I’ll start it off like this, I enjoyed Stalley’s Lincoln Way Nights more than any other album or mixtape I heard all year. But, I’ll explain more about that later.
Last year I named 5 of my favorite mixtapes and albums on the first Product of My Opinion podcast, this year I’ve dedicated a post to my favorites.
Check after the jump for the list.
These are a mixture of ten mixtapes and albums, in no order, just projects that have dominated my listening rotation over the past 12 months. I’ll admit, there may have been albums and mixtapes that were “better” than the ones I’m listing, but these are simply my favorites. Surprisingly, I haven’t posted too much about most of these projects, so this will be the first time you see many of these posted on here.
Without further adieu….
released: February 8 (re-released November 8)
I was a couple weeks late in listening to ITM, but once I heard it I was hooked. Stalley’s measured flow over the trunk rattling production of Rashad Thomas made this tape my favorite of the year. The strength of his work on ITM led him sign with Maybach Music Group. It’ll be interesting to see what 2012 holds for the Massillon, Ohio native.
If you’re an audiophile hit iTunes
for the remastered version of the mixtape with new songs and a remix of “Lincoln Way Nights (Shop)” featuring Rick Ross.
released: February 15
I heard OD on Dom Kennedy’s song “The 4 Heartbeats” and I was eager to hear more from them. I didn’t like this mixtape too much when I first heard it, but to my surprise it stayed in my rotation and included some great visuals. The quirkiness of OD reminds me of another Cali group, The Pharcyde.
released: March 28
I saw K.R.I.T. perform a few weeks after this dropped and Krizzle and Big Sant definitely know how to keep the crowd engaged. With his talents as an emcee and a producer, K.R.I.T. also knows how to keep the listener engaged as well. No doubt, you can hear his influences in his music, but it doesn’t dilute his sound. His Def Jam debut drops in a couple months,
released: May 10
Often times, tried and true things are better left untouched and many fans of hip-hop hate to see their classics touched. Nas’ Illmatic is an example of a rap album held in high regard. Fashawn released his Illmatic remake last year and it was nice. But, elZhi killed it. It was a vivid reinterpretation of Illmatic, with elZhi’s Detroit experiences intertwined. I waited for Elmatic since 2009 and my anticipation waned after delays, but in the end it was definitely worth the wait.
released: May 17
I wasn’t feeling this as much as the last Pledge album, but it still resonated with me. Killer Mike provided his commentary on current events in the raw form he always does. I read an album with El-P is on the horizon for 2012. I’m definitely looking forward to that.
K. Dot delivered his best performance yet with Section.80. If you want to know the problems of my generation, this is where you start. Just listen to “Rigamortis” and you’ll see why this album is worth the listen.
released: Sepetember 13
Anything by TiRon & Ayomari, whether it’s them together or solo, has my ear. ASFP features candid lyrics and good production, and touched on the ups and downs of relationships and romance in general. Honestly, they aren’t the topics I always like to hear in rap songs, but their delivery and execution made the listen worthwhile. It goes to show that sap free love songs can be made.
released: September 27
Since the LB days, everyone has wondered what a solo Phonte album would sound like. 2011 was the year a solo album came to fruition. Would he rap or would he sing? It turned out to be a sampling of both, but still the common man lyrics made Charity Starts At Home a relatable listen to anybody out there in the “99%.”
released: October 31
Two months later and this tape is still slammin. Check the post
I made about it and download the lyric book
released: December 2
This is the most recently released project on the list and as always The Roots delivered. The 13 track album tells the life of one Redford Stephens, beginning with his demise and the subsequent events that led to his death. The album features Phonte, Dice Raw, and P.O.R.N. Back to back years that The Roots have been on my end of the year list.
The next 5: Big Pooh – Dirty Pretty Things, Curren$y – Covert Coup, Häzel – Playground EP, Rittz – White Jesus, Smoke DZA – The Hustlers Catalog,
There they are my ten (plus 5 more) favorite mixtapes and albums from 2011.
Happy New Year!