How To Avoid A Sophomore Slump, Starring Twenty Eleven

The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place -lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good- so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email sheaserrano@gmail.com.

Note: Twenty Eleven, Artist of the Week alumni, have released their sophomore album, Twenty Eleven. Grab it here.

This Week's Rapper(s): Brad Gilmore & Tre-Will of Twenty Eleven

This Week's Subject(s): Sophomore albums

Ask A Rapper: First, two questions specifically about the album.

It seemed pretty clear that, on average, this one was considerably heavier than the original. Why? Did life start getting hard? We mean, as hard as it can be for a young, talented, handsome white kid. Were you not able to fit all of your diamonds into your pockets at once or whatevs?

Brad Gilmore: Well, being the young, talented, handsome white guy I am, and seeing how all of us come from different backgrounds, we wanted to make a more mature album, and not be the "high school band."

We wanted to break away from that a little and get more "real issue" songs out there, and to show our continuous growth. I think we achieved all of those goals we set with the Twenty Eleven LP.

AAR: For the rest of Twenty Eleven's tenure, you can only play one song. That's it. One song, over and over and over again. Which one is it? It kind of feels like it has to be "Feelin' Good." Though that may be because I'm a sucker for that sort of bit.

Tre-Will: I guess im a sucker for it also because I will definitely have to agree that it would be "Feeling Good." Though the hook is a cover, I feel as if the song in its entirety sums up our band. We strive to make music that incorporates different genres and still delivers a message.

Instead of finding a topic to talk about in this song, we used ourselves, and that's as authentic as it gets. There's also something about the song that brings an amazing vibe and makes you press repeat.

AAR: Now, for something a bit more meditative. Since this was y'all's second album, and since it is several notches better than the first, you're task is to name five albums and/or movies that were better than their predecessors. (In the case of movies, it's going to have to be a sequel, of course.) Give us a two or so sentence explanation about why you picked each.

Twenty Eleven: The Slim Shady LP, Eminem

This album was significantly better than Eminem's attempt to be like Nas on his debut, Infinite.*

[Jay-Z's] The Blueprint 3 surpassed BP2. It solidified Jay's stance in today's hip-hop. It was impressive how a 40-plus-year-old man could stay completely relevant with my generation.

In my personal opinion, I believe Kanyes latest solo album is the best work he has ever released. I feel as though a lot of people forget Kanye's first passion is producing. In My Dark Twisted Fantasy, he really expresses that side of his artistry, and it's remarkable work.

As for movies, hands down The Dark Knight is the best Batman, if not one of the best movies, to come [out]. The movie itself took action movies to a new level, and we would all have to agree Heath Ledger played one kick-ass Joker.**


**Also true.

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