Before I wrap up 2010, I want to give some individual shine to the best debut album of the year.
Composed of producer Apollo Brown, emcee Journalist 103, and DJ Soko, The Left is one of the most promising groups coming out of Detroit. Gas Mask is nearly flawless, but it isn't for everyone. The album is the epitome of underground and fans who only listen to the radio hits would be better steering clear. The album is composed of stark backdrops composed by Apollo Brown and Soko that, while not offering a diverse sound, serves it's purpose by providing an album that flows well from one song to the next. They also provide rugged instrumentals that, when paired with Journalist 103's intense delivery, sounds very reminiscent of the classic Wu-Tang sound (with a touch more soul).
As the name suggests, the album is meant as a means to hold hip hop heads over through a down year for hip hop. The trio presents their fans with a Gas Mask to help them survive as Journalist delivers hard-hitting toxic verses meant to eliminate the non-believers. Even after one spin through the album, they converted me. Gas Mask simply contains too many good tracks to single out only a few. The album is really meant to be viewed as a whole and if you enjoy what you hear, this is an album that you absolutely need to add to your library (hopefully by supporting good hip hop). While it doesn't have a pop sound, I feel that it has a sound that will outlast a lot of popular music of the day and ten years down the road, we may very well look back and consider Gas Mask a classic debut by a classic trio.
"Frozen" (feat. Kool G Rap)