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2011 was another good year for music. For all the crap that sees the light of day these days, there’s still some gems each year that make us look back on the year in delight. Here’s a quick rundown of our highlights of 2011…

Jay and Yeezy

You can’t look back at 2011 and overlook the most anticipated hip hop album of the year by Kanye West and Jay Z. Expectations were high, and they were met. Kanye overshadowed this album by screaming louder into the mic and putting his stamp on the production. But that wasn’t a bad thing.

Odd Future

Odd Future made a splash on the music scene, but in general we don’t really dig it. Nevertheless they made headlines everywhere and Yonkers is a hell of a track and video!

Elmatic Mixtape

A project that should have never been so good. There’s a few hip hop albums that are true classics, dope tracks from start to finish, not a bunch of singles with filler material. Say: Outkast’s ATLiens, Biggie’s Ready to Die, Wu Tang’s 36 chambers AND Nas’s Illmatic. Now pick any rapper and says “Let’s cover one of these albums from start to finish – trust me, Hip Hop fans will love it!” Let’s be honest people, you’d think he’s nuts. But Elzhi of Slum Village fame, pulled it off and released Elmatic, remaking and re-imagining Nas’ Illmatic with the help of live band Will Sessions.

The Weeknd

The Weeknd reinvented R’nB sound. Dropping free “mix tapes” of stunning, emotional music.

El-P

Brooklyn local El-P is getting ready to drop his new project in 2012 (as well as producing Killer Mike’s new album). Last year we saw P slowly coming back in the spotlight with a couple tracks and guest verses and they were nothing short of amazing.

Cults

Cults is a band from Manhattan which found public acclaim on the strength of music posted to its bandcamp page, and whose first album is now available.

Danny Brown

Unless you’re living under a rock, you have heard of Danny Brown this year. Recently signed to Brooklyn-based Fool’s Gold Records, this Detroit native dropped Black & Brown and XXX this year, two remarkable projects.

Other favorite artists and videos of 2011

A$AP Rocky

BADBADNOTGOOD

Frank Ocean

Shabazz Palaces

SBTRKT

Prince Ea – BACKWARDS RAPPERS (Video)

DJ Shadow – Scale It Back (Video)

The Roots for John Varvatos Fall/Winter 2011

Jay Electronica – Dimethyltryptamine

The Roots – Undun (Short Film)

Pixelord / Kidkanevil – Fish Touch (Video)

MaLLy & The Sundance Kid

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