2012 is coming to a close. As like with every year, there have been ups and downs in every sense of word. And the same thing applies to music. There have been some hits and misses as well as some refreshing new artists who are adding more creativity to the musical landscape. Here are just a few artists who made a profound impact on music this year and have been pleasant ear candy for music fans.
Miguel Kaleidoscope Dream
Miguel has been one of the major success stories in music this year. His eclectic twist on R&B and seductive grooves were elevated on Kalaidoscope Dream and have managed to garner him five Grammy nominations, all of which are well deserved. There’s no telling what direction this love visionary is going to take next, but I’m certainly looking forward to the ride.
Frank Ocean Channel Orange
I believe Frank Ocean set the record for most unorthodox introduction into the music industry. Let’s just say his bold initiation didn’t have much to do with music, but once people heard the sly, electro soul genius of Mr. Ocean, all mouths were silenced. His mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra is super hot, but his debut album Channel Orange is on fire. He gives listeners some love action via tunes like “Thinkin Bout U” and “Bad Religion,” and takes them to paradise via extravagant disco-esque tracks like “Pyramids.” There’s no doubt that Ocean is going places musically and beyond.
Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society
There has always been controversy about the crossing of genres when it comes to jazz. That issue was beefed up once Robert Glasper’s R&B flavored Black Radio hit the scene earlier this year. Esperanza fits that mold of blending jazz with other genres, but all who know her music can attest that jazz is in her blood, and flows throughout even the most pop based tunes of Radio Music Society. The album is an ode to her love of music, and there are plenty of soulful tracks that showcase both her angelic vocal skills and virtuoso bass playing.
Kendrick Lamar good kid, mA.A.d. city
Making a name for yourself in the music business is hard enough, but in hip hop it’s a battlefield and I think rapper Kendrick Lamar has what it takes for war. The young MC from Compton gives the rough city a makeover on his debut album and sheds light on every aspect of his childhood from chilling with the homies to his dreams of making it as a superstar artist. His dream of success may have come to pass, but he is gunning for the number one spot in hip hop.
Nas Life is Good
Nas always reminds me that real hip hop is not dead (even if his previous album suggests the opposite). His dope flow and rough delivery is nothing short of amazing and from Illmatic until now, he hasn’t stopped making good music. He proves that he still has that intelligent hardcore appeal on fierce tracks like “The Don” and “The Queens Story,” and also has a soft heart, like on the dedication song “Daughters,” in which he discusses the joys and obstacles of raising a teenage daughter. Life is certainly good for Nas, but his music is even better.