Our list for “Who Had the Best Year?” is the one that does not really take our opinion of their quality of music into account. This is based on accomplishments and successes achieved throughout the year. Hit the jump to see who we felt had the best 2010!
Bun B released Trill OG, his third major solo album to a 5 star rating from The Source! This was the first album in over 5 years to receive a perfect score from the harsh critiquing magazine and is a very big honor for one of the Kings of the South. In addition, Bun B oversaw a post-humus release from his long time friend and UGK member, Pimp C. He has been featured all over the place and all of this combined helped him land the #10 spot.
Being the OutKast fan that I am, Yelawolf landing a feature spot on one of the only full OutKast songs in the past years is almost enough for me to put him on this list. In addition to the killer feature on “You Ain’t No DJ” from Big Boi’s album, Yelawolf also released a very solid debut himself in Truck Muzik 0:60. Although it did not sell quite like he hoped, a major label debut is certainly something to celebrate. He toured the country with hip hop legends as part of this years Rock the Bells tour as well as being a part of Wiz Khalifa’s tour.
B.o.B. owned the first half of 2010, with his debut album The Adventures of Bobby Ray in stores and his songs “Nothing On You” featuring Bruno Mars and “Airplanes” with Hayley Williams of Paramore trading off on the radio every other minute, he was everywhere. His album debuted as #1 on Billboard with 84,000 copies sold first week. He joined Lupe Fiasco on tour and according to Da-what.com writer, Anu, actually upstaged the headliner. He has cooled off the second half of the year but did release a very solid mixtape May 25th and still has a bright future with multiple Grammy nods.
“I think I’m Big Meech!” Rawse had the club hit of who knows how long with his hard hitting, easy to follow banger “B.M.F. (Blowing Money Fast). Everyone is calling Teflon Don his best work yet and it is tough to argue when already 3-4 of the 11 tracks have hit it big as singles with, assumedly, more to come. Rick Ross is also developing his Maybach Music group even further signing young talents such as Wale.
The self-proclaimed #Based God has been blowing up on the Internet, having found a very specific niche of dedicated followers. He was able to turn his internet following into a record deal with an artist everyone loves to hate, Soulja Boy, and together they have girls (and their fans) going crazy while everyone else, including myself, continues to hate. Lil’ B is having such a big year that even major media sources such as the New York Times took notice. He started a “cooking” movement and headlined sold out shows all over the country including a big Halloween party in Chicago.
Ski Beatz has revitalized his studio, the Dojo, and put out quality music all year. He has linked up with Curren$y multiple times and received numerous production credits from all types of artists. In addition, he was finally able to drop his album 24 Hour Karate School which (spoiler alert) will be on our Top 10 albums of the year list. With the sequel to 24 Hour Karate School on teh way, look out for Ski to continue his run onto 2011.
The Khalifa man continued to build on his great 2009 with tours of his own, a stable feature at Rock the Bells and more great music. Kush & Orange Juice has already been named one of our Top 10 Free Projects of 2010 and Wiz has found his biggest hit to date with the Pittsburgh anthem “Black & Yellow”. The song has now gone platinum, which bode incredibly well for his Atlantic album, due out next year. It features Snoop Dogg, Juicy J & T-Pain on the official remix and most other rappers on various unofficial remixes. Wiz seems to just get the transformations that the music industry is undertaking as he is a master of social networking yet has turned his online fan base into a record deal and monetary success as well.
In addition to producing Rick Ross’ “BMF” and helping him get a spot on this list, the young Virginia producer has a number of other big hits from this year. He also produced Ross’ track “MC Hammer” that was circulating the radio and clubs for a while and more notably made the beat for Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard in the Paint”. Establishing himself as a go-to producer in 2010 looking on, even Kanye West brought him into the studio as they co-produced Kanye’s track “See Me Now”.
Nicki Minaj is the most relevant female rap artist since Lil’ Kim and many can argue that she is even bigger. Her debut album, while disappointing to some (like myself, it was too poppy and too easy in my opinion), was the best selling debut for a female rapper EVER. Within a week or two it even began to outsell Eminem’s Recovery. She also stole the show on Kanye’s posse cut “Monster” which included greats such as Jay-Z and had numerous other songs on the radio including her singles “Your Love” and “Check it Out” with Black Eyed Peas front man Will.I.Am in addition to features with Trey Songz and others. Nicki was everywhere this year, crossing over to pop music and giving her 12-13 year old girl fan base what they want while still killin’ real hip hop tracks as well.
It all started when Kanye West joined twitter. A perfect match, Kanye began to communicate to his fans in a way that kept the media from twisting his words; sure he still pissed some people off, but he got to make sure it was intentional. Millions of people began to follow him, as he would switch off between industry advice, fashion discussions and various Kanye rambling – but we were all hooked. Then videos began popping up of him performing new tracks at Facebook and Myspace headquarter which eventually led to his GOOD Friday series of dropping new stellar tracks every week. This year he returned to the VMAs, where he defamed himself by getting into a scuffle with TSwfit, and debuted his “Runaway” track, which is my pick for hip hop song of the year. He made a 35-minute artistic video to accompany his album, debuted it in major cities all over the world and finally dropped My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to critical and commercial success. The esteemed sight pitchfork.com gave out its second perfect 10 score ever to the album and hardly any publications gave it a lower score than that. Kanye thrust himself back into it all this year, having dipped out of the spotlight for a few months, and 2010 was his!