WJA3's Top 10 Albums & Songs of 2011
2011 was a decent year for music. I feel like if you were looking, there was quality created in every genre and type of music. My personal taste is hip hop with some R&B and dancehall. However, I hear that Adele chick put out a great album, if you're into that sort of thing. If you are into underground hip hop, you had Section 80 and Return of 4eva. If you are into mainstream hip hop, Drake and Lil Wayne had good albums. If you're into alternative R&B, Frank Ocean & The Weeknd had good mixtapes. This year provided something for everyone.
10) Bad Meets Evil - Hell: The Sequel
Before the albums came out, I thought the combination of Royce & Eminem would put out a better album than Jay-Z & Kanye. I thought they would have better chemistry. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I don't think it was a chemistry issue though. Royce & Eminem basically followed the Slaughterhouse formula of just spitting hard raps as opposed to creating actual songs. Not a bad album, but disappointing.
9) Big K.R.I.T. - Return of 4eva
Rap fans overrate southern rappers with strong lyrics and thick accents. That's why I assume people call Andre 3000 the GOAT. Big K.R.I.T. falls within this category. Good but not great rapper who is slightly overrated.
Another Naive Individual Glorying Greed and Encouraging Racism
Country Sh*t Remix
So rich, yet so lonely...
8) Drake - Take Care
Drake got clowned hard due to the fact this album is kind of soft. I personally don't think this album is any softer than his debut album or even his mixtapes. Drake is who he is at this point. I'm personally disappointed as I think Drake is lyrical and self-aware enough to create a true classic album. However, he's wisely choosing to make albums with more commercial appeal. He also gets props from me for having the balls to put a house song on his album.
7) Freeway & Statik Selektah - Statik-Free EP
Freeway may be my favorite rapper at this point. It seems like he's working at the rate of putting out an album every 3-4 months and he's putting out quality every time. This particular EP is solely produced by Statik Selektah and was recorded within 24 hours. Makes me wonder why albums get pushed back all the time and why some rappers put out albums every 3 years. Rapping ain't hard.
And It Don't Quit
6) The Game - Purp & Patron
Speaking of albums being pushed back, the Game released this double mixtape after his album was pushed back. Like most double albums and mixtapes, it has a lot of filler and forgettable material. However, there is quality music in there also. Definitely the mixtape of the year.
5) Lil Wayne - Tha Carter IV
A lot of people were disappointed with this album. The problem was not the quality of the album. The problem was that everyone heard the best songs on the album before the album was released. Sober Lil Wayne is a bit more inconsistent than high on syssurp and weed Lil Wayne. However, I believe he can't even drink legally until 2013 so it is what it is.
6 Foot 7 Foot
4) Raekwon - Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang
Raekwon has made a conscious decision to continue making rap songs like it’s still 1996 and I'm totally fine with this. His listed age is 41, but I swear he and Ghostface are both pushing 50. The members of Wu-Tang remind me of the guys who hang out at the barbershop all day. You're not quite sure when they do it, but you know they're doing something shady for a living.
Rich & Black
From the Hills
Last Trip to Scotland
3) The Game - The R.E.D. Album
Despite being a huge cornball, the Game is a really good rapper. On this particular album, he showcased a lot of maturity in his song topics, which we have not seen from him in the past. However, he no longer has commercial appeal as pure west coast gangsta rap is no longer popular with the people who actually purchase music.
Good Girls Go Bad
Born in the Trap
2) Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.
This question will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but have we all officially forgiven Chris Brown for beating Rihanna's ass yet? I honestly don't know if I have. On one hand, 1) he's dancing his ass off at every awards show, 2) he’s popping up in random videos doing every popular dance from the past 2 years including the dougie and the cat daddy, 3) F.A.M.E. is an excellent pop/r&b album that ages well, & 4) Chris even put out one of the better rap mixtapes (Boy in Detention) of the year. On the other hand, he has refused to publicly express remorse of his actions and has gone the "let's just move on" route. It's a shame that all of the best performers of this generation are jack-asses.
Look at Me Now
Paper, Scissors, Rock
1) Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
When I first listened to the album, I was like "ehhh, its ok." Second listen, I was like "Ok, the lyrics are good, but the production could have been better". A few more listens, and I realized that this was probably one of the greatest albums to come out in the last 5 years. I think the reason why it took a while for this album to grow on me and on a lot of other people is it wasn't what people expected. Based on the 2 lead singles, H*A*M & Otis, I think everyone expected the typical money, clothes, & hoes rap. What this album was instead was money, clothes, and hoes that we expected mixed with political raps that are no longer the norm with mainstream rap. A Rick Ross + Public Enemy concoction. This album really spoke to me as I see it as a manifesto of socially & economically upward mobile black folks. Below you may find a couple of articles written by better writers than me that view it the same way:
N*ggas in Paris
Gotta Have It
Welcome to the Jungle
Murder to Excellence
Made in America
10) Childish Gambino - Freaks & Geeks
When my homie first shared this video with me, I was turned off by Donald Glover skipping around like a schoolboy in the 40's. However, hearing the song enough times without watching the video with it, I realized it was a really dope song. Also, doing more research on Childish Gambino, I realize that a lot of the things he does are counter-hip hop culture on purpose. That made me feel slightly better about his skipping. Maybe.
9) NaS - Nasty
NaS always puts out a hard track that gets you really hype for his album that more often than not disappoints despite being above average because it is dull and forgettable. Nasty is this year’s hard track.
8) Jay-Z & Kanye West - Primetime
I just really like this song. I don't have anything else to add to this blurb. Sorry.
7) Jay-Z & Kanye West - Murder to Excellence
Murder to Excellence is probably the best song on the Watch the Throne album. It's probably the best song of the year on any album. However, it just isn't my favorite. Probably because it doesn't get me hyped or invoke any emotions within me. Still, it’s a high quality song.
6) Jay-Z & Kanye West- Gotta Have It
Unlike Murder to Excellence, this song does get me hype. It's also one of the many songs Kanye outshines Jay-Z on in Watch the Throne.
5) Lil Wayne - John
This song makes me want to go out and sell drugs after committing violent acts. I don't know why Lil Wayne & Rick Ross just don't make an album together. I don't think they've made a wack song together as of yet. They may as well let Drake join in on the fun as well.
4) Meek Mill - Ima Boss
This song reminds me of Freeway's "What We Do" in that it was huge in Philly before it was huge nationwide and that Philly will still probably bump it long after the rest of the country is tired of it. I've probably been in Philly too long as I recognize the ghetto streets in the music video.
3) Timbaland & Missy Elliot - Take Ur Clothes Off
Last year, Kanye released multiple high quality songs for free in a series called GOOD Fridays. Of course, Swiss Beats and Timbaland copied this with Monsta Mondays and Timbaland Thursdays. Neither series were as good as GOOD Fridays. However, this song was the gem of Timbaland Thursdays in my opinion. Based upon the sound of the song, I'm guessing this song was made around 2000-2001 when everything Timbaland touched was a hit. I obviously miss those days.
2) Bad Meets Evil - Fast Lane
I was expecting a full album of this type of track from Eminem and Royce, but didn't get it. Eminem is at his best when he’s spitting but still allows his warped sense of humor to come out. Royce is dope on the song also.
1) Lupe Fiasco & Pharrell - If You Want To
I wish Lupe wasn't such a good rapper because he's really a clown. Between his overly simplified political beliefs and his unapologetic botch of the VH1 Tribe tribute, he irks me. However, Lupe consistently puts out some of my favorite current music. This song from the Travis Barker album bangs hard and its unfortunate more people haven't been exposed to it.
There you have it, kids. WJA3 has blessed y'all with his expert opinion on the year's top songs and albums. If we Bros agreed on everything, we'd probably be losers who hang on every whim of the 106 & Park crowd, and would be currently sagging our skinny jeans. But then we wouldn't be the NappyHeadedBros. So with that being said, look for C4's respectful rebuttal before the new year.