I was very disappointed overall with the albums released this year in rap music. They didn't have a great amount of depth to them and too many people have the same concepts- "I get Money", "I ball", and "I'm a Boss", to be taken seriously. However, when it came down to picking the top 5, I did waffle a bit with the order a couple of times. Two of the top five actually came out at the end of 2009 after my rankings from last year and so are for consideration here. So without further adieu:
5. Distant Relatives- Nas and Damien Marley
Here is an album with almost no press, no videos, and no airplay yet it was a very solid effort from the duo. One of the best parts about the album was that Damien pretty much controlled to concepts and production of the album allowing Nas to focus mostly on his bars. While Esco still manages to slip into rap cliche mode, he still provided more of what we want to hear from him.
4. Teflon Don- Rick Ross
This is the second time I have been forced into including Ross onto the best albums though I am reluctant to do so. Let me be honest, Ross has a serious flow, can paint decent imagery and has some of the best production on the planet. However, between the last two albums where is the real growth? I'm tired of "expensive car music" which are just more songs where he just spits his mix tape like verses that have no meaning or unifying theme. However, Free Masons, has Ross with one of his better verses but the length of the LP bothered me as did the total lack of some real growth at this point.
3. Till The Casket Drops- The Clipse
I was never a real big Clipse fan until this album. Always touted for their lyricism, I felt they had a Ross-like lack of depth. This album cleared all of that up and painted the picture of their life that feels more real life to Ross' movie version. The production varied and the duo stepped up their album writing to tell a complete story.
2. The Adventures of Bobby Ray- B.O.B.
My opinion of this one varied from having it anywhere from 5 to number 1. In the end, this album was the second best only because B.O.B. has a lack of actual lyrical, and flowing abilities. He is however, a great song composer and made the album Kid Cudi wished he could have done. He manages to put together a variety of sounds that end up being cohesive, from the hits "Airplanes" and "Nothing on You", to the intro/song "Don't let me Fall" and Radio Disney staple, "Magic". The breadth of the album makes it more than just hip-hop and has me eagerly awaiting his follow-up, as long as it isn't rushed.
1. Attention Deficit- Wale
Wale may be somewhat known as arrogant, and I may be biased because he is from DC and I from Baltimore (and not in a good way mind you), but dude put out a terrific first album. Features mostly fit, though "Looking at Me" with Lady Gaga was a mistake to me, Wale makes up for it with "Pretty Girls" and what might be the best song of the year period in "Shades" where he talks about the light skinned/dark skinned dynamic in the black community. That song itself is worth the album. I don't care for the Bun B feature but the album is certainly hot from front to back. Congratulations Wale, you did a great job.