The Year 2010 in Review
Author: Eric Sirota
The most interesting thing about hip-hop in 2010 is that the best of it
isn't hip hop at all. It's music that shows an explicit appreciation for
hip-hop but also a stark willingness to, perhaps accidentally, break all the
rules and go in any number of directions:
1. A Sufi and a Killer - Gonjasufi
- a strange blend of acid rock and rap
lends this album an effortless uniqueness that truly sets it apart.
2. The ArchAndroid - Janelle Monae
- again, not really a hip hop album, but
no less a hip hop album than one of any other specific genre. Spoken word,
heavy metal, folk and psychedelia are all present for this music lover's dream.
3. Thank Me Later - Drake
- somehow Drake's bitching about fame for this
album's duration is humanizing and vulnerable, not obnoxious and
self-pitying; that is a true feet and another success for stripped down
4. I'm New Here - Gil Scott-Heron
- futuristic blues and spoken word
dominate on this humble, down-and-out, snapshot of its remarkably talented
5. Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty - Big Boi
- man, is this guy a good rapper - precise, charismatic, and as smart as they come.
6. Of Light - Shabazz Palaces
- Digable Planets' frontman returns after what
must have been some rough years; this is not your father's black power.
7. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West
- unfortunately, Kanye's
overwhelming ego gets in the way even on an album about how Kanye's
overwhelming ego gets in the way. Fortunately, his production and knack for
risk-taking make the record a keeper.
8. Li(f)e - Sage Francis
- perhaps as flawed as it is innovative, but,
regardless, this rare synthesis of folk and rap is too natural to resist.
9. King of Hearts - Camu Tao
- that this record was left tragically
incomplete makes the syrupy pop about death and sex that much more
10. Recovery - Eminem
- haters be damned; he'll never be as good as he once
was, but that doesn't mean he's not growing.
Originally posted: January 4, 2011