Here's a top-five list from Toronto rapper K-Os, whose "Joyful Rebellion" was one of 2004's best hip-hop releases. And he's plenty patriotic: Other than Dylan and KRS-One, every artist on the list is Canadian.
1. Metric's "Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?" (iTunes download) and the Dears' "Heathrow or Deathrow" -- Emily Haines' intelligence and sex appeal in combat, baby! Add very rude guitar -- wicked! Both are great at descriptive songs with melody. Classic Canadian sound but can channel the beauty of European art.
2. Saukrates' "The Underground Tapes" -- 'cause it's all I have until his new album this summer -- he's the best! One of the best Canadian hip-hop albums of all time. He has all the skills -- rapping, rhyming and singing.
3. Leslie Feist's "Let It Die" -- solar angel with a voice to match -- stunning. The quintessential Canadian album. I love this album not just for the material but also for the attitude behind her work.
4. Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue" -- one of the greatest songs of all time! The epitome of supreme song craftsmanship. The master of audiovisual songwriting. Can write the descriptive words with the melody to match. (iTunes download)
5. KRS-One's "Return of the Boom Bap" -- because he's the teacher! Keeps me in check. Totally raw energy, KRS-One speaks the truth in a direct, in-your-face way. Shows people what hip-hop is all about.