This is the moment a lot of our readers have been waiting for The Word Is Bond Top Ten Albums of 2010. It is the combined efforts of all the writers on the site, we each put in our say to deliver this post honouring our favorite artists. Obviously music is subjective so were never going to be able to please everybody.
It is a celebration rather than a competition, so try remember that when you wonder why such and such wasn’t included. If your the type that cringes when you see modern TV awards shows then this is the list for you, not a Drake in sight.
This album is a celebration of life. An exploration into the soul of mankind. Each track represents a step, a new adventure with a lesson to be learnt. In many ways, the songs on show represent the values of the emcee Raw Poetic who expresses himself through philosophical poetry over beats.
Quite simply the must have album of the year. Every so often a piece of work comes along that stands the test of time. In the underground we’ve seen it before with Blu & Exile, but rarely does an act come along with such magnetic chemistry. Panacea are the modern day De La Soul. They fill the void left behind by great acts such as Pete Rock & CL Smooth. I would best describe it as history in the making. As “12 Step Program” may just be their finest hour yet. If you havn’t checked this out, i can promise you hip-hop’s most creative piece of 2010.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/01-The-Long-Pull.mp3″ text=”Panacea – The Long Pull” dl=”0″]
K-Murdock & Raw Poetic
Substantial is a Word Is Bond favorite signed to QN5. Many people know him for his work with Nujabes on his classic debut album “To This Union a Sun Was Born”. Nine years later and he’s still releasing great music. This time he’s hooked up with producer Marcus D for “Bop Alloy”. Their joint LP feels like an organic collaboration that comes natural to both artists. In many ways it is a match that was meant to happen in order to breathe life back into the soul of hip-hop. Songs like “Still Think Different” have a chilled out vibe fusing ambient piano loops with captivating drums. Greater still, Substantial is an emcee comfortable with handling the most expansive sounds your likely to hear in 2010.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/02-Another-Day-In-The-Life-Feat.-Mr.-SOS-Cise-Star-of-CYNE-1.mp3″ text=”Bop Alloy – Another Day In The Life Ft. Mr. SOS & Cise Star” dl=”0″]
Substantial & Marcus D
Homeboy Sandman is a rare talent that has mastered both the arts of rapping and song structure. How often have we seen a great battle rapper fall flat when it comes to creating a tuneful melody? The two crafts can often be worlds apart. Thankfully this New York native knows how to create both.
“The Good Sun” is his third album and most polished work to date. Memorable tracks like “Yeah, but i can rhyme though” sample flutes and light drums to enhance your listening pleasure. He flows like a rough and rugged emcee but keeps it progressive. Introducing taught provoking elements, whilst metaphors and abstract lyricism are ingrained within his music. He could hold his own with the likes of Immortal Technique and Vinnie Paz yet never comes across as trying to sound like anyone but himself. “The Good Sun” is not to be missed.
[wpaudio url=”http://files.me.com/joselopes/eskvdk.mp3″ text=”Homeboy Sandman – Angels With Dirty Faces” dl=”0″]
As an emcee Shad has one of the most authentic flows in hip-hop right now and this piece of work is the perfect way to show it off. Canadian hip-hop is seeing something of a rebirth with acts like Shad, K’Naan and Ian Kamau all gaining a lot of attention within the underground scene. This album puts the fun back in B-Boy music. Lyrically it’s upbeat with refreshing subject matters matched only by slick production from DJ T Lo amongst others. From the lead single “Rose Garden”, to album tracks like “Keep Shining”, Shad gives us one of the most enjoyable albums of the year. At 13 tracks long T.S.O.L’s consistency is a key strength and makes it very replayable. Put this LP on if you want to relax and remember the good old days of hip-hop music. But also make sure to check out the video for “Rose Garden” which is a fun tribute to The Pharcyde’s “Drop”.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/08-Call-Waiting-Interlude.mp3″ text=”Shad – Call Waiting (Interlude)” dl=”0″]
Back at the dawn of hip-hop when the DJ reigned supreme, the man on the decks was often seen as the most important element of hip-hop. Chop Shop are a throw back to those days, with an emphasis on obscure samples mixed with break beats. “Hi-Hat Club (Vol. 4)” is a progressive sound movement similar to Madlib and J Dilla’s most inspirational work. If sometimes you just want to listen to some dope instrumentals without any emcee’s then this is the album for you. It breaks down into two parts. First is the work of Austrian producer Brenk who is followed by the equally dope producer Fid Mella. Essentially combining two artists EP’s to create this off beat and colourful landscape of sounds. Although seperating their songs through out the album, they remain true to their collective vision of exploring chopped vocals and soulful tunes. Expect to hear more from these two talented producers soon.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/04-Cannibal-Love_.mp3″ text=”Brenk – Cannibal Love” dl=”0″]
Hi-Hat Club (Vol.4) – Chop Shop (Teaser)CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO
K-Murdock is the only producer to find his way onto our list twice. This time for “Forever Famicom” with Random. Together they made one of the year’s most original pieces. An album heavily influenced by a love for computer games. This style is often branded “Nerd Core”, but whatever you call it, it is first and foremost good hip-hop. The subject matter is very different to K’s other projects with Panacea. Still Random is a very talented emcee who shines on songs like “For The Gamers”. This LP serves as a 14 track homage to Nintendo which will surely bring out your inner gamer. It will also appeal to those looking for something a bit different to the usual hip-hop album as both the production and raps from Random push the boundaries of percieved limitations within undergound hip-hop.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/02-Forever-1.mp3″ text=”Mega-Ran – Forever (Prd. K-Murdock)” dl=”0″]
Buy The Album Here
Raashan Ahmad is an emcee i can’t get enough of. From his work with Crown City Rockers, to his first solo-piece “The Push”, Raashan has always been a breathe of fresh air. This year he came back just as strong as ever with “For What You’ve Lost”. Showing he still has an eye for a beat, the soulful production is handled by some top notch underground producers including Headnodic. Songs like “My Imagination” give off that Run DMC style energy and serve up vivid imagery for his audience to digest. Whilst his distinctive vocal tones combine with his natural talent for story telling. In this way he is able to connect with listeners on a personal level, making sure you won’t forget his songs in a hurry. There are plenty of fresh guests here too with Aloe Blacc appearing on “Falling”. Still a highlight of the album remains the lead single “Beautiful Ugly”.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/12-Pain-On-Black-1.mp3″ text=”Raashan Ahmad – Pain On Black” dl=”0″]
This is the second instrumental album to make it’s way onto our list. Entitled “How It Should Sound” by Washington’s own Damu The Fudgemunk. Damu is a wizard with an MPC and is perhaps best known for his work with Insight. With this release he had enough material to fill two volumes and none of it is filler. This project should be an example to producers on how to take that 90’s sound and keep it fresh. Expect some raw funk loops that show off the man’s considerable talents. This collection spans over five years of unreleased work yet dosn’t feel in anyway dated. He does however play around with beats so much that you’ll be left wondering how he manages to chop up loops in so many varied ways. It focuses very much on exploring the arts of hip-hop and sampling and we can’t thank him enough for that.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/09-Its-Called-The-Chill-Out-2004.mp3″ text=”Damu The Fudgemunk – Its Called The Chill Out” dl=”0″]
I wasn’t working for Word Is Bond at the time of this release, other wise it may have just got a five star rating. Distant Relative has no songs which you’d want to skip. The cohesive nature of the records makes for a fully immersive LP. This is all the more admirable given the changing nature of sounds which come together to form ‘Distant Relatives’.
“My Generation” is quite simply a beautiful moment on the album, a choir of children accompanied by Joss Stone sing the chorus, while Nas and Damien rap over a slightly harder piano beat. Lil’ Wayne must have borrowed Nas’s rhyme book to write a genuinely inspiring ending verse.
Each artist seems at ease over both dark and head-nodding beats which is a strength of their music. Over all you can’t fault the creative process which led to Nas and Damien making Distant Relatives with the help of live studio muscians. If 2Pac was alive today this is probably the album he’d make. Real hip-hop with a message.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/10-nas_and_damian_marley-nah_mean-whoa.mp3″ text=”Nas & Damian Marley – Nah Mean” dl=”0″]
Nas and Damian Marley – As We EnterCLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO
The Roots can always be relied on to deliver a high quality album and 2010 was no different with “How I Got Over”. As usual Questlove and Black Thought handle production fusing together a wide range of genres from gospel, to jazz, to hip-hop. As a live band, few can rival the creativeness of The Roots. It is however, a more down-tempo album than previous work. With the main aim of these songs being to challenge listeners.
Standout tracks include “Now or Never” & “The Day” which feature guests like Phonte of Little Brother and Blu. Lyrically these songs reflect the times, touching on politics and the economy. If you like hip-hop for grown folk then this is the album for you. It’s just a pity they went and performed songs with Rick Ross shortly after completing this album.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/08-The-Day-Feat.-Blu-Phonte-Patty-Crash.mp3″ text=”The Roots – The Day (Ft. Blu, Phonte, Patty Crash)” dl=”0″]
•J• & PADDY