The year 2010 is nearly complete, and that means it’s time to assess exactly what happened over the past 12 months. Pop was strong again (fueled by the likes of Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry) and rock spent most of the year in the doldrums, but hip-hop was clearly the dominant force on the music scene from bell to bell. Rappers were everywhere you looked, and they were grabbing chart positions, selling huge numbers, selling out arenas and grabbing headlines. And it wasn’t just the heavy hitters like Eminem and Jay-Z, as young upstarts like Drake, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa scored big hits in their rookie years aided by little more than raw talent and some mixtape buzz. It was a year where hip-hop grew, expanded and explored new territories, and hopefully 2011 will allow that trend to continue.
But of all the stars who had gigantic years, who had the absolute best? It’d be easy to say Eminem, who had a best-selling album, two chart-topping singles and some hugely popular videos. But a guy like Drake could easily take that title, as he rose up based on his lyrical prowess and managed to deliver a largely excellent debut album that managed to transcend the hype. Or did the biggest year in hip-hop belonged to Rick Ross? The man from Miami somehow managed to turn his gruff delivery and neck-snapping beats into big pop hits (including the inescapable “B.M.F. (Blowin’ Money Fast)”). But maybe it’s all a moot point when you consider how dominant Kanye West was.
It’s up to you to decide who dominated the hip-hop universe in 2010. Vote for your favorite in the poll below, and if you think somebody else deserves the title, let us know in the comments!