I realize this is cheating, but I had no choice. I thoroughly enjoyed each of these albums but in different ways. While How I Got Over may be the album I bumped the most in 2010, I couldn’t ignore the shear brashness of Kanye West’s most recent album- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. So I split the difference (er cheated) by calling #3 on my list a tie. Without further adieu…
3. (Tie) The Roots: How I Got Over [Def Jam]
How I Got Over is The Roots’ first album since they become Jimmy Fallon’s house band. On this, their ninth album, the Philly-based rap/soul/jazz group show why they continue to get the respect and adoration of so many. As I’ve mentioned on previous occasion, the rap genre is much like the broader category of pop music, in that its homogeneous (or boring). Albums like this continue to push back on the notion that rap is dead. Its fun, creative, and it contains a bevy of credible artists (John Legend, Monsters of Folk/Jim James, Joanna Newsom). Check it out, there’s something here for everyone.
Prime Cuts: Walk Alone, Dear God 2.0, Hustla
3. (Tie) Kany West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy [Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam]
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the sort of album that an artist records when they’re trying to send a message. In the case of Kanye West, the message is a big giant middle finger to everyone (including me) that thought Kanye went a little nuts. We all know that things haven’t been easy for the guy these last few years with the untimely passing of his mother. I’m sure many of us would go a little nuts after an experience like that. Throw in the fact that he’s ridiculously famous and you get what happened at the MTV Video Music Awards a few years ago. To redeem himself, West produces this wonderful catharsis. But this isn’t only about demons. West has some fun, and brings a few friends (Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, Nicki Manaj, Jay-Z, Bon Iver) along for the ride and the result is probably his best work to date.
Prime Cuts: So Appalled, Runaway, Hell of a Life