As the year comes to a close, it is only right that we provide you with some of the year’s best albums. 2011, like 2010, saw the resurgence of quality mixtapes, EP’s, and commercial releases. The collabo album/concept has also become popular once again. The music industry changed quite a bit during the year which has me even more excited about what’s in store for 2012! With that said, below are our top albums of 2011…
Big K.R.I.T “Return of 4EVA”
Stand out cuts: THE WHOLE DAMN ALBUM!!!!!!!!!!!! (CLASSIC!!!!)
KRIT blessed us with a classic. I admit that I was a bit late, but once I caught on, I knew that this was more than just your average album. ReturnOf4eva was masterfully pieced together with each song setting up the next perfectly. KRIT’s subject matter is somewhat similar to other rappers on this album, but the way he paints pictures and expresses himself is second to none. The challenge for KRIT will be either matching and/or exceeding the expectations that were set by this album. However, with the production skills (KRIT procuced the entire album) and thought provoking rhymes, that should not be an issue for this Mississippi native.
Frank Ocean “Nostalgia”
Stand out cuts: “We All Try,” “Novacane,” “Swim Good,” “Dust,” and “There Will Be Tears”
Frank Ocean proved with Nostalgia that music from the heart can and will connect with the people. Nostalgia, like ReturnOf4eva, was released as a mixtape and had all original content. Ocean’s lyrics match both his voice and the melodies perfectly. He captures the “Nostalgia” of his past days without blemish with the deep lyrics and vivid pictures that were painted.
Evidence “Cats & Dogs”
Stand out cuts: “The Liner Notes,” “The Red Carpet,” “You,” “Where You Come From”
Evidence created an album that brought that raw feeling back to hiphop. From the jump, he delivers the hard core beats and unapologetic lyrics that we have grown to love from the California MC. I apprectiace the time that Ev placed aside to strategically plan out this LP. None of the features sound forced and Ev’s rhymes are well thought out. “Cat’s and Dogs” will definitely be in rotation well beyond 2011!
The Throne “Watch the Throne”
Stand out cuts: “No Church in the Wild,” “Gotta Have It,” “Who Gone Stop Me,” “New Day,” “Niggas in Paris”
WTT was easily one of my favorite albums of 2011. People placed unreal expectations on this album before it dropped. So much so, that they didn’t know what their expecations were. Instead of enjoying the album, they would rather pick it apart, beat by beat, line by line, and point out any flaw that they perceived. I, on the other hand, placed my expectations aside. At the end of the day, you’re only comparing Jay and Ye, to Jay and Ye. And considering their catalogs, I think that WTT will fit right in. Also, if you missed the concert, you probably missed the best concert of the last 5-10 years! Salute to Jay and Yeezy!
Tech N9ne: “All 6’s And 7’s”
Stand out cuts: “Welcome to Strangeland,” “World Wide Choppers,” “He’s A Mental Giant,” “Delusional,” “Fu*k Food”
In 2011, Tech N9ne was able to prove that hard work, plus a relentless grind and out of this world lyricism, is the formula for a dope album! All 6’s And 7’s is a combination of all 3 with the addition of one more element – dope beats. Tech N9ne probably ranks as one of the, if not the, top lyricist of 2011 from this LP alone. He combines the speedy delivery that the Midwest is known for with a precise, yet articulate approach. Although some are just catching up to Tech N9ne, it is safe to say that this will not be the last that you hear from the Kansas City MC!
The Roots “Undun”
Stand out cuts: Every song that has Quest on percussion and Thought at the helm! Period. #Classic
Veterans. The one word that describes The Legendary Roots Crew. And this album isn’t short of outstanding. Any fan of music (not just hip-hop) can settle in to this project and completely disappear in the music. A must have for your collection.
Common “The Dreamer, The Believer”
Stand out cuts: “Sweet”, “Raw (How You Like It)”, “Windows”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m bias when it comes to Common. As a Chicago native, I feel like it’s almost my duty to support all things Windy City related. But this album speaks for itself. I’m just here to point the spotlight on it. Rash puts on his hip hip hat for this one. Produced entirely by No I.D., this album throws a lasso around all these wack rappers and brings them in for a quick lesson in MCing. Listen and learn!
Other Dope Albums from 2011
– Adele “21”
– Pac Div “The DiV”
– Killa Mike “Pl3DGE”
– Drake “Take Care”
– Kendrick Lamar “Section 80”
– Jhene Aiko “Sailing Soul(s)”
– Emily King “The Seven EP”
– Phonte “Charity Starts At Home”
– TiRon & Ayomari “A Sucker For Pumps”
– Cocaine80’s “Ghost Lady”