• Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2011

    12 Feb 2012, 21:01 by aerytwo


    Random Axe - Random Axe
    Key Tracks: Random Call, Another One
    It’s a promising debut from the hip-hop trio, but not quite good enough to be among the top 10 albums of 2011. Rappers Sean Price & Guilty Simpson do little to distinguish themselves as anything other than average, though Black Milk’s skilled production is worth a closer listen. His choice of warm, analog drum sounds forms a welcome foundation.

    Travis Barker - Give The Drummer Some
    Key Tracks: Can A Drummer Get Some, Beat Goes On
    For his debut solo album, producer and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker recruited a diverse and respectable bullpen of collaborators ranging from Raekwon to Lupe Fiasco to Busta Rhymes. For the most part, he succeeds in meeting two considerable challenges: 1) creating a good rap/rock record without insulting either genre, 2) building appropriate soundscapes to accommodate the different rappers’ individual styles.


    10. Wugazi - 13 Chambers
  • Gutter Rainbows

    27 Jan 2011, 07:19 by ggnomeproject

    Unsure what to review next, I nearly chose Vanilla Ice's new album until I saw its name, WTF, and briefly raged that someone had stolen my thoughts (and expressed them so eloquently). But when Talib Kweli does that, I tend to sing along. So I picked up his Gutter Rainbows instead to see if that still held true:

    I don’t sing along immediately but I appreciate what he’s doing and nod along. After the Rain, a short, bearable intro, segues into Gutter Rainbows—nice title play—which sets the tone for the album. Album and song live up to their name: upbeat, street-chic, and inspirational, a promise of better things (to come).

    Two tracks later, Palookas (feat. Sean Price) slows the pace from inspiration to menacing braggadocio. The chorus explains, “You ain’t got a verse better than my worst one,” and I can’t really argue. His lesser tracks are lesser but never not solid. Moreover, even when he’s bragging, he still inspires—“They gave somebody else the crown,/ but I’m still the king without it. …