Hip hop is in a great place in 2017. It’s easy to criticise what goes on in the mainstream, but the genre has never been as diverse as it is today, and while it’s tough to say if we’re in the midst of a second ‘golden age’ or not, this is an incredible time to be a rap fan.
Services like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp have made it easier for artists to get their music to the masses than ever before. This has created a crowded marketplace, but there’s something for everyone these days. From chart-toppers like Drake and Migos to Danny Brown, Death Grips, and the genre’s other experimentalists, hip hop’s current sonic palette is rich and diverse, with countless great albums appearing at both ends of the spectrum.
The 2010s have been incredible so far, and the sheer volume of outstanding albums released since 2010 is daunting to sift through. It’s impossible to honour every big release, and notable omissions are inevitable. Regardless, the decade’s finest albums stand among the best the genre has ever produced.
Only time will tell if they become era-defining classics, but these are the records that represent the best hip hop’s that modern age has to offer.