Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ayo, It's Halftime: Top 10 Hip Hop Albums of 2010 (So Far) - In Haiku Form!

Back in elementary school, my English professor taught our class about haikus. Describing the well-known 5-7-5 syllable structure, she explained that this was actually a simplification of the original Japanese standard of haiku form. But in the end, she basically said "fuck it" and told us to come up with whatever 5-7-5 nonsense we could conjure up. I guess she assumed we'd never revisit haiku writing later on in life. Wrong again, teach'! Why is this list in haiku form? Why not? It's partially inspired by Chris Weingarten's 1,000 Times Yes album reviews - restrained by the limitations of 140 characters or less, for better or for worse. Maybe it's got something to do with that saké I had two nights ago (regrettably, not in a Suzuki in Osaka Bay). Yeah, maybe that's it. Apparently this trend is already in full-swing, so while I'm (always) open to positive comments, complaints can be directed to these guys.

One quick note before I get into the list: In the previous decade, semitically(?)-induced compulsiveness urged me to keep albums separated from mixtapes. The notion of a grey area was unacceptable. When Danger Mouse dropped The Grey Album, I had to make a tough decision and toss it into the 'mixtapes' pile. Those days are long gone. In the digital age where Drake can put out a 'mixtape' that's better than most peoples' albums - and, ironically, better than his own album - it's difficult to differentiate between the two. These days, mixtapes are rarely even, um, mixed - let alone on tape cassettes. What do you call a full-length Bandcamp upload? I've learned to stop worrying and love the malbums (mixtapes/albums). I don't differentiate between mixtapes and albums anymore, and this list reflects that new life decision I've made. Okay, here we go...

Jadakiss - The Champ Is Here 3 (w/DJ Green Lantern & DJ Drama)

The streets were starving
The Last Kiss was pop and wack
Champ Is Here? Straight crack

The Champ Is Here 3

Dom Kennedy - From the Westside, With Love

Drake of the west coast?
Could be, minus the self-pity
Spits hungrier too

From the Westside, With Love

Freeway & Jake One - The Stimulus Package

No Just Blaze? No prob!
Jake One, beast on the boards and
Great collab partner

The Stimulus Package

Raekwon - Cocainism Vol. 2 (w/Brinks Boyz)

Cuban Linx for free
Purple Tape 3 on budget
Kiss the chef again

Cocainism Vol. 2

Yelawolf - Trunk Muzik (w/DJ Burn One)

Reps Alabama
Spits like Cleveland and Chi-Town
South rises again

Trunk Muzik

Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx - The eXXecution

Polo drops heat rocks
Ruste spits with flames to match
Straight up gritty rap

The eXXecution

Nas & Damian Marley - Distant Relatives

"Get Up, Stand Up" raps
Tracks seem disjointed at times
Message reigns supreme

Distant Relatives

Shad - TSOL

Nerdy and soulful
May not be his best album
Still better than most


Roc Marciano - Marcberg

What year are we in?
Nineteen-ninety-five? Oh, shit!
Roc travels through time!


The Roots - How I Got Over

Even with Late Night
Mainstream appeal, Roots retain

How I Got Over


  1. Oh, and in case you were wondering why Big K.R.I.T. isn't on this list, here's why:

    Is it this easy
    To get a Def Jam contract
    These days? I guess so!

    ...sorry, mayne!

  2. Yelawolf is really good, I hope he will persist in the rap game with his own style and won't give his butt to these majors & to US (the effin consummer responsible for Drake, Soulja Boi and "under presshit" by Dr.Dre to have such a major play on radio).

    I mean, those artist are more and more like marketing products...

    I'm gonna buy the roots and the Nas Jr Gong for sure.


  3. Not sure where people got this crazy idea that yelawolf and the roots released good albums this year. Dope post though. Cosign on Roc Marc, Freeway, Raekwon, and Distant Relatives...

  4. it's difficult to differentiate between the two.


    How so?

    When it has DJ drops, gunshots and other people's beats, it's obviously a mixtape. If a Bandcamp or DJ Booth release is billed as a LP or album, then that's what it is.

    A lot of mixtapes are being crafted as projects with all original material and that's all fine and dandy but they're still promotional tools and every artist creating them will tell you "the album's coming" or "this is just the precursor."

    The still need to be segregated because the mixtape will always be 2nd class due to that fact.

  5. So.... The Bar Exam 3 is a mixtape but the No DJ version is an album? It's the same music, in the same order.

    Plenty of albums use other peoples' beats. DJ drops can be found on albums - so can gunshot sounds.

  6. Good pic on Marco Polo & Ruste Juxx these guys are totally slept on old boy Rich Malone who opened for them the last show was off the chain too.

  7. I never understood this Haiku stuff.

    Isnt this sorta like a Drake rhyme-pattern?

  8. No AOTP?? "The Unholy Terror" HAS to be at least be in the top 10 of 2010, if not top 5!! I'm just sayin...

  9. i really dont understand why roc marc is in there. i heard the album and the beats take me back to that 95 era, but the rhymes, please. definitely shouldn't be top 10. DEAD PREZ REVOLUTIONARY BUT GANGSTA GRILLZ should replace it. thanks.

  10. I liked the Dead Prez mixtape and a few songs from the Albert Anastasia EP.

  11. Great post -- this is by far one of the best blogs on the interweb!!

  12. List is on point. Good ish Ivan. Not a fan of K.R.I.T. huh? That KRIT was here project was excellent, in my opinion...