A decade in any instance is a long time, but in the world of entertainment that time span can seem like a century. In today’s music industry filled with one hit wonders and stories of fame gone bad, many artists don’t make it that long, let alone a decade. A good artist is a master at reinventing themselves through eras all while staying true to who they really are. Though it may seem like a cakewalk, putting out music over a span of time that is both relevant and good is a tough task.
Below are five albums that turned 10 years-old this year by five different artists who are still contributing to the world of music today.
In 2008, Rebel was the third album released by Lecrae and most would agree it was project that changed the trajectory of his music career. Rebel was the first Lecrae album to chart on Billboard’s Top 200 albums, as well as multiple other Billboard charts. The project featured much of the (then) Reach Records roster, including Tedashii, Sho Baraka, Trip Lee, as well as other artists like Da T.R.U.T.H and J.R. The track “Go Hard” still goes hard today and the successful single “Don’t Waste Your Life” still holds true. The casual fan may have never heard of Rebel, but the day one Lecrae fans know the album well and cherish it.
Trip Lee, 20/20
Before conceptual albums became all the rage, Trip Lee’s 20/20 was laser focused on seeing the Lord clearer. With one of the most captivating covers at the time, given this was ten years ago, it was hard to not be enamored by this project. Production by the late DJ Official, GAWVI (then G-Styles) and Joseph Prielozny as well as features from CHH heavy weights like Lecrae, Tedashii, Flame, Shai Linne and more made 20/20 a must listen. Though many artists experience a sophomore slump, this wasn’t the case for the second album released by Trip Lee.
HeeSun Lee, Re-defined
At a time when there was hardly any female representation in the CHH genre. HeeSun Lee came along and changed things. The first release from Lee was brash, poetic and soulful. Exclusively produced and released via Jahrock’n Studios in Brooklyn, NY, Re-Defined had minimal features, Chris Belmont (Rock) appeared on a couple of tracks as well as Shanelle Gabriel, but it’s HeeSun Lee that carries this project from beginning to end. She started her career breaking barriers and is still doing the same 10 years later.
The Sound was the fourth album released by gospel duo Mary Mary and arguably one of their most successful albums. The project debuted at no. 7 on the Billboard 200, no. 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Album Charts and no. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Charts. Much of the success of The Sound was due to the smash hit “God in Me” featuring Kierra Sheard which the group won a Grammy for. As with all of Mary Mary’s projects, The Sound was produced entirely by Warryn Campbell and also featured hip-hop star David Banner.
Derek Minor (Pro) The Blackout
Back when Derek Minor was known as Pro, The Blackout was his first studio release. His stage name was not the only thing different at the time, his album was released through his label which is now Reflection Music Group, but 10 years ago was named Christ Like Entertainment. Name changes aside, Derek Minor was ahead of his time during this period. At a time when most Christian rappers were taking sermons, making them rhyme and putting them over beats, Derek’s music was and still is informed by his Christian worldview. He had no problems rapping about what he saw in his neighborhood and how his faith shaped his perspective. The Blackout had a lengthy list of features including Willie Will, Coko Korrine, Dorian Lee and more. Although it didn’t shake up the charts, it shook up the genre.
It’s always great to take a look back and reminisce. Music has the unique quality of mentally transporting us to a totally different place— beautiful nostalgia. We should applaud the artists that created the soundtracks to our lives while and appreciate the art they make today. Though some of these projects don’t hold up well 10 years later, songs like “Go Hard” and “God in Me” are timeless and will forever hold a place in many hearts. Cheers to 10 years!