Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 Tell Em: Top Hip Hop Albums

1- Apathy – Honkey Kong – The Demigodz alumnus comes hard and fierce in this offering, chock full of boom bap beats and stellar guest appearances from Xzibit, Vinnie Paz, General Steele, and others and production from Statik Selektah and DJ Muggs. The Primo laced “Stop What Ya Doin” with Celph Titled is a certified banger.

2- Onry Ozzbourne – Hold On For Dear Life – Last year’s #1 comes back with a perfect solo follow up. A balanced album with both melodic thoughtful joints (“Daughters”), sparse lyrical tracks (“All to Herself”), and even a semi-radio track in “The O.O.” and “Hold Up” make this Farmington NM native a must listen.

3- Mar Q Spekt and Kno- Machete Vision - The Cunninlynguists producer sets up the beats perfectly for Spekt, who blazes through track after track. Spekt stands out lamenting the state of Hip Hop, but unlike many, he lets the listener follow along in his disgust. A strong cameo from Action Bronson on “Roadhouse” is a highlight.

4- Qwazzar & Batsauce – Bat Meets Blaine – Qwazzaar seemingly rolls with the punches as his producer counterpart Batsauce feeds him an endless variety of beats. No track swells into the plus three minute mark (save the dope posse cut “Never Weaker”) which creates a flowing album for all the real Hip Hop heads.

5- Willie Evans – Introducin – Fully produced and rapped by Willie himself, this “concept” joint is a journey of straight Hip Hop (“Introducin”) to story telling (“Take 2”) and everything in between. Hailing from Jacksonsville, this artist (and his MF Doom-like flow) will certainly be one to watch for in the coming years.

6- Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going To Eat That? – Aesop Rock is one of the most slept on lyricists in the game, and this underground release from Aes, Rob Sonic, and DJ Big Wiz highlights his unique abilities. Tracks like “Garfield” are a musical mashup of curious lyrics and a cacophony of out-of-the norm beats.

7- Random Axe - Random Axe - Supergroups produce varying results; Guilty Simpson, Sean Price, and Black Milk hit you smack dab in the face this past summer with this joint. Sean P further cements his status as one of the greatest in the current game and Black Milk not only provides production but a viable third MC voice.

8- PH – Know The Ledge- The Brooklyn underground MC (formerly Pumpkinhead) brings that BK sound straight to your gut with cameos from Skyzoo, Rustee Juxx (both on the bangin “County of Kings”) and Fresh Daily among others. Topics range from women’s tattoos to the standard smoking and drinking.

9- Luckyiam – I Love Haters – The Living Legends MC brings that Cali vibe to this project in which he says “You can’t critique anything anymore without being labeled a hater and I just don’t agree with that.” Great verses from Slug of Atmosphere, Aceyalone, and Imani of Pharcyde add to the flavor.

10- Reks – R.E.K.S. (Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme) – Assembling a cast of producers that would make MCs mouths’ salivate- Premier, Alchemist (Reks teams with Styles P in a good ol’ verbal throwdown on “Why Cry”), Nottz, and Hi-Tech. Primo gets the best of Reks, on the ill “Thin Line” and “25th Hour.”

11- Tyler, The Creator – Goblin – The “weirdness” and “buzz” factors aside, Tyler, The Creator manages to follow up his previous releases with a solid “debut.” Tracks like the lead single “Yonkers” will resonate in the eardrums, but deep in the album cuts like “Tron Cat” are the real treat from the Odd Future stalwart and leader.

12- Evidence – Cats And Dogs – The Dilated MC shifts over to Rhymesayers and doesn’t miss a beat, literally. Mr Slow Flow is in the house on tracks like Alchemist’s “The Red Carpet” (with Raekwon and Ras Kass) and Premier’s “You.” Check for the standout guitar-laden “Late For The Sky” with Slug from Atmosphere and Aesop Rock.


Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part II – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame be damned, 25years later these guys put out their finest straight Hip Hop joint in years.

Elzhi – Elmatic – Mixtape or not, this MC’s “remake” of the Nas classic follows the original from start to finish to near perfection. “Detroit State of Mind” yes indeed.

Pac Div – The Div – The West Coast trio follows up their free mistape Church League Champs with another plate of minimalist beats and precise rhymes.

Vast Aire – Ox 2010: A Street Odyssey – One of Hip Hop’s clearest and most articulate voices, the Can O stalwart has been in the game for a decade because of releases like this.

Weerd Science - Sick Kids - The track “Unloveable Loser” is a definite highlight, a harmonious track about never getting paid, respect, the girls, or a record deal.

BACK IN THE SG DAY: 2006 Best, 2007 Tops, 2008 Aces, 2009 Bangers , 2010 Damn That's Fresh

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Anonymous Fresh Marcus said...

This might be the first year I know less than one-half of the picks. That is how you know you are getting old (-school).

I am grateful for the Commish puttin' it down to educate the masses. If he recommends it, it's on-point, son.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Fresh Marcus said...

Speaking of old-school, I saw a dude in the gym today with a high-top fade. He went in the pool and, word life, it looked like a shark fin was steady mobbin' while he was swimming.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only Drake that the SG knows are the Drakes from 'Trading Places'

Good picks. After last years I got that Dark Time Sonshine. Didnt know OO was in that group.

10:16 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

Seems like people either love or hate that Onry album. I still haven't listened to it since I'm usually not a big fan, but I might have to. Completely forgot about that PH album, I'll have to track that down. Love that Qwazaar and Batsauce album. Couple others on this list, Weerd Science and LuckyIAm that I didn't listen to that I will have to check out. The only "WTF" I have on the list is the Tyler album, thought it was absolute crap. The rest though all got some kind of play out of me during the year. Always good as usual.

10:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim Tebozak said...

loved that Elzhi album. Take a long drive and listen to the original and then that one. Surprised Dopplegangers didnt make the cut.

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