2008 has been a surprisingly good year. While the mainstream press has been happy to declare that music sales are in the toilet and hip-hop doesn’t have the commercial appeal it used to, that hasn’t stopped Lil Wayne from pushing a million units or a whole lot of underground artists from reinventing hip-hop style and sound. The most surprising thing has been that rappers who are traditionally recognized as being commercially oriented have been turning in the most artistically and intellectually creative albums of their career. With that said let’s get right down to it and do it, so let me present to you my top ten for 2008 with ten “honorable mention” albums at the end. I’m not providing “recaps” of the reviews this time – I’m just letting the rankings from ten to one and the actual reviews speak for themselves.

10. GZA – Pro Tools
9. The Roots – Rising Down
8. Elzhi – The Preface
7. Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
6. Ice Cube – Raw Footage
5. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
4. Nas – Untitled
3. Ludacris – Theater of the Mind
2. Q-Tip – The Renaissance
1. T.I. – Paper Trail

Honorable Mentions For 2008
* Akrobatik – Absolute Value
* Buckshot – The Formula
* Bun B – II Trill
* Black Milk – Tronic
* The Cool Kids – Bake Sale
* Evidence – The Layover EP
* Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
* Jean Grae – Jeanius
* J-Live – Then What Happened?
* Killer Mike – I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II
* Murs – Murs For President
* Scarface – Emeritus
* Snoop Dogg – Ego Trippin’
* Tech N9ne – Killer
* Vast Aire – Dueces Wild