Hip-Hop: Year in Review 2010

Hip-Hop: Year in Review 2010
1. Big Boi
2. Shad
3. The Roots
4. Black Milk
5. Curren$y
6. D-Sisive
7. Rick Ross
8. Roc Marciano
9. More or Les
10. Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon

1. Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty (Def Jam)
If it's conceivable for an artist to own five Grammys, sell more than 25 million records and still be underrated, then that man's name is Antwan Patton. Sir Lucious Left Foot finally killed any notion that OutKast's Big Boi and Andre 3000 are not creative equals. Different, yes, but equal. Perhaps it was a disguised blessing that Jive refused to clear Dre's guest verses for Left Foot's final cut (Dre does, however, produce the belligerently funky "You Ain't No DJ," Yelawolf's coming-out party). So overshadowed has Daddy Fat Sax been by his more flamboyant foil, the casual rap listener might get sucker-punched by this big, beautiful bully of a record. Those who'd been paying attention to Big Boi's recent teases ("Kryptonite," "Royal Flush") get their faith affirmed, over Organized Noize's bass-y, spacey layers of sound. This is Plainfield funk by way of Georgia by way of Jupiter. Big Boi began recording Sir Lucious back in 2007, and the care he took in assembling its players, his words and, hell, even the goofy skits shows. The 35-year-old producer-rapper refuses to rest on past success (although the "Hootie hoo!" shout on "Tangerine" is a sly wink to '94), instead warping his flows into the future, fire-wiring soul into computers, and delivering one of the year's most complete experiences, from the apocalyptic bombast of "General Patton" to the hustler grin of "Shine Blockas" (featuring Gucci Mane). "Follow Us," with its hypnotic 808s by Salaam Remi and glam-rock-tinged hook by Vonnegutt, is as poignant as it is fun: "If you sell dope, nigga, stack it when you get it / Can't trick it or spend it until it's gone / That's slippery business, holmes / Go get you a business loan," advises Big Boi, a man with an eye on the trap, a foot on the dance floor, but a mind on the whole world.
Luke Fox