Global Hip Hop Best of 2012

Published On February 7, 2013 | By Greg | Argentina, Cameroon, Features, France, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Poland, Switzerland, UK, Women in Hip Hop

We were so busy updating the site in January that we slipped on our annual report of the best international hip hop albums of 2012. Well, wait no more! We scoured over 200 released from 2012 and picked our favorites, plus we list to votes of some of our amazing writers and friends around the world. These lists should keep you busy for at least a month of seeing what you (might have) missed.

by Greg Schick (World Hip Hop Market)

native sunNative Sun – Indigenous Soundwaves (Mozambique/UK)
I was blessed to see Native Sun perform this music in 2012 and I can tell you that their energy and presence is immense. These two formerly solo artists, emceee Mohammed Yahya and singer Sarina Leah, cooked up this idea of celebrating their African heritage through music. The production is described as “J Dilla meets Fela Kuti” and borrows as much from Afro-beat as hip hop. What makes this album shine is the way it uplifts you. You walk away with a smile and positive energy.
Video: “Gallery of Dreams


bocaflojaBocafloja – Patologias del Invisible Incomodo (Mexico)
Bocafloja is a veteran underground emcee from Mexico City. He has consistently created dope music (often compared to Native Tongues) but with his latest album, he has stepped up his game even further. While always thoughtful and conscious, Boca tackles deep issues of racial identity and displacement (the album title translates to “Uncomfortable Invisible Pathologies”). To add even more, he’s determined to make a video for each of the 16 tracks on the album (so far 6 videos and a mini-doc). Check the link below to the video “Memoria” with English subtitles if you aren’t a Spanish speaker.
Video: “Memoria


negrissimNegrissim’ – The Bantu Plan Vol 1 (Cameroon)
Fourteen years ago, Negrissim came out with their first mixtape and has never looked back. They have consistently been trailblazers in African hip hop. With their latest effort, The Bantu Plan Vol 1, they reach back to their roots to combine the diverse cultures of Cameroon into one sonic composition. This is their ultimate dedication to “Hip Hop de la Brousse” (“Hip Hop in the Bush”). “Bantu” is the label given to the several hundred ethnic groups in Cameroon and east Africa, as well as their myriad languages. Our greatest wish is that we could see more music videos from this album!
Video: “My People” (2009)


toutournecover2Keny Arkana – Tout Tourne Autor Du Soleil (France)
With Tout Tourne Autor Du Soleil, Keny Arkana continues to be one of the most outspoken critics of a broken social system, as well as one of the strongest MCs in Europe. Arkana’s roots are Argentine, but she was raised in Marseille. This is her fifth album and arguably the strongest production yet. Her powerful first single, “Gens Pressés”, talks about how the society is designed to keep people from speaking out, then encouraging people to break the programming.
Video: “Gens Pressés


propoPropo’88 & BlabberMouf – From the Top of the Stack (Netherlands)
DJ Propo’88 and emcee BlabberMouf are part of the 6-man Dutch crew Da Shogunz. Since 2006, they have been lighting it up with hard hitting Boom Bap style that we all love to revel in. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard theses guys until 2012, and when I heard the first song I thought someone had resurrected Young Black Teenagers and paired them with Pete Rock on some uptempo ish! I dare you not to jump around while you blast this one out your stereo.
Video: “Pass It Ova Here!


caxtonpressCDCaxton Press – Shame the Devil (UK)
Although this is their first album as a group, the members of Caxton Press are no newcomers to UK hip hop. What is new is this London collective and their unrelenting political and social justice crusade wrapped in hip hop. The music is grimy (but not to be confused with Grime music), hard edged and expertly fashioned. While Manage and DJ Snuff are near legends in UK hip hop, the revelation of the group is Amy True whose rap talents are matched by her singing ability. As they press forward with their messages – also as part of the UK’s grassroots People’s Army – they shun mainstream, commercial music while calling out all manner of oppressors from the government to police. Their visual presence is also shocking, producing ten music videos in 12 months with genius videographer Global Faction.
Video: “Heart of a Lion

m_pps_front_1000Miuosh Prosto przed siebie (Poland)
Fandango Records has been producing some amazing hip hop in Poland for the last several years, so maybe it’s not a surprise that label founder Miuosh is the kingpin. Every time I heard him in 2012, the music was bangin’. (That is probably why he was named Artist of the Year by The production is typified by soulful vocal samples and snappy snares. Mioush’s flow is effortless with a depth to his lyrics. It’s sure to be why he has been so successful to this point.
Video: “Szczury


lagaleLa Gale – La Gale (Switzerland/Lebanon)
Born in Beirut and now residing in Lausanne, Switzerland, La Gale is a strong French-speaking female MC. On this, her debut album, she tends to rock electro-synth and hard beats – a hip hop mix of Arab, punk and rock sounds. This works well for her as she brings a sort of punk-rock attitude without ever skimping on the lyrics. She is exceptionally talented and definitely one to watch on the global stage.
Video: “Comptez vos morts


mustafayodaMustafa Yoda & Los Metricos – La Poderosa (Argentina)
A decade ago, Mustafa Yoda was crowned the freestyling champion of Argentina two years running. Springboarding from that, he set up Sedapetrica Records and released four solo albums, the latest being La Poderosa. This album found Mustafa collaborating with a live band – with soul strumming Latin sounds and magnificent horns. It’s quite a combination pitting the live instrumentation with Mustafa’s creative and thought-provoking lyrics.

Video: “Bebes Nacen


There were so many great releases in 2012, it was very hard to choose. Here’s a list of a few more that you should make sure to check out.
Honorable Mentions:

Various Artists – Sembeh Ma Fa Fe (Guinea-Bissau)
Five Steez – War for Peace (Jamaica)
Hilltop Hoods – Drinking from the Sun (Australia)
Wageble – Message of Hope (Senegal)
Fore – Going Back is Not the Same as Staying (Zimbabwe/USA)
The ReMINDers – Born Champions (Belgium/Congo/USA)

If your missed our BEST OF lists in previous years – it’s still new to you! Check out more amazing global hip hop.
Best of 2011
Best of 2010
Best of 2009
Best of 2008
Best of 2007
Best of 2006

And here are the votes from our writers, partners and friends worldwide:


Magee McIlvaine (Creative Director, Nomadic Wax, (Washington, DC)

Bocafloja – Patologies Del Invisible Incomodo (Mexico)
Typical Cats – 3 (USA)
Brother Ali – Mourning in america and dreaming in color (USA)
Dumi Right – Connect the Dots (Zimbabwe/USA)
Homeboy Sandman – First of a Living Breed (USA)
Yu – The Earn (USA)
Killer Mike – R.A.P Music (USA)
Native Sun – Indigenous Soundwaves (UK/Mozambique)
Oddisee – People Hear What They See (Sudan/USA)

Honorable Mention:
Zimbabwe’s Outspoken & The Essence’s latest album Uncool and Overrated
The ReMINDers: Born Champions
Gabriel Tedoros’ Copperwire Crew: Earthbound

DJ Nio (Music Director, Nomadic Wax / MC & Producer, Zero Plastica) (Genoa, Italy)

Las Krudas Cubensi – Levantate (Cuba)
Native Sun – Indigenous Soundwaves (Mozambique/UK)
Hired Gun – Fresh Roots Music presents: Hits and Pieces (USA)
Nomadic Massive – Supafam Mixtape (Various/Canada)
The Reminders – Born Champions (Belgium/Congo/USA)
Kubus & Sticks – Microphone colossus 2 (Netherlands)
La Fina – LLego La Fina (Cuba)
Gaston – Touti Wakh Job Lou Beuri (Senegal)
Santiago – Ghiaccio e magma (Italy)
The Narcicyst – Mr. Asthmatic (Iraq/Canada)

Esh (IBMCs,, (UK, worldwide)

Propo’88 & BlabberMouf – From the Top of the Stack (Netherlands)
George Fields – From the Sticks (UTS Records) (UK)
Propo’88 & Kick Back – Cosmic Trippin EP (Blunted Astronaut) (Netherlands)
Danny Spice – King amongst Thieves (Carry on Going) (UK)
Kista ft Cappo – 7 inch (UK)
Het Verzet – greatest shits (Netherlands)
Grand Papa Tra – lost in New York (Switzerland)
Beatfreaks – & (Switzerland)
Oddisee – you see what you hear (MMG) (US)
Videl Fidel, MC Lazy & Bukue One – worldwide (the world is listening) (IBMCs)

Anička Oravcova (WHHM Correspondent, Radio Host, Scholar) (Czech Republic)

Safari – Flow Food (CZ)
Vec – Stereo farbo slepo (SK)
Revolta – Evoluce vědomí (CZ)
Shorty Floutkovskij – Líná kůže, dobrák od kosti (EP) (CZ)
Idea – Daleko blíž (CZ)
Paulie Garand – V hlavní roli (CZ)
Kyklos Galaktikos – Osa dobra (CZ)
Ty Nikdy – Label (CZ)
Lipo – Víc než hudba (CZ)
Predstava – Hranice možností (EP / SK)

Juan Data (DJ/writer/promoter, (Oakland, CA)

Bocafloja – Patologies Del Invisible Incomodo (Mexico)
Lex Luthorz – Soul Tape (Spain)
Mustafa Yoda – La Poderosa (Argentina)
Frescolate – R.A.P. (Spain)
Akil Ammar – Postdata (Mexico)


Andrew Hazard Hickey (WHHM Correspondant,/writer, (Australia)

Urthboy – Smokey’s Haunt (Australia)
Home Brew – Self-Titled (New Zealand)
Seth Sentry – This Was Tomorrow (Australia)
Sexion D’Assaut – L’Apogee (France)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Tawk Tomahawk (Australia)
Various – Obesecity 2 (Australia)
Foreign Beggars – The Uprising (UK)
One Sixth – Electronic Mail (Australia)
Clandestien – Weapons Grade (Australia)
Xidus Pain & Johnny Crates – Crates of Pain (Australia/UK)


Niklaus Schaefer (Linguist, (Switzerland)

1. La Gale: La Gale (Switzerland)
2. DJ Format: Statement of Intent (UK)
3. Flendo: Original Connexions Part 3 (France)
4. Prhome: Lo strappo – Black Album Version (Italy)
5. Quartier Bon Son: L’amour et la guerre (Switzerland)
6. Duke Montana: Stay Gold (Italy)
7. En Mi Casa: Rifarei tutto (Italy)
8. Marco Polo presents Ghemon & Bassi: Per la mia gente – For My People (Canada/Italy)
9. Oscar White: Nel gioco di Rubik (Italy)
10. Sista Lin: Linguistic (Switzerland)


D.O. The Fabulous Drifter (MC/Promoter/Translator, Go Getter’s Union) (New Jersey)

1. Ana Tijoux -La Bala (Chile)
2. Hortadoj- El tintero (Chile)
3. Barikad Crew- RED (Haiti)
4. Bassi Maestro, ghemon Scienz , marco Polo- Per La Mia Gente (Italy)
5. Parteum- Cortexiphan (Brazil)
6. Sa-Roc- Ether Warz (Atlanta)
7. Ethel Cee- Dirty Samples (Philly)
8. Brotha Onaci- Radiant Soul: Mixtape (Chi/Philly)
9. Mike Diaz- ELEPHONTEASIZ (Mexico)
10.Boca Floja-Patologias Del Invisible Incomodo (Mexico)

Teremoana Rapley (MC/Writer/Legend) (New Zealand)

Hollie Smith and MaraTK – Band of Brothers Vol 1
Homebrew – Homebrew
Silva MC – Neva Done EP
Ermehn – Trained to Kill
Jorgito del Barrio (Global Astro Liner Radio Show) (Germany)

Chinese Man – Remix With The Sun (Chinese Man) (France)
Mati Zundel – Amazonico Gravitante (ZZK/Waxploitation) (Argentina)
Bocafloja – Patologias Del Invisible Incomodo (Quilomboarte) (Mexico)
Cypress Hill & Rusko – Cypress x Rusko EP (Cooperative) (USA/UK)
MC Melodee – Check Out Melodee (not on label) (Netherlands)
Sonora – Sonora Remezcla: Los Rakas (not on label) (USA/Panama)
Masia One – Bootleg Culture (Muti) (Singapore/Canada)
Hard Kaur – P.L.A.Y. Party Loud All Year (Sony) (India/UK)
GAGLE x Ovall – s.t. (Victor Entertainment) (Japan)
Alquimia Verbal – Reliquias (Del Mondongo) (Mexico/Canada)

MyThai (ThaiHipHop Fan Club)

1. Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d. city
2. El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
3. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
4. Vinnie Paz- God of the Serengeti
5. THEESatisfaction – awE naturalE
6. Joey Bada$$ – 1999
7. State Of Mind- The prequel
8. Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color
9. Death Grips – The Money Store
10.Rick Ross – Rich Forever