Ten best hip hop shows of 2011 in Denver

Tyler, the Creator at the Ogden Theatre this past October
Tyler, the Creator at the Ogden Theatre this past October
Eric Gruneisen

There were so many hip-hop shows and concerts this year, it was hard to keep count. The shows of note, though, were bangers and crowd pleasers and showcased dynamic artistry. With so many epic moments (?uestLove and Jazzy Jeff at Beta, anyone?), it was hard to narrow it down, but we've compiled a list of the top ten best hip-hop concerts of the year. From Waka Flocka Flame at Club Arriba to Raekwon at the Summit Music Hall, hip-hop was all over the place this year, and it won't stop, cause it can't stop!

10: De La Soul at Cervantes' De La Soul tore the roof off of Cervantes for a journey through their impeccable catalogue. Energetic, poised, and precise, De La pleased the crowd with classics like, "Pot Holes In My Lawn" "Ego Trippin," and "Shopping Bags." Not to mention a rousing performance from Dres of Black Sheep to open, and a set of all new music from Foodchain. It was robust, rowdy and live as hell.

Curren$y (from his show at the Summit this past May)
Curren$y (from his show at the Summit this past May)
Kate Levy

9. Method Man/KRIT/Curren$y at the Ogden* Method Man never loses his luster, penchant for crowd surfing, or his rhyme slaying ability. That gruff voice, made even more rough by the weed smoke he ingested with glee on stage, ricochet around the Ogden Theatre and wrapped around classic Wu-tang joints, and Meth's own hits. Beyond the headliner, it was KRIT who also stole the show with his southern charm and enthusiastic performance.

Raekwon at Summit Music Hall
Raekwon at Summit Music Hall
Aaron Thackery

8. Raekwon at Summit Music Hall Raekwon, the Chef made several appearances in Denver this year but his packed show at Summit Music Hall in May was his best performance. Getting intimate with the audience by talking about the Wu-tang Clan and leading an a capella version of, "Incarcerated Scarfaces" Raekwon's performance stamina through the roof.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and ?uestlove at Beta
DJ Jazzy Jeff and ?uestlove at Beta

7. ?uestlove/DJ Jazzy Jeff at Beta The two musical phenoms came together for an ad-lib style music set. Jazzy Jeff rocked the tables and ?uestlove provided live drumming and instrumentation for a crowd pleasing performance of hip-hop classics. This March show at Beta was the second time the two performed this style set for the fans and their selection was rare and rhythmic.

Waka Flocka Flame at Club Arriba
Waka Flocka Flame at Club Arriba
Britt Chester

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6. Waka Flocka Flame at Club Arriba Mr. Flame brought his wall-thumping bass and shaking dreadlocks to Club Arriba in May for a show that stands out as one of the most impressive. The building was packed and full of folks screaming the Waka encouraged blood gang salutation, "suwoop!" Mr. Flame, for his part gave his all and then some for chaotic performances of, "No Hands," "O Let's Do It," and others from his high strung southern catalogue.

* An earlier version of this piece indicated Freddie Gibbs was on the Curren$y/Method Man/Big K.R.I.T. bill at the Ogden; he was not.


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