Best Of

Rap-Up’s 10 Best Albums of 2011

J. Cole, Beyoncé, and Drake

It’s one thing to put out a great single, but it’s even harder to compose an album that will stand the test of time. 2011 was a strong year for duos (The Throne, Bad Meets Evil), emerging talents (Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, and The Weeknd), and superstar acts (Beyoncé, Chris Brown, and Rihanna).

Drake took a gamble with the emotive Take Care and it paid off, J. Cole lived up to the hype with his celebrated debut Cole World: The Sideline Story, Frank Ocean turned his free album Nostalgia, Ultra into one of the year’s best, and Adele outsold everyone while earning praise from critics.

Find out which 10 albums rocked our world in 2011.

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Rap-Up’s 10 Best Songs of 2011

Nicki Minaj

Familiar faces, breakout stars, and Young Money dominated the charts in 2011. We scoured our playlists and Spotify when looking back on the past year in hip-hop and R&B, and finally narrowed it down to 10 songs that had us pushing play over and over again.

Drake ignited a plethora of remixes with “Marvin’s Room,” including a standout version from JoJo that rivaled the original. Nicki Minaj had everyone from Taylor Swift to eight-year-old British girls singing along to her Pink Friday hit “Super Bass.” Rihanna found love in a hopeless place and at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, Chris Brown made a triumphant return with “Look at Me Now,” and Jay-Z and Kanye West gave Paris a new anthem.

We count down our 10 favorite songs of the past year.

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Rap-Up’s 10 Best Music Videos of 2011

Kanye West and Jay-Z

Although most music videos are viewed online these days, that hasn’t killed the creativity behind the camera. 2011 was full of visual marvels—from the silly (Chromeo and Solange’s “When the Night Falls”) to the scary (Kanye West’s “Monster”) to the star-studded (Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise”).

Dr. Dre came back to life in “I Need a Doctor,” Lil Wayne showed us a softer side with “How to Love,” Nicki Minaj and Drake made fairytales come true in “Moment 4 Life,” and Jay-Z and Kanye West chopped up a Maybach in “Otis.” And who can forget about Odd Future leader Tyler, the Creator’s chilling, self-directed video for “Yonkers,” which landed him an MTV Video Music Award.

Starting this week, we’re sharing our favorite music videos, songs, and albums of 2011. Find out which 10 videos of the past year won a special place in our hearts and share your faves.

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Rap-Up’s 10 Best Albums of 2010

Kanye West, Eminem, and Janelle Monáe

It’s one thing to produce a hot single, but some artists expanded their horizons and funneled creativity into their full-length albums more than others. In 2010, listeners were given Kanye West’s mesmerizing and imaginative masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as well as Eminem’s most self-realized album in years, Recovery. Rihanna returned to making upbeat dance hits with her fifth LP Loud, while her “What’s My Name?” collaborator Drake backed up his hype with his sonically pleasing debut Thank Me Later. Find out which 10 albums had us hitting play time and time again in 2010.

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Rap-Up’s 10 Best Songs of 2010


From the explicit to the sensitive, artists brought their A-game in 2010. Cee Lo Green, who struck Grammy gold with Gnarls Barkley, saw a resurgence this year after his kiss-off tune “Fuck You” went viral. Meanwhile, the song’s co-writer Bruno Mars found success on his own and with B.o.B (“Nothin’ on You”). Kanye West unleashed a “Monster” with Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and a song-stealing verse from Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown bounced back with “Deuces,” and Eminem and Rihanna turned heartache into a Hot 100 hit. Check below to see which 10 songs of 2010 fancied most.

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Rap-Up’s 10 Best Music Videos of 2010

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé

2010 was filled with boundary-pushing music videos for everything from radio hits to fan faves. Some created epic masterpieces like Kanye West’s “Runaway,” which unfolded for 35 minutes with stark visuals and a unique storyline, while others went for pop iconography like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé in “Telephone” and Rihanna in the colorful “Rude Boy.” And you can’t have creativity without controversy, as evidenced by M.I.A.’s graphic “Born Free” and Erykah Badu’s nudity-laced clip for the guerilla style “Window Seat.” We count down our 10 favorite videos of the year.

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