Sophia's Favorite Seven Albums of the Decade
Charlamagne tha God commented in a 2013 Vlad TV interview that another golden era was occurring in Hip Hop. I completely agreed then and looking back in hindsight, I especially agree with him now as well.
Despite all the scrutiny and patronizing nonsense mainly from the older generations of Hip Hop about “mumble rap”, the 2010s established a fresh, new era of sound that will forever set itself apart from any era of Hip Hop. We saw the rise of modern trap music where producers like Metro Boomin and Southside reigned supreme to give artists from Future to Yung Bans to Thugger the ability to flow ever so versatile on songs. Never forget when Chicago’s gritty, hardcore drill music flooded the airwaves of Hip Hop in the early 2010s that produced stars like Chief Keef and G Herbo. A gang of lyricists like Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Benny the Butcher, and of course more, stepped in to carry the torches of gifted wordsmiths and combat contemporary Hip Hop’s criticism of a lack of substance and sophistication to the art form.
Thanks to the global exposure that social media provided; this era was also the first time in Hip Hop where artists and producers could take complete control of their careers without a middle man or major label to propel them into the spotlight. A producer from the middle of nowhere in Utah can sell a hot enough beat to Lil Uzi just from the power of the internet (that did not happen, just an example). The unprecedented freedom for anyone to make music using software like Fruity Loops and posting it online to a chance of it blowing up is definitely an achievement that should be celebrated … even though it gives way to oversaturation and “industry plants” but that’s another conversation.
That being said ! I don’t want to bore anyone with a completely bias “Top 10 Best Albums of the Decade” list especially since you may have already read Thomas’s ALRIGHT list. So just like any rap fan I’m going to write a completely bias but close to heart list of my favorite seven albums from this decade with no order.
Take Care by Drake
I think it’s easy to say that Take Care was one of those albums that came out and impacted all of us indirectly or directly. You didn’t have to be going through a tough break up to feel in your bones the soft, melancholy words of the humble Drake back then. In my opinion, although Thank Me Later was stellar also, Take Care really broke through Drake’s career and positioned him at the forefront of superstars that would dominate the decade. Marvin’s Room is a classic that all of us have played at our lowest points.
Watching Movies with the Sound off by Mac Miller
Easily one of the most slept on albums of 2013 partly due to its overshadowing by Born Sinner and Yeezus since they all dropped on the same day. Nonetheless an amazing sophomore effort by Mac Miller where he left behind his frat boy raps without looking back and displayed to the world how actually talented he is. The mixture of witty, comedic lyrics but also thought out and beautiful songs like Aquarium and Objects in the Mirror, Mac Miller gave us a masterpiece of work and exciting features. Also can’t ignore the peculiar but masterful production on this album as well.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West
What is there more to say about this album ? It was a classic, that’s it.
Come Over When You’re Sober by Lil Peep
I remember hearing this album for the first time and being like ‘wow this is nuts’. Lil Peep was a rockstar and his music announced it for him. My ears have never experienced such a combination of Emo, Punk, and Hip Hop that sounded so welly composed and I honestly believe there isn’t anything that matches what Lil Peep created. I know a lot of artists voice their suicidal urges on songs but Lil Peep did it in such a nonchalant but also emotion-driven style that it was hard not to understand how he felt. Just an extremely great project and smokeasac did a tremendous job on the production.
Pink Friday by Nicki Minaj
I don’t know any woman who was a teenager when this album came out that cannot recite the words of at least THREE songs word for word on this album. Nicki Minaj came out where there was this gaping hole in rap that no ( I hate to say it) female rapper claimed, not at a mainstream/superstar level at least. Nicki Minaj filled this void and exploded onto the scene with Young Money almost out of nowhere and this album was the perfect album to do it with. One of the best debut albums from any female rapper that will always be in the conversation for highly successful albums of this decade.
Indicud by Kid Cudi
This is another album that I believe did not get as much credit as it may have deserved. It was clear that Kid Cudi was attempting to expand and experiment with his sound on this LP and I enjoyed the hell out of every second of it. As a big Kid Cudi fan, those wails and hums on this album were more than fitting and electric. The out of genre features from HAIM and Father John Misty elevated the album’s value as well and made those respective songs flamboyant and exceptional. Cudi was in his comfort zone and props to him for continuing to create such an elegant and different album of the time.
good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
"Good Kid Maad City" will always be dear to my heart because Kendrick’s age in the narration of the album matched mine at the time as well. Speaking of the narration, those skits were resonating and timeless which made GKMC’s authenticity so unique and personal. Every single track not only mirrored Kendrick’s reality but also contained relatable sentiment that his listeners could empathize with and cherish with every beat. Songs like “Backseat Freestyle” and “m.A.A.d City” made you bounce and bob your head in the car with the homies but there were songs like “Real” and “Good kid” that made you sit down and reflect on the words of Kendrick. All around classic album that iconically made the purple van forever a symbol of it.