January 11 - 12
Our last of the Best of 2011 series gives us Blake Kirpes’ picks for best in Hip-Hop (put the kids to bed…consider yourselves, warned).
“While people were busy watching the throne, ‘we’ stormed the castle” – Sage Francis
And storming the “castle” is exactly what the new faces of Hip-Hop did. The sheer abundance of new artists, break–out albums, and future classics crammed into 2011, is something of which hip-hop has never seen. In 2011, the hip-hop scene burgeoned with fresh faces and break-outs boasting styles unlike any heard before. Diversity reigned supreme.
Das Racists and Danny Brown mixed personal and social consciousness with humor. Here’s a video from Das Racists for Michael Jackson.
Shabazz Palaces and Death Grips stretched the boundaries of the art form. Sims (Doomtree) and Tyler, the Creator (Oddfuture) released critically acclaimed solo projects alongside collaborations with their respective crews. Action Bronson put a fresh spin on an old sound, while the more established DJ Quik and The Roots turned out some of their most impressive work to date.... Read More
March 24 - 11
2011 was my first SXSW experience. Based on the reports from friends and artists I know that had attended, I never thought of SXSW as a festival that catered too deeply to electronic music or hip hop. Though there was a very obvious focus of blues, rock, folk and guitars in general (they were everywhere) this year’s SXSW boasted in an impressive line-up of quality underground electronic music and hip hop, including the likes of Richie Hawtin, Boys Noize, Diplo, James Blake, DJ Premier, Trentemoller, Mount Kimbie, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Marco Carola, Talib Kweli, Switch, Moby, Housemeister, Daedelus, Big Boi, Afrojack, Addison Groove, Skrillex, De La Soul, Starkey, MSTRKRFT, Spank Rock, Jamie xx, EPMD, Baths, Shabazz Palaces, Pharoahe Monch, Beats Antique, Eskmo and Gold Panda to name some standouts. Though it was a pleasure to see so many familiar artists, the real joy for me came from new discoveries like soul singer Charles Bradley, folk-rock singer Sharon Van Etten and electronic crooner Jamie Woon, all of whom delivered stunning sets.
Part of the charm, and sometimes annoyance, of SXSW was the rapid fire pace and sheer magnitude of the performances (89 stages featuring over 2,000 acts with an average set length of 30 minutes).... Read More