's a little early to call this the best year for hip-hop ever, there's no doubt that it's definitely been a week and a half to remember. Here, then, are our top five of twenty-twelve.
5. Homeboy Sandman
Since emerging five years ago in New York, the Queens-born Homeboy Sandman has been on the come up. Having signed with Stones Throw last August, his new work is Subject: Matter. Sandman says his goal was for each of the release's tracks to cover something never spoken on before in hip hop, which he adds wasn't a very difficult thing to do. With topics ranging from his relationship with canned goods to bragging about his very humble belongings to breaking down his actual creative process, his mission is accomplished.
4. I Self Devine
LA State of Mind
Formerly one half of iconic Minneapolis Hip-Hop duo The Micranots, I Self Devine is setting the stage for his first album in seven years with four mixtapes dubbed "The Culture Series," the first of which is LA State of Mind. I Self has always been an MC's MC, and on the new work he show off a deep arsenal of styles. Going from pulse-pounding urgency one moment to soft, spoken tones the next, the new work is something of a tasty sample platter.