Archive for the ‘music’ Category

The Best Albums of 2011

The Grammy’s are wack. This is the best of the best from 2011, in no particular order.

The Roots — Undun

What more can I say. It’s Black Thought. It’s ?uestlove. It’s The Roots. BUY this. Support real music. Enjoy the ride.

Common — The Dreamer/The Believer

Common and No I.D.? Yes, please. Beautiful and soulful beats by No I.D. are some of the best jams of ’11. This is the direction hip hop should be going. I think we’d all be better off without the Drake drama, though. Who cares?

Cunninlynguists — Oneirology

You could argue that Kno is the best producer in hip hop right now, and this album does everything it can to back up that statement. Cunninlynguists come focused and precise as always.

Madlib & Freddie Gibbs — Thuggin’

Sweet, but short. Hopefully a taste of what’s to come from this dream collab. Madlib, maybe the best producer in hip hop history and Freddie Gibbs, one of the few emcee’s who’s giving hope for a bigger and brighter future.

Adele — 21 

In a world of chew-it-up, spit-em-out bubblegum pop songs, this is a breakthrough. I can picture myself singing these songs 30 years from now. I can picture kids singing these songs 30 years from now. It’s timeless pop music. A rarity. Adele deserves all the praise, money and fame. And anyone who says this stuff doesn’t make them want to curl up in a ball and weep is full of it.

And the #1 album of 2011 is…

Kendrick Lamar — Section.80

Kendrick Lamar has arrived and Section.80 shows that he’s here to stay. There’s a reason this guy raps like Kanye and flashes “So Appalled” in the J-Cole produced closing anthem “HiiPower”. He’s got the focus. This crazy focus and wisdom beyond his years will take him to the top, and I can’t wait to follow along the entire way. His next album is being produced by Just Blaze and Pete Rock, yeah, this guy is next and everyone know’s it.


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Fear Not of Man

I still remember it like it was yesterday. Four years ago, it was 20 degrees outside, it was snowing, and I was walking around aimlessly with my iPod. My security blanket. I was about to throw on this album I’d never heard before. Of a genre of music that I’d ignored before.

My heart was racing. I was looking around at the people around me and wanted to scream…


And this was just an intro. The beginning. Not only an introduction to one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever heard, but an introduction to an entire new world that I continue to explore today. Since that moment, I knew things would never be the same. Music wasn’t the same. Life wasn’t the same. This was something bigger. Inspirational. Beautiful. Still going strong.

All over the world hearts pound with the rhythm. 


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To disappear.


And to rise.


Abracadabra. Magic.

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Hip hop music really gets my juices flowing. I would say it’s the only form of art that has truly fascinated me. But that’s a topic for another day. Recently I’ve become interested in hip hop’s origins and how my favorite producers use samples from old and obscure artists to create an entire new feel and experience while paying their dues to the pioneers of the culture’s music. It’s truly magic.

 I first stumbled onto this jam on Edan’s ’05 album Beauty and the Beat. Brilliant.

Prince Paul already used this loop
But I’ma keep it movin’ and put you up on the scoop

Prince Paul did use that exact loop on his 1996 album Psychoanalysis: What Is It?. The track, “Open Your Mouth (Hypothalamus)”, is 56 seconds of the “I Can Sing a Rainbow” beat with uncomfortable sex noises. Not exactly worth a listen. Edan was able to give it justice nine years later.

Where did it come from? The Dells’ 1969 hit “I Can Sing a Rainbow/Love Is Blue” medley. One of the baddest tracks I’ve ever heard.

While listening to that for the first time, I immediately recognized “Love Is Blue” from a beat by one of the best producers out there, Exile.

After some digging, it pops up again as the driving force on the Lewis Parker produced Ghostface Killah track “Shakey Dog” from the modern classic Fishscale.

“I See Colours”, “My World Is”, and “Shakey Dog” are key songs on three of most highly acclaimed hip hop albums of the 2000’s. Oh and it’s here, too. (26 sec)

The more you dig, the more you find. (“Gangsta Gangsta” by Lupe Fiasco is another one) This is influence. The Dells. Who knew?

Note: Psychoanalysis: What Is It? is a pretty insane and experimental album. Worth a listen, just to say you did.

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