2010 was the beginning of a transformative decade for rap music, producing several timeless hits. Hip Hop evolved into a diverse and marketable genre, impacting not only the industry but also society and culture at large. Thanks to these hits, rap saw commercialization like never before in 2010. The decade also saw rap music become a dominant force in mainstream culture.
2010 had an abundance of quality rap hits released, and also ushered in a new wave of artists. Furthermore, rap entries on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart were in abundance. However, throughout the year, only eleven songs topped the chart. From the Nicki Minaj-assisted “BedRock,” to the alluring chorus of “Aston Martin Music,” these are seven of the chart-topping rap hits from 2010.
7. Jay-Z - “Empire State of Mind” Ft. Alicia Keys
“Empire State of Mind” was actually released in October 2009. However, it crossed over into 2010 as the first of eleven rap hits to top the Hot Rap Songs chart. The song was a massive hit, topping not just the Hot Rap Songs chart for nine weeks, but the Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks as well. Furthermore, “Empire State Of Mind” was also Jay-Z’s first Hot 100 chart-topper as a lead artist. The Alicia Keys-assisted track quickly became an anthem for the city of New York. Today, it’s widely regarded as an iconic single in both artists’ discographies. The song celebrates NYC, and pays homage to its landmarks, culture, and atmosphere. “Empire State of Mind” went on to win two Grammy Awards, out of three nominations.
6. Young Money - “BedRock” Ft. Lloyd
“BedRock” is the most successful single from the supergroup Young Money, and its most notable. The record label and collective at the time included members: Lil Wayne, Gudda Gudda, Nicki Minaj, Drake, Tyga, and Jay Millz, all of whom had stellar rap verses on the track. The catchy hook of “BedRock” was sung by R&B crooner, Lloyd. Many of these acts have gone on to achieve widespread success today. Thus, it’s safe to wager that “BedRock” is one of the most important rap hits of 2010. The single topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for nine weeks, the longest of all the hits in 2010.
5. B.o.B - “Nothin’ On You” Ft. Bruno Mars
“Nothin’ on You” was released as the lead single from B.O.B.’s debut studio album. The song featured vocals from Bruno Mars, a newcomer at the time, who provided the unforgettable chorus. “Nothin’ on You” was a commercial success and helped launch the careers of both artists. Following a similar blueprint as other rap hits in 2010, it was aided by a singer’s input. Consequently, both stars became overnight successes, firmly situated in the mainstream. The love song topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for seven weeks. Furthermore, it topped the Hot 100 chart for two consecutive weeks.
4. “Your Love” – Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj has had many rap hits top the charts since “Your Love” in 2010. The Queen of Rap had previously made an appearance on the 2009 compilation album, We Are Young Money. However, it was with this single that she achieved commercial solo success. Furthermore, her debut album Pink Friday, helped cement her place in the industry as a rap superstar. “Your Love” was released as the lead single off Pink Friday. “Your Love” blended elements of Hip Hop and R&B, quickly showcasing Nicki’s versatility early on in her mainstream career. The song achieved commercial success, topping the Hot Rap Songs chart for eight weeks.
3. Eminem - “Love The Way You Lie” Ft. Rihanna
Upon release, “Love the Way You Lie” received widespread acclaim for its emotional depth and musicality. The song tackles themes of domestic abuse, and toxic relationships. It is an enduring piece of music that resonates with listeners around the world, even now. Eminem delivered powerful rap verses, and Rihanna matched him with her emotionally charged chorus. “Love The Way You Lie” was the second single from the rapper’s seventh studio album, Recovery. The song topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for eight weeks. Correspondingly, the song reached the top spot on the Hot 100 for seven weeks as well.
2. Lil Wayne - “Right Above It” Ft. Drake
“Right Above It” was the lead single from Lil Wayne’s eighth studio album, I Am Not a Human Being. The song features Wayne and Drake delivering verses that touch on themes of success, fame, and overcoming obstacles. Additionally, the lyrics convey a sense of triumph and assertiveness, reflecting the artists’ confidence in their abilities. “Right Above It” achieved significant chart success, topping the Hot Rap Songs chart for five weeks.
1. Rick Ross “Aston Martin Music” Ft. Drake And Chrisette Michele
“Aston Martin Music'' is one of the most notable rap hits of 2010. The song is also a standout collaboration in Rick Ross’ extensive discography. “Aston Martin Music” was released as the third single from Ross’ fourth studio album, Teflon Don. It was released to critical acclaim, and commercial success, and is considered one of Ross’ signature songs. The featured artists also respectively shine on the track. Drake garnered attention for his relaxed vocals, while Chrisette Michele delivered one of the decade’s most recognizable choruses. “Aston Martin Music” also vividly showcased Ross’ ability to craft luxurious and sophisticated rap tracks. It peaked at number 30 on the Hot 100 chart, and topped the Hot Rap Songs chart for three weeks.