If what constitutes an album is murky ground in 2013’s non-stop battlefield of mixtapes, mini-albums and 10-track plus EPs, then the definition of a single really is anybody’s guess. As we always emphasise on our weekly FACT Singles Club feature, a single in 2013 could be a 12” (or 10” or 7”, if you’re feeling particularly quaint) vinyl release, a SoundCloud album teaser, a mixtape cut or even an unintentional leak. The way that people consume music has become a free-for-all, and the way that it’s distributed and presented has merely followed suit. What follows is a list of the tracks we couldn’t stop consuming this year.
For listeners accustomed to DC rapper Fat Trel’s brand of unrepentant firestarters (‘Respect Wit The Tech’, ‘Fuck The Fedz’, etc), ‘Niggaz Dyin’ was a pleasant surprise. A bit of street life truth-telling that doesn’t soften his machinegun flow, the track finds Trel thinking aloud (“dreams and drugs, which is you selling?”) over a smoky, ambient beat. Bonus points for the Lil Durk namedrop, who mined similar turf on ‘Dis Ain’t What You Want’.
Jam City’s Classical Curves was one of 2012’s best albums, and would go onto prove one of 2013’s most influential. Although it’s a very different record, Logos’s Cold Mission inhabits a similar climate, and artists like Neana and the Her Records crew are clearly using Jam City as a key reference point. On ‘Worst Illusion’, Jam City stripped down the 90 degree machine music of Classical Curves even further, resulting in the shiniest Club Constructions single yet, one of 2013’s giddiest club tools, and a reminder that when he’s on form, there’s still very few better.