Best Listens of the Year for 2011

Yelawolf''s Radioactive is my favorite listen of the year.  Though I have probably listened to Trunk Music more, as it was out longer, it's his latest effort that sounds most accomplished.

After the debut of Trunk Music, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that 'dude could rap.  But with Eminem overseeing the production on Radioactive, Yela has been rocketed into a new stratosphere.

Eminem learned how to produce from the best, Dr. Dre.  Not only was he handed some of the greatest known beats to man, but he learned how to construct and piece together a classic album.  This is great for hip hop fans, as a new generation can still hear what a real long player should sound like.  Remember The Chronic, and The Slim Shady LPThe Chronic has been widely regarded as one of the most important and influential albums of the 1990s and regarded by many fans and peers to be the most well-produced hip hop album of all time.  Both records were produced by Dre, so you know Em picked up some of those skills.

Yelawolf's Radioactive has all of the elements that make up a "classic" album, including some funny skits.  At one point on the LP, Em calls Yela to tell him that the only thing they are missing "is a 'love song.'"  To which Yela replies, "You mean a song for, like, bitches/Like love song, love song?"  Em says, "No man, a song for the Ladies/Ladies like love songs!"  In drops the O.G. pop that is "Good Girl," a radio ready single complete with crooned hooks.

"Write Your Name" is the new "I Love The Way You Lie," and Mona Moua is the new Skyler Grey.  Yela gives a shot out to his folks in Alabama and the vocals are gorgeously sung by Moua (can't wait to hear more from her).  My favorite song on the LP is "Hard White (Up In The Club).  Yela just spits fire, and it's amazing to hear what he is saying, once you put it all together.  He has a flow that is possibly the best in the game, and his lyrics go far beyond money, ho's and guns.  This album will challenge the listener at times, while at others it will make you smile.
Radioactive, has the angst, beats, and lyrics that make every listen a new one, leaving me to put this on top, as best record of the year.  Rap, hip hop, or whatever new term you want to use to describe this form of music, is still alive and well.  But you have to search for it and wade through the filler that plagues the radio.  Funny thing is,  Radioactive didn't even make SPIN's Top 40 Rap Albums of the Year (Top 40 Rap Albums)?  Wow, how off the mark can you be?  Either way, this is a great album, it begs to be heard.



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  • Haven't found my way into much hip-hop lately (besides my guys, the Beastie Boys). Def not averse to it -- back in the day i loved Eminem's debut. Might have to let you lead me to something here...

  • A lot of people wrote him off as an Em impersonator, I did as well. Once you get into his flow though, you can't mistake the two, especially on the same track. This album is good, I hope you dig it...

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