Vinnie Paz – “Season Of The Assassin” (Enemy Soil) – The Jedi Mind Tricks frontman delivered his usual mix of hard-body boasts, personal confessions and Islamic references over top-notch production from the likes of DJ Muggs, Lord Finesse and Madlib – considering the huge number of producers on this project, “Season…” stood-out as one of 2010’s most cohesive and hard-hitting albums.
Eternia & MoSS – “At Last” (Fat Beats) – In a year that saw the world go Nicki Minaj crazy, those with taste knew that it was Canada’s Eternia who was really setting the standard for female emcees, or just emcees in general, regardless of gender. Balancing ferocious battle rhymes with moments of genuine soul-searching, this much-delayed collaboration with DJ Premier-protege MoSS was well worth the wait.
Roc Marciano – “Marcberg” (Fat Beats) – Capturing the essence of New York’s late-80s / early-90s golden-age, former Flipmode Squad member and one-quarter of The UN Roc Marciano delivered a self-produced album that quenched the thirst of boom-bap purists everywhere, boasting a love of unique slang and obscure food references that even Ghostface would be proud of.
Murs & 9th Wonder – “Fornever” (SMC Recordings) – Building on the brilliant chemistry displayed on their previous collaborative releases such as “Murray’s Revenge” and “Sweet Lord”, Los Angeles wordsmith Murs rhymed about everything from dating porn stars to his love for Hip-Hop over a strong selection of 9th Wonder beats with his usual wit and insight.
The Roots – “How I Got Over” (Def Jam) – Surely after the release of their ninth studio album, Illadelphia’s favourite sons The Roots can now be mentioned alongside the likes of Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr as one of the greatest Hip-Hop groups of all-time? Continuing to refine their sound and break new sonic ground, Black Thought, Questlove and crew offered intelligent and creative beats and rhymes on this latest opus.
Curren$y – “Pilot Talk II” (DD172) – Previously aligned with the likes of Master P and Lil’ Wayne, New Orlean’s Curren$y shrugged off any preconceptions such affiliations might bring on this soul-drenched album largely produced by Ski Beatz. The end result? A project that sounded something like Outkast’s “Southernplayalistic…” mixed with Camp Lo’s “Uptown Saturday Night”.
Lewis Parker & John Robinson – “International Summers” (Project Mooncircle) – With the UK’s Lewis Parker displaying his talent on the SP-1200 and former Scienz Of Life emcee John Robinson dropping thoughtful, well-crafted rhymes, this transatlantic collabo was packed with warm samples and positive vibes.
Mystro – “Digmund Freud” (Self Destruct) – Technically this latest effort from London’s Mysdiggi was marketed as an EP, but at eight tracks deep I think it’s fair to sneak this in as an album. Always charismatic on the mic and with a sharp ear for picking dope beats, the Natural Born Spitta proved once again here why he’s one of the UK’s best-loved artists.
Gangrene – “Gutter Water” (Decon) – A concept album of sorts, this joint effort from producers-on-the-mic The Alchemist and Oh No found the West Coast pair proudly celebrating their passion for dusty-fingered breaks and graphic wordplay with assistance from the likes of Raekwon, Planet Asia and Fashawn. You can almost smell the weed through the speakers!
Celph Titled & Buckwild – “Nineteen Ninety Now” (No Sleep) – There really was never any doubt in most people’s minds that this project was going to be one of 2010’s standouts. I mean, can you really go wrong with master of the outrageous punchline Celph Titled rocking over vintage unreleased beats from the crates of D.I.T.C. legend Buckwild? Short answer, no – and this album contains sixteen reasons why.
Part Two of Best Albums Of 2010 to follow soon…