Conway The Machine showed out. ‘From King To a God‘ is easily his most complete and digestible work to date. This is either a classic or debatable in the eyes of anyone claiming to be of the culture. Officially the Buffalo, N.Y rapper’s “debut”, Conway proved that he’s here. With his Shady Records debut/possibly last album on the label looming, this was the proper set-off. The Griselda founding member has primed the landscape for the bomb to soon drop in the form of “God Don’t Make Mistakes“. Stay Tuned…(BTW Pitchfork gave this a 6.9/10. Great score but they buggin!)
TOP 3 TRACKS: Every Track.
“Savage Mode 2” may have been the most anticipated album on the list, and 21 Savage and MetroBoomin somehow surpassed the hype! The production value on this project is top-notch. From the beats to the transitions, to the Morgan Freeman interludes, this feels, dare I say, “Ready To Die-ish”. Cohesive as f*ck. There are times where it feels like one long song, but in a good way for the most part. Bar-wise, ‘SM2′ is filled with one-liners that’ll stay with you for hours. “Spinnin/slidin”, “internet thuggin” & “never cuffin’ women” are pretty consistent themes throughout. This is a 15-track ride through the mind of 21 (21).
TOP 3 TRACKS: “Many Men” “Snitches & Rats” “Steppin On Niggas”
There’s been a theme lately. Drake has been consistently slept-on since 2018. Scorpion almost made our “Top 9 Underrated” list earlier this year. For this to be the Toronto-native’s “throwaways” or “lost tapes” style project, it has some BANGERS. Some of Drizzy’s most vivid, and introspective lyrics are here on this tape. The first verse on “Chicago Freestyle”, for instance. The OVO boss’ drill tracks are severely overlooked. He easily bodies that flow, whether it’s Brooklyn or UK. ‘Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ is a more solid and well put together playlist than “Care Package”, by far. This seemingly effortless effort doesn’t have as much replay value as some of his actual albums, but this is arguably the best “off” project Champagne has ever dropped.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “Chicago Freestyle” “Landed” “From Florida With Love”
‘The L.I.B.R.A‘ is a lengthy album. Let’s get that out of the way. Perfectly placed features, dope interludes, stellar production and an interesting perspective help this album feel not so long. This may be the perfect mix of potential radio, club, street, storytelling, and introspective tracks. T.I. has really mastered his craft and sound. Songs like “Family Connect” featuring Domani have literally never been done or seen in Hip-Hop. TIP has successfully grown up, the cool way. Fly enough to outdress Young Thug (see music video for “Ring”), mature enough to “Make Amends” with Benny The Butcher and Jadakiss. At 40, the Grand Hustle captain shows no “signs” of slowing down.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “We Did It Big” “Ring” “Family Connect”
‘Pray For Paris’ is the Westside Gunn album that everybody asked for that nobody actually expected, that we didn’t know what to expect from. If there is ONE knock on Westside (besides his voice), it’s repetition. People who eat the same exact thing every two days claim they can’t take when Gunn gives us the “same album” every 4 months. Really though, this is not a “switch-up”. It’s like “Westside Lite”, as far a production. If you go back to some of his earlier work though, you’ll find these more laid back “Currensy-Type” beats. The features on ‘PFP’ are perfect. The rhymes. The vibe. This is a well-curated project and a testament to WSG’s executive producer ear.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “327” “Euro Step” “Allah Sent Me”
Busta came back. Busta came all the way back. This is definitely a top 3 Busta Rhymes album. Where has Nottz been all this time? Does he only do Busta beats? The replay value on ‘Extinction Level Event 2: Wrath Of God‘ is unexpectedly high. You can definitely tell that some songs were made in different era’s than others.. At times, it’s all over the place but it’s a beautiful mess. This is just as impressive as Jay Z‘s ‘444’. Lately, the rap veterans have been proving that the spots they’ve etched are in granite. Busta is what it is right now.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “Slow Flow” “Boomp!” “Master Fard Muhammad”
Hit-Boy and Nas…Let that sink in. This seemingly odd pairing produced some high-quality rap music, with the now Grammy-Nominated “King’s Disease”. Hit-Boy (similar to Russ) dedicated his entire 2020 to celebrating and gaining clout in the “real Hip-Hop” arena. Projects with Big Sean, Benny The Butcher & Nasty Nas, along with beats for underground favorites Freddie Gibbs, Conway The Machine & more. As for Esco, this is the QB emcees triumphant return after what was supposed to be his original, Nasir. If Ye’ dropped the ball, Hit-Boy picked it up and did the dash to the endzone. Just like the music video his “4 Thangs” single, a celebration may be in order.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “King’s Disease” “Car #85” “27 Sunmers”
It’s simple, I see Freddie Gibbs, I click. I see Alchemist, I click. The only surprise here is how much they clicked! When you put this album on, you’re immediately thrown into the matrix with “1985”. It’s instantly one of the best beats you’ve ever heard, then Gangsta Gibbs demolishes it. Freddie Gibbs has had the best flow in the game for like 8 years. It’s unmatched. It’s like if Twista went half-time and took on N.W.A’s attitude. Every cut is a banger. It’s very cohesive. There’s plenty of replay value. The features are “slammin'” [Gibbs voice]. The Gary big stepper continues his legacy with this great add-on, while silently calming whispers of his best works being Mad-Lib collabs. Nah. Freddie Kane do this in his sleep.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “1985” “Frank Lucas” “Scottie Beam”
Sh*t is just banging, front to back. Tity 2 Chainz has found his stride, artistically. He’s figured out how to weave bangers, personal tracks, and radio-ready joints into his albums like a seamstress. He’s possibly stepped up his pen game. His infamous one-liners hit different on SHMG. Chainz is less outrageous, more focused. This whole tracklist is solid production-wise and lyrically. We heard “Money Maker” at the tail-end of his Verzuz with Rick Ross. Here, it plays even better. When you can get to the point where your singles and album cuts are almost indistinguishable, it gives an authenticity to your work that’s indescribable (sans maybe “Quarantine Thick”). Think Jay Z on ‘The Blueprint’, then thank ‘Southside Hov’ for this addition, “So Help Me God“.
TOP 3 TRACKS: “Feel A Way” “Save Me” “Southside Hov”
10) G Herbo – PTSD
11) Pop Smoke – Meet The Woo 2
12) Run The Jewels – RTJ4
13) Westside Gunn – Who Made The Sunshine
Conway The Machine, Big Ghost LTD – No One Mourns The Wicked
L Prezzy – El Chapo
Tory Lanez – Daystar
French Montana – CB5
Yano Marley – The Scorcerer
Jeezy – The Recession 2
Benny The Butcher – Burden of Proof
Young M.A – Red Flu
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