Albums We Loved (And You Hated) In 2013

From Kanye West's "Yeezus" to Drake's "Nothing Was The Same," we highlight five albums that got high marks from HipHopDX but not from our readership.

Finding general consensus in a Hip Hop review is a difficult task to accomplish, especially when a rating is attached. The results can be polarizing, and our dedicated readership certainly let us know in the comments section when they feel like we dropped the ball. This is certainly true when we give an artist and album a higher rating than what their own opinion is.

It should come as no surprise then that Kanye West’s Yeezus makes the cut. Over the last few years the self-proclaimed “Creative Genius” and “God” has amassed a lot of criticism for how he goes about his career. His music is generally met with universal acclaim by critics, but his selfish approach can be a bit frustrating with listeners, especially those who don’t understand his new creative vision. As such, we highlight five albums that got high marks from HipHopDX but not from our readership.

To a lesser extent, Drake falls under the same category. Despite being one of the biggest stars of our generation, the Toronto emcee is continuously called out for his decision to rap and sing in his music. Nothing Was The Same offers a persuasive balance to this line of questioning, but clearly there are still those who won’t accept singing in any shape or form in Hip Hop. Read about the five albums that we loved and you hated in 2013. Maybe you’ll have a change of heart. But probably not.

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

DX Rating: 4.0

DX User Rating: 3.4

Read the review

Drake had quite a 2013, topped off by his noteworthy release Nothing Was The Same. The project exemplified a full body of work from the Toronto native by shedding away unnecessary features that were present on his debut and focusing more on rapping, something Take Care seemed to lack. As William E. Ketchum III writes in the review, “Drake packs multiple emotions into individual songs instead of adding on extra items.” The 4-rating Nothing Was The Same received from us didn’t sit too well with readers, who gave Drake’s third solo release a 3.4. By all accounts, still a commendable score, but some felt it failed to meet standards. “If people like this kind of Hip Hop/Pop, fine. But all in all this is pretty boring,” one reader commented. Part of that statement is true. Nothing Was The Same walks a fine line between Rap and a Pop aesthetic, and it’s one that has become more accepted these days.

Maybach Music Group - Self Made, Vol. 3

DX Rating: 3.0

DX User Rating: 2.1

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Wale and Rockie Fresh respectively did pretty well for themselves in 2013, while Meek Mill stalled and Rick Ross mixed an alarming lack of self-awareness outside of the booth with a penchant for redundancy in his music. Self Made, Vol. 3 lets those four storylines simultaneously play out over the course of an album, and the result is a barely passable mix of good, bad and lazy. In DX’s October review, Bruce Smith said the album “lacks the shine and luster of the previous two Maybach Music Group compilations.” That unflattering assessment apparently didn’t sit well with our readership, who took things a step further and gave the album an average rating of 2.09. Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of the comments take shots at the album’s lackluster first week sales or Ross’ past as a correctional officer but not the actual music (which again, wasn’t very good). And therein lies the issue. Or as one fan who took the liberty of writing his own 1,300-word review within the comment section put it, “Perhaps they’ve slipped because the sound they built this empire on has slipped from the forefront of the genre’s innovation. This goes hand in hand with PR setbacks for the label…”

Kanye West - Yeezus

DX Rating: 4.5

DX User Rating: 2.8

Read the review

There’s a telling moment on Yeezus-opener “On Sight.” An eerie sample cuts through the record like a hot knife through butter as a choir sings, “He'll give us what we need / It may not be what we want.” For all intents and purposes, Kanye West did exactly that on his sixth solo effort. And just as the latter part of that lyric describes, readers weren’t so accepting of his new minimalist approach. The disparity between our rating and the user rating is nearly two whole points, with the most popular rating being a 1. Comments ranged from, “To be blunt I miss the old kanye” to “this album is garbage. Kanye has really lost his way.” There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing, word to “T.R.O.Y.” But to simply dismiss Yeezus as trash would mean that others who attempted to push Rap in a creative manner should also be censured. The same criticism should hold true for say A Tribe Called Quest or OutKast, and that’s surely not going on in any Hip Hop circles. In the review, Justin Hunte wrote Yeezus was “jarring, uncomfortable, uncompromising and courageous—all the things that initially made Hip Hop great.” If that’s still hard to swallow six months later, Kanye’s big brother, Jay Z, has a message for you in the first verse of “On To The Next One.”

DJ Khaled - Suffering From Success

DX Rating: 2.5

DX User Rating: 1.5

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It would be flat out inaccurate to say we loved DJ Khaled’s Suffering From Success. We rated it as a 2.5 on a five-point scale, which equates to 50% out of 100%. If Khaled were submitting this album as a graded assignment in school it would’ve statistically suffered from failure. In HipHopDX’s October album review, we called Khaled’s latest offering “a collection of unoriginal, disjointed songs about first-world rapper problems.” So while that’s far from high praise for an album that still managed to deliver a Billboard “Hot 100” single in Drake and 40’s “No New Friends,” the people spoke rather loudly. “I hate how some people try saying, ‘Oh its DJ Khaled, so you gotta expect just that,”’ one commenter noted. “OK yeah, I know what to expect, but this album is complete ass compared to his previous albums...” The DX staff and the readers disagreed on the numerical rating, but the above sentiment pretty much sums up how both parties felt about the album.

The White Mandingos - The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me

DX Rating: 4.5

DX User Rating: 3.6

Read the review

West Coast rapper Murs, Bad Brains’ bassist Darryl Jenifer and veteran journalist/writer Sacha Jenkins formed the unlikely trio The White Mandingos to release The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me. A cross between punk rock and Hip Hop, the project was engaging from start to finish with its sonically stark landscapes and bold lyricism that was as thoughtful as it was abrasive. The reviewer remarked, “Unlike vanity Rock projects this functions as both a quality Rap or Rock offering.” However, readers weren’t as welcoming to what The White Mandingos were offering. The average user rating was 3.6, nearly a full point below our rating. One commenter claimed The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me was a “terrible album. The early 2000s were full of this type of rock-rap fusion” and cited artists like Limp Bizkit as gimmicky groups that didn’t stand the test of time. With respect to those groups, what they lacked were sincerity and meaning behind their projects. The White Mandingos find a creative space that captures purpose, and it’s one that can be overlooked but never discounted.

Additional contributions by Omar Burgess.

RELATED: Albums We Loved (And You Hated) In 2012

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77 Comments

  • Anonymous

    That whole "If you criticize Kanye for Yeezus, you should criticize Outkast and Tribe for their work" argument is lazy. You're deflecting the attention from the quality of one album (Yeezus) and you try to put it on the same level as two classic hip-hop groups just because they all can fall under the category of "alternative hip-hop". Outkast and Tribe's work was still deeply rooted in Hip-Hop and/or Jazz. You look at albums like Aquemini and Stankonia (I think Stankonia is the farthest from conventional Hip-Hop out of Kast's work...I ignore Idlewild) and you notice that the production is eccentric, colorful, rich in detail....the songs are well crafted and display the talents of Big Boi and Andre 3000. Songs like "On Sight" and "I'm In It" literally sound like giant messes. Its some of Kanye's laziest lyrics and poorest production, aside from a few choice cuts. Throw in that the album is only 10 tracks, and you're not left with much to love. What I'm trying to say is that, when people criticize Yeezus, address the content in Yeezus. Don't make it about other albums/artists, because you're dancing around the point.

  • Anonymous

    You loved an album rated 2.5 and 3?

  • BlazeUp

    http://herseyhiphopicin.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/hip-hopta-yilin-enleri-2013/ A really comprehensive, and realistic review of 2013 You really need to check it out!

  • yahdigg

    only good album out the 5 here was the white mandingos.. on another note, it would be interesting to see an "albums we hated and you loved" article

  • r

    Yeezus is wack Kanye got ppl brainwashed

  • Anonymous

    The kanye record. Just because its different dont mean its good. Pushing the envelope dont automatically make it great. Im just wondering, does anyone put on the kanye record? At your house? In your car? I can envision where you would want to play it. Or when.

  • They may as well list every album review cause dx never get it right and they delete comments if u criticise them too much

    They may as well list every album review cause dx never get it right and they delete comments if u criticise them too much. They really have the worst reviewers around they should hire sum respected bloggers to do them for this year cause it was embarrassing yeezus a 4.5 was so bad

  • Anonymous

    Check out these two videos off my mixtape "Die Will Be Done"....if you fuck with it lemme know https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C5ILMSQr4g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVEJwrOFSoU Bronx Nigga Till My Times Up.

  • Anonymous

    you just compared kanye to outkast and tribe? omg. you really are out of touch with hip hop. Just because you try to raise the bar doesnt mean you succeeded. Kanye certainly didnt. This shit is not hip hop it is garbage. He fancies himself a genius when his strongest suit is producing and hes not even the best producer out there. Next would be his lyricism. Hes not even the best lyricist. After that is what? Acting like an asshole? Hes definitely best at that. Then maybe his fashion? Yah taht double cut off mismatching plaid shirt in that whack ass, corny, cliche kim video was dope as fuck. This dude is a straight clown and everyone just rides his dick. Ill bump aquemini before illl bump yeezus any day of the week. Andre is what Kanye wishes he was.

  • j

    @ DJ Khaled - Whhaaaattttt??????

  • Real Raps

    I agree with these reviews ... I grew up off 90's rap but i embrace the new school. Nas to rakim... Some of these readers expect the boom bap rap era to come back. It's going to constantly evolve and change

    • Anonymous

      No. Its not about Boom-Bap. The article brings up Outkast when talking about Yeezus...but last time I checked, Aquemini and Stankonia are not boom-bap albums. Different is fine if its GOOD quality.

    • Lawless_1

      If you want a Nas vibe today check out Lushlife.

  • j

    I guess as someone who doesn't strictly limit their tastes to hip hop like most of this site does (at least that's how it seems to me), I found Yeezus to be a genuinely good record.

    • johnjohnphenom

      Uh. The Site is called, UH-UHM........HIPHOPDX!!!!!!!!!!!! Fuckin genius. Now stop trolling. Lots of people enjoy other genres than hiphop but I don't go to rock'n'rolldx.com for hiphop news.

    • j

      How about a nice warm glass of shut the fuck up. Refreshing maybe, but replayable, no

  • Anonymous

    why isnt eminems MMLP2 on this list? that album BANGS and the bonus tracks made the album better that CD was 10000 times better than drake who freaking sucks if u like or support drake something is wrong with ur brain yeezus was shitty!! true fun fact if u like that type of shit ur brain is damaged!

  • ETK

    Yeezus was creative(those who say otherwise are simple-minded niggas) but not creative to the extent some of Kanye's other works were. MBDTF and 808's were much more creative in that regard. that doesn't mean I think 808s was good but because creativity =/= good but the album set a lot of platforms for certain artists today. Yeezus was just average, some amazing tracks but also some horrid ones

    • Anonymous

      OK. you got that yeezus was very creative. However its labeled as a RAP album therefore we should include lyrics. lyrically this album was probably the weakest ive heard in a while with that being said it was a 5/10 for me. i just couldnt enjoy it

  • RealTalk

    the 'creativity' and 'difference' of Yeezus are the most inaccurate things mentioned in reviews ever. Most of the album was nothing new at all. Listen to more music.

  • Someone

    I found what I expected from most of these albums and generally agreed with the score given.... except for Yeezus I have no fucking idea why so many critics have praised it and gone as far as to call it AOTY, it was a lackluster composition Kanye put together with little to no real artistic thought.... I know the Kanye dickriders will ride with him no matter what but as fan you have to call rappers out on bullshit...Same with Jay-z's MCHG... but at least Jay-Z doesn't go on rants about being the next Walt Disney or Shakespeare or even hide the fact that the music as become almost purely just business to him..

  • ax

    Despite the consensus, I think the people actually enjoyed Drake album and thought it should have been on the years best list. I think its just a clean up by DX for not having included it

  • Anonymous

    how is yeezus moving in a new direction?????? please answer dx -same topics - nothing new production wise (industrial ect) -sub par lyrism thats not creative or inspired - features that are expected there a plenty of artist pushing boundaries that no magazines seem to support yet people do understand there vision.

  • jack johnson

    Slaughterhouses crappy album should be here too. I still think that rating was paid for, and all the generic comments that all said '5/5'

  • Anonymous

    part 2: but it does bother me when fuckin hipster white folks says its so "transcending" and "creative" and i see how that pisses off a regular ppl. like some kinda arrogant holier than thou shit. obviously yeezus sounds different than anything and a lot of ppl are gonna fuckin hate it or theres gonna be some like me who enjoy it. but yeah i could easily see the whole hippy kanye loving hipster arrogant white fagster croud annoys the shit out of regular ppl who been listening to hip hop forever

  • Anonymous

    i fuckin loved yeezus. i can't really tell you why. obviously i know the lyrics are pretty much shit. but there's somethin bout the album i really enjoy. when those fuckin horns go off in blood on the leaves it gets me so pumped i could punch my fuckin grandma

    • Anonymous

      "hen those fuckin horns go off in blood on the leaves it gets me so pumped i could punch my fuckin grandma" oh man thanks for making me laugh so much

  • Shana E. Correa

    til I looked at the paycheck saying $9401, I be certain ...that...my friends brother was like actually taking home money part-time on-line.. there moms best frend has been doing this less than 17 months and recently paid the debts on their house and bourt a great Jaguar XJ. visit this website... www.Fb39.Com .it plays into bigger picture of keeping EVERYONE DOWN by taking away alternative sources of revenue, so that we all stay poor and can never resist the power structure.

  • Hilary Harris

    til I saw the bank draft for $4718, I be certain that my neighbour woz realy bringing in money part time from there pretty old laptop.. there great aunt started doing this for under eleven months and by now cleard the morgage on their place and purchased a brand new Ford Focus. find more information... www.Tec80.Com Meanwhile, white Jews like Lyor Cohen & Jerry Heller sit back and watch the money pile up as their slave rappers do a little jig for them.

  • A Trillionaire

    I trust The users rating as much as I do the critics rating on this site. I actually started coming to this site for the album reviews, until I realized the whole PAYOLA SCHEME that was involved with it. Now I stop by every so often to do a bit of trolling and that's about it...

    • A Trillionaire

      50 has enough payola by himself to buy up this whole fucking website if he wanted to. It probably doesn't benefit him anymore to pay for good reviews on his free mixtapes now that he is established. But it's not the individual artists that are doing the payola anyway, it's the records execs that feel need to shove their shitty pop artists down unsuspecting music lovers throats.

    • Anonymous

      payola works both ways bad reviews to keep a artist down since the sk series 50 has been killing the mixtape game but dx think im deaf.

  • Feedback

    "The same criticism should hold true for say A Tribe Called Quest or OutKast, and thats surely not going on in any Hip Hop circles." I must not be in the "Hip Hop Circle', because I certainly am a critic of Outkasts last two albums and Tribes last two albums. While not terrible, they're leagues behind everything they did prior to those albums.

  • TaZzZ

    I dont understand the low rating for the Mandingos, that album was tight and their liveshow was even better. Yea its outside the box, but Murs put it down and Darryl is musically astonishing... As for Yeezus, who cares anymore. You love it or you hate it. Personally I couldn't listen to it more than 3 times, musically its incredible but it may have the worst lyrics of any album this decade. His lyrics are just corny as fuck... Where's my damn croissants? You left them in 2005 with your humility and writing ability

  • Anonymous

    Your reason for defending Yeezus is just dumb. Just because it's "creative" doesn't mean it's good. It sounds terrible and the lyrics suck.

  • 901DATSME

    WaCK albums but the best albums I heard in 2013 wuz Czarface n Run The Jews.

  • Anonymous

    I pretty much agree with all the user ratings, except for White Mandingos. Murs spit his ass off on that one!

  • Anonymous

    I think that the whole DX staff has no knowledge about: hiphop, music, journalism etc.

  • Thes1948

    my buddy's mother-in-law makes $63 an hour on the internet. She has been laid off for six months but last month her income was $15702 just working on the internet for a few hours. check here,,,,,,,,,,,, http://x.co/3Xtgt

  • Anonymous

    Interesting but people hate Drake because he is popular, they think he is a fraud (even when though they listen to real frauds like Dr Dre), he looks GQ and he's from Canada. It's not about his music at all. They don't listen to his music; they judge his image. If Common dropped Tuscan Leather and Too Much, they'd call him a genius. These fools just hating...

    • Anonymous

      Of course a Drake stan would agree with another Drake stan. If anyone's a fucking useless Mongoloid cunt, it's you two groupies who won't call out your hero when he'd on some bullshit.

    • Champagne Papi Life

      I could not agree more with the first anonymous. The second anonymous is a fucking useless Mongoloid cunt.

    • Anonymous

      You are an idiot. Nothing you say is true at all, Drake stan.

  • rAHYAL

    The hate Yeezus received made it abundantly clear that the current crop of listeners have shitty monotonous taste.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry but if you like albums with lines like "I said what up Jesus, he said what up Yeezus" and beats that sound like he just threw a bunch of shit together without listening to it, you are the one with bad taste.

    • Anonymous

      Ironic, because "monotone" pretty much described the who Yeezus album. lol

  • Add big sean to the list

    No one agrees with dx reviews they are always wrong you really have no clue look at any review n the comments section are 90 percent against what u said. Also if hip hop fans didn't like drake just because of him combining singing n rapping why everyone got love for bone thugs theres a lot of reason to hate that bullshit music faggot ass drizzy puts out

  • butterynugs

    how do you love an album, but only give it 2.5 stars?

    • Anonymous

      They actually agreed that it was complete ass "OK yeah, I know what to expect, but this album is complete ass compared to his previous albums... The DX staff and the readers disagreed on the numerical rating, but the above sentiment pretty much sums up how both parties felt about the album.

  • EndOfStory

    Yeezus was the best Hip Hop album of the year. NWTS is garbage. End of Story

  • Kick A Doe

    I cant speak for The White Mandingos "The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me" but the other 3 albums are just flat out terrible...So terrible you dont even have to listen and know thye are going to be terrible...Drake can't rap worth of shxt and can barley sing...and Dj Khaled? Has not dropped a good album since "We The Best"...Yeezuz...TERRIBLE ALBUM...Great production, great beats, yet TERRIBLE LYRICISM!

  • Anonymous

    Now this is an accurate list for worst albums of the year.

  • KOOL HERC

    Keep it real. Nobody hates Yeezus or Kanye.the media just made it a trend and faggot ass niggaz who have no knowledge of hiphop ate that shit up. Music is a lot like psychedelic drugs...if you are weak minded then you will go insane

    • Anonymous

      Knock Madness and Something Else are definitely not incredible, especially for Tech and Hopsin, but they are miles ahead of this piece of trash album Yeezus. Lyrics were probably written in two days, and I bet the production took less than an hour (excluding maybe Blood on the Leaves).

    • Anonymous

      Stop dickriding. Yeezus is trash, period.

    • no

      @2nd anonymous -- i've listened to something else and knock madness. they're not bad, but there is absolutely nothing original, nothing we haven't heard before. actually both subpar releases relative to what we expect from hopsin and tech n9ne. have you even listened to yeezus all the way through? the technical lyricism is not good, but it doesnt matter. he delivers hard hitting messages throughout the album through a sonic journey unlike anything anyone has heard. listening to yeezus from start to finish will leave you shocked, terrified, confused, provoked, outraged, awed, but mostly amazed. nobody but kanye could make that record. its not a traditional album, he said himself its not a perfect album, but its genius.

    • Chicago Rila

      I love Kanye but that album was trash just like 808's & Heart Breaks

    • Anonymous

      nigga shut up...those albums are retarded for retarded ppl..wanna hear art go search for "Something Else" or "Knock Madness"...the album speaks for himself, and the users rating also

    • Anonymous

      real talk. Ye = legend

  • Anonymous

    Made it a trend to hate on Kanye.