Here it is, our final list for the end of 2010, our picks for the 10 best albums that you have to pay for. Hit the jump and let us know what you think in the comment section.
10.Freeway & Jake One – The Stimulus Package
The 10 spot goes to Philly Freezer and Seattle’s Jake One. In addition to being a dope album, The Stimulus Package had the best packaging of the year, looking like a wallet with the album notes being printed on fake money. I really like this trend of rappers signing on with a single producer to put out an album together; I think it really allows them to build chemistry and allows the able to be more cohesive overall. Freeway does his thing and the beats are consistently good.
9.NaS & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives
In general, the major complaints with NaS include his beat selection, the hooks and the fact that he forces a 2nd or 3rd verse when he may not have enough material. Distant Relatives directly addresses all three issues as Jr. Gong handles the executive producing – it sounds more like a Damian Marley album in which NaS is able to add a well thought out, impressive verse to each track. Featuring K’Naan and some Marley brothers, a real good listen front-to-back.
8.Ghostface Killah – Apollo Kids
Even though it dropped part way through December, we still feel that the Wu-Tang spitter’s album deserves a Top 10 nod. Sure it hasn’t proven itself through longevity but great lyrics from Ghost as well as killer features from his Wu-Tang affiliates make it a hip hop head’s dream.
7.Drake – Thank Me Later
There was a lot of hype surrounding this album, everyone was waiting to see how Drake would respond, some hoping/”knowing” it would fall short while others awaiting the instant classic that would cement Drake’s place in hip hop. In our opinion, it fell somewhere in between but it was a very good debut from an artist facing an insurmountable hype. Thank Me Later allows Drake to show off his clever lyrics and wordplay, his sweet R&B singing as well as his ability to get a party going. Working with his long time producer, 40, among others, Drake does it all with a few nice guest verse from the likes of Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne & Nicki Minaj.
6.The Roots – How I Got Over
The Roots do it again. Another year and another dope album from ?uestlove, Black Thought and crew. These guys know how to make great music and How I Got Over is no exception
5.Ski Beatz – 24-Hour Karate School
A major reason that he had one of the best 2010s, Ski Beatz has been hard at work in his dojo, developing his 2010 sound and making friends with a lot of the new school of rap. This project was delayed for a long time but when it finally did get its release date, it was not disappointing. Smooth, soulful beats with witty lyrics from new guys like Curren$y, Smoke DZA and Wiz Khalifa as well as hard core lyricists such as Jean Grae and Camp Lo; 24 Hour Karate School has got something for all kinds of hip hop fans.
4.Kendrick Lamar – Overly Dedicated
This album is available for free download, however it is only $5.99 on iTunes and worth a lot more than that, so we placed it on this list to ask for your support. Overly Dedicated is a big part of how Kendrick caught the ears of legends like Dr. Dre, one of the front-men of the “New West” the Compton emcee shows us what he’s got on his newest work. OD is a great bridge for Kendrick as it can appease his underground fans that have been rocking with him for a while but also has some mainstream appeal to help him reach that next level of recognition.
3.Roc Marciano – Marcberg
This hard-hitting, street-isht type of album, the vet Roc gave us an amazing album yet again. Handling a lot of his own production with a few tracks from Pete Rock and others, it has a cohesive sound with great lyrics throughout. Like with many street/gangsta albums, his topic of conversation can get repetitive however if that is what you are looking for, the way he tells it definitely keeps it from getting boring. Personally, I have not been sitting around waiting for this album to drop like many others have been but I am sure glad it did.
2.Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Probably the best album of the year sonically, Kanye West is back with an amazing album. MBDTF is a great mixture of the bravado and confidence that made Graduation so great with the vulnerability and humility found on 808s and Heartbreak. Kanye was able to get an A-list of rappers to join on board, however he stuck most of them on just two tracks, “So Appalled” and “Monster” so it still allows him to be the main focus throughout. This album is about more than just rap as he turned a great song like “Runaway” into a 9-minute epic track that functions as my personal pick for song of the year. The only weak spot is Chris Rock’s skit that takes away from another standout track “Blame Game” featuring John Legend – the skit is the only thing that gets skipped over, even still.
1.Big Boi – Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Adventures of Chico Dusty
After years of dealing with major label politics, Big Boi’s solo album finally drops and it does not disappoint. From hard-hitting bangers like “General Patton” to party hits like “Shutterbug” and funky flow tracks like “You Ain’t No DJ”, this album has it all. You can tell how hard Big Boi worked on this album although it does not sound forced. He provides witty lyrics ad builds well off all the guests from legends (George Clinton, Too $hort) to new comers (B.o.B., Yelawolf) and even non rappers (Vonnegutt, Janelle Monae), this album is able to have a cohesive sound and still carry a lot of diversity. It slaps from front to back and deserves the number 1 album of 2010!