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A great project occupies its own space in your memory. J. Cole’s Born Sinner, Kanye West’s Yeezus, and Mac Miller’s Watching Movies With The Sound Off all dropped on the same day; June 18, 2013; and are all good enough to be people’s favorites of the entire decade.
Unfortunately, only one of those albums was chosen by the artists REVOLT interviewed about their favorite album from the past 10 years. Here are the picks for favorite albums of the 2010s from Yung Baby Tate, Bas, Guapdad 4000, Polo G, Dyme-A-Duzin, Big Pooh, and Phony Ppl. Read below!
Yung Baby Tate
Yung Baby Tate borders on being indescribable because no one talent defines her. She can sing beautifully and then rap, “I fuck him like he’s the reason I’m getting paid today,” all while sporting pigtails, a colorful jumpsuit, and an innocent smile. That vibe is all over her biggest songs like “Dope D” and “Wild Girl.” With a style that’s colorfully varied and vulgar, it makes sense who her favorite artist of the decade would be.
“Nicki Minaj is my favorite artist of the 2010s,” Tate said with conviction.
Undoubtedly, Nicki Minaj influenced Tate and a generation of other women who rap. But, the artist who put out that one album Tate couldn’t stop listening to is a boss seductress.
“My favorite album from the 2010s is probably something from Rihanna. It honestly might be Loud. That was the one,” she admitted.
BITCHHHHHHH RIHANNA LIKED MY PICTURE pic.twitter.com/DgHZDmtFPn— I’m ⓑⓐⓑⓨ (@yungbabytate) February 8, 2018
Outside of label head J. Cole, no Dreamville artist has been more prolific than one of its earliest members, Bas. Three mixtapes, three albums and a few standout features on the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling Revenge of the Dreamers 3 later, he has built a solid foundation for his career in the 2010s. If you’ve followed his career, then his favorite albums shouldn’t surprise you much.
“Can I be a homer and say ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’? It’s probably my favorite Cole album, as far as how he put together all his sounds and his message. He still had the hits, substance, content, and meaning behind the album title,” Bas recollected. “He went back and bought the house and let some people live in it that were going through hard times. It was an album that really meant something.”
2014 Forest Hills Drive for this flight tho— Bas (@Bas) December 12, 2014
“My non-homer pick would probably be good kid, mAAd city. It had themes that were present throughout the album. It gave me a deep window into who Kendrick was,” Bas added. “He’s a very cerebral dude. ‘Sing About Me’ is one of my top 10 favorite hip hop songs ever.”
Guapdad 4000 came out of nowhere near the end of the decade. Whether it’s Drake becoming the Billboard Artist of the Decade and blurring the line between rapper and singer with soft harmonies or Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” the 2010s was the decade of the genre-less hip hop artist, so it’s no surprise what albums define the decade for an artist like Guapdad.
“I would have to really think about the standout albums that came out. I know Young Thug’s Beautiful Thugger Girls was one. I know Future’s HNDRXX was big. Whenever Future/HNDRXX dropped was a huge year for me,” he said.
Haven't cried this hard in years. Future is my Codeine Christ pic.twitter.com/x3TNMDXEnF— GUAPDAD 4000 (@guapdad4000) February 24, 2017
Being moved to tears by music for the average person is enough to get lost in an endless loop of one song for an hour. For a perpetually creative mind as Guapdad’s, it’s enough to make him want to recreate that energy in his own unique way.
“[Future’s ‘March Madness’] was the only song that made me feel like it was a gospel song. That’s the type of rejoice I feel in my heart and my arms. I want to throw my hands in the air when I hear that song,” the rapper explained. “I try to emulate that feeling a lot in my music. ‘What’s ‘March Madness’ sounds like if Guapdad did it.”
Few cities affected the sound of hip hop during its ascension to becoming the most consumed genre of music like Chicago. Chief Keef helped drill music dominate the early part of the decade and Chance The Rapper has been one of the most popular rappers. But, there’s a myriad of other Chicago rappers who have been keeping the region’s sound prevalent.
One of the newest artists helping that cause has been 20-year-old Polo G who scored a top 15 hit with “Pop Out” only three years after he started releasing music. He couldn’t choose one album that was his favorite of the 2010s, but chose four that are perfect representations of his gritty style of music.
“I can say a couple. Tha Carter IV, Welcome to Fazoland by G Herbo, The 2.5 Story by Lil Durk, and Meek Mill’s Championships,” he revealed.
From Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo being updated after its release to the popularity of streaming services, this was the decade of the playlist. The album experience — no skip, concise, and thought out listening — was no longer the predominant way people consumed music with piecemeal, on-demand consumption winning out. So, when an erudite lyricist such as Brooklyn’s Dyme-A-Duzin hears an album that champions the album experience, it stands out amongst the greatest of all time.
“I feel in the 90s, we had a lot of albums that would stand out. We had Doggystyle and The Chronic. Even the decade before had a Late Registration and Get Rich or Die Trying, and GRADUATION,” Dyme opined. “I feel Kendrick’s good kid mAAd city stands out as a game-changing album and one that’s a staple within this decade as a classic.”
Good kid, m.A.A.d city. This album is serious. So well put together.— Dyme (@DymeADuzin) October 18, 2012
Nostalgia and history are inextricably tied to each other, yet not the same. History is the documentation of time. Nostalgia is the repackaging of time as memories or an actual product. The 2010s were full of remixed 1990s classics becoming hits, and every movie or TV show being rebooted. That’s why when hip hop duo Little Brother released their first album in 12 years, it felt like a new chapter instead of a rehashed one. They made history, not nostalgia.
“My favorite album of the decade is May The Lord Watch by Little Brother because I never thought that I would be able to say, ‘We have a new Little Brother album’ after 2011. Little Brother changed my life trajectory twice,” he said.
The eclectic Brooklyn-based Phony Ppl spent much of the decade as the best-kept secret. They’ve done Blue Note residencies, toured with Pusha T, been co-signed by Chance the Rapper, performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and have an impressive list of enviable feats without a single Billboard hit. Their popularity is now ascending entering the new decade after their live collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion on NPR’s Tiny Desk Festival went viral. Their rise is a testament to them being students of the game.
“DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar is my favorite album of the decade. After listening to the full album, the only thing you can say is... damn. Everything from the storytelling, production, mix, and mastering makes this album one of the best of all time from top to bottom,” said Aja Grant, the keyboardist.
“‘good kid, mAAd city’ by Kendrick Lamar because of the storytelling and masterful rapping at its finest. From top to bottom, that project is a flow of visuals through music and lyrics,” Matt “Maffyuu” Byas, the drummer.
God bless Kendrick and this album, perfect for this road trip right now— noGENRE PhonyPpl (@PhonyPpl) October 23, 2012
“‘Leak 04-13 (Bait Ones)’ by Jai Paul. It’s low-quality mix makes it feel like a super raw form of expression, yet it introduces a whole new vibe of music that was definitely influential to many songs in the decade,” said Bari Bass, the bass guitarist.
“Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the best album of the decade. An innovative champion that influenced every project to follow it, as well as solidifying what may come to be seen as the peak of Kanye’s career that displayed the full potential of how much global influence one project can have,” said Elijah Hawk, the lead guitarist.
“Yeezus by Kanye West is my favorite album of the decade because it pushed the sonic boundaries for rap at that time and still leaves the bar high to this day. The textures and tones will always be immaculate,” Elbee Thrie, the lead vocalist.