Thursday, 20 January 2011

Top Albums of 2010 (Miko)

So here is my list of best albums\mixtapes released in 2010. Rather than just listing the albums, I would say a few words about them as well. This list includes hip hop, grime, reggae, dancehall and soul. The list appears in order of RELEASE DATES.

1. Statik Selektah – ‘100 Proof: The Hangover’. Statik is a MACHINE. I don’t ever see him sleeping because he is always making albums, mixtapes or beats to someone. He is undoubtedly one of the top DJs today if not THE top. His albums feature insane amount of dope MCs and his beats have that magic from the golden era of hip hop, so I’ve got nothing but love for him. In 2010 he released 4 albums and 2 mixtapes, not to mention countless tracks on other cats albums. Here is one of dozens of gems he released in 2010 - ‘Drunken Nights’ feat. Reks, Joe Scudda and JFK:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LB3kXdctsA

2. Freeway & Jake One – ‘The Stimulus Package’. Freeway is from Philadelphia and he’s been in the came nearly a decade. He is recognizable for his beard, because he’s Muslim, and his high pitch delivery (resembles Ghostface Killah). Freeway is associated with Jay-Z’ Roc-A-Fella Records. Jake One is a hip hop producer from Seattle and although his first album was released in 2008, a dope album called ‘White Van Music’, he has been doing music since early nineties. I have been a fan of both of them since the first time I heard about them a few years back. ‘The Stimulus Package’ is pure gold and it has guest appearances from such legends like Raekwon, Beanie Sigal and Bun B to name a few. Freeway and Jake One work very well together and I hope they will make more albums together in the future. Here is a banger from the album ‘She Makes Me Feel Allright’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPadagjL0zg&ob=av2el

and also check this out, its Intro to the album and it shows the album cover, which is one of the coolest I’ve ever seen, good to know people are still innovative with the hard copy of the product:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Q3gAR7Jj8

3. Max Tannone – Mos Dub is a brilliant mix of dub reggae and hip hop. This album has Mos Def’s accapellas from his well-known tracks and dub reggae from well-known artists like King Tubby, Lee Perry, Johnny Osbourne and others. Even the track titles are beautifully integrated together, for example track ‘Ms. Vampire Booty’ - accapella is from Mos Def – Ms. Fat Booty and the beat is from Scientist – Dance of Vampires (there are others samples on the beat, and a lot of production is done, so it’s not as easy as just taking a beat and putting accapella on it). Every track is a masterpiece! Max Tannone has several mixtapes (using the same principal - Jay-Z mixed with Radiohead - Jaydiohead, Talib Kweli mixed with dub – Dub Kweli, Beastie Boys mixed with Beastie Boys – Doublecheck Your Head) and they are all available as free downloads and as free listens on his website:

http://www.maxtannone.com/projects/mosdub/

4. Plan B – ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’. Plan B is a rapper, singer-songwriter, actor and a film director from London, UK. He is hip hop, grime, acoustic and soul artist. ‘DOSB’ is his second album and it tells a story of a fictional character Strickland Banks portrayed by Plan B where he finds fame and then loses everything and goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The album as a whole is like a movie and should be listened from beginning to end because every track is part of a story. The album is a true masterpiece in every sense and Plan B brilliantly mixes together old and new by singing and rapping. It was well received in the UK and Europe and it went triple platinum. I’m sure everyone has heard at least one song from the album (knowingly or not). Here is my favourite ‘Welcome To Hell’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mc31kMOX7Bk

5. NAS & Damian Marley – ‘Distant Relatives’. Neither one needs introducing, but just in case for those of you that have been living under a rock I will say this much. NAS is a hip hop legend from New York City, USA and he’s been in the game since the early nineties’. Damian Marley is a well-established reggae, dancehall artist from Jamaica and he is the son of legendary Bob Marley. The rest you can research yourself (shame on you if you don’t know more)! ‘Distant Relatives’ was released in May 2010 after much anticipation and it sure as hell delivered (it took 2 years to finish). They toured around a lot in 2010 and I had the pleasure of seeing them live as well in the summer. One word to describe – AMAZING. The album is perfect from beginning to end because of deep lyrical content and the beats that are always on point. The album received some serious rotation in my hands, even months after the release. After careful consideration, best track on the album is ‘Patience’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhcPPfJKs8I

6. The Roots – ‘How I Got Over’. The Roots crew is from Philadelphia, USA. The Roots is one of those bands that you might have heard of but not really. Actually they have been around since late eighties and their crew includes legendary members like (one of the best) lyricist Black Thought, (one of the best) drummer ?uestlove and past members like (one of the best) beatboxers Rahzel, (one of the best) bassist Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, lyricist Malik B. and others. I was aware of The Roots since way back, but I truly became a fan when I saw them live for the first time in 2006. They are the greatest band in hip hop, because they use true musical instruments instead of just sampling, Black Thought’s lyrics are always straight up fire and their live shows are magical. I have seen them 4 times now and they never disappoint. In 2010 The Roots released two albums – ‘How I Got Over’ in June and ‘Wake Up!’ with John Legend in September. The latter is mostly covers from the 60’ and 70’ soul music. It is also a good album, but I’m feeling ‘How I Got Over’ more. Enough talk, here’s the best track ‘How I Got Over’ even though I’m tempted to pick ‘Radio Daze’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI4D1QOLGuM&feature=related

7. Durrty Goodz – ‘Born Blessed’ is available as a free download at his official website (http://www.therealdurrtygoodz.com/). Durtty Goodz has roots in Jamaica but grew up in London, UK and he’s classified as a grime artist, but he also touches elements of hip hop and reggae. He comes from a rough background, he spent a year in jail for murder, but he was acquitted, and he’s brother, also a grime artist, ‘Crazy Titch’ is currently serving life for the same crime. Goodz has released several mixtapes and ‘Born Blessed’ is his 4th mixtape. Born Blessed is a lot more hip hop and it is hosted by legendary KRS-One. Whereas his previous mixtape ‘Ultrasound’ (released a year earlier and a must have!) was very grimy. Durrty is considered as the best lyricist in the UK and in my opinion he is. So it’s obvious that he has beef with the likes of Giggs and Wiley. It was hard to choose the best track, so I chose a music video for a single ‘Gunshot’ instead (Sorry, I didn’t choose a track from the mixtape, but ‘Gunshot’ is similar to what ‘Born Blessed’ album is like). It was released as a single just after the release of the mixtape. Enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LooEEkXQTQ8

8. Big Boi – ‘Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty’. Big Boi is a member of Outcast and this is his debut album released in July 2010. Big Boi is known for his superb lyricism and flow. The single ‘Shutterbugg’ was released in May and it peaked at number 10 in the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop and number 13 in the UK R&B Singles charts. I remember the first time I saw the video for ‘Shutterbugg’ on MTV, I had to go on my lap top and watch it again on YouTube and spread it. I dag it straight away, and when the album dropped I dag that even more. The album is a masterpiece and defiantly an album to listen to in the car and bump your head to it. Best video I’ve seen in a while is ‘Shutterbugg’, but the best track I reckon is ‘You Ain’t No DJ’ feat. Yelawolf (althought video is also very cool on this one):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYtwBDZ8c_o&ob=av2el

9. Fat Joe – ‘The Darkside Volume 1’. Fat Joe is well known and respected in both the underground and mainstream scenes. He started in early nineties and nearly 20 years later he still has the ability to come out with an album that feels like his early stuff but mixed with the new (in a good way). Joe is an amazing lyricist and also a good business man. He knows how to keep it ‘real’ and how to ‘make it rain’ as he has collaborated with nearly every artist in the game, from Lord Finesse, Diamond D and KRS-One to Jennifer Lopez, Lil’ Wayne and Akon. When Joe might have been slippin’ a little with his past few albums, he is defiantly on point again with his latest. According to Fat Joe ‘The Darkside Volume 2’ and 3 are also coming in the future after what he is retiring. The whole album is dope as a whole, it was hard to choose a single, so I decided to go with the only video from the album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9gSLI_ZP_k

10. Busy Signal – ‘D.O.B.’. Busy Signal is a dancehall artist from Jamaica. He is well known in Jamaica and U.S. and somewhat in the UK. ‘D.O.B.’ is his third album and it features covers of Phil Collins’ hit from the eighties ‘One More Night’ and Commodores’ hit from the eighties ‘Nighshift’ as well as a track called ‘Busy Latino’ where Busy Signal adds his Jamaican voice to Elvis Crespo’s hit from the nineties called ‘Suavemente’. The album has a lot going for it – it has nicely mixed together old school reggae classics, pop songs, latino music, todays dancehall and even opera. In doing so ‘D.O.B.’ has achieved in creating a great album that should have something for every taste. I chose ‘Summn A Guh Gwaan’ feat. Bounty Killer (who is also Busy Signal’s mentor) as a taster from the album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfGvCtHteaA

11. KRS-One & True Master – ‘Meta-Historical’. KRS-One is probably the most influential MCs in hip hop. He started in the eighties and is still rapping and spreading the message of hip hop. He is also a producer, philosopher, writer, temple of hip hop creator amongst other things. He gives birth to MCs and he also gives abortions. Perhaps one of the most famous beef is between him and rapper Nelly. Anyway, to talk about KRS would take too long, so just listen to the album and you will get some idea. True Master is a producer and he’s associated with Wu-Tang Clan and Guru from the Gang Starr (RIP Guru). ‘Meta-Historical’ has amazing beats throughout and KRS’ lyrics are beautifully executed. I rate the album and I’ve always been and always will be KRS’ supporter but I have to say that sometimes he tends to take the preaching too far. Here’s a sample from the album:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y79QnM1N-wk

12. Rah Digga – ‘Classic’. Everybody knows Nicki Minaj, but very few know Rah Digga. Well they are both female rappers who released new albums in 2010. Nicki released her first, which actually is not that bad, and Rah released her second album (first was in 2000). Rah was a long-time member of Flipmode Squad run by Busta Rhymes. Although she has appeared on tracks over the years, she hasn’t released any albums in 10 years. It was well worth the wait though; ‘Classic’ is as the name suggests A CLASSIC. Rah is considered as the best female rappers. She is a very skilful lyricist even making a lot of established male rappers jealous. It’s a must have album in your collection! Here’s a taster:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m8iwSz-De0

13. Ice Cube – ‘I Am The West’. If you don’t know who Ice Cube is then I would say “Google him bitch!” [His hook from track ‘Urbanian’, but obviously he says ‘me’ instead of ‘him’]. The creator of Gangsta Rap is back again with another album released in September 2010. The album has the same West coast ‘gangstaness’ as he’s always had, but in many ways Cube has grown and when listening to the album I thought “this is the best track on the album” with nearly every track. He’s probably got a few more albums in him but I think he should retire soon, because he is getting a little old for it and it’s a young man’s game. All and all much respect to him and here is a banger from the album ‘Drink the Kool-Aid’ even though lyrically the best track is ‘No country for Young Men’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25wviijhpQk

14. J. Cole – ‘Friday Night Lights’ is available as a free download at his official site (http://www.jcolemusic.com/). Late 2010 the mixtape was released instead of his debut album and it’s made up of tracks that didn’t fit on his debut, which is hopefully dropping this March. J. Cole was discovered by Jay-Z who signed him to his newly formed Roc Nation label as the label’s first artist. Jay-Z signed him after hearing the single ‘Lights Please’. ‘Friday Night Lights’ is Cole’s third mixtape and it is BANGING! If these are just tracks he threw away then I can’t even imagine what he’s debut is going to sound like. One thing is certain – J. Cole is up and coming, the next best thing, and in my opinion the right person to hold the torch for future hip hop. So it’s only appropriate to give this track as an example, ‘Blow Up’ :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p74sRyhPNaU

and because nearly every track on the mixtape is straight up fire, then here is one more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4JJeTXdMHo

15. Ghostface Killah – ‘Apollo Kids’. Killah is one out of nine original members of Wu-Tang Clan and his first solo album was released in 1996. Wu-Tang and its members all together have released too many albums to even count (somewhere around 50). In March 2010 Ghostface also released a collaboration album with Method Man and Raekwon called ‘Wu-Massacre’, but in my opinion ‘Apollo Kids’ released in December 2010 is better. The album has the usual raw Wu elements and well known Ghostface’s sick lyrics and flow. Wu-Tang and its members can hardly ever do wrong, so it’s no wonder that ‘Apollo Kids’ is one of the top bangers of the year. Here’s a taster from the album called ‘Troublemakers’ feat. Raekwon, Method Man, and Redman:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRaJfN24KM0

Here it is my top 15 releases of 2010. Obviously there are a lot of good albums and mixtapes that could have been in the list as well; reggae artists such as Clipton Fearon, Apple Gabriel, Lyricson, Lady Saw, Gentleman, Patrice and hip hop artist such as Termanology, Fashawn, Bun B, Kanye West, Marco Polo and Ruste Juxx etc. There are many many more, but I’ll stop here.

Few albums to look forward to in 2011:

J. Cole’s debut

Durrty Goodz’s debut

KRS-One’s The Return Of The Boom Bip

Talib Kweli’s Gutter Rainbows

Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun’s Monumental

Slaughterhouse’s Slaughterhouse EP

Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers

And who knows, maybe Dr. Dre’s Detox is finally coming out after 10 years or so.

1 comment:

  1. This is some good stuff! Thanks for the YouTube links.

    ReplyDelete