The hip-hop albums released in the past decade have massively defined the evolution of the genre and the culture surrounding it. These projects have ushered in a new era of legendary artists and further cemented places in the hip-hop game for those who saw success prior to 2010. While it’s impossible to include every influential and successful album of the past decade, we put together a list of what we felt were the most pivotal projects that shaped that past 10 years.
Best Hip-Hop Albums Of The Decade
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
While many people have different views and opinions of Kanye West, many will agree that My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was his most polished album and set the tone for hip-hop in the entire decade. Almost 10 years later, the album’s impact can be felt to this day and therefore has to be on this list.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
Drake – Take Care (2011)
Although Drake has released a large number of projects that have been some of the most successful in the decade, Take Care cemented his place in the game. From releasing hits such as “Headlines” to “The Motto” featuring Lil Wayne to collaborating with Rihanna, this project elevated him to the top of hip-hop.
JAY Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne (2011)
JAY Z and Kanye West teamed up to become one of the most influential duos of the decade. From the hits this project created to the impact it had in the hip-hop game, their album is at the top of the list with the rest of the best hip-hop albums of the decade.
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange (2012)
From his work with Odd Future and the release of his project Nostalgia, Ultra, Frank Ocean was successful for years before the drop of Channel Orange. Regardless, Channel Orange was the defining moment of his career, as it took him as an established songwriter and artist to worldwide superstar.
Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
While Section .80 put Kendrick Lamar on the map, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City established him as one of the top hip-hop artists of the decade. He solidified himself in this position with his follow up albums To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN. While all of his albums are already considered classics, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City will forever be just one small notch above.
Beyoncé – Beyoncé (2013)
After releasing so many notable projects, songs, and music videos; Beyoncé was already one of the most famous and successful artists in the history of music. Even so, she continued to do what she does best on her self-titled album Beyoncé with hits such as “Drunk In Love” and “Flawless.”
Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap (2013)
Chance The Rapper’s project Acid Rap was a defining moment in his career due to the number of bootleg downloads on its rollout and the critical acclaim it received. While it was his second mixtape, it continued what he built in his career at this point.
Childish Gambino – Because The Internet (2013)
If there was an award for the most confusing tracklist of the decade, Because The Internet would win hands down. With the tracklist aside, this project is one of the most diverse and creative albums of the decade.
Kanye West – Yeezus (2013)
Many will agree that this album falls short from the brilliance of 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but the sheer creativity and rawness through the lyrics and production are unmatched. The album has had a huge sonic influence in hip-hop game following its release.
J. Cole – 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014)
J. Cole created a name for himself with Cole World: The Sideline Story and Born Sinner, but 2014 Forest Hills Drive cemented him a place at the top of the game. His storytelling abilities mixed with smooth and creative production easily makes this one of the top projects of the decade.
Travis Scott – Days Before Rodeo (2014)
There is no doubt that Travis Scott is at the top of hip-hop right now and his albums Astroworld, The Birds In The Trap Sing MicKnight, and Rodeo have all been pivotal for his success. Days Before Rodeo got everything started and to this day is still some of the best production he’s ever done.
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (2015)
The double album of Summertime ’06 is the premier project for Vince Staples. His memorable punchlines, unique production, and impactful messaging drove this project to be highly successful. Hits like “Norf Norf” triggered reactions that made him even more famous and respected both in the hip-hop game and beyond.
JAY-Z – 4:44 (2017)
JAY Z’s album 4:44 was one of the biggest focal points of the decade for hip-hop albums. From the powerful messaging of “The Story of O.J” to addressing many personal aspects of his life throughout the album, his vulnerability and honesty mixed with precise execution elevated this album to be one of the best of the decade.
Nipsey Hussle – Victory Lap (2018)
Nipsey Hussle’s Victory Lap was his most successful project to date. From the execution, creativity, and list of features – this album has it all. The west coast legend did everything right on this project as it will stand forever as an iconic work.
Pusha T – DAYTONA (2018)
Pusha T’s DAYTONA was easily one of the top albums of 2018, and to this day its impact is still felt. From the lyrics to the minimal yet pinpointed production, this album goes right to the top of the list.