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Top Hip Hop Acts Of The Year 2010: From Club Bangers, Revolutionary Rap Songs, Dope Music Videos and Raw Hip Hop Star Power

Hip hop- as a matter of fact- the arts, must have loved 2010.As this review of  2010 top hip hop songs will reveal, 2010 was a good year for hip hop.

By the time we are done, you sure will have you hip hop game on point.

Why then should your hip hop game be on top?

It is KRS One who said “Hip is to know, it’s a form of intelligence. To be hip is to be update and relevant.”

To that we add: “To be hip is to live in the 21st century.”

That said, some house keeping issues first. These are the things to keep in mind as we curate 2010 top hip hop songs:

  • Culture is everything in this review of top 2010 hip hop songs. We will explain why
  • Relevance of the track to the time is paramount. We will also show you how
  • Though all our nominees are rap songs, this review of the dopest tracks of 2010 is about how rap becomes hip hop. Once again KRS-One comes to our rescue with this quote: “Rap is something you do Hip Hop is something you live “

Why We Chose 2010: The Story Of Hip Hop & Culture

For any artist, to be alive in 2010 meant indulgence with a Carte du jour of momentous local events with global reverberations. This made 2010 one of the better times to be an artist.

Why? Well, this fecund environment meant that within reach was the holy grail of artistic expression: Cultural Icon status.

To be cultural ambassadors lies at the heart of what drives any artist. Our review of 2010 top hip hop songs will celebrate the work of such artists whose work became cultural artifacts.

How does one attain such status? Being an artist in the 21st century, means living for that moment when your creative depiction of  your environment/culture/memories or imagination finds meaning globally.

Editor’s Note: Contrast the value of this most sought after acclaim with the revelations in our review of 21st century conscious Kenyan hip hop music. While these tracks have profound importance in Kenya, they might struggle for relevancy beyond.

2010 Represents The Peak Of The Third Industrial Revolution: What That Meant For Hip Hop Music

A short route to this pinnacle of artistic expression is what 2010 offered. At this time, living in the 21st century was a period of renewal ushered in by malleability in geopolitical boundaries as globalization was still hip and ‘collaboration/cooperation’ in vogue.

What this meant was that there were a host of enablers for the movement of artistic pieces. Consider the following statement

We affirm the importance of encouraging the dialogue among civilizations, cultures, religions and peoples. In this respect, we support the “Alliance of Civilizations”, a United Nations’ initiative aimed at building bridges, mutual knowledge and understanding around the world ~ BRIC Summit Joint Statement, April 2010

This yearning and acceptance of cultures foreign meant that artists could create content on minor themes within their current existence.

Then through technology, the resultant artistic pieces would assume a larger than life status by appealing to a wider global audience.

This multiplier effect arose as these minor themes turn out to resonate with stuff that mattered big in other geophysical locations.

This was possible as 2010 represented the peak of the third industrial age dominated by digital advancements that made the world a global village. Take the example of Facebook which in 2010 affirmed it’s position as a global brand with users sharing content across geopolitical boundaries.

2010 Top Hip Hop Songs: The Club Banger Edition

Consider that 2010 saw signs of world economic recovery following the first global financial crisis of the 21st century.The 2010 top hip hop songs  that capture this feeling? Dj Khaled’s  “All I do Is Win” and Rick Ross ft Styles P B.M.F (Blowin’ Money Fast). Need I say more?

As Nairobi, Dubai and Rio danced to these club bangers, in America, talk of economy recovery was still a footnote.The epicenter of the Great Recession, at 9.4%,  was still chocked by unemployment (double 2007 pre-reecession levels).

But one could excuse the detachment of these hip hop stars considering prior happenings at the start of 2010 halfway around the globe. In January of 2010, the Middle East had affirmed its importance as a 21st century global trade hub with the opening of the world tallest man made structure to date, the Burj Khalifa.

While there was no dope hip hope track to commemorate this 21st century Middle Eastern feat, in December of 2010, the Arab world made it’s seminal contribution to hip hop culture this century.It’s in this region of the world that we find one of hip hop’s most influential hip tracks ever.

The 2010 top Hip Hop Song That Build’s Hip Hop’s Cred as A Culture of Resistance.

Some text refer to it as Rais Le Bled. Officially, it’s “Rayes Lebled” by then 21 year old Tunisian rapper El General.

This gangster hip hop sounding jam hit the streets so hard that it was the soundtrack to the Jasmine Revolution that led to a new dawn for the Arab world through democratization.

When Afrika Bambaataa labeled hip hop a culture, with hip hop music alongside graffiti art, B-boing and Dj-ing as the four tenets of this culture; this is what he must have meant.

It is this relevance to the culture of the time that catapults, “Rayes Lebled” to be the first among equals in our top 2010 hip hop songs.

Which other tracks make it to our  A-List? Ladies and gentlemen, here are the 2010 top hip hop songs

2010 Top Hip Hop Song Where The Producer & MC’s Chemistry Is Just Tight: Right Above It 2010: Drake, Lil Wayne

Off Lil Wayne’s “I am Not a human being 1” album, released on Wizzy’s birthday the 27th of September 2010. This a Drake vs Lil Wayne freestyle battle it initially seems to be. Indeed the track starts out sounding like a rap battle but towards the end, one relishes it as a masterpiece in hip hop music collaboration.

Editor’s Note: Collaboration is uniquely common among the 2010 nominees. The maximalist Kanye West album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy“, must be the greatest hip hop album in this regard. “All of the lights” ,soundtrack to the immersive mobile basketball gaming experience nba2k14, features great vocalists like Alicia Keys, John Legend and Elton John in a true masterpiece: The top 2010 hip hop song in this category.

“In Right Above It”, Drake picks up the high tempo of what must be the most skillfully crafted hip hop beat of the  year. The producer, Kane Beatz, crafts a masterpiece. It is this work that makes this track belong to the school of 2010 top hip hop songs. By a grip on its heart, Drake molds out the beat with lyrical mastery and tells a story.

A story of how 2010 came to characterize an era of artist collaborations. Drake of course takes time to detail the life of a hip hop star. Going by Drake’s version, it is a life that even rock stars would envy.

As the Canadian born rapper flows on, at some point, it is tempting to think Drake has raised the lyrical bar too high.

That’s until Lil Wayne jumps on the beat and kills it off in godly fashion.Maxing it out, sweating it and stretching it to bring out the best of Kane Beatz.

2010 Top Hip Hop Track That Schools Fools: Building Minds Faster (BMF Freestyle) By Lupe Fiasco

Lupe Fiasco’s brand is consciousness in his music. In this track, he characteristically bears it all. Lupe’s more straight punching than usual. Lupe exhibits bravery in delving into subject areas that are usually confined to the world of conspiracy theorists.

The shadowy society of the so called  Illuminati find themselves mentioned here. So does the recent BP oil tragedy off the gulf of Mexico and the perennial Delta wars of Nigeria. Talk of a messenger of a revolution; in Lupe’s B.M.F 2010 top hip hop track we come closest.

2010 Top Hip Hop Song With The Tightest Lyrics: The Fire By The Roots ft John Legend

KRS-One said: “Rappers spit rhymes that are mostly illegal, MC’s spit rhymes to uplift their people.” No other track among our 2010 top hip hop song picks gives life to KRS-One’s wisdom as this one right here. John Legend brings the soul into this inspirational track. But the attraction here has to be this track’s tight lyrics such as this one here:

“Maverick always above and beyond average…You came to celebrate, I came to cerebrate ”

Just a pick of the lines in the two verse rap. If you craved from some vintage The Roots stuff, this is an adequate dose. Albeit a tad short for my liking, The Roots do keep a sub genre of rap- Groovy- alive in this track

Editor’s Note : When we named “Fire” by The Roots ft John Legend among 2010 top hip hip songs, we envisioned it attaining cult status. The reason why we placed such a premium on this song over the the likes of the critically acclaimed “Dear God 2.o”ft Monsters Of Folk and “Walk Alone” ft Truck North, P.O.R.N & Dice Raw; is that Fire was 2010.

This all time hip hop great didn’t tear up the charts or break the bank. But it did something better. It become the soundtrack of humanity’s triumph over the darkness of the great recession towards owning the 21st century.

Moreover, “Fire” does one over the other 2010 top hip hop songs. Even with their certified Platinum status, Grammy awards and MTV awards. “Fire” is the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed (Rotten Tomato 95% and IMDb 7.6/10) Creed. Creed is a 2015 sports drama film dubbed the latest installment of the Rocky franchise.

2010 Top Hip Hip Track With Ultimate Star Power: No Love By Eminem, Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne almost owns the beat with his verse. Throwing in tight lyrics that are undoubtedly aimed at all the haters. You must remember that 2010 was a year of  jail ins/outs for Wizzy.

In his verses, Lil Wayne stays true to the theme of overcoming adversity. A theme features prominently in all our picks for 2010 top hip hop songs.

What’s juicy in this track however, is how this tale of  economic struggle- that is the tale of 2010-perfectly blends with the ever present ‘broken family portrait’ in Eminem’s songs.

Even the album name, Recovery, perfectly plays with pun to headline these two themes. Recovery of the economy and Recovery from alcoholism/ family strife.

However not to be out shone, as Jay z once put it, “the white boy blossoms”,Eminem rediscovers his alter ego, the real slim shady. A persona that we’ve come to love so much over the years.And a key reason why this track features in our 2010 top hip hop songs over the number one 100 billboard track “Not Afraid”.

“No Love’  is hands down the best collabo in 2010’s top selling album (in a week) following its release. This track shows you why Eminem once confessed that he was jealous of Lil Wayne. So jealous was the top selling artist of the 2ooo,that he contemplated releasing a dis-track.

In the same vein it heralds why Eminem is the top selling artist of the 2000’s. What a way for Eminem to end the first decade of the 21st century and usher in the next.

2010 Top Hip Hop Dope Song & Dope Music Video Combo: Power By Kanye West ft Dwele

If Eminem is the top selling artist of the 2000’s , I am tempted to think that Kanye West is the most talented. Talented because his mastery of the art of music production borders on Beethoven like genius.

Talented because as a rapper, all his albums have been worth the while. Through his music, Kanye tells his story and our stories. He does this almost as skillfully as a best selling author penning their next bestseller.

Listening to Kanye’s albums is akin to reading a collection of short stories from a variety of authors. That is how versatile and refreshing Kanye West is.

When I first heard, Power, I it sounded every bit a member of the top 2010 hip hop songs. Since Hype Williams, it had been a while since I heard a song and I wanted to watch it’s video. Thanks to You Tube, I was able to indulge myself in this awesome video.

2011 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance. 2011 MTV Video Music Video Award for Best Visual Effects.Music Video Award for Best Art Director winner. Now, if that is not art, you tell me. In my definition, for anything to be considered artistic, it only needs to bear one quality: That quality is Power! The power to provoke a reaction in anyone who comes across it.

By no means is this list exhaustive. Please feel free to add your favorite tracks inn the comments section below + what of you think of our picks.

Join the conversation by leaving a comment.

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