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Underrated hip-hop albums of the 2010s

The past 10 years were one of the best decades for hip-hop, with some of the biggest artists releasing amazing albums. This decade, we got to experience Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and To Pimp A Butterfly, and countless others that made the 2010s arguably the best decade ever for hip-hop music. While there are some incredible albums that deserve all of their praise, there are others that, while they may be talked about, don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Here are some of the most underrated hip-hop albums of the 2010s:

Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q

ScHoolboy Q has always delivered his own style to west coast hip-hop throughout his discography, and Blank Face LP remains consistent with that theme. Along with that, Q also shows tremendous amounts of maturity between Oxymoron in 2014 and this album in 2016. Q delivers nothing short of a masterpiece with Blank Face by clearly depicting everything in his life from his experience with gangs, his daughter and everything in between. Blank Face LP should go down as one of the best west coast hip-hop albums of the decade.

The Autobiography by Vic Mensa

Vic Mensa’s debut album, The Autobiography, is exactly as it sounds. Mensa takes listeners on a journey through his life, such as his experiences of growing up in the south side of Chicago, his addictions and struggles with his mental health. Mensa perfectly creates a personal album that deals with his highs and lows, making The Autobiography such a beautiful emotional rollercoaster.

I Don’t Like S---, I Don’t Go Outside by Earl Sweatshirt

After a two-year hiatus, Earl Sweatshirt came back with the darkest album of his discography with I Don’t Like S--t, I Don’t Go Outside in 2015. Looking back, this album marked the start of his transition into making more non-traditional, lo-fi inspired hip-hop tracks. Every track on the album takes listeners through the pain and struggles Earl dealt with in the past years while giving insight into how he has tried to deal with his issues. The album clearly shows why Earl isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of traditional hip-hop.

Old by Danny Brown

Danny Brown has always stayed true to his style of rap throughout his career. With his high-pitched, almost screechy flow, he has always been out of the ordinary, and that’s exactly what makes Old so great. The 2013 album takes listeners through stories of Brown growing up in Detroit and his transition into adulthood. His uniqueness truly shines on the album, with his voice complementing the upbeat tracks and his occasional deep voice truly bringing out the emotions of the more personal songs on the album. Old is an album that will be sure to grasp you on the first listen.

12 by A$AP Twelvyy

12 is truly a masterpiece by this A$AP Mob member. The songs are a great collection of New York hip-hop tracks with Twelvyy’s own personal twist on them. The instrumentals aren’t what make the album, but instead, it’s how Twelvyy can truly make a track shine with his vocal delivery. 12 provides nothing short of raw hip-hop with a modern sound to it, as well. On the 2017 debut album, Twelvyy shows listeners how he’s grown up and dealt with his mental health on tracks like “Brothers (feat. Smooky MarGielaa)” and “Strapped.” On 12, Twelvyy proves as to why he’s arguably the best member in A$AP Mob, and one of the best to come out of New York in a while.

Free 6lack by 6lack

6lack provides more R&B than rap in his tracks, but he blended those two so well on his debut album, Free 6lack in 2016. 6lack clearly showcases his rapping ability throughout the album on tracks like “Never Know,” “Rules,” and “Alone / EA6.” The album consistently delivers somber tracks with vocals and beats that are blended to perfection, giving the listener a look into 6lack’s mindset throughout the album.

Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill

Meek Mill released arguably the greatest intro track in hip-hop history on Dreams and NIghtmares in 2012. While that track has stayed relevant to this day, many overlook the greatness of the album. Meek Mill delivered a variety of tracks on the album. There were dark, meaningful, storytelling songs like “Traumatized” and “Tony Story, Pt. 2,” and others that were more upbeat like “Young & Gettin’ It (feat. Kirko Bangz)” and “Amen (feat. Drake).” The album accurately lives up to its title, with listeners getting a true taste of Mill’s experiences with his dreams and his nightmares, and Mill balances them perfectly on this album.

The Never Story by J.I.D.

J.I.D. has risen to stardom in the past years, and there was no better showcase of his talents than with his debut album, The Never Story, in 2017. The album serves as a great introduction to his versatility, consisting of songs with amazing lyrical ability among others with great melodies. J.I.D. went above and beyond on one of the best rap albums of the decade.

TA13OO by Denzel Curry

TA13OO serves as a three-part act with a light, grey and dark section of the album that all bring out different emotions of Curry. Curry kicks the album off with more light-hearted and melodic tracks but slowly progresses into more vigorous and beautifully raw fusions of hip-hop and metal. Curry clearly shows his emotional journey on TA13OO and takes the listeners on that journey with him. 

All Amerikkkan Bada$$ by Joey Bada$$

All Amerikkkan Bada$$ (AABA) is the best rap album of 2017. Joey Bada$$ did an incredible job of staying consistent with the themes of racial tension, discrimination and racism throughout AABA. At the young age of 22, he clearly made one of the best concept albums of the decade. If you’re looking for a truly conscious album, look no further then AABA. The album dives deep into the mind of Bada$$, and what makes AABA so great is that Bada$$ doesn’t just tell the listeners how he feels, but he shows it well throughout the album in all aspects.


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