This is a pretty vague topic, but one that deserves shine being that the 2010s is the decade when consuming long-form video on YouTube became the norm.
Conversations between veteran artists and seasoned media vets which are now expected were a brand new treat at the opening of the decade.
YouTube also gave lesser-known experts a platform to provide fan-influenced coverage that is honest and untainted by major corporations.
And with YouTube starting to crack-down on who can post and what kind of videos make the site, this will probably be the last decade where we’ll get the kind of unadulterated content we’ve gotten used to.
Here’s my list for the top 10 YouTube channels/series of the 2010s.
10 – TheNeedledrop
Anthony Fantano, a.k.a melon, normalized his brand of concise album reviewing early on in the decade and made his channel a place where fans of all genres could go.
Within days of an album releasing, Fantano drops his full review and breakdown of the album. He is one of the first people who stopped waiting for weeks to give a proper review. Although I still think you need time to gauge an album, the business of media and reviewing has harsher demands thanks to the internet’s extremely fast pace and Fantano is able to manage this expectation perfectly.
9 – Comics Explained
The 2010s were dominated by comic book movies and in-turn created a huge interest in the genre. Rob of Comics Explained is probably the best person to answer the swath of questions created by these movies. He even gives full breakdowns of major comic book storylines such as Civil War and The Phoenix Saga that include images of the original comics and informative voiceovers. If you love comic book movies, you’ll undoubtably find a lot of value in Comics Explained.
8 – Geekdom101
What Rob does for comic books, Big D of Geekdom101 does for Dragon Ball. With the introduction of the brand new series “Dragon Ball Super”, fan interest in the series has skyrocketed and Geekdom provides the most accurate news for Dragon Ball. Unlike most YouTubers, he takes a traditional journalistic approach to most rumors by vetting his sources properly.
He also does great explanation videos where he tackles a lot of misconceptions about the series and explains the origins of various characters.
7 – The Star Report
Former radio shock jock Star rebranded himself in the 2010s as a YouTube personality that delivers the “objective perspective.” He’s created several shows in the decade including “The Star Chamber,” Star in the Morning,” and “The Star Report” that all deal with various issues including hip-hop commentary, black issues, politics and sports. He allows fans to call in and speak with him directly, and engages with his audience in a very organic, un-compromised way.
This approach creates an environment where anything can happen, and the honesty displayed on his channel is refreshing in a culture that has become petrified of ruffling the feathers of interest groups.
6 – Star Wars Theory
There’s a lot of Star Wars channels on YouTube, but Star Wars Theory is arguably the most competent. This channel is very similar to Comics Explained in the way that it fills in the blanks for Star Wars fans who have never dived deep into the books and comics. It also quickly reviews some of the latest films and even funded an amazing pilot for a Vader series that was arguably better than most of the newer Star Wars movies.
5 – Vlad TV
Vlad TV started as a hip-hop interview series and evolved into so much more as the 2010s rolled on. Vlad has a knack for digging out every detail of someone’s story, especially if they are involved in criminal activity. His strategy is controversial in many hip-hop circles, but ultimately he delivers the kind of content his audience wants. He also pretty much figured out who killed 2Pac and Biggie and was the only person to interview the former of the two’s rape accuser.
He truly puts the work before his business relationships and people gravitate towards his brand that includes asking the hard questions to people no one cares to interview.
4 – Everyday Struggle (Joe Budden)
Rappers and entertainers became super comfortable spilling all of their tea on shows like The Breakfast Club during this decade, but Joe Budden was the first to master spilling his own tea on his own platform. Complex paired the jaded, veteran rapper with hype-beast YouTuber DJ Akademiks and what we got was internet gold.
This short-lived version of the show spawned classic moments like the infamous Migos “left off bad and bougie” fight and Lil Yachty rant. It also opened the floodgates for other entertainers to start their own platforms and create similar series. Sure Joe had already had his podcast when “Everyday Struggle” came out, but the Complex series is really what put him on the map and accelerated the his growth as a media mogul.
3 – The Joe Rogan Experience
Joe Rogan interviews the most interesting people from pretty much all facets of culture. His long-form talks have revealed so much about the people we admire, or hate like Elon Musk and Milo Yiannopoulos. Rogan isn’t biased in his selection of guests and he does an amazing job of collecting all different perspectives for his show. He’s arguably the hottest interviewer on the internet.
Also, his podcast has almost become like a co-sign for whoever is appearing on it. If you end up there, you have to know that you’ve made a huge impact on culture whether good or bad.
2 – The Joe Budden Podcast
This is probably the one of the first internet shows in hip-hop to deliver engaging content without guests. The show does occasionally invite people up, but this is not often. Joe and his band of friends hilariously rank on each other, pull back the curtain of the music industry, and give invaluable tips to up and coming artists and creators. They also make you feel like you’re part of their family when you watch the show as religiously as I do. It’s a bit gratuitous at times, but shockingly honest.
The show has also created an environment for people who want to get into the weeds of the most non-sensical things in life like strip club etiquette, NY music bias, and random Twitter rants from people only they care about.
1 – The Breakfast Club
This is pretty much the one that started it all. The Breakfast Club was like the first must-see-TV of the internet. Once it made the jump to YouTube, you couldn’t help but refresh the page everyday to see if Charlemagne, Envy and Yee had a new interview.
They talked to pretty much everyone from Hilary Clinton to Jay-Z, and premiered the now infamous Ray J rant that made Brandy’s brother a legend. They also were the first series to really take us behind the scenes of the music industry and get us information we had never heard before. They had actual beef with rappers like Birdman and Gucci Mane and pretty much influenced most of the other music-related shows on this list. Things have quieted down for the show in recent years, but they have at least one interview per year that everyone can’t miss.
Even if Breakfast Club isn’t the best of the decade, it certainly is the most impactful.