albums of 2011
The last year has seen lots of change come for decedope, but we’re keeping this feature going. Jord, Amanda and I have come up with our top 5 albums/EPs/mixtapes of the last year. We hope to get the rest of the ddope crew to post their top albums soon. But the collection is still as eclectic as ever and we hope you enjoy our selections.
I say this album has to be in consideration just on the basis of Excision’s body of work. I think it’s a lock on the list because it’s actually a damn solid album. The Canadian King of Bass definitely didn’t phone this one in. The X-Man plays a little with moombahton and house tempos but really doesn’t stray from his signature dirty sounds, which is why I think he deserves no higher than #5. There are loads of sick collabos on the album, which is cool but for my album of the year, I want the artist who’s name is on the cover to do at least 90% of the work. Save collabos for EPs and singles. Love the piece though, Excision is one of the best dubstepper out there these days and I’m secretly really stoked that he isn’t Skrillex status yet. Hopefully he’ll never be. I’m all for expansion of a genre, but leave us old school steppas some undaground! Coincidentally, “The Underground” is my favorite track off this album! Enjoy.
Excision & Downlink – The Underground (Save Link/Target As…)
#4 Wolfgang Gartner – Weekend In America
When deadmau5 left the scene for a while, everyone and their Grandma was looking at Joey Youngman (aka Wolfgang Gartner) to fill his shoes as the IT man of electronic music. Little did they know that dubstep was about to take over the world. Ironically enough, the takeover was led by the mau5′s protege Skrillex. Anyway, if dubstep never happened Gartner would be feeling some mainstream success right about now, similar to Avicii or Swedish House Mafia. Trouble for old Wolfgang is he’s American and on this side of the pond, we are fiending for bass, unlike continental Europe, where the masses yearn for guitar synths and 4 on the floor grooves. Gartner is still one of the best out there these days in terms of electro, in my mind the best. My only qualm is he takes way to long to release tunes, people forget about him because he has 15, maybe 20 tracks drop each year. But that’s business and he’s an artist, who am I to judge? The album is tight with plenty of sick vocals being thrown in by lots of hip hop stars and all these jams will get you dancing til 2013. I also suggest you watch the music video that goes along with “Illmerica”, which is my favorite track of the bunch.
Wolfgang Gartner – Illmerica (Save Link/Target As…)
#3 Skrillex – Moar Monsters and Sprites/Bangarang
I don’t really know if there is anything more to say about Skrillex this year. I’ve loved his tunes since before the “My Name Is Skrillex EP”, his remixes of La Roux and Twin Atlantic are to this day some of my favorite tunes of all time. The man is on a roll though, I don’t want to be a hater, especially since at one point in the not so distant past I would have called myself a fan, but I guess I’m just burnt out, which is why I’m lumping these two together. If this were a list of top artists of 2011, Sonny would undoubtedly be my number 1. These EPs are amazing work by everyone involved though, which is a big reason I’m down to include them, Kaskade and Dirtyphonics kill it on the remixes. Also the three originals on the remix EP are classics, both versions of “Ruffneck” and “Equinox”. Just, enjoy the bangers, or if your not feeling it, don’t worry, I’m sure Skrill will be making crazy sounds melt our faces for a while.
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (Save Link/Target As…)
Check out this ddope post to grab all the tracks from the Bangarang EP! Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for the free downloads.
#2 Bassnectar – Divergent Spectrum
Bassnectar is king of all things bass. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you think Lorin Ashton is a dubstep producer, you are wrong. The man transcends genre, he may make dubstep one day then glitch hop the next and maybe a little drum ‘n’ bass or psytrance, but no matter what style the man delivers. This album is mostly dubstep, don’t get confused though, his older shit is undeniable hip hop. Apart from being a super nice guy, Ashton is an excellent artist to be a fan of. I have friends who have gotten tickets straight from him to sold out shows simply via Twitter. Albeit they were sexy little thangs, but he’s still a nice dude. Bassnectar makes EDM thoughtful, I don’t really like the term IDM, but if it applies to anyone it’s Lorin Ashton. This album is a complete thought, not just a group of songs. You should listen to the whole thing, all the way through, in order and I know you’ll understand. Also, the track “Above & Beyond” from this album is now in a NorthFace commercial.
Bassnectar & Seth Drake – Above & Beyond (Save Link/Target As…)
#1 Sabrepulse – First Crush
I’ve chosen Sabrepulse’s “First Crush” as my #1 album of 2011 not only because of the amazing collection of tunes that it holds, but also because of the versatility demonstrated by this producer. For those of you who don’t know, which I’m guessing is most, Sabrepulse is a British chiptune producer who makes his money by making soundtracks for video games, he has also experimented with dance chiptunes but those never turn out too well for anyone. Sabrepulse’s sound on this album is amazing, he drops Skrillex-esque dubstep, Netsky-ish drum’n'bass and Steve Aoki-y electro house. Every single track on the album is a must hear for anyone who likes EDM and what’s even better than the skillfully created variety is the fact that Sabrepulse is not a name most people, even serious fans of EDM, have heard. I absolutely love this album and it is hands-down my favorite of the year. On a few of the tracks, the chiptune style is obvious, like the big hookline in “Futureproof”, which makes this album all the better. Sabrepulse is making it cool to dance to GameBoy sounds again and I love it. Once you take a listen, I’m sure you’ll agree that “First Crush” deserves to be number 1.
Sabrepulse – Futureproof (Save Link/Target As…)
#5 Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers
My fifth favorite album of 2011 is Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers. I know a lot of people were disappointed by this album saying that he went all mainstream and his music sucks but to tell you the truth, there are some really dope songs on this album. I will admit, this is definitely a record label influenced album but the truth is that almost every artist is going to have one of these by the end of their career. It’s all about making money these days and if you can do that, you win in this game of rap. I will always be on team Wiz because I’m from the burgh but I did like a majority of these songs on this album. My favorites are “The Race,” “Rooftops,” “When I’m Gone” and “Cameras.”
Wiz Khalifa – Rooftops (feat. Currensy) (Save Link/Target As…)
#4 Eminem & Royce Da 5’9 – Bad Meets Evil: Hell The Sequel
My fourth favorite album of 2011 is the once hated rivalry between Eminem and Royce Da 5’9 in their joint project Bad Meets Evil: Hell The Sequel. These two just exchange the nastiest bars back and forth and even on their mellow tracks, they spit harder than most other artists in the game. Eminem never has a hard time selling his albums but it’s nice to see him help someone out like Royce who’s not known for selling a ton of copies. I like almost every song on this album but my favorites are “Welcome 2 Hell,” “Take From Me,” “Loud Noises”
Eminem – Welcome 2 Hell (Save Link/Target As…)
#3 Theophilus London – Timez Are Weird These Days
Here is my random out of left field pick for my top albums post. My third favorite album from 2011 is from a guy that a good amount of you probably don’t have on your radar. He goes by the name of Theophilus London and his album is titled Timez Are Weird These Days. Friends of mine put me on to this dope artist so I went out and purchased his album and have been jammin’ out to it a good portion of 2011. His sound is unique and his voice reminds me of Kid Cudi for some reason. Wiki states that his “genre-bending approach draws from a range of styles, from soul-pop and post-punk to electro and contemporary R&B,” citing influences that includes Michael Jackson and Prince as well as Kraftwerk and the Smiths.” I recommend buying this album if you are into listening to music that is different and unlike a lot of music you listen too. My favorites are “Wine and Chocolates,” “I Stand Alone” and “Love is Real”
Theophilus London – I Stand Alone (Save Link/Target As…)
#2 Drake – Take Care
My second favorite album of 2011 is Drakes sophomore album Take Care which was just recently released. Drake’s debut album Thank Me Later was alright but I thought that he came back and made a pretty much flawless album (except for the cover) with Take Care. He included some of his singing tracks but also had some of his just rap songs to make for an awesome tracklist of songs. He also got some really good features for this album and anytime you can get a dope verse from 3 Stacks you’re doing something right. I’ve been playing the hell out of this album and the more I play through it the more I like it. My favorites are “Crew Love,” “Well Be Fine,” “Practice” and “Lord Knows”
Drake – Well Be Fine (Save Link/Target As…)
#1 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne
I’m sure you can probably guess what my favorite album of 2011 is going to be? Still don’t know? Well it’s from two of the biggest names in hip hop for over a decade… Jay Z and Kanye West’s, Watch the Throne. This album was a close to perfect as an album could get in my opinion. I can listen to every song on there and be impressed at what those two brought in terms of their bars as well as how they complement each other with their styles. Two things really surprised me with this album; one is that they were able to keep this album from leaking into the internet’s hands and that the number of sales on this album didn’t come as close to a milli as I thought they would. They have already mentioned in an interview that they are strongly considering doing a follow up to Watch the Throne; I can’t imagine how they could top the first one! My favorites are “No Church in the Wild,” “Who Gon Stop Me,” “Murder to Excellence”
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Why I Love You (Save Link/Target As…)
Notable: Kendrick Lamar – Section.80, The Game – R.E.D, Wale – Ambition, J. Cole – Cole World: A Sideline Story, Gary Clark Jr – The Bright Lights EP
#5 A.E.R – The Reach
These guys COULD be dubbed College Rap and fit into the scene. But what makes them noteworthy (unlike many college rap artists these days) is they bring in music that is pretty chill and smooth. Not exactly fit for a frat party as much as a memorable afternoon drive with good friends or even music to fall asleep to. It’s comforting in many ways. Favorites: “Feel I Bring,” “Come & Go,” “Somewhere I Been”
A.E.R – Come & Go (Save Link/Target As…)
#4 Timeflies – The Scotch Tape
I don’t know why I haven’t heard more of these guys. Every track on this album is catchy and worthy of playing again and again for a good time. If kept up, Timeflies will hopefully be a hit in 2012 among other budding electronic/pop music artists. This alum creates a mood every party-goer strives for. Favorites: “Stunner,” “Detonate,” “Ex Games”
Timeflies – Stunner (Save Link/Target As…)
I’m a bit bias with G-Eazy, he is my favorite artist of 2011. The Endless Summer delivers G’s great talent and knack for sampling songs and making the unimaginable work. Not exactly The Outsider, but great work coming from New Orleans. Favorites: “Make Up Sex,” “All I Could Do,” “Outta Pocket”
G-Eazy – Make Up Sex (Save Link/Target As…)
#2 Mike Posner – The Layover
Mike Posner is big- and he might just be getting bigger. The Layover is a sample of his upcoming work in 2012 and it is a keeper. Each song on the mix-tape has a subtitle of when to listen to it- what mood it creates. Subtitles like “Drive To This” or “Pre-Game to This” are pretty clever and they do work. I can’t stop listening once it’s in my stereo, and I’m not a fan of Top 40 artists. Way, to break the mold, Mike. Favorites: “Henny & Purple,” “Maurader Music,” “On Fire”
Mike Posner – Henny & Purple (feat. Slim Thug) (Save Link/Target As…)
#1 The Weeknd – House of Balloons
When you think of The Weeknd, you think of the most sultry, intense, passionate R&B. House of Balloons struck 2011 hard with it’s sex and drugs driven lyrics and smooth chill sounds that cater to the current culture of 20-somthings this year presented. It’s different, but it’s what we wanted and needed. Favorites: “High For This,” “The Morning,” “Coming Down”
Weeknd – High For This (Save Link/Target As…)