The Best Albums of the 2010s (In My Expert Opinion)
Here's my list of MY FAVORITE albums of the 2010s. You may agree, disagree, or get put on to something you totally missed. Either way, I'm glad you made it to 2020. Be sure to check out my dope as Decade Wrap-Up mix featuring some of my favorite songs of the decades as well as some unforgettable moments.
DAMN - Kendrick Lamar
Notable Songs: DNA, Element, Fear, Duckworth
Legendary Impact: This album won a Pulitzer Prize. Need I say more? King Kung Fu Kenny killed it with this album from front to back (or back to front if you listen to it backwards.)
Take Care - Drake
Notable Songs: Marvin's Room, Lord Knows, The Motto
Legendary Impact: Introducing the mainstream to a hungry The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar, along with winning his first Grammy.
Nothing Was The Same - Drake
Notable Songs: Started from the Bottom, Worst Behavior, Pound Cake
Legendary Impact: This album was EVERYWHERE! Out of 15 songs, 13 are legit bangers, and Drake proved he was top tier.
If You're Reading This It's Too Late - Drake
Notable Songs: Know Yourself, Energy, 10 Bands
Legendary Impact: At this point, Drake was the fuckin man. He dropped this out of nowhere Beyonce style, and had banger after banger. Then, everything went left when Meek Mill revealed that Drake had a ghostwriter, then released the reference tracks. This was pivotal. Drake responded with not 1, but 2 diss tracks back to back, which has since become the standard. This also sparked a wave of hilarious Meek Mill memes and probably contributed to him and Nicki Minaj breaking up. Nonetheless, many consider this the first asterisk in Drake's career.
Beyonce - Beyonce
Notable Songs: Drunk in Love, Flawless, Partition
Legendary Impact: The surprise release of this album broke the internet, and people have been following her blueprint ever since. This was also the first time we got full-on sexy Beyonce over the hardest beats. This also started the Beyonce trend of releasing videos for every song. This was the album that proved to anyone who didn't know, that she's the shit.
Anti - Rihanna
Notable Songs: Work, Consideration, Kiss It Better
Legendary Impact: This was the first Rihanna album that wasn't pop, and it was a fantastic representation of the dope icon that she became. Of course this album was successful, but somehow it was still slept on and not given it's proper credit. Because of that, she's been sitting on her follow-up album for years, and the ANTIcipation has reached a fever pitch.
Good Kid M.A.A.D City - Kendrick Lamar
Notable Songs: Backseat Freestyle, Money Trees, Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe
Legendary Impact: This will probably go down as the greatest major label debut ever. Between the album cover(s), skits, and songs, the was a movie in your speakers, and Kendrick went from a good kid to the fuckin man.
To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar
Notable Tracks: Wesley's Theory, King Kunta, Alright
Legendary Impact: Kendrick completely changed the formula of what a follow-up album could be by keeping it in-house, using live instruments, bringing in funk legends, and being unapologetically Black.
New Amerykah Part 2 - Erykah Badu
Notable Songs: 20 Feet Tall, Window Seat, Turn Me Away (Get Munny)
Legendary Impact: This whole project was masterful. The guerrilla-style video for Window Seat was amazing, the artwork was so Badu, and she proved that she is the GOAT when it comes to neo-soul. Also, they were legit playing Window Seat on Delta flights! If that's not dope I don't know what is.
Kush and OJ - Wiz Khalifa
Notable Tracks: Mezmerized, Good Dank, In the Cut, Glass House
Legendary Impact: Before this mixtape, Wiz just another underground artist, but afterwards, he became the poster boy 420. This was the first time I downloaded music without knowing anything about it, and this was possible because #KushandOJ was trending on Twitter forever! The music definitely warranted all the attention, from the beats to the melodies to the features. This was also the first time a lot of people heard of Big Krit, who laid down a classic verse that is spit word for word by the audience every time he performs it. What you MEAN you ain't nasty!?
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - Kanye West
Notable Songs: All of the Lights, Blame Game, Monster
Legendary Impact: Right after being shit on by the world (mostly Taylor Swift fans) and being called an asshole by President Obama, Kanye West licked his wounds, dusted off his shoulders, and created one of the greatest albums we've ever heard. With a bit of College Dropout arrogance and consciousness, orchestration of Late Registration, stadium sounds of Graduation, and raw emotion of 808s and Heartbreak, Kanye gave the world the best of everyone who was involved, including legends like Jay-Z, the RZA, and Chris Rock, to new faces like Nicki Minaj and Cyhi the Prince, and the re-introduction to everyone's favorite coke rapper Pusha T. This album also lead to the creation of Watch the Throne, which another gigantic moment in itself. Indeed, Kanye gave us the closest thing we'll ever get to a hip hop Thriller, and I don't think he, or anyone else will top that anytime soon.
Supreme Blientele - Westside Gunn
Notable Songs: God's Don't Bleed, Brutus, Wrestlemania 20
Legendary Impact: Westside Gunn will be the first to tell you, he's not the best rapper, but he does make the best albums. When you have production from 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, Static Selekta, The Alchemist, Harry Fraud, in addition to having a legendary in-house producer, Darringer, IN ADDITION to featuring two of the grimiest, bar heavy artists on your left and right in Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine, it's hard to argue with the Fly God. The world is finally catching up, and Griselda Records is set to be a household name in 2020.
Teflon Don - Rick Ross
Notable Tracks: BMF, I'm Not a Star, Aston Martin Music, Free Mason
Legendary Impact: His previous album, Deeper Than Rap (which was pretty good) was basically a long response to his beef with 50 Cent and to the news that he had been a corrections officer before making it big. After surviving that controversy, The Boss locked in and blindsided everyone with BMF. You couldn't go to a club or ride by a dope boy without hearing that blaring through the speakers. However, instead of making an entire album that sounds like that (except for MC Hammer) he gave us classic features from Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Cee-lo Green, as well as smooth as butter tracks like Super High, Maybach Music 3, and Aston Martin Music.
What A Time To Be Alive - Drake & Future
Notable Songs: Jumpman, Diamonds Dancing, Scholarships
Legendary Impact: This was the first Drake project after his back to back on Meek Mills, and it kind of served as a victory lap. Drake and Future had success with the single Where Ya At, but no one saw a full project coming. Future was in the middle of a legendary run, with releases like 56 Nights, Monster, and Dirty Sprite 2, and he definitely ran the point on this album. This was his world featuring Drake, which gave us the 1 a.m. in the strip club, syrupy, melodic vibes we see on Scholarships, as well the energetic trap vibes of Digital Dash and I'm the Plug. While this pairing was unexpected, it definitely left the world wanting more.
Future - Future
Notable Songs: Mask Off, Draco, POA
Legendary Impact: First off, I must say that Future birthed a LOT of the new rappers out now, and not just from Atlanta. If you check back through his discography, you'll see where a lot of people got their style from. With that said, Future flipped the script on this self-titled album, and curated a style not is not easily copied. Instead of crooning auto-tuned melodies, Future sounded hungrier than ever on tracks like Rent Money, Good Dope, and POA. He also reminded the world that he is one of the best at painting vivid street tales, demonstrated by Feds Did a Sweep, When I Was Broke, and Might As Well. Overall, this album was a perfect representation of Future then, now, and in the future, and was full of bangers. This album is so impactful, it's even loved by the smartest man in the universe.
Brothers - The Black Keys
Notable Songs: Tighten Up, I'm Not the One, Next Girl
Legendary Impact: This album is a sonic roller coaster of emotions. It gives you a soundtrack for love, pain, fear, and that feeling when you DARE somebody to step to you wrong. This album might be the closest thing to a modern day Dark Side of the Moon, but to even compare it at all does it a disservice. I could listen to this album everyday and not get tired of it. If you're not the biggest rock fan, I HIGHLY recommend listening to the mashup of this album and Big Boi's solo debut, Sir Lucious Leftfoot, called The Brothers of Chico Dusty. Thank me later.
KOD - J Cole
Notable Songs: Brackets, ATM, Friends
Legendary Impact: J Cole might be the most successful yet slept on artist of the millennium. All of his albums have went platinum (3 of 5 with no features), he makes his own beats, and he can outrap damn near anybody, yet for some reason, he never gets his just due. The same can go for this phenomenal album. Despite it having a relevant message (fighting addiction), catchy hooks, and dope bars, my man didn't even get a Grammy nomination. If J Cole ever chooses to sell out, we can all look back at this album and say "Damn, we miss the old Jermaine."
24K Magic - Bruno Mars
Notable Songs: Finesse, That's What I Like, 24K Magic
Legendary Impact: Bruno Mars has been a next level talent since his debut, that's never been denied. However, 24K Magic felt like he had something to prove, and he wanted to show the world that he was more than just "The Lazy Song". 24K Magic served as not just a wake up call, but a knockout punch. I must admit, the title track had to grow on me, but he shook the world with That's What I Like and Finesse, certified BANGERS. He went on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys among many other awards, and stamped his name in gold in the history books.
The ArchAndroid - Janelle Monae
Notable Songs: Tightrope, Mushroom and Roses, Neon Valley Street
Legendary Impact: On paper, one of the most beautiful voices in music making an entire album about the love story of an android in the future sounds pretty strange. However, through speakers, it is simply a masterpiece. Somehow this album sounds nostalgic and futuristic all at once, and only a unique mind like Janelle Monae could make it work. Her sound changed a bit after this album, and she's recently said that she won't revert back to this style, which makes this album a true gem of the decade.
Blonde - Frank Ocean
Notable Songs: Ivory, Pink and White, Seigfried
Legendary Impact: There has never been a wack Frank Ocean project, but this album does stand out from the rest. He had just released an odd, but still quality, video album Endless, that served as his last album for Def Jam. Then before you could blink, he released this album independently, and it was AMAZING. There was nothing pop about this album. It was introspective, intimate, and personal, just a man and his thoughts.
Man On The Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi
Notable Songs: Don't Play This Song, Mojo So Dope, The End
Legendary Impact: Kid Cudi had already proved he was a trendsetter with the first Man On The Moon, but this time listeners could definitely hear his creativity be truly limitless. Through his painful delivery, he sounds confident and very sure about his uncertainties. This is probably the only album that stays in the rotation of hip hop heads, stoners, goths, backpackers, and ragers, which solidifies it as classic.