Top 10 Albums of ’10

Here are my picks for the best albums of 2010.

10) Eternia & Moss – At Last

I really wish this album had made it further up the list. Eternia is a fierce emcee who consistently drops some amazing underground hip-hop. Moss is a rising star producer and has done some amazing work this year. Together, they have crafted an amazing album. Well worth the listen.

9) The Left – Gas Mask

Apollo Brown, Journalist 103, and DJ Soko comprise Detroit’s hip-hop collective, The Left. Together they produce straight underground hip-hop with no apologies. The beats are banging, the lyrics are sharp, and this album should be on a lot of Top 10 lists.

8) Shad – TSOL

Shad is an amazingly gifted and talented artist. He continues to top himself with every album he puts out. He has been received critical acclaim for years and is winning over fans across the world. The National Post even picked him as Canada’s Number 1 Rapper. I completely agree with that. This album is amazing!

7) Taylor Swift – Speak Now

There is something refreshingly honest and innocent about Taylor Swift’s music. I bought the deluxe version of this album and enjoy every song on it, even the bonus tracks on Disc 2.

6) Witness – The Everafter LP

This LP is only ten tracks long, but to me, it’s a perfect 10. Witness flows smoothly over jazzy and mellow tracks. It hearkens back to the early 90’s sound that we all loved from the Native Tongue collective. Like the short albums from Murs or Nas’ Illmatic, this album sounds perfect and didn’t need to be any longer than its 26 minutes.

5) Rakaa – Crown of Thorns

This is a solo album from Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples. It captured me from the very first opening beat and rhyme all the way to the end. Rakaa has an energy and passion for hip-hop that shines through on every track that he blesses.

4) Eminem – Recovery

I had almost written Eminem off completely. I’m glad I didn’t. This album is a return to form. It was refreshing to hear Eminem open up and be vulnerable. The album captured me from the opening few seconds and didn’t let me go. There are some great moments that made me laugh out loud, or cheer like I was in front of the stage marvelling at what he was able to do with a lyric. He is definitely one of the best wordsmiths the English language has ever seen.

3) The Roots – How I Got Over

The Roots organic hip-hop jazz sound has grown and developed over the course of nine studio albums. Their latest album is a sonic delight. The drums sound warm and there is piano accompaniment on pretty much every track. It is a sonically beautiful album with sharp lyrics. The Roots never fail to delight and amaze.

2) Kadyelle – Earthworthy

I hadn’t heard this album on my favoruite blogs, podcasts, or radio shows. That might be because it is an independent release from Australia and people might not want to hear a female with an accent doing hip-hop. But good music is good music and this is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Kadyelle raps on hard-hitting beats, she has something to say, and she does it with style. This is underground hip-hop at its best.

1) Dessa – A Badly Broken Code

This is a masterpiece. I don’t throw that word around too often but this album definitely deserves it. Dessa is able to mix singing, rapping, and poignant poetry in this impressive debut album. She has a beautiful voice, sharp lyrics, and an intense delivery. I haven’t been able to stop bumping this album since a reader recommended it in the comments of this blog. I will continue to bump this for years to come as well. Love it!

Just Missed the Cut

Tim McGraw – Southern Voice

While this album was technically released last year, it was one of my most-played albums of 2010. I love the playful lyrics and I especially like how he flips the phrase “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You.” He has an amazing voice and some great songs that I just can’t help but sing along to.

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