A few years ago, a topic was introduced that sent the hip-hop community into a tailspin. On Twitter, RapCaviar posted a tweet sharing its pick of Mount Rushmore 2010 top rappers. In the tweet, RapCaviar shared an image of J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake with the fourth head missing. The 2010s became a strong point in the legacy of hip hop. As we began to move away from the one-hit wonders and ringtone pop/rap music. In essence, we grew tired of Soulja Boy and fell in love with real hip hop again.
No, it’s not a diss against Soulja Boy. In fact, Soulja Boy helped usher in the new wave of rap music that saw explode during the 2010s. It’s because of him we now have quality music videos to accompany some of our favorite tracks. But Soulja Boy and his iconic impact is another story for another article. With such a hot debated topic, it must be handled with care. The 2010s had some of the best rap music not seen since the golden age of 90s hip hop. It seems people have forgotten about two major acts who were grabbing ahold of the game in every way.
Kanye West and Eminem both were on a path and ultimately should have ended with their faces upon the Mount Rushmore of 2010s. Kanye West in the midst of a career-defining moment stood against all who opposed him and triumphed. Many rappers nor producers can’t say that Kanye West gave them hope and inspiration. Eminem, like a boxer trying to reclaim old glory, went back into the ring and came out the other end better than ever before.
It was at this time, two hip-hop Gods were beginning to succumb to the weight of the ever-changing world around them. Both trying to outrun the glory status the hip-hop community and media seemed to have placed on them. For one, the lure of graduating higher than his previous trilogy into something darker and more twisted. The other, fresh out of rehab and relapsing decides to put pad to pen and began the journey of recovery. When talking about the 2010s, it shouldn’t be a debate to bring up the gods who made us believe in hip hop again.
The fact that the debate has been centered around Nicki and Future is a crime in itself. Ye has been at the forefront and backdrop of some of the best hip-hop-produced tracks of the past decade. After capping off such a hall of fame-worthy trilogy in the College Saga, the world sat on the edge of their seats to see where Kanye would take his talents. After the love sicken 808s & Heartbreak, we got our answer. After almost two years, Kanye came back in the arms of the music community that once embraced him as a changed man. In 2010, Kanye released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It was then where Kanye reign on the rap game would continue to push for higher heights. For 10 straight years, Kanye West would dominate our music (and news headlines) in no other way than his own.
During his run, Kanye also gave us 3 great collaborative albums to which still hold weight: Watch The Throne, Cruel Summer, Kids See Ghost. Outside of music, Kanye developed his brand as one of the most creative fashion designers with his company Yeezy. As his music began to change, so did his views on the hip-hop industry and its culture. Kanye West, as the most vocal in the room, became one of the first to reject blindly following the culture. Never one to hold his tongue, Kanye West challenged us to be and seek more than what meets the eye.
Yes, the white boy that the hip-hop community loves to disrespect so much. Back in 2009, Eminem had just released, Eminem had just released Relapse and was coming off a 4-year hiatus of creative block and drug addiction. Being one of the most anticipated albums of 2009, the project made good on its promise, debuting at number one on Billboards 200. Fresh off winning a Grammy, it was time to look towards his official return. In 2010, Eminem released Recovery (best selling digital album in 2010). From there, Eminem continues his return and takes aim at the current state of hip hop.
Marshal Mathers tried to recapture the magic he once held during his drug-fueled years. With every great artist, Eminem was embraced with the highs (2010’s hit “Love the Way You Lie”) and the lows (Revival, considered to be Em’s worst album) of the music industry. Through the span of a decade, like the one before, Eminem has continued to stand the test of time.