Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Milk Crate Presents: Kannon's Top Albums Of 2011

Another year gone by, another chance to celebrate the music that we've enjoyed. The format is simple: The Dead Poet and I will be posting our favorite 20 hip hop albums of the year 2011, in order, from #20 to #1. Told you it was simple. Poet wrote a bunch of stuff, and I didnt, so I'm gonna do some quick 1-2 sentence breakdowns while I write these out... Also, wtf @ the last 2 months spawning soooo much dope music? Anyways... Nick Jones has opinions, and these are them...

20. J. Cole - Cole World: The Sideline Story
While not a bad album, I was in the majority of Cole fans who found this album to just be lacking a little bit in comparison to his past work. That joint with Missy was dope as shit though...

19. Jay Rock - Follow Me Home
This album has bounced around from like #14, to off my list entirely. But all in all, I couldnt bring myself to leave it off the list. What I liked about this album the most was it's diversity. It had some classic West Coast sounding joints, some soulful jazzy type shit, and even a radio friendly pop song with Chris Brown. Plus, "Hood Gone Love It" was my summer anthem this year...

18. Black Milk & Danny Brown - Black & Brown
This one took me some time to warm up to, but I cant deny that its a great body of work. Danny Brown in general has taken some warming up to, but if he can manage to continue making the type of music he created with Black Milk, I'll keep listening...

17. Curren$y & Alchemist - Covert Coup
I've been a huge Spitta fan for quite a while now, but once Pilot Talk 2 dropped I kinda started to lose interest. But Spitta linked up with Alchemist to produce that perfect sound for him. This is easily in my top 3 Curren$y projects ever...

16. Ab-Soul - Longterm Mentality
Honestly, I slept on Ab for a while. He just doesnt seem to outshine any of his Black Hippy brethren on their songs, and as a result has garnered the least amount of interest. But there's something about letting him just go off on a beat by himself for 3-4 minutes that seems to bring out the best in him. This album came out back in like April or something, and it took me until November to listen to it, but it was easily my sleeper of the year.

15. Dom Kennedy - From The West Side With Love Vol. 2
This album just has that feel good, chillin, party, barbecuing vibe to it from front to back. I had always liked Dom, but this was the first time I listened to an album of his, and then couldnt stop listening to it for like a month straight...

14. Pharoahe Monch - W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)
There is just something about these soulful beats and that flow of his that make me happy for the world of hip hop. Everything from reflective joints, political joints, to lyrical karate with Jean Grae and Royce Da 5'9"... This album is just awesome. Monch is just awesome.

13. CunninLynguists - Oneirology
CunninLynguists might just be one of the most consistent groups ever. I'm not convinced that theyve ever put out a bad album, and this one is no exception. And the acoustic version of "Looking Back"? SON. It still gives me chills. So good.

12. Asher Roth - Pabst & Jazz
Asher usually seems to be hit or miss with me. I absolutely hated that joint he released this year with Akon. But when "More Cowbell" came out, I'm pretty sure I played it 35 times a day, for a few weeks straight. Fortunately for Asher, he's dropped the label, and dropped a project that was "hit" all the way through.

11. Action Bronson & Statik Selektah - Well Done
I was late to the Action Bronson party. The first time I saw his name, it was in an article comparing him to Ghostface Killah, and from that moment, I couldnt get past the comparison. I grabbed the Well Done project with every intention to get around to it "eventually." Once I did, I played it 3 times all the way through. I was blown away by how dope it was. "Rainmaker" is my jammy jam...

10. ASAP Rocky - LiveLoveASAP
I'm actually listening to this right now, while I write these. Rocky was another one that took me a minute to get in to. I wanted to hate "Purple Swag" so much. But I was fortunate to come to terms with my interest in him the week before this project dropped, and I was glad I did. His style is crazy dope, and fresh. It's the perfect mesh of East Coast flow with Southern tendencies...

09. David Dallas - The Rose Tint
The newest signee to Duck Down records, David Dallas' American debut is dope as shit. His joint with Freddie Gibbs pulled me in, and that "Life Is..." joint sealed the deal. Crazy good album from front to back. Oh, and he's from New Zealand... I still dont know if thats helps or hinders...

08. The Roots - Undun
The Roots are my favorite hip hop act ever. Period. And this album is just more of a reason why. They so seamlessly weave through genres and styles within the same songs. And Dice Raw just might be one of the most slept on emcees in the game. My only complaint about this album was that it was a little short...

07. Big K.R.I.T. - Return Of 4eva
For some reason I keep forgetting how incredible this album is. I'm convinced that if Krit were around 8-9 years ago, he would have been in Dungeon Fam, and he would have been the biggest artist in the world. I'm thrilled to see him getting so much recognition amongst his peers, and can only hope the rest of the world gets familiar quickly.

06. Stalley - Lincoln Way Nights
This album came out in January, and still has just as much replay value to me as it did the day it came out. This is the only album I've ever heard where my favorite song changed every time I listened to it. From that "Assassin" joint, to "Monkey Ish," to "Sound of Silence." Stalley's whole style is cool. I'm excited to see more of him now that MMG picked him up...

05. Fly.Union - The Greater Than Club
Iye and Swiffa have produced some of my favorite beats this year on this album. And I dont mean to take away from their rapping, but Jerreau is the illest emcee in the crew by a long shot. His style is so simple, but intricate, and his lyrics so personal, it's just too hard to not love this album. I know it didnt get a lot of press, but it got a lot of spins from me...

04. Phonte - Charity Starts At Home
I dont think there is anyone I get more excited about in music right now. He is easily in my top 5 lyricists in music. And with his last few projects (Foreign Exchange, Zo! And Tigallo, etc) all being vocal albums, it was wonderful to hear him take to rapping again.

03. Wale - Ambition
I've only seen a couple other people's top albums lists, but I've been shocked at the fact that I havent seen this album on one yet. Say what you will about "Wale sold out," or whatever, but this album is crazy dope from front to back. I literally listened to this album, in its entirety, every day for 2 weeks when it came out. And if you really think Wale sold out, you havent heard "Chain Music" enough times yet...

02. Drake - Take Care
This album is the reason I stopped listening to the Wale album every day. Admittedly, the album starts out a little slow for me ("Shot For Me" is easily my least favorite song on the album), Drake is lyrically one of the illest in the game right now. From the gritty sounds on "Crew Love," to the raw honesty in "Look What You've Done." And 40 is on the top of his game right now too. And say what you will about singin' ass rappers, but Drake can hold his own in either court...

01. Kendrick Lamar - Section 80
I can't stop listening to Kendrick Lamar. I download every song that he's got so much as a guest spot on. His style is something so original and different from what everyone else is doing right now. And I dare anyone to listen to "ADHD" without chanting along with him during the hook. I coughed up my $8 at midnight on itunes the day this album came out. And I'm pretty much still listening to it at least once every other week. There is not a bad song on the album, and the variance of styles between songs like "Tammy's Song" and "Ronald Regan Era" are incredibly to witness, and executed with perfection. He's received co-signs from Dre, Snoop, Pharrell, RZA, and almost everyone that you respect in music. As much time as I took re-arranging this list of mine, Section 80 never moved from the #1 position...

Honorable Mentions (Alphabetically):
Big Sean - Finally Famous
Blu & Exile - Give Me My Flowers While I Can Smell Them
Chuuwee - Watching The Throne
Freddie Gibbs - Cold Day In Hell
Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne
Killer Mike - Pl3dge
Logic - Young Sinatra
MellowHype - BlackenedWhite
Murs & Ski Beatz - Love & Rockets Vol. 1
Nickelus F - Faces
Schoolboy Q - Setbacks

And just for fun, here are my top 5 non hip hop albums of the year:
05. James Blake - James Blake
04. Foster The People - Torches
03. The Weeknd - Balloon Trilogy (House Of Balloons / Thursday / Echoes Of Silence)
02. Florence And The Machine - Ceremonials
01. Frank Ocean - Nostalgia, ULTRA

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