10 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2010

Written by Rizoh. Posted in Lists, Music

Tagged: ,

Published on December 07, 2010 with 15 Comments

My Top 10 Rap Albums of 2010 is live on About.com. Peep game.

10. Freeway/Jake One – Stimulus Package
Stimulus Package is unpretentious hip-hop, stacked with soul samples, dizzying rhymes, and laudable guest features. But it’s the magnetic production of Jake One that astounds throughout.

9. yU – Before Taxes
Before Taxes seeks to hit the reset button on the current hip-hop climate, as yU transports the listener to a place where music isn’t diluted by economic motivation. It’s a powerful statement by the Diamond District member. One that he truly backs up with inspired rhymes and mellow compositions.

8. Reflection Eternal – Revolutions Per Minute
Revolution on wax is usually a tricky affair. But Revolutions Per Minute finds Kweli masterfully marrying the physical with the philosophical atop Hi-Tek’s rich palette of headphone music.

7. Curren$y – Pilot Talk II
Curren$y has weed on his mind, but not in the way you might expect. He breaks his rhymes and his buds the same way — slow, lazy, meticulous. The beats are equally woozy and magnetic. This young upstart employs this signature approach to both Pilot Talk and its sequel, both released in the span of less than a year. PT 2 earns the slight height advantage because Ski Beatz ensures that it’s cohesive from start to finish.

6. Nas/Damian Marley – Distant Relatives
It’s become something of a musical sport, trying to capture the essence of Africa in song format. Over the last few years, artists great and small have hurled their harpoons at this whale of a continent, with results ranging from interesting to mundane. No one has come as close as piercing the heart lately as Nas and Damian Marley with Distant Relatives.

5. Shad – TSOL
Shad isn’t from the school of bang bang shoot ‘em up boasts. He doesn’t have blinding bling or model girlfriends to brag about. What he has is the gift of gab and a desire to balance out hip-hop’s excess with technically sound, conscious-driven music. He’s likely to be pegged as the “holier than thou” type. That’s unfortunate, but the razor-sharp rhyming on display throughout TSOL should see him through.

4. Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wuz Here
Pretend it’s 1996 and UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty is oozing from every car in Houston. J Dilla and Outkast are making strides. Now fast forward to 2010. Throw Pimp C, Dilla, and OutKast in a blender and sprinkle a hint of 8Ball & MJG. Welcome to Big K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. How good is this album? K.R.I.T. released his self-produced debut to the web for free. A few weeks later, Def Jam reps came knocking on his door, record contract in hand. It all happened on the strength of the year’s best DIY debut.

3. The Roots – How I Got Over
A sprawling musical palette is the driving force behind How I Got Over. Meandering electric slides, lush piano loops, drawling bass, and brisk snares wrap around Black Thought’s resolute voice. His lyrics take on the weight of the world, whether rapping about his late parents on the dreary “Dear God 2.0″ or dishing pep talk to his daughter on “Hustla.” The lush arrangements provide the perfect backdrop for Black Thought and the cast of supporting MCs, as they explore the harsh realities of life with uncommon insight and depth.

2. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Big Boi has crafted a surefire hit album without a single verse from his partner-in-rhyme Andre 3000. That’s not a knock on Ice Cold. It’s a testament to Big Boi’s inventive musical acumen. Sir Lucious Left Foot summons OutKast’s musical risk-taking, adventurous spirit, and rich rhymes to yield an essential addition to the duo’s enviable catalog.

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
It’s not the greatest hip-hop album ever. It’s not even Kanye’s best album. But My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a wildly ambitious, thoroughly enjoyable musical fare. Self-indulgence rares its ugly head from time to time, but when ‘Ye fully connects it’s a ferocious slam dunk, as on “Power” and “Monster.”



Rizoh is the most powerful man in all the lands. He lives in Houston where he earned a BS in Nerf Herding. He's the founder of The Rap Up, the former editor of Roc4Life.com, and is in the Grammy-awaiting band Pervertable Disciples.

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There are currently 15 Comments on 10 Best Hip-Hop Albums of 2010. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?


  2. it is his best. but list is solid yo.

  3. Uhhhhh… where it Nineteen Ninety-Now?!?! That’s EASILY #1, just too insane. Knock everything down one place, and get on that Celph Titled album. Don’t sleep on it!!!

  4. Where’s Roc Marciano “Marcberg”, Danny Brown “The Hybrid”, The Left “Gas Mask” & Black Milk’s “Album Of The Year”?

    • I gave Marcberg an honorable mention.

  5. Gangsta list…fucking solid BUTTT….

    Eminem? you serious? where teh fuck is he?

    • Don’t worry, Eminem will clean up at all the awards shows like he always does. I don’t think the people that liked “The Stimulus Package” would like “Recovery,” which really wasn’t that good.

      • recovery is the best album ever including the beatles

        • Get the fuck out of here… no way you mean that. If you do you’re a moron.

          Also Gas Mask by The Left deserves a spot there. Its my number two.

  6. This list needs more Aloe Blacc & Rakaa Iriscience. And move MBDTF to 3rd and HIGO to 1st.

  7. I agree with 90%…Sir Lucious Left Foot is by far the most creative, conceptual, and demonstrative album up here though. Gotta be number 1. Kanye’s album is solid but it still feels a little unpolished comparatively, some of those beats are clangy and unimpressive while others are brilliant. Otherwise I dig this list

  8. Good looks on the Shad drop.

  9. To paraphrase Darth Vader: “I find your lack of Black Milk disturbing!”

  10. Where the hell is “Gas Mask” by The Left??? Definitely my album of the year.

  11. isnt this henry adaso’s column word for word from about.com

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Rap Round Table, Week Ending 12/10/2010
  2. Top 10 Hip Hop Albums 2010 « Robb Hip-Hop Report

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