Philaflava’s 10 Most Underrated Emcees of 2011

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We’re still a few months away from the year closing out, but we all know the 4th Q is usually for big names, big labels and even bigger releases. This list is about 10 rappers who have been grindin’ for years. True lyricists who each put in work year in year out and still seem to lack the appreciation they rightfully deserve.  This isn’t an all-time list, it’s just a group of 10 rappers I feel are currently underrated, unappreciated and warrant the recognition.


Hip-Hop has  been good to us these past years. With the emergence of Big K.R.I.T., Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs, French Montana, Action Bronson, Tyler The Creator, Fashawn, Pill, Mr. Muthafuckin’ Exquire, Blu, Elzhi, G-Side, ASAP Rocky, Curren$y & Roc Marciano just to name a few, we’ve had to double up on our hard drive space.


There are always going to be rappers with strong co-signs, better geographical residency or those who lean on friends and favors for that mass appeal. I wanted to put together a list of 10 active emcees that all deserve your attention and in my opinion are truly underrated.

So without further ado, here are my 10 Most Underrated Emcees of 2011.


10. Turf Talk

Point blank, one of the sickest rappers to come from the Leftcoast since Ras Kass. Download the new mixtape Return of The Jedi here.


9.  Phonte

Some people have dismissed Little Brother, but in doing so they dismissed Phonte. Bad move holmes. Phonte continues to find his zone as he is entering his prime. He recently released Charity Starts At Home and the stellar The Good Fight is just a taste of what you’re missing.



8. Tragedy Khadafi

The man didn’t get the props as Intelligent Hoodlum and in 2011 he still doesn’t command the respect as Tragedy Khadafi. This is the man who gave us Grand Groove , made The War Report classic. If you ask me he is just as responsible for putting QB on the map as MC Shan or Nas. Tragedy hasn’t lost a step and before its over people will realize just how great a lyricist he really is.



7. Open Mike Eagle

I could write a bunch of shit to sell you on why Mike is so underrated or I can just post these two videos.






6. Meyhem Lauren

While his partner (Action Bronson) has been making plenty of noise of his own, this Queens native has been winning over the internet one blog post at a time.


Animal Science (Crossroads) feat. Roc Marciano



5. Shad

Had Shad lived in the Tri-State he’d have a much larger presence. Unfortunately he isn’t down with Lil Wayne, so this Canadian rapper by way of Kenya will have to continue making dope tracks to win the U.S. over, one state at a time.


Yaa I Get It (Oddisee Remix)


4. Sean Price

We’ve been waiting on Mic Tyson to drop for years now. It was suppose to drop before the real Tyson even became an actor. By the time this album sees the light Iron Mike will probably be on Inside The Actors Studio discussing his accomplished film career. There aren’t many emcees as honest and entertaining as P, but I think I speak for everyone–DROP THE ALBUM already!


Figure Four




3. K-Rino

There may not be a rapper as hard working, consistent and equally as talented as K-Rino. He is truly hip-hop’s best kept secret and has been for years.



2. Slug (of Atmosphere)

Slug is no stranger to the game and while he’s been doing this for almost a few decades now, he’s finally breaking into new territory. Whether it’s a KRS-One & Buckshot collabo, a  Bun B shout-out or Joe Budden personally courting for him to get on his new album, Slug is reminding people why he is one of the best story tellers in the game.


Atmosphere – Beware


1. Black Thought

As far as I’m concerned, until the day he retires Black Thought will always be #1 on this list. He hasn’t spit a weak verse in forever. He continues to get better with age and he pretty much eats up every guest spot ever given to him. Black Thought is the epitome of a rapper’s rapper. He is without a doubt the most underrated emcee of this year, last year and forever.


Men @ Work (Live)



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