|Name: Dee Phunk
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Website: Trees for Breakfast
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Danny Brown – XXX
2011 undisputedly belonged to Danny Brown. Danny has enjoyed a steady climb over the past couple of years. And in 2011, with backing from his new, perpetually-popular home / record label Fools Gold, released XXX, a masterful mosh pit of sex, drugs and Detroit-fueled hustle. In a nutshell, it’s an NC-17 audio movie with infinite replay value. There’s nothing like uncensored, straight-no-chaser rap music.
SBTRKT – SBTRKT
The UK is always going to be one-step ahead of the world when it comes to electronic music. And nothing illustratred that better in 2011 than the first full-length studio album by Aaron Jerome, better known to most by his alias SBTRKT. The self-titled release was a clinic in future soul with the bulk of the vocals lead by English producer / crooner Sampha. This clever team-up led to oodles of critical acclaim and countless sold out shows.
Phonte – Charity Starts At Home
You wanted it? You got it. After all of the trials and tribulations that claimed the rap life of Little Brother (one of best things to ever happen to the new generation of hip-hop), a solo album by Phonte finally rose from the ashes on the independent Foreign Exchange imprint. Boasting a perfect balance of Southern-fried braggadocio, thought-provoking lyricism and personal reflection, Charity Starts At Home lived up to everything one can expect from Mr. Coleman. Plus it was nice to hear Tay over 9th Wonder beats again, right?
Benny Sings – ART
Dutch pop / soul artist Benny Sings followed a pretty strict (albeit unintentional) new-album-ever-two-years regiment since his debut back in 2003. That pattern was broken after 2007. Many wondered if he had hung up his trademark honey-coated vocal chords for good. Those wonders were rendered useless in 2011 when Benny dropped his fourth album, ART. Drawing influences from R&B, easy listening and electronic genres, ART is a great showcase of Benny’s production and vocal repertoire making for impeccable, everyday headphone music.
Fresh Daily – The Quiet Life
This pick could be a little biased being that I’m from Brooklyn. But the quality of the album is undeniable. In early 2011, Bed-Stuy emcee Fresh Daily dropped what is, in my opinion, his best work to date. The Quiet Life was a blissful marriage of slick mic work and a collection of top-notch production by a bevy of talented up-and-comers (Shuko & Fonty, Jinesis, Hi-Res, MNDSGN and The Stuyvesants just to name a few). As a whole, the album reflects a very chill, serene way of thinking without compromising the natural grit of true New York hip-hop.