The Top 40: AllHipHop’s Best Albums Of 2010

Real talk, if you didn’t find what you were looking for in Hip-Hop during the course of 2010, then that’s your fault.  Some where easy to locate and others required some digging, but everything was present.  Hardcore, pop, girl rap, thug rap, old school, new school, creative, typical, lyrical, mystical, visual…it was close to being a Hip-Hop miracle.  Renaissance certainly comes to mind. Even though the overall Hip-Hip community couldn’t seem to agree on what was what, the AllHipHop Team got together and hammered out the Top 40 Albums of 2010.  It wasn’t easy and we didn’t agree all the time, but the list got finished.  Here it is. 

Compiled and written by THE BORG: Gina Torres, Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur, Steve Raze, Seandra Sims, Jake Crates and “Grouchy” Greg Watkins.

The list is in no particular order…or is it…

#1 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West did it all this year, love it or loathe it. The rapper prevailed as the most rebellious, creative and exciting artist of the year. Simply put, while others were doing the norm, Kanye simply didn’t give a f**k – about anything but the art of his music. There was a lot of hullabaloo from so-called real HIp-Hop fans, but Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy embodied everything that Hip-Hop is. A lovely nightmare to America.

#2 J. Cole – Friday Night Lights

Of all those in the emerging brave, new generation, J. Cole is the one that has yet to have his day. Friday Night Lights, although technically a mixtape, is a gleaming example of what the North Carolinian emcee weilds in his pen. The opus offered commercial love joints with Drake and also hood rites of passage like “2Face.” Definitely one of the most enjoyable albums, which should continue to give well into 2011.

#3 Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

This year Big Boi jumped out on his own and released his long awaited debut solo project. Despite the delayed release due to conflicts with Jive, the project debuted on the US Billboard 200, selling over 62,000 copies in its first week of its release. Delivering greasy lyrics, using varied and rapid rhyme schemes , Big Boi didn’t fail to impress with this project. The ATLein featured classic funky Outkast production and appearances by Andre 3000, Scott Storch, T.I. Sleepy Brown, Yelawolf, Gucci Mane, Jaime Foxx, Janelle Monae, George Clinton, Too Short and B.o.B. to name a few but, one can only wonder when the next Outkast project will be coming out.

# 4 – Rick Ross – Teflon Don

Rick Ross solidified his star status in 2010.  With the release of his fourth studio album, Teflon Don, arguably one of the best albums of the year, Ross continues to raise the stakes in Hip-Hop.   His summer banger, “BMF,” dominated the airwaves and had everyone from your mama to your baby cousin thinking they were Big Meech or Larry Hoover.  For someone who starts his album off with the track “I’m Not a Star”, Ross is indeed the polar opposite.   

#5 Big K.R.I.T. – K.R.I.T. Wuz Here

Southern rapper/producer Big K.R.I.T. is making a name for himself the old-fashioned way – one underground fan at a time. Deemed the “Mississippi Messiah” in a recent AllHipHop story for his savior-of-Hip-Hop skills, his independent K.R.I.T. Wuz Here was one of the prolific, must-have street albums of 2010. Soulful, clever-heavy tracks like “Children of the World” and the Adele-sampled “Hometown Hero” helped earn him a Def Jam deal this past summer. And with his first major CD on the horizon, the young K.R.I.T. is certain to be a force to reckon with in 2011. 

#6 The Roots –How I Got Over

While also working as Jimmy Fallon’s house band, The Roots didn’t show any signs of fatigue from work on the late night gig and put together their 9th studio album, full of Philly soul, jazz and hip hop. Never failing to make the listener think, Black Thought is accompanied by Dice Raw, Porn, S.T.S, Phonte, Blue, John Legend and others throughout the project. Highlights of the album include “The Fire”, “Dear God 2.0”, the title track “How I Got Over” and “Right On” featuring Joanna Newson and S.T.S.

#7 Eminem – Recovery

There is good pop music and there is corny pop music. Eminem creates the good kind of pop, you know, the kind that sells three million units when others are pushing cardboard. But, the greatness of Recovery doesn’t lie in the SoundScan. The album is a true recovery for one of Hip-Hop’s most profound lyricists, who by his own admission, gave the public subpar material previously. We didn’t find a man acting out a parody of himself in Recovery. In 2010, we found a maturing Marshall Mathers that, even with a pop sensibility, can murderlize your favorite MC.

#8 Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids

Lyrics – CHECK! Beats – CHECK! Ghostface Killah’s Apollo Kids barely made it in this annual rundown (released in December),but what a fitting way to finish off 2010. “Starkology” and “In tha Park” are straight-up hood. “Black Tequila” weaves a lucid tale unseen in today’s climate. “Purified Thoughts” offers wisdom with assists from GZA and Masta Killah Priest. Hip-Hop purists, this one is for you. Raekwon, Meth and Redman join Tony Starks in this voyage back to the future.

# 9 Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives

Throw your preconceived notions of Rap & Reggae collaborations out the window, this album is like a whole new genre of music. The lyrical Nas along with the unorthodox Damian Marley Reggae/Rap style, this album was put together for the love of music and people. “As We Enter” hit radio hard, but this album had strong inspiration songs like “Strong Will Continue” and straight spit track like “Na Mean.” This album has music for the music lover as well as the Hip-Hop lover. Nas told “If the s**t is right and you feel good about it, let that s**t out,” and this album feels right.

# 10 – Drake – Thank Me Later 

GQ man of the year, a number one, platinum selling debut album (Thank Me Later), countless scene stealing feature appearances, an electrifying Grammy performance and a fling with Rihanna, make Drakeone of the biggest stars of 2010.   But the Middle class kid from Toronto broke into Hip-Hop on his own terms and didn’t compromise for anybody.  Drake lived on the radio in 2010.  Whether it was  “Find Your Love”, “Miss Me” or “Over” from his debut album Thank Me Later, he was everywhere. Thank Me Later was chock-full of club songs, but he spent a lot of time emoting, which was a welcome difference from his peers.

#11 Celph-Titled & Buckwild – Nineteen Ninety Now

An album that evokes the 90’s… The idea sounds a bit cheesy to be honest, but somehow producer Buckwild and Celph-Titled managed to kill the notion. While the album was meant to recreate a period of time long gone, Nineteen Ninety Now really ends up sounding fresher than anything out these days. Celph-Titled brings the lyrical abrasiveness without overdoing it and Buckwild captures the 90’s and the now without missing a beat.

#12 Yelawolf – Trunk Muzik

True lyricism knows no racial barrier, and just beyond Eminem is a star-in-the-making named Yelawolf. If his crazy Cypher freestyle at the 2010 BET Hip-Hop Awards was an appetizer, then Trunk Muzik offers a full meal for those who don’t know Yelawolf. Like the best of Southern MCs, he spits like gymnastics over slow bass about cars, weed, and bogus beef. Like the best of White rappers, he’s slightly crazy, so please don’t make him “Pop the Trunk” on you. 

#13 Bun B – Trill OG

Earning accolades galore, Bun B completed his Trillology with epic arena sounds and amid a cast of A level talent on Trill OG. Standing for everything that embodies Trill, Bun’s project doesn’t come up short in any area of what such an album should sound like. Sprinkle a lil’ bit of T-Pain, add some Jeezy, add in the legendary but not forgotten Pimp C and 2 Pac, mix a little bit of Gucci, Gotti, a few Drake hooks, some Slim Thug and some production form Drumma Boi, Boi-1da, Play-N-Skillz, Steve Below and others and you have a classic.

#14 9th Wonder & David Banner – Death of a Pop Star

Many people wouldn’t have expected this combination of MC and producer, as most people are familiar with more of David Banner’s commercial sounding records. But this project shows Banner’s Mississippi roots, as his loud and at times rough and gritty voice contrasts and yet at the same time complements 9th’s smooth and soulful beats. In classic 9th Wonder fashion, this project is short and sweet with 10 songs that play straight through.

#15 Fat Joe – Tales From the Darkside Vol. 1

Embarking on his 10th studio album, Fat Joe released this project July 27th and hoped to solidify his legacy in Hip-Hop’s legendary and elite status. Fans and critics alike applauded the effort as Joe revisted a crack infested Bronx with his people. Cool & Dre, DJ Infamous, Just Blaze, Scoop Deville and DJ Premier laced Joey with some heat on this project.

16) Roc Marciano- Marcberg

Roc Marciano? Remember him? He used to be a member in Busta Rhymes Flipmode. Without even knowing the story, you know how that ended. But in 2010, Roc came back with a vengeance in the form of Marcberg. The album busted at the seams with soulful samples, reminiscent of old Wu Tang with a modern twist. If you want that ol’ gutter Hip-Hop, look no farther than Roc Marciano’s Marcberg.

#17 Lloyd Banks – Hunger for More II

#18 Lil Wayne – I Am Not a Human Beingmore heremo

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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; same thing---------this phiscal year im'a stay hot, buzzin / wit dudes that help me shoot like a-rod's cousin-------i fight chicks who bite dicks / give 'em lock-jaw then make 'em fight pits ------all we see is terrorism on telievision ------i'm da illest nigga alive watch me prove it / i'll snatch your crown with your head still attatched to it ------slap your face till your head ache your neck break / the next day slash your throat thru the neckbrace ------ I'm ahead of the game, ahead of these lames / I'm a head case, the head nurse gets me better with brain ------ure now dealin with da kid who heat-holds & reloads / like god gave him a gta ammunition cheat-code ------once upon a time i used to grind all night / with dat coke residue that was ipod white ------ --i took trips with so much shit in the whip / that if the cops pulled us over the dogs would get sick (sniff) ------ i put my lifetime in between the paper's lines / i'm da quiet storm nigga who fight rhyme ------brain cells are lit ideas start to hit / next the formation of words dat fit / at da table i sit making it legit / when my pen hits da paper...aah shit -------i save money while u spendin ure doe / i must stash like da hair between your lip & your nose ------age don't count in the booth / when your flow stayed submerged in the fountain of youth -------when i'm writing i'm trapped in between the lines / i escape when i finish da rhyme - ------if we can't eat together then u aint my mans / so when u see me in da streets dont shake my hand- -----money is da root of all evil / dats why u always gotta now where u stand with your people--------i can show u how to gamble your money, handle a gun / & be a family man & go home to your sun- -------black diamonds in my jesus-piece / MY GOD-------its like da ball be over the plate & they dont call it a strike- ------i'm a gangsta & a gentleman, show you both sides of the coin / knife at your throat-gun at your groin- --------my testimonial be "death to a phony mc / you wanna impress me, show me a ki--------lord knows what homey would do if i showed him da 9 / a one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind--------on da road to riches & diamond rings / in the land of the blind a man with one eye is the king--------you lack the minerals & vitamins, iron & the niacin--------stares get exchanged then the 5th come out / the tough guy disappears then the bitch come out--------if you got a bith you dont argue with dat bitch / you dont listen to dat bitch all you do is fuck dat bitch-------know da bitch b4 you call yourself lovin it / nogga wit a benz fuckin it------went from $20Gs for blow to $30gs a show / to orgies wit hoes i never seen befo'-------i'm intelectual; passed more essays / than police motorcade parades thru east l.a.-------DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF LITTLE ITALY LITTLE DID WE KNOW / WE RIDDLED SOME MIDDLE-MAN WHO DIDN'T DO DIDDLY-------visualizing the realism of life in actuality / fuck who's da baddest; a person's status depends on salary-------mechanical movement, understandable smooth shit / that murderers move with-the thief's theme--------DEEP LIKE "THE SHINING" SPARKLE LIKE A DIAMOND / SNEAK AN UZI ON DA ISLAND IN MY ARMY JACKET LINING / HIT THE EARTH LIKE A COMET - INVASION / NAS IS LIKE THE AFRO-CENTRIC ASIAN; ½ MAN, ½ AMAZING-------& why certainly i'm squirtin / bust a nut then get up & wipe my dick on your curtain-------walk by your casket & spit in your face--------i know how to get my peers off me / make 'em cry & die from high blood-pressure cuz tears are salty-------i'm not trying to give you love & affection / i'm tryna give you 60 seconds of erection / then im'a give you cab fare & directions / get your independent ass outta here - question?---------black cat is bad luck; bad guys wear black / must've been a white guy who started all that--------either you're slinging crack-rocks or you got a wicked jumpshot--------all us blacks got is sports & entertainment--------2 many athletes, actors & rappers / but not enough niggaz at nasa - ------why did bush knock down the towers?--------I REACT LIKE MIKE / ANY ONE TY-SON, JOR-DAN, JACK-SON / action, pack gunz, ridiculous--------all the teachers couldn't reach me & my mom couldn't beat me / hard enough to make up for my pop not seeing me---------kings from queens, from queens comes kings / we're raising hell like a class when the lunch bell rings---------excuse me miss, can i give you a minute? / may i buy you a glass of ice with liquor in it?--------what goes around comes around i figure / now we got white kids calling themselves nigga / the tables turn as the crosses burn...---------YOU LOVE TO HEAR THE STORY AGAIN & AGAIN / OF HOW IT ALL GOT STARTED WAY BACK WHEN--------i guess they got a grudge cause i won't budge / playin tough, staring down the judge with my hands cuffed---------A CHILD IS BORN WITH NO STATE OF MIND / BLIND TO THE WAYS OF MANKIND--------who shot biggie smalls? if we don't get them they gon' get us all / i'm down to run up pn them crackers in their city hall----------its kinda hard to be optimistic / when your homey is laying dead in a casket----------they say the blacker the berry; the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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