Spread out across venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, this year’s CMJ Music Marathon provided a glimpse at some of the year’s best emerging artists in addition to a healthy lineup of veteran performers. With five days of showcases and concerts to attend, the festival offered something for everyone, with bands representing a variety of genres.
Last month ALARM presented its 50 favorite albums of 2012, an eclectic, rock-heavy selection of discs that were in steady rotation in our downtown-Chicago premises. Now, to give some love to tunes that were left out, we have our 50 (+5) favorite songs of last year — singles, B-sides, EP standouts, soundtrack cuts, and more.
In May, Atlanta MC Killer Mike released one of the year’s best hip-hop albums — “rebellious African people’s music” — in collaboration with producer/rapper extraordinaire El-P.
“Reagan” is one of the album’s most fiery tracks, addressing the former president’s “war on drugs” and how it disproportionately targeted African Americans while actually making black neighborhoods more drug-infested. Mike ultimately proclaims, “I’m glad [that] Reagan[‘s] dead,” but he lumps all recent presidents together as serving the same unseen forces, launching overt and covert wars to make the rich richer.