20. Mach’s Hard Lemonade- Mach Hommy
Dump Gawd member Mach-Hommmy’s latest effort, Mach’s Hard Lemonade, may just be his best to date. Through nine songs and 23 minutes, the New Jersey native curates a breathtaking experience with his creative rhyme schemes and lo-fi soundscape. Whether he’s embedding listeners with the knowledge he picked up on the streets or coming to the realization that he will never receive the love most other musicians do because of his stylistic choices, you will be continuously forced to think while going through each track. Topping things off, crew members Tha God Fahim, Your Old Droog, and the one and only Earl Sweatshirt add to this lyrical melting pot with some of their most profound appearances in recent memory. With a record as focused and well driven as this, its clear Hommy is only going up from here.
19. UNLOCKED- Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats
Taking hip hop back to its roots, Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats show the true beauty in rapper/producer duos on their joint LP, UNLOCKED. With the 29-year-old beatmakers intuitive patterns and the raw rhymes and cadences from Curry, this is easily one of the most fun hip hop records of all time.
18. A Written Testimony- Jay Electronica
The once proclaimed future messiah of hip hop, Jay Electronica, finally broke his decade long silence with the release of his long-awaited debut album A Written Testimony. While this wasn’t the showcase fans waited over a decade to receive, contributions from the one and only Jay-Z elevate this experience to the next level. Between Hov’s signature bravado, matured lyrics, and Electronica’s praise to the most high, the two’s spiritual journey will be remembered for a long time.
17. Eternal Atake- Lil Uzi Vert
Taking us on a thrilling adventure through space, Eternal Atake is Lil Uzi Vert’s most ambitious album to date. With a loose concept circling around the 26-year-old rapper being abducted by aliens, listeners are taken through 18 tracks filled with exploration and adventure. Being divided into three sections of six, the Philadelphia trapper’s fictional kidnapping, journey, and return home are embedded within the intoxicating spacey production. For an LP that literally stopped the entire world, it’s a true testament to Uzi Vert’s greatness that it lived up to the hype.
16. Seven Times Down Eight Times Up- eLZhi
For underground legend eLZHi, Seven Times Down Eight Times Up serves as the newest entry in a catalog that has made him one of the most respected rappers of the century. Somehow managing to show further maturity in his subject matter, the Slum Village MC unravels his most personal tales, ranging from failed relationships to the inner pain success coincides with. In addition to his lyrical greatness, producer JR Swiftz proves he to be the sole force behind the boards as his soulful instrumentals feel unique and profound as they flow together seamlessly. When it comes to records that were entirely made between just a rapper and producer, there are few which top it.
15. Limbo- Aminé
Utilizing every style from abstract to trap, the name Limbo serves as the perfect title for Portland rapper Amine’s second studio album. Here, the 26-year-old rapper shows his artistic fearlessness as he brings along everyone from Injury Reserve to Young Thug to fully complete his vision. Whether he’s turning up in a simple staccato flow or rapping with high technical cadence, it’s clear he’s “came a long way from that Woodlawn Park”. Being one of the best examples of all-around craftsmanship in one body of work, this LP fills a void nearly none can match.
14. SAVAGE MODE II- 21 Savage & Metro Boomin
When creating a sequel to one of the most beloved collaborations in recent memory, the bar was definitely high for 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, but that only caused the pair to raise SAVAGE MODE II’s intensity to a new max. Increasing both his ruthlessness and artistic integrity, 21 delivers one of his most compelling performances yet, as everything from his murder affiliations to his 2019 citizenship scandal is well articulated and vividly told. While the 28-year-old Atlanta-based trappers at the vocal front of things, Metro proves to be the true star due to his intuitive production that pushes his boundaries far beyond the rest of his trap contemporaries. Topping things off with some of the best interludes ever from the one and only Morgan Freeman, it’s easy to already call this a trap classic.
13. The Price of Tea in China- Boldy James & The Alchemist
In an attempt to regain the dominance he once held nearly a decade ago, Detroit rapper Boldy James teamed up with long time running mate, The Alchemist, for The Price Of Tea In China. Lighting a spark that had not been seen in seven years, the two set the industry on fire with their raw raps and ambient soundscapes that culminated into a drug dealer’s ultimate paradise. Filled with unpredictable sample choices, rugged chord switches, and fitting changes in Boldy’s vocals demeanor, this LP does a near-perfect job at expanding on what their previous work established.
12. Circles- Mac Miller
Hearing Mac Miller for the first time since his tragic death in September of 2018, Circles was one of the most bittersweet experiences we as hip hop fans will ever go through. Between Malcolm’s angelic vocals and touching songwriting, it genuinely feels like the late rapper’s spirit has come down to give us one more unforgettable journey. With a score crafted by the one and only John Brion, there’s a raw authenticity that masterfully sets the heavenly atmosphere for Miller to play out his final vision over. In retrospect, Circles will go down as not just one of the best sequel albums of all time but also one of the best posthumous LPs in all of music history.
11. Visions of Bodies Being Burned- clipping.
For experimental hip hop trio clipping.’s fourth album Visions of Bodies Being Burned, it serves as a direct sequel to 2019s There Existed an Addiction to Blood. Continuing to expand on the torture and disparity seen on their last record, producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes up the horror by breaking all boundaries, including everything from distorting simple vocals to implementing demonic screeches that sound like their straight from hell. Being all brought to life by the captivating delivery and technical proficiency of MC Daveed Diggs, the Hamilton star continues to prove why he’s one of the most talented artists in all of music. For someone craving a fear-mongering adventure in their rap music, look no further than here.
List Created, Edited, and Written By: Marc Dator, owner and founder of Fantastic Hip Hop