Shortly after posting our two top 10 lists of 2011 the collaborators here at DaWH@T felt that there were some incredible projects this year that we had to leave out because simply there was just so much amazing projects this year. This is a post to throw out some recognition to some of the hard working emcees that are our honorable mentions of 2011.
1) Common – The Dreamer, The Believer
Common is one of hip hop’s best known to drop a project this year and he has grown, developed, and continually kept us astounded. Common had an eventful year including a visit to the White House but his album The Dreamer, The Believer dropped just 8 days ago. The album boasts impressive appearances from Nas, John Legend and Maya Angelou and Common’s impeccable deliver of enlightening street documentary. No I.D. a long friend of Common co-wrote and handled production on the album. Common had only gotten better with age and this album is a must buy.
2) Kids These Days – Hard Times
Kids These Days are an innovative band spanning the borders of genres with an emcee, a horn section, a blues trio and a singer and their unique creation is called Hard Times. This album is simply amazing from this Chicago based group. With only 5 tracks this funky-jazzy-soul-hip-hop fusion is well worth the $3.99 required on iTunes. Its not just the original sound and musicianship that gets this album an honorable mention but also impeccable rapping from Vic Mensa.
3) SOL – Dear Friends Vol. III
SOL has caught my attention since he opened for Macklemore when he played Showbox in Seattle at the start of 2011. He has produced some head bumping feel good tracks over the year off of his Dear Friends Volumes I and II and his first album The Ride. Dear Friends Vol. III is the last of its series and is an album dedicated to his love for music, hip-hop and life. A favorite track is “WTF” which has a hard banging horn part all the way through. Dubbed Seattle’s Prince keep an eye out as he is gaining attention outside the rainy city recently getting number 1 on Hypemachine with his single stage dive off his album to be released in January Yours Truly a compilation of songs that SOL has worked on for years.
4) Asher Roth – Pabst and Jazz
Asher Roth gets an unfair rap because of his “I Love College” song that was an ideal frat-bro’s dream-party life anthem. However if you take that out of the equation Asher Roth has solid hip hop skills and really knows how to put together a song. His new album this year, Pabst and Jazz, is a testament to that showing Asher has much more potential than just one hit. Don’t let your preconceptions of Asher daunt you when your listening to this album, might be a good surprise for a few of you.
5) Lupe Fiasco – Friend of the People
Another album here from a guy we have come to expect great music from and well, he delivers. Chicago has really been represented well and his album Lasers is another great one. Lupe’s incredible mixture of pop music, hip hop and intelligent lyrics give this album a spot in our honorable mentions. This mixtape has been in the making since 2009 and its 12 track list features samples from people like Justice and Ellie Goulding. Despite its mixed reviews on his release Lasers here at Da WH@T we love what Lupe’s been doing and ya’ll should go out show him some love and give this mixtape a spin.
Other Great Works From 2011: