Best Hip Hop Record (Mainstream) of 2010
Plenty of people claim to be fearless, but when Eminem says that he's “Not Afraid” of anything, I actually believe him. On the lead single off his wildly successful Recovery LP, Slim demonstrates his courage in myriad ways, notably pushing his singing voice to its limits and straight-up admitting “the last CD was 'ehhh'.” Thanks to his bravery, the cut became the 16th song in history to debut atop the Hot 100 – and won readers' votes for best rap record of the year.
Kanye West - Monster
Few events in the music can be described as “epic” in the full sense of the word, but the record with which Kanye West announced his return to rap most definitely qualified. Not only did West (with the help of S1) concoct one of the most earth-shaking instrumentals in recent memory, but the rapper/producer hit the mic with such righteous fury that it was like he'd never left. A fitting hors d'oeuvre to a feast of an album.