Christmas is Sunday, kids (and Hannukah and Kwanzaa are in full swing, too, far as that goes). I know a few of you out there saved your gift shopping for the weekend and you all are going to want to skip this intro and proceed directly to Okayplayer’s Top 11 Albums of 2011 and find out which CDs you can stuff in your favorite music lover’s stocking. The rest of you can take your time perusing and cross-referencing this list of what are officially, objectively the best longplayers of the year–so that we can spend the last week of the year in the time-honored holiday manner (having a good old-fashioned argument). Dive in.



  • j.y.

    what about the Adrian Younge album? it sounded like you were going to put Something About April on this list.

    • thats because i forgot to add the honorable mentions! now with audio/youtube clips and buy-links as well…

  • Jon

    I really dont think that little dragon album deserved #2. At all. It was boring as hell. Id rather see Amy at #2.

    • Can’t say i agree at all. i will say that if the Amy Winehouse record was a completely realized LP it would probably be higher than #4 but as it is, we just got a collection of random gems more than a true album.

  • Thomasjdjohnson

    good list, would have loved to see Onierology by Cunninlynguists, Dr. Lecter by Action Bronson, and Nine Types of Light by TV On The Radio on there, im still repeating those beauties, some of the best albums iv ever hear. period.

  • VCF

    Wow. Not even an honorable mention for Phonte’s Charity Starts at Home.

    • real talk. that phonte album was fire.

  • DUB

    How the Thundercat – Golden Age of Apocalypse album didn’t make it, well never know. The list solid though.

  • adam

    undun #1? lol

    • datNIGGAJ

      i agree with undun being number 1
      is funny that this is their web site
      but undun is definitely the best lp i’ve heard since the renaissance
      shit is cohesive than a mafucka

    • j.y.

      It’s a good list. i feel undun is #1

  • Mighty Me

    No cute phrasing. No creative analogies. Direct, clear, with as much clarity as possible………..How in the fucking Motherfucking FUCK! did Charity Starts at Home not make this list?

  • crooked jay danger

    no fair! i called undun as hip-hop album of the decade a few weeks ago!

  • Brian

    “Oneirology” by Cunninlynguists was definitely the best hip hop record i’ve heard this year. Haven’t gotten a chance to check out the new Roots or Common LPs yet, however.

  • the truth

    I used to Love Okayplayer (it used to be my homepage), but in age of blogs and websites being able to speak the truth, its sad too see OKayplayer relevance dwindling. I have seen so many top 10 lists most of them putting in stuff to make them sound cool. But is is the most ridiculous bias list i have ever seen, pretty much a di@k sucking of the artists they support/sponsor the site. I think only 2 or 3 would get anywhere near the real top 10 album’s of the year and others music media’s lists. I mean Jill and Amy you have to be joking Little dragon are great but this is there worst record the other 3 are much better only big now and on this list because they were on the Gorillaz album (happy for them the deserve it).

    Maybe one day okayplayer will be a bit more objective.

    I miss the old Okayplayer

    • I mean we stated upfront that as team Roots, we’re not even going to try to be objective about undun but i am glad to note that quite a few people agree with us that it is the shit. otherwise i think this list pretty objectively reflects the consensus of the OKP staff–i put Little Dragon #2 because thats a record that we all wholeheartedly agree on and speaking for myself I have never listened to a Gorillaz LP (no shots, like Damon Albarn’s other work) so that was def. not a factor. Definitely not joking about Amy Winehouse or Jill Scott and some people I heard from felt Lioness should have been # 1, so there you go…

  • HipHop

    Horrible list. okayplayer is slowly loosing credibility. No Phonte? No J-Live? No Action Bronson? No Oddisee? No yU? Shame on you okayplayer.

  • kidtruth

    undun was the album of the year.

    Oneirology was just not as good, sorry. It’s a good album, a 90 or 91 on my scale, but it lacks the cohesion of Undun. Basically, it lacks Questlove.

  • jaykay

    take Lasers off the honourable mentions immediately.

    • HA. Lasers is a lot of people’s favorite album but im not sure Lupe is one of them…on the other hand 2011 is the year he emerged as a serious force in pop music–and gave us some hints about what he might do with that growing influence over young minds. Deserves an honor-rebel mention in my mind.

  • sweetback1911

    That ‘The Div’ isn’t #1 is an issue for me. That Pac Div didn’t even make an honorable mention is a real problem.

    C’mon Son!!!

  • Oneirology is a more complete/cohesive album than Undun. The Otherside, Kool On, Tip the Scale&the Lighthouse song r all GREAT SONGS but as far as albums go that whole orchestrated 4 song ending to Undun is not necessary. Also the whole Robert Redford storyline or whatever was not as comphrensible as i expected. How I Got Over was album of 2010, shoulda won the grammy, but Undun is not the #1 album of 2011, no way, its bias plain&simple.

  • kidtruth

    I disagree. Oneirology has a very loose concept and the rappers do not stick to any cohesive kind of story, the theme is just “dreams” which can be expanded to mean anything. Undun follows a very cohesive story and every line on the album, by every rapper on it, is spitting from the voice of Redford. The beats also follow the theme better in Undun, as they flow in and out much smoother and one song leads into the next (like the tonal shift from Otherside, to Stomp, to Lighthouse)

    If you really listen to Undun the story becomes much more cohesive. It is about Redford’s betrayal of his friend and how that ultimately led to his undoing.

    • yes Oneirology is about dreams, wat other rap album hav you heard that dedicates itself to dreams??? something so huge in our day to day lives gets overlooked so easy&cunninlynguists did a phenomenal job with, and the fact this album DIDN’T EVEN MAKE THE LIST is a testament to bias. If every rapper on Undun is ‘spose to be speaking from the same persons point of view that shows why it can be mundane&confusing

  • Jericho Drumm

    Best album of 2011…in my opinion…”Sound Palace” by Dibia$e. I can’t believe that it wasn’t mentioned.

    I love The Roots, but I’m not feeling “undun.” It doesn’t do anything for me. They’re on some “emo-shit” with this one; kinda’ depressing.

  • John Carbis

    I’m happy to see such a diverse range of albums on this list. As for Undun being #1, I am sad to say that this album left me void of any feeling at all. I have a huge level of respect for the ambitious attempt of making a conceptual album such as Undun, it just didn’t work for me. The ironic thing is that everything I feel Undun set out to do was accomplished on How I Got Over. Even prior to Undun’s release, I felt as though HIGO was a beautiful story start to finish that defines my life and how I see the world. It is a much stronger accomplishment to create an album that tells a story one can relate to without actually telling a story. How I got Over is The Roots best album and will be extremely difficult to top. It is the “93 Till Infinity” of The Roots career.

    • Man you took the words right out of my mouth. HIGO was far richer in terms of narrative structure. I know that undun was a conceptual piece, but HIGO was a far better album for a 42 year old dude like myself who hasn’t got to this age being no dummy. undun is a beast of an album musically, but lyrically HIGO is richer, brighter, and triumphant. undun is a beautiful dark, but it did not do it for me like HIGO did. I ride with the roots on everything, but when the smoke clears people will recognize that HIGO was doper. Everybody is riding the undun wagon because the NPR crowd has been enlightened–fuck that shit. This is Organix alumni over here. Anyway–it’s all good:) Ups to the greatest hip-hop band in the world.

  • wat

    no panda bear’s tomboy?

  • EthanAllen

    There were so many great albums last year and I know I’m way late on adding my two cents but that Charity Starts At Home was just dope to me. If it means anything Phonte you made my list bruh…

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