*Disclaimer: I am but one man with one opinion. Everyone is entitled to disagree and have a different order and list. But that can be for your list, not mine.*
There were a ton of great hip-hop albums this year and normally I only do 10 albums this year was an exception. There are probably still names you could argue should be here but this is my list and I’m not sorry.
I think this is an album that people might overlook because they’re not familiar with his name but this Knucks album is really good yo. The production along with the content really takes you into his world and will have you feeling like you just watched a movie. This album is cinematic man.
BABYFACE RAY. PALMS ANGELS, PALMS ITCHING. If you can’t tell by all the caps lock going on here, Babyface Ray has been my favourite rapper this year hands down. If you can sample One Republic on the intro to your album and it slaps, I’m tapping into the whole project.
14. Little Simz – NO THANK YOU
This is a very triumphant-sounding album yo. She sounds a lot more liberated and free to rap about whatever she wants but none of that compromises the quality of the music. Each song is well-mixed and produced and each verse is impactful. What an album.
This is Soulo’s best album outside of the infamous Control Systems album. I’m so happy Ab-Soul still has this in him. The album is a great listen and a strong reminder as to why his pen is revered the way it is.
12. Roc Marciano & The Alchemist – The Elephant Man’s Bones
This album right here is on some “essence of hip-hop” type stuff yo. From start to finish the production is just crazy and the bars are right there to match them. Mainstream hip-hop fans might not gravitate to this but if you’re a genuine fan of hip-hop, I think this is a project you’ll really appreciate.
11. Westside Boogie – More Black Superheroes
I can’t lie this is probably the most vulnerable project I’ve heard from a west coast rapper in a hot minute. It was a surprise too! I’ve always thought Boogie was nice but I didn’t know he had this in his bag. There are a lot of beautiful records on this album yo.
10. Rome Streetz – Kiss The Ring
One of my boys mentioned that he thought Rome Streetz music feels like the embodiment of Big L if he was alive. I don’t know if that’s the actual angle he’s going for but what I can say for certain is that this album is crazy. I wasn’t familiar with him at all before this album but Westside Gunn and Griselda keep finding these guys outta nowhere and all they put out is fire. This is no exception.
9. Kodak Black – Kutthroat Bill: Vol.1
This is better than Back For Everything in my opinion. Every time I play this album, I find something new that genuinely impresses me as a fan. Kodak actually says a lot of really deep things, he just smokes spice too…
I’m a Joey fan so maybe I’m being a bit biased but I thought this was a really good album. Lots of depth to a lot of the records but even when they’re isn’t that substance that might have enticed you to listen to his previous work, the man’s still rapping-rapping and having fun. This is an album that stops him from being boxed into a specific lane as far as his content goes and I think that’s a good thing.
This guy went crazy on this album yo. This is a completely different level than his last album and The Never Story was good man. Dreamville artists are still ones to watch out for man, don’t forget.
6. Drake & 21 Savage – Her Loss
I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed listening to this album. In my humble opinion, this is the most inspired Drake has sounded as a rapper in a few years and 21 did exactly what he needed to do (big ups all my Vincy people!)
5. Freddie Gibbs – $oul $old $eparately
Yeah, Freddie Gibbs is another one of those guys that’s on a crazy run. This guy hasn’t missed with an album in years. They questioned if he could put out some heat with multiple producers…this album is a definitive answer to that.
Fam the run that Nas and Hit-Boy are on is insane. If you’re still a fan of storytelling and rappers painting a picture with words then this is your album this year.
3. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
This is an album that in all honesty, I couldn’t appreciate until summer was over and the gyal dem went indoors but this is a beautiful body of work. This level of self-reflection in this album is something I feel is rare, especially in this era of rap. This man continues to give us some of the most unique themed music in the genre yo.
“It’s mother*king Pusha T” – Kanye West
Jokes aside though, this is Pusha T’s best album and I don’t even think it’s close. We (by we I mean me) still want coke rap.
1. Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart
I did a lot of contemplating on this but I have to say this is the hip-hop album I enjoyed the most this year. There isn’t a bad song on this album and the range of production keeps your attention throughout the album I think this might be the standout star in Vince Staples’ discography man.