Best Hip Hop Album (Unsigned/Independent) of 2011

Reader's Pick

Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne "All 6's and 7's"

Tech N9ne has long been a walking paradox—a major-league indie talent who caters to a cult following so sizable it might be better described as a religion—but he's never flaunted his contradictions as proudly as on All 6's & 7's. The Strange Music general's 12th studio album finds him inhabiting a world entirely his own: a world where the beats are hard, the rhymes come at lightning speed, and rap's biggest stars rub shoulders with burgeoning rhymesayers (along with the occasional rock musician).

Staff Pick

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar "Section 80"

Hip-hop fans love to debate, maybe even more than they love listening to hip-hop. That's exactly what makes Kendrick Lamar's #Section80 so remarkable. When the young TDE representative released his album everyone, and I mean everyone, nodded their heads in agreement. "Yeah, that's a really dope album," they all admitted. That type of consensus is unheard of, but a young emcee with Kendrick's combination of lyricism and creative vision is almost unheard of as well.

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