When he has a clear-cut focus, he can still be a top-tier storyteller, and songs like “Cherry Wine,” “Bye Baby,” and “Daughters” prove it.–A.W. It was investing in a whole A$AP empire, backing not only Rockyâs debut album but also his group label A$AP Worldwide, a potential farm system for other up-and-comers who run in Rockyâs Internet circles. Note: These are albums that missed the cut on our general Best Albums Of The 2010s list, which you can find here. Itâs sexy, progressive, and surprisingly listenable for its hefty 80 minutes. When Young Thug released Barter 6 , it wasn’t yet en vogue to be a fan. Besides HNDRXX being an all-around exceptional listen, “Incredible” deserves all the praise. Here are TIME’s picks for the best albums of the 2010s, presented chronologically. But, even the most cursory investigation into Brown reveals that heâs not just funny; heâs hysterical. Luckily, Kanyeâs still more man than God. Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). Sub-genres flickered up in Americaâs citiesâtrap remained king in Atlanta, drill music continued to bloom in Chicago, bounce informed the New Orleans sound and Houston artists like Solange and Travis Scott transformed underground chopped and screwed sounds for a pop audience. The 22-track “playlist” embodies a collaborative spirit, highlighting Jorja Smith and Young Thug. When RCA threw $3 million behind A$AP Rocky, it wasnât just investing in the Harlem rapper. Usual suspects Little Shalimar and Wilder Zoby provide co-production throughout, contributing to some of the most nuclear compositions of El-Pâs career. Kanye Westâs persona elicits strong reactions, but MBDTF flashes the musical genius of pop cultureâs most polarizing figure. Then there are the feminist themes, a crucial co-headliner to the BeyoncÃ© talking points. I ride for you/ When I am gone, just know that I owe youâ thatâll surely play in your head the moment you land on the tarmac at LAX. âAdrian Spinelli, © 2020 Paste Media Group. More than ever, Old allows even passive listeners to care about what Brown is saying, to form a bond with him and to trust there is more of interest to him than women and drugs. All Rights Reserved, 19. Rap was everywhere. On her debut LP, SZA trades Zâs whispery vocals for a robust timbre steeped in jazz and soul, evoking Amy Winehouse and earlier predecessors like Billie Holiday. It wasnât the 1.6 shot heard âround the internet bad, but the album was brimful of lackluster. Top 10 rap albums of the decade From Jay-Z and Cardi B to Nas and the late great Nipsey Hussle, this was a tough list to put together He finds himself crucified on the very first trackâhis desire to do good, his outstretched hand to the blind of the world, turned upon him and used to undo him. 100. Come back tomorrow (December 4) for the first in our series of Best of 2018 lists, the Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums of 2018, and check out last year's worst albums here. Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty 5. Next up, our Top 25 Hip-Hop and R&B Albums of the 2010s. Simply put, it’s just that good. Of course, her previous months of touring the world were good marketing; they were just marketing the entity BeyoncÃ© and helped create an atmosphere that was hungry for an album. Yet, the sceptre for all of TPABâs energy is Lamar, who brings himself to his knees on deeply reflective jams like âKing Kuntaâ and âHow Much A Dollar Cost.â TPAB is a call-out of the hip-hop establishment, by perhaps its most self-aware figure, who has no trouble exploring his own vulnerability in order to paint an accurate picture of the harsh, dynamic and inspiring times weâre still living in today. Mac’s knack for bringing out the best in his collaborators and love for the craft of making music shines through on tracks like “Inertia” and “Small Worlds,” leaving behind a legacy as one of rap’s more prolific, honest, and vulnerable artists yet.–A.W. The line reads like a throwaway for a lyricist of Kanyeâs caliber, but it resonates in the albumâs real-life context, as the rapper-producerâs bizarre Twitter rants and obsessive tracklist fiddling have prompted some spectators (including former collaborator Rhymefest) to question his mental stability. Itâs developed in parts, compelling, and his existential struggles are somewhat realized. âCarter Shelter, The first lady of Kendrick Lamarâs Top Dawg Entertainment, SZA acquired a cult following with her 2014 mixtape Z, a downtempo project rife with ambient beats and understated vocalsâa pleasing combination for fans of artists like XXYYXX and Sky Ferreira. Between the lyrics and beats, this album is one of the best albums of 2010, with highlight cuts such as “Barrel Brothers” & “Speakers on Blast” Rating: 8.5/10 At the beginning of the 2010s many predicted the slow death of the album -- but at the decade's end, the format seems forever changed, but still absolutely vital. The album was released in 1988. Hip-hop hadnât been this fun in a long time. punchlines derivative of the likes of Lil Wayne and a 2000s-era Ludacris. There are pleas for spiritual liberation and models with bleached assholes — on the same song. 9. Nas may never be able to match the gritty honesty of his debut — though not for lack of effort on his part — but he got closest with the autobiographical Life Is Good. As the 2000s ended, conventional wisdom suggested that the album was on its way out, that the future would all be individual tracks and playlists. âI just hope I make it âtil tomorrow,â he says at the end of âPROM/KING.â Saba and the city that raised him are growing through darkness. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly 2. Besides, the empowerment anthems “Good As Hell” and “Truth Hurts” are worth the price of admission alone, bars or no.–A.W. This is the... 2. It was also De La’s first-ever album to debut at No. âCigarettes on cigarettes, my mama think I stank / I got burn holes in my hoodies, all my homies think itâs dank.â Acid Rap positions Chance as an angst-ridden up-and-comer, a 20-something unsure of where life will take him next, but heâs sure as hell gonna make the best of where he is at the time. This is the product of a rapper who quickly rose to the upper echelon of hip-hop and took a long hard look at the scope of the scene and more importantly, himself, before letting out a visceral, imaginative and musically ambitious production that demands your attention. âRyan Reed, Danny Brown is a funny guy. Chance has always had a way of bringing talent together. Thundercat: Drunk 4. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy 3. 77 songs topped Hot Rap Songs in the 2010s. One particular track, âCasket Pretty,â hauntingly echoes the fate of Castile and so many others, as Noname repeats the lines, âI hope you make it home / I hope to God that my teleâ donât ringâ and raps about âToo many babies in suits.â Opener âYesterdayâ serves as a woozy, dreamy thesis; she both laments the discrimination people of color face (âCheck my Twitter page for something holier than black deathâ) and finds solace in the smiles of her loved ones. Music, which is chock full of Afrocentric themes and incisive commentary on racism. This isnât a gospel album, despite its occasional, vivid bursts of feel-the-spirit belting (thatâs Kirk Franklin on opener âUltralight Beamâ) and Christian references. âSee You Againâ featuring soul singer Kali Uchis, for instance, is an adorable ode to a crush, with gorgeous, swelling strings and trumpet riffs that are probably the influence of Odd Future-affiliated jazz group The Internet. When it comes to rappers who try their hand at R&B, Future’s HNDRXX is a soulful masterpiece of the highest order. Itâs almost as if theyâre competing to see who can rap faster, better and more articulately. This has been true for years and years, but itâs been particularly interesting to witness American hip-hop artists work through a decade that began inside a bubble of optimism, one that bursted in the second half of the 2010s. 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