Just because it’s already March doesn’t mean that we still can’t talk about last year, right? Anyway, I’m lagging as always, but for my new readers/followers, I do this “favorite albums” thing on an annual basis. Also, I don’t know if I just took more time to search for new music in 2011, but out of all the years, this was definitely the toughest list to decide on (even with the Honorable Mention section). As usual, there’s a lot of hip hop, but the top choices are from a different genre.

1. Jeff Bernat - The Gentleman Approach
The closest thing I can come to describing this album is saying that it reminds me of 90’s R&B. The brotha is just smoove widdit (see previous post).
Favorite Tracks: Just Vibe, Ms. Seductive

2. Adele - 21
Even though this album came out in the beginning of the year, I didn’t get my hands on it until the last few months of 2011 (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that this was actually the first time that I really listened to any of her music). That woman can sing!!
Favorite Tracks: Someone Like You (I know…it’s played out), He Won’t Go

3. J. Cole - Cole World: The Sideline Story
A lot of my homies have been J. Cole fans for awhile now, but this is another artist I slept on. I’m pretty selective with the hip hop content I listen to and this album doesn’t really fit the mold, but I found myself bumpin’ this…a lot.
Favorite Tracks: Sideline Story, Lost Ones

4. Blue Scholars - Cinemetropolis
This was a much different sound from their previous albums. Although I was feelin’ the lyrics, this album gave me a newfound respect for Sabzi (the DJ/producer) — he’s definitely one of the most versatile beat makers out there.
Favorite Tracks: Marion Sunshine, Yuri Kochiyama

5. Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
Upon my very first listen, I wanted to delete this album from my iPod. I was extremely disappointed with it and thought it was so watered down and tried too hard to have mainstream appeal, but considering his previous track record, I gave Lupe the benefit of the doubt. I still think a lot of the hooks are really lame and cheesy, but this album really grew on me and was actually one of my top contenders for most of the year. The lyrical content was still on point, which is ultimately what matters most to me.
Favorite Tracks: Words I Never Said, 'Til I Get There

6. Murs - Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation
I’ve said it many, many times before, but Murs is one of my favorite MCs and I think this just might be his best album to date.
Favorite Tracks: Eazy E, Animal Style

7. Mayer Hawthorne - How Do You Do
What can I say? The dude is just smoove with it. I’m diggin’ this more than his first album too.
Favorite Tracks: Get to Know You, Dreaming

8. Prometheus Brown & Bambu - Walk Into A Bar
Two of my favorite MCs, Prometheus Brown (aka Geo of Blue Scholars) and Bambu (formerly of Native Guns) doing a collabo project together?! Yooo…I damn sure couldn’t sleep on this one! Yet another solid release from the Beatrock Music label.
Favorite Tracks: Nowhere, National Treasure

9. Phonte - Charity Starts at Home
Kind of like with the Lupe Fiasco album, this one really took some time to grow on me. I thought it was just aight at first, but was actually a little disappointed. I think he’s one of the dopest and wittiest rappers in the game right now, which is why I had really high expectations that weren’t immediately met. I’ve been bumping this a lot and the dude really touches on some good subjects while still having an original flow. This will be in heavy rotation for a long time to come.
Favorite Tracks: The Good Fight, Sendin’ My Love

10. Childish Gambino - Camp
This is probably the most “commercial” sounding album on my list. It’s similar to the J. Cole album in the sense that I might disagree with a lot of the content, but I’m still feelin’ it (see previous post).
Favorite Tracks: Outside, Hold You Down

HONORABLE MENTION (in no particular order):
1. The Roots - Undun: I have a strong feeling that this one will grow on me a lot over time, especially considering that it’s a concept album.
2. Krystle Tugadi - Time EP
3. Dumbfoundead - DFD
4. re:plus - Ordinary Landscape: Shout out to my FlowEthics fam for their Japan to CA collabo!!
5. Little Dragon - Ritual Union
6. Zee Avi - Ghostbird
7. Charles Bradley - No Time for Dreaming
8. Mikey Manifest - Collection Fifteen
9. Stic.Man - The Workout
10. Digital Martyrs Remix Beatrock

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne: I had really high expectations for this one but was pretty let down. I’m not saying it was a horrible album, I just wasn’t feeling it as much as I thought I would.


Little Dragon Live at Amoeba SF (February 5, 2011)