2010 was another great year for hip-hop with a seemingly never-ending flow of quality releases dropping from both underground and mainstream hip-hop artists. Hence, it's impossible to fully represent the diversity of hip-hop in 2010 in any year-end column. But this Amoeblog will attempt to offer a sampler of some of the highlights of 2010 via revisiting some select Amoeba Hip-Hop Top 5 charts along with some accompanying videos. Also below are some best-of 2010 lists from Luis F Soria (Amoeba San Francisco), Ray Ricky Rivera (Amoeba Hollywood), DJ Inti (Amoeba Berkeley), and myself (Amoeblog).
The lists of 2010 releases below only scratch the surface of what came out this past year, which proves just how vibrant hip-hop was in 2010. It was everywhere, with artists crossing over more than ever into pop, rock, & dance. And while 2010 saw a ton of newcomers drop impressive albums, it was also a year when many longtime artists delivered some of their best work. Eminem, Big Boi, E40 and Ghostface Killah each had stellar releases. Also impressive in 2010 were Dres from Black Sheep, Sadat X, Rah Digga, and Son of Bazerk and No Self Control, who returned with the killer jackin for beats track, "I Swear On a Stack of Old Hits," released by Chuck D's Slamjamz label. Unfortunately, when they performed live, opening for Public Enemy in 2010, they weren't as good as on record or video (see below). Consistently great in concert including on their 2010 tour was Public Enemy whose 1991 single "By The Time I Get To Arizona" inspired many and took on a new meaning in 2010 with Arizona's Senate Bill 1070, or SB 1070.
DJ Shadow's Shadowsphere tour was among the best shows of 2010. Zion I's recent Atomic Clock tour was also on the money. Gurp Fest, earlier this month, proved that the party driven, raw hip-hop Bay Area bred movement is on the brink of blowing up. Among the many Bay Area artists making noise in 2010 were Richmond's Erk Tha Jerk, Vallejo's Moe Green, and Fillmore San Francisco's DaVinci. Veteran SF hip-hop crew Bored Stiff released the free digital album Now More Than Ever in 2010 but tragically lost a member when earlier this month Rick Fairley, aka Big Kwanz, died in his sleep from a heart attack. He was only 36. Hip-hop lost many others too in 2010, notably GURU of Gang Starr, who died back in April at age 43.