I love music, and this year, there has been tons of good music.
Everybody brought their A-game in 2011, so complying a list of my favorite albums/mixtapes/eps was a difficult thing to do, but after much debate (among myself) I think I have it all figured out.
So let’s begin.
#10 Young Darias – I’m in the Buildin’
Make sure y’all check out my review I did for this mixtape, but let me just say why I’m In The buildin’ made my end-of-the-year list: Young D’s project remind me of the good-old mixtape days where you take’s someone else’s beat and make it your own. Overall, it was a well polished (and improved) mixtape from the up-and-comer.
#9 Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel
While I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t a little better (production-wise), this EP still knocks in the whip. Eminem and Royce Da 5′ 9″ make one helluva combo, going bar for bar in every other track, but somehow this felt like a rushed kind-of-project. Don’t get me wrong, ‘A Kiss’ is a gutta gutta type of song, but ‘Lighters’ with Bruno Mars still took me awhile to get used to. Maybe next time guys.
#8 Common – The Dreamer / The Believer
Common’s The Dreamer/The Believer kinda just snuck into my top 10 list, but I’m really glad it did. I’ve been thinking about doing this list about a month ago, and when I was thinking about which projects made the cut, Common’s album was not on my radar. But then I heard “Sweet”, it was game over. I peep this album out, and yes, it is legit! In my eyes, one of Common’s top albums he’s ever put out. The production, the lyrics, the flow, its all on point here. The reason why its not higher on my list is b/c I still have listen to it more, to like it more. Does that make sense? I think so. We can only dare to dream.
#7 Add-2 – One Missed Call
Although I like A Tale of Two Cities: Vol. 4 a little bit more, the one man duo, Add-2, still manages to delivered a well-made solid project. Taking it back to the more soulful days of yesterday, this project see Add-2 clever punch lines and lyrics over some smooth ass beats and instrumentals. This is the type of music that requires a careful listen b/c there is soo much packed in every line. This dude must not be slept on anymore. When his next project drops, its going to be serious problem.
#6 The Game – The R.E.D. album
The R.E.D. album was a bit underwhelming at first (I guess that’s what happens when you drop a mixtape before your album), but after a careful listen, you can tell its top shelf quality. From an audio stand point alone, you can tell that Game was in his zone, from sampling movies to recording his baby mama in the delivery room. Keeping it g’d up with tha Boyz in the Hood theme, Game takes his flow over range of different beats. The Compton MC still proves he’s
a monster a martian on the mic, and for that, I give him props.
#5 Childish Gambino – EP
Wow! This right here is a monster. This little short EP proves that there’s no kidding around when it comes to Childish Gambino’s music. There’s so many quotables up in here that I use on a daily biases, that has become a classic in my eyes. Production, lyrics, swagg, it can all be found in this 6 track EP. This project delivers the best of what is Childish Gambino. In other words, this shit goes hard in the paint like I fucked her on her period. Childish Gambino is a force to be wreaken with, and he’s coming.
#4 The-Dream – 1977
The MOST UNDERRATED R&B PROJECT of 2011, hands down. This album is so amazing that its no wonder the record company got mad that Dream put it out for free. Haha. Moreover, this right here shows us how to do contemporary R&B cuts in a hip-hop dominant era. Its a musical/soulful experience from the first track till the end. When it comes to the current rhythm and blues, it gets no better than this (sorry Trey Songz). My only advice with this is, if you haven’t heard it, please do yourself a favor and go listen this. Like right now.
#3 Drake – Take Care
I’m going to compare this album similar to a Hollywood movie, follow along with this thought. So the first album (i.e. like a movie) was okay. In other words, Drake’s first project looked like it was going to be a great first album, according to the previews (i.e. mixtapes), but it was just okay – the previews were better. Now this second album (just a like many sequels of movies) was much better. Don’t get it twisted, this is a GREAT album. Hands down. The production, the lyrics, melodies, hooks, features – you name it, Drake came correct with this one. Take Care is over the top, and it works. A much better sounding and polished album than its predecessor, Drake just did a “Slim Shady to Marshall Matter LP” style of leap. This will be, for years to come, arguably Drake’s best album. Mark my words.
#2 Kendrick Lamar – Section 80
Here’s what makes Kendrick Lamar’s Section 80 great: Every song, at the beginning, sounds like its going to suck, BUT just a give a second, and it hits you. Every track is great. This IS QUALITY music. This is RAP in its truest form. Kendrick Lamar has just paved the way for many new artist to developed their own music in the way he has. In my opinion, Kendrick Lamar has tapped into the late/great Tupac Shakur’s musical rap soul and displayed his talent on the mic, track for track in Section 80 (something we haven’t seen in a long time). Simply put, Kendrick Lamar is a legend in the making, and this project here will cement that argument.
#1 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
The best album of 2011. Quote me on that. If rap is a subculture, then hip hop is the culture. Jay-Z and Kanye West make one of the best duo’s to ever to make music, period. This right here is HIP HOP at its truest form. When people think of what is Hip-Hop in 2011, all one has to do is listen to Watch the Throne track for track. Although Watch the Throne dropped late in this summer, it still gets constant play from me on a daily biases and that’s why it deserves the top spot. The production, the lyrics, the “it” factor – Watch the Throne has it. And if you think about the album title, we should watch it, because right now, Jay-Z and Kanye West are the Kings of Hip Hop.
Well, there’s my list and I hope people don’t go gorillas over it. But I know its provocative and it’ll get the people going.