Best Rap Albums of the 10s

The 70s, the decade of the first block parties and the first projects. 80s, with the first songs on the charts and distribution in the States. In the 1990s, complete approval, formalization of the genre, its expansion. In the first decade of the 2000s, foreign conquests, world charts, rappers as icons. The history of hip hop has moved slowly through history, and from the streets of New York, from that first party signed by Dj Kool Herc on August 11, 1973, it has become our everyday life forty years later, in the last decade that separates us from the instant completion of this great history. Dozens are those in which rap (and trap below) become not only works in the charts, but also the mainstream of culture. It was in the 10s that rap finally entered the everyday life of our pop lexicon. Rap is ending its journey of conquest and is becoming the dominant culture of the Western world from a subculture. Of course, he left behind a lot (in particular, the political and social values ​​from which he was born), but the great American dream came true.

After attempting the impossible feat of charting the most important rap records of the 80s, 90s and 2000s, we’ve made one final effort: the best albums of the 10s. The rules are always the same: no artist can have two solo albums on the charts (otherwise it would be enough to split the charts between Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar), and the charts are in chronological order. This is the last try, let’s go.

Drake established himself because he was able to bring a new type of rap artist to market. Take care, when viewed from this point of view, is the most striking example. This is far from gangsta rap or street hype, this is an emotional, sentimental record, both in sound and in lyrics (listen Marvin’s room to the end and you will understand). Drake shows himself as a vulnerable young black boy, the opposite of how the scene wanted to show itself up to that point, thus creating a new model of a rapper who can talk openly about love, family, disappointments. The record he’s taking with Nicki Minaj, Andre3000, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd features the title track (and associated video) with Rihanna, built on a Gil-Scott Heron sample remixed by Jamie XX for marks a new fundamental point of evolution in the history of the genre.

Watch the throne

Jay-Z and Kanye West


What happens when you combine the two most influential rappers of their generation? Answer: Watch the throne. The collaborative album comes during Kanye’s heyday, the four years he’ll be releasing. My beautiful dark twisted fantasy AND jeezus and maybe this is Jay-Z’s last great record. Yeh and Jay-Hova pass mics to each other as a proven duo, while Kanye-led production (featuring Mike Dean, Neptunes, Q-Tip, Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver) contributes to classic tracks like How Niggas in Paris (who has two billion plays on Spotify today, to be clear) Otis (with samples by Otis Redding), Lit Off with Beyoncé and Not a single church in the wild which features a very young Frank Ocean and is accompanied by a sensational video clip directed by Romain Gavras. The artistic direction is somewhere between Riccardo Tisci and Virgil Abloh. The best collaborative album in the world of rap? Let the fight begin.

Nice guy, MAAD City

Kendrick Lamar

year 2012

Choose between Nice guy, MAAD City, pump the butterfly AND A CURSE. it is like asking a mother to choose one of her three children. Myself pump the butterfly (2015) – a record introducing him to the goth of American rap and A CURSE. (2017) – the one that guarantees him a Pulitzer Prize, Nice guy, MAAD City it’s the one that gives rise to everyone, the one that lets us know the real Kendrick, lets us see the full potential of the Compton rapper. Compton is precisely the central theme of the album, which is executive produced by another of his sons, Dr. Dre, becoming both the subject and context of Kendrick’s dense and politicized rap, which from now on will become the black voice of his generation.

Ok, everyone here was expecting what for many is the rap masterpiece of this century, My beautiful dark twisted fantasy. But no, you can find us. jeezus. And this is not a gesture to piss you off – I swear. Maybe. Innovative, futuristic, unpredictable, jeezus it’s everything that hasn’t been done – or rather, everything that should never have been done in rap until now. And that this was done by the most important artist of the last twenty years, the one who at that time had something to lose (jeezus follows the highly acclaimed MBDTF extension) makes it even bigger. At production, Kanye assembles a dream team to bring to life his idea of ​​minimalism, built on experimental and often distorted electronics: Rick Rubin and Mike Dean at the helm, as well as Daft Punk, Arca, Hudson Mohawke, Travis Scott, Gesaffelstein, Lunic, Brodinsky at machine tools. And writing by Frank Ocean and Bon Iver. Just to drop the name. So, before you is a rap album that smells of industrial, techno, acid and IDM. The first four songs seem like a masterpiece: In sight, black skinheads, I’m God AND New slaves. Plus: Art Direction by Virgil Abloh.

coloring book

Chance the Rapper


IN coloring book First of all, it’s a few songs. Not rap songs, but songs built with care and attention. You can feel all Chano’s love for music (“music is the only thing we have,” he sings in All we have, intro with Kanye West), for family and for god. In its own way, it can be considered a Christian rap album stripped of street clichés, an epiphany after a difficult period for the Chicago rapper. There are hooligansNo problem, Mixtapes, All night long with the phenomenal production of Kaitranada) of course, but the most interesting are the more enlightened tracks such as these two blessings (especially the second chorale with Ty Dolla In, Anderson Paak, BJ Chicago team, Rory and Jamila Woods) and touching Same drugs. And there’s also room for dear friend Justin Bieber.

Divine Feminine

Mac Miller


Divine Feminine this is the “medium disc” of the golden age of the Pittsburgh rapper, who released three albums between 2015 and 2018 (we could very well choose one of the other two for this ranking), very solid, because GO:OD AM (2015) Divine Feminine (2016) Swimming (2018) and which will end just a month after the last one was published due to an overdose of cocaine, fentanyl and alcohol, which will lead to the death of Mac Miller. An inspirational record, some say it’s all about the new relationship with Ariana Grande (but she’ll be the one to claim that the only song dedicated to her is Sindarella), in which Mac Miller confirms that he is comfortable becoming a rapper-singer capable of doing black music (there is funk, soul, jazz – listen crap! to get into the mood) in a personal and vulnerable way. Featuring Anderson Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, Ty Dolla $ign and CeeLo Green, the album completes the album, which plays from start to finish without skipping a beat. It’s still a way to remind us of a talent that still had so much to say.

flower boy

Tyler, Creator


In recent years, rap has begun searching for its roots, returning to funk and soul. Into the groove One of the first to take this path in reverse, but with ideas firmly rooted in the future of what hip-hop could be, was Tyler, the Creator. flower boy is Tyler’s fourth studio album, released six years after the terrific goblins and it became a watershed in the artist’s discography, favoring hot pieces that combined computer beats with played analog instruments (primarily chorus-full guitars, which would then create a genre of its own). Tyler also offers a different take on the rapper, finally self-deprecating and covertly weird, with an aesthetic that rewards pastel colors (very different from what we’ve seen up to this point) stolen with both hands from Generation Z. Former Odd Future (collective, from which Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt also came) is a transition to adulthood – and from plays to songs – then consecrated Igor AND Call me if you get lost.

big fish theory

Vince Staples


When you have production visionaries like SOPHIE, Jimmy Edgar, Flume and Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver), it’s hard to limit the record to rap. Inspired by Detroit techno and UK Garage, big fish theory sets the stage for Vince Staples with avant-garde beats inspired by field recordings, metal percussion, deep bass (see below). Alyssa Interludes, Yes, right, Crabs in a bucket): “We are making the music of the future, this is my Afrofuturism,” he says. The album also features Damon Albarn, Kendrick Lamar (on the most successful song Yes, right, co-produced by SOPHIE and Flume), Kylo Kish, Ty Dolla $ign and ASAP Rocky. After jeezusthe most advanced record of the 10s.

Invasion of personal space

Cardi B


The first and so far only album released by Cardi B is a very clear statement of who the new queen of the American scene is. Invasion of personal space comes after two mixtapes – Gangsta Bitch Music Volume 1 AND 2 – and already from the first single Bodak Yellow aim straight for the first place in the standings. Cardi raps like no other (how many doppelgängers have appeared since this album?): she has fluidity, rhymes and an unmistakable personality. Then the drive has enough intelligence to piece together the hottest names of the moment (Migos for DripChance the Rapper for Better lifeKeilani for Ring21 Savage for Bartier Cardisouth beyond She is bad and SZA for I do), but above all to mix genres such as classic rap, pop, trap. But Cardi is also the first to come on the wave of the Latin trap first, accomplishing the feat, I like it, with two of the most important names in contemporary Latin American music, Bad Bunny and J Balvin. A rap record highly acclaimed at the time, able to anticipate major trends in the genre in later years.


Travis Scott


Least listened to song Astroworld It has 150 million streams on Spotify. most played sick mode (5-minute single, no choruses and three tempo changes) has almost two billion. It’s true, of course, that the numbers don’t say much, but to explain the scale of Travis Scott (someone who played Fortnite to over 27 million live-connected players), we also have to go through that. Discovered by Kanye West in 2012 (and as part of the production team, he will jeezus), Travis Scott has managed – like his master – to build a cult following around him unlike any other in the past decade. IN Astroworld many others include Frank Ocean, Drake, Kid Cudi, James Blake, The Weeknd directed by Mike Dean, Tame Impala, Thundercat and Scott himself. It’s not the record that sanctifies the trap (this will be Migos’ decade), but the one that will lead Travis Scott to become the most important trapper of his generation.

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