Curren$y brings some heat on a cold winter night. Check out the video for Hold On ft Young Roddy and Trademark

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It’s a great day for underground rap…which is a nice segue into the #8 reason why 2010 is the best year ever in hip-hop: The Return of the Underground.

This one is a bit of a contradiction.  The incredible underground releases this year certainly contributed to the musical strength of the year overall, but underground rap is consistently pretty strong.  It’s the hits that are more unpredictable.  That’s confirmed just by looking at Soundscan sales info.  This year will have several platinum rap albums (Drake, Nicki, Kanye, Eminem, B.o.B. and probably Rick Ross), but that kind of volume hasn’t happened in many years.  Even though great underground releases are more predictable, something still felt a little different about them this year.  A big part of it has to do with technology.  Gone are the days when you need hundreds of thousands of dollars, a professional studio and a big major label backing you to make great music.  These days, all you need is a laptop and a drive…to make it happen for yourself.  That has narrowed the divide between the sonic quality of mainstream and underground music considerably.  More than that, however was just the sense that the underground artists of 2010 had a great shot at being the breakthrough artists of the future.  Enough talk though.  The music speaks for itself.  Here are just a few that killed it in 2010 (and if you missed the previous reasons why 2010 is the best year ever in hip-hop, click here):

1.  Big K.R.I.T. – Somedayz

2.  Nottz – My Neighbor ft Asher Roth

3. 1982 – You Should Go Home ft Masspike Miles and Bun B

4. Curren$y – Michael Knight

5. Diggy Simmons – As I Am

6. Black Milk – Deadly Medley

7. CyHi The Prynce – Shade 45 Freestyle

8. Jay Electronica (he gets 2 joints) – The Announcement

Shiny Suit Theory ft Jay-Z

Curren$y’s lyrics are always tight so did his tracks keep his album from being a hit? Check out how he rides the Kanye West-produced Live Fast, Die Young track and see if this one moves you.

Curren$y’s version is called Daze of ThunderRick Ross and Kanye still rocked this track the best, but Curren$y holds his own.

Here’s is yet another dope track from Big K.R.I.T. This one is called Moon & Stars (remix) ft Curren$y and Killa Kyleon and it’s another reason to download his mixtape.

If you’ve been rockin’ with me for a minute, you know how I feel about Big K.R.I.T.  This one is soulful:

Click here to download.

 

 

Curren$y’s album Pilot Talk 2 came and went so now it on to the next one. This freestyle over Rick Ross and Kanye’s Live Fast, Die Young is not a bad preview for his upcoming mixtape.

The song is called Daze of Thunder and the mixtape will be titled Return to the Winners’ Circle.

Click here to download.

Curren$y’s Hold On is another quality cut. This one has a different track from the version on his album Pilot Talk 2 which is in stores now. It’s worth picking up.

Click here to downloadClick here to buy Pilot Talk 2 for only $4.99…

Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y are like the 2010 West Coast gangsta version of Mos Def and Talib Kweli (aka Blackstar). Check out Huey Newton which features a Toto sample…now THAT’s gangsta.

Blackstar?! Blasphemy?!  Hear me out.  In 1999, very few people knew who Mos Def and Talib Kweli were.  They were both signed to Rawkus and somebody had the idea to put them together for an album to raise awareness ahead of their solo albums.  One hip-hop classic later, hip-hop heads are still talking about that album 10 years later.  It was an instant classic.  Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa have not made an album together (though they did make a mixtape), but they have made several dope songs together that, years from now, will go down as classics.  Feel me now?  Check out Huey Newton:

Click here to download.

Here are some other Curren$y and Wiz gems:

Here’s some Blackstar:

Oh.  And the Toto sample?