DJ Rolemodel Don Julio Hip Hop Awards 2011 (Part 3)

Top 10 Rap Albums of the Year.

Author’s note. I listened to over 50 of the most acclaimed Rap Albums that were released in 2011. The Albums could have been LP’s or EP’s, as long as they were official releases. No mixtapes were considered for this project. I felt this was a down year for hip hop…and I woudn’t give any album a grade of an A. 

Honorable Mention

10. Jay Rock – Follow Me Home

I was sleeping on this one. Rock brings back the gangsta sounds that I remember growing up listening to. A throwback in that sense, and a great find on Tech N9ne’s new record label. 

9. Yelawolf – Radioactive

I was hesitant at first, I will admit that. But “Hard White in the Club” is what southern crunk should be. Along with “Animal” a dub step produced beat by Borgore, this album is a great debut for the Alabama native. 

8. Raekwon – Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang

This album doesn’t have one banger track that you need to listen to with the the exception of Rock n Roll, but it also doesn’t feature one track that is garbage. Solid venture from start to finish. 

7. Travis Barker – Give The Drummer Some

Is it a true hip hop album, well no, but since Barker produced most of the tracks himself, you could argue its more of a hip hop album than Khaled’s album. Basically, the album is Barker’s fav rap artists dropping by on his drum fueled beats. The guest list is extremely talented ranging from The Cool Kids, to Lil Jon to Dev to the RZA. It would rank even higher, if it wasn’t for the 3 non-rap songs on the album. 

6. Wale – Ambition

Maybach Music group is grinning ear to ear with Wale’s success, as they now have a vital Pippen to Ross’s Jordan, that can carry them into the rap label elite. Wale shows his versatility in slower cuts like “Lotus Flower Bomb, along with the Diplo produced “Slight Work”. Wale is here to stay, and if you don’t believe him listen to “Ambition” and think for yourself. 

5. Big Sean – Finally Famous

Rookie of the year, hands down. Led by Marvin & Chardonnay, Sean was able to show that lyrically he is unparalleled. My Last, was a solid radio joint, and Dance…well whats there to say about it…other than God Bless what it has done to girls dancing on bars. 

4. Game – The R.E.D. Album

My “45” comeback award winner Game, dropped The R.E.D. album in mid summer, and it turned into the most surprising album of the year.  Game, changed his entire style, and welcomed on the most random group of guest artists ever featured on a West Coast Rap Album. And a West Coast Rap Album it wasnt. Instead it was a Dirty South album, an East Coast Album, A Pop-Rap album all rolled into one. E-40,  Jeezy, Wayne, Beanie Sigel, & Rick Ross all make guest appearances, but its the duo with Tyler on “Martians & Goblins” that shines above the rest. 

3. Pusha T – Fear of God II

Pusha has been bouncing around as a featured artist on several different GOOD music label artists, and in late 2011 Pusha dropped Fear of God II, Officially an EP that was a sequel to an earlier Mixtape. Pusha used his connections to secure production from the Neptunes, Shawty Redd & Bangladesh, along with guest performances by Jeezy, Tyler the Creator, Rick Ross, Kanye & 50-Cent. 

The album is flooded with guest performances (perhaps too many), and Pusha is able to blend in completely with his talented peers. The album’s highlights are “Trouble on My Mind ft. Tyler, and Amen ft. Ye & Jeezy. 

2. Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel

Often billed as an Eminem album, many people were unaware of who Royce da 5′ 9″ was. However, true Slim Shady fans have been waiting for this for over 10 years. They have the most natural connection of any collaborations of the year. Eminem is at his lyrical peaks, and Royce is easily able to catch up. 

That was the key to the album. There was no doubt that Em could deliver, but would Royce be ready for his big shot? The answer was an emphatic yes, and at times Royce showed that he can hold his own, and even overshadowing Marshall on select songs such as “I’m On Everything” & “The Reunion”  Royce has kept himself busy in 2011, dropping a solo album, and 2 collaborations (Bad Meets Evil & Slaughterhouse), and if this album is any indication, rap fans are in for a great future.

1. Kanye West & Jay-Z –Watch The Throne

Ok, I admit, much like many other critics, I was not impressed when I first heard the album. The prospects of two our generation’s greatest rappers joining forces for an album seemed iconic to say the least, and I expected nothing less. I expected an album that would change my life, and when it didn’t, I felt that they had mailed it in, just using left overs from Kanye’s previous album. I still hold the feeling that they did hold back, and are capable of so so so much more, however, this album is still much better than most of their competition. 

With WTT, Ye & Jigga, not only changed the rap game (the trend of Rap Collaborations is at an all time high), but they also changed pop culture as a whole. The terms “Goin Ham, and “That Sh^t Crazy  now are ubiquitously used on all blogs, websites, and even other rap songs. Their WTT tour has become legendary, with the tour fittingly becoming known  by the can you top this multi-encore performance of Ni**as in Paris. Can you say 9 times? 

Jay and Kanye are ahead of their peers, and they know it….and maybe thats how they have us all fooled. They make it look so easy, and they are having more fun than anyone else. What other artists can give you an extensive lesson in the lives of the bourgeoisie, yet all the while maintaining a direct positive relationship with the proletariat lives of their consumer? I am Watching the Throne, and thats they key to remember, Jay & Kanye own the throne, and don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon. 

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