Loaded with more releases than ever before, 2012 was without a doubt a banner year for the Snake and Bat. Between new signees (CES Cru and Rittz) and a record-breaking tour, 2012 saw high marks for Strange Music, but more importantly, the music itself was bigger than ever.
From Tech N9ne’s genre-bending KLUSTERFUK all the way to Prozak’s year-ending Nocturnal EP, Strange Music had no shortage of dope tunes. With 2013 right around the corner and a new promise of unbelievable music from the roster, we’ve compiled our list of the Top 25 Strange Music Songs Of 2012.
Did your favorites make the cut? Check it out!
Editor’s note: Praised for his strong storytelling, Prozak spun a ghostly tale of broken love that instantly connected with listeners and had one of the year’s most memorable hooks, making it a standout on Paranormal.
Editor’s note: The closer to KELVIN, “Triumph” proved to be Kutt’s most revealing track ever with personal insight into his upbringing, family, and the struggles that shaped him into the man he is today.
23) Rittz “Bloody Murdah (Remix)” Featuring Tech N9ne
Editor’s note: Since their meeting on Nikkiya’s “When I Was High (Remix)”, Tech and Rittz had listeners eager for round 2. That demand was met with a remix of Rittz’s original cut from White: Jesus Revival. Believe the hype.
Editor’s note: If the hook alone doesn’t sell you, there’s Plex and Gianni’s chill production that somehow always seems to provide the perfect balance between hip hop and rock. A perfect sampling of what can be found on Thrift Store Halos. Sleeper hit it is.
21) Kutt Calhoun “Strange $” from KELVIN
Editor’s note: Everybody loves a comeback story and although Kutt was busy grinding on the touring tip in 2012, fans were definitely missing him in the booth. “Strange $” placed the perfect exclamation point on Kutt’s year as the undeniable anthem from KELVIN. Snap back!
Editor’s note: After experiencing some highs and lows on the All 6’s And 7’s Tour, Stevie Stone had plenty to pour out for “The Road”. The most emotional moment on this track comes way of Wrekonize and the wrath in his voice when spitting, “some of us still dream to bleed revenge out of those fuckin’ punks”.
Editor’s note: When the tracklist for Boiling Point first hit the web, “Hunger” was easily one of the most anticipated collaborations as Tech and Lynch would once again meet on wax. Raw and grotesque, “Hunger” stuck with us thanks to the incredibly well-crafted hook courtesy of Tech.
Editor’s note: Aside from giving us an absolute banger – don’t lie, this shit hits hard, “Damage” also gave Strangeland a glimpse of what Snow Tha Product can do as she ripped this beat to shreds and left a lasting impression on first-time listeners.
Editor’s note: If lyricism and sick timing is what you’re after, don’t sleep on “Klick Clack Bang”. The rapid-fire delivery from Ubi and Godemis made for an explosive track that we can never get enough of. You ain’t messin’ with this duo.
16) Prozak “Until Then” from Paranormal
Editor’s note: Arguably Prozak’s finest moment in 2012, “Until Then” challenged listeners to face the realities of suicide and the trials that come with loss. Another example of Paranormal‘s impact this past year.
Editor’s note: If you’ve ever paid attention to Tech N9ne on Twitter, then you know the Kansas City King doesn’t hold back when it comes to calling folks out. Unfortunately, 2012 proved to be a year full of negativity and on “A Real 1” Tech and JL trade verses breaking it all down into a simple concept: you’re responsible for what you say, even behind a computer.
Editor’s note: When it comes to powerful music, Krizz Kaliko can do it like no one else. On his critically-acclaimed Kickin’ & Screamin‘ album, Krizz delivered hit after hit, but “Created A Monster” stood on its own as a heartfelt reflection on his childhood as an outcast.
13) Tech N9ne – “E.B.A.H.” from E.B.A.H.
Editor’s note: After reinventing his sound earlier in the year with KLUSTERFUK, Tech fired back with the unorthodox styles of “E.B.A.H.”. Angry and in-your-face, “E.B.A.H.” was a worthy jump-off for Tech’s joint EPs.
12) Stevie Stone “Dollar General” Featuring Yelawolf from Rollin’ Stone
Editor’s note: With Will Power at the boards and Yelawolf on deck, Stevie Stone dropped one of our favorite cuts of the year with his criminal anthem, “Dollar General”. Inspired by the film Street Thief, “Dollar General” saw Stevie Stone take a surprising creative turn with great storytelling and an unforgettable hook to match.
11) Tech N9ne “Blur” from KLUSTERFUK
Editor’s note: Sometime last winter, Tech N9ne had a hell of a night. Fast forward a few months and that night wound up as the basis for the true events that unfold on the trippy Wrekonize-produced “Blur.” This is the kind of party you have to live through at least once.
10) Tech N9ne “Alone” Featuring Krizz Kaliko from Boiling Point
Editor’s note: It just wouldn’t be a Tech N9ne CD without an emotional closer and on “Alone”, Tech let fans know just how lonely it can be when you constantly work and strive for success. With one of Krizz Kaliko’s best appearances in 2012, “Alone” was everything a Tech and Kaliko track should be.
9) CES Cru “It’s Over” Featuring Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko from 13
Editor’s note: The four-headed monster returned in 2012 and just like before, nobody was safe. Backed by an insane piece of production from mad-genius Seven, CES Cru, Krizz Kaliko, and Tech N9ne took turns smashing bars out at a feverish pace. Grab your Schiza Spray!
8) Stevie Stone “My Remedy” from Rollin’ Stone
Editor’s note: Without a doubt one of the most popular tracks this past year, Stevie Stone’s “My Remedy” is the kind of song that will define the Midwest emcee’s career. Leaving behind the anthems and bangers, Stevie Stone instead chose to give listeners a real glimpse into his life as he attempts to balance family and music, choosing the latter as a release for life’s pain.
7) ¡MAYDAY! “Strange March” Featuring CES Cru and Brotha Lynch Hung from Thrift Store Halos
Editor’s note: This track is often referred to as the “Strange Music Voltron” and we couldn’t agree more. Recruiting the Snake and Bat’s own CES Cru and vet Brotha Lynch Hung, ¡MAYDAY! flipped “Death March” into a completely new track and proudly waved the Strange Music colors high.
6) Stevie Stone “808 Bendin'” Featuring Tech N9ne from Rollin’ Stone
Editor’s note: Stevie Stone received a lot of comparisons to other legendary emcees in 2012, but the truth is, he’s in a league of his own and nothing proved that like the MONSTER hit that was “808 Bendin'”. Accompanied by a killer feature from Tech, Stevie Stone’s “808 Bendin'” kept speakers quakin’ in 2012.
Editor’s note: There are those songs that you can’t describe as anything other than beautiful music. This is one of those songs. That opening guitar draws you in and Jovi Rockwell’s stunning performance caps off one of our favorite tracks of the year. Hypnotic is probably the best way to describe it.
4) Krizz Kaliko “Hello Walls” Featuring Tech N9ne from Kickin’ & Screamin’
Editor’s note: When it came to collabs in 2012, Tech and Krizz weren’t playing around. “Hello Walls” placed an emotional spotlight on anxiety, depression, and overall loneliness as Krizz and Tech stepped into confessionals and opened up their deepest fears.
3) Krizz Kaliko “Kill Shit” Featuring Twista and Tech N9ne from Kickin’ & Screamin’
Editor’s note: We still haven’t properly recovered from the slaughtering that took place on”Kill Shit”. Bringing together Twista and Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko put together the dopest collaboration of the year and challenged Tech N9ne to step his game up and deliver the top “rewind” verse of 2012. Twista, Tech, Krizz – shit was killed.
2) Tech N9ne “Klusterfuk” from KLUSTERFUK
Editor’s note: Tech had plenty of new music in 2012, but no single track struck as a more perfect example of his growth and experimentation than KLUSTERFUK‘s opener. With ¡MAYDAY! in control of the music, Tech N9ne annihilated bar after bar with a single verse that ran almost three minutes before a hook finally hits. This was how 2012 started for Strange Music and it never slowed down.
1) ¡MAYDAY! “Due In June” from Take Me To Your Leader
Editor’s note: From the opening melody, ¡MAYDAY!’s “Due In June” evokes an emotion in listeners that can’t be denied. The Miami crew’s debut on Strange Music was among the top releases ever from the label and the concept, lyrics, and delivery on “Due In June” prove why. Wrekonize’s singing coupled with Bernz’s conviction place “Due In June” in its own category and atop the list for 2012.