Favourite Hip-Hop Albums of 2011
Published Jan 31, 2012To wrap up 2011, we published our picks for the best Hip-Hop albums of the year, featuring releases from Kanye West, Jay-Z and Shabazz Palaces, before turning the vote over to you, the fans, with our year-end Readers Poll.
After receiving our most entries ever, the results are finally in, including a lot a of love for Mr. "Canada Dry," a fellow Canuck who's "a legend at the age of 21," and appreciation for the "asshole" you can't help but get down to.
Check out the full Hip-Hop results below and read why they topped your playlists in 2011.
Exclaim! Readers Poll: Top 10 Hip-Hop Records of 2011:
Take Care (Universal Republic)
"In the great race to be 2011's Ultimate Idiosyncratic Rapper, Drake's late burst with Take Care gave him a final victory over the Based God. He feeds off the haters while being too strung out on compliments?! His narrative became the most compelling of all 2011 music storylines because it was oddly sincere (giving him the leg up on fascinating trolls like Lil B), original (unlike the overhyped and derivative A$AP Rocky), and monumentally confident. Drake inhabits a clearly defined world of his own, yet acts as a centre of gravity for the hip-hop zeitgeist. This was the most important and best album of any in 2011. Oh yeah, and the production killed, too."
Andrew MacKenzie, Vancouver, BC
"Home town love, more assured than the last album, daring to be hip-hop but not gangster."
Kawai Lamb, Toronto, ON
"Brilliant hip-hop offering, a record that is not boisterous or insincere in any way. Even one year ago, I had no idea how much I'd love Drake."
Bobby Foley, London, ON
"Homeboy rose up out of a wheelchair and became a rap superstar. A WHEELCHAIR! Let's see Kanye West do THAT!"
Victoria Handysides, Moncton, NB
"Once again Drake shows the world that Canada has some flow. One of the best rap/hip hop albums since Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."
Jordan Matheson, Saskatoon, SK
"I will not be surprised if this album makes the cut, despite the mix bag of reviews. Some either really love it or really hate it. I like it. Drake continues to be a great deliverer of, what I like to call, 'new-age hip-hop.' He's a guilty pleasure of mine and it's nice to actually have a massively successful Canadian hip-hop artist for once."
Kristen Allicock, Brampton, ON
2. Jay-Z & Kanye West
Watch the Throne (Roc-A-Fella)
"You can't make a more widespread, as well as equally artistically engaging record as this in the current climate of hip-hop/music, but they did, and the world is better for it."
Tristan Crocker, Barrie, ON
"Two of the best doing what they're known for. Enough said."
Jay Monzones, Markham, ON
"It's the best. Bon Iver, Frank Ocean... You've got Roc's finest together at last. I would never have predicted a full album of this. It's like an album where they are constantly trying to one up each other, and it works."
Kirk Trew, Saskatoon, SK
"It's too bad that Jay-Z decided to call his R. Kelly collaboration The Best of Both Worlds, because Watch the Throne is indeed just that. Sick beats, sick flow — this album shows the up and comers who's still on top."
Mathew Ritchie, Halifax, NS
"The album had the dope-est lyrics and hooks! Not to mention a hotter than hell stage show with the one and only Hova! Kanye killed it!"
Brittany Ashie, Toronto, ON
3. Kanye West
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)
"Although the man has lost his marbles, he still can produce/record one hell of an album."
Sean Vanderende, Surrey, BC
"One of the best produced albums in 15 years!!"
Elyse DeGaust, Hubbards, NS
"He reinvented the genre on this album. What more can you ask from an artist?"
Peter Kelly, Guelph, ON
"A perfect 10. I don't normally listen to hip-hop, but this is really a good album. Oh the samples were so well-done."
Hartim Yeung, Calgary, AB
"COME ON! It's Kanye. Yeah he's an asshole, but look who he's surrounded by."
Lindsay-Bea Davis, Halifax, NS
4. The Weeknd
House of Balloons (OVO)
"Dark and sexy tunes."
Kortnee Borden, Toronto, ON
"I just started listening to the Weeknd, and I fell in love. One of the best voices I've heard."
Kayla Winkler, Winnipeg, MB
"Reinventing R&B for a new generation."
Nick Dane, Milton, ON
"I tend not to listen to a lot of hip-hop or soul or whatever the Weeknd is, but something about this album caught me. Maybe the beats, or the effortless delivery or the casual cool — whatever it is, I play this album a lot."
Darryl Brant, Oshawa, ON
"All three instalments are amazing. Abel is a legend at the age of 21. I can not wait to hear more from the Weeknd in 2012."
Blake MacKay, Ottawa, ON
5. Childish Gambino
Camp (Glass Note)
"Donald Glover isn't a novelty rapper, he's the real deal. So much talent in one guy."
Jason Carlin, Richmond Hill, ON
"Music for blog nerds."
Travis Bradley, Toronto, ON
"Unabashed, fun-loving, misogynistic for the hell of it awesome rap, and great beats."
Donovan Lee, Cambridge, ON
"It's only an EP, but it's incredible."
Amanda Lewis, London, ON
Undun (Def Jam)
"The most consistent, hardest working band in showbiz."
Fraser McEvoy, Toronto, ON
"Catchy melodies, beautiful production, and poetic lyrics will keep this record on repeat for a while. These guys are innovators of their genre."
Jad Saab, Belleville, ON
"Unique sound. The Roots are great."
Marc-Andre Taillefer, Lachine, QC
"The legendary Roots crew are at it again with one of the best releases of the year!"
Jules Hollett, Toronto, ON
"Another solid record from the Roots."
Steve Dunne, Ottawa, ON
"One of the best MCs. Deep lyrics and awesome beats."
Sophie Luk, Sooke, BC
"Eminem is truly the king of rap."
Christina Mrkonjic, Sackville, NS
"After so many years, Eminem is still the best as ever! His album should not be called Recovery since there's nothing to recover from!"
Gabriel Chow, Calgary, AB
"Some of his lyrics make me laugh and some make me think."
Rita Jackson, North Milton, PEI
"I don't know how he does it. His song are so sad. I feel sad for him listening to his lyrics. He's awesome."
Jacob Thompson, L'Ile-du-Grand-Calumet, QC
8. Beastie Boys
Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 (Parlophone)
"Still at the top of their game after 25 years."
Dylan Bristowe, St. Catharines, ON
"Fresh and still with the times."
Kevin Wootton, Newmarket, ON
"Showin' the new schoolers how it's done."
Sean Moore, Camrose, AB
"Forty plus years old, and these guys still make you check your head (in a very good way!)."
Andrew Davidson, Montreal, QC
"So much fun... Their best in years."
Dominic Sauvageau, Edmonton, AB
9. Nicki Minaj
Pink Friday (Cash Money)
"She brings something fresh to the hip-hop scene, especially since she's a girl."
Chantal Chiasson, Dieppe, NB
"Despite her explicitness, I admire her grunge and sweetness."
Mari Kusanagi, Richmond Hill, ON
"She's just fun!"
Joyce James, Winnipeg, MB
"I love this so much!"
Darijana Kurman, North Battleford, SK
10. DJ Quik
The Book of David (Mad Science)
"I loved this release from the very first listen. He's smart as can be and has an excellent voice."
Jarvis Mino, Meota, SK