In what’s becoming a tradition, I’ve taken to highlighting the few things I’ve purchased/held dear to me from 2011. Few books, few CDs. If you got some Visa gift cards or just want to treat yourself post-Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa, maybe you should try some of these items…
J Rocc Some Cold Rock Stuf: I’m an instrumental/turntablism junkie from the mid 90s, so my obvious love of a J. Rocc album shouldn’t be a surprise. The fact that he can weave so many different tapestries, both straight up B-Boy to his more club/dance-friendly offerings, and still maintain his spot as the guy who has all the Dilla/Madlib exclusives? It’s just mind-numbing. His mix for Benji B, where he was playing original REELS (!!!) of classics? That’s a level of nerdery you’re not on yet. This never left rotation.
Tyler, the Creator GOBLIN: I’m tired of the main diss being “ooo, Tyler bit off Redman with the Dr. Trevis shit”. I get it, Red played his own mental mind talking to him. I own the album. But Red didn’t even go in like Tyler did, documenting his troubled mind with a psychiatrist figure for an entire album. Red was just high. For anything people say Tyler might lack in production knock or maturity, he more than makes up for with balls the size of elephants and emotion. No one kept it this real and this foul than Tyler. And Odd Future DIY’d their way into many wins in 2011. Bastard : Goblin :: Dummy : Portishead.
Kendrick Lamar Section80: I knew fuck all about Lamar before this year. And I’m glad I kept it that way. While I’m always falling into discovering cats before they get proper notice, I kind of avoided the hype and let Section80 play. For like two days straight. Dude’s got it all – he’s all the shit I love about Kanye and Andre3000 – the obvious lyrical skill, the emotion, the watching out for his fellow man – without all of the bullshit. He delivered a thought-provoking, fence-straddling piece of excellence.
J-Zone’s Root For The Villain: I was hype when I heard Zone wrote a book. I’d been following his blog/essay game, and was an obvious lover of his albums back before I started this site. I always wished he had gotten bigger, and this book laid down the law on what his career meant – for good or ill. He exposed how he grew up, both at home and through Hip-Hop, and is a man who’s truly shaped by his influences. And became someone truly unique because of them. I fucks with his frugality, and hope this is the start of more writings from Zone.
The BeatTips Manual: Sai’d sent me a copy of this early in the year, and I ran through the first few chapters dumb quick. I loved his ethos of cats needing to know their history before embarking in that chosen field. I mean this book starts off properly with looking at the sad economic state that the ghettos of NY were in prior to Hip-Hop being birthed. It’s very deep, and it’s a huge book, but when you’re crafting a MANUAL, you need to go in. He has loads of knowledge going on, from established producers and his own tricks of the trade. If someone asked me what they’d need to become a Hip-Hop producer, I’d include this book on top of that list. Very necessary.
Kutz "Superman": I had a thing for dubstep tracks with wild drums. Kutz flipped a classic breakbeat over this simplistic track, breathing some needed life into the genre. Not to shit on dubstep, but everything is sounding like everything else, and it needs a change. I can only hope that more of this "future jungle" style (to quote MistaJam) comes to the forefront. Big tune, this track encapsulated my year. Shouts to Nappy.
Buy you something, niggas!