The Best Hip Hop Albums Of The Decade: Part Four

You can read Part One and albums 10-8 here
You can read Part Two and albums 7-5 here
You can read Part Three and albums 4-2 here

Before I tell you what the best hip hop album of the decade is, let me remind you I have only ten slots to fill. There are many great albums that have been released over the past ten years that warrant critical praise, but I'm not going to go through every single one and talk about it. Just because an album is off this list does not mean that album is bad and it does not mean that the album isn't amazing. It just means I don't think it was one of the ten best.

Before I reveal my #1 album, let me tell you what's not going to make the list. These are albums that I can see people complaining about and I purposefully left them off the list.

Thank Me Later (2010) by Drake

I liked Drake when he first hit the music scene with his singles "Best I Ever Had" and "Forever" featuring Kanye West, Lil' Wayne, and Eminem. But those are not on Thank me Later and even if they were, I'm not sure they would make up for the dribble of singles he put out the past year. Pure club pop hits like "Find Your Love" and "Over" are the reason that I have a general disdain for where rap music is right now. Now Drake is making a lot of money so kudos to him and what this tells me is that people who are buying hip hop are more to blame that the hip hop artists themselves. People are dumb.

Anyways, for being solely beat heavy and putting no artistry into his lyrics and selling out, Drake takes himself off this list. Plus purists of the word "decade" would mean only 2000-2009 and thus Drake can't qualify anyways.

Get Rich Or Die Tryin' (2003) by 50 Cent

For some reason I thought this was one of if not THE biggest selling hip hop albums of the decade but after doing my research it was not. Maybe it was the highest grossing debut hip hip album. Oh well, either way this album made 50 Cent very rich and famous led by his first single and first hit "In Da Club". Now sometimes pure club hits are acceptable. It's still music and sometimes you just want to listen to something pleasurable and listen to something that makes you want to dance- and that's what "In Da Club" was. Hell, by it's title that's what it was trying to be. But he kept making essentially the same song over and over again.

When Fiddy's third album Curtis was being released, it was the same day as Kanye's Graduation and 50 said that it he loses to Kanye he'll quit the rap game. Well that threat was like Paris Hilton, who didn't even register, saying we all should vote otherwise we'll all die. But in the end Kanye West smoked 50 Cent because I think the general public was smart enough to realize that no matter how catchy 50 Cent is (and the first track off of Curtis was "Ayo Technology" featuring Justin Timberlake and a beat from Timbaland and thus catchy as hell) he will never be close to Kanye West's level. Because Kanye puts effort into his music and tries to be the best rapper ever versus 50 who seems like he just wants to take his paycheck and leave.

So for not trying to and never seemingly trying to make the step from entertainer to artist and for making an awful awful AWFUL movie of the same name, 50 Cent is taken off of consideration from this list.

Tha Carter III (2008) by Lil' Wayne

I don't understand what people's fascination and obsession with Lil' Wayne is- I truly don't. I was never a fan of him even when he was rapping with the Cash Money Millionaires and on TBO's boy Juvenille's song "Back That Ass Up." Even an 11 year old Sexy Rexy listening to Lil' Wayne knew he had no talent or any discernible skill.

Yet ten years later he comes out with what many called the best hip hop album of 2008 and I'm sure you'd find many lists that has this album #1 (or at least top 5) this decade. He won the Best Rap Grammy and beat out T.I.'s Paper Trail- which upset me greatly. I don't even like Weezy's singles, nevertheless the album. The best one I like is "A Milli" because that beat is so annoying it gets stuck in your head and stays there and never leaves therefore you start humming it to yourself.

Lil' Wayne does not rap about any political or societal struggles, he doesn't rap about any of his own personal problems, and he doesn't rap about anything universal. He does what I call "blah blah verses"- which are songs that just string together rhyming syllables at the end of them, but they tell no story whatsoever along the way and it sounds like (and he probably does this too) he just goes into a studio for an hour or two and then calls it a day. It sounds like he doesn't work on his craft and it shows in his music.

For being one of if not the most overrated rapper ever (I'll throw Snopp Dogg in the mix as well) and for having one of the most overrated rap albums of all time and for being overall bad at hip hop, Lil' Wayne absolutely deserves no spot on this list whatsoever.

Lastly, I have really never given Nas a chance. From what I've heard from essentially anybody, Nas is a great rapper. I've heard his best album is Illmatic, which came out in 1994, so obviously a no go on this list, but if he is truly as skilled as people claim he is then I'm sure one of his albums from this decade will probably kick Collision Course off of the list. But I'm not going to critique and album I haven't heard before so its omission means nothing. Just sayin'.

And now ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please, (bbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrllllllllll) the number one album of the past decade is....

1) The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) by Eminem

It's a shame Eminem's debut album The Slim Shady LP came out in 1999 because then it would have been a great debate which album deserved the top spot. But it would not have mattered because The Marshall Mathers LP is Eminem's best album.

Eminem was at his best when he actually had problems to deal with. He had problems at home, lawsuits, and he did some pretty bad shit. But when he got to a good place in his life, albums like Encore and Relapse sucked balls because Eminem lost stuff to talk about. He could only complain about his wife so long until she eventually stopped becoming a problem to him. But early in his career, and especially when he started getting famous, Eminem had a lot of problems and it made for a great record.

By listening to every single one of his albums you pretty much know Eminem's (aka Marshall Mathers) entire life story. You know how crazy his mom was to him and how she pretty much fucked him up, you know his dad left him when Em was very young, and you know he has a daughter with a woman named Kim. And you know how much he hates this women via "Kim"- a song about Eminem getting into a fight with Kim and he describes in graphic detail how he is brutally murdering her.

Despite what you think about the content of the album, from a hip hop and lyrical stand point it truly is genius. Eminem is the best rapper out there- to make words rhyme together and to do it while telling stories/ mini-anecdotes with clever insults and analogies. The epitome of which comes from the albums first single "The Real Slim Shady": It's funny; because at the rate I'm going when I'm thirty/ I'll be the only person in the nursin' home flirting/ Pinching nurses asses when I'm jacking off with Jergens/ And I'm jerkin' but this whole bag of Viagra isn't working. Again, put aside the content for a second (if you're offended by it) and just realize how impressive it is to rhyme those words and sounds together (and trust me, it's better when you hear Eminem rap it as opposed to just reading it off the page)

Of course, I would be remissed if I didn't mention Eminem's best song and (obviously) the best song on the album- "Stan." With a hook that samples the first verse of Dido's "Thank You" Eminem spends three verses about from the point of a view of a crazy, obsessed Eminem fan, aptly named Stan, who sends letters to Eminem and the last verse is Eminem responding back. It's six plus minutes of bliss and great storytelling.

One of the better songs off of the album and the record's second single "The Way I Am" wasn't even originally slated to be on it. But after sending about 12 or so tracks to the record company the company sent the album back stating Eminem needed at least one more song- a pop hit to release the album. That song ended up becoming "The Real Slim Shady" but in his frustration with the record company he created "The Way I Am". Many times Eminem's angry rap voice is annoying to listen to and doesn't fit in with the words he's spitting (i.e. his verse on Drake's "Forever"). However, his angry voice is perfect on "The Way I Am" because it helps emphasize the emotions he's feeling at the moment.

Part of what makes Eminem so great is that he doesn't (or at least didn't) take himself too seriously. He jokes about his persona as a bad boy in the song "Criminal" and his drug taking ways (although that part is partially serious as his latest albums "Relapse" and "Recovery" were titled that for a reason) in "Drug Ballad." He can switch to being a goof ball like in "The Real Slim Shady" to bring out his emotions about his past like in "Kill You" to just rapping about whatever like in "Under The Influence" featuring D12.

Like The Black Album, every song on this record is amazing. The songs shows off Eminem's great lyrical skills, the broad range of emotions he has, as well as good beats (I mean, this is a Dr. Dre produced album). Eminem has hit the trifecta with his sophomore release and because of that, he earns the spot as the best album of the decade.

Let's now recap the list:

10) Collision Course by Jay-Z and Linkin Park
9) Chicken-N-Beer by Ludacris
8) Revolutionary Vol. 2 by Immortal Technique
7) The Documentary by The Game
6) St. Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley
5) Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below by Outkast
4) College Dropout by Kanye West
3) Paper Trail by T.I.
2b) The Black Album by Jay-Z
2a) The Grey Album by DJ Danger Mouse
1) The Marshall Matters LP by Eminem


The 'Bright' One said...

Drake writes down all his lyrics on his blackberry. Thats almost as gangsta as what TI does