Ten years in hip-hop is like a quarter of a century. It’s enough time for rappers to either become a supernova or sink into the universal abyss of darkness. It’s also enough time for eras to come and go, for rappers to be crowned kings, and for albums to be stamped like classics. With that in mind, 2011 seems like a lifetime ago.
The hip-hop landscape was very different back when Barack Obama was still serving his first term as President of the United States. Jay Z and Kanye west were still close friends and released the joint quintuple platinum album Look at the throne, resulting in four Grammy Awards spanning two ceremonies. Lil wayne and Birdman’s business relations were not yet bitter and Weezy released his ninth solo studio album, Tha Carter IV, in August 2011, selling nearly a million copies in the first week.
Some new guys named Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole jumped on the scene and released his first albums, Section.80 and Cole World: A Side Story, respectively, officially launching the careers of these two MCs, which are considered by most to be locks on Mt. Rushmore of rappers in the 2010s. It was too Tyler the creatorthe breakthrough year as a solo artist, as he debuted his manic musical entry, Leprechaun, to the delight of degenerate young people everywhere.
Looking back 10 years, take a trip down memory lane and discover the 125 albums that served as the soundtrack for 2011.
See hip-hop albums that turn 10 in 2021