Happy Holidays! So here is how shit's gonna go down. Right now: Best of 2011 Electronica/Hip-Hop Edition. Soon after that: Screamo/Hardcore Edition. Then on the radio show Tuesday will be the big one: Punk/Indie/Emo Edition. Let's get this started.
Childish Gambino - "EP"
Donald Glover has had a pretty amazing year (music-wise, Community got cancelled). After releasing this EP himself through his website and then doing a comedy/music tour, he skyrocketed into hip-hop community. He even played this year's Rock the Bells; a huge accomplishment for a hip-hop artist. I remember when I first heard of this. His comedy cracked me up, so I had a feeling he would have a sharp tongue in the rap game. It turned out that he had not only some incredible tongue-in-cheek lines but also a nice set of pipes and good beats. He went on to release his debut LP "Camp" later on this year, but it didn't really hit me the way this EP did.
This hit this blog a little under a month ago, and although I didn't react to it like it was a big deal initially, it had become something I listen to quite a bit when I am in a relaxed mood. He is currently touring, and I am really excited to get the live experience next month when he stops around here. Look to get lost in this one.
The Flashbulb-"Love is a Cold, Dark Hallway"
The Flashbulb is one of Benn Jordan's many aliases. With this album he infuses his usual breakcore style with a heavy influence on jazz, and if you read this blog then you know how I have a sweet spot for jazz. I am currently reading about the history of early jazz, and it is really fascinating. I guess there was something good that came out of slavery. Ok, that's horrible. Anyways, I loved Benn Jordan's approach on this album, and it can be added to a collection of great works by him.
Beastie Boys- "Hot Sauce Committee Part Two"
When it became clear that this album was going to happen this year, a lot of people were questionable: could the Beastie Boys make a successful comeback? Although in my eyes this is not one of their best works, the answer for me is yes. I still watch the half hour long music video that featured a plethora of great actors and comedians. I think it was a great move by them. When the album finally did come out, it was bumping in my car for a good while there.
This was my introduction to Toronto's BadBadNotGood. Instead of drawing inspiration from jazz songs for making hip-hop songs, this trio draws inspiration from hip-hop songs (along with many other things like Legend of Zelda, and the Joy Division) for making jazz songs. This was the second of their two debut albums in 2011, and they have recently been seen on youtube working with Tyler, The Creator. So, it's a wonder what this band will be up to in this coming year and who else they will collaborate with.
The Roots- "undun"
This is the latest Roots album that showed the band return to their roots by focusing on struggle and making the best out of situation. It is a concept album centering around the "semi-fictitious" character, Redford Stephens. In the album, he is presented with the choice to make something out of himself or turn to a life of money and crime. He chooses the latter.
Robot Science- "Good Luck"
I remember the night that I discovered this album, I was about to start an all-nighter in preparation for an exam the next day. This was on repeat pretty much the whole night. I found Charlie Yin's chillwave with a 8 bit/Nintendo sentiment incredibly refreshing, and I bopped right along throughout the night. I don't remember how I did on the test though.
Nujabes- "Spiritual State"
I was first exposed to this artist through somebody that listened to our radio show, and I found out that this had been released very recently. I featured it on the site, and in the process found out this was a post-humous release from Jun Seba. This extremely talented Japanese hip-hop producer died in 2010 in a car accident. Although fans do not consider this is strongest work, it still blows away many other producers and it certainly left an impression on me.
MF DOOM- "Operation: Doomsday" (Remastered)
Ugh, I know it's not really fair to include this on a best of 2011 because this is a classic that came out 1999, but technically this remaster came out in 2011 and I love it. Every hip-hop album I pick up lately has been put out by Stones Throw Records and I just want to tell them I love them for their reissues. I hope that someday I can add this 4 LP set to my collection. Hopefully sooner rather than later because they are sold out, and they are just going to get more and more expensive on eBay.
Washed Out- "Within and Without"
At least I do have this one in my collection, along with the limited edition 7 inch. However, I kinda wish I had known it was in a light blue and light orange option instead of the white one I ended up getting. Those look a tad better. This was the debut LP for Ernest Greene's following his acclaimed "Life of Leisure" EP. When I am looking for something to play on my turntable, I have a tendency to pop this one on quite frequently. It fits so many moods. It also wins the award for hottest album cover of 2011.