Published Jan 31, 20111. Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Roc-A-Fella)
Of all of Kanye's albums, this will be the one that is remembered ten years from now. All the collaborations sound excellent, not distracting as in some of his past albums. The track "Monster" with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon is the pinnacle of the album, with lead single "Runaway" a very close second. Well worth repeated listening.
Mark Bertolini, Brampton ON
I wish every time an artist had a nervous breakdown and went crazy that they would release an album as good as Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Originally titled Good Ass Job ― which could have been the funniest hip-hop title of all time ― Kanye channels his embarrassment over Taylorgate and heartbreak from the past two years into full on anger. The result is a hard hitting hip-hop album that will please purists, with enough interesting textures to allow this album to undoubtedly be a classic. It's not only the most creative hip-hop album of the year, but the most important one as well. Because if every artist was as passionate about their recording process as Kanye West, we'd have a lot less Flo Ridas on the radio. Kanye West is a genius.
Matthew Ritchie, Halifax NS
Kanye West has become this generations Brian Wilson ― a perfectionist who transcends and reinvents his genre while being unafraid of taking risks along the way. The only difference between Wilson and West is that there is nobody holding West back. Both West and Wilson dealt with personal demons, but it seems only West has been able to overcome them in order to continue reinventing himself in new and incredible ways.
Aaron Bronsteter, Toronto ON
He may be the most narcissistic celebrity of our time, but he certainly has much to be confident about. This album is incredible. Each track has a moment, or many moments of greatness. The only surprising and disappointing note is Jay Z on "Monster." Not everything is lost though, because Nicki Minaj chimes in and kills it in what I think is her best MCing yet.
Christina Gould, Puslinch ON
It's as good as Kanye thinks it is.
Ted Stephen, Toronto ON
2. Shad TSOL (Black Box)
Shad is the best MC in hip-hop right now. Case closed.
Timmy Chandler, Toronto ON
Polaris robbed Shad. Seriously. Took his wallet and everything. And then still didn't give him the prize he deserved.
Jennifer Ivanovs, Toronto ON
Shad has the lyrical prowess of a slam poet and an incredible ability to include topical cultural references in a way that brings about awareness, but not aggression. It's all about fresh beats. He is able to really bring a personal edge to the art of hip-hop, and his skills don't stop on the tracks. Check out some of his freestyle videos to see what I mean. Shad is a great representative of the Canadian hip-hop scene.
Brittany Davies, Victoria BC
3. Eminem Recovery (Interscope)
It's one thing to say that Eminem is a changed person, and it's another for the MC to actually come through with an album that reaffirms the statement. With Recovery he's done just that. Perhaps it's Eminem who should have released an album called Rebirth and not Lil Wayne, because with Recovery, Marshall Mathers sounds more confident and clearheaded than he has in years, and it's left the MC with one of his most complete records to date.
Michael Glustien, Ottawa ON
I have been loving Eminem's newest stuff, much more mature than the songs he first came out with.
Nicole Monk, Cowichan Bay BC
Marshall Mathers has secured himself, love him or hate him, as one of the best rappers of all time.
Shannon Palmer, North Bay ON
4. The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam)
The legendary Roots crew prove that their "day job" isn't going to effect how well they do their "night job." Ten albums deep and they drop another classic.
Kortnee Borden, Toronto ON
Possibly the hook-heaviest hip-hop album ever, and an addiction during my first two weeks of ownership. My vote for album of the year in any genre.
Jeff Munro, Guelph ON
5. Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
Big Boi knows best. Dub synth loop drum pad be bop whatever you wanna call it, Big Boi brought the old back into the new. This album is filled with everything I did not expect before listening to it. Obviously working with Andre will get you a majority of people to listen to your new work. But this is not an Outkast album. Big Boi was testing the waters by reinventing the old and mixing it into his work today. This album has serious '80s beat vibes piercing through almost every song.
John Bellmore, Sudbury ON
Sorry, Kanye, imma let you finish, but Big Boi put out the best album of 2010.
Thierry Cote, Toronto ON
Big Boi separates himself from Andre 3000, makes a highly commercial album, there are more than five good tracks on this album and I think more original than Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantas, Maybe not as well produced, but more accessible, maybe.
Noor Merali, Toronto ON