Sound Session #342 (1-1-12) – Best of 2011

Posted in Episodes, Sound Session on January 2nd, 2012 by Hyphen

Another year is in the books and here on Sound Session, you already know what that means: it’s time for our annual wrap up show.  As we’ve said in years past (2009 & 2010), this playlist isn’t a definitive, comprehensive list by any means, nor is it compiled in any sort of numerical ranking marking which songs are “better” than the others.  Instead, we simply picked records and artists that played a large part on our show this past year and the songs we couldn’t stop listening to.

As I usually do, I’ve listed some notes on why each song made the cut, along with a few honorable mentions from artists not otherwise represented (i.e., I could have listed a plethora of tracks from Drake, The Weeknd, Kendrick, Kanye/Jay, etc., but we’ll keep it simple…).

Enjoy the show and make 2012 your best year yet.

Show #342 (1-1-12)
**Best of 2011**

  1. Drake ft. Rick Ross – “Lord Knows”
  2. Nas – “Nasty”
  3. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Gotta Have It”
  4. Kendrick Lamar – “HiiiPower”
  5. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
  6. Frank Ocean – “Novacane”
  7. TiRon & Ayomari – “If I Had You”
  8. The Physics – “These Moments” (Local Music)
  9. Dom Kennedy – “On My Way”
  10. Curren$y – “She Don’t Want A Man”
  11. Big K.R.I.T. – “The Vent”
  12. Rocki Evans – “Funeral Song”
  13. Purple HeArts – “Know Go”
  14. Shabazz Palaces ft. Thee Satisfaction – “Swerve…the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)” (Local Music)
  15. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton – “Can’t Hold Us” (Local Music)
  16. Little Dragon – “Ritual Union”
  17. Common ft. Makeba – “Blue Sky”
  18. Childish Gambino – “Freaks and Geeks”
  19. Maffew Ragazino – “Black Sheep”
  20. Ghostface Killah ft. Black Thought – “In Tha Park”
  21. Thurz – “Dope”
  22. Lupe Fiasco ft. Skylar Grey – “Words I Never Said”
  23. Charlie Smarts – “Torture”
  24. J. Cole ft. Drake – “In The Morning”
  25. The Weeknd – “The Party & The After Party”

Link to download the mp3 of the show –
(back up / streaming link –
(2nd back up –

If there are any problems with the links or if you’d like to be added to our weekly email list to receive the playlist and download links after every show, just shoot me an email,


  1. Drizzy was everywhere this year and while most records were slow and brooding (“Marvin’s Room” is an instant classic), he reminded his deriders he can rhyme too.  Just Blaze’s incredible beat and Rick Ross coining the #YOLO term didn’t hurt either.
  2. Anyone who thought Nas slipped with the Distant Relatives project was crazy to begin with.  Nas punctuated that with “Nasty.”
  3. Did Watch The Throne live up to the hype?  Probably not, but it’s still one of the best albums of the year and while “Otis” and “Murder To Excellence” were also great, the standout is this short but sweet record…despite Jay’s “planking on a million” line.
  4. After a few good years, Kendrick broke out in a major way with Section.80 in 2011.  This J. Cole produced single was the first track released off the project and set the tone for the whole album.  Kendrick will drop a 5 mic classic before it’s all said and done.
  5. Tyler and the Odd Future crew had an amazing year in 2011 and while many tracks were a bit too heavy on the shock value, “Yonkers” didn’t go overboard (though the video might have, for some).  Instead, Tyler cooked up one of the best beats of the year that would have sounded at home on a classic Wu-Tang album.
  6. My personal song of the year.  Nuff said.
  7. They just don’t make music like this anymore.  TiRon & Ayomari’s uptempo record becomes a classic the second the horns come in for the first time.
  8. Three straight appearances on our year end wrap up show for The Physics, who consistently make my favorite music from the Northwest.  No need for drums on this record when everything else is that dope.
  9. Dom dropped two great projects in 2011 and had numerous records that we could have picked, but this one represents his trademark new west sound perfectly.
  10. The ongoing joke is that Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y are ALWAYS rapping about smoking weed with your girl, but hey, when it comes out like this, you can’t really be mad at it.  Unless that’s your girl.
  11. Along with Don Trip’s “Letter 2 My Son,” Big K.R.I.T.’s “The Vent” was the most heartfelt record of the year.  That’s what music should be all about.
  12. Rocki may not be on everyone’s radar (yet), but if he keeps making songs like this, he will be in 2012.
  13. While Drake, The Weeknd, and even our good friend Shad have been making headlines in the US all year, be on the lookout for another crew from Canada in 2012.
  14. International acclaim from fans and press alike marked a great year for Seattle’s own Shabazz Palaces.  Thee Satisfaction come along for the ride on this one, closing out the record in a way only they can.
  15. Speaking of international success for local musicians, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis blew up in 2011.  Seriously.  Did you see them rock almost 10k at Bumbershoot?
  16. Yukimi is incredible and gets most of the headlines, but the rest of the band is amazing as well.  You need to see Erik drum live to truly experience Little Dragon.
  17. Com just barely dropped his album in time for most people to include it in their year end wrap ups, but the minute “Blue Sky” was released, it instantly reserved its spot on our list.
  18. I was tempted to pick “Be Alone” or “Hold You Down,” which show a slightly more serious side of Gambino, but this record was Donald’s break out song for 2011.
  19. In a year where most newcomers came from other cities, Maffew and Action Bronson showed there’s still a bright future in NYC.
  20. Most forgot that Ghostface’s album was released right before the new year so this Frank Dukes produced banger was too late for everyone’s 2010 lists, and sadly forgotten on most 2011 wrap ups.  Except ours.
  21. Fans were disappointed to see U-N-I go their separate ways but both Thuz and Y-O dropped good projects in 2011, highlighted by this appropriately titled record from the former.
  22. While the beat and hook left much to be desired, Lupe spit some of the realest bars of the year on this track.  If Lu ever releases acapellas, it might destroy the internet.
  23. One of our favorite crews, Kooley High, saw one member, Rapsody, achieve a lot of notoriety in 2011 but our favorite track from the North Carolina collective was Charlie Smarts’ “Torture.”  Just listen to those keys…
  24. Always a good question…
  25. Anytime someone literally goes from unknown to the most sought after independent artist in the game, he has to be the rookie of the year.  Nobody came out of nowhere like The Weeknd in recent memory, thanks in large part to Drake’s co-sign and the strictly grown & sexy music.

Honorable mentions from artists not otherwise represented:

  • Amy Winehouse ft. Nas – “Like Smoke”
  • Asher Roth & Nottz – “Break Bread”
  • Fly.Union – “Hard Sell”
  • Goapele – “Play”
  • Gods’illa ft. Maimouna Youssef – “You Don’t Have To Be A Star”
  • Jhene Aiko – “Stranger”
  • Killer Mike – “Ric Flair”
  • Mayer Hawthorne – “A Long Time”
  • Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun ft. Styles P & Sean Price – “That’s Hard”
  • Phonte ft. Jeanne Jolly – “Everything Is Falling Down”
  • Pusha T – “Blow”
  • Raekwon ft. Nas – “Rich and Black”
  • Random Axe ft. Roc Marciano – “Chewbacca”
  • Raphael Saadiq – “Good Man”
  • Rapsody ft. Raekwon – “Black Diamonds”
  • Rick Ross – “I Love My B*tches”
  • Royce Da 5’9” – “Second Place”
  • Saigon – “The Greatest Story Never Told”
  • Schoolboy Q ft. Jhene Aiko – “Fantasy”
  • Stephen Marley ft. Damian Marley & Buju Banton – “Jah Army (Revelation, Pt. 1)”
  • Travis Barker ft. Lupe Fiasco & Pharrell – “If You Want To”
  • Young Jeezy ft. Jay-Z & Andre 3000 – “I Do”

2012.  Let’s go.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,