Top 15 Albums of 2010

1 Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Purchase)

2 Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty (Purchase)

3 The National – High Violet (Purchase)

4 Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh (Purchase)

5 Joanna Newsom – Have One On Me (Purchase)

6 Sufjan Stevens – Age of Adz (Purchase)

7 Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma (Purchase)

8 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Purchase)

9 The Roots – How I Got Over (Purchase)

10 The Foreign Exchange – Authenticity (Purchase)

11 Electric Wire Hustle – Electric Wire Hustle (Purchase)

12 – Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Purchase)

13 Sleigh Bells – Treats (Purchase)

14 Four Tet – There Is Love In You (Purchase)

15 Black Milk – Album of the Year (Purchase)

49 thoughts on “Top 15 Albums of 2010

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  1. Fun Da Mental|

    *Lupe’s flow. (Not Kanye’s)

  2. Fun Da Mental|

    @All Kanye Fans
    Sure MBDTF was good sonically, but lyrically, that was horrendous. PackFM definately deserves more hype. Also, Homeboy Sandman, The Good Sun is insane. Where is Danny!, (true it was leaked last year) was absolutely fire, it was like MF DOOM with Kanye’s flow and incredible production, Alex Goose.

  3. @TOP5D0A: YES AND IT’S FIRE!!!!

    Can’t stop slappin There Will Be Blood

  4. Anybody get a chance to listen to Celph Titled & Buckwild’s Nineteen Ninety Now?

  5. Sleigh Bells. You winner.

  6. No recognition for Plastic Beach. The collection of artists on the album, should alone be enough to be in consideration for top 15!

  7. I honestly don’t think MBDTF belongs at the top. The Left’s album was really solid, and imo so was Kill Devil Hills.

    Others I would have on this list would be PackFM and Panacea

  8. #1 this is happening

    why no honorable mentions?

  9. I’m a hiphopmusicovore

    How can you put kanye at the first place ! Come on. If somebody else had done the same album you wouldn’t have mentioned it in your top 30 albums of 2010.

    To me one of the best album of this year was :

    THE LEFT GAS MASK (every song is a masterpiece)

  10. Bonobo – “Black Sands”

  11. @ afan

    Pilot Talk II dropped in retail stores and didn’t have any “free download” options. I’ll definitely check that Melo-X joint and maybe post it in some capacity.

  12. @ Andrew Martin

    cool. yeah i know but i thought curren$y’s pilot talk 2 was a similar release and you ended up reviewing that. all good though.


  13. Afan – chill!

    I would hardly call my comment hating son! Just respect an opinion of someone anonymous to you and don’t rant – no-one’s interested.

  14. We would if it was a proper pay-for release but we stopped reviewing free projects last year.

  15. @ Andrew Martin

    Are you guys going to review Melo-X – More Merch????

    cool album love to see a review.

  16. Re: The Left not being on here.

    We polled all of our writers for their top 15 albums and then made this list through aggregation. The Left’s record might have been fantastic, but it didn’t make the cut in terms of our writers’ picks.

  17. I agree with a lot of the other comments here…why wasn’t The Left – Gas Mask posted? Isn’t it the only album to receive 5/5 rating this year?

  18. @ A.I

    Alborosie’s Escape From Babylon To The Kingdom Of Zion

    definitively one of my favorite albums this year. totally forgot on that one. whoever’s number 15 on my list take it out and put that on there….

    @ Fred Castano

    Yeah man, totally agree. Fat Joe’s Darkside vol 1 was a hot album and if this was a best hip hop albums of the year list it would be in my top 15 this year.

    problem is fat joe aint make a good street album since the 90s. so he gets alot of hate. from myself included….

    now from the strange comment by : Aj

    December 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Afan – your list doesn’t really push the boat out in terms of genre, does it? lol.

    well funny you said that.

    well lets have a look at my list of genres??

    Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop, Electronic, rock n roll, Soul, reggae.

    why you hating? because i didnt have any white music genres up there??

    i hate to go down this road and im stupid for saying this but im black and i listen to black music.

    so if you see any lists i ever do its going to be black music genres like :

    gospel, jazz, blues, soul, rock n roll, r&b, reggae, calypso, Samba, funk, disco, house, electronic, hip hop, new jack swing, 2 step, garage, dancehall etc

    now if your mad because i didn’t have any country singers or punk rockers or folk type music then be mad because i listen to enough different types of genre’s to last me a life time.




    yeah i know i took it a little far with the whole black white thing. and will probably get some people bagging me out.

    i respect white music and i definetly respect white musicians.

    and white music had influences in early black music obviously.

    sorry guys but that Aj tool got me angry man.


  19. *Checks for that Babs & Ness album
    *Unsuccessfully Googles both “Chopper” and “Young City”
    *Starts fight in expensive recording studio
    *Forgets the name of the bougie singer chick
    *Laughs til it hurts when breathe

  20. Fred Castano|

    *chokes out Wyclef in honor of Datahowler*

  21. The 15 greatest albums of all time…..

    1. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    2. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    3. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    4. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    5. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    6. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    7. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    8. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    9. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    10. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    11. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    12. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    13. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    14. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)
    15. Dylan (I Spit Hot Fire)

  22. This is a pretty good list and I enjoyed the Black Milk album but there were so many better hip hop releases this year.

    1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    2. The Roots – How I Got Over
    3. Big Boi – Sir Lucius Left Foot
    4. Shad – TSOL
    5. PND – Dirty Words
    6. Dirty Circus – Alive and Well
    7. Random & K-Murdoch – Forever Famicom
    8. Dark Time Sunshine – Vessel
    9. Panacea – 12 Step Program
    10. Time Crisis – Time Crisis

  23. While I haven’t enough of the music being discussed and released this year to make my own list, I’m surprised by some omissions. First, with all the hype and praise for Gas Mask by the Left that I saw, I’m surprised that it is on so few lists. I haven’t heard the album, but i’m definitely still going to check it out.

    TSOL by Shad was also super hyped, and seems to be only making a couple lists. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have included it in my list.

    Also no love for Rakaa and Aloe Blacc who also released great albums this year.

    My top album of the year though would have to be Cape Verde by the Super Chron Flight Brothers. This was their best work to date. Way more sonically and lyrically interesting than Kanye’s album, which will keep me coming back way after I’ve forgotten Kanye even dropped a non-college record. If you haven’t heard Cape Verde, you really should. Please tell me the rumors of Billy Woods and Priveledge splitting are not true!

    Anyway, thanks to everyone for sharing their thoughts, I always come away from best of discussions with some dope new music to check out…

  24. Afan – your list doesn’t really push the boat out in terms of genre, does it? lol.

    As for the Big Boi album – yeah it was enjoyable, but it was by no stretch one of the albums of the year. Black Milk’s album (which seems to be catching a lot of flak here!) blows it away.

    I’m a little surprised Toro Y Moi’s ‘Causers of This’ hasn’t had a mention yet either – that one was on repeat for months for me!

  25. David Reyneke|

    We still have free albums of the year to post and a bunch of other lists. There is still a chance for your favorites to be mentioned.

  26. Great article.
    Was hoping Gas Mask by The Left made the list. I can’t stop playing that album.

  27. Man, I know it is only a mixtape, but you guys are forgetting str8 killa no filla by Freddie Gibbs, its bomb.

  28. Not surprising that the Kanye pick would catch flak, happens every time a commercially-successful from a big artist is actually really good and gets the deserved love. Every year there’s that “classic album from MC Get Busy” that gets touted as better than some mainstream release. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s not. Were there better albums lyrically? Most definitely, nobody’s confusing Kanye with Rakim. But lyrics are just half of an album’s appeal. How the album was put together, the production, how polished the final product is, replay value, you gotta take all that into account. I think a good number of people here will still be bumping several tracks from the Kanye album months and months from now.

    BTW shout out to the Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa EP, no EP list this year so I’m using this space to give it my thumbs up.

    @afan interesting you mentioned War Report 2, in the same vein, where do you stand on Fat Joe – The Darkside Vol 1? Very underrated, nobody believed me when I started telling people it was hot because let’s be honest, not many people are checking for Fat Joe albums anymore

  29. The day that any Kanye West album is put over a Roots album is the day I lose faith in real hiphop criticism, I guess consider my faith lost. No offense, but to me, it seems that your head is in the wrong place with that. There are so many quality releases out there from independent artists that top Kanye on ever category imaginable, so I just don’t understand this.

  30. I agree that Black Milk’s album was mediocre-to-yawn. I just thought about this the other day: He gives away his best material/beats to other artists SO much, and what he keeps for his own solo joints just isn’t that good. I am looking forward to that Random Axxe project coming out next year (finally)

    Also, Skyzoo & !llmind put out the best rap album of the year IMO: “Live From The Tape Deck”

    last but not least, Kanye West is one of the most hit-or-miss artists out there. he’s pretentious, and he has more misses than hits IMO

  31. Afan and A.C. listed albums that I would have to say are favourites but I have to put Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society, Big K.R.I.T.’s Krit Wuz Here, Kno’s Death Is Silent, Alborosie’s Escape From Babylon To The Kingdom Of Zion, The Floacist’s The Floatic Soul & Zo!’s SunStorm… Also special goes out to Classified… That dude is slept on and Self Explanatory is a good album…

  32. @ angelo maizzi

    Andreya Triana – lost where i belong

    thats a beautiful album man. much respect.

    anyway just changing my list guys. sorry but Melo-X’s album has to be one of the best albums released this year and deserves to be in the top 10. so im moving it up my list to number 7.

    1. Jose James – Blackmagic
    2. Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives
    3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    4. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh
    5. The Roots – How I Got Over
    6. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
    7. Melo X – More Merch
    8. Janelle Monáe – The Archandroid
    9. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way
    10. Capone n Noreaga – War Report 2
    11. Rick Ross – Teflon Don
    12. Conya Doss – Blu Transition
    13. The Black Keys – Brothers
    14. Shad – TSOL
    15. Yahzarah – The Ballad Of Purple St James

  33. angelo maizzi|

    Hi friends this is my top 15 album of 2010: 1)The Roots” how i got over” 2)Jose James”blackmagic” 3)Erykah Badu”new amerykah part two” 4)John Legend”wake up” 5)Electric Wire Hustle”electric wire hustle” 6)Dwele”wants world women” 7)Rick Ross”teflon don” 8)Bonobo”eyes down” 9)Andreya Triana”lost where i belong” 10)The Foreign Exchange”autehenticity” 11)Incognito”transatlantic rpm” 12)Bilal”airtight’s revenge” 13)Jamiroquai”rock dust light star” 14)Quadron”quadron” 15)Slum Village”villa manifesto”….and then a particular mention for miguel atwood ferguson”untitled fantastic( rmx georgia anne muldrow)” a beautiful track…happy christmas and happy new year for all bye bye Angelo from genoa(italy)

  34. *****
    01. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

    02. Bonobo – Black Sands

    03. The Roots – How I Got Over
    04. Damu the Fudgemunk – How It Should Sound (Volume 1 & 2)
    05. Kno – Death Is Silent
    06. Shad – TSOL
    07. Four Tet – There Is Love in You
    08. José James – Blackmagic
    09. Andreya Triana – Lost Where I Belong
    10. The Q4 – Sound Surroundings

  35. man kanye is the only album that deserves to be on that list, it just blows everything else out the water being so artistic and creative

  36. 1. Jose James – Blackmagic
    2. Nas & Damian Marley – Distant Relatives
    3. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    4. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh
    5. The Roots – How I Got Over
    6. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
    5. The Roots – How I Got Over
    7. Janelle Monáe – The Archandroid
    8. Conya Doss – Blu Transition
    9. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – I Learned The Hard Way
    10. Capone n Noreaga – War Report 2
    11. Rick Ross – Teflon Don
    12. Melo X – More Merch
    13. The Black Keys – Brothers
    14. Shad – TSOL
    15. Yahzarah = The Ballad Of Purple St James

    Mixtape Of The Year :

    Theophilus London – I Want You

    The first two were easy.

    Jose James had the best released album this year by a longway.
    Nas & Jr Gong released the best hip hop album this year.

    and Capone n noreaga released the most underrated album of the year so they come in at number 10 just in front of Teflon don. Never been a Rick Ross fan but i have to give props when there due. conya doss released the most beautiful soulful album of the year. flying lotus maybe should have been higher but the again anyone on this list could have been higher. Melo x and Kanye’s album have just been released but go straight into this top 15 list.

    anyway thats my top 15 albums of the year.



  37. I disagree so much with this list. The only ones I think that should be on there are Black Milk and Big Boi.

  38. The Suburbs hasn’t been played by me since it dropped. I thought it was great during my three-to-four listens it took to review it…then I never felt compelled to return to it. Weird.

  39. David Reyneke|

    The Suburbs was an awesome album… better than Authenticity or How I Got Over. OOPS.

  40. Thanks PIMB! I always find a few gems out of these “best of” lists. Just a few comments (my personal opinion):

    – I have given the Kanye album multiple spins and just cannot seem to understand all the critical acclaim. It is a good album, but that is about it for me. Maybe I’m missing something?

    – I really enjoyed the Big Boi, Sufjan Stevens, and The Foreign Exchange albums. I would have ranked The Roots – How I Got Over a little higher. I enjoyed it far more than Kanye’s album and, actually, more than Big Boi’s as well.

    – Shad – TSOL would have made my list, as would Dessa – A Badly Broken Code (which has had extraordinary replay value for me). I would have liked to see Moe Pope – Life After God make the year end list as well. Most surprising, though, I see The Left – Gas Mask did not make the list. It received a perfect score from PIMB and was definitely a worthy album.

    – Black Milk – Album Of The Year was an above-average album but it had several skippable tracks. I think Black Milk’s delivery and flow has grown stale on me. I find myself tired of Tronic as well.

  41. Just so everyone knows, this list reflects a combination of lists we got from our writers. If certain things didn’t make it, such as Shad or Jose James or whoever, it’s because the overall staff didn’t want ’em on there.

  42. Also, where’s the homie Roc Marc at on here?

  43. 1. Who let Arcade Fire in?
    2. Flylo at 7? Hurts when breathe
    3. The Roots were kinda low, no?

    Calling the obvious best albums isn’t safe. It’s truth.

    @Anyone calling that Black Milk album mediocre
    Did we hear the same album? That shit was thoroughly compelling sonically.

  44. David Reyneke|

    Big Boi had the most enjoyable rap album I have heard in a long time.

  45. Also surprised Shad didn’t make the list.

    Kinda surprised Big Boi and The Foreign Exchange made the list – Authenticity was a let down.

  46. José James should’ve made the list. Black Milk’s album was mediocre at best. I like the rest of the list though. Surprised Shad didn’t crack the top 15. You guys were raving about that album early in the year.

  47. Didn’t know EWH was released that late in the US. In that case it most definitely deserves to be on the list. It was one of my favorite albums in 2009.

  48. The EWH album dropped in 2010 in the US.

    That’s definitely a solid list and had we made it more than 15 we would have included several of those, including Local Natives, for example.

  49. Electric Wire Hustle was released in 2009! Great album, by the way! But does not belong in this 2010 list.

    The rest of your list is kind of a dissappointment. You guys played it really save! Not what I expected from you.

    And Black Milk’s Album of the Year was mediocre at best. Really does not belong on any ‘best of 2010’ list.

    My favorite albums of 2010 (in no particular order):

    Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    Shad – TSOL
    Janelle Monáe – The Archandroid
    Hocus Pocus – 16 Pieces
    Homeboy Sandman – The Good Sun
    Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
    The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt
    The Roots – How I Got Over
    Dessa – A Badly Broken Code
    Gonjasufi – A Sufi and a Killer
    Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
    Toro Y Moi – Causers Of This
    DJ Center – Everything in Time

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