25th February 2020
Dami Oguntoyinbo & Markus Renebuss




After discussion and debating, Markus and I have decided to curate a list each of what we believe are the Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of the last decade.
As opposed to usual, we’ll aim to carry an objective view throughout this process, considering everything we possibly can.

This list will be structured in order of 1 being the best to 10.


10 – Dami

Goblin is Tyler The Creator’s debut studio album, released in 2011. Impact is the main attribute of this album; a therapy session and a narrative in the form of music.
Goblin is in the lane of hype and chill, if an album could sound bi-polar, this would be it.
Goblin is Gold in the US.

Dami; I’ve entered Goblin 10th in my list because of the impact and influence caused from this album. It’s also really good, Tyler has progressed to making much higher quality of music as of late.
But his aesthetic at the time of this album, his style, his influence in the next wave of artists under his generation.
The hype he brought with him from LA to London;
Kind of responsible for introducing Frank Ocean to the people,
But mainly his message and style is what people gravitated to, he was unapologetically himself, the biggest reason for Supreme’s hype.
This album was an outcast in Hip-Hop when it dropped, but he had the kids on his side.


9 – Dami

Oxymoron is the third studio album by ScHoolboy Q and released in 2014 and probably his most cherished project by his fans.
Oxymoron has gangsta raps, party raps, raps4women, drug raps, pimpin’ raps, fun raps a cult classic rap album in every way.
This album went Platinum in the US.

Dami; I’ve put ScHoolboy Q’s Oxymoron at 9th because it’s certainly a cult classic and I’d say a classic Hip-Hop album but I guess there’s room for debate.
In terms of raps… this album has it, it’s a versatile “rap” album and Q doesn’t miss a beat throughout.
But tracks such as Hell of a Night and Man of the Year were able to breakthrough to mainstream media and prove big on the festival stage, whilst Q still gave us raw ScHoolboy flows throughout the rest of the project.


8 – Dami

Rick Ross’ fifth studio album; God Forgives, I Don’t was released in 2012. This album alternated through the vibe of a billionaire mogul and the vibe of a trap dealer.
This album includes a beautiful selection of instrumentals and features such as; Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Ne-Yo, André 3000, Meek Mill, Omarion, Usher, Drake to present to the people a Hip-Hop classic.
God Forgives, I Don’t went Gold in the US.

Dami; I’ve entered this album at eighth because of such a wonderful selection of instrumentals within an album and every track dealt with justice. Live band instrumentalists on half of the tracks promote the feeling of lavishness, such as Maybach Music IV, Sixteen, Amsterdam, though we can experience the heavy drums, southern grit and trap on tracks like Hold Me Back and So Sophisticated.
But to use the list of artists above (also including; Elijah Blake, Wale & Stalley). I can confidently say Ross fits each in perfectly, not one track sounds out of place.
(If i was being subjective, this would be in my top 5!)


7 – Dami

Dirty Sprite 2, Future’s third studio album, released in 2015. This album is a classic in Hip-Hop let alone Atlanta, the city that’s taken the drivers seat for hip-hop essentially in the latter stages of this decade, DS2 led this wave, trap music, those heavy drums, southern sound and melodising over these beats.
DS2 went 2x Platinum in the US

Dami; I’ve entered Dirty Sprite 2 at seventh because its a trap masterpiece, although it doesn’t really travel outside the bounds of trap, it’s versatile within its sound of trap.
However, the side of hip-hop that’s so glorified, nightlife, diamonds, style, women, this album sees to this wave, the classic attributes of hip-hop evolved into a new sound.
This record was also running the clubs for a little while around it’s release, people wanted to feel like Future when they spent a night out.


6 – Dami

ASTROWORLD, a concept album. The concept has translated with ease. Sonically you can hear the concept of this album from the cover, the synths and sounds, the name, it fits.
There’s a variety of sonics in the main body of trap and southern drums, within this album, it’s a psychedelic trip through Astroworld.
ASTROWORLD is 3x Platinum in the US.

Dami; I’ve put Astroworld sixth on the list and my only late entry coming from the last 3 years of the decade (2017,18,19). In what I believe to be a disappointing end to the decade, Astroworld was extremely refreshing as a Hip-Hop album as it put the listener into the artist’s world (pardon the pun) literally.
Travis considered every detail from faint samples of Tame Impala to acute ad-libs from Quavo, and each detail comprises Astroworld; a concept that is extremely easy to digest and understand. You could imagine how the live show would be just by taking in this album.


5 – Dami

A$AP Rocky’s second Studio Album At.Long.Last.A$APreleased in 2015 is again a masterpiece, timeless bangers such as LPFJ2 stand and this album helped Rocky establish his brand image and most importantly, his aesthetic.
ALLAwent 1x Platinum in the US.

Dami; This is the album Rocky used to address that chip on his shoulder. He’s previously stated that when making his debut album, he wanted to prove to people he can break out of his “underground image”.
ALLA; his sophomore album, Rocky was able to be completely free with no mental barriers holding him back and this resulted in a masterpiece. An album that alternatively reaches psychedelic places of indie and shows Rocky’s diversity in sound and flows as well.
Moments like Jukebox Joints flipped timeless samples, Rocky’s aesthetic was extremely vintage.


4 – Dami

Kendrick Lamar has hit us again; To Pimp a Butterfly. A Beautiful Jazz-Rap fusion and masterpiece.
The essence of black music in the form of the blues, jazz and westcoast funk steers the aura of this album and this arguably hit with a deeper impact.
This album went 1x Platinum in the US and won a Grammy Award.

Dami; Something personal yet not as descriptive as Good Kid Maad City, if GKMC is a Biopic about Kendrick’s life, this album is a documentary.
The debate holds if this is better than my 1st choice and subjectively, I’m still conflicted but objectively, the reason I’ve placed this at #4 is because I believe as a listen from start to finish in the context of Hip-Hop, GKMC is easier. However, that takes nothing away from this musical masterpiece.
I also believe this album left a huge impact the year it dropped, the subject matter and political stance was significant at the time, and the messages still stand.
This album is timeless music and undoubtedly a classic.


3 – Dami

Kanye West; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was released at the beginning of the last decade; 2010, arguably Kanye West’s best album. This a masterpiece from top to bottom, Kanye really explored his versatility in sound and samples through this album.
This album has gone 2x Platinum in the US, won a Grammy award and features the likes of Rihanna, Jay-Z, John Legend, Rick Ross… the list goes on.

Dami; This album came at the beginning of the decade and again continued the shift that 808s & Heartbreaks begun. Taking Hip-Hop to alternative zones, moments like Devil In a New Dress and Runaway, 10 years later sounds as good as they did the 1st time I was amazed by them,
others like So Appalled and Dark Fantasy have grown on me through the years. The point being that this music is timeless.


2 – Dami

Nothing Was the Same; Drake’s third studio album released in 2013, the album went 4x Platinum in the US, and 3x Platinum in Canada.
NWTS came off of Take Care, Drake had perfected his balance by NWTS, Take Care is a cult classic, but in the overall circles of hip-hop, it recieves mixed reviews, also, the longevity of Take Care is disappointing.

Dami; I’ve put Drake, Nothing Was the Same at number 2, an album that has aged magnificently.
Drake had just reached the top of the game before releasing this album, this album cemented his spot as a Hip-Hop legend. In this album he was able to show superb versatility, R&B, Trap, Boom Bap, all at a high quality for each genre. Many people felt that Take Care was Drakes best album but have warmed to NWTS as it endures longevity.
Drake found equilibrium and balance within this album and established himself at number 2 for me.


1 – Dami

Good Kid Maad City, Kendrick’s second studio album released in 2012.
Good Kid Maad City went 3x Platinum in the US, a motion picture hip-hop album, a story from start to finish. Capturing the nostalgia of Kendrick’s youth as a product of Compton’s community, the title suggests; Good Kid, Maad City.

Dami; Good Kid Maad City is probably my favourite album, from start to finish an audio motion picture. The reason I’ve put this at number one is because objectively I think people can debate that this is Kendrick’s best album. Snubbed by Macklemore in the grammys, it’s still very strong but songs like Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe and Maad City still get played in any setting they’re intended for, the album passes the test of time and when listened to from top to bottom. Kendrick’s transition from young and dumb to a man is beautiful to listen to.




10 – Markus

Because the Internet; Childish Gambino’s 2nd album released in 2013 is another masterpiece. This album references it’s contemporary climate; 2013, the internet, Worldstar, Trolls.
Gambino has been one to reach for the essence of music, this album has live instrumentals as well as computerised instrumentals, a reference to the internet.
Because the Internet went Gold in the US and Platinum in Canada.

Markus; After his major label debut in 2011 with Camp, Donald had a lot to prove and he did just that with Because The Internet. Aside from having numerous hit singles, introducing us to Chance The Rapper and receiving a Grammy nomination, this album put Childish Gambino in a league of his own, setting him apart from everyone.
His flows were diverse, his song writing hit a new high, his delivery was befitting and while still wacky at times his lyrics witty and confident. It introduced the world to Donald Glover and different sides of him, cementing his place in pop culture.


9 – Markus

Lil Wayne delivered the 4th instalment to his legendary album series and did not disappoint.
Tha Carter IV released in 2011 was another stamp on the game from Wayne and another classic album from the artist. Recruiting the likes of Drake, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Bruno Mars and many more.
This album went 2x Platinum in the US.

Markus; Return from the prison with the 4th instalment of the iconic Carter was a success. While having a couple of lacklustre moments like the lazy sounding Intro or the cheesy So Special and How To Hate, Lil Wayne fully overcompensated with songs like 6’7 Foot, President Carter, John and It’s Good.
The albums tracklist boasts some of the most iconic rap songs this decade and even while sounding commercial Wayne’s personality shines through the songs, giving us lines like “Bitch real G’s move in silence like lasagne”. Come on now.


8 – Markus

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Markus; “I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip-flops” was the first thing we heard and as soon as I heard it, I knew he had a classic with this one.
DS2 was the pinnacle of trap music in 2015 and a career defining project for Future. This album is crammed with heavy bangers and street anthems that give you stank face throughout the most part of the hour. You can still play Stick Talk, Fuck Up Some Comas and Thought It Was a Drought at a function and get the same reaction they would receive in 2015.


7 – Markus

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Markus; Oxymoron and Blank Face should both be on this list because of how good they are, but this time Oxymoron takes the cake. All throughout the album, from Gangsta to Fuck LA, you get a taste of Q’s aggression, passion and pain. Tales from the hoover crip hit hard on records like Blind tHreats while smoothly transitioning into summer party anthems like Hell of A Night.
Songs like Hoover Street and Prescription/Oxymoron show some of ScHoolboy’s best songwriting, records like Man Of The Year give us time defining hits.


6 – Markus

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Markus; A$AP Rocky changed the game the year he burst onto the scene and this album was the continuation of that. After a hit heavy debut he wanted to prove to the world what a great artist he was. From Holy Ghost to L$D to LPFJ2 all the way to Everyday, Rocky showcases amazing versatility and immaculate penmanship.
If it wasn’t for Kendrick’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” this would definitely be the project of the year.
His delivery was flawless, his hooks hit hard and the guests complemented the songs superbly.


5 – Markus

Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap was actually released as his sophomore mixtape originally. However, an accurate description would be calling it a “free album”.
Released in 2013, this mixtape changed Chance’s settings,
this mixtape was able to extend the landscape of alternative rap and bring in many more fans of the culture, also, though originally released in 2013, once re-released in 2019 for streaming services, it reached #5 in the Billboard 200 however no certifications as it’s a free album.

Markus; First of all, I don’t care what anyone says or what the official status of this project is, this is not a mixtape, it’s an album. It should have been Grammy nominated. It was better than Chance’s mixtape that actually did win the golden gramophone. Bone chilling transitions from Pusha Man to Paranoia, to the obnoxiously brilliant Juice. From the aggressively sentimental Everybody’s Something to the dreamy, introspective Acid Rain it was amazing.
One could argue there are no weak spots on Acid Rap, and one could very well be right.


4 – Markus

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Markus; After a crazy 2009, Kanye started off the new decade with a bang. Some people argue that this is Kanye’s best album and while I don’t agree, it is definitely a classic with damn near every track being a stand out moment.
The production on Devil In A New Dress is soulful, the verse from Nicki Minaj on Monster is fearless & raw and Runaway might just be the best song I have ever heard from Kanye West which is a hard list to top.


3 – Markus

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Markus; Undoubtedly Drake’s best work to this day. If anyone ever questions Drakes rapping ability, go no further than the first track; as Tuscan Leather just might be the best intro for an album last decade.
Having smashes like Started From The Bottom and All Me alongside From Time and Just Hold On We’re Going Home gives us the perfect Drake album.
A balance between rapping like he has something to prove and being in his singing bag.
The luxurious braggadocio and self-reflective records match each other beautifully. This album is a showcase of Drake doing it all – just hits, no misses.


2 – Markus

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Markus; I usually try to shy away from calling album’s a classic just after it drops but when Kendrick released this everyone knew what time it was. The album that was snubbed for a Grammy, the album that made people look at Kendrick as if he was the second coming of 2Pac, the album that made Drake get sensitive. Tracks like The Art Of Peer Pressure, Money Trees and m.A.A.d city are timeless classics that will sound just as good the 100th time you’ve heard them.


1 – Markus

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Markus; If Good kid, m.A.A.d. City is a movie, this album is a book, and it’s the best book to hit stores in the 2010’s.
While not as easily digestible as its predecessor, To Pimp A Butterfly is an audacious masterpiece that not only challenged the future, it influenced the sound of hip-hop and gave us one of the most lyrically polished records of all time.
The mixture of spoken word on the outros, with the evocative verses laid on the brilliantly detailed jazzy production left me no choice but to put this album at the top of the list.




Honourable Mentions

Dami

  • Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
  • Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV
  • Earl Sweatshirt – Doris

Markus

  • Chief Keef – Finally Rich
  • Danny Brown – Old
  • Travi$ Scott – Astroworld

One thought on “Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of the Decade (2010 – 2019)”

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