Now that we have entered the limbo stage, (the time after Christmas but before NYE), it seems fitting to release our top ten albums of the 2010s to rejoice on the fantastic music these years have given us. In the 2010s we witnessed the rise of some of the best artist to ever grace a mic, while trends such as alternative hip hop, trap, and mumble rap also rose to prominence. Generally speaking Hip-Hop ruled the decade in terms of popularity and will easily define this generations music taste when we look back in years to come. Below are what I believe to be the ten best albums of the decade, objectively speaking.
10. KIDS SEE GHOSTS – KIDS SEE GHOSTS
After years of working together seamlessly on projects like 808s and Man on the Moon, Cudi and Kanye went through a little rough patch. Once Cudi got out of rehab and Kanye calmed down for a bit the pair thankfully made up and formed the duo KIDS SEE GHOSTS. The project had fantastic production, great hooks, and featured legends such as Pusha T and Mos Def. Themes of self love and redemption were filled throughout the tight 7 song track list. Kanye and Cudi’s chemistry exuded from within the album making it a short, but extremely memorable listen that has nearly everyone wanting a sequel.
9. Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Another album from a duo, this one featuring the thug/drug rapper Freddie Gibbs and legendary soulful producer Madlib, turned out to be unexpectedly fantastic. Freddie’s fast hard hitting flow blended so well with the smooth jazz cuts that Madlib cooked up, that you would think they have worked together for years. The deep drug riddled lyrics, the old west coast samples, the perfectly chosen features, this is a damn near perfect project that thankfully we got a near carbon copy of again by the duo in 2019.
8. 4:44 – JAY- Z
Hov decided he was going to solidify his legacy as one of the greatest MC’s ever by dropping his self conscious, introspective 13th album titled 4:44. Already a modern day classic Hovs lyricism is still top notch dropping several double entendres, over a variety of both alarming beats such as the track Kill Jay-Z, and souful piano synths on songs like Marcy Me. Without a doubt his most personal album, Hov delivered as he always does straying from his usual kind of sound.
7. Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
Channel Orange over Blonde??? Yes, I did that. Maybe it’s nostalgia but from back to front this album is such an enjoyable listen. Franks vocals are phenomenal and the production is creative yet simple. Even 30 second tracks like Fertilizer are fun, and just work to make a cool relaxing R&B album that’s sound is timeless. Frank flip-flops singing of pain and happiness, over glitchy soothing production that to me is more polished than Blonde.
6. Daytona – Pusha T
Yughhhh! Pusha worked his way onto the list by releasing his solo 2018 project which featured some of the best beats I have ever heard. His brass flow blended so well with Kanye’s production, as he mainly talked about luxuries and cocaine. The metaphors, the hooks, the song that started some of the best beef of the decade. Daytona was one of the more hard hitting albums I’ve heard and proved that a 7 song album can be a classic.
5. 2014 Forest Hills Drive – J. Cole
Dare I say double platinum with no features. Kidding aside Cole dropped an introspective album that had both endearing tracks like 03 Adolescence and loud abrasive beats that were featured on tracks like Fire Squad and A Tale Of 2 Citiez. Coles flow was very reminiscent to his mixtape days, and overall it was his most complete album to date. It gave us countless memes and great singles that still to this day slap. It cemented Cole as one of the best rappers of the decade, and featured Coles best singing to date.
4. good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar
This album is like an action movie detailing the life of young individual navigating his way through Compton. Kendrick went mainstream without making a mainstream album, by dropping unforgettable singles that featured elite lyricism and banging production. Kendrick covered themes of violence, drugs, and friends and family as he told us the story of his young self growing up in the mean streets of Cali. He was cocky, he was hungry, and he delivered this masterpiece which shot him up the ranks of the rap game.
3. Rodeo – Travis Scott
In a decade where trap was one of the more popular sub genres, Travis Scott delivered the best album trap has to offer. Off the charts production, his ability to collaborate with others, the mix of autotune with arguably Travis’ peak lyricism, the project was flawless. It created an energy of rage while also detailed the rise Travis went through to become the star he is today. It featured other popular trap artist, pop artist such as Justin Bieber that overall made it extremely unique and enjoyable to listen to. Oh and 90210 is one of the best tracks of the decade, enough said.
2. To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
His second appearance on the list, is his best album he ever created. Good Kid was a movie, this album was like a book, but not just any book. This is comparable to the Bible. It was heavy while at the same time soothing. Kendrick rapped of social troubles, such as racism and police brutality while also touching on topics of being trapped and being uncomfortable in his own skin. The production matched the message the album was trying to convey perfectly, as Kendrick looked to empower his people against the social injustices within our country today. It’s cultural value alone makes it one of the most important albums to date, and with each year his message grows more and more relevant.
1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
When you have an intro like Dark Fantasy you know the album is going to be special. Kanye on this album was at his absolute peak in terms of rapping, and what made it so special was that Kanye incorporated the sounds he created on his previous albums on this. The album includes 808s, stadium anthems like Power that would have fit onto Graduation, and tons of autotune like on Runaway. The album conveyed the confusion within Kanye’s mind, each track delving into more and more of his deranged thoughts. Iconic production, unforgettable unique features, blending of genres, this album truly is a piece of art.
Let me know what you think of the list, feel free to debate below.
Published by Fran Cava