[SKOA Presents] The 50 Best Albums Of 2011: 15 - 11

15. Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part. 2 [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

After postponing Hot Sauce Committee Part One so that MCA could kick cancer in the ass, the Beastie Boys came back with a vengeance on their eighth studio album, Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. It has been a thrill and a priviledge to grow old with the Brooklyn trio and the boys certainly did not let us down this time around. Combining old school style rhymes and trying a few new sounds on for size, they've managed to deliver another solid album complete with songs that will stick with us for years to come. Plus who could forget the epicness of the longform music video for "Make Some Noise" that's full to the brim with celebrities, complete with Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood and Danny McBride as the younger version of the Beasties. I also thoroughly enjoyed Nas' appearance on "Too Many Rappers" as well as tracks like "Taddlock's Glasses", "Lee Majors Come Again" and "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win" featuring Santigold. This album sat well in my heart over the course of the year and I look forward to more albums in the future from Brooklyn's finest. —Kibbe

14. Doomtree - No Kings [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Minnesota rap outfit Doomtree (P.O.S., Dessa, Sims, Cecil Otter, Mike Mictlan, Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger) have been making waves for sometime, but with their sophomore crew record No Kings, the group once again pushes the standard of indie hip hop from the genre mashing production down to flawless raps and lyrics. This album is an all around group record as well, which differs a lot from your typical crew record where one person handles production on a track and drops a verse. No. With No Kings each member assisted with crafting records unique sound and provides a little bit of everything from Blues to Electronic to Rock to Soul. If this record is a preview of what is to come in Doomtree's future, I cant wait to see what comes next. If you are looking for a great rap record, look no further than No Kings. —Rocko

Doomtree "Beacon" by doomtree

13. DJ Shadow - The Less You Know, The Better [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

After dropping a mediocre 3rd LP, the king of sample based instrumental hip hop returns to form with his latest record The Less You Know The Better. Combining elements from all genres, DJ Shadow's 4th LP bangs so hard from beginning to end it makes you forget about that last "hyphy" album and reminds us of the sound that we fell in love with from his first 2 albums. The album even features a few guest  appearances (Talib Kweli, Pos of De La Soul, Tom Vek and Yukimi of Little Dragon) which give the album a nice twist in style every now and then but hardly take away from the overall sound of the record. So if you are looking for a fun, drum break heavy, electronic album look no further than The Less You Know The Better. —Rocko

"Scale It Back" Feat. Little Dragon

12. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

August 2009 was a tough time for fans of the brothers Gallagher, as the elder, Noel, left legendary Manchester band Oasis. Sure, they've fought before, but this time it was serious and Oasis as the world had loved them were finished. Fast forward to 2011 and Noel Gallagher returns to the world in which he most definitely belongs, fronting his new band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Noel has always had a knack for writing infectious guitar led numbers, and this album proves that. Album opener "Everybody Is On The Run" sets the scene for the journey you are about to take, while singles "AKA... What A Life" and "The Death Of You And Me," despite being a little more radio friendly, still show what Noel is capable of doing. Instead of this being the Liam & Noel show that we've endured for the 18 year career of Oasis, this is all Noel, and that is a very, very good thing. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds perfectly encompasses what we've always wanted from a Gallagher, and it's one we all knew Noel could create given the freedom. Bravo. —Shey

11. Childish Gambino - Camp [Amazon] [iTunes] [Insound]

Hip hop isn't a genre that I can typically enjoy thoroughly, and it takes a lot for a hip hop album to draw me in. Childish Gambino's Camp has done what most hip hop albums haven't or can't, utilizing the artist's comedic roots by taking what is generally a stale genre and giving it a witty and clever overhaul. Each line that Gambino spits out is comedic gold (such as "Backpackers": "That well spoken token who ain't been heard, the only white rapper who's allowed to say the n-word"), and, coupled with his improved production styles and vocal work, Gambino has shown that he means business. It's not just his comedic abilities that stand out, though, as the artist has placed emotional brevity into every song on the album, and it's these upfront, emotional confessions that show us that he is not just a musician, or a comedian, but a real human being. The realness of his lyrics and his emotional state allows for empathy on the listener's part, and this creates a connection that is difficult to find within the realm of hip hop. Whether it's the on-again-off-again relationship in "Heartbeat," or his disengagement from his own black community in "Backpackers," or the childhood heartbreak of "Kids (Keep Up)," each song evokes emotions that almost anyone can relate to in some way or another, and it is this relationship that makes Gambino's music and lyrics so powerful. No longer is Donald Glover just a comedian; he is going above and beyond to turn hip hop into something that anyone can immediately relate to, and, in every way, he succeeds. —Adrian