Hit and Miss Albums of 2011
2011 was a rollercoaster year in music. We saw Kanye West and Jay-Z take their throne, Mac Miller established his independent dominance, Drake take care of his fans, and Lil Wayne leaving them asking why. The following is, in my opinion, the hit and miss albums of the year that was.
We start with the undeniably best album of 2011, Kanye West and Jay-z’s Watch the Throne. The album broke Coldplay’s previous iTunes record of 282,000 sales in the first week, moving 436,078 copies in seven days. Songs featuring Beyonce, Frank Ocean, and Rick Ross, along with the smash hits “N****s In Paris” “Otis” and “H.A.M” brought this album into the lime light. One question that begs to be asked was this album controversial or not? The answer is, surprisingly no. Considering the controversy that follows these two, especially Kanye, there were zero complaints. This project was definitely a hit.
After a debatable start for Toronto artist Drake, the former Degrassi star came back strong. With fans wondering where Drake went, he released his second studio album Take Care. This album was everything his first album, Thank Me Later was not. Songs with meaningful undertones, a more slowed down vibe, and more about his life, less about the money and the partying stood out in the album. Drake was criticized for his excessive materialistic lyrics after his 2010 release, however, right off the bat in Take Care, you know he is more serious. But this does not mean he moved to far away from his sound. Tracks like “Headlines” “The Moto” and “Take Care” provided long-time fans that Drake sound they love. This album was a mega hit for 2011.
The first and only, independent album on the list is Mac Millers debut LP, Blue Slide Park. Titled after the Pittsburgh Park he grew up near, Mac provided his fans with the content they love, along with a few tracks with more mature lyrics. I don’t mean mature as in smoking, drinking and sex, I mean mature as in you can see Mac growing up. This seemed to have worked for the fans as Blue Slide Park was the first number one independent album since Dog Food by Tha Dogg Pound. However, the album did not catch on with some of Macs peers. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Danny Brown, who is not on my list, stated that “[Mac] is the worst guy around,” very strong words for a guy at the bottom of the charts right? Despite Brown’s opinion, I believe this album was a hit.
Here is a question, what album sold 964,000 copies in the first week of its release, and was worse than Danny Browns last mix tape? The answer is Lil Wayne’s The Carter 4. With the pre-release track of “Six Foot Seven Foot” featuring Young Money recording artist Corey Gunz, this album was highly over-hyped. The general sound of the album was a mix of his last three albums, and Drake’s Thank Me Later. Wayne has dragged this sound out as long as he can, and with a possible Rebirth sequel on the way, Weezy needs to find a new sound and quick. This album was a miss, simple as that.
A few honorable “Hit” mentions are Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers, Bad Meets Evil (Eminem and Royce da 5’9)s Hell the Sequel, and Tyler the Creator’s Goblin.