The 00s were a strange decade for hip-hop, as it officially took its place as the most popular musical genre in the world. The market polarized into idiotic one-hit wonders, conscious backpackers, outdated thugs with larger-than-life personalities and imaginary rap sheets, and thousands of other niches. But quality still shone through, with some truly groundbreaking albums hitting the racks. What follows is my list of the 10 best albums to drop over the last 10 years.
10. Kanye West – The College Dropout – A lot of people are saying this is the best album of the decade. I would disagree with that. It’s a great album but it’s somewhat disjointed and looking at where Kanye is at now musically it already feels a little outdated. What I will say is “Jesus Walks” is one of the best songs of any genre OF ALL TIME!!! OF ALL TIME!!!
9. Madvillain – Madvillainy – MF Doom has never sounded better than he did when he teamed up with Madlib for this little ditty of WTF hip hop. This is not a club album. This is for people who want to be challenged with real lyrics and not for their knowledge of designer clothes or “Famous drug dealers of the 70’s and 80’s for $200 Alex”.
8. Quasimoto – The Unseen – I told you this was the Grown Ass Man’s Top 10! I understand that this isn’t an album for everyone. The voice is strange as hell but the production is so far ahead of anything on the radio you have to take notice. Madlib is a musical genius and he doesn’t like fish sticks.
7. Slum Village – Fantastic Vol. 2 – This album allowed me to forgive Jay Dee for the last two Tribe albums and embrace the Detroit sound. Unfortunately Slum Village was never the same after this album with Jay Dee going on to do his own thing and now with the passing of Battin this year they are forever changed.
6. Common – Like Water For Chocolate – This is what happens when hip-hop transcends the KRS-One five elements rules and just becomes really, really good music. Common may be the only rapper alive or ever for that matter to call a woman a bitch and still make it sound like a love song. Too Short could never do that.
5. Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele – I LOVE THIS ALBUM! It’s one of those don’t skip a track joints that still bangs hard, even 10 years later. This album single handedly saved the entire Wu Tang Clan from falling into what I like to call the “Nobody Cares Anymore” section along with the likes of DMX or your 50 Cent types. What ever happened to that MF Doom & Ghostface album?
4. Jay-Z – The Blueprint – I personally like The Black Album more than The Blueprint but I’m not in the mood to hear everybody’s crap so I’ll let you have this one. HOVA!
3. Outkast – The Love Below – First off let me be clear, I thought Speakerboxxx SUCKED! Andre 3000 did his thing on this and the outcome was their best album since ATLiens. Not to mention that it was the first hip-hop album to win Album of the Year at the Grammys. Can we get another classic please?
2. Kanye West – Graduation – Some would say that College Dropout should rank higher than Graduation, they are WRONG. This album signaled a new direction not only in Kanye’s music (808 & Hearbreaks) but for hip-hop as a whole (emo hip-hop i.e. Kid Cudi). Yeah, he’s an asshole but he’s good at what he does.
1. Jay Dee – Donuts – No album in the past decade has captured the soul and spirit of an artist better than this, and it was all done without him saying a word. The only thing left to say about this album is… TURN IT UP!