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YEAR-END TOP 10: Ill Mami’s Picks of 2008

As we ease into the Holiday season, we will all be inundated by a plethora of "Best of 2008" lists. Before you roll your eyes and snicker, remember that, as your favorite award-winning Soul music website, we actually know what we're talking about. After exhaustively researching and writing about hundreds of songs this year, welcome to the first in a week of SoulBounce's Top 10 List of your beloved editors' favorite songs of the past year. 

In no particular order:


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1. Sam Sparro: "Black & Gold" 
As the extended SoulBounce family can attest to, the day I discovered "Black & Gold," I felt my prayers had been answered for an heir-apparent to my beloved openly gay and Day-Glo loving George Michael. Not that George has gone anywhere, but sometimes you want some good old-fashioned Pop music to dance yourself into joyful oblivion. Not only can this boy sang, but you can't argue with the fact that Chaka Khan discovered him as a child. Make sure you peep the acoustic version of this track as well. 


[Photo: Adrian Gilliland]
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2. Jay Electronica: "Exhibit A (transformations)"

Feel free to disagree with the following statement in the comments, but I will say this anyway: "Exhibit A" is by far the coldest track to have come out in 2008. Not only did Jay come hard on the lyrics and name-dropped Coretta Scott King, Barack Obama and Nat King Cole, but elucidated on the history and plight of New Orleans' 9th Ward pre- and post-Katrina. Add to this the stellar production of Just Blaze, and this track is just about the most perfect Hip Hop song I have heard in several years.



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3. The Foreign Exchange feat. Muhsinah: "Daykeeper"
Surprised? You shouldn't be. This track, featuring Phonte and Muhsinah, is one of the most beautiful and poignant tracks I have heard all year. The fact that this song was not nominated for a Grammy is further proof that the music industry is completely clueless to what quality music is. I guarantee that this track will sound just as lovely five years from now as it does now. And if that's not the definition of a classic, then I don't know what is.


[Photo: DJ Stylus]

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4. The Foreign Exchange: "Valediction"
Yeah, I know. I love the Foreign Exchange, and around these parts, it seems as though you love them just as much as we do. This sequel to "Daykeeper" is just as touching and somber as its counterpart.


[Photo: Tobias Rose]

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5. The Luv Bugz: "Better"
Though not officially released, The Luv Bugz' "Better" from their upcoming album is a great example of this romantic duo showcasing that their chemistry extends into their music as well. Not only is this song a perfect example of where R&B needs to go from this point forward, but it's also delightfully reminiscent of so many songs we grew up loving and singing along to.


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6. Yahzarah & Raheem DeVaughn: "Nothing"
Let's forget about the huge misstep that Raheem DeVaughn made with his foray into the tasteless, and let's instead focus on the beauty that resides in his voice along with the splendor that is in Yahzarah's. These two make listening to a rework of Miles Davis' "Blue In Green" by The Apple Juice Kid not cringe-worthy and something that you'll have on repeat for hours without noticing that you haven't tired of it.



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7. I, Ced feat. Coultrain: "Love...Meaning"
Produced by I, Ced, Coultrain's voice has a dichotomy that is both silky and gritty at the same time. His voice harkens back to a much better time when Soul music was actually something that was actually rewarded and not looked upon as simplistic and incapable of moving units. Plus, how can you argue with someone who sings that he has begun to believe in love again?


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8. Little Dragon: "No Love"
If there was ever a reason to revisit the wonders of Swedish music, Little Dragon has proven that they are it. It is Yukimi Nagano's melancholy that is demonstrated so well on this track coupled with the well-matched melody that defines this much slept-on new classic.


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9. Jimmy Abney: "Hello"
I have to give credit where it is due for this this song. The first time I heard this track open Casamena's Radio Hour House music podcast, I was in instant auditory love. It's catchy, and it's full of the yearning and apprehension that comes with wanting someone you barely know.


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10. Musiq Soulchild: "Sobeautiful"
The Musiq of Aijuswanaseing is someone I have been waiting for since his subsequent albums dropped. It's not that I haven't liked his other albums, but there was something so indelibly tangible in those early songs that "Sobeautiful" captures so effortlessly. This song from his new release Onmyradio is the last on my list because it truly shocked and amazed me. It makes me want to be bathed in the blue light of a basement with the knowledge that there will be plenty more in store.




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11 Responses

  1. "No Love" is my favorite song of Little Dragon's album! I was kinda pissed they didn't play it when I saw them live the other weekend. Still a great concert, though!

  2. ok Musiq just KILLED IT on Sobeautiful. Damn! LOVE IT!

  3. Little Dragon is so slept on! underrated & for those who may not know, "No Love" & the majority of there album is old material. Read about them on Cafemaroon.com another favorite site of 2008.

  4. Oooh, Sam Sparro is slick...his album feels like it came out of 1983 or something and that's fine by me
    That Musiq track is grand...the best on the new album

  5. Great picks!! Well you have included 3 (nearly 4) songs that would feature on my 'Top 10 of 2008'
    Daykeeper is a given and should appear on everyones list, I agree with ill mami that it will be a classic (to those in the know at least).
    Little Dragon's No Love is my (joint) favourite track on the album. I am anticipating their second release like no other.
    The Luv Bugz' Better is probably one of my favourite tracks of the year (although as pointed out it hasn't been released officially). I really hope their debut gets some love when it is released.
    I think Valediction may just be pushed out my top 10 by Something To Behold.

  6. Avatar

    This list is one of the reasons why I love this site so!! Soul Bounce has introduced me to so many GREAT artists over the past few months I'd never heard about, especially Foreign Exchange, and I'm so appreciative!!

  7. I have Test by Little Dragon on my iTunes but I didn't know who they were because i heard them on the Gilles Peterson show and just lucked up and found the song to download. I recognized her voice now I gotta download the song Twice.

  8. Great Post, I wasn't all up on all of this. THanks!

  9. Oooh these year-end picks got me geeked. Every other day y'all intro me to great underground (well, to my old ass) artists. Hello, Little Dragon.
    Can't wait for the other lists!

  10. Wow! I hadn't heard the Yah and Raheem joint. That is straight FIRE!

  11. I knew you would probably have the most eclectic list of all. I mean you are rocking with the best right here. Coultrain, Sam Sparro, FE, Luv Bugz. That Jay Electronica joint has me looking at him real hard right now. I wanna have his baby too! I mean how you gonna mention CSK and Andy Dufresne in the same song? Did people even catch that Andy reference???!!!! (sorry favorite movie)
    It's begging for a mix which hopefully SOMEONE will put together. I'm not saying any names.
    That's one of the reasons I love this site. Everyone has sort of a "niche" if you will. And it's the perfect combination. There's something for everyone. Well, everyone that knows good music that is.



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