Must-Cop: 25 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2011 (Part One)
It’s that time of year again: Time for the best hip hop albums of 2011 — so far. We’re just past the half-way point for 2011 and we’ve seen a number of notable releases, including some of those that made our most-anticipated hip hop albums list for the year. While we’ve certainly clocked a huge number of albums to this point, there are still plenty more on the way. So, as always this list is meant as guide to the first six months, and not our definitive list for the entire year. That comes later.
Our list of the best hip hop albums of 2011 consists of many well-established acts — such as Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch — as well as lesser-known releases from smaller, local artists. Albums appear in a rough order of awesome-ness, although we aren’t assigning rankings at this point in the year.
Editor’s Note: Because there were a number of excellent free releases this year, we’ve included some in our list. We’ll provide links to the ones that are available for download.
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome
Release: May 16
Although only loosely defined as a hip hop album, Danger Mouse’s production influence in the sphere of rap music is undeniable. His pairing with composer Daniele Luppi makes for an air-tight record of haunting melodies and heavy groove beats, paired with light crooning and a deep touch of the funk and soul sounds that shaped modern-day hip hop. What this record lacks in raps and break beats, it makes up for in fruitful and endless sampling possibilities.
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2
Release: May 3
The original white rap trio’s triumphant return to the limelight marks ones of the most-successful comeback albums in recent memory. Best of all, it seems that the ‘Boys haven’t missed a step. Although they’ve aged chronologically, and their voices have invariably changed over time, they seem to have picked up right where they left off — delivering another serving of bouncy, breakneck raps over blap-heavy, catchy and infectious beats. Some things never change.
Classified – Hand Shakes & Middle Fingers
Label: Half Life Records
Release: April 12
One of our favo(u)rite Canadian MCs delivers once again. Fresh off his platinum-selling “Oh Canada” single, the slightly-accented rapper drops off an album that transcends any potential cultural barriers between the States and our neighbors to the north.
Guy Harrison & Miggz – The Deadline
Release: February 12
New Jersey rapper Guy Harrison teams up with producer Miggz for a fun, up-beat collaborative free release.
Download: Guy Harrison & MiGGz – The Deadline
Get FamiliarJ. Kennedy
Meet Midwest-by-way-of-SD MC/producer, J. Kennedy, and check out the premiere of his brand new project, ‘California Dreaming’.