Published Jan 27, 2010Exclaim! Readers' Top Hip-Hop Albums of 2009:
2. Mos Def
5. Kid Cudi
8. Black Eyed Peas
1. Jay-Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation)
"Dude can't sing a lick but he is pretty cool!"
Andrew Dunn, Halifax, NS
"Fits in nicely with the rest & can't help but enjoy the alphaville sample even more than I do that song originally."
Thao Tran, Ottawa, ON
"Death to Auto-Tune!"
Leila Haikonen, Toronto, ON
"Jay-z returns and reclaims his crown as king of the game."
David Rowe, Cambridge, ON
"Can anything be said about hip-hop this year without Kanye West interrupting me? I hope so. Jay-Z's album lives up to its name, setting the blueprint for hip-hop's continual dominance of the pop charts, and providing us with another anthem in 'Empire State of Mind.'"
Andrew Wilson, Ottawa, ON
"This album really brought me back to what Jay-z is about. Motivational catchy hip-hop."
Tanya Buksa, Thornhill, ON
2. Mos Def The Ecstatic (Downtown)
"Rapper / sometimes actor Mos Def is back in full force with this LP. It's brave, bold, and everything that a Mos Def fan wants."
Walter Petrichyn, Windsor, ON
"A creative banger. Beats are on point but wild and lyrically Mos reflects that wildstyle."
Matejs Garijans, Toronto, ON
"'Casa Bey' is a tight song. Who would have known anyone could rap on that song ['Casa Forte')?"
Casa Hutchinson, Brampton, ON
"Back to his true form."
Christopher Popowicz, Stony Plain, AB
3. K'Naan Troubadour (A&M)
"A breath of fresh air. That's what you get from K'Naan's Troubadour. Slick rhymin', positive lyrics, pop-flirting beats, it's all there."
Jean-Phillip Gaulin, Bishopton, QC
"Not a huge hip-hop fan, but this guy makes me want to learn and appreciate more."
Jacques Lamothe, Sudbury, ON
"Considering K'naan's life story a song like 'Wavin' Flag' has got to bring tears to the eyes of any listener."
Scott Mowbray, Cartwright, MB
"Music that matters,"
Shane Rankin, Toronto , ON
"Refreshing to hear a hip-hop artist cover a variety of genres and talk about..."
Jonathan Briggins, Halifax, NS
"Amazing talent, heart, soul, everything.. poppy, dancey, angry, sad, happy... it runs the whole gamut... I don't know what to say... the whole package is hands down the best album of the year, and a local too!"
Micah Rix-Hayes, Toronto, ON
"As someone who doesn't call themselves a hip-hop fan, it takes something special to catch my attention. This is an amazing album, start to finish. The most effective argument for opening the borders."
Dustin Blumhagen, Galahad, AB
4. Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II (Ice H2O)
"14 years after the first one the Chef returns with another classic."
Kortnee Borden, Toronto, ON
"This is a nod to my little brother. Back in the '90s when I just started listening to jam band stuff and only jam band stuff, he took his first steps toward musical individuality... Hip-hop was his poison. He was playing Wu-Tang all day long, but almost half tongue-in-cheek. The he got Cuban Linx and he gave it to me with that look, 'no, seriously, check this out.' Well the second time around I checked it out on my own. I don't buy a ton of beats, but it's refreshing that you know who you can count on."
Sebastian Oort, St. Catharines, ON
"Reminds me of going to high school in the '90s (minus the not getting laid part). Grimy and magnificent."
Alexander Adrock, Toronto, ON
"Raekwon certainly lived up to the built up hype for his much-awaited follow-up to Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Contains one of the sickest hip-hop tracks, 'Surgical Gloves,' that I've heard in a long time."
Jeff Purmalis, Toronto, ON
"Forget Hova, 50 or Gucci Mane...the only nutritious rap came from the veteran from the Wu to keep thorough!"
Cedric Morgan, Montreal, QC
"It's about time this CD came out. I don't know when Pt I came out but it was bad-ass as fuck and this didn't disappoint, it pulled through. and my mom likes it!"
Clinton Bard, Summerland, BC
5. Kid Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of the Day (Good)
"In a slow year for hip-hop Kid Cudi burst forth exploring his psyche on one of the best hip-hop debuts since Kanye West's The College Dropout. Cudi's unusual sounds incorporating trippy beats, electronica and his cerebral lyrics prove that hip-hop is still alive and kickin'."
Wayne Yuzik, Saskatoon, SK
"Psychedelic, beautiful, prog-rap... about blowjobs."
Josh Moss, Toronto, ON
"One of the most impressive hip-hop debuts of all time. This album takes influence from a variety of genres creating an entirely new and fresh take on hip-hop."
Andrew Rollins, Cornwall, PEI
"This album made me remember why I used to like hip-hop. Oh wait. I guess I still do."
Matt Robb, London, ON
"I think Kid Cudi had the best hip-hop albums this year. It's creative, different and very honest. Nowadays when you buy some hip-hop albums you can't even get those three things on one album. I hope Kid Cudi has a many more great years ahead of him because he's on another level. I guess that's why he's the man on the moon."
Kareem Duhaney, Mississauga, ON
"'Where Kanye West's 808s and Heartbreak faltered, Kid Cudi's debut studio album Man on the Moon delivers on all gloomy and emotional fronts while sounding like a salvia trip all at once. Gaining attention with the A Kid Named Cudi mixtape, Cudi has evolved from a generic rapper with artistic tastes to a fully realized installation/constellation in the hip-hop genre. Sure, there are mainstream gems like 'Make Her Say' and its highly sexualized party beats, but the best tracks of all may be when the rapper actually sings. 'Pursuit of Happiness' offers a darkly introspective track about the pursuit of success, while 'Day N' Nite' creates a Portishead-esque down-tempo jam while Kudi sings about solitude and addiction. MGMT, nightmares, Ratatat, getting stoned, existentialism - Man on the Moon is the most complex rap album of the year."
Matthew Ritchie, Halifax, NS
6. Eminem Relapse (Aftermath)
"I liked this album in particular, since it had a lighter tone to it. Gone was the controversial nature of his other albums that preceded it. I don't particularly like hardcore hip-hop."
Jacques Cuerrir, Cornwall, ON
"This album is retarded. In a good way."
Clint Miller, Port Coquitlam, BC
7. DOOM Born Like This (Lex)
"Every album Daniel Dumile puts out is amazing."
Blake MacKay, Ottawa, ON
"Doom cannot be defeated in rhyme or reason."
Adam Boult, Fredericton, NB
"MF returns and has never sounded so strong and relevant."
Matthew Leslie, Toronto, ON
"Doom daddy does doo-hop like nobody's bizness...."
Ryan Fedorchuk, Parksville, BC
"Not as great as Madvillainy, but a lot better than that cartoon album follow-up. I really like MF Doom's lyrics and voice."
Aaron Ber, Toronto, ON
"Always a pleasure from Doom, and I have never been disappointed. One of the most creative rappers and producers out there and an asset to the Stones Throw family."
Mason Windels, Montreal, QC
"One of the most underrated records of the year, Doom's Born Like This isn't as great as MMM...Food or Madvilliainy, but with collaborations from Madlib and the late J Dilla, it's a strong hip-hop record on a pretty weak year for the genre."
John Papamarko, Toronto, ON
"Shorter, darker and more cryptic than the typical DOOM album (and that includes work under all his many aliases), Born Like This is a difficult album to get into at first. Give it a few listens, though, and you'll come to appreciate DOOM's new, more sinister direction. 'That's That' may be Dumile's most incomprehensibly brilliant track ever."
Adam Medley, Toronto, ON
8. Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies) (Interscope)
"Not really sure why this all works, but it does."
Jean-Phillipe Jakubec, Kamloops, BC
"Best song of the year is 'I Gotta Feeling!'"
Rodney Cross, Tancook Island, NS
9. D-sisive Let the Children Die (Urbnet)
"Really liked it. Tight."
Dave Robertson, Ottawa, ON
"With his word choice, delivery, and ability to create such interesting visual imagery, sometimes I don't think of D-Sisive as just a hip-hop artist. He's a storyteller on par with great lyricists of any genre of music!"
Christopher White, Windsor, ON
10. K-os Yes! (Crown Loyalist)
"Polished his sound up. Great album"
Adriana Lozjanin, Vancouver, BC
"Amazing indie style mixed with old school hip-hop makes this album a hit."
Sabrina Hudak, Toronto, ON