Top Releases of 2011.
I know I'm posting this mad late, but I have a life. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Enjoy my list.
Well 2011 was definitely a year of amazing music. It was the year of the underdogs and the overlooked. Independent artists showed the industry that they have what it takes to compete (and even be better) than signed artists. Artists infused music genres together like never before and created a new sense of classic music. Now I know you're probably looking at the photo like, "Awww hell naw Es! What kind of list is this?" First off, you didn't even get to my explanations for my picks. Secondly, I'm not your average music blogger. These releases are my personal favorites of 2011 and are projects that truly stuck with me from last year. So the list is not based off of popularity, radio play or whatever. It's simply the shit I liked from 2011. Like my top list of 2010, I narrowed the list to 20 releases. Also, this list in no particular order what so ever. Got it? Get it? Gucci. On to the explanations.
Kendrick Lamar's Section.80: THE BEST RAP RELEASE OF 2011. This shouldn't even be up for debate. I am yet to come across a single person that I have discussed Section.80 with that said this project was anything less than epic. I even caught on to Section.80 late but I swear I listened to it all day and everyday once I got it. Kendrick Lamar has definitely set a new standard of what a rap artist should be and how a rap ablum can be and should been done. Section.80 definitely deserves it's spot in Rap Music History. K.Dot is that nigga. Sidenote: Fuck Complex for not putting this as #1 on their shitty 2011 list. Smh.
Favorite tracks: A.D.H.D., Tammy's Song, Ronald Regan Era, The Spiteful Chant
Criss Lyric's LOUD:music: Criss Lyric's dopeness on some Hudson Mohawke production was a match made in heaven. When I downloaded this, I did not except this project to be as amazing as it was. Criss is one of my favorite emcees out right now and I think that with this project he showed people that he is one to look out for. Criss knows what the fuck he is doing and he does it well when it comes to this rap shit. I'm just sitting back and waiting for him to blow up cause it's bound to happen. LOUD:music was def the soundtrack to my 2011 summer.
Favorite tracks: GOING:gone, BILL'N:distroy, KINGSIZE:slim, TWISTED:clips, CONNECTICUT:usa
KanYe West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: I'm probably one of the biggest KanYe fans to walk the face of this Earth, so the fact that we got such a classic album from him last year gave me so much life. With this album, Ye stripped himself of the title as a "rapper" to a true "artist". This guy makes art. MBDTF is a masterpiece. And even though I didn't like Watch The Throne, I'm not totally unsatisfied with the amazing music and moments we got from KanYe in 2011. I'm still crossing my fingers for him to still do Good Ass Job as an album, but only God knows what KanYe will come up next. I doubt that it will be anything less than epic.
Favorite tracks: Power, All Of The Lights, Hell Of a Life, Blame Game
OnCue's Can't Wait: My rediscovery of OnCue has definitely filled a void in my music life. The void that was created by some of my favorite bands breaking up and the lack of rappers who could... well, rap! I impatiently waited for Can't Wait to dropped and when it did, it was well worth the wait. Cuey did the damn thang on this project. It's pretty much flawless to me. He put a lot of heart, soul, and thought into the project and molded it so well into 15 tracks. Word to CJ Luzi as well on the production. Def one of my favorite producers out right now. I think I told everybody about Cuey and this project, I just couldn't shut up about it. Very excited to see what comes next from this dude.
Favorite tracks: All The Way, Better Than Before, Make It All Work
Frank Ocean's nostalgia, ULTRA: Frank Ocean shut the R&B game down with this project! Just fucked it up in the most beautiful way! It's like gangsta R&B! Lol The fact that I don't like 90% of R&B that drops nowadays and that I fell in love with this project as soon as I heard it says something. Frank is probably the best songwriter out right now and definitely one of the top vocalists out right now as well. He had me at his take of Mr.Hudson's There Will Be Tears and just how he flipped that track. Swim Good is one of the best songs of 2011 for me. The project as a whole was just the perfect way for Frank to truly introduce himself to the world and let us know who reigns supreme. Frank Ocean is epic.
Favorite tracks: Swim Good, Love Crimes, There Will Be Tears, Dust
ForteBowie's Something About #Bowie: "THAT NIGGA NICE!" This mixtape just embodies everything I love about ForteBowie and his dopeness! He gave us every side of him and then some! SAB is composed of so many different vibes and styles yet Forte puts them together so well! I STILL play SAB and I probably will for a very, very long time. ForteBowie is that nigga!
Favorite tracks: Impala, Decatur, Crazy Place, Into The Air, Sixteens Candles
Asaad's #DIRTYMIDDLECLASS: Like I said before, "The music is so hood yet so proper. It's gritty yet its fly. Its expensive fur coats on the dirty city streets. It's gold platted cups filled with Kool-Aid. It's young and refreshing yet classic at the same time.#DIRTYMIDDLECLASS is everything." Asaad is the rapper people need to keep an eye on this year. He's bringing back some of the classic themes that we love in Hip Hop but in a way that so refreshing and epic. If other emcees are not careful, Asaad will end their careers with little to no effort. He's that amazing to me. And #DIRTYMIDDLECLASS embodies everything that I love about him.
Favorite tracks: Paint On The Fur, Black Kid's Dream, Paradise Jungle, Mobbin, Sleep It Off
Common's The Dreamer The Believer: Where do I begin when it comes to this album? Should I start with how Common was spitting on this album like this was his debut album or something? Or the amazing and classic production by No I.D.? Or how this dude got Maya Angelou on his album? Honestly, I can not put into words how much I love this album and how it just touched me so much and like changed my life! The words do not exist. And honestly, all this beef and shit means nothing to me because Common is a fucking legend and The Dreamer The Believer is proof of that. If you have not listened to this album, you are fucking up in life. Everyone needs music like this in their lives.
Favorite tracks: The Dreamer, Sweet, Blue Sky, Cloth, and of course The Believer!
Rest of the list after the cut!
The Weeknd's House Of Balloons: I can't lie, this project is dope as fuck to me. Definitely bought a new way of viewing R&B/Pop to me. It's like gangsta blues. It's raw, dirty, rude, yet it's oh so good. Abel is a very interesting artist and even though I think he's getting a little full of himself cause all this new found fame which is showing in his music hence his last two releases which were, in my opinion, weak as fuck-I think he's got potential still. Because he did make HOB which was dope as fuck. Let us pray that he can do it again.
Favorite tracks: The Morning, Wicked Games, What You Need, Loft Music
A$AP Rocky's Live Love A$AP: *yells out* I BE THAT PRETTY MUTHAFUCKA! HARLEM WHERE I'M REPPIN'! Anyone who knows me nowadays knows I just love me some A$AP Rocky! I blast this mixtape in my car to this very day, my nigga! Rocky is that perfect blend of Dirty South bounce and NYC fly shit! He's like an East Coast rap smoothie! The production from A$AP Ty Beats, Clams Casino, DJ Burn One and more was just incredible! Rocky may not be the best rapper lyrically but he is definitely one of the illest to me just for his overall vibe. I want to hang out with A$AP Mob when I go back to Harlem. I want to literally live and love A$AP. lol
Favorite tracks: Peso, Trilla, Roll One Up, Palace, Leaf, Brand New Guy
Phlo Finister's Crown Gold: Babydoll got the gold! Phlo dropped this 6 track gem and the dope kids went crazzzzyyy! Vintage rock and pop covers over gangsta rap beats-only Phlo can pull that shit off! Crown Gold was definitely a game changer when it comes to how people view R&B, especially R&B coming from a female. Phlo gave it a new swag. Crazy thing is, this is only the beginning! Phlo has a lot in store for the people. But Crown Gold is my shit!
Favorite tracks: Bang Bang, Riders On The Storm, Wrong #
B-Nix's Weirdo's Dialect: For this being B-Nix's first solo project ever, it's a damn good one! The production was dope. The concept was dope as well. But B-Nix as an emcee- he's just epic. He has a lot of potential as an artist! Excited to hear more from him. But I def enjoyed this 'tape.
Favorite tracks: Preaching, Feel Me, Options, Kwame Hood (This shit is hilarious!)
The Internet's Purple Naked Ladies: I didn't post about this or even tell anyone I listened to it but I did and I loved it! Matt and Syd represent another side of OF and I think because of that, PNL didn't get the best reviews from music critics. This album was dope as fuck. Production wise, concept wise, and lyrically. Syd is uber talented and I am glad she is making music. Matt Martian is secretly everyone's favorite producer! They killed it on the album. Word to the other featured artists too. It's an amazing piece of Odd art and people are stupid to have thought it was gonna sound anything like Tyler or MellowHype's shit. We need more of The Internet!
Favorite tracks: She DGAF, Love Song, Fastlane, Web Of Me
DeVon Hendryx's JOECHILLWORLD: From my review of this project,"JOECHILLWORLD has to be one of the most interesting mixtapes I've ever heard in my life. Listening to this is like having a nightmare you enjoy. It's dark, rude, musically abnormal but at the same time beautiful, meaningful, and dope as fuck. To me, this is not a just some mixtape, it's art. It's almost like the musical equivalent to the movie, Donnie Darko." DeVon Hendryx is that nigga.
Favorite tracks: Game Of The Century, Sabbath School, Montebello High School Prom
GREATeclectic x Swiper Bootz's FAMEkills: Lady Gaga and KanYe West have met before, but never like this! I feel like this was the mashup album that I've been waiting for... forever! From my review,"They took some Lady Gaga heat and some KanYe West dopeness and smashed it together to give his this epic piece of work." When I have an event or party, this EP will be played. Epic shit.
Favorite tracks: bad POWER, Paris Is Beasting, Final Fantasy
Jesse Boykin III's Way Of A Wayfarer: After seeing JB3 live last summer and totally being inspired and amazed, of course I had to get into this EP! Jesse is epic and I think with this EP, he showed another side of his artistry. It's like abstract R&B kinda. I love this EP. I play it like every Sunday to start my week off in a good mood. Only 5 tracks but it's 5 amazing, beautiful tracks.
Favorite tracks: I Can't Stay, Light To Dark, When Your Ready
Mac Miller's Blue Slide Park: I know what you guys are thinking,"Es, Mac Miller? WTF." And you know what, I use to think the same thing! I'm not a Mac Miller fan but I have to admit, Blue Slide Park is pretty fuckin' dope! I think Mac is refining his sound. It was apparent that he put a lot of heart and thought into the album, which I appreciate. Overall, dude has some bars. Gotta give credit when it's due people! This is probably the only project I've enjoyed from him so far but it is his most recent one, so I wouldn't be surprised if I liked his next mixtape or album. ...C'mon people, this album was dope, admit it!
Favorite tracks: Frick Park Market, Smile Back, Missed Calls
Cashtro Crosby's Rasta Monsta: I really liked this project because Cashtro showed us another side of him. The How To Make It In America concept infused with Cashtro's Jamaican background was really dope! And of course he always brings energy and dopeshit to anything he gets on. This was definitely a project that stood out to me from 2011.
Favorite tracks: Rasta Monsta, Low Key, The Beautiful Life, Selling Jeans & Crushing Dreams
Cocaine 80s' The Pursuit: Cocaine80's drop these short EPs of gold! I first caught wind of them when their song, Six Ft Over featuring Common was floating around on the blogosphere. To be honest, I was hesitant to listen to more of their music because I'm not exactly the biggest R&B/Neo Soul/whatever listener, but I just had too. Thank God I did! Especially when it came to their EP, The Pursuit. It's like a new upbeat and hood version of their other EP, Ghost Lady. I had it on repeat for like 3 wks. Definitely love No I.D.'s production and Cocaine80's singer has a unique voice that I love. As far R&B releases of 2011, The Pursuit is definitely one of my favs.
Favorite Tracks: Summer Madness, Anywhere But Here, To Tell You The Truth
SUBMiT's Distance To Infinity: From my original review: "People, this is a good ass mixtape! It's solid. SUBMiT stayed very true to who he is as an artist and he came on every track like he was hungry for victory! The energy on this 'tape is dope and consistent. To me, this is the kind of mixtape an artist gets a deal off of." This project made it to my list because I felt the hungry SUBMiT had in him for success in this industry. A lot of artists are cocky in their music when they have no reason to, therefore making their music lazy. He put WORK into this project and I appreciate that. And plus, this was a really good 'tape!
Favorite Tracks: Distance To Infinity, Victory Lap, We On Our Way, Where We Gonna Go
WOO! That is the end of my list for 2011 but I do want to make some honorable mentions:
ForteBowie's Ubereargasms:The Life & Times Of David Ruffin Jr.
PUSH! Montana's When PUSH! Comes To Shove Vol.2
Phlo Finister's Silver Hill
Phil The Thrill's Barely Awake
Pharoh & SUBMiT's The Standard
Curren$y's Weekend At Burnies
Curtis Williams' Trill Shit Only
2011 definitely had some amazing music come out but I'm so ready for the heat that 2012 will bring. January is almost over and I can already feel the warmth from the hot music that will drop this yr. Shout out to all the artists who shared their music with him in 2011 and may it continue in 2012! Thank you to all the people who read this blog, yall know I love you! Keep the music alive!!!