Top 11 Hip-Hop Albums of 2010

My Favorite 11 Hip-Hop Albums of 2010

Do not compare my rankings on this list with the scores I gave each album. They might be different. The scores I give albums are based on how much I like the album at that time, but this list is meant to look back and give my rankings based on how I feel about particular albums now.

Honorable Mentions:

Reflection Eternal – Revolutions Per Minute: This just missed the cut. Talib Kweli’s rapping is solid and Hi-Tek’s production is great, but it didn’t really stick with me throughout the year. I played this album a lot for a couple weeks but have barely gone back to it.
The Roots – How I Got Over: Just like RPM above, this is an album that just didn’t stick with me for that long but it’s a consistent album that’s worth checking out.
Wiz Khalifa – Kush & Orange Juice: This is way too inconsistent for me to include on my list. At its best this mixtape is awesome, but I get tired of Wiz quickly. After my first listen I basically just kept going back to 4 or 5 songs and ignored the rest of the tape.
Anything else that Odd Future released this year: I only had 11 spots and I couldn’t put any of these above #11.
Royce da 5’9″ – The Bar Exam 3: Just like the RE and Roots albums, this is something that just didn’t stick with me for that long and Royce didn’t really do anything new on this tape.
Curren$y – Pilot Talk 2: I liked Pilot Talk 1 more.

The top 11:

11. A-1: After School Special
After School Special is a pretty unique concept mixtape (A-1 samples TV shows from his childhood for the beats) that would come off as gimmicky if A-1 wasn’t a good rapper. But since A-1 is a good rapper, this is a unique mixtape that you’ll want to keep going back to.
Examples:

Charizard
Price is Right

10. B.o.B – No Genre
After what I thought was a disappointing album that was way too poppy, B.o.B went back to his roots for the No Genre mixtape. This was a more than welcome change for me; if B.o.B keeps alternating between releasing pop albums and his more “real” mixtapes I’ll be perfectly okay with that.
Examples:
Beast Mode
Not Lost
9. Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr Rager
Kid Cudi’s original Man on the Moon was probably my 2nd favorite release from 2009 and he followed it up with a pretty good album in 2010. Although this album’s pretty much what you’d expect from Kid Cudi, it didn’t have the same atmospheric touch that the original had so I can’t put this any higher than number 9.
Examples:
Mojo So Dope
REVOFEV
8. Pac Div – Don’t Mention It
Cudi’s Man on the Moon was my second favorite release from 2009 and Pac Div’s Church League Champions was my favorite. Just like Cudi, this trio from California followed up an amazing release with a really good (but not quite as good) release. Don’t Mention It is a little more mellow than CLC was (which I think is a step in the wrong direction for these three).
Examples:
It’s On
Here We Go (feat. Tupac…seriously)
7. PackFM – I F*cking Hate Rappers
I’d consider it a pretty good year for hip-hop when something as good as IFHR is just my seventh favorite album of the year. PackFM’s rapping on this album ranges from aggressive to funny and he has probably my favorite flow out of any rapper today. The only thing that irked me a little bit about this album is the fact that there are too many skits. The skits are funny, but they’re still skits — after the first two or three times I’ve just skipped them on each listen.
Examples:
Absolutely Positive
Wanna Know (feat. Deacon the Villain)
6. Deacon the Villain & Sheisty Khrist – Niggaz With Latitude
I originally had this at #2 but it hasn’t stayed in my rotation for as long as I’d hoped so I had to drop it a few spots. Sheisty Khrist sounds a bit like a young Jay-Z and Deacon the Villain is an incredibly well-rounded artist; he does the best hooks in hip-hop today, is a good enough rapper, and on this album he proved that he’s a pretty good producer as well.
Examples:
Chevrolet Doors (feat. Mino Slick)
Luther (feat. PackFM)
5. Tyler, the Creator – Bastard
Bastard is incredibly dark and creepy for a hip-hop album because of the beats and the way Tyler alters his voice to make it really deep and demonic. This is a little inconsistent, but it’s unlike almost anything that has come before it.
Examples:
French
Bastard
4. Curren$y – Pilot Talk
You can’t go into Pilot Talk expecting a typical hip-hop album because that’s not what this is. The combination of live instruments with Curren$y’s laid-back rapping makes this an album that I think even those who don’t like hip-hop can appreciate (except Brad, he hates everything).
Examples:
King Kong
Audio Dope II
3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that MBDTF made my list with the near-unanimous praise that it has been receiving. Kanye really seems to think that “more is better” when it comes to the production on this album and for the most part he’s right.
Examples:
All of the Lights
Dark Fantasy
2. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
It’s gotten to the point where if you’ve listened to every Outkast album and you don’t like any of them, you’re either way too picky in your musical tastes or you’re just an elitist teenager who refuses to accept that hip-hop is music. Every new album they put out is completely different from the other albums they have released, and Sir Lucious Left Foot is no different. This is exactly what I’d want from an Outkast album (even if it was just a solo project this time around).
Examples:
Shine Blockas (feat. Gucci Mane)
Daddy Fat Sax
1. Kno – Death is Silent
This should come as a shock to absolutely nobody who knows how much I’ve been talking about this album since it was released. Kno is an underrated rapper, but the real star of this album is his ridiculously good production. Death is Silent is the only album from this year that I’d give a 10/10.
Examples:
Not at the End (feat. Tunji)
When I Was Young (feat. Natti & Substantial)
Rhythm of the Rain (feat. Thee Tom Hardy & Tunji)

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