Strictly albums, no mixtapes or EP's. 2008-2013
MIXTAPE MENTIONS: Joey Bada$$ - 1999, Big K.R.I.T. - 4evaNaDay, Tyler, the Creator - Bastard, Logic - Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever
10.) B.o.B - B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray (2010) - B.o.B blew up on the scene with his debut album which mixed rap with pop and some alt-rap in a perfect mixture. This album is superb, especially once you dig deeper than the singles.
9.) Tyler, the Creator - Goblin (2011) - Tyler got huge off of his "Yonkers" video but there's a lot more to this kid than eating cockroaches, Bastard may be a better example in showing his skills off but Goblin is a monster of an album that is influencing the new wave of rappers coming up.
8.) Childish Gambino - Camp (2011) - Donald Glover came out of nowhere with this debut, coming off a decent buzz from mixtapes he created a conceptual album that even more impressively is performed entirely by him, no features. He can spit, storytell and is lyrical out of his mind.
7.) Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music (2012) - You knew this was gonna be a classic as soon as the first track, "Big Beast" came on, featuring Bun B, T.I. and Trouble it's a monster track that obliterates everything in its path. The pairing of Killer Mike and El-P seems so natural that they dropped an album that put Mike back on the map and put El-P even more on the map than he already was.
6.) Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels (2013) - Speaking of Killer Mike and El-P, they transform into a duo with El-P on production and vocals, with Killer Mike complimenting him on vocals as well. A free album, it's in the running for Album of 2013, the production is on point and just when you thought Mike and El couldn't vibe together any better, they sound so natural going bar for bar over a killer beat. They're chemistry is as good as Big Boi and Andre 3000's, no I'm not exaggerating.
5.) Kendrick Lamar - Section.80 (2011) - Before GKMC Kendrick dropped his debut album for TDE that foreshadowed his explosion into the mainstream. Section.80 is the album to show someone who says that hip-hop is dead. It's real, lyrical and damn does Kendrick know how to rap. There's not a bad thing about this album.
4.) Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009) - Cudi's debut album is nothing short of marvelous. With spacey beats, the voice of a god and some deep, introspective lyrics, Cudi is mesmerizing. Features ranging from Chip tha Ripper to Kanye and Common, Cudi puts together what is sure to go down as a classic, if it hasn't already.
3.) Macklemore x Ryan Lewis - The Heist (2012) - Macklemore has become the "Thrift Shop" and gay support guy. It really sucks because this album is beyond amazing, the depth in his lyrics is unfathomable. Never have I praised a producer so much (besides El-P) as much as I praise Ryan Lewis, he picked a sound that worked with Macklemore and they hit a grand slam with it. This album has the first hip-hop instrumental that I fully enjoy and will listen to endlessly ("BomBom"). I can't say enough about this album.
2.) Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012)- An album doesn't get called the modern Illmatic for nothing. This concept album is so tightly knit, with every single song applying to the overall story. Kendrick achieved the impossible in rapping about real things, with elite skill and somehow being able to break into the mainstream. We may look back in 20 years and say this is the most important album since Nas' Illmatic and Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP. Kendrick is near holding down "real" hip-hop and putting out spectacular music while doing so.
1.) Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) - What's a hip-hop list without Kanye? I can't describe how good this album is, it's impossible. You can't compare it to another album either, it sounds so different than anything else Kanye or anyone else has done. Kanye went ahead and made an artistic hip-hop album which focused on content and it shows. The closest we have to a perfect album in the last 5 years. This album could go down as top 10 hip-hop albums of all time. Once you get passed Kanye's image in the public eye and dive into his music, he never lets go and MBDTF is the best example. With long, anti-mainstream sounding songs he still was able to produce a commercial and critical smash and the album is here to stay for a long time.