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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClGUQk_lZiU&feature=player_embedded#!.