Top 10 Albums of The 2010's

As the 2010s decade comes to an end we revisit the best albums in a growing time period for the genre. Hip-Hop has become the biggest genre in the United States for the first time ever and has dominated mainstream media. Different sub-genres have developed over the past ten years which has expanded the culture to all new audiences. The rise of trap style hip-hop took over a generation of teenagers while the traditional hip-hop sound evolved as well. The decade was highlighted through albums from A Tribe Called Quest, Pusha T, Future, Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs, Travis Scott, J. Cole, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Here are my Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of The Decade.

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#10 We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest

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After an 18 year wait, A Tribe Called Quest released their sixth and final album in 2016 shortly after the passing of group member Phife Dawg. The album features Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Kanye West, Anderson .Paak, Talib Kweli, Consequence and Busta Rhymes. Led by two singles “We the People…” and “Dis Generation”, the album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 selling 135,000 copies in the first week. Critically acclaimed by many this album is without a doubt one of the best of the 2010s decade. 

#9 Daytona by Pusha T

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On May 25th, 2018, Pusha T dropped the first of five fully produced Kanye West albums of the year. Each release only contained 7 songs each which leaves no room for misses. The album features Rick Ross and Kanye West but Pusha makes use of such a short time. From “If You Know You Know” to “Infrared” each song can be highlighted on the album. Shortly after the release of the album Drake released a diss track titled “Duppy Freestyle” after Pusha took shots at him on “Infrared”. The beef didn’t last long as Pusha ended and won the battle with his brutal track “The Story Of Adidon” exposing Drake’s hidden child, black face photoshoot and many more punchlines. 

#8 DS2 by Future

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Future’s DS2 was the pinnacle of trap music in 2015, bringing together producers Metro Boomin, Zaytoven and Southside. Smash hits “Thought It Was a Drought”, “Fuck Up Some Commas”, “Stick Talk” and “Where Ya At” highlight the album. The influence of this project seen in other releases is quite obvious. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 151,000 copies in the first week.

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#7 Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown

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Danny Brown, an underground rapper from Detroit released his fourth studio album in 2016. Atrocity Exhibition is an experimental piece of work that showcases his unique flow over different sounding instrumentals. He brings us a classic posse cut “Really Doe” featuring Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt. Since Danny isn’t a big name rapper, the album didn’t perform well commercially but is critically acclaimed as one of the best albums of the decade.

#6 Pinata by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

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In 2014, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib dropped an underground classic. Freddie’s sick flow matched with Madlib’s jazz influenced instrumentals was a combination made in heaven. Although the album underperformed commercially, the critical reception was amazing. Tracks “Real”, “Shitsville”, “High” and “Pinata” highlight the album. 

#5 Rodeo by Travis Scott

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Rodeo is not only an amazing album but the centerpiece to an evolving sound that was mastered and played through by Travis Scott. The album has an all-star lineup containing features from  Quavo, Future, Young Thug, 2 Chainz, Sway Lee, Juicy J, Kacy Hill, The Weeknd, Chief Keef, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Toro y Moi and Schoolboy Q. Led by singles “3500” and “Antidote”

#4 2014 Forest Hills Drive by J. Cole

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Without one feature J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive sat atop the Billboard 200 and sold 353,000 copies in the first week and is now certified triple platinum. An almost perfect tracklist is highlighted by singles “Apparently”, “Wet Dreamz”, “No Role Modelz” and “Love Yourz”. This is J. Cole’s best album that’s praised by many people in the new and old generation. 

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#3 good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar

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In 2012, Kendrick Lamar released his second studio album under Aftermath and Interscope records titled good kid, m.A.A.d city. Led by singles “The Recipe”, “Swimming Pools (Drank)”, “Backseat Freestyle”, “Poetic Justice” and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”. The album sold 242,000 copies in the first week, debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and still sits on the list to this day.

#2 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West

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Kanye West wasted no time coming into the decade releasing what would be one of the best albums of the decade and of all time. Led by singles “Power”, “Runaway”, “Monster”, and “All Of The Lights” My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy contains one of the best tracklists of all time. “So Appalled” a legendary posse cut featuring Jay-Z, Pusha T, CyHi The Prynce, Swizz Beats and RZA runs right into “Devil in a New Dress” featuring Rick Ross which is praised as one of the best guest verses of the decade. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 496,000 copies in the first week bringing home the Best Rap Album award at the Grammys. 

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#1 To Pimp A Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar

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To Pimp A Butterfly is the best rap album of the decade not only because of its near perfect tracklist but the cultural impact his lyrics influenced and portrayed. The album dives deep into black culture, oppression, Compton, fame and faith. It features guest appearances from Goerge Clinton, Thundercat, Bilal, Anna Wise, Snoop Dogg, James Fauntleroy, Ronald Isley and Rapsody. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 selling 324,000 copies in the first week supported by five singles “i”, “The Blacker The Berry”, “King Kunta”, “Alright” and “These Walls”. 

Craig MacDonald

December 5th, 2019

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