Best Hip Hop Record (Unsigned/Independent) of 2010

Reader's Pick

Dee-1 - Jay, 50 & Weezy Artwork

Dee-1 - Jay, 50 & Weezy

Hip-hop is rarely more exciting than when it is speaking truth to power – and when the “power” in question is within rap, that's when things get really interesting. On his first Booth feature, Jay 50 & Weezy, N.O. upstart Dee-1 grabbed his sling and a few stones to launch some bruising (but constructive) criticism at the genre's reigning Goliaths. A risky move, to be sure, but the combo of formidable mic skills and a much-needed message made it pay off big-time.

Staff Pick

Nique - Boom Bap Artwork

Nique - Boom Bap

Don't let the title fool you; Boom Bap is much more than a retro throwback. Exhibiting a reverence for hip-hop's roots along with a decidedly forward-looking style, Las Vegas buzzmaker Nique effortlessly won over the staff with this Superslikuzi-presented mixtape standout. With talent this fresh and creative repping Sin City, could we be witnessing the birth of a new movement? I'd put money on it.

Best of DJBooth