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The Year 2010 in Review
Author: Patrick Taylor

Top 10 of 2010
by Patrick Taylor

This isn't a list of the best hip hop albums of the past 12 months. I didn't have enough time or money to listen to all of the albums I wanted to this year (hence the omission of Kanye and Big Boi), and the list of great albums I missed is no doubt longer than the list of great albums that I heard. What follows are the ten albums from 2010 that resonated with me.

10. Guilty Simpson and Madlib, "O.J. Simpson"
Madlib's beats are on point and Guilty proves that Dilla was right about him. Key track: "Coroner Music"

9. Z-Man, "Show Up, Shut up, and Rap"
Bay Area label Machete Vox bring the goods, putting out hip hop the way it is meant to be. Key track: "Cupcakin'"

8. yU, "Before Taxes"
The Diamond District rapper released this for free in 2009 and for pay in 2010, proving that if your product is good, people will shell out for it. Key Track: "Corners"

7. Von Pea, "Pea's Gotta Have It"
This is a low-key album by my favorite low-key rapper. Key track: "Outro"

6. Power Struggle "Remittances"
Led by MC Nomi, this is protest rap at its finest. Key track: "Artofficialfreedom"

5. Flying Lotus, "Cosmogramma"
Cosmic funk, equal parts hip hop, avant-garde jazz, dubstep, and alien music. Key track: "Zodiac Shit"

4. Gonjasufi, "A Sufi and A Killer"
Gaslamp Killer produced this trippy, sprawling album that is Middle Eastern mysticism mixed with a bagfull of psychedelics. It's sloppy, it's weird, but I can't stop listening to it. Key track: "Duets."

3. Madlib, "Madlib Medicine Show #4: 420 Chalice All-Stars"
I bought half of Madlib's monthly Medicine Show series. Even months were mixes, and odd months were original music. The mixes explored Brazilian music, jazz, psychedelic rock, and soul, but this reggae mix was by far my favorite. It was also an expensive purchase: this one album caused me to buy ten more albums, catching up with all the amazing dancehall reggae that I missed. Key track: All of 'em.

2. Madlib, "Madlib Medicine Show #3: Beatkonducta in Africa"
Besides reggae, my new passion this year was African music, and Madlib's third entry in his Medicine Show series fit the bill. It's eighty minutes of beats mined from African music, ranging from Zam Rock to highlife to Afrobeat.
Key track: "The Frontline (Liberation)"

1. Danny Brown, "The Hybrid"
This was the funniest, rawest, most insightful release I heard this year, and all by a dude who uses his given name and gave away his music for free. Brown reminds me of Biggie or Ice Cube in their prime: totally offensive and yet deeply intelligent, dropping knowledge with their f-bombs. Key track: "Drinks On Me"

Originally posted: December 30, 2010

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