This year is the year that I’ve decided to follow the example of New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones and start organizing my top musical picks of 2011 well before the end of the year, so as to avoid overlooking anything important in the rush to put together a list under a late-December deadline. So far my execution of this plan extends only to the point of sorting my iTunes library by “Date Added” and just sort of scrolling around, but it’s a start.
Looking through my 2011 additions, I’m seeing a lot of really good rap mix tapes. In fact, aside from Watch the Throne and the Shabazz Palaces album, there aren’t a lot of “official” rap releases that look like they’ll make it to my list, while Sorry 4 the Wait, Gucci Mane & Wacka Flocka Flame’s Ferrari Boyz, Don Trip & Starlito’s Step Brothers, the Clams Casino instrumentals collection, Soulja Boy’s Bernard Arnault EP, that Young Jeezy mix tape where he’s got the Larry Fishburne beard, and the deluxe reissue of Danny Brown’s The Hybrid all boast respectable numbers in the “Plays” column.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about The Hybrid for the Reader and mentioned at the end that Brown had a new full-length, XXX, soon to be issued by the taste-making dance/hip-hop label Fool’s Gold—a release I thought might make him a household name, in at least the type of households that pay attention to rap records. XXX dropped today. You can download it for free at the Fool’s Gold site or listen in a SoundCloud player after the jump and judge for yourself.