Best Albums of 2008 needs to include Common Market's Black Patch War.
After hearing him in the snow video, I went back and gave his two records of 2008 another listen. Black Patch War stands above all the hip-hop albums I heard in 2008. Atmosphere and The Streets produced phenomenal albums that really spoke to me on some level. But this...
Black Patch War gets under the skin and stays there. When I went back to it, I realized it had been stewing in my subconscious for months and my return was to something almost familiar. The beats are spectacular. They are at times discordant, at times slick, and always just right: they push back and forth between the two and vie with the vocals to create a lush tapestry of waves that takes me away - back to my hometown, into my future, all the while reminding me I live right now and have no choice in that. From that base I am able to choose whatever I want and I choose to repeat album until one of my neighbors murders me.
The vocals are classic Common Market. For any who was a fan of the debut a few years ago, he's gotten deeper, more sophisticated (Even as his outward appearance has gotten more redneck), more powerful, and more playful. Rather than simply sticking with the beats, he plays around, ignoring their suggestions in favor of following his train of thought, only to come back and start over again. Smoother, faster, better - the vocals are on fire for this entire EP.
I am a huge fan of the EP format, and it's great to see this one step up. This rates up there with 1997's immortal Whole EP by Pedro the Lion, Calexico and Iron & Wine's splendid 2005 In the Reins EP and, of course, Cursive's brilliant 2002 Burst and Bloom EP. Do yourself, and hip-hop, a favor by going out and buying this album.