The Year In Hip Hop: 2010

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-I know what you're thinking. 2010 was a great year in hip hop. I mean, who could deny the sweet sounds of St. Louis' own J-Kwon and his massive hit self titled album? Well, massive hit is a bit of a stretch, as is the sweet sounds label I gave his music, but if you're looking for an indication of what a strange year 2010 was musically, let's start there. While not even a ton of guest appearances from Gino Green (whoever that is), Them White Boys (Ha!), and others could catapult J-Kwon, there were other actual noteworthy releases from the year. I mean... that doesn't include Lil Flip and his album, nor does it include another St. Louis rapper in Huey, of "Pop, Lock, and Drop It" fame, who also released an album that year. 2010 had some great releases, but I can't lie, just looking at the bad releases would be hilarious for me to do in the beginning of this article. I'm not going to do that however.... well, at least not for much longer.

Okay, I lied. How about Cassidy and his Apply Pressure series, which was good, that led to the horrible C.A.S.H. (Cass A Straight Hustla) album? The acronym is hilarious and terrible at the same time. Chingy attempted a comeback, with his Success and Failure album (ironic title), and former multi platinum selling artist Nelly also kept St. Louis thriving with his 5.0 album, which didn't sell too badly, but only spawned the mega hit "Just A Dream". I have no idea why I focused on the St. Louis artists releases for the opening of this article, but I laughed a bit while reading back that all these albums dropped in this year. However, now that I got those out of the way, I think we can get into the good releases of the year right?

Wait... actually, I have to talk about the biggest releases of the year that disappointed tremendously. First, 2010 saw Drake release his debut album Thank Me Later, and as Speed referenced in his WIRTB about it, it wasn't a good album. At all. Drake took a lazy route, with non memorable verses, and while production was good in some areas, it lacked in others. I wasn't a huge fan of Drake at the time as is, so I didn't expect much anyways, so I was disappointed but also not shocked. The same could be said for Eminem's Recovery album. Aside from a few tracks here and there, this album did absolutely nothing for me and seemed almost like a regression lyrically from the already disappointing Relapse. Em employed more pop sounds and hooks, and I just didn't like the shift or the sound. Another big release that disappointed would be T.I.'s worst solo album to date, No Mercy. I remember absolutely nothing about this album, and I can't even think of a single that dropped without looking at the tracklist and even then, it gets a bit confusing. Even more confusing? The Lil Wayne album Rebirth, which was absolutely trash. A rap-rock album, which really just featured watered down beats with a guitar added and Wayne half singing with autotune. Absolutely terrible.

Wayne would release a decent LP in I Am Not A Human Being later on in the year, but that still would be slightly disappointing too, though he can't be entirely to blame for it, as this was the year he would serve 9 months in jail. A lot of "Free Weezy" stuff was being put through hip hop, but in addition to Drake holding down YMCMB in Wayne's absence, Nicki Minaj released her subpar debut album, the double platinum Pink Friday. Ice Cube released an album, but this was a bit disappointing as I Am The West missed the mark on a number of fronts. Damn, 2010 seems to have a lot of negative points. Give me a few moments and allow the team to discuss their opinion on the year and I'll be back with some positives in the outro of this article. I hope.

2010 to me was a very weird year for hip hop, as a lot of trash was released (the usual in the 2010's decade) but, got us one of the most beautiful albums ever created, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and other gems. Let's start off with the trash.

Nicki Minaj dropped a pretty horrific album titled "Pink Friday". Horrible. Just an album full of underwhelming and undeserving commercial hits. Then comes the disappointing Recovery album. I'm happy Eminem got clean and all, but ever since he did, his music has been awful. Health over all however. Lil Wayne released one of the most awful albums to ever exist (almost as bad as Yeezus & Speedin Bullet 2 Heaven) called "Rebirth". I'd rather not talk about this album as it'll make me upset doing so. It's that terrible.

And here are the gems.

MBDTF. Don't think it's needs to be discussed as to why this album is so incredible. Ashes to Ashes, Teflon Don, Thank Me Later, Kush & OJ, Earl, and Overly Dedicated are all other projects that help make 2010 somewhat solid. Not the usual side you guys see from me huh?

I think 2010 was an awesome year in hip hop. Eminem, Kanye, Drake, Lil Wayne, Big K.R.I.T., T.I., Wiz Khalifa, Yelawolf, and Earl Sweatshirt all had amazing albums. Em, Ye, and Earl had my favorite albums this year. Recovery, I feel like this album was the biggest change in his career in a good way. He got out of his slump and drug addiction, working on starting all over again and the music was amazing. A lot of people didn't like the new Em from there on, but I love it and it's different. It shows that he's matured and instead of just making dope music, he's making dope music people can really relate to. MBDTF, do I really need to say much?? 10/10 everything is just fucking beautiful about this album. With Earl, it is pretty much his debut album and is fucking amazing. His flow is amazing, the beats, lyrics,  everything is great. Luper is my favorite song off the album. The three albums I mentioned here, if you haven't listened to them, I definitely recommend it. They make 2010 so dope.

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-Okay, so there were some positives in the year and I think I've gathered them. Oddly enough, I'm going to start with an album that I expected nothing from, but enjoyed nonetheless. Waka Flocka Flame released his Flockaveli album, and though I was annoyed by the apparent influence of Pac's classic Makaveli album, this is a street classic in many ways. It wasn't the most lyrical or even the best produced album, but it was a certified banger for the whip or the party. While I'm not a Curren$y fan, I did enjoy his Pilot Talk mixtape/album that was released that year, just as I enjoyed the classic Kush and Orange Juice from Wiz Khalifa. On the mixtape front, hip hop was cooking with the new Era, as Big K.R.I.T. arrived with his KRIT Wuz Here project, which had some fire on it for sure. If you wanna talk the new school on a commercial level, B.O.B. was successful this year with a ton of hits off his album with huge crossover appeal like "Nothin On You" and "Airplanes". Back to the mixtape front, Vado dropped Slime Flu, Dom Kennedy dropped From Westside With Love, Rick Ross dropped The Albert Anastasia EP and Ashes to Ashes (before dropping my favorite album of his, Teflon Don), and Jeezy dropped the sequel to one of the biggest mixtapes ever, with Trap or Die 2. Trap or Die 2 was a classic to me honestly and one of the better releases in the year.

As if that wasn't enough on the mixtape side, Kendrick Lamar released his debut project in Overly Dedicated, which wasn't his first actual tape, but it's his debut to the mainstream and world over so to speak. Freddie Gibbs dropped his Str8 Killa No Filla tape, and Joe Budden released another dope Mood Muzik with "Mood Muzik 4: A Turn 4 The Worst", possibly his most personal edition in the series. Admittedly, my favorite mixtape this year was from a guy I'm not the biggest fan of, but I think this project is superb, as Friday Night Lights by J. Cole is still and likely will always be his best project. 2010 on the mixtape front was pretty amazing, but were there any albums that truly hit the mark? Well... let's see.

I know everyone raves and loves Kanye's MBDTF, but I don't share the same appreciation for it and I never have. It's by no stretch a bad album, as I think the production is quite beautiful and the songs are dope, it's just a bit all over the place and seems to lack a bit of cohesion. I get that it's supposed to be like that in some way, but there's a few songs I could do without. However, I think MBDTF is still a damn good album, just a bit overrated by a large number of Kanye fans, which could be said for a few things he's released since Graduation, but the fact remains that MBDTF is one of the better albums of the year and certainly on my top 5 albums of the year list for 2010.

One album that I enjoyed, though was sort of disappointed by in the same was Nas and Damien Marley's Distant Relatives. I'm always up for some new Nas music, and while I like the contrast between him and Damien, the album itself just had too much Damien influence and not enough Nas influence. It felt like a Damien album featuring Nas more than an actual collab album. Still one of the better releases of the year. Another dope release was the debut solo album from Outkast legend Big Boi with "Sir Lucious LeftFoot: The Son of Chico Dusty", an album that surprised me, much like the 2nd Reflection Eternal album "Revolutions Per Minute", which showed that the chemistry between Kweli and Hi-Tek was strong and features my favorite verse of the year from Jay Electronica on the epic track "Just Begun".

Another album that I really enjoyed was Lloyd Banks' sequel to his debut "H.F.M. 2", which was dope all around. Banks blended the right amount of street anthems with the right amount of commercial potential and I think this album could have took off and revitalized G-Unit if the company hadn't undershipped the album (reports say that the album was sold out in a majority of places). A solid release on the year, but still not my pick for the best album of the year. What is that pick?

The Roots. How I Got Over. I think this is one of the best albums in the discography of The Roots and I also believe that The Roots have one of the best discographies in hip hop anyways. How I Got Over is a classic without a doubt, and I think it's the best album of 2010. I started off this article joking about some of the worst releases during the year, but in reality, I truly enjoyed the music that was dope, which was mostly mixtapes, but still a decent year overall. 2010 began a new era and time that I still don't know if it's good or bad, but regardless, the year itself had enough highlights and hilarious lows to be noteworthy. Cheers to you, 2010.



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