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Real Talk: The Top 15 Albums Of 2011

By 12.30.11

Who: Phonte
What: Charity Starts At Home
Why: 4 Cigs
Label: Foreign Exchange Music | Producers: Phonte, 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Swiff D, Fatin 10 Horton, Stro Elliott, S1, E. Jones, Zo!

The Good: Phonte is one of the most consistent and multi-talented MCs in the game. From the opening “Dance In The Reign” and “The Good Fight,” Tigallo ultimately creates a potent, jam-packed album that stands up next to his Little Brother and Foreign Exchange work. Te’ eschews hoes and clothes that don’t fit the needs of a married man in his mid-30s and instead raps about reality.

The Bad: On paper, an Phonte album featuring guest verses from Pharoahe Monche and eLZhi should birth some collaborative classic tracks. Unfortunately, their offerings are mostly underwhelming and nowhere near the quality of a much-superior Phonte. Big K.R.I.T.’s spot notwithstanding, the guest rappers could have left their charities at home and let Phonte do the heavy lifting.

The Lovely: Almost a decade ago, Little Brother made an album that stood as the blueprint for the everyman rapper that Drake and Kanye were able to capitalize on to set their paths to success. In 2011, it’s happened again. Ask any man, especially a married one, to listen to “Ball and Chain,” “Not Here Anymore” or “Sendin’ My Love.” You can bet he’ll tell you he’s been right there. Phonte speaks directly to a rap audience of nine-to-fivers and brings their story to the forefront. We are the 99 percent and Phonte is our spokesman. — David D.

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