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Looking for something a little different? Here were our 5 favorite not-quite-hip-hop releases of 2012.

5. Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet ComesUntil the Quiet Comes turned out to be Lotus’ most atmospheric LP to date; something he must have intended, with closing songs like “Dream to Me” and “Phantasm”, the latter featuring the ethereal vocals of Laura Darlington. Every Flying Lotus album so far has been exciting, watching his constant progression and evolution as an artist. His track record proves we’ll be in for something different with each release.

4. Gaslamp Killer – Breakthrough – One would hope that an album called Breakthrough , if not being the best, at least goes somewhere interesting. The Gaslamp Killer definitely carves out his own niche here. He proves he has his own sound, his own lane and does the Brainfeeder crew proud.

3. Kid Cudi + Dot Da Genius – WZRD – It’s a seemingly more natural fit for Kid Cudi to do a rock album – more so than any rapper before him, including Pharrell and company with N.E.R.D. If you don’t mind Cudi’s earlier material as a singer (“Pursuit of Happiness”, comes to mind), WZRD will definitely satisfy, it just needs to be given a chance. Just don’t go in expecting an LP full of beats and rhymes.

2. Blockhead – Interludes After MidnightInterludes doesn’t attempt to re-write the template for Block’s moody blues, because as the old saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Instead, Blockhead continues his streak of giving his fans exactly what they want, another chapter in his ever-expanding legacy.

1. Frank Ocean – Channel: OrangeChannel ORANGE operates much like that elusive lover, bringing you to the throes of ecstasy, then taking it abruptly away – a source of great, fleeting pleasure and pain. And you keep running back. By the last song you’re already craving the first; Malay, Om’Mas Keith, Pharrell Williams and Ocean himself created a soundscape you can loop, experiencing something authentic each go round. And you’ll need to, to discover the intricacies of Ocean’s writing. For those folks wondering where R&B went, it’s right here. For genuine emotion-evoking music, equal parts ambient programming and musicianship, complex, creative lyrics, and SOUL, you need only turn the channel.

  Mixtape D.L.
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