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Published on January 7, 2007
The Deep Dozen: Best of 2006

After a somewhat slow start, 2006 had more than its share of quality music.  Trying to choose the year's best is difficult with so many contenders, but here are the selections, presented in no particular order.

1.Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam)   
Nas strikes one for all who are frustrated with commercial rap.  His most aggressive album in years, even if the anticipated Jay-Z duet is a bit of a letdown. 

2. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere (Downtown) 
For the insanely catchy "Crazy" as well as for providing hope that adventurous quality music can still sell. 

3. DJ Spinna - Intergalactic Soul (Papa)
This album took forever to be issued, but it was well worth it, covering the spectrum of soul moods.  Spinna is the man!

4. Sleep Walker - The Voyage (Village Again) 
The finest traditional jazz album of the year. Flawless playing by some of the best musicians in Japan.  

5. DJ Kawasaki - Beautiful(Sony Japan)
Every cut on here is destined to be a future classic.  Extraordinary. 

6. Soil and Pimp Sessions - Pimp of the Year (Victor)
Are we showing showing a Japanese bias over here?  Seriously, Soil & Pimp are Sleep Walker doubled in size and on acid. 

7. Brand New Heavies - Get Used to It  (Delicious Vinyl)
Triumphant return for the N'dea and the boys. Here's one reunion album that lives up to expectations.  

8. Isoul8 - Balance  (Sonar Kollectiv)
Joins the 2005 winners Flowriders in the Most Slept On album category. 

9. Van Hunt - On the Jungle Floor (Capitol)
No sophomore slump for Mr. Hunt. The singles and promotion were botched, but he remains one of the more compelling artists in soul.

10. Sergio Mendes - Timeless (Concord)
Will.I.Am tolerates being a Black Eyed Pea so he can helm projects like this. 

11. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon (Epitaph)
Still political, still funny, still funky.  The Coup are criminally ignored by the public at large.

12 (tie). Bukky Leo and Black Egypt - Afrobeat Visions (Mr. Bongo)
            Tony Allen - Lagos No Shaking (Astralwerks)
Modern afrobeat at its finest, courtesy of two veterans who have infused the sound of Fela with today's technology. 


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