2011 was a dope year for hip hop so accordingly here are my 10 favorites of the year.
Action Bronson- Dr. Lecter
Action Bronson has had a hell of good year dropping loads of dope verses including on every track of the seriously ill Dr. Lecter. Despite comparisons to Ghostface, Action sounds like no one out there right now with references to fine cuisine, culinary techniques, and professional wrestling, Dr. Lecter is one of those albums you can listen to straight through. The raw and at times quirky production compliment Action’s flow perfectly. Sprinkle with dope guest appearances by the likes of Meyhem Lauren, Shaz Ill York, and Maffew Ragazino, and you have a winner.
The Doppelgangaz- Lone Sharks
Besides being our family here at We Goin’In, The Doppelgangaz are also the most original duo out right now. With unbelievably fantastic boom-bap and moody production and complimentary rhyme styles, Lone Sharks showed off just tight The Doppelgangaz can be. For the record, Nexium might be favorite beat of the year. It is straight up bonkers. If you’re not already up on them, cop this record now!
This album straight up blew my mind (pause.) The production is utterly beautiful and inspired and the rhymes soulful, introspective, and pitch perfect for the beats. An album loosely based around the concept of dreams and dreaming (hence Oneirology, the study of dreams,) The Cunninlynguists provide the perfect content to flush out that concept. It will be criminal if this not on everyone’s end of the year best lists.
Roc Marciano- Marcberg
Perhaps no artist and album captured the aesthetic of true gritty, grimy, gully, and gangster NY rap than Roc Marciano and his Marcberg LP. With minimal and dark sample driven production and Roc’s super ill flow and rhyme schemes, this is another listen straight through album. This brings back the best memories of mid 90′s rap glory but still has a modern sound to keep itself relevant. I’m fiending for some more Roc Marciano music in the 2k12 fo sho.
Phonte- Charity Starts At Home
I am an unabashed Little Brother and Foreign Exchange Stan so of course I loved Phonte’s solo album Charity Starts At Home From the first track. With his patented blend of witty introspective rhymes, ad-libs (New Tigalo New Tigalo!) Phonte delivers the goods on this album. He’s also reunited with 9th wonder on a number of tracks bringing back that good ol Little Brother feeling. Throw in some dope guest spots from the likes of Median, Evidence, Elzhi, and Pharoah Monche, and a good time is guaranteed for all.
Wu-Tang- Legendary Weapons
If there is one thing that people of all races, religions, creeds, and stripes can agree on it’s that The Wu is fantastic! Combining most of the Clan members with hip hop all stars like M.O.P. , AZ, Action Bronson, Termanology, Sean P, and others with affiliates like Trife, Cappadona, and the criminally slept on Killa Sin, Legendary Weapons is pure raw gritty Wu greatness. Dope kung-fu flick samples and raw rhymes with little to no choruses, this is only for the hardcore. Join the elite and cop this album.
Common- The Dreamer, The Believer
Despite being released on December 20th, this album is so good that it easily catapults to the top of the list for the year. Backed by near flawless production by No ID, Common sounds as hungry and versatile as ever switching between cocky bravado and introspective conscious type raps with ease. Even over smooth production Common’s patented off beat flow sounds raw and authentic. Hip hop lives!
Jedi Mind Tricks- Violence Begets Violence
I will admit that Jedi Mind Tricks is a bit of a guilty pleasure in my view. Their albums can be interchangeable but that never stops me from thoroughly enjoying them. Vinny Paz and Jus Allah return minus Stoupe (who surprisingly is not missed) with more songs of ultra-violence with fantastic titles. Jedi Mind Tricks always gets my hyped to go knock random mothafuckas out on the street and for that I am always grateful. As always, the guest spots are great and Violence Begets Violence even features Chip Fu which is just plain fantastic!
Drake- Take Care
I don’t care who hates on me for this because this album is just plain fantastic. I’m of the view that Drake is much less rap music connected to hip hop culture and more very very well executed pop music which is fine by me. Even hardcore OG thugs like myself need a break from shooting and hustling from time to time. Drake’s signature rapping/singing on the same track style is in its full glory and I have no shame in stating that when he wants to spit, Drake can definitely spit. Not only is this album good listening, your girl won’t walk out on you when its playing either (it takes a special woman to get turned on by say Jedi Mind Tricks.) All in all, Drake shows that he definitely has some longevity in this game.
Evidence- Cats and Dogs
Mr. Slow Flow returns with another solidly dope album that shows why he is respected by nearly everyone in hip hop. With guest spots from the likes of Raekwon, Aloe Blacc, Rakaa, Slug, Aesop Rock, and Ras Kass and bonkers production from Ev himself, Alchemist, and Premier this album represents hip hop in it’s purest form. Evidence knows how craft a consistent and unified listening experience which is just a pleasure to listen to. More please!