Posted by Jenna Postler
The year 2010 was an important one in hip-hop. More specifically, 2010 was an outstanding year for the freshman album. Fans were privileged with breakout albums from artists who had only previously been heard on remixes and mix tapes.
In looking at the year in review, one can pinpoint some of the best mainstream hip-hop albums of the year to such rookies as Drake, Nikki Minaj, B.o.B. and Big Boi.
You may find yourself asking why Big Boi and Drake would be considered rookies. The answer is simple: technically, 2010 saw the release of their debut albums.
Big Boi's stellar "Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty" was his first album without longtime OutKast member Andre 3000. The catchy album sports such tracks as "Tangerine" featuring T.I. and Khujo Goodie and "Shutterbugg" featuring Cutty.
While Drake has been abuzz for a while now, his debut album "Thank Me Later" dropped in mid-June, much to the delight of his eager fans. The record sold 447,000 copies in its first week, helping Drake reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts.
The mainstream breakout of the year belongs to rapper B.o.B., whose debut album "B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray" dropped on April 27.
The album featured poppy hits such as "Airplanes" featuring Haley Williams of Paramore and "Nothin' on You" featuring Bruno Mars. Success following the release of "Airplanes" was enormous, as demonstrated by the single's prevalence on the radio in 2010.
The year 2011 is shaping up to be a good year for rappers Wiz Khalifia, J. Cole, Jay Electronica and Lil' Wayne, among others.
Khalifa, a Pittsburgh native, can expect more success following his immensely popular single "Black and Yellow," in which he refers to the colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Khalifa's 2011 album, "Rolling Papers" is tentatively set to release on March 29 off of Atlantic Records.
Featured in hip-hop magazine XXL's 2010 list of Top 10 Freshmen, rapper J. Cole was the first artist signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation record label.
The artist appeared on Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3" as well as Wale's "Attention Deficit." J. Cole's most recent release was his third official mix tape "Friday Night Lights." His debut album can be expected to drop sometime this year.
A fellow member of Jay-Z's Roc Nation label, Jay Electronica, has been gaining popularity recently through his raps, which can be found solely online.
The artist is best known for his single "Exhibit C." While no announcements have confirmed a possible studio album for the rapper, fans can hope for more releases in 2011.
If 2011 follows along the same trajectory as 2010, we can expect greater acceptance and talent in the genre of alternative hip-hop.
In 2010, rap duos Das Racist and Chiddy Bang received much deserved acclaim. 2010 also saw the release of the Das Racist mix tapes, "Shut Up, Dude" and "Sit Down, Man." Rolling Stone magazine selected the group's song "hahahaha jk?" as one of the 50 best singles of 2010.
For the year 2011, I particularly anticipate the rise of hip-hop collective OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), also known as Odd Future.
The group consists of at least 11 members who have just completed their first tour, which consisted of two stops. This promising group of young men is set to perform this spring at Coachella, a large stride that the group is making toward success.
Jenna Postler is a sophomore from rural Vermont who knows what's hip (hop).