These are PERSONAL lists from myself, the 2 Bens, and Mentz. These aren’t based on sales or popularity or review scores, just what we fucked with the most over this decade. As a rule we stuck to one project per artist so our lists are more spread out.
Floyd: Man on the Moon, Vol. II: The Legend of Mr. Rager – Kid Cudi (2010)
This was a very hard decision as I had many fighting for my 10 spot. I ultimately came to this because I’ve probably listened to it more than anything else I was considering and it’s definitely nostalgic to my middle school days, even though there are lots of bad tracks on here. Mr. Rager is still one of the best songs ever though.
Michaels: Sir Lucious Left Foot: the Son of Chico Dusty – Big Boi (2010) [Def Jam]
Big Boi spent most of his career unfairly in the shadows of Andre 3000, but this album displays how much creativity he has on his own. This is just a fun album to listen to. It’s a great album to just casually listen to, but it’s also very rewarding to focus on the complex beats. It’s one the the few hip hop albums that truely sounds like nothing else.
Mentz: Wolf – Tyler the Creator (2013)
A lot of albums could have made this spot but I thought I’d put Wolf here to change things up. I’ve always been a pretty big Odd Future fan so I thought I’d show them some love on this list. I’m not listening to Tyler all the time because it’s just too dark, but I can appreciate his style every once in a while. Rusty is probably my favorite song on the album. Tyler, Earl, and Domo (Besides Frank, three of the best artists in Odd Future) all on one track together is bound to be a classic and their performance on Letterman was hilarious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FDeL7Imi7o)
Buckets: Section .80 – Kendrick Lamar (2011)
This is before Kendrick was a super depressed maniac who spit weird bars about his depression. Keisha song is some dope ass shit, you go inside the life of a hood rat like Floyd’s bitch. I guarantee, you can’t rap Rigamortis all the way through without having an asthema attack after. Prime example that Kendrick is a rap demigod during Rigamortis. This is the beginning of him “putting my dick in the rap industry” Gang
Floyd: Rodeo – Travis Scott (2015)
Hip hop has evolved a lot and this album is the best form of the new party ignorant autotune bullshit to me. Every track on here is hard from beginning to end with 3500, Oh My/Dis Side, and Maria I’m Drunk being the standouts for me. Production is amazing too, album still holds up incredibly well (except Antidote, never wanna hear that again).
Michaels: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West (2010) [Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella]
Probably the most popular Kanye album among the younger crowd, this album silenced all the haters who thought Kanye was done with hip hop. Although the quality drops in the second half of the album imo, Kanye really fires on all cylinders and this album has some of the most memorable features in recent memory.
Mentz: Channel Orange – Frank Ocean (2012)
I was very skeptical about putting this on this list because I’m not even sure if it’s considered hip hop but regardless, this is one of my favorite albums and definitely deserved a top 10 spot. I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t like this album. If we went into Syria and played “Thinking Bout You” we could probably end the war with ISIS.
Buckets: The Documentary 2/2.5– The Game (2015)
“But Buckets this albums just a poor rendition of The Documentary with mainstream poppy beats” STFU THIS SHITS FUCKING NASTY I DONT WANNA HEAR IT. “But Listen”. NO STFU THE GAME RUNS LA AND WILL FUCK YO BITCH HARDER THAN FLOYD, WOULD WHEN HE SEES HIS BLACK BITCH WEARING A SLIGHTLY REVEALING CROP TOP. The Game is a Goat, many slappers are on here. Listen to “100” it makes you feel like a G.
Floyd: Run the Jewels 3 – Run the Jewels (2016)
If you ever listened to Run the Jewels, you just understand. Killer Mike is as good a rapper as anyone ever, and El-P compliments him perfectly, both rapping and with the beats. So many amazing tracks on this one I can’t even make a list because I can’t pick favorites on here (except Legend Has It, that song is ridiculously good). Every project tops their last so I’m sure eventually RTJ 4 will be on here.
Michaels: Summertime 06 – Vince Staples (2015) [Def Jam]
Vince Staples’ dark and dense full length debut is not a “fun” album to listen to. Staples is bleek and honest throughout, but that is when he is at his best. It truely has the feel of a ride through an amusement park in hell. The beats fits Vince’s rapping so perfectly and it makes for one of the best albums of the decade.
Mentz: 90059 – Jay Rock (2015)
Jay Rock is probably my second favorite artist in TDE so of course this had to make the list. Hands down, the best song on the album is “Vice City”. Any time Kendrick, Jay Rock, Q, and Ab Soul get on a song together it’s an instant classic. The world would be a much better place if Black Hippy drop a full album.
Buckets: I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside – Earl Sweatshirt (2015)
Be careful if you listen to this in a dark room or alone at anytime there’s a chance that you could kill yourself, that’s how dark this is. You’ll love it though because his depression and solidarity are somewhat relatable. Te beats are well produced, Inside, Mantra, Am/Radio are sick. Great features and of course great lyrics.
Floyd: My Name is My Name – Pusha T (2013)
Finally the solo Pusha project I always wanted. Clipse is one of my favorite rap groups ever, and since that ended Push hadn’t really found his stride for years until this. Every song he either rappin his ass off getting me hype as fuck (the gravediggaz suicide reference? fucking great) or slow and sad but still great (Hold On). Lyrically it’s classic drug rhymes but to me he does it better than jeezy and gibbs and hov and anyone else. Production on here was great and so were the features. Only bad track is 40 Acres, best are Nosetalgia, Numbers on the Board, and King Push.
Michaels: Undun – The Roots (2011) [Def Jam]
This is one of the best hip hop concept albums ever. It’s hard to believe that the Roots had already been around for almost 20 years when this album dropped. It follows the rise and fall of a criminal in reverse, from his suicide to his rise of crime. The rapping is on point throughout and this is my second favorite Roots record behind Things Fall Apart.
Mentz: King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude – Pusha T (2015)
The second this album starts it is instant heat. “Intro” might be the best intro song on any hip hop album ever. The beat is just unreal and Pusha absolutely kills it. I can’t say this about too many albums but besides Sunshine, I honestly like every song. Untouchable, M.P.A., and M.F.T.R are definitely the best on the album, but the others are basically just as fire.
Buckets: All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ – Joey Bada$$ (2017)
I may be hyping this up because it just came out and I would probably suck Joey Bada$$ dick if the opportunity arose, but this shit hard, check out my review. If u want some songs to turn up, to a level where you can’t feel your extremeidies and belly flopp off the roof of your house just to break your moms white Foldable table, like on some Bills Mafia shit. then I highly recommend listening to Devastated, Ring the Alarm, Temptation, Rockabye Baby.
Floyd: Tetsuo & Youth – Lupe Fiasco (2015)
Lupes first good album in almost a decade and maybe his last ever. Mural is one of the best talent showcases in the history of rap. The record is broken up into 3 parts or “seasons”, it’s got bangers like delivery, angry posse cuts like chopper, and slick production on T.R.O.N. Of course since it’s Lupe you know the lyrics and messages will be all over it and he sounded very invested on here, wish we got this Lupe every time.
Michaels: Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (2014) [Madlib Invazion]
Who knew that a collab between Madlib and a trap rapper would be so good? The contrast between Madlib’s smooth, soulful, beats and Gibbs’s grimy voice works perfectly. Of course there’s also chaotic tracks too like Scarface. This album is incredibly solid from start to finish and has great features from both old and new rappers.
Mentz: Rodeo – Travis Scott (2015)
Such a solid debut album from an artist with great potential. The beats and Travis’ flow go so well together that every song leaves you satisfied. 3500 and Oh My/Dis Side were two of my favorite songs of 2015. Ever since I heard Days Before Rodeo I was hooked. This album solidified Travis as one of the best new rappers and he proved that with Bird in The Trap.
Buckets: Rodeo – Travis Scott (2015)
H-TOWN KNOW WE GON STUNT. This my damn shit, Hella high school nostalgia, bumping Oh My Dis Side after we won the state championship. The luscious production and his auto tuned voice sounds fantastic. He may not drop bars, but he comes up with some catchy shit. Also Anitdote is the song to listen to when your trashed, like I legitimately thought god was talking to me when I heard this
Floyd: Blank Face – ScHoolboy Q (2016)
I didn’t think Q had this in him. A very strong, consistent glimpse at the real lifestyle of a crip. The highs and lows of this album are incredible from Ride Out & Groovy Tony to Black THoughts and Tookie Knows II. Just track by track everything is incredible except Overtime, which Q himself hated but Top Dawg made him put on and get Miguel on it to make it worse. Incredible album.
Michaels: B4.DA.$$ – Joey Bada$$ (2015) [Relentless]
To me this is the ultimate Pro Era record. The beats are real old school but you can play it to a younger crowd and they’ll love it. Joey’s maturity as a rapper really comes out on this album compared to his mixtapes. My favorite tracks on this album are the personal cuts like Curry Chicken and OCB. That is when Joey is at his best.
Mentzer: AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP – A$AP ROCKY (2015)
When this album first dropped, it was the only thing I listened to for like 3 weeks straight. Rocky’s flow is unreal throughout the album. Not to mention that “LPFJ2” and “M’$” are two of the hardest songs I’ve ever heard. I could be watching the scene in Lion King where Mufasa dies (arguably the saddest movie scene ever) and if I hear the LPFJ2 come on my mood immediately switches from suicidally depressed to more pumped up than Malcolm Butler after picking off Russ at the goal line. After listening to LPFJ2 I could probably be convinced to take a punch from Mike Tyson in his prime, that’s how amped I would be. I can’t even listen to it while driving because there’s a good chance I’d crash my car. My point is, that is probably the most hype song I’ve ever heard.
Buckets: Blank Face – ScHoolboy Q
ScHoolboy Q is a fucking savage, the line on dope dealer when he says “we gon fuck yo bitch and send her back to you broke mane” is my persona when listening to most of the records on this. JoHn Muir gives me more life, “I WAS OUT HERE FUCKING HOES AT 14 WHAT IT DO”. This line makes me wish that my old weak body 14 year old self who was exploding sexually and whom was also a part time jerk off maestro, be out here fucking hoes like ScHoolboy Q. It don’t matter because we passing around these hoes now.
Floyd: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West (2010)
This is the best Kanye album ever to me. It raised me in the middle school days and it’s the last work of art before Kanye went Kardashian. Gourgeous, So Appalled, Devil in a New Dress are the highlights with 2 amazing singles in Runaway and All of the Lights. There’s really nothing else to say about this, you know it you’ve heard it. You either love the dark energy he gives you or you prefer happy Graduation Kanye. Gimme this one all day long.
Michaels: Run the Jewels 3 – Run the Jewels (2016) [Run the Jewels inc.]
It’s pretty apparent by now that Killer Mike and El-P were born to make music together. Three albums in and I’m still not sure if they’re capable of releasing a bad song, nevermind album. RTJ 3 is their best and most cohesive album yet, and it has everything you look for in a Run the Jewels record: aggression, humor, emotion, and dope beats.
Mentz: B4.DA.$$ – Joey Bada$$ (2015)
As far as debut albums go, B4.DA.$$ is up there with Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, and The College Dropout. This is probably one the most consistent 17 track albums I’ve ever heard. Ever song is just pure gold. You go from hearing the smooth flow of “Like Me”, then two songs later “Christ Conscious” comes on and your out of your seat dancing like a madman because it goes so hard. Seriously put that shit on and tell me you don’t feel like you could go out and run the Boston Marathon.
Buckets: Malibu – Anderson .Paak (2016)
No one knew who Anderson .Paak was until Dr dre found another no name prodigy and started killing shit. Listen to this on a beach in the summer with a corona in your right hand and, while rceivinging an inverted hand job from a low life thot on your JC Penny beach towel. If I could describe this album in one word:serenity
Floyd: PRhyme – PRhyme (2014)
Wow a rappity lyrical miracle dude (Royce Da 5’9″) and the boom bap king (DJ Premier) made #3 on your list Floyd WTF?!? Listen man this album is listenable for anyone, the features are Ab-Soul, Mac Miller, Common, ScHoolboy Q, Joey Bada$$, MF DOOM, Logic, etc. Young or old if you like rap music in any way, you like beats and rhymes, you will LOVE this album. The deluxe version comes in at a little under an hour and it will feel like the shortest hour of your life. Every time you play it you’ll hear a new bar you missed last time, the beats are hypnotic, there’s not one song I would cut. 10/10
Michaels: The Money Store – Death Grips (2012) [Epic]
I originally wasn’t even going to include this album because it’s so outside the boundaries of conventional hip hop, but this album succeeds in so many ways that other rapper try to succeed in. The ultimate juxtaposition of brash music with catchy hooks and addictive beats, this album just gets better the deeper you dive deep into it. Death Grips are better than anyone at achieving the littles things, while still perfecting the big picture.
Mentz: Good kid, m.A.A.d city – Kendrick Lamar (2012)
To regularly listen to, this is hands down my favorite Kendrick album. Obviously not as lyrical as TPAB, but there aren’t many songs on TPAB that you can just throw on and listen to with your friends. So many songs I could see myself listening to until I’m dead. I can’t wait to be 50 years old and throw “Backseat Freestyle” or “m.A.A.d city” on with my kids in the car and I absolutely murder it. They’ll be looking at each other like “What the fuck did our middle-aged father just do”.
Buckets: Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (2014)
If you’re a hip hop head you’ll definitely appreciate this album. Madlib & Freddie gibbs is a combo for success. Madlibs a legendary producer, and comes out with banger instrumentals that are so great that, it will convince you to stand on the counter in the kitchen of a House party and hit a terriblely executed Kodak Black hand shuffle dance move. Also Freddie Gibbs is the demigod of grimy rap. He has the type of voice that’s so impactful you’ll listen immediately, sorta like when your staring at your phone during a SportsCenter commercial break and you hear a deep ludicrous voice say “What if I told you”. Also Lakers, Knicks, Harolds gets me rock hard everytime I hear it so fucking good.
Floyd: Piñata – Freddie Gibbs & Madlib (2014)
Freddie Gibbs is one of the hardest rappers in the game. Combine him with one of the best producers ever (he produced “No More Parties in LA”)well known or not, and it’s just great track after great track. Just watch this shit and know that the rest of the album is just as good.
P.S. That Scarface jacket is sick and I’ve wanted it for years.
Michaels: DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar (2017) [Top Dawg/Interscope/Aftermath]
Yes I can place an album that released less than a week ago as the second best hip hop album of the decade. The production and lyricism of this album is so profound it demands recognition upon just one listen. It may not be as grand and To Pimp a Butterfly or as cinematic as Good Kid Maad City, but this album is the ultimate introspective into the mind of Kendrick Lamar. It’s subtlety abrasive and uncomfortably provacative while still being a complexly mainstream.
Mentz: Acid Rap – Chance the Rapper (2013)
The fact that a mixtape made it as the number 2 on my list should be saying something. I could throw this on at any occasion and could listen to it fully through. “Good Ass Intro” might be a top 5 intro song of all time and the album only gets better from there. When I first heard of Chance, I don’t think I played anything but Acid Rap and 10 Day for like a month straight. This is probably my most listened to album/mixtape and I’m not ashamed of it.
Buckets: We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service – A Tribe Called Quest (2016)
Another collective of hip hop grandparents who are still coming for that ass. This albums beats are sick. I personally appreciate Black Spasmodic and Killing Season. I will Mili Rock to those songs on. The regular. Also this album has like every feature you want on an album on here. And all the featured artists body it. Its dope. Rip phife dog. We get to hear him on a few tracks which is tight. Lost Somebody makes you want to cry, but it’s relatable
Floyd: To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar (2015)
One of the best albums of all time to me. Just otherworldly produced, the lyrics hit, every little skit, every side vocal piece is perfect. Over 2 years later it still sounds fresh unlike Kendrick’s other albums to me. No weak songs but my favorites are King Kunta, Institutionalized, Alright, and “i” (only the album version).
Michaels: Atrocity Exhibition – Danny Brown (2016) [Warp]
The best hip hop album of the decade (imo) also happens to be one the most boundary pushing. After appealing to mainstream with his major label debut Old, Danny Brown went the complete opposite direction to paint his dark, twisted masterpiece. Every track on this thing is an experience that almost can’t be described. Most of the beats are so weird I can’t imagine any other rapper hearing them and being like “I could rap over that,” but Danny turns them into perfection.
Mentz: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West (2010)
This album is pure genius. Kanye a solidified himself as a “God” like he always says he is. From start to finish this album is perfection. Without even listening to it, seeing Jay Z, Pusha, Cudi, RZA, Raekwon, John Legend, Bon Iver, and Beyonce, you can tell how versatile this album is going to be. When I die please play this album from start to finish at my funeral. Nothing would satisfy me more than having my closest friends and family hear the G.O.A.T saying, “I don’t need your pussy bitch I’m on my own dick” while mourning my death.
Buckets: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West (2010)
So Fucking good, slapper central throughout. Kanye throws some Etherial ass angel voices all over the place with great beats. This is a 10 ten album ever made bro, this is just so hard my lord. I want this played front to back at my wedding as my thotty wife gives me an unforgettable lap dance to Devil in A New Dress. I LOVE THE OLD KANYE.