Label: Sound in Color
Key Track: "Show Me the Good Life" f/ Aloe Blacc & Joseph

Sad truth: the main reason underground hip-hop falls short is that it's too much spit, not enough real shit. That's not a problem here; Blu goes in with a style that blends the laconic mood of sunny California with the cerebral bravado of a New York guttersnipe. If this is the rest of the subterranean was really like, we'd go back to rocking the strappy North Face full-time.

Exile also produced Mobb Deep's "Pearly Gates."