Hits From The Blog: A Few Overlooked Gems From 2011

Alex Piveysky wears out external hard drives like turntable needles. 2011 was an intense year for rap music, both in quality and in pace. Noteworthy songs and albums poured in at a remarkable rate,...
By    January 5, 2012

Alex Piveysky wears out external hard drives like turntable needles.

2011 was an intense year for rap music, both in quality and in pace. Noteworthy songs and albums poured in at a remarkable rate, often at the same time, enough to leave even the most attentive observer occasionally overwhelmed. Naturally, a few good things fell through the cracks. Here some a few of them. Some are songs I posted on Steady Bloggin but forgot too quickly and didn’t play enough, a couple are personal favorites that I thought deserved more attention. Enjoy.

Emcee Jermaine – Crazy 88

An exemplary display of pure rhyming ability. The only solo track I’ve ever heard/found from Jermaine, although he is supposed to release an EP sometime early this year.

Flatbush Zombies – Gucci Gucci.

If nothing else, this reveals how good the ‘Gucci Gucci’ beat really is when taken solely on its own merits. And the Flatbush Zombies really grew on me too, especially the guy with the Jamaican inflection

Troy Ave – Motion Picture

Quietly, Troy Ave is NY’s next best hope on the street mixtape rap circuit.

Shady Blaze – Machine Gun Spit

Shady’s second album of the year was a mixed bag and didn’t get much attention, but this was a heavy standout. A chaos of looping sounds and machine gun fire with Shady’s vocals tunneling through the war zone like the light infantry. Maybe my favorite song he made in 2011

Western Tink – Practice Looking Hard Jr. Ft Shady Blaze

A manic seizure-inducing burst of energy. Best argument for Western Tink to date, and Shady’s best cameo of the year.

Hail Mary Mallon – Table Talk

Still my favorite track from the now almost forgotten HMM album. Fits in surprisingly well alongside Shady Blaze and Rittz songs.

Rittz – When The Sun Goes Down Ft. Starlito

The award for the best Burn One-ish song not actually produced by DJ Burn One goes to this song.

Silky Johnson – Fast Life Instrumental

Maybe my favorite instrumental of the year.

Danny Brown – Cartier Glasses

A mostly overlooked bonus track from The Hybrid that sneakily wormed its way into being my favorite Danny Brown song of the year.

AZ & Cormega – “Murder on the Daily.”

This is how all current rap made by quasi-retired 90s icons should sound.

Yelawolf Ft Trae the truth– “Shit I’ve seen”

It almost doesn’t matter what they’re saying, the combination of fast rapping with that sublime beat does all the work to make this a top notch yacht rap anthem.

Ethereal – Recovery RMX ft. Micah Freeman and Opio

A collab that makes a lot of sense considering the obvious Cali underground influence at work on Ethereal’s Abstractica album. Ethereal deserved more attention this year in general, I liked him more than some of the other lauded young up-and-comers.

Zilla – Like A Jungle Ft Clova and Bentley

Zilla’s mixtape was one of the most underrated of the year, and Clova released 2 solid albums with G-Side, but Bentley is the one who stole this track with one of this year’s best under the radar verses.

Marq Spekt & Kno – All Smiles (Plastic Mask)

The whole Machete Visions album was very good, this track was my favorite. I’ve been a fan of Spekt for a long time, it was really nice to see him put out such a quality project.

ShowYouSuck – All Chill Everything

Probably the best song about romancing scenester girls made this year.

LG – Kool & The Gang Ft. Bonka

Got turned on to this via Dirty Glove Bastard. Just a great song, no explanation or context really needed here.

KD – Let Me Ride ft. Freddie Gibbs

One of the best country rap tunes of the year and alternately the Gibbs feature everyone forgot about in favor of Scottie Pippen.

The Outfit – The D-Funk Era

Texas riding music as an extreme electro-synth washout. Found by Blast (the other guy who contributes to SteadyB).

Davinci – Pangea

The Feast Or Famine EP was deservedly well regarded, but this vaguely Ghostface-ish experiment in rapping over an unadulterated space jazz instrumental was unjustly forgotten almost immediately after it dropped.

Sleepy Brown – You’re My Lady

I like this better than anything by Drake, Weeknd or Frank Ocean. This is how I want R&B to sound.

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