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Top 10 EP’s: 2011

Justin Ivey: I’m a huge fan of the EP because it’s a great quick way for up & coming artists to introduce themselves and a chance for veterans to hold fans over until their full length projects are released. 2011 brought a lot of high quality. The top spot came down to Nemo Achida and Dillon Maurer for me, who essentially could’ve been 1A & 1B for this as I went back and forth. The mysterious artists known as The Black Opera make an appearance on my list as well as St. Louis’ own Vandalyzm. The duos of Black Milk & Danny Brown and Self Scientific delivered some noteworthy EP’s alongside solo acts such as Rob Jay and Playa Fly earning recognition in my top 10 of 2011.

Alex Edelstein:In 2011, we saw EPs used in a variety of ways with artists putting out shorter works as stopgaps before big releases (Slaughterhouse), new artists introducing their work to the public (Action Bronson), and veterans teaming up for new projects (Black Milk and Danny Brown). Murs came out with what I think is one of his best releases in years — Varsity Blues 2, Curren$y and Alchemist teamed up to show just how smooth sounding smoking weed can get on Covert Coup and Gangrene (Oh No and Alchemist) partnered with Roc Marciano to craft a sonically diverse album dripping with grime– Greneberg. Action Bronson used The Program to pique interest prior to releasing two great LPs, Black Milk and Danny Brown surprised fans with a follow up to last year’s hit track on Black and Brown, and Nemo Achida continued what he started in 2010 with smooth work on Goodbye Brooklyn. The best thing about the EP format is that with its short length, artists have the ability to take chances and there were a number of releases that saw artists try new things. A couple of collaborators put in serious work this year with Freddie Gibbs showing up on the list twice (Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away and Thuggin’), while the hardest working man in Hip Hop, Statik Selektah, had his fingerprints on a number of the year’s top EPs (Freddie Gibbs, 1982, Action Bronson).

Michael Kaminsky: With the lines blurring even more between LP’s, mixtapes, street albums and free releases, the extended play (EP) has found more of a significant role within hip-hop. 2011 was a hotbed year for the hip-hop EP, in which artists now opt to go the collaborative EP route as a middle ground beyond the occasional featured track, but not as intensely committed as a full-out collab album. The hip-hop EP is a great chance for a hot emcee to hook up with a personal favorite producer (Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, Curren$y & The Alchemist, Gangrene & Roc Marciano), but the more traveled hip-hop EP route is used in order to build up hype for what the artist has to come. By releasing tracks that won’t necessarily find a home on future releases; artist’s are now able to put together a strong EP that doesn’t just find a home for those loose tracks, but can also sometimes turn out to be a quality release (Action Bronson, Gonjasufi, A$AP Rocky).

Justin

  1. Nemo Achida – Goodbye Brooklyn
  2. Dillon Maurer – Dillon Ain’t Playin’
  3. Vandalyzm – The Proposal
  4. The Black Opera – Overture
  5. BLCTXT – A Smart Black Boy (The Sonic Inception)
  6. Playa Fly – Fly In July
  7. Rob Jay – Millionaire Before 30
  8. Black Milk & Danny Brown – Black and Brown
  9. Self Scientific – Trials Of The Blackhearted
  10. Johnny Spanish – Dissent

Honorable Mentions

  • Truth Universal – Resistance Vol. 2: Polygraph
  • Murs – Varsity Blues 2
  • Curren$y & Alchemist – Covert Coup
  • OnlyOne – Sandpeople Music Presents: OnlyOne
  • J. NiCS & Numonics – Champion Rizla
  • Diz Gibran – The Return
  • A.G. & Ray West – Danksgiving
  • Melaphyre – Avogadro’s #1 (Briarpatch)
  • Bambu de Asiatic – Inspiration
  • C.B. News – For The Love

Alex

  1. Murs – Varsity Blues 2
  2. Roc Marciano & Gangrene – Greneberg
  3. Black Milk & Danny Brown – Black and Brown
  4. Tanya Morgan – You and What Army
  5. Curren$y & The Alchemist – Covert Coup
  6. Freddie Gibbs & Statik Selektah – Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away
  7. Slaughterhouse- Slaughterhouse EP
  8. Nemo Achida- Goodbye Brooklyn
  9. The BrainStormers- The BrainStormers
  10. Roc C & Guilty Simpson – Ox 2 The D

Honorable Mentions

  • TiRon & Ayomari –  En Kärlekshistoria
  • 1982 – The Evening News
  • Planet Asia & Madlib – Cracks in the Vinyl
  • Soul Khan – Pursuance
  • The Black Opera – Overture
  • Self Scientific – Trials of the Blackhearted
  • Action Bronson – The Program
  • JYoung The General – Black History Year: Installation 2
  • Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Thuggin’

Michael

  1. Roc Marciano & Gangrene – Greneberg
  2. Action Bronson – The Program
  3. Gonjasufi – The Ninth Inning
  4. A$AP Rocky – Deep Purple
  5. Doomtree & Gayngs – Affiliyated
  6. Black Milk & Danny Brown – Black and Brown
  7. Madlib & Freddie Gibbs – Thuggin’
  8. Curren$y & The Alchemist – Covert Coup
  9. Blu – Amnesia
  10. Pusha T – Fear of God II: Let Us Pray

Honorable Mentions

  • Murs – Varsity Blues 2
  • Apathy – Primate Mindstate
  • Juan Deuce & Falside – Mechanics
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