I recently purchased three new hip hop albums: Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer, The Roots’ Undun, and Doomtree’s No Kings. With all the great hardcore, and pop/punk I’ve been listening to this year I haven’t really had time for a lot of hip hop. I also feel like it’s been a slow year for most of the artists I’m a fan of.
I know there has been some dope albums come out this year. Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future pretty much caught EVERYONE’S attention and while they are some creative and original dudes they’re not really for me. The Beastie Boys dropped an awesome album (I still play it at least once a week) but other than them, Atmosphere, and Evidence there hasn’t been anything I’ve been really stoked on. There hasn’t been as many hip hop artists getting me stoked like there has been on the other side of my musical spectrum.
These three CDs reinvigorated my 2011 hip hop hopes. Sure, they may have come a little late in the year but better late than never. Common’s TDTB is Common on top of his game. His A game to be precise. None of that club, dance, pop stuff from his last album. He kept to the stuff he knows: hip hop. The album is a perfect follow up to his classics Be, and Finding Forever. The beats, all of which are done by No ID, fit perfectly with Com’s style whether it be smooth or hard. They work well together, the chemistry is perfect. And I would comment on Com’s lyricism and flow, but do I really need to? Go get it.
The Roots’ Undun is another great album to add to their awesome (and large) catalogue. The tempo is a bit slower, the beats are a little more mellow but it picks up after four or five songs. And it doesn’t really matter because The Roots do everything well. The album is a concept album telling a story in reverse (I believe), and Black Thought and guests nail it. And as usual the combo of Black Thought, the guests, and live instrumentation add up to make a great album. I highly recommend the album to anyone who likes any kind of hip hop (or good music in general).
And what can I say about Doomtree’s No Kings? There’s too many words flying around my head to positively and accurately map out my thoughts about the crew’s new full length. The whole DTR collective is present and as with their previous posse records they show you their strength in numbers. Their brand of Wings and Teeth hip hop has always had it’s own flare, but this record is a whole new beast. Think Doomtree (underground/independent/artistic hip hop), but add more electronic/dance elements, sprinkle some post-punk/new wave influences and you have No Kings. Or maybe that’s what they want you to think? I don’t know, but either way it’s a great album. It came out in November but will easily make it on my end of the year list. I downloaded it from iTunes the day after it came out, burned a copy, and it’s been in the CD player in my car since. No lie, No Kings (ever, nope, sever all that).
Do yourself a favor and go get these albums and make your 2011 better.