Shad, Big Boi, the Roots and Black Milk Lead Exclaim!'s Top Hip-Hop Albums of 2010

Shad, Big Boi, the Roots and Black Milk Lead Exclaim!'s Top Hip-Hop Albums of 2010
Taking a look at the year-end list for Exclaim!'s Beats & Rhymes section, persistence could easily be trotted out as the theme for many of the selections made by Exclaim! contributors for 2010's hip-hop top ten.

Take Shad, whose TSOL scored the No. 2 position on our best-of list and is streaming here on all week. "Maybe I'm not big because I don't blog or Twitter / Dog, I'm bitter," a self-deprecating Shad opined to open TSOL's signature track "Yaa I Get It," but the sentiment should not be interpreted as sour grapes from an artist off the back of a half-hearted effort.

Fans and critics took notice of the grind and Shad's profile rose significantly through the release of TSOL, which snagged the London, ON MC his second appearance on the shortlist for this year's Polaris Music Prize. As we noted of the album, Shad's "candour and conviction shine through every bar" and TSOL's incredibly intricate wordplay could only be born of countless ripped-up drafts and false starts.

Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty arrived after what seemed like an indefinite wait and a dizzying number of label changes. The Outkast MC's doggedness paid off handsomely as the record just might be on virtually every year-end list you come across, as well as topping Exclaim!'s year-end Beats & Rhymes list.

Meanwhile, How I Got Over, the oft-delayed opus from the Roots is perseverance defined in the album title alone, but its take on the hip-hop midlife crisis is masterfully delivered. Black Milk's Album of the Year is the MC and producer's hard-hitting documentation of a particularly tough year within his inner circle in the blue-collar city of Detroit.

And while Curren$y may seem like a new name to many, the laconic New Orleans-bred MC is finally hitting pay dirt with a ton of critical acclaim after being a longtime second-stringer on the No Limit and Young Money labels. For more Canadian content, it comes courtesy of More or Les and D-Sisive, both of whom made our list.

As for Shad's TSOL, it will be streaming on until January 10.

To see Exclaim!'s entire Beats & Rhymes Year in Review 2010 list, head here. And to check out all our Year in Review coverage, head here.

Stay tuned for these future full-album streams on

White Lung It's the Evil January 11 to January 17
Caribou Swim January 18 to January 24