Must-Cop: 25 Best Hip Hop Albums of 2011 (Part One)
Skyzoo – The Great Debater
Release: June 7
Hands-down one of the most talented lyricists to emerge in the last ten years, Brooklyn’s Skyzoo recently unearthed his newest free offering, The Great Debater. Following in similar footsteps to his previous releases, the free album (mixtape?) is the perfect transition into his next retail joint.
Download: Skyzoo – The Great Debater
eLZhi – Elmatic
Release: May 10
It’s not often that a well-established and talented lyricist takes on the task of recreating a universally-revered classic album (that’s usually a job that’s reserved for unknown artists trying to ride in on someone else’s coat tails), and yet that’s exactly what former-Slum-Village-member, eLZhi has done. After all of the original instrumentals were reworked by Detroit’s Will Sessions, eLZhi laced each track with his own interpretation, a free project that’s worth much more than the disk space on your laptop.
Download: eLZhi – Elmatic
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Gonna Eat That?
Release: May 3
The debut effort from the brain child of independent hip hop veterans Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz sounds pretty much exactly like you’d expect. A cohesive and coherent combination of each of the group members’ signature sounds blends nicely to create a gritty, aggressive and rapid-fire album coated in the tongue-in-cheek mentality birthed of friends creating for the fun and love of the art. In all, the album serves as an obsessively-creative work that exists both as a monument to each individual’s iconic styles and a testament to their ability take massive steps forward with their collective sound.
Has-Lo – In Case I Don’t Make It
Label: Mello Music Group
Release: March 29
Philadelphia MC Has-Lo may well be one of the most-exciting artists to hit the Internet radar this year. His callous and inventive style of relaying rugged street tales proves as a refreshing update on some of the East Coast’s most legendary sounds. In Case I Don’t Make It merits considerable acclaim for Has’s ability to bridge the gap between classic boom-bap and modern, progressive hip hop.
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’.