Title pretty much say it all. I liked a lot of music this year. All of these are rap albums. No beat tapes. Not really much of the so-called melodic pop rap joints. Mostly independent raw uncompromising anti-pop.
These are numbered but in no particular order and most of them could have found a spot in my top 20 of the year.
1. Mike – Weight of the World
Mike has been one of my favorite artists since I first heard May God Bless Your Hustle. I’ve championed his sound and have consistently enjoyed his music. That said, his last two albums haven’t come close to War in my Pen. I love a few songs on this joint but there are a few to many skippable tracks.
2. Stove God Cooks – Reasonable Drought
Me, Late and Cliff of the Tokyo Speaks podcast recorded a review of this album. I had a lot of positive things to say but the production and singing wore on me pretty quickly. That said, I got back to the album more often than that review might suggest. Solid project all around. Looking forward to what’s next but hopefully with more variety in the production.
3. Homeboy Sandman – Don’t Feed the Monster
If you know me, you’d think a Sandy and Quelle would be a sure fire top 10 album for me. I can’t really put a finger on it but something about this album didn’t stick. There’s a few joints that I love but more than a few that don’t hit.
4. Dos Monos – Dos Siki EP
Dos Monos are some of the most innovative and interesting artists out. All the bars being in Japanese makes their music both a more dynamic listen and more difficult to embrace. I love this album and the reason it doesn’t make the top 20 is simply because it’s an EP. It’s a short listen and my top 20 is strong. The next full length is gonna be crazy.
5. Skyzoo & Dumbo Station – The Bluest Note
Skyzoo rocking over jazz musicians is one of the best things to happen to rap and jazz. It’s a solid album all around.
6. Busta Rhymes – Extinction Level Event 2: The Wraith of God
Super solid project from the God. My expectations for a new or forgotten ODB verse may have been the only thing to knock it out of my top 20. Still, Busta didn’t disappoint.
7. Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominique’s NoseBleed
He used to rock a werewolf mask (still might). It was a pretty solid gimmick and his previous albums matched that energy. They were dope and odd enough to keep my attention for a while but never enough to really seap in. This project pulls the mask off and reveals Koreatown as a fully formed artist. His best work yet and one of the years most interesting.
8. Nas – King’s Disease
Probably Nas’ best album since Life is Good. I just havent cared much for his last two decades. So many thoughtful and well crafted songs but I really can barely handle the wise street guy bars. That said, Hitboy kills this and he’s enough to keep it in my top 40.
9. Jay Electronica – Act 2 Patterns of Nobility
People look at me like I’m crazy when I say I’m not a huge Jay Electronica fan. That’s just what it is though. Written Testimony was mostly a miss for me. This “demo” was solid af.
10. Ka – Descendants of Cain
Ka has really stepped into the art rap realm. Every song here is super dense and take time to unpackage. His writing is some of the most well crafted in hip-hop. Dont play this on a date.
11. Royce the 5’9 – The Allegory
This might be Royce’s best album. He keeps getting better. And I love this joint but the anti-vaxxer bars go on your permanent record and gets you tossed from my top 20 regardless of the rest.
12. Open Mike Eagle – Anime, Trauma and Divorce
Me and Open Mike have grown apart in recent years. His art is still amazing and I think hes one of the best artists out. This album is dope. Just not enough to knock out my other top 20. Shout out to Mike for having one of the best decades.
13. Action Bronson – Only For Dolphins
In terms of my taste, I feel like Griselda is gonna suffer the same fate as Bronson. I like most everything about it. Great bars, great beats, it’s consistent, it’s on brand. It just aint make the top 20. And shout out to him for losing 140lbs.
14. Roc Marci – Mt Marci
It’s a late year addition and just simply doesn’t have to horse power to knock out any of my top 20. Roc rarely disappoints and the formula doesn’t seem close to expiration.
15. Mach Hommy – Mach’s Hard Lemonade
This is only on Tidal or for purchase at Mach prices. Which are too high for my blood. I had to pirate the shit. Cant say its my favorite Mach album but its hard. Also none of the tracks are on Youtube. Not even the one single that’s on Spotify. So heres the joint he did with Preservation.
16. Chris Crack – (all projects) White People Love Algorithms, Washed Rappers Ain’t Legends, Haters forget they were fans first, Good Cops Don’t Exist
Aight so this is lowkey cheating. Including all his projects into one position. I guess i could have done that with Griselda too. but yo Chris drops so many damn albums it’s hard to keep up. I had them all in rotation. If i absolutely had to choose one, it would be Haters Forget They Were Fans First. That said, his album titles and song titles are top 5 all time. All Cops Are Bitches.
Fap With the Good Lotion.
17. Deante Hitchcock – Better
This the closest I get to more pop type rap shit on the list. No regrets. Definitely the most accessible. And fire. If i was gonna add this joint, i guess a couple other projects fit too. Sorry Amine. Sorry Spillage Vill. but too late now faaaam.
18. ShrapKnel – s/t & Flechette remixes
More cheating from me. Adding the remix album as well. But yo, i rock with all these guys. Plus their podcast, Call-Out Culture’s new Lineage of Greatness episode about Aesop Rock is dope af.
19. Black Thought – Streams of Thought 3
Proud to be one of the people with Black Thought on their personal top five list for years before most of yall caught up. Cmon now. Of course this was gonna be a favorite.
20. Your Old Droog- Dump Yod: Krutoy
Another late year addition. I like the approach Droog has been taking his music. Plus this got one of the wildest posse cut line-ups ever. Black Thought, Mach, and EL? The God Fahim on production is always a plus. Low key wish he never fell out with Griselda.
And there you have it. 20 of my favorite albums that werent strong enough to make my actual top 20. Ill have the actual top 20 up sometime next week. Along with me and Lates year end episode. Thanks!