Easily one of the impressive sophomore albums to come out in a while and one of the most impressive albums to come out of the Dirty South in general. Big K.R.I.T. improves on his funky, soulful production and his conscious, thought provoking and at times, pimping lyrics. Best track: Another Naive Individual Glorifying Greed and Ecouraging Racism
2. The Roots - Undun
The Roots return with a new, unique album to add to their flawless catalog. I was at first disappointed, thinking of it as just a rare average Roots album. It took me about 13 listens to finally see it as the masterpiece it was. Black Thought keeps on spitting the truth and the beats stay banging and sounding like they're out of this world.
Best track: Sleep
3. Drake - Take Care
Biggest surprise of 2011 in my opinion. I would have never expected Drake, a member of Young Money to release such a well made album. His MCing in general still isn't exactly Ras Kass level, but his rhymes and the empty mood of these beats help create this incredible atmosphere that helps make the experience more enjoyable. The best thing to come out of Mainstream Hip Hop in a while, also Kendrick drops a top 5 verse of the year on here.
Best track: Doing It Wrong
4. CunninLynguists - Oneirology
Cunninlynguists, one of my favorite music groups released their biggest accomplishment in Hip Hop so far this year. The production on this album is absolutely impeccable. Kno always improves and never attempts to disappoint. Deacon's & Natti's rapping improves as well as they're dreamy lyrics gets the job done.
Best track: Darkness (Dream On) Ft. Anna Wise Of Sonnymoon
5. Freddie Gibbs - Cold Day In Hell
If I had to name the best MC of 2011, I would most definitely pick Freddie Gibbs. The man is easily the most skilled "freshman" in Hip Hop. Nobody made menacing gangsta rap like him since Prodigy in 1995. He murdered tracks such as Scottie Pippen, Hard As They Come, etc. He released 2 incredible EPs, one with the legendary Madlib. And he released Cold Day In Hell, which is not as good as Midwestoeuiwhfiuh but still one damn good mixtape. Some of the beats could use work but the dude doesn't spit one wack verse on this. The raps always impress you on here. Peep it if you haven't already, you're missing out.
Best track: Rob Me a Nigga w/ Alley Boy
6. ASAP Rocky - LiveLoveA$AP
The beats on here are just fucking BANGING! Most of the beats on here are strong contenders for beat of the year. Clams Casino just does one hell of a job and I look forward to more work from him. A$AP Rocky is a entertaining rapper, he performs well and knows how to ride a beat, so does his features.
Best Track: Purple Swag: Chapter 2 (feat. Spaceghost Purrp & ASAP Nast)
7. J-Live - S.P.T.A.
J-Live, an underground legend famous for The Best Part and All of the Above releases his comeback album after a couple of disappointing albums. The dude displays that he can still spit better bars than most of these young cats (PEEP THE FIRST VERSE ON THE AUTHENIC) while delivering raw beats as well. Most underrated album to drop this year.
Best Track: The Authenic
8. Kendrick Lamar - Section. 80
Kendrick Lamar, the recently proclaimed "New King of the West," is most certainly one of the most anticipated musicians out there now. The dude can tell you some real thought provoking shit. I can't really think of anything else to say about this incredible album but to check it out if you haven't already. Join the HiiiPower movement.
Best Track: Keisha's Song
9. Danny Brown - XXX
Can't think of much to say about this either sadly, because this is really a great album. Danny Brown delivers nasty raps on difficult, raw beats. What else needs to be said?
Best Track: Pac Blood
10. The Throne - Watch the Throne
The most anticipated mainstream album of 2011 and it delivers. Jay-Z & Kanye do their usual entertaining brag raps on outstanding beats which really must have been worth the money. They both drop two of the best verses of the year on New Day which also contains one of the best RZA beats in years (Jay-Z on a RZA beat, how could he not spit a outstanding verse?) You will just have a fun time listening to this album, it's a great experience.
Best Track: Niggas in Paris
The Dreamer, The Believer (Incredible beats, average rapping)
Cole World (Same as above)
Random Axe (Could easily be number 10, but just comes down as a raw Boom Bap album and just that.)
Charity Starts At Home (It became even worst every time I listened to it.)