While everybody else has been busy posting their "Best of 2011" lists, I'm just going to give you all a list of albums I bought in 2011 (along with some general thoughts). Please feel free to comment with suggestions of any quality albums that you think I should be embarrassed for not having listened to. List of albums and commentary after the jump.
There are two ways you can interpret Elzhi's masterful reinterpretation of the Nas classic. You could argue that making a classic out of reinterpreting a classic is nothing to get terribly excited about. Or, you could argue that Elzhi's ability (along with the musical wizardry of Will Sessions) to add something fresh to an album everybody has heard 100 times-over makes the Elmatic effort all that much more impressive. I opt for the view of the latter. This album easily earned the most burns in my ride in 2011. Though I downloaded the album free of charge, I did purchase the instrumental LP later on.
Though I bought this album out of a sense of obligation to support one of the greatest deejays of all time, I was very pleasantly surprised by J. Rocc's production prowess. For me, the highlights of the album are the tracks where you can truly hear J. Rocc's inner deejay with the layered samples syncopated with scratched vocals. No regrets with this purchase.
The most hyped album of 2011 certainly had its moments (New Day, Murder to Excellence, and the bonus tracks), but the album's blatant attempts to sound musically relevant cut it short of being a great work of art. Memo to Jay-Z: Wives are supposed to ruin your weekends, not your albums. Beyonce is dope in her own right, but she doesn't belong anywhere on your album. Now, you've got me rooting for a divorce. I felt dirtier that a middle-aged man at an adult bookstore buying this album, but I bought it anyway. Much like the man at the adult bookstore, I wanted a refund 5 minutes after the purchase.
Anyone who criticized this album simply hasn't heard a Madlib remix tape. I loved this album because it reminded me of the old Madlib remix tapes/LPs I would see back in the day at the record store. Easily a top 3 purchase of the year. Very pleased with my purchase.
Everything I have to say about this release I already wrote HERE. I do have one gripe about my purchase though, I BOUGHT THE FUCKING CLEAN VERSION!!!!!
Maybe I need to go back and listen to this album a few more times, but I came away from the Roots' latest effort a little disappointed. I certainly give the Roots credit for releasing a conceptual album. That is the sort of thing that just plays to my musical heart. However, it was the whole conceptual album theme that made this album all the more disappointing for me. See Prince Paul's Prince Among Thieves for how to get the conceptual album thing right. Far be it for me to criticize the Roots, but I have been underwhelmed with every release since Game Theory. Do I want my money back on this one? No. Do I wish I hadn't rushed out to buy it the day it came out? Yes. Do I need to give it a few more listens? Wouldn't hurt.