In honor of June being Black Music Month, we're taking a look back at the albums that defined the past decade. Interscope/Top Dawg Ent. / Via media.giphy.com
Dozens of incredible projects from Black artists have been released over the last 10 years. We're taking a glance at the most elite albums that shifted the culture, influenced the sound, gave us classic songs, and placed an artist at the top of a genre.
Honorable Mention: 4:44 — Jay Z, Chilombo — Jhene Aiko, My Krazy Life — YG, Yeezus — Kanye West, H .E.R. — H.E.R. , Seat at the table — Solange, Indigo — Chris Brown, To Pimp A Butterfly — Kendrick Lamar, Playboi Carti — Playboi Carti, The PinkPrint — Nikki Minaj, 17 — Xxxtentacion, Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon — Pop Smoke, Championships - Meek Mill 1. Drake — Nothing Was The Same
The Canadian artist released his third studio album in 2013. Drake's reign at the top has lasted over a decade, with this album helping cement his current place on the throne. This album further proved his mastery of blending rapping and singing.
Republic Records 2. Beyonce — Lemonade
For her sixth studio album, the Queen returned with a 13-song record released alongside a 65-minute film to accompany the album. The cultural impact was felt immediately as the songs dived into womanhood, relationships, and Black issues. The film featured appearances from Zendaya, Chloe x Halle, Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, and more.
Columbia Records 3. Kendrick Lamar — good kid, m.A.A.d. city
In 2012 Kendrick Lamar revived the west coast with his classic album,
good kid, m.A.A.d. city. This staple album instantly placed him at the forefront of rap music with timeless records such as "Poetic Justice," "Backseat Freestyle," "Money Trees," and more. Ten years later, he still sits on rap's Mount Rushmore for this generation. Interscope/Aftermath records 4. Rihanna — Anti
Fans have been waiting for six years for Rihanna to release a follow-up to her 2016 project,
Anti. That will be a tough act to follow, as Anti charted to the top of Billboards and also supplied her fans with one of her greatest albums to date. Smashes such as "Work" and "Kiss it better" still frequent new playlists today. Roc Nation 5. Future — Dirty Sprite 2
Whatever lane Future is a part of, whether it's street music, trap music, or club music, he's the GOAT of that lane. Future is the undisputed champion of the club and streets, releasing classic mixtapes such as
56 Nights, Purple Reign, Beast Mode, and more. When he released DS2, filled with hits such as "Stick Talk," "Where Ya At," and literally 17 more hits, it was evident Future was of legendary status. Epic Records 6. The Weeknd — Trilogy
In 2012, The Weeknd released his compilation album,
Trilogy, giving fans clarity that The Weeknd wasn't a group, he was the one. A decade later and he still is a king of pop and R&B selling over 75 million records to date. This album kickstarted his career into superstardom. Republic Records 7. J. Cole — 2014 Forest Hills Drive
In 2014, J. Cole made his case as the best rapper alive, after releasing this classic album. "No Role Modelz" went diamond and became the longest-charting song in Spotify history at 2,274 days. Not only did this album go platinum with no features or singles, but it also placed him as a top artist of his generation.
Columbia Records 8. Migos — Culture
In 2017, the hottest rappers in the world were hands down the Migos. The group quickly obtained immense success and released the platinum-selling album,
Culture. This album was the reflection of an entirely new sound in hip-hop. The title aligns well, as Migos directly shifted rap culture forever. Quality Control Music 9. Frank Ocean — Channel Orange
One of the most polarizing figures in music, Frank Ocean established himself as a premier artist with his release of
Channel Orange. Not too many artists have the fan base, aesthetic, and caliber of music as the Long Beach Legend. Def Jam Recodings 10. Cardi B — Invasion Of Privacy
In 2018, Cardi B went from a known reality star to a complete rap superstar. Every song on this album is platinum. This album featured songs that would overtake the clubs and change the landscape of rap for the next few years. She knocked down barriers and opened the flood gates for dozens of female rappers to follow her act.
Atlantic Records 11. Kanye West — The Life of Pablo
With amazing instrumentation, loud choir vocals, and deep raps, Kanye shook the culture once again with
TLOP. The effect went beyond music, shaking up fashion, pop culture, and more. GOOD Music 12. Summer Walker — Over It
Not too many artists have debut albums as good as Summer Walker's
Over It. Upon its release in 2019, the cultural impact was felt immediately as she filled this album with melodic tunes and vocals. Trying to not see this album on every woman's Insta story was nearly impossible. Interscope Records 13. Lil Baby — My Turn
We are currently in the Lil Baby era of hip-hop and we have been for the past few years. With his 2020 release of
My Turn, he established himself as the face of a new generation. At the end of the day, he's not one of them. Capitol Records 14. Wizkid — Made in Lagos
Afro-beat music is here and will be the prominent sound for the next few years. The face of the entire genre is undoubtedly Wizkid. His album
Made in Lagos plays a major role in the crossover of Afro-beat music into the States. RCA Records 15. Nipsey Hussle — Victory Lap
Not many albums can embody an entire coast, movement, and mentality the way Nipsey Hussle's
Victory Lap did. This album fully captured him, his city, and his movement to the fullest extent. His impact on the west coast culture is still felt to this day. Atlantic Records 16. SZA — Ctrl
In 2017, the queen of TDE made her debut with
Ctrl. The album was received with open arms and flowers as she displayed heavenly vocals mixed with therapeutic lyrics over neo-soul beats. The album went platinum in 2018. RCA Records 17. Travis Scott — Astroworld 18. Chief Keef — Finally Rich
Coming in last, but certainly not least, is the one and only Chief Keef Sosa. Probably the most influential rapper of the last decade, the release of
Finally Rich marked a clear shift in rap music and culture forever. From slang, to raps, to cars and clothes, you can see the direct influence from Big Sosa. Interscope Records