Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Top 11 Best Albums Halfway Through 2011

1. What Can I say? Hip-Hop's 2nd coming of the Chef persona (he's really a chef ppl), who incidentally sounds a lot like Rae's partner Ghostface when he rhymes, just flat out constructed a great debut w/ producer Tommy Mas. A complete standout work that flexes a lot of the Albanian-American's lyrical dexterity and puts the Queens native on the map.

2. Matter ov Fact and EP continue being the most slept on new duo in Hip-Hop as this, their latest LP is getting criminally overlooked in the shuffle of 2011...Rest assured, their brand of sample heavy and foreboding hardcore on "Lone Sharks" was good enough to register them as having the 2nd best LP of 2011.

3. The DMV checks in at no. 3 as the heir apparent to great producers like Pete Rock and Large Professor AKA Kev Brown got up with emcee Kamibr for a kind of new twist on a concept album. Using nothing but Al Green records as a sample source, Kev weaves a great web of sonic goodies for Kaimbr to get loose drips soul and has some of the highest replayability of an album thus far in 2011.

4. Producer Focus packs a wallop of a soulful punch on his debut, compilation style LP that far exceeded my expectations. Well picked guest appearances and a noticeable shunning of mainstream mores makes this a fresh listen. Although I'll admit that most of the appeal here is drawn from Focus' great production chops, standout performances from Phonte, Sha Stimuli, Kida and Raheem DeVaughn will have you reaching for this joint time and again.

5. Only hours old, Apollo Brown and Hassaan Mackey's new LP turns heads and opens ears. The Detroit bred beatsmith Apollo Brown puts together a boom bap infused album that has a soundbed that rivals any, if not exceeds every album in the top 5 of this list. Mackey pulls no punches either, as he powers the album with intelligent, focused rhymes that marry the sonic edge of "Daily Bread" perfectly.

6. The quintessential compilation-style LP of the year thus far, veteran DJ and producer JS-1 sticks to his usual script and gets the usual results. Combining loads of the most capable emcees in the game with his stripped down productions and brutally sharp cuts and scratches JS once again proves more Hip-hop fans should indeed, care.

 7. Longtime Hip-Hop producer J. Rawls unleashed one of his finest projects on us with "The Hip-Hop Affect". The album boasts his affinity for great Jazz lifts as well as his highly slpet-on capabilities as an emcee. Probably one of the best constructed albums of this year that fully flexes J.Rawls' production chops. A classic.

8. Sean Price, Black Milk and Guilty Simpson's much hyped collaboration project that actually managed to live up to expectations in most departments. Milk's fierce beats coupled with Sean P's hilarious one-liners and Guilty's vivid imagery all meshed extremely well. Album didn't meander or tale detours and gave the fans precisely what they wanted...the must-have hardcore collab LP of 2011.

9. Perhaps the youngest artist on this list ( I don't know Rasheed Chappell or Apollo Brown's age), Big K.R.I.T. and all of his deep talent simply is the future of the south. The dually talented emcee and producer's debut "ReturnOf4Eva" marked the young Mississippian's arrival to the Hip-Hop scene and boasted a number of laudable tracks. His southern twang combined with his apt wordplay are sure to get you reminiscing on prior great southern emcees his senior, most notably Big Boi and Bun B.

10. Another great young emcee with a powerful new voice, Rasheed Chappell's "Future Before Nostalgia" is exactly what it's advertised to be, however, the nostalgia will definitely pour in. Hearing the distinctly boom bap arrangements provided in bulk by producer Kenny Dope and the intense wordplay from Rasheed on every track makes this a shining example of an underground breakthrough and a breath of fresh air.

11. The Kentucky-bred collective returns with a stirring album that carries the concept of a huge dream, and that plays like one too. Powered by Kno's ever-impressive production emcees Natti and Deacon assume a bunch of roles lyrically and rarely mis-fire. It's a testament, once again, to the talents that Cunnin' has had and continues to drop on all of us.

No comments: